Idols & False Prophets
by Keith Hassell | March 21, 2011
Ezekiel 14:4–5 (NKJV) “Therefore speak to them, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols, that I may seize the house of Israel by their heart, because they are all estranged from Me by their idols."'"
Are you a prophecy junkie going from one prophetic conference to another seeking another "word from the Lord"? Are you drawn to prophets who tell you what you want to hear rather than what you need to hear? When I first got involved in the Charismatic Movement, it wasn't this way. People were hungry for the Word of God. They would sit for hours with Bibles and notepads in hand feeding on God's Word. Most of the prophetic words given in meetings had a simplicity and innocence that was beautiful. Prophecy edified rather than controlled the meeting. Prophecies were generally given under accountability to church leadership and were lovingly judged and corrected when they contained error. There were no lines to receive "personal prophecies". However, over time came the rise of the prophetic movement that placed emphasis no only on prophecy but on prophets. While some of the emphasis has been biblically based and profitable, it also provided a platform for the rise of profaned prophetic ministry and outright false prophets. As a result, false doctrine, covetous practices, questionable methods, moral issues, spiritual arrogance, and manipulative prophetic ministry has become commonplace. The abuse of prophecy and the prophetic office has unfortunately resulted in many shipwrecked lives and church splits. Often pastors who naively allowed this kind of ministry to enter the church unchecked find themselves in a battle to save the flock and even their own leadership. Why are so few pastors sounding the alarm and protecting the flock? I believe it is due to a lack of discernment coupled with a pressure to embrace what they are told is "cutting edge" prophetic ministry. No one wants to be left behind in the shadows, right? The pressure on pastors to embrace the prophetic movement is increasing as growing numbers of prophets and prophetesses affirm each others prophecies and to validate one another's ministries. Does large numbers validate the movement? No. Elijah stood as God's true prophet against 450 prophets of Baal. In fact, Ezekiel 22:25 called the alliance of false prophets in his day a "conspiracy" that he likened to a pride of roaring lions devouring their prey. Pastors who dare to question, much less confront, these self-proclaimed prophets are met with a ferocious warning, "Touch not the Lord's anointed!" However, pastors need not be afraid of false prophets (Deuteronomy 18:18-22). The apostle John admonishes us to test the spirits in order to deny false prophets access to the flock (1 John 4:1-6). In Revelation 2:2, Jesus commended rather than rebuked the church in Ephesus for testing those who claimed to be apostles but were not. Brothers and sisters, it is time to wake up and wise up to the reality that not everyone who prophesies is a prophet of God and not every prophecy is true. If the body of Christ doesn't wake up soon, I believe the church in our generation may experience the great apostasy (falling away from the true faith) spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Don't misunderstand, I believe that there are true prophets. In fact, we need to ask God to raise up true prophets like Elijah who will confront the false prophets of our day! Remember, when the spell of false prophets was broken off of the people, revival was the result! False prophets are dangerous. They are masters of disguise (Matthew 7:15) and of seduction (Ezekiel 13:10). False prophets claim to have a word from God, but God has not spoken to them (Jeremiah 23:21-22). They prophesy out of the inspiration of their own heart (Ezekiel 13:2). Their spirit is corrupt and profane (Jeremiah 6:13). They are motivated by covetousness (Jeremiah 8:10). As a result, they lure the unsuspecting by telling them what they want to hear (2 Timothy 4:2-4). They deliver a message of "Peace! Peace!" to those involved in idolatry, rebellion, sin, and disobedience (Ezekiel 13:10; Jeremiah 6:14). False prophets are dangerous because they affirm wicked desires and comfort the sinner. Once people embrace the ministry of false prophets, they rarely escape deception. In His wisdom, God has judged these individuals by causing them to believe the lying spirits operating in false prophets (Ezekiel 14:6-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). For a sobering example of how God did this with King Ahab, read 2 Chronicles 18:18-22! Friend, you and I are not immune from being deceived. If you don't believe that, then you are already deceived! How can we escape the seduction of lying spirits operating through false prophets? We must humble ourselves before God, confess our sin, repent of our idolatry and sin (Ezekiel 14:6), repent of our fascination with subjective supernatural experiences, and then develop an uncompromising love and obedience for the truth of God's Word (2 Thessalonians 2:10).Without an uncompromising love for the truth of God's Word and the humility to receive its correction, we will be unwilling and unable to escape the deception around us.