A whirlwind tour of Christian false prophecies:
False prophetic movement have occurred throughout Church history, and most often involved very good Christians and communities who misinterpreted God’ direction. Paul is careful to encourage prophecy in New Testament Church and recommend it to Christians as the most important gift of the Spirit (1 Cor 14:1). But Paul put discernment boundaries around it, as in having the prophet submit their visions and prophecies to the church for discernment. It is also clear that Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 principally refers to prophecies that uplift and correct at the local church level (1 Cor 14:3), not global, trans-church issues.
Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. (1 Cor: 29-31)
But that does not exclude prophecy about national or international issues, In Act 11:28 the prophet Agabus prophesied that there would be a large-scale famine, and the Church had to prepare for it. It happened. Similar valid prophecies have occurred throughout Church history. For Instance, Demos Shakarian, the founder of the Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship International, recounts how his family immigrated to California from Armenia due to warnings in the 1900s by a local prophet. That prophet warned that the Armenians must leave to avoid slaughter. Some, including his parents, heeded the warning and escaped the Armenian genocide by the Turks of 1915-1916.
The discernment of prophecy is both a grace and a matter of experience. That is, having a discerning community that both cherishes prophecy as possible direct words from God, but is also aware of the danger of false prophecy from the “soul” or Satanic influences. I have treated elsewhere the difficulty of practicing prophecy and having a church that is at ease with the gift as described in 1 Cor 14. Even Pentecostal pastors are often unsure how to allow and correct spontaneous prophecies in their congregations.
The consensus of the discernment literature, Catholic, Protestant, and Pentecostal is that, especially in the local church, short prophetic utterances can be of the Holy Spirit, (all must be discerned) but as they get longer, they tend to bring in element of the prophet’s subconscious wishes, prejudices and preferences. But before I proceed further, let me cite from Christian history some false prophecies that influenced the Church to its determent.
A major false prophetic movement was begun by a prophet called Montanus, about the year 170 A.D. His prophecies, and those of two women prophetesses who aided him, spread in the Roman Empire during a period of severe persecution.  Montanus and his prophets predicted the very soon coming of Jesus and predicted that a “New Jerusalem” would descent from heaven and alight in their hometown of Pepuza – a sleepy one-horse (or one chariot) village in the mountains of Phrygia (modern Turkey). That his hometown would be the center of the Second Coming is an example of the provincialism and vanity that often seeps into false prophecy. (This may be an instance of what Paul refers to as “itching ears” in 2 Tim 4:3.)
Montanists prophets caused divisiveness and conflict with the majority of churches and their bishops through the prophets’ moral rigor and legalism. They claimed, through repeated prophetic utterances, that the Holy Spirit decreed that those who had broken under Roman torture and renounced the Christian faith could never be accepted back into the Church. These had committed the “unforgivable sin.” Most of the bishops of the Church disagreed, and saw a need for leniency, including restoration of these persons into the Church after a penitential period.
The orthodox Bishops came out of this conflict as defenders of the true Gospel of mercy. In the process, the prophetic ministry was put under suspicion. Sadly, the bishops began to appropriate the prophetic office into their ordained office, and away from 1 Cor 14 as Paul indicated, by interpreting the meaning of “prophecy” as the preaching and teaching ministry of the Church. This is an idea that the Reformers were to adopt as standard. The effect was that prophecy, instead of being what Paul suggested, the most common gift for the Christian community (1 Cor. 14), became an increasingly rare gift.
After a while the Montanists prophets declared that the “prophetic age” (their own) was over, and the movement settled down as a legalistic sect – and eventually petered out. But the Montanist movement extended negative consequences throughout Church history. It vastly curtailed (but did not totally end) the frequency of spontaneous lay prophetic utterances. Without a flow of prophetic utterances in the Church’s normal parish life there was crated a vacuum of ongoing (and necessary) practice of discerning prophecy by church elders. That is, there were practically no living persons experienced in the gift of prophecy in their churches or who could exercise discernment and caution prudence.
Skipping centuries of history, and other false prophetic movements, but especially pertinent to our study, was a series of prophets and prophecies that centered around the time before the Franco-Prussian War of 1871-1872. At this time there were many Catholics in France who passionately disliked the French Revolution – with good reason that elements within it were truly ant-Christian. They also disliked the regime of Napoleon III (1808-1873) nephew of Napoleon I. These were devoted, practicing Catholics who yearned for the French royal family to be reinstated.
The Catholic prophets kept putting out prophecies, some of book length, assuring the coming restoration of the monarchy. These prophecies predicted the wholesale conversion of France to devoted Catholicism (ridding the country of the pesky “secularists” and atheists). To boot, England and Scotland would be re-converted to Catholicism, and the Pope would reign over a mostly Catholic Europe. Permutations of these prophecies went on for decades.
