If God has something to reveal to you, He will reveal it to you. He won’t be using a self-professed prophet as an intermediary.

Tom Bradford – Bible Teacher

It is not uncommon in congregations of any denomination to have members claiming that God “talks to them” or they have dreams or visions from God. Some are humored, but most are not taken seriously. Those who are, can be very dangerous.

In all my years of observing these types of people, not even one of their dreams, visions or prophecies has come true. Not one. Oh yes, they will claim to have had past success, but neither I nor anyone I trust has ever witnessed it. Some claim that these people are well meaning. I do not believe that. If they were well meaning, they would stop what they are doing after the first “prophecy” proves false. At best, they are self-aggrandizing, wanting to look and feel superior to others. Hardly a biblical character quality. At worst they are deliberately manipulative and controlling in a cultic sense.

In the words of bible teacher Tom Bradford

The biblical test for a self-proclaimed prophet is very simple. They can never be wrong. If they claim that God told them thus, and it doesn’t happen, they are a false prophet. There are no second chances. That must always be our test as well.

Real prophets are very, very rare. In fact, there may not have been one in over 2,000 years. They are recognized by being 100% accurate in what they proclaim. They are not popular because they do not foretell of good things. People mostly shun and hate them because they are saying things people do not want to hear. They are rejected by churches and congregations. Most of them do not want to be prophets and try to avoid it at all costs, with God eventually forcing them to undertake the role.

Contrast this with all the modern “prophets” who are popular, eagerly seek the status, and fortune-tell of pleasant banalities which God would never use to get His message across. Things like:

  • You will become rich
  • God is bringing you a husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend
  • You will have a child
  • You will find your lost item/pet
  • God will do something on this date

Then there are the insidious “prophets” who manipulate to their advantage with things like:

  • God told me you should give the church your money/posessions/time
  • God appointed me spiritual leader over you
  • God said you must leave your “disobedient” husband/wife
  • And the catch all … God said He will [insert calamity] if you do not obey His words that I have told you

The latter false prophets are just downright evil.  Many atheists would even be repulsed by that level of manipulation and moral deceit. Perhaps so many atheists exist because of this type of moral bankruptcy in man-made religion. None of this is biblical.

Whenever the prophecy does not come to pass, the “prophet” will claim various things absolving them of any accountability. Among these are:

  • Your faith [or that of the congregation] was not strong enough
  • You disobeyed in some way, so God did not deliver
  • In your heart, you refused to believe the “prophet,” so God did not deliver
  • The message was correct, but God has adjusted His timing
  • God was just testing you

None of these excuses are biblical either. All have the same foundation.  You are the idiot and they are the wise one who knows what they are doing. Most people buy it, because they desperately want to have the kind of faith that the righteous people in the Bible displayed. The “prophet” knows this and will use it as a lever to manipulate.

How can a person be so gullible as to believe the false prophet? Telling a person God spoke about them in a dream or vision appeals to their own vanity. I am so important that God spoke of me in a dream to a prophet! People will believe some pretty outrageous things if it appeals to their egos. They are obviously a real prophet, because God spoke to them about ME! This enables the “prophet” to both gain credibility and further their own status.

Surely God does not mind, does He? After all, these people, although false, are still displaying some kind of faith in Him and attempting to do His work. They are just a bit over-zealous or misguided, perhaps arrogant too.  Even if that were the truth, consider God’s own words in the Old Testament [emphasis mine].

But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

Deuteronomy 18:20-22

God’s penalty for false prophecy is death. Let me be very clear, I am not advocating for any harm to people who do these things.  I am just underscoring how serious God considers this infraction.  It is highly doubtful He will just chuckle at their antics and let them slide.

So, stop it already.  God does not talk to you.  He does not give you visions or dreams. If you sincerely believe that He does, then you need a mental health checkup.  It is more likely you just want to feel important and delude yourself into thinking this happens. Even worse, you are invoking the Name of God to deliberately manipulate and control others. Things will not end well for you. 

