S: Jeremiah 28:1-4 One day in late summer of that same year—the fourth year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah—Hananiah son of Azzur, a prophet from Gibeon, addressed me publicly in the Temple while all the priests and people listened. He said, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will remove the yoke of the king of Babylon from your necks. Within two years I will bring back all the Temple treasures that King Nebuchadnezzar carried off to Babylon. And I will bring back Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the other captives that were taken to Babylon. I will surely break the yoke that the king of Babylon has put on your necks. I, the Lord, have spoken!’”
Jeremiah 28:15-17 Then Jeremiah the prophet said to Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, but the people believe your lies. Therefore, this is what the Lord says: ‘You must die. Your life will end this very year because you have rebelled against the Lord.’”Two months later the prophet Hananiah died.
O: It is a serious thing to prophecy. In fact, the Mosaic Law says to execute prophets who prophesy falsely (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)
In new testament times, we don't use Mosaic Law, but the principle still applies. Claiming God revealed something to you which is not true is a serious matter.
I have seen this happen in many churches, usually with no reprimand nor repercussion on the person making a false prophecy. Even Christian leaders whom I respect, who are generally men and women of faith, I have heard with my own ears make false prophecies. Usually, it was their own personal intense wish making them voice their wishful thinking as a prophecy, e.g. a friend who is dying of cancer, and they prophesy that the person would live, but instead, the cancer patient dies.
I am not accusing these people of being a witch prophet like Hananiah. I do not think that these people making these prophecies were malicious, but they allowed their own wishful thinking to cloud their thinking and make these false prophecies.
In the modern Charismatic church context, people usually don't say, "Thus says the Lord" like Hananiah did. However, the effects can be still damaging, because everyone knows that they intend to say that God had revealed this to them.
I have personal friends who appear to have lost their faith in God because of such false prophecies.
A: I think we in Charismatic churches often are too eager to speak prophecies. Yes, we have a living God and yes, He still does miracles today. But if you think you have a prophecy, are you so sure that it was truly the Lord who spoke to you and not your own wishful thinking?
But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea. Matthew 18:6
P: Father, when You do give us a prophecy, may we be clear and sure about it. But when it is not from You, may we not claim it to be. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)
Image credit: This same image can be found on many websites, e.g.