KNOWING GOD IN HIS GLORY
What do you do with False Prophets?
Jerry A Collins
P What makes a false prophets false?
P What is that false prophets teach?
P What can a false prophets expect from God?
Throughout history the greatest threat to Gods truth and Gods work has been false prophets and teachers and the reason is because they say they speak in Godís name. What makes that difficult is that many Christians are biblically illiterate so the message of false prophets, usually filled with some truth added to error, is not discernable. For some reason, Christianity is often hesitant to confront false teachers with the same seriousness and severity of Jesus and the apostles. Jesus, Paul, Peter, John and Jude all warned of false teachers. The further Godís people move away from the foundation of Godís Word, the more false teachers and teaching flourish. Scripture is clear that as the coming of Christ hears, counterfeits of the gospel and of Godís Word will increase tremendously and have large followings and immense influence. What is that makes a false teacher false? Ezekiel tells us in Chp 13.
1. FALSE TEACHERS ARE FALSE BECAUSE OF THE SOURCE OF THEIR MESSAGE 1-5
Ezekiel addresses to groups of people namely, false prophets in vs 2 and false prophetesses in vs 17. In both cases they were false. False in the sense that they did not speak for God, on behalf of God or Godís Word. In both cases he tells us they prophesy from their own imagination including their own inspiration, culture or circumstances. They are bringing their own counsel but not the counsel of God. Ezekiel is told to prophesy against them the true Word of God.
Much of discipleship (intentionally impacting the life of some other person in the direction of Christlikeness) is teaching against the false teachers in the church and by this showing your disciples discernment! In this way we can prophesy against false teaching today. Erwin Lutzer was asked, what do you see as the greatest need for the church and he said the need for discernment. We need it because false teaching can sound so appealing we lack it because we do not know Godís Word. So the source of their message is not from God but from their own spirit concocting lies. So the truth is they have seen nothing vs 3. Their teaching is also dangerous vs 4. Just as foxes consider ruins to be perfectly acceptable Ďhomeí so also false teachers were able to flourish in a crumbling society like Israelís on the verge of destruction and people wanting hope and help and hope of some kind. So these false ones vs 5, while Israels moral walls are collapsing did nothing to prevent it. The word breaches refers to the gaps between the truth of God and the sins of the people. That breach remained as a result of these false teachers teaching.
We are not called to make people feel good about their sin. The only truly compassionate message is the message of confession and repentance before God. Without that message given and received people only have condemnation and judgment left. And so we have it.
2. FALSE TEACHERS ARE FALSE BECAUSE OF THEIR CLAIM 6-13
(1) They claimed to represent God vs 6-7, but He did not claim them as we shall see. God claims it is not I who have spoken vs 7. (a) So we need to beware of people who tell us God is healing believers today as part of our salvation promises. It is not heaven yet. (b) Beware of those prophesying spiritual revival all over the world today. Jesus told us when He returns the days will be like the days of Noah where everyone was every intent of the thoughts of mans heart was only evil continually. (c) Preachers who teach a victorious and prosperous Christian living. The Bible condemns the very luxurious living they say Jesus wants us to have. These teachers do not represent God because they do not represent His Word. God says he is against them and they will be excluded and excommunicated from Him and in this case die as captives in a foreign land. (2) They claimed Peace when there is no peace vs 10. What false things have false prophets said and what do they usually say? The answer is in the illustration Ezekiel uses about their message only being like whitewashed† plaster† used to hide†† cracks and deficiencies in the moral and spiritual foundation of the nation. They were compounding the consequences by hiding the sin problem that needed to be exposed. So false teachers whitewash and stand against sin by saying things like (a) we have to help these hurting people and the help does not include dealing with a personís sin against God or (b) we have to remove the sin from the sinner but sin is not an entity unto itself it is done by sinners and God hates both or (c) the Bible was written to a different culture so its OK to divorce for certain reasons, to be homosexual, to cheat in business, to get into debt, to have women have spiritual authority and leadership over men or (d) we can all be sure of heaven no matter who the god is you believe in but Jesus said I am the way to the Father and there is no other. So God says that he will personally break down that flimsy wall and it would collapse. The coming judgment will expose the lies and deception of these false prophets when the people discover there was none vs 12. Unfortunately, they will experience the consequences of the deception because they did not bother to verify their message with Godís Word or prophet. They just wanted to simply ignore His message and when someone stepped forward to say what they wanted to hear, their fears were set aside and they believed a lie.
3. FALSE PROPHETS ARE FALSE BECAUSE THEY MAKE A LIVING OFF OF THE FEARS OF PEOPLE
In 18-19 Ezekiel refers to prophetesses who were mediums and sorceresses sewing magic charms on all their wrists and made long veils like drapes covering their bodies. These good luck charms supposedly had magical powers. The purpose was to ensnare people, to hunt some down and preserve some for themselves. Especially in times of uncertainty and turmoil, frauds and charlatans seem to prey on the fears of the gullible. By means of their occult practices they were weighing peoples lives in the balance all for their own control and power over the people. It was all a hoax and God say they were really lying to the people vs 19. Like all false prophets God will fight against them and expose them thru judgment 13-16; 20-23. So false teachers make the determination as to the truth based on how it benefits them. Those ignorant of Gods Word and gullible thru their own fears will become easy prey. The only remedy for sin: preserve his life by repentance vs 22!