If you feel you are a prophet of God, go ahead and give it a shot. If you are wrong, even once, then according to God you are not a prophet. If you don’t admit it and stop claiming God tells you things, then you are not following God. If God “speaking” to you is only a metaphorical expression of what you feel is the Holy Spirit moving in you, then it misleading others to claim God told you something. Moreover, if it is only for your personal enlightenment then why even share it with others, claiming it comes directly from God? To me, and many others, that looks like attention seeking or even arrogance. You are, of course, free to do whatever you like. Just as I am free to react however I like.

Those of you on the receiving end of these “prophecies,” start calling out these imposters on their false claims. Refuse to listen and make that clear to them.  They can do what they do only because people either believe them or remain silent.  Do not be afraid of hurting their feelings. What they are doing is wrong on many levels. You might even be saving them or others. Pastors who endorse this are even more culpable. One must wonder if they are not reaping benefit from the dynamic, else they are too weak to apply God’s own commandment in this area. Either way, they are not fit to hold the office of religious leader and you should not look to them for spiritual guidance or teaching.

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An enabler of a highly narcissistic person or someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). A flying monkey is an agent who acts on their behalf.

Projection involves taking an unacceptable part of oneself, disowning it, and placing it onto someone else. The manipulator describes the victim and paints them in a light that more accurately portrays the attacker himself.

Toxic amnesia is a tactic where the perpetrator pretends to not remember abuse, betrayals, lies, and other hurtful and dysfunctional behaviors they've engaged in. Its a form of gaslighting. Its purpose is to make you doubt your perceptions and memories.

Narcissistic rage can be triggered by various situations, such as criticism, perceived rejection, or being ignored. The reaction is often extreme and disproportionate to the event or comment, as the narcissist's fragile ego struggles to cope with the perceived attack on their self-image.

Triangulation is when a toxic or manipulative person, often a person with strong narcissistic traits, brings a third person into their relationship in order to remain in control. There will be limited or no communication between the two triangulated individuals except through the manipulator. It may appear in different forms, but all are about divide and conquer, or playing people against each other.

The action or practice of lavishing someone with attention or affection, especially in order to influence or manipulate them.

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To gaslight someone means to manipulate another person into doubting their own perceptions, experiences or understanding of events. ~ American Psychological Association

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Fraud that targets people belonging to a particular community or group, typically that in which someone pretends to be a member of the group in order to gain the trust of others.

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Initial Dispositions
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Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

A religious leader uses valid verses or concepts from the Bible about following and obeying God to generate enthusiasm in people, then misdirects that obedience to himself as a representative of God. The group believes they are following and obeying God, but in reality are obeying the leader.

A fictional, exaggerated version of an opposing viewpoint, especially one that is intentionally created to be easy to dismiss or argue against and to make one's own argument seem stronger. Straw man arguments can be made unintentionally, but most are made on purpose to make the other side seem evil, incompetent, or extremist.

The religious leader distracts members from mentally registering what he is doing.  Screaming praise to God when something he proclaimed does not come to pass.  Acting like a bad thing is really a good thing.  Just keep talking and talking and talking, while ignoring that nothing is happening. It is the same thing politicians have done successfully for years.

The leader calls members flattering adjectives or nouns, like righteous, holy, or saint.  These are often vague and difficult to define, so the member feels the leader’s superior knowledge has recognized something good in them.  Conversely, if the leader later withdraws this praise, the member is eager to toe the line to recover it.

Manipulation of a person or group's emotions in order to make them believe something is factual (or false) in the absence of any evidence. The manipulator tries to draw on the recipient's inward feelings such as fear, pity, or joy with the goal of convincing them that the statements being presented are true or false.

Essentially a black-and-white worldview with the leader as the ultimate moral arbiter. This creates an atmosphere of guilt and shame, where punishment and humiliation are expected. It also sets up an environment wherein members spy and report on one another. Through submission to the guilt-inducing and impossible demand for purity, members lose their moral bearing.

The use of jargon internal to (and only understandable by) the group. Constricting language constricts the person. Capacities for thinking and feeling are significantly reduced. Imagination is no longer a part of life experiences, and the mind atrophies from disuse.

The process whereby the group becomes the ultimate arbiter and all nonbelievers become so-called evil or non-people. If these non-people cannot be recruited, then they can be punished or even killed. This process creates an us-versus-them mentality that breeds fear in followers who learn that life depends on a willingness to obey. This is when individuals merge with the group’s belief.