Plastic Preachers and Charlatans
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.’ 21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ — 22 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 NKJV
A false prophet is someone who intentionally prophesies with an agenda that is not God’s agenda. The agenda of false prophets is usually money, fame, or power (Num. 22-23). Thus, false prophets are “plastic” preachers because their ministries are artificial, fake and insincere—they’re not real. Some are also charlatans because they use prophecy to lie, deceive, defraud and trick God’s people out of their money and possessions. Ergo, false prophets are plastic preachers and charlatans.
So, how can you know them? God instructs His people to apply the one strike rule: “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” (Text). The rules of Prophecy aren’t like the rules of Baseball, where you are allowed three strikes and then you’re out! But you might ask: can a true prophet fail in prophecy? Absolutely! By misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and even being motivated by the flesh, a prophecy will fail. This is the reason that the Apostle Paul instructed the church to judge prophecies (1 Cor. 14:29). But a true prophet, after a failed presumptuous prophecy, will humble his or herself, take full responsibility and repent—not justify it, explain it away, or attempt to cover-up the failure.
To advance their agenda, a false prophet will prophesy healing or prosperity presumptuously, then out of their pride and arrogance blame your lack of faith or your insufficient prayer life when it doesn’t come to pass. God, said that you should not be afraid of them, i.e., you should not stand in awe of them, just judge their prophecies. If they prophesy falsely to you in God’s name; God did not sent them (Jer. 29:9). Often, plastic preachers and charlatans are all about the “Benjamin’s” (an analogy for the $100 bill). They will prophesize lies and false visions out of the deceit of their hearts (Jer. 14:14), and say things like: “God said that “everyone in this service is to give $100 dollars.” They fleece the sheep rather than feed the sheep (Jer. 3:15; John 21:15; Acts 20:28).
Plastic preachers and charlatans serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own gain; and by false prophecies, smooth talk and giving good words, they deceive the hearts of the simple (Rom. 16:18). Beware of false prophets!