alert [ uh-lurt ]
Adjective: Fully aware and attentive; wide-awake; keen. An alert mind, swift, agile, nimble.
Noun: An attitude of vigilance, readiness, or caution, as before an expected attack, a warning or alarm of an impending military attack, a storm, etc.
Verb: To warn (troops, ships, etc.) to prepare for action; to warn of an impending raid, attack, storm, danger, etc.
Updated June 2021: Recently, doubts and questions began to creep into my mind; particularly concerning this page of exhortation. After prayerful seeking and study, I was directed to this scripture:
“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10.
I’m to serve Jesus Christ in Love, Spirit and Truth. Moreover, the Lord directed me to examine my heart. Even if doctrine’s correct, what’s my intent? Do I have ulterior motives based in unforgiveness or bitterness? Is this conviction of God or flesh?
What the Holy Spirit reveals in me, ultimately sets me free; especially the ugly stuff! The three C’s: Conviction, chastening and correction are an integral part of a Christian’s life. Freedom in Christ is not the allowance to sin; but the allowance of the Holy Spirit to work in and through us.
“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” Jude 1:21-23
While those in the Body of Christ are to have one mind, we each have unique personalities. Boldness, openness and outspokenness are not sins, instead they’re gifts, if used in the Holy Spirit and in Truth. Some personalities are more suited to admonish, preach and exhort; while others are more suited to prayer and ministering. Meekness is not passivity based in fear or complacency, or indifference; but is courage and the boldness to stand for Truth, clothed in love.
Out of love for God and the souls of others, I’m being called to exhort truth based on God’s Word. After careful reconsideration, Holy Spirit leading and study of scripture, I was lead to maintain this revised exhortation; until the Word of God gives me clear direction not to do so.
“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Matthew 24:24
The Word of God does more than a sufficient job of alerting believers of false teaching, prophesy and false messiahs. I don’t feel that it’s my duty (or authority) to publicly “expose” individuals who I perceive to be in error.
This exhortation is not about condemning any person or group as false.
To call others false or apostate is dangerous ground to tread. We never know what God’s doing in a person’s heart, nor do we know where they are on the road to sanctification. So calling a person, group or church false can easily fall into what could be considered sin. We need to be very careful not to falsely accuse nor blaspheme the work of the Holy Ghost.
Instead, this is an exhortation concerning false prophecy. True and sincere Believers can still fall into error. This is why we’re called to study and rightly divide the scriptures to show ourselves approved. We’re called to be open to correction as well as to correct those who are in obvious error.
In Mark 9:38-42, we learn that we are to tolerate those who are doing works in Christ’s Name:
“And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part. For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.”
It’s human nature to be offended when someone corrects us. This happens when we rely on feelings instead of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus cautions us not to “offend” the little ones, what He means is “cause them to stumble”. The Greek word used here is “skandalisē”(Strong’s 4624); which means to entrap, set a snare or stumbling block, i.e. Trip up or entice to sin, apostasy, to hinder right conduct or thought; literally, “to fall into a trap”.
The Word of God itself is said to be a rock of offence. Anyone who’s preached the Truth can attest to this. This is why it’s crucial to test everything, including our own perceptions; including this website, against the Word of God.
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1
Testing one’s own spirit is incredibly important; and serves as a foundation for this exhortation on discernment of false prophesy.
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” 2 Corinthians 13:5.
Again, scripture teaches us that we must examine ourselves first, to see if we’re in error before we even think to correct others:
“Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5
However, after we’ve examined ourselves to see that we’re not guilty of the exact thing we’re being called to reprove, we’re called to edify (build) each other in love; through honest correction.
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” 2 Timothy 4:2
“And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!” Ezekiel 13:1
One of the most pervasive errors that I see among the flock are those who prophesy questionable or false prophecy via social media.
The basic meaning of a prophecy is “a message from God.” So, to prophesy is to proclaim a message from God. This “direct message from God”, makes prophecy different than Biblical commentary or teaching. Prophesying is a legitimate gift from God for the purpose of edifying the brethren.
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” 2 Peter 2:1
So how are we to know if a message from God, is really from God?
The answer is found in THE WORD OF GOD:
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” 2 Timothy 3:16
Long before the internet and long before television, there were people known as the Bereans. The Apostle Paul preached to them in Acts 17. They were known for their eagerness to receive the Word of God, but they were also known for their discernment. They compared biblical teachings to the Word of God. The Bereans give us a great example of how we should respond to biblical teaching and prophesying. We are called to investigate new teaching in comparison with the Bible; no matter who the teacher, prophet or prophetess is.
“Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.” Jeremiah 14:14
It makes sense that the most obvious sign of false prophesy is that it contradicts doctrine; the Word of God. Maybe it’s blatantly heretical or maybe it contains one little line of error mixed into the whole speech; like a little drop of highly toxic poison in the punch bowl.
