In Matthew 7:15 Jesus said, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Jesus warned His people about false prophets, but they were nothing new to the people of Israel. Six hundred years before Jesus, God told Jeremiah, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds” (Jer. 14:14). False prophets claim that they are speaking words that have come directly from God, but God says that He has neither sent them nor spoken to them.
I was reminded about the danger of false prophets today as I was finishing the writing of chapter 45 in my unfolding Isaiah commentary. In Isaiah 45:21-22 God makes it clear that dead idols cannot tell the future. He is the only One who can prophesy the future and make it happen. So it is with the false prophets, they cannot tell the future, for there is no one who can do that but God alone. In the NT era, He did that through His Apostles and (real) prophets during the apostolic age, a work of God that came to an end just as God said it would (1 Cor. 13:8-13; Eph. 2:20; Rev. 22:18-19).
I was reminded about the terrible problem of false prophets in the Charismatic church today as I was working through my Isaiah notes from some 20 years ago. In my notes from Isaiah I found two illustrations of how dangerous and widespread false prophecy has become in the modern church due to Charismatic teachings. Within the space of one week I had two phone messages filled with the deception of Charismatic teachings.
One of them was a lady who left the message that the Lord had given her three visions. I am afraid she had too many chili rellenos the night before. In a second phone message, some lady left a lengthy message (around 2000) telling me that I had to announce a message that America is injecting chips into Iraqis and that this is the Mark of the Beast (during the Iraqi war). She also went on to say that God had told her that the Arabs are God’s chosen people, that Jerusalem is Crete, that she loves Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, and that the rapture already came and we were left behind, etc. I do not want to make fun of these kinds of people, for it is very, very sad that they are being led astray by deceiving spirits to think that they are hearing messages from God. In my notes, I had a third example about the dangers of the Charismatic movement telling people they can be prophets. This third example was one from about 1985 at Las Vegas Bible Church when a lady came into our Sunday School as a visitor. Our pastor was teaching, but the lady stood up and said these words (verbatim if I remember right): “This man is teaching you lies. I am a prophetess and God speaks to me in dreams and visions, and Ronald Reagan is the Antichrist and the Pope is the False Prophet.” We promptly escorted her to the exit when she refused to silence herself and sit down.
My point, dear, precious brothers and sisters is this, there are many false prophets out there (just as Jesus said there would be). These are people who speak with great passion because they believe God is talking to them. We must not forget that our enemy–Satan–is a very powerful enemy. He is capable of giving people lying influences through which they think that God is speaking, but they are lying spirits.
Please, please, please, do not get led astray by the false prophets that endanger the church today. Stick to the Word of God, and the Word of God alone.
Love, Pastor Tim.