One of the many abuses of current theology regards false prophets. This is nothing new, but with the era of the internet, you can easily find false prophecies in every corner of the world wide web. Christians must be able to identify false prophets, understand the consequence of false prophecy, how God feels about false prophecy, and how to react to false prophets.
FALSE PROPHETS ARE IN EVERY ERA
First, let’s understand that false prophets exist in every generation. Often Christians can be guilty of only focusing on “The Antichrist,” and missing false prophets in every era. From the days of Moses, listed in Deuteronomy, God’s people were warned of false prophets. Jesus tells those He is speaking to in Matthew 7:15 to “beware of false prophets.” False prophets are everywhere, and we need to have our eyes attentive to them. John warns in I John 2 that while there is The Antichrist, there are many antichrists (I John 2:18).
GOD GIVES US WAYS TO IDENTIFY FALSE PROPHETS
Second, we need to understand how to spot a false prophet. God gives us ways to evaluate if someone is sharing false prophecy or false teaching. One of the simplest tests Scripture says proves a true or false prophet: has what the person prophesied actually come to pass?
Deuteronomty 18:20-22 teaches us this. In verse 22 it says, “when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken.”
Sadly, many who are following so-called prophets are following prophets who have already proven to be false prophets. These are “prophets,” pastors, or speakers who have already made predictions. Yet, the time in which they should have been fulfilled has come and gone without being fulfilled. These books, sermons, or talks are archived, and can help us identify hucksters.
There also are false prophets who prophecy correctly. You are probably thinking, “If prophets who prophesy falsely and ones that prophecy and things do come to pass doesn’t that include all prophets?”
Deuteronomy 13:1-3 specifically addresses this. There are prophets who prophesy, and things do come to pass. Then that prophet tells people to follow other gods other than the one true God of Israel. This is a false prophet.
THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES TO FOLLOWING FALSE PROPHETS
Third, we need to understand that there are consequences to false prophecy and false teaching. The first of these is that often, false prophets end up scaring people about things that are not true. They get people to live in fear, when there is not a need to live in fear, at least at that time.
Worse than someone living in fear is the rejection of Jesus as your personal Savior. Often, those who don’t believe in Christ will say, “Well, I heard a Christian give prophecy, and that did not come true. Why should I listen to the Gospel of Jesus and salvation?” If we have, even unknowingly, attached ourselves to a false prophet, it could discredit what we have to say about more important things like salvation through Jesus Christ. Prophecy should never detract us from Christ, but always point us to Him. Even the prophecy of the book of Revelation is centered on, and for the ultimate purpose of, revealing Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:1).
GOD TAKES FALSE PROPHECY SERIOUS
Fourth, God takes false prophecy seriously. In the Old Testament, under the reign of Israel, if there was a false prophet, God had him stoned to death (Deuteronomy 13). If there is something that would tell us God takes false prophecy seriously, it would be that. God knows how false prophecy leads people astray from the true God, which is why it matters to Him so much.
Lastly, when we hear someone saying that they are prophesying, we need to be diligent and make sure that what they are saying is true. Remember God takes false prophecy seriously. Whether it be that video link, prophecy book, or article written, we need to run the tests to make sure we are not dealing with a false prophet. We should be slow to share these things; look this person up to see what they have said or written before; and make sure that we are not dealing with a false prophet. We don’t want to be a part of sharing false prophecies.
Have you ever shared something or seen someone give prophecy, and later found that the time had come and passed and that prophecy did not come true? Is there a prophecy you are being asked to believe now? Have you looked at this “prophet’s” record to see if other things he has predicted came true? Is he pointing people to Jesus or away from Him?
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.