1. Does the prophet believe in the redemptive work of the Son of God? One thing to note is that false prophets are antichrist in nature. They are not anti-Jesus. The word Christ is the Greek word Christos and it means “the anointed one.” The anointing is always related to the power of God. Beware of people who try to tell you that Jesus doesn’t do miracles anymore. This is dangerous, since Scripture tells us “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). The Jesus we serve was anointed yesterday, is anointed today, and will be anointed forever!
2. False prophets do not like to listen to anyone; they believe that God tells them everything. False prophets often make statements like, “the Lord is my Shepherd.” But the truth is if we are really submitted to God, then it must manifest in submission to real spiritual authority. If we claim to follow Jesus but do not follow the leaders He has put in authority in our lives, than we are deceiving ourselves. There are many times in our lives when we need another voice to give us guidance, direction, and maturity-producing discipline. When we resist authority we rob ourselves of an opportunity for spiritual growth, which ultimately hinders the effectiveness that the Holy Spirit wants to release through our lives.
3. False prophets are not motivated by love, but are motivated by a need to be noticed. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:7-9, MEV).
The central theme of all ministries must be the love of God. We must ask ourselves: Am I in the ministry for the purpose of bringing out the best in people? Do I have the kind of love that covers a multitude of sins? “We love Him because He first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For whoever does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? We have this commandment from Him: Whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 John 4:19-21, MEV).
4. False prophets commonly use fear to motivate people. “Doom and gloom” tend to be the central theme of a false prophet’s message. It’s also common for them to say things like, “God showed me something about you, but I can’t tell you what it is.” These kinds of statements breed insecurity in people. False prophets love to make you think that they “have something on you” that you don’t know about! “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. Whoever fears is not perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).
Love is the central theme of the gospel. Anyone operating in the prophetic ministry that isn’t defined by love has missed the entire point of the gospel. We will make mistakes, mess up, and even fail at times. But when love is at the core of our ministry, it’s always expressed in kindness, gentleness and humility.
5. False prophets are not in a covenant relationship with the body of Christ. I have yet to observe a false prophet who has a healthy relationship with a local church they attend. As a matter of fact, many do not even attend a church at all. They wander from place to place looking for people who will listen to them. Often, their goal is to gain a following, stealing people from the flock.
False prophets often use a combination of power and flattery to attract a following. And because false prophets are not in covenant relationships with the body of Christ, they recruit others out of the church community to join them in their independent, distorted spiritual journey. The word “covenant” means that we are not in a relationship for what we can get from people, but rather for what we can give. Covenant relationships are costly. Jesus, in John 15:13, says, “Greater love has no one than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Kris Vallotton is author of the Basic Training for the Prophetic Ministry curriculum and the senior associate leader of Bethel Church in Redding, California, where he has served with Bill Johnson for three decades. He has written eleven books, including the best-selling The Supernatural Ways of Royalty and Spirit Wars. His prophetic insight and humorous delivery make him a much-sought-after international conference speaker. Kris is also the cofounder and senior overseer of Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, which has grown to more than 2,000 full-time students, as well as the founder of Moral Revolution, an organization dedicated to cultural transformation. He has appeared on numerous media outlets, including The 700 Club. Kris and his wife, Kathy, live in Redding, California. Connect with Kris at:kvministries.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/kvministries.