What does the Word of God say about this?
“A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Galatians 5:9
So, if false prophesy can be detected by scriptural comparison, then why do so many people still give an ear to false prophecy? Simply put, because of our iniquity. False prophecy tends to please eyes by appearances and tickle ears that like to be tickled:
“For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.” Proverbs 5:3-4
Spiritual discernment requires study and reliance on the Holy Spirit, not our flesh; to guide us. It requires our spiritual ears to hear and our hearts to accept difficult and unpleasant things. Truth is essential, but it often hurts:
“Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Proverbs 27:5-6
Our flesh tells us that we deserve to be pampered, coddled, comfortable and happy. Yes, the Word of God tells us that believers are to have life more abundantly; however, this abundance is provided by God; to glorify God and serve God. Actually, scripture has more to say about the sufferings of the Christian in this world, than the temporal pleasures. Most assuredly, pride is at the heart of false prophesy, as it is with all sin.
“Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,” Colossians 2:18
One of the most insidious facets of social media prophecy is it’s potential to allure with motion picture displays of novelty and graphics mixed with warm, fuzzy, happy-speech. Our culture loves to be entertained. Instead of seeking Truth through simply reading the Bible ourselves, we’re mesmerized by the visages of eloquence, grace and displays of emotion.
YouTube has seemingly an infinite number of Christian videos. Why read a boring old book when you can watch videos, right?
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.” Jeremiah 23:16
So are prophets supposed to be perfect, sinless and without flaw? Absolutely not!
Have you heard of the prophet Jonah?
So we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. This exhortation is to share insight on false prophesy. It’s not to condemn false prophets. Only God can do that. We’re called to be loving and forgiving, but also to contend for the faith. There are many prophets (like Jonah), who God uses; despite themselves. This doesn’t mean that we give credibility to false prophesy.
“When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” Deuteronomy 18:22.
The more familiar we are with the Word of God, the more likely we’ll be able to discern true prophesy from false prophesy…like the Apostle Paul said:
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” Romans 16:17-18
“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” 2 Corinthians 11:2-4.
So, NO…we don’t go on Puritanical witch hunts for those who appear to be in prophetic error. We take it to God in prayer. We trust the Holy Spirit, not our flesh, to lead us to right action. If we discover our flesh is involved, we really should nip that in the bud before any action is taken. (Trust me on this one). Then, Scripture teaches us that we should confront the person in error, first. However, in this day and age of viral spread social media productions by aliases and avatars, this is often not possible.
Any prophet who sincerely desires a closer walk with God and counsel of the Holy Spirit, will be open to civil discussion about their prophesying. They’ll graciously and humbly accept correction that’s sound in doctrine.
“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” 1 Timothy 6:3-5
Notwithstanding, if attempts to discuss or correct questionable prophesy are rejected without consideration; or if they are met with sarcasm, offense or contempt; that’s most likely a red flag signifying false prophesy.
“He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.” Proverbs 15:32
My intent is not to discourage. On the contrary, I wish to encourage prophesy; with discernment. Eagerness and zeal are fantastic Christian qualities, IF rooted in God’s Truth.
Trust the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to guide you.
The following is a list of some red flags that may help avoid false prophesy:
- “Me, myself and I.”: Are our prophesies all about us, our feelings, visions and chit chats with Jesus; with little to no solid scriptural reference? Jesus Christ said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.” John 7:17-18. Be cautious not to be dazzled by personality, charisma or achievements. There are no “celebrities” in God’s Kingdom. Remember, God is no respecter of persons. “And Peter, having opened the mouth, said, “Of a truth I understand that God is not One who shows partiality,” Acts 10:34. And, scripture is not for personal interpretation. “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” 2 Peter 1:20. So, when we hear of personal experiences with Jesus, take it for what it is; personal experience. Personal testimonies are an inspirational and powerful way to witness to the world, however they differ from prophecy: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Revelation 12:11. Be very cautious not to elevate personal testimony, dreams and visions to the level of Biblical doctrine and Truth; nor shall we look upon them as foretelling of Christ’s second coming. “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” Matthew 24:36
- “I-so-jesus.”: Eisegesis means interpreting scripture to support our own agendas without considering the context in which it was written. “I-so-jesus” is interpreting ourselves to be on equal ground with the Lord. If this is the case, we many need to check and recalibrate our humility meters. Are we claiming to be “like” Paul, Peter, David or even Jesus Himself? “But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.” 2 Corinthians 10:17-18 Prophesying is a gift, but like anything, it can be misused. In the flesh, gifts pridefully glorify the person. In the Spirit, gifts glorify God. Recently, I saw a video where someone prophesied that Jesus physically appeared to them, asked for their advice and told them that they were just like HIM! “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Matthew 24:5. In other words, Jesus told them they had attained Christ-likeness. Even the Apostle Paul couldn’t stake that claim: “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12. We are to be holy as our Father is holy, however, No human… except the Son of God, has attained the sinless perfection of Jesus Christ. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8. When we are in Christ, Christ is in us; however, when anyone claims to be Christ-like, don’t be afraid to question and ask for clarification. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8
