Four Reasons this is Nonsense!
I heard this statement two days ago from a self-proclaimed prophetess and the man interviewing her. She was upset that certain prophets have asked the body of Messiah for forgiveness for issuing false words regarding the reelection of President Trump. She explained to her interviewer, who agreed with her, that God never told His prophets to apologize!
I see [prophets] jumping off the bandstand… They’re just jumping, diving off, running, … your faith needs to increase. You need to trust God, … and you even said it was at one time—I’m talking to the other prophets, who bailed—If you believe that God meant what He said, then you should not have backed off. And by the way, nowhere in the Bible does it say, prophets have to apologize FOR ANYTHING! You will not ever hear me apologize for what God has said to me.
We don’t expect you to apologize for what God said to you. We expect you to repent for what He clearly did not say to you. The body of Messiah expects you to be accountable when your national prophecy does not come to pass.
Then she issues a threat to the wavering prophets:
You do remember what happened to all those who fought God, hated God and argued continually? Well, the land swallowed some up, some got washed away at sea, and a bear ate some. So I don’t think I would mess with God’s plan… There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes that you do not understand and you should not make judgments, especially, you should not bash God’s anointed.
But did God really speak?
The interviewer summarizes a bit and says that we can’t expect prophets to apologize if God told them that Donald Trump was going to win the election. The problem is, He didn’t tell them!
This is the problem with the charismatic prophetic movement today! Now, to be clear, I am part of that movement. Both the interviewer and the interviewee seem to think that if a prophet says pregnant Sally is going to have a boy but instead has a girl, then the problem is with our lying eyes and not the prophet. They should not apologize for “what God said!”
Could it be that these prophets were wrong? Is it possible that God did not speak? We have several examples in the Old Testament where many prophets were saying exactly what the people wanted to hear—it really bore witness—and, yet, they were not speaking for God.
Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.” (Jeremiah 14:14)“They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 29:9)
It’s hard to apologize when you are being stoned!
In the New Testament, the prophet does not get to test his own prophecies. It is the body of Messiah through the Holy Spirit that test whether or not a prophecy is from God. The most basic test that we have was given to Israel in Deuteronomy 18. It’s really very simple: Did the prophecy come to pass?
“But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death. You may say to yourselves, ‘How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?’ If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken.” (Deuteronomy. 18:20-22)
There was no time for the presumptuous prophet to tell the people that there is secret information that they don’t know, that things will be reversed in a few months or that it really did come to pass, but it just doesn’t appear that way in the natural. He would already be dead.
However, these people think the test is merely the prophet telling us that God spoke to them.
What if they are false prophets?
What if they have bad motives?
What if they’re making a lot of money on their false prophecies and yet telling us they are true prophecies?
What if they just heard their own thoughts?
What if they love being on TV every night and realized that admitting that they prophesied falsely would take away that platform? It is hard to give up a half a million views a night.
For these reasons, and many more, it is leaders in the body of Messiah that judge a prophecy, not the one who gave it.
Four reasons that yes, prophets should apologize
But let’s get back to this issue of what the Bible says about prophets apologizing. The interviewer goes on to strengthen this argument. Let me mention here, neither the interviewer nor the supposed prophetess have any deep theological training, which when combined with prophetic gifting, is a landing strip for deception. The Word is our plumb line. Any would be prophet needs good theology.
“[People are asking] ‘When are you all going to apologize?’ Show me chapter and verse on that.”
I have to admit that this is very clever, but it is utter deception, and dangerous. Of course there is no chapter and verse that says, “Here are the criteria whereby a prophet must apologize.”
So let’s open this up a bit.
1 Taking the Lord’s name in vain is sin (Exodus 20:7). When I give a false word saying, “The Father said, ‘I…’” I misused the name of Yahweh. I have broken the third commandment. I need to repent. It’s that simple.
2 As alluded to above, one of the main reasons that Old Testament prophets never apologized is because there was no opportunity. If you prophesied falsely, you were killed. These folks make light of using the Lord’s name in vain by invoking the name of Yahweh in a false prophecy, but God takes it much more seriously, to the point that the punishment was death.
To be clear, things have changed in the New Testament. If you want to know why we no longer stone false prophets, please check out this blog.
3 Prophets do not have a lesser form of accountability than the average believer. If anything, it is higher. James speaks about leaders in the congregation:
Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
Anyone who sins needs to repent—prophet or non-prophet! If you want to know where the Bible teaches, “chapter and verse” that prophets must apologize, here are a few:
Peter rebukes Simon for seeking to buy the gift of God: “Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.” (Acts 8:22)
Paul rebukes some in the Corinth Church for not repenting of their sin (1 Corinthians 12:21)
John encourages us to “confess our sin” and God will forgive us. (1 John 1:8-10)
These prophets seem to want to be treated as a special class of believer, above you. And that’s dangerous. They do not want to be accountable to other leaders or to the body at large. They do want you to believe them, without wavering, without questions and without doubting, when they prophesy lies.
One of the more prominent “prophets” taught that those who don’t believe his presidential prophecy, are like the unbelieving ten spies who questioned the prophets, Joshua and Caleb. There’s a big difference here.
A. Joshua and Caleb were acting in faith, but not as prophets.
B. New Testament prophecy is meant to be tested (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21), not blindly followed.
The prophet prophesies. It doesn’t come to pass. He blames you for lacking in faith—”you are like the ten spies.” Or, maybe God did not speak to him! This teaching is spiritual abuse and cult-like. It makes you dependent on the prophet.
(Let me emphasize again that I believe strongly in the prophetic gift and the function of the New Testament prophet. Please don’t misunderstand me. But just as there is a true prophetic gift, there is a counterfeit, and it is the responsibility of shepherds in the body to confront it.)
4 They present the idea that prophets are living in a supernatural realm that you cannot comprehend. She says, “There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes that you do not understand.”
But Paul addressed this in 1st Corinthians 14:32 when he said, “The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.” In context, this verse means that prophetic ministry in the local congregations (Paul would have a heart attack at seeing the prophetic nonsense unleashed with no accountability on Facebook every day!) is under the authority of five-fold, Ephesians 4 level, prophets. How can local elders judge prophecy, which is part of their responsibility, if the prophet has secret information?
But in truth, when this woman, who claims to regularly go to heaven, prophesied that President Trump would win before the election, there were no such caveats. It was only after things didn’t go the way she and others said, that suddenly, “your not understanding,” “if you only knew,” “there are things going on behind the scenes,” etc.
This is nonsense and could be manipulatively used to cause you to trust said prophet over your own will and wisdom and ability to hear God. It is very hard to disagree with someone who claims to have been in heaven, talking to God.
So, dear friends, if you encounter someone who claims to be a prophet but they are not submitted to an apostolic team of leaders, my encouragement to you is to run! If you are following some unaccountable Facebook/Instagram prophet, you are opening yourself up to deception. And I expect it to get worse and worse, if we are really in the end-times.
In addition, it’s a very dangerous thing to follow someone as a prophet who does not have a theological background. I understand that many might want to argue with me here, saying, “Ron, you don’t understand the prophetic gift. They don’t have time for degrees and studying. They are in the presence of God.”
I reject that. The Bible is our bedrock. I’m not saying that you have to have a doctorate in theology, but, as Paul told pastor Timothy, you should know how to “accurately handle the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:25) The imagery Paul is using there is like a operating a plow in straight line, as opposed to being all over the place. You should know how to read the Bible in context. And you should not be uttering nonsense like, “Where in the Bible does it tell us that prophets should apologize?”
Beloved, be on your guard!