Don’t Listen to False Teachers

Deuteronomy 13

Jerry A Collins




v        Why are false teachers so false?

v        How should we handle temptation to believe false?

v        What does a believing group do about false teachers?


Grima Wormtongue was the chief counselor of King Theoden of Rohan in the Lord of the Rings. He was a sweetalker who mastered the art or rhetoric—extremely good at persuading people. A proficient liar, Grima, acting in favor of Saruman the White, his master, made the king of Rohan practically an invalid on his throne. Therefore, it was Grima who ruled the kingdom in reality. So, through Grima’s cunning and evil influence via his speeches to the king, Rohan was restricted in it’s alliance with Gondor, a neighboring territory, who needed Rohan’s help from extinction by the armies of Sauron the embodiment of evil from Mordor! Grima’s tricks and sorcery had paralyzed Theoden until Gandalf the white broke His spell over the king. Theoden’s eyes were opened the spell broken he eventually rounded up his army and came to the aid of Gondor at the moment of their greatest peril. Grima illustrates for us the dangerous influence false prophets can have upon us. Moses alerts the Israelites to this potential peril among themselves. How might we be tempted to pursue a cult, New Age seminars, trinkets, books, retreats, to attend, to read, to carry? How many psychics have we watched on TV, or became curious enough to investigate, call or visit? God makes it very clear that this kind of curiosity, investigation, pursuit, is unacceptable and intolerable.


God tests us with false teachers 1-3 It is possible for false teachers to arise ‘among us’ vs 1. Each of these three warnings are of false teachers arising from within our own ranks. Miraculous signs alone were never meant to be a test of truth. Miracles can happen in many religions because Satan uses these false religions and teaching to deceive people (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor 11:13-15). The dreams, signs and wonders are the medium which false prophet uses to gain credibility of some type of higher mission. God wanted Israel to know that these wonders were not effected by Him. The motivation is to get you to accept validity of the other gods or ideas of God they have vs 2. Whenever there is a solicitation to believe something other than what God has commanded, it is a test of our devotion and loyalty to the Lord vs 3. God permitted false prophets to rise up with these signs to try Israel’s devotion to God. Will they faithfully maintain their love for the Lord? How is this a test?

The test reveals whether submission to God’s Word 4-5 The standard for truth is never a miraculous sign or wonder—the standard is the Word of God. A false prophets visions may come true but if his message contradicted, added to or took away from God’s commands, trust in the Word not the miracle. Human experience bows to the Word not other way around. The Word they already received, they were to preserve and hold fast to while in the land. As for that false prophet, vs 5, he must be executed because he encourages rebellion against the Lord. This was the way to purge the evil and its deception and influence from the people, their families, and their children. God had Job tested; Paul says to examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith 2 Cor 13:5; Peter says we face various trials to prove our faith; Jesus told Peter that Satan has asked to sift him like wheat. God may test us with influence of false teaching to strengthen our faith and pursuit of the truth.


Intimate relas may tempt you to serve false gods 6-8 This temptation to give validity to these gods—ones which did not exist nor had given any aid at all—vs 7—can come from even the most intimate relationships. This is the most tragic and painful situation. A loved one, your very own, your closest friend—one ‘you cherish’ and ‘as your own soul’. Unlike previous case of false prophets openly seducing, here the temptation is offered secretly and individually. The power of love and relationship which flesh and blood find hard to resist can be especially persuasive. The temptation can be coercive (1) because of the nature of the closeness of the relationships (2) because of the popularity and peculiar charm and novelty of the gods all around them vs 7. But in contrast, there is a supposed higher and divine relationship that governs vs 8. So if someone tells you to go worship some other god they have devised because there is an advantage to that—we should: (1) not yield to him, (2) not listen to him, (3) not pity him, (4) not spare him, (5) not conceal it vs 8. Instead kill one who wants you to worship idols 9-11 God’s commands were to rule over feelings. Once exposed,, they were to be stoned to death vs 10. They must not be persuaded by these nor must these tempters be concealed or spared. The 1st stone cast by accuser testifying to truth of allegations and then whole community showing allegiance to the Lord and resolve to eradicate false influences among them. The result is a message and fear vs 11 demanding extraordinary relationship superseding all others to the Lord who had shown extraordinary grace to the nation vs 10b. Jesus may have had same passage in mind when demanding commitment of His followers in the same relational way Matt 10:34-39.


Majority led away to idolatry 12-13 Certain wicked men may lead a majority—here a city in Israel—astray to serve other gods. This again was something done ‘among them’ in one of the towns the Lord is giving them. This would be especially dangerous because of potential to undermine devotion to God and erode it with greater influence. So decisive action taken!

Drastic punishment 15-18 First, they must investigate thoroughly vs 14. Since the punishment is so drastic, before any action taken, the truth of the report must be confirmed ‘among them’ 14. (2) Once confirmed then complete destruction like Canaanite city 15-16 (utterly destroy, gather booty, burn the city, a ruin forever, never rebuilt). (3) Only way to guarantee further mercy and compassion and increase on Israel vs 17. A moral cleansing brings spiritual renewal and God’s continued favor. He promised this by oath. Nothing whatever was to remain of this influence hanging on in any way. This would avert God’s wrath on the nation as they took initiative to listen, keep what  right in God’s eyes 18. For most part Israel failed to apply these commands and cities became cesspools of idolatry resulting in the Northern and Southern Kingdoms exile.

(1) If someone claims to be a teacher or prophet from God, the test is not if something comes true. A true prophet teaches what is consistent with the Word of God.    (2) If some close friend or relative or even spouse tells you to read your horoscope, carry crystals, attend spiritist meeting, practice eastern martial arts—all mystical beliefs separated from God—forcefully tell them how wrong it is and if they do not stop withdraw fellowship and relationship.   (3) If someone convinces majority of xian group to teach yoga, partner with Catholics, Muslims for unity, withdraw yourself from that group.   (4) God judges false teachers in the world, we must judge them among ourselves mentioned 4 times in the chapter. So we must make judgments.   (5) Since God tests our devotion to Him with presence of false prophets do not be convinced to follow just because they use God rods like ‘Jesus’ ‘gospel’ ‘Holy Spirit’. Ask Jesus who? Gospel what? HS how?