- “Seek MY face.”: In Psalm 24, verse 6, David states; “This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.” Whose face are we seeking? Whose face are we causing others to seek; ours or the God of Jacob’s? In Proverbs 7, verse 15, King Solomon describes how the harlot seeks her lover’s face: “Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.” Should we more carefully consider the visual content of the videos we watch and produce? Even videos about God can morph into “selfies” if we’re not examining ourselves and walking in the Spirit. “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30. Have our messages from God become self glorifying productions that are bathed in perfect lighting; showcasing our physical attributes or fashionable clothing? Should we be more cautious not to mix flesh with spirit? “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Galatians 5:17. Let’s be honest: We all like to look at pretty scenery. Novelty grabs our attention. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1 John 2:16. We need to ask ourselves: Would the prophetic message be as effective or believable, if we chose garden flowers instead of our alluring physical attractiveness as background visuals? Let’s think about this: Why do nearly all the major mainstream newscasters look like models? Could it be because those who are watching will more easily accept what’s being said; no matter how ludicrous, ungodly or deceptive? Those in the Psychobabble realm tell us that we naturally perceive physically attractive people to be more honest and trustworthy. That’s sadly true, but ironic; because Jesus, who IS THE TRUTH, is described as having no attractiveness; so that no one would desire him: “he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” Isaiah 53:2. Please, let’s not misconstrue what’s being said: Beauty is NOT a sin. Physical attraction is NOT a sin. Visually spectacular videos are NOT a sin. These are all gifts from God: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17. However, if we aren’t mortifying our flesh by being fully submitted to the Word of God, we run the risk of using our “gifts” for self glorification; which is idolatry; which IS sin. Aren’t we to walk by Faith, and not sight anyway? “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” 2 Corinthians 5:7.
- “Quantity versus quality”. How many “words from the Lord” are we publicly publishing? How many videos per week (or day), do we upload? God talks to us daily…sometimes every minute or every second: “Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17. However, does this mean we are to publicly announce every single message we receive? Is the message congruent with scripture or a result of vain imagination? Have we become more concerned with numbers and less concerned with integrity? If we’re too busy recording, editing and uploading videos; do we have time to pray, meditate and seek God’s Word to examine our messages and ourselves? God told us to go into our prayer closets. This means private time between us and God: “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Matthew 6:5-7. It’s helpful to understand that the Word of God is complete and anything that deviates from the Word of God should be carefully examined and scrutinized: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:” Revelation 22:18
- “Creator versus Creature”: “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” Luke 6:26. In our zeal, and our desire to fellowship, we can get too caught up in one particular ministry. This can put us in the precarious position of accepting everything they say as Truth. If you want more clarity, check out the prophet’s followers and the comments. Do they gracefully allow others to question or critique what they prophesied? Are they sarcastically criticizing other believers for their personal Biblical convictions, (food, clothing, music); especially those that challenge the prophet’s personal LIBERTY? Prophets in the Bible never excused and legitimized sin, nor did they use snarky quips to berate those seeking obedience. To the contrary, prophets were mostly HATED for preaching obedience and repentance. If you see folks coddling, complementing and aggrandizing the prophet more than the Lord; this can indicate that the prophet is becoming more important than the prophesy. “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Romans 1:25. When we glorify the creature more than the Creator, it’s time to turn off the computer and turn to the Creator.
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you” 2 Peter 2:1-3
Many of our churches have corporately failed us, so more believers are turning to social media for fellowship and food (teaching). Social media, particularly Youtube, can be likened to the ravens that fed Elijah in the wilderness. The raven, an unclean bird, fed Elijah his daily bread and meat; sustaining him until the water of the brook dried up. The raven and the brook represent the temporal and worldly.
The internet as a whole; is FAR from clean and holy. It’s in fact, a breeding ground for hatred, pride, perversion and deception. It’s literally the devil’s playground:
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:” Ephesians 2:2.
Likewise, we must be discerning when we seek spiritual food by means of an unclean creature like the internet. There are still good teachers, inspiring testimonies and godly prophets out there. There’s still bread and meat; even if it’s virtual. God is sovereign and can use anything or anyone, no matter how unclean, to fulfill His Will. However, I will say this again and again:
Nothing is better than the actual Word of God as written in the Holy Bible.
When the world gets too wackadoo, I turn off the computer, pick up the Bible, and read it. The Word of God is an amazing, life-changing and supernatural journey…when you let the Holy Spirit drive.