The rise of many false prophets

Selie Visa

False prophets are not new to us any more than they were new in Jesus’ day. There were prophets in ancient Israel as with Ahab (1 Kings 22). In Jeremiah’s day there were more of them than true prophets as he wrote that the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction (Jeremiah 5:31) which caused God’s judgment to come upon them for prophesying falsely in his name (Jeremiah 27:15). God’s hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations (Ezekiel 13:9). Peter refers to these false prophets in the Old Testament times by writing that false prophets and false teachers will arose secretly and bring in destructive heresies (2 Peter 2:1).

We don’t have to look far to see that there are many false prophets around today and many are being led astray. This is why the Apostle John warned Christians to test whether they are from God (1 John 4:1). These false prophets follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. Their condemnation or destruction is a certainty (1 Peter 4:2-3). Peter points out that they are in it for the money, worldly material gain. They blaspheme the way of truth and exploit the unwary. When the truth is mixed with a bit of falsity, we can be deceived.  Many will swallow it because outwardly it looks good and sounds good. Jesus, Peter, and John all repeat the fact that there will be 'many' and not 'few'.

The Apostle Paul gives us much of the reasons for the rise of false prophets aside from the fact that they are in it for the money. Paul writes that the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions (2 Timothy 4:3). People don’t want to hear the hard truth from the Bible. The word of God comforts the afflicted but afflicts the comfortable. It is sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). The result of hearing soft words is that it produces hard hearts so they want their itching ears scratched. The result will be, and in fact already is, they will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths (2 Timothy 4:4).

Jude warned that certain people have crept in unnoticed who pervert the grace of God into sensuality and deny the Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 1:4). This has caused a turning to a different Gospel- not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ (Galatians 1:6-7). Jude warns that those who are relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones (Jude 1:8). They have abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error (Jude 1:11), which means they do it only for material gains and not for the glory of God or his sheep.

How can we avoid being deceived by these false prophets?  We should be in the Bible on a consistent basis, we should have regular patterns of prayer, we should be learning from good Bible teachers in a biblically solid church. These spiritual disciplines helps us to identify counterfeits and discern the true teachers from God, and the false ones from Satan and his minions. The false ones are shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever (Jude 1:12-13). On the day of God's judgement upon them (Revelation 20:12-15) we don’t want to go with them or be one of them.