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Beware of the New Prophets

Gnosticism was the first religion opposing God as it was the serpent offering knowledge (gnosis) to man (Genesis 3:5-6). This knowledge has been continued to be offered to man in opposition to God’s truth throughout the ages as the mystery religions provided higher wisdom to initiates. Offering the definition for the word gnosis as understood in Gnostic usage, the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says: “Such gnosis is ecstatic or mystical vision… It is an esoteric knowledge, and the instruction is more like the teaching of initiates than philosophical instruction. …gnosis invests the Gnostic with the divine nature, and therefore in the first instance with immortality. By his vision he is transformed from a man into God. Indeed, the very gnosis which leads to this is regarded as a divine dunamis which flows into man and, along with other powers, drives death out of him… In Gnosticism it means magical powers.”1)Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, edited by Gerhard Kittel; Translater and Editor Geoffrey W. Bromiley, D. LITT., D.D., WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1964-1976, Vol. 1, p. 694-696 Peter Jones expressed it as: “Gnostic knowledge found within is occult knowledge…. It claims to be divine prophecy, but it is false prophecy from the father of lies.”2)Peter Jones, Pagans in the Pews, Regal Books, 2001, p. 97

Today, the modern prophets and apostles offer their new revelations as a higher knowledge of God for a new age. Much of the prophetic claims of these contemporary movements are setting new doctrines that align with the old teachings of ancient Gnosticism. The focus of miracles and experiences is to validate their new doctrine as a message from God. “Prophecy is a gift which may be further confirmed by the operation of other gifts, all of which should be accepted as the natural result of Pentecostal preaching.”3)Ray H. Hughes, “The Uniqueness of Pentecostal Preaching,” L. Grant McClung, Jr., Editor, Azusa Street and Beyond: Pentecostal Missions and Church Growth in the Twentieth Century, Bridge Publishing Inc., 1986, p. 96 Obviously they are offering extra biblical doctrines since if what they were teaching was in the Bible they would not need signs to validate it. This is exactly what was expressed by Benny Hinn: “Please, please, please don’t think OCC [Orlando Christian Center] is here to repeat something you’ve heard for the last fifty years…. If we quit giving you new revelations we’re dead.”4)Benny Hinn, Orlando Christian Center broadcast, Trinity Broadcasting Network, Dec. 9, 1990, cited by G. Richard Fisher and M. Kurt Goedelmon with W. E. Nunnally, Stephen F. Cannon and Paul R. Blizard, The Confusing World of Benny Hinn, Personal Freedom Outreach Publication, sixth edition, Expanded, 1997, p. 2

To claim to be a prophet is no small matter. Kenneth Copeland declares, “I am responsible for a prophetic ministry.”5)Kenneth Copeland, Honor: Walking in Honesty, Truth, & Integrity, Harrison House, Inc., 1994, p. 91 To minister in such a manner is to place your spoken words and published writings on an equal pedestal with the Bible itself.


The Greek word for prophecy, propheteia, comes from two Greek words: pro, meaning “forth,” and phemi, meaning “to speak.” Prophecy, therefore, means to speak forth the mind and counsel of God.6)Kay Arthur, How To Study Your Bible, Harvest House Publishers, 1994, p. 95


Jerry Savelle does exactly that when he says his written material was given to him “through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.”7)Jerry Savelle, The Spirit of Might, Jerry Savelle Ministries, 1982, p. 5 The Bible says “all Scriptures is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16), and Jerry Savelle tell us his words are par excellence as God’s latest revelation for us. Savelle is just doing as Copeland does since Copeland claims to have been commissioned by God to “help teach and train” Jerry Savelle.8)Kenneth Copeland, Honor: Walking in Honesty, Truth, & Integrity, Harrison House, Inc., 1994, p. 88


