A Systematic Expository Study of the Word of God
BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS
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Thoughtful hearers who listened to Christ giving this warning,
beware of false prophets will immediately recognize its
importance. Israel, as a nation, knew the great evil false prophets did to
their kings and to the whole nation. The spiritual blindness on the whole
nation was the result and the consequence of the blindness and hardness of
heart of their prophets, teachers and leaders. The disobedience, rebellion,
judgment, captivity and prolonged suffering of the nation was caused by the
false prophets. While they were out of the right way, walking in the way of
the heathen, the false prophets assured them that they were still in the
right way. When faithful prophets rose up to call them back to the narrow
way, to the way of righteousness and life, false prophets hardened their
hearts to continue in the broad way of sin and iniquity, saying,
peace, peace, when there is no peace. The false prophets
strengthened them in doing evil, promising life to those who had chosen the
way of death.
Beware of false prophets
could have been written on the sky above the nation of Israel for all to
read and remember constantly. They had lost the blessing of Abraham, the
covenant benefits were no longer theirs, they were under the brutal rule of
a foreign nation, there was spiritual blindness among their leadership. The
past glory of Israel had departed with no hope of restoration in view, the
nation had been trodden down under the feet of Gentiles, they were slaves
and captives in their own land - all because of the sustained influence of
false prophets. Now Christ had come in fulfillment of the long-awaited
promise: The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a
Prophet from the midst of thee; unto Him ye shall hearken. I will put My
words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command
Him (Deuteronomy 18:15,18; Acts 3:22,23). This was the last chance
for Israel of that generation. If they gave in to the false prophets again,
they would miss a great restoration and remain in spiritual blindness and
captivity for thousands of years. They needed the warning,
beware of false prophets. We need this warning too.
THE HISTORY OF FALSE PROPHETS
Matthew 7:15; Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 1 Kings 22:6,10-14, 20-23; Isaiah 28:7;
Jeremiah 2:8; 5:30,31; 6:13-17; Lamentations 2:14-17; Zephaniah 3:1-7.
The Lord, Jesus Christ, had described the way into the Kingdom very clearly.
From the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, He had spoken as the Prophet
who the LORD your God [shall] raise up
unto you (Deuteronomy 18:15,18; Acts 3:22-26; 7:37). History
often repeats itself. There were true and faithful prophets in the Old
Testament but they were out-numbered by the false prophets. Christ, the
Saviour, Lord, Priest, Prophet and King, now spoke to everyone and to the
whole nation. He declared the whole truth concerning the only way to God.
What would their response and decision be? Would they enter through the
strait gate and persevere in the narrow way until the end or would they
allow themselves to be deceived by the false prophets and be lost forever?
As it was in the Old Testament, so it was at the time of Christ and so shall
it be till the end of time! The false prophets out-numbered the faithful
prophets and their influence was great and almost irresistible.
Beware of false prophets.
The false prophets of the Old Testament had easy access to the kings and
they wielded national influence. They spoke their lies with much confidence
and deceived many people. They never suffered persecution and were even
granted resources from kings and princes to propagate their error. The
widely accepted ministry of the false prophets encouraged multitudes
to continue on the broad way that leads to destruction.
THE HYPOCRISY OF FALSE PROPHETS
Matthew 7:15; Isaiah 9:13-16; Jeremiah 14:13-15; 23:30-32; Ezekiel 13:3-6;
Jeremiah 29:8,9; 28:1-16; Hosea 9:7-9; Micah 3:11,12.
Hypocrisy and deception were the common marks of the false prophets in
ancient times. The average man who saw the appearance of the false prophet
to be similar to that of the true prophet looked no farther and was easily
deceived. The false prophets wore sheeps clothing as if
they were true prophets of God and their followers did not know that
inwardly they [were] ravening wolves.
In the Old Testament, the hypocritical prophets used to
wear a rough garment to deceive (Zechariah 13:4).
Deception is always dangerous but it is most dangerous and damning when the
way to hell is mistaken for the way to heaven. The messages of the false
prophets were fatally deceptive. The prophets prophesy falsely. From
the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. The prophets
prophesy lies in My Name. The prophets walk in lies. Let not your prophets
deceive you, for they prophesy falsely unto you in My Name
(Jeremiah 5:31; 6:13; 14:14; 23:14; 29:8,9). The effect of the deception and
hypocrisy of the false prophets was terrible and devastating on every
individual, and all the families in the whole nation for many centuries even
until this generation. The false prophets walked after things that do
not profit (Jeremiah 2:8), they erred
and [were] out of the way (Isaiah 28:7), they
were light and treacherous and did
violence to the law (Zephaniah 3:4), they
corrupted all their doings (Zephaniah 3:7).
Because the false prophets [taught] lies
(Isaiah 9:15) and even taught rebellion against the Lord
(Jeremiah 28:16; 29:32), with their lies they strengthened
the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by
promising him life (Ezekiel 13:22). False prophets were a
major factor in the backsliding and apostasy of Gods covenant people in the
past. May the Hand that wrote on the wall of the kings palace write this
warning on our hearts: Beware of false prophets.
THE HEARTLESSNESS OF FALSE PROPHETS
Matthew 7:15; Jeremiah 4:9,10; 23:9-11; Lamentations 4:12-15; Jeremiah
27:15,16; 32:32-34; Ezekiel 22:25-27; Zechariah 13:2-5; 1 Kings
Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, the Teacher come
from God referred to the false prophets as ravening
wolves. God, through His servants in the Old Testament had
also referred to those prophets, princes and leaders as wolves.
Her prophets in the midst thereof, like a ROARING LION ravening
the prey ... have DEVOURED SOULS. Her priests have VIOLATED MY LAW.
Her princes in the midst thereof are like WOLVES RAVENING the prey ...
to DESTROY SOULS, to get dishonest gain (Ezekiel 22:25-27).
Her princes within her are ROARING LIONS; her judges are
evening WOLVES. Her prophets are light and treacherous persons; her priests
have DONE VIOLENCE TO THE LAW (Zephaniah 3:3,4). Faithful prophets,
like the good Shepherd are committed to feeding Gods people with the truth
(Jeremiah 3:15). False prophets, like ravening wolves, only come to devour
and destroy, Beware of false prophets.
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