Later, when the Franco-Prussian War broke out, and it quickly went badly for France, there was another burst of prophecies assuring Frenchmen that the Prussians would be ultimately be driven back past their borders. Here is a snippet of some of these later prophecies:
They [the Prussians] will come back again, and they will destroy everything on their line of march. No resistance will be offered; they will be allowed to advance, but after their supplies will be cut off they will suffer great losses. They will retire towards their own country, but we shall follow them up, and not many of them will reach home. Then we shall recapture everything that they have carried off, and plenty more besides.
None of the above happened. France lost big and had to sign a disastrous treaty. But it is important to note, just like the Montanists, many of the prophets were good, devoted Christians, but with specific prejudices and desires – just like all of us. What they saw in visions, or imagined, was from their “flesh,” as Paul would term it. They were “wish for” prophecies not real prophecies from the Lord. We will come to this again later in our examination of the Mark Taylor prophecies on President Trump.
Although the Catholics tradition and literature on discernment of prophesies is excellent, it does not always manifest at a parish level. Also, the bothersome phenomenon of Marian apparitions and multiple false prophecies in that area have made the issue of discerning prophecies for Catholic clergy complex. I personally believe that many (all?) Marian appertains and prophecies are bogus and most likely of demonic origins, but the Catholic clergy are reluctant to come down on such manifestations as this would offend many lay persons who become attached to such prophetic movements easily. In Georgia, in the 1990s just such a bogus apparitions and prophecy cluster arose in Conyers. The prophecies were obviously Gnostic and bogus, and the local bishop discouraged its propagation, but the movement lingers.
The Catholic Church also developed the ministry of ‘spiritual direction” in which a mature Christian person, usually an ordained cleric, would act as the discernment person to mystics, nuns, monks and others who experienced visions and prophecies. But this was a very specialized ministry and not practiced. The Reformation rejected this tradition and the excellent literature on discernment that it generated, and saw prophecy, as the other gifts of the Spirit, restricted to the Apostolic Age (the doctrine of cessationism).
In the revivals among the Protestant Churches that occurred from the 1600’s, where the gifts of the Spirit were newly discovered by one community or another, lack of discernment on prophecy and persons experienced in discerning prophecies was a constant problem. This lack discredited several of the revival movements of the Church. This was the principal reason why the Great Awakening (1737-1742) of New England was cut short. Specifically, there arose traveling prophets who put forth false prophecies and presumptuous judgments about other ministers and churches. The American theological genius, Jonathan Edwards, witnessed this discernment failure firsthand and single-handedly created Protestantism’s’ best discernment works in response.
In more modern times, just before the Azusa Street revival and the birth of modern Pentecostalism, there was a revival that took place among several Holiness congregations in Corsicana County, Texas, in the 1870’s. This revival began with a burst of worship and enthusiasm which included tongues. Significantly, the local leadership understood that the gifts of the Spirit described in 1 Cor. 12 -14 were for the present. Unfortunately, the leaders were inexperienced in prophecy and its discernment (of course, there were no mentors or readily available literature to help them) and drifted into false prophecy.
Some prophetic utterances included the message that a person baptized with the Spirit would be regenerated physically to the point of being able to live a thousand years. But strangely enough, some folks in the congregation continued dying. The revival disintegrated as local prophets urged their followers to sell all and await Jesus’ return in 1875. Jesus didn’t make it, and the only thing achieved by the revival was the discrediting of future Pentecostal efforts in the area four decades later as the people remembered the previous fiasco.
This book is not just about President Trump. It is about every empire in history that has tried to usurp and use the Church in its political agenda. It is about the Last Days bewitchfull silencing of the true prophetic voices and replacing them with those of the false prophets. The ones who have sold out their anointing for political influence, financial gain or simply to be noticed in the vast wilderness of this present world. But ministry especially in the prophetic is not for sale. God still guards His Word with jealousy.
The author, William De Arteaga, Ph.D. is no small-time scholar. His best-selling book “Quenching the Spirit” has crossed many denominational boundaries transcending into the Biblical Charismata and advancing the work of the Kingdom. His historical essay on Agnes Sanford speaks to the women ministering in Pentecost opposing the cross-gender agenda. The recent publication on The Public Prayer Station proposes a new open paradigm for Christian ministry in the midst of physical and spiritual pandemic. And the book on Graceful Aging completes his public theological address to all generations touched and transformed by the eternal Spirit of God.
In a sense, this book is long overdue as it covers a much-needed research starting with the early forming of the historic evangelical vote prior to the 2016 presidential elections. Each chapter was birthed on the pages of the largest Pentecostal discussion group on the internet, PentecostalTheology.com. Each page was shaped by the painful reality of cross-genderism, racial protests, political unrest and hostile secularism in post-Christian America. Which also makes it a very timely book that transcends our current political and historic reality and speaks against every future empire aggressively enchanting the Christian Church into a spiritual agenda for globalism and world order that opposes the already, but not yet coming Kingdom of God.