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. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed. (Deut. 18:21-22)
When it comes to hearing from the Lord any of us can and do make mistakes – the question is whether we are prepared to acknowledge them and to learn from them. But since all prophetic words should be evaluated, these are important verses to bear in mind. All the more so when weighty words have gone out that have influenced multitudes, declaring that the Lord not only wanted Trump to win the election, but that he would win it.
As Lyndall points out, many of these words appear to owe a great deal more to political convictions and wish fulfilment than to the authentic Spirit of God.
These false words have brought great disrepute to the evangelical church in general, and to the prophetic ministry in particular. Commenting on this in Christianity Today in an article that he wrote just a few days after the election, Craig Keener wrote,
‘Mistakes in prophecy do not make everyone who’s mistaken a false prophet, any more than mistakes in teaching or writing make everyone who’s mistaken a false teacher. But whether from false prophets or not, very public mistaken prophecies risk great dishonour to God’s name and must be treated especially seriously. People already apt to mock Christians can find more grounds for ridicule.’
See also this challenge from Michael Brown, a leading apologist for the charismatic movement to face up to the fact that people either right or wrong in what they felt prophesied about Donald Trump being re-elected.
Even within the last few weeks there have been incredibly strong and plausible-sounding prophecies that the election result would be dramatically overturned in Trump’s favour. The problem is, they are based on a false premise.
Many believed the turn-around would come on January 6th. But by what spirit would such a thing happen given that the result was legitimate?
When a delusion like this sets in, it acquires a life of its own. ‘Confirmations’ soon emerge from all directions, one Bible prophecy building on another, and being reinforced perhaps by people with similar views – in this case, the supreme confidence that God had placed His hand on Trump as His anointed servant. These things raise very serious questions about the level of discernment operating in the body of Christ.
No matter how fervently certain words have been delivered ‘in the name of the Lord,’ the reality is that the widespread propagation of fake news has emboldened these ‘prophets’ to prophesy what people wanted to hear – which in turn has paved the way for conspiracy theories to take a yet tighter hold on both church and society at large.
And so the spinning top continues to veer more and more off kilter, ensnaring many faithful, but misguided, believers. Bethel, for instance, a hugely influential church in the charismatic movement, has been outspokenly supportive of the President, as has Franklin Graham, who found himself at complete odds with the rest of his family on this matter.
For many who followed these prophets, the result of the election came as a major shock. It will take some people a considerable time to absorb the full implications of what has happened. I repeat, all this has exposed a seriously low level of discernment in the Body of Christ. There is need not only to acknowledge that particular and specific prophecies were wrong, but also to consider how to discern character, and to identify false assumptions. so that people can grasp of the ways of the Lord more clearly, and discern the true accents of His still, small voice.
Pray for a thorough reassessment to take place throughout the prophetic movement. The moment when somebody’s eyes are opened to the fact that they have been misled is highly significant but potentially dangerous. The enemy would dearly love to hijack it and provoke stubbornness and blindness. The Lord, however, invites them to enter the path to repentance and freedom. What else is going to break the present cycle?