The Bible has plenty to say about false prophets in the Old and New Testaments. John the apostle warned us not to believe every spirit, but to test the spirits to see if they are from God because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1). Peter warned of false prophets arising among the people, as well as false teachers, who secretly bring in destructive heresies (2 Pet. 2:1).
That should be enough to get our attention, and that's not the least of it.
Paul also warned the church at Corinth about false apostles and deceitful workmen (2 Cor. 11:13-15) and 2 Peter 2:3 warns us about false words. Again, this is nothing new. The Spirit of God told Jeremiah He did not send certain prophets, but they ran ahead anyway, prophesying outside the will of God—even prophesying lies in His name (Jer. 23:21, 14:14-16). And Ezekiel spoke of false prophets who liked to declare "thus saith the Lord" when the Lord did not send them (Ezek. 13:6).
As if that's still not enough to compel you pray for greater discernment as strong delusions rise that are leading entire denominations into apostasy, Jesus Himself gave us fair warning about false prophets. Specifically, He said, "Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves" (Matt. 7:15). He also declared, "For false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect" (Matt. 24:24).
So Who Are These False Prophets?
A little over three years ago, I called out the heresy being propagated by false prophets and teachers. I came under fire for not naming names in articles about rock star preachers spewing a false gospel in which I called out specific examples of false doctrine and destructive heresies in the church.
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But with all the doom and gloom and end-of-the-world predictions that crash to the ground, I got to thinking again about the false prophets about whom Jesus warned. What did He mean? Could it be those such as Chris McCann, who predicted Oct. 7 would be the end of the world? What about the late Howard Camping, who made repeated predictions that Jesus was coming back to his continual chagrin? What was Christ's definition of a false prophet anyway?
If you dig into Matthew 24:24, you discover some insight. The word "prophets" in that verse comes from the Greek word "psuedoprophetes." That's not too hard to translate. Simply stated, it means "false prophet." The longer definition is "one who, acting the part of a divinely inspired prophet, utters falsehood under the name of divine prophecies."
The Reality of False Prophets
That word "psuedoprophetes" is used 11 times in the King James Version of the Bible. That tells me Jesus really wanted us to understand the reality of false prophets. They are real, and they really are like ravenous wolves, in partnership with a devil who roams about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8).
The reality is some of them are sitting in churches right now. Some of them are "prophelying" with judgments and curses over nations. Some of them are merchandising the sheep with credit card machines at the altar, encouraging desperate believers to pile up financial debts in much the same way as desperate unbelievers wrack up massive phone bills calling psychic hotlines that charge by the minute.
I'm not a heresy hunter. I'm not looking to catch true prophetic voices making mistakes. This article isn't about the prophet who misses it and repents. My heart here is to issue a strong warning, a wake-up call to a church that has allowed false brethren to creep in unawares. My goal is to get you to take the warnings of Christ, Paul and Peter to heart. My objective is to get you to do what John urged: "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). False prophets are rising. Don't be deceived.
Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, co-founder of awakeningtv.com, on the leadership team of the New Breed Revival Network and author of several books, including The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual Awakening; Mornings With the Holy Spirit, Listening Daily to the Still, Small Voice of God; The Making of a Prophet and Satan's Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft. You can visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. Jennifer's Periscope handle is @propheticbooks.
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