Robert Tilton says, “In this book, God directed me by His Holy Spirit to write certain things to you. I have leaned on Him for every word…. Contained in these pages are special words of wisdom, words of knowledge, and prophecies from the Lord.”9)Robert Tilton, God’s Miracle Plan for Man, Robert Tilton Ministries, 1991, p. 8 If his book was proof read and edited then it surely cannot be equal to Scripture since “every word of God is pure” (Proverbs 30:5; Psalms 12:6; 19:8; 119:40), and “one jot or one title shall in no wise pass away” (Matthew 5:18).  How is it that God has given us the 66 books of the Bible, written by 40 men of diverse backgrounds, occupations, and educations, crossing 3 continents, over a span of 1500 years, and yet we find an integrated message from Genesis to Revelation without contradiction, but the “prophets” of today cannot agree on the simplest doctrines or present us with consistent fluency of what has been revealed to us in the Bible? “In fact, the supposedly divine visions, revelations, prophecies, and interpretations are often so false or unbiblical that one wonders if these visions are from their own mind or, worse yet, from the devil.”10)John Ankerberg & John Weldon, The Facts On The Faith Movement, Harvest House Publishers, 1993, p. 18

But now we must ask, “how many book of the Bible are there?” According to Copeland, it continues to grow.


Each generation before us had less revelation than this generation does today.

Each generation, according to God’s plan, should grow in revelation. Each generation should pass on what it knows. The next generation should grow in God and add to that body of knowledge.11)Kenneth Copeland, Honor: Walking in Honesty, Truth, & Integrity, Harrison House, Inc., 1994, p. 130


Mani the Gnostic teacher reportedly said: “The writings, wisdom, apocalypses, parables and psalms of the earlier churches are from all parts reunited in my church to the wisdom which I have revealed to you. …the ancient books joined in my writings; and they form one great wisdom, such as has not existed in preceding generations.”12)Jason David BeDuhn, The Manichaean Body: In Discipline and Ritual, The John Hopkins University Press, 2000, p. 6 However, Mani taught that he would be the last prophet, according to Augustine who wrote, “that the divine mysteries which were taught figuratively in books from ancient times were kept for Manichæus, who was to come last, to solve and demonstrate; and so after him no other teacher will come from God, for he has said nothing in figures or parables, but has explained ancient sayings of that kind, and has himself taught in plain, simple terms.”13)Augustine,  Against the Epistle of Manichaeus Called Fundamental, chap. 23;  as cited by Jason David BeDuhn, The Manichaean Body: In Discipline and Ritual, The John Hopkins University Press, 2000, p. 71; also accessible at http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1405.htm, accessed 8-23-2013

Copeland teaches the more that is added, the more God will give to each generation. “If we do it, there will be more revelation poured out on the Body of Christ than there has been in the past 2,000 years combined. We will be either the most spiritually knowledgeable or the most spiritually ignorant generation in history.”14)Kenneth Copeland, Honor: Walking in Honesty, Truth, & Integrity, Harrison House, Inc., 1994, p. 137 The book of Hebrew begins by saying: “God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets” (Hebrew 1:1). The phrase “in times past” meaning “long ago,” is an adverb participle combined in conjunction to the verb “spake” which is aorist active participle, expressing simple actions, not continuous – God’s revelation have never remained continuous throughout history but only spoke forth at certain times and Scripture reveals the next time prophets of God appear is in the tribulation period (Revelation 11:3). God spoke through a true prophet about coming time of prophetic famine, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it” (Amos 8:11-12).

Paul Cain believes Scripture is not complete yet. “Now I know which is perfect is come, [sic] that which is imperfect must be done away. But anyone knows that which is perfect has not come. And we don’t have the full revelation – we haven’t grown up in the stature of Christ as we should.”15)Paul Cain, The New Breed, audio tape Kansas City, MO: Grace Ministries, undated; as cited by Albert James Dager, Vengeance Is Ours: The Church In Dominion, Sword Publishers, 1990, p. 144 Sharing his personal testimony of his involvement as a pastor in the Association of Vineyard Churches, Tom Stipe recalls, “Dreams and their interpretation soon moved to center stage as prophecy conferences taught devotees to keep a pencil and notebook on their nightstand to write down each dream as it occurred. These were later interpreted for God’s message.”16)Tom Stipe, pastor of Crossroad’s Church of Denver, cited in Hank Hanegraaf, Counterfeit Revival, Word Publishing, 1997, foreword, p. xii Wendy Alec claims Jesus told her, “For the Word alone is yesterday’s manna and even they [prophetic teachers] have seen deep in their hearts that it is no longer enough to feed my people.”17)Wendy Alec, Journal of the Unknown Prophet, Warboys Media, 2002, p. 84; as cited by Keith Gibson, Wandering Stars: Contending for the Faith with the New Apostles and Prophets, Solid Ground Christian Books, 2011, p. 282 In other words, the Bible is now irrelevant. Rodney Howard-Brown wrote in The Coming Revival that teaching the Word of God came to an end.


