I happened to be out of town that morning, which is not to say that it
wouldn’t have occurred if I had been there. One of the members of the
prophetic team received a word from the Lord for a man in our congregation.
This man was horrified as the prophetic person publicly shared that he
lacked integrity in his finances.
When I returned, I went to the person who gave that prophecy and asked
him exactly what he had seen. He told me that he had seen a dark cloud over
the area of the man’s finances. He interpreted this to mean that the man was
stealing money, but his interpretation was totally wrong!
Soon after this prophecy, the man’s business partner embezzled a large
sum of money from him. The prophetic word was a warning to the man
to watch out for someone who might steal money from him, but it was
mistakenly pronounced as a judgment against his character. The brother was
humiliated publicly by the prophetic word, and he missed the warning that
someone was stealing from him.
Mike Bickle, Growing in the Prophetic, pp 29-30
It would be true to say that the Old Testament prophets had dreams and visions and even encounters that could be called very strange. But did they have them like what is recorded here by Bickle?
Zechariah, for examples, had several strange vision--a flying scroll, a woman in a basket and two women flying with wings like storks, lampstands and olive trees.But along with these vision, there is also an interpretation given. Granted, the interpretation is not often very clear, at least for me, but it is there, and I suppose if I did more research into the visions, I'd understand them better.
Most of Zechariah's prophecies seem to be rather broad, addressing Israel as a whole, though there is one or two that address the king, Zerubabel, and the High Priest Joshua. The interpretation of these seems to be clearer.
Other prophets prophecied to other people, often king or religious leaders. What they said was usually not obligue. Nathan told a story to David, then told him what it meant. Others were more still more direct.
What I can't think of, though, is something like in Bickle's example, where someone claims to see something, something with a pretty clear meaning, only to have it mean something else. To look at an example from Zechariah 3
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And the LORD said to Satan, l “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” 3 Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. 4 And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” 5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD was standing by. 6 And the angel of the LORD solemnly assured Joshua, 7 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here. 8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. 9 For behold, on a the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven eyes, I will engrave its inscription, declares the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day. 10 In that day, declares the LORD of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor to come under his vine and under his fig tree.”
Could you imagine Zechariah having only one part of the vision, then being left to interpret it for himself? And having to tell the priest Joshua was it meant?
Consider what happened in Bickle's account. This 'prophet' claimed to have seen some kind of black cloud over the man's finances. And that's it.
That isn't the only time something like that is recorded in Bickle's book. In another place, on page 25, he relates a time when one of his 'prophets' saw musical notes around a man, whether floating or bouncing like in some old cartoon, I don't know. In this case again, the prophet wasn't given any kind of interpretation, though he though he knew what it meant. He told the man something that was, well, nonsense.
None of this seems to in any sense be like biblical prophecy. I simply can't think of any time recorded in the Bible when a prophet was given a vision, then let to either interpret it on his own, or even allowed to try to interpret it on his own.
That isn't biblical prophecy. It's more like reading card, or any other form of divination. You get a vague message, you have to figure out what it means, and you have about as much chance of getting it wrong as getting it right.
Bickle wants to say that many examples from his ministry that are consider false prophecies were really bad interpretations. I rather think that it's doesn't matter which it was. The fact that Bickle's 'prophets' spoke falsely makes them false prophets. Consider this passage.
II Peter 1
19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
A true prophet does not speak presumptuously in prophecy, but only the Spirit tells them to say. The fact that Bickle's 'prophets' spoke presumptuously makes them falst prophets, period, no matter what excuses he makes for them.