As there are true prophets of God in the world, so there are also false prophets around. And if there are false prophets, how do we differentiate them from the true ones?
A false prophet pretends to be from God when he or she is not, whereas a true prophet is the one sent from God. While a true prophet speaks messages from God, a false prophet speaks messages that do not originate from God but wants you to believe that they are from Him.
What other things should you know about false prophets?
There is a verse in the book of Jeremiah that gives us uncommon insight about what we should know about false prophets. The points we glean from that portion of scripture will form the tributaries of this post.
Let’s read it together:
For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Do not let your [false] prophets who are among you and your diviners deceive you; pay no attention and attach no significance to the dreams which they dream or to yours, for they prophesy falsely to you in My Name. I have not sent them,’ says the Lord’ .
Jeremiah 29:8-9 AMP
From the verse you just read, we can bring out at least seven irresistible things you should know about false prophets:
1. There are false prophets among you
If anyone tells you there are no false prophets around, that person is deceiving you. Or that person is a false prophet himself or herself.
Make no mistake about it, wherever you find yourself, false prophets are bound to show up there too. Don’t take my words for it; please check out what the following men of God had to say about it:
- Jeremiah spoke about the false prophets who are among you. “Do not let your [false] prophets who are among you and your diviners deceive you;” (Jeremiah 29:8).
- Jesus warned his disciples about the false prophets coming to them. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15).
- Peter also talked about the false prophets who arose among the people. “”But [in those days] false prophets arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you…” (2 Peter 2:1 Amp).
From each of the above examples, you can see that false prophets are among you already, or they will come to where you are or they will arise from you where you are. In other words, false prophets are always there, somewhere around you.
2. The aim of a false prophet is to deceive you
False prophets have an agenda: to deceive you into believing that they are genuine. But it is left to you whether or not to believe them.
Jeremiah was very clear in the warning he gave us by the spirit of the Lord when he said, ‘Do not let your [false] prophets who are among you and your diviners deceive you” (emphasis added).
There are many false prophets who are out to deceive but you should not let them.
Jesus warned us about the danger posed by false prophet when He said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” Matthew 24:24.
The deception of false prophets will result in the destruction for you.
3. False prophets have collaborators
You have to know that a false prophet would hardly operate alone. He or she would usually have very strong collaborators who come with subtle deception in different shades.
Here are some of the combinations:
a. False prophets and diviners
For instance, you can see from our golden text that false prophets and diviners were named in the same breath. “For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Do not let your [false] prophets who are among you and your diviners deceive…”
The reason false prophets were mentioned alongside diviners is that they work together to deceive God’s people. In fact, false prophets may also double as diviners or soothsayers – persons who practice divination.
b. False prophets and false teachers
The writer of the Acts of the Apostle while warning the believers about false prophets, also warned them about false teachers.
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 Peter 2:1
This goes to show that where there are false prophets, there would be false teachers as well, complementing the unholy ministry of one another.
c. False Christs and false prophets
Another collaborators with false prophets are people the Bible describes as false christs. “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24.
Who are false christs? They are people who claim to be the Christ, but are not. If they are not false prophets themselves, they work with false prophets to deceive people.
4. A False prophet can prophecy in the name of God
A true prophet prophesies in the name of God. However, it does not mean that anyone prophesying in the name of God is a true prophet. False prophets can prophesy in the name of God too.
Think about it, if a prophet comes to you prophesying in a name other than God, would you listen to him?
Knowing that they are not genuine, false prophets would want to use the name of God to hide their false identities. So they come to you professing the name of God in order to deceive you and subtly lead you astray.
Prophet Jeremiah knew their gimmicks so he warned us with the words from the lips of the Lord, “For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the Lord.”(29:9).
You see that?
False prophets prophecy falsely in God’s name. By prophesying in the name of God, they try to disarm your suspicion whatsoever, with a view to fooling you into believing that they are genuine. But you are warned not to be deceived by them, because they are not genuine and are not sent by God.
Jesus Himself said to us, “Not everyone that says to me Lord, Lord will see the kingdom of God…” That goes to show that some people who come to you in the name of the Lord are nothing but false prophets.
5. False prophets needs your attention to thrive
Another irresistible thing you should know about false prophets is that they are attention seekers. They know they can’t get to you if they they can’t get your attention.
By getting your attention, it makes it easier for you to believe them. But what does Jeremiah advise us about this? He said, “pay no attention and attach no significance to the dreams which they dream or to yours“
This shows that there are two easy ways false prophets can get you to believe in them:
- Pay attention to him
- Take their words seriously
With that in mind, you can see that it will be hard for false prophets to deceive you if you neither pay attention to them nor take their words seriously.
6. False prophets can’t deceive you without your consent
That’s right! False prophets need your consent to get to you.
Of course, I don’t mean that they will come to you saying, “give me your consent so we can prophecy falsely to you.”
Far from it!
You and I know that they are not likely to approach you that way. Rather, they would manipulate or befuddle you in order for them to get what they want: your attention.
But be rest assured that they cannot suck you into their hole without your consent. That’s why we are told, ‘Do not let your [false] prophets who are among you and your diviners deceive you“
Many false prophets are round about you but do not let them deceive you. That’s the timely warning from the Lord.
7. A False prophet is not God’s representative
Make no mistake about it: A false prophet may come in the name of God but he or she does not belong to Him. God didn’t send them.
“They prophesy falsely to you in My Name. I have not sent them,’ says the Lord.”
In that sentence lies two characteristics of false prophets you should know:
- They prophesy falsely in the name of the Lord
- God did not send them to you.
God is not the one who sends prophets to you, then who does? You might say they sent themselves around, but I would say the devil sent them.
False prophets are agents of the devil. They represent him, they carry out his mission and they represent his interest.
They may come to you in the name of God, but they are neither of Him nor from Him. They do not represent God or His interests.
False prophets are not difficult to come across. As the Bible points out, false prophets are always among the people. They come to you in subtle ways pretending to be from God in order to deceive you.
But don’t worry: no false prophet will succeed in deceiving you without your consent.
You give consent to false prophets by paying attention to them or taking their words seriously. But Jeremiah warns, “Do not let your [false] prophets who are among you and your diviners deceive you; pay no attention [to them] and attach no significance [to their words].”
What other things can you say about false prophets? Leave a comment.