I believe that this teaching revival as it was in the ‘70s and ‘80s came to an end. Some men of God are still teaching things that we heard fifteen years ago. That’s not completely wrong, for we all must hear the basics – but surely God is saying something fresh in the earth today.

I don’t want stale bread….

God is saying a new thing. Yes, everything in the Word is true, but there’s a fresh anointing. There’s an excitement. There’s a joy. There are things pertaining to this hour of history that God wants to speak to the Church.18)Rodney M. Howard-Browne, The Coming Revival, RMI Publications, 1995, p. 19


Whenever referring to an end time revival one must be referring to recent revelations since such concepts are not found in the “stale bread” of God’s Holy Word. The Bible only mentions an increased apostasy in the end days (2 Thessalonians 2:3; Luke 18:8). Jake Deere goes as far as to say it is a demonic doctrine to not receive revelation. “In order to fulfill God’s highest purpose for our lives we must be able to hear his voice both in the written Word and in the word freshly spoken from heaven…. Satan understands the strategic importance of Christians hearing God’s voice so he has launched various attacks against us in this area. One of his most successful attacks has been to develop a doctrine that teaches God no longer speaks to us except through the written Word. Ultimately, this doctrine is demonic even Christian theologians have been used to perfect it.”19)Jack Deere, cited by Mark Thompson, “Spiritual Warfare: What Happens When I Contradict  Myself,” The Briefing no. 45/46 (April 24, 1990): p. 11

The increase of apostasy is evident as false prophets are looking anywhere but the Bible for God’s Word. Kenneth Hagin wrote, “I began to look around to see what I could find written on the subject. For others, you see, have revelations from God. I was amazed how little material there is in print on this subject. The only good book devoted entirely to it that I have found is E. W. Kenyon’s The Wonderful Name of Jesus. I encourage you to get a copy. It is a marvelous book. It is revelation knowledge. It is the Word of God.”20)Kenneth Hagin, The Name of Jesus, Faith Library, 1981, preface Without reserve, Hagin said others have “revelations from God,” and called Kenyon’s book “revelation knowledge… the Word of God.”

In fact, with the only exception of the two witnesses (Revelation 11:3-6), all the mentions of prophets or the workings of miracles in the end time in Scriptures are conducted by demons (Revelation 16:13-14), false prophets (Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22; Revelation 13:13-14; 19:20), the antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2: 9-11), false believers who think their signs prove salvation (Matthew 7:21-23), and occultists who resist the truth (2 Timothy 3:1,8). Concerning revelation, a more biblically consistent reasoning is that Satan attempts to validate his deception with a sprinkle of truth like the event which unfolded with the women “possessed with a spirit of divination” (Acts 16:16-18). Pagans believed prophets such as Joseph and Daniel interpreted dreams because they had the “wisdom of the gods” and “the spirit of the gods is in thee” (Daniel 4:8-9, 18; 5:11, 14; Genesis 41:48). In Deuteronomy 18:10-18, the context jumps from the pagan use of divination, witchcraft, wizards consulting familiar spirits, to God’s promise to “raise up a Prophet,” indicating God’s prophet spoke from the Spirit of God in them (1 Peter 1:10-11; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Isaiah 63:11), while false prophesy came from demonic spirits possessing false prophets (1 John 4:1, 3; Zechariah 10:2; 13:2; Revelation 16:13; 1 Kings 22:22-23; 2 Chronicles 18:21-22; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12; 1 Timothy 4:1). King Saul prophesied after an evil spirit came upon him (1 Samuel 18:10). Jeremiah clearly stated the false prophets prophesied by divination (Jeremiah 14:14). This is the way the Bible expresses an endtime revival of Gnosticism which is being fulfilled by the false prophets of the Pentecostal/charismatic movement today.


If you liked this article, you may also be interested in Crept In Unawares: Mysticism by Heath Henning is available for purchase here.



Heath Henning
Heath Henning
Heath heads the Set Free addictions ministry on Friday nights at Mukwonago Baptist Church and is involved in evangelism on the University of Wisconsin Whitewater campus, offering his expertise in apologetics at the weekly Set Free Bible Study every Tuesday evening. He currently lives in East Troy, Wisconsin with his wife and nine children. Read Heath Henning's Testimony

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