In our time it is very difficult to tell a true prophet of God and a false one. This is because false prophets can also pray for the sick and they recover, they make manifestation of miracles which they declare come from God and take time to read the Bible. They also pray in tongues like everybody else that professes Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives. Some false prophets appear to have much more power than the true prophets. They would do things that no other preacher or prophet has done in all times. I surely do not dispute the fact that the truth can come from the mount of a false prophet.
False prophets are not always popular for performing miracles but any pastor that does not stand for the Bible truth is a false prophet. It is our culture as Christians to quote the Bible by saying, ‘the Bible says…’ yet when such thing are directly addressing issues we are struggling with we tend to ignore and mostly misinterpret the right instruction as it appears in the Bible but make ourselves comfortable in the wrong. Jesus said that false prophets will be known by their fruits (Matthew 7:15 – 20). If you preach something else but live the other, you are indeed a false prophet and that is the fruit that tells the world about it.
Allow me to give an example of a false prophet that does not work with miracles as many would think. The Bible says that if a man divorces his wife and marries another, he is committing adultery (Matthew 19:9). I can tell you without doubt that the same rule applies for a woman that divorces her husband and married another man. A false prophet is a Christian pastor or any leading person that does not come out clear to condemn remarrying of the divorced.
The obvious false prophet is the one who does what Jesus would not do. We get to understand and know what He would do by studying His character and activities as recorded in the Bible. A prophet that makes people pay for miracles, makes them eat inedible things, rejects what the Bible says, etc. is not a true prophet of God. The list is actually endless and it calls for the believer to have the Spirit of discernment to know the position of any prophet. At the end of this article I give advice on what a believer can do to avoid being a victim of false prophets.
Again, I want to confirm that false prophets can preach the true Gospel. This should not be a surprise to a believer because the Bible teaches that not everyone that says Lord to Jesus will enter the Kingdom of God (Matthew 7:21). Yes the Bible tells us clearly that the devil himself can manifest as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). To support this notion, the Bible also gives us examples of people that were promoting the truth yet they were driven by spirits that are not of God.
There are many other verses that have been turned around to suit our contemporary Christianity. Believers would tell you that you are narrow minded, shallow in understanding and living in Sunday school mentality when you remind them of what the scriptures say about their situation. All such people are false prophets and there is no argument about it, it’s just that they are on denial.
I’m reminded of Paul quoting an instance of a slave-girl telling the truth about them. I quote…
It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.” She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her. Acts 16
This spirit was telling the truth about who Paul and Silas were and what their business was. It called for Paul to realize that there was a spirit behind that slave-girl that needed to be cast out. In the same way, s prophet that is controlled by an ungodly spirit may profess Christ as the Lord and savior of the world. Not many Christians would have the spirit of discernment to tell that the ‘positive’ message was not from God.
It is known and acceptable that people make mistakes and fall into sin (1 John 2:1) but ignoring a mistakes even after having been sensitized about it is not what God wants. If you stay in sin, how can you hope to be saved when Jesus returns? If you stay in a marriage that the Bible defines as unholy or adulterous, you should be sure to miss heaven should Jesus return. The same applies for sins of theft, lies, etc.
How then can a Christian be safe from false prophet influence? How can one escape the defile of being ministered to by an ungodly spirit? The answer may not be friendly but it is the only way to keep yourself safe from being a victim to false prophet.
- Study the Bible to understand what is true and what is not.
- Be a person of prayer. Make fasting and praying your habit.
- Don’t fall for the trap of liking your pastor or spiritual leader so much that you fear telling him or her the truth. Confront them for clarity where your understanding differs from yours.
- Workout your salvation out with prayer and supplication (Philippians 2:12). Know that the devil may also make you a false prophet without you realizing it.
If at least you do the above listed activities just for your sake, surely God will give you understanding and wisdom to discern and escape the many traps setup by the devil even in the house of God. It is my prayer also not to be a victim of false prophets for any reason.