Five Marks of a False Prophet!

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Mathew 24:4,5.

Before our LORD left this world He warned his disciples of the danger and proliferation of false prophets. If His Apostles who were to be the stewards of the gospel of life, the twelve foundations of the everlasting Jerusalem ( Rev 21:14), were to take earnest heed to error, false and damnable doctrine, how much more ourselves!

Here are five marks by which you may know that these men whosoever they are proclaiming to speak for God are false prophets, teachers of lies, wolves in sheep’s clothing and false angels of light:

(Now if you are valiant for the truth, and wish to deal faithfully with your soul get your bibles out and learn something!)

(1) They always, always exalt themselves:

“For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to naught.” {obeyed: or, believed} “After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.” Acts 5:36,37.

Gamaliel may not have known what this new work was that God had begun in His apostles, but he had seen many come and go who pretended to be some GREAT ONE. And he knew that ultimately such persons; their group and ministry would come to naught.

Both Theodus and Judas were false prophets who exalted themselves. They ROSE UP, in a time when men and women ignorant of the word of God were most susceptible to their pernicious doctrines. Both of them were self proclaimed Messiahs, leaders of the blind, special prophets of God so-called.

The scripture warns of this self-exalted state as coming straight from hell itself. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” 2Thess 2:3,4.

The Apostle Paul warned the Church at Corinth as well of the false prophets that they had entertained, of the unhealthy consequences associated with their presence.

First he identified them for what they were: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” 2Corinthians 11:13-15.

Secondly he exposed their character and conduct:

“For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.” 2Corinthians 11:19,20. These are metaphorical words that convey the mental and psychological abuse that ignorant religious people often endure under such men. Many can bear record!

This conduct is rooted in the perdicious lust of Satan who has one aspiration; (To exalt himself) “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Isaiah 14:13,14. Thus was Theodus the equivalent meaning "of God" And Judas the equivalent meaning "Praise" of self.

Secondly false prophets flatter their auditors to gain their attention and devotion.

They tell their devotees that they are the enlightened ones. That they are privileged to know and understand and be associates with God's servant: That they are SPECIAL and UNIQUE.

“And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.” Daniel 11:32-34.

“And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.” Colossians 2:4.

“A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.” Proverbs 16:29.

This rhetoric is designed to gain the people’s confidence and to disarm their minds from critical thinking. They completely lose their objectivity. This tactic is clearly demonstrated in the garden of Eden account.

“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” Genesis 3:4-6.

“The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.” Proverbs 14:15.

Why does this flattery work?

Thirdly because fallen man is himself bent on self-exaltation.

It is enough for him to be better than just two other people in the world, that's all he needs. So that the adherents of these false prophets, by mere association feel a sense of superiority, a sense of worth and value. They need to be affirmed, and they'll go to a devil’s burning hell with him, as long as they're all right with him! This deficiency is obvious in the Acts account: 5 vs 36.

"TO WHOM a number of men, about four hundred, JOINED THEMSELVES".

The greek verb here is strong! It is used of a man being joined to His wife. Ephesians 5:31 “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”

The only other sense in which this term is acceptable in scripture, is for one to be joined to CHRIST ALONE. 1Corinthians 6:17 “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.”

Very interesting that in the Theodus account they join themselves unto Him, but in the Judas account they are drawn away. What this teaches us, is that men are both deceived by the subtle erroneous teachings of false prophets and made to cleave idolatrously to them without question, AND that they are led, voluntarily led, willingly led by their own lust for approval and affirmation into the wilderness of human opinion and darkness.

It is therefore essential that the false prophets INCLUDE HIS ADHERENTS in the exaltation. (You will become like God knowing good and evil).

Fourthly the False prophet twist the scripture to his own ends and glory!

“As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.  Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.” 2Peter 3:16,17.

“A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him? The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.” Ecclesiastes 10:14,15.

There is no end to all of the spurious lies that have been spawn by men throughout the centuries in the name of special revelation by means of taking the Word of GOD and twisting it to make a point! Consequently there is a loss of confidence in the clarity of scripture itself.

The fifth mark of the false prophet is destruction

This destruction may be manifest in various ways. Sometimes God is gracious to expose the false prophet by uncovering an immoral life style, which would betray an unfaithful spirit. The man like many in our present time will be shown to be himself in the bondage of sin knowing nothing of the mastery and majesty of Grace; but rather a psychopath. His hypocrisy will be overcome by his passion having forfeited his facade of righteousness. This generally will be enough to cause the ministry to wither and die. People will become aware of the scam and begin to defect especially those on the inside, close to the top, who have a more clear view of the inconsistencies of the man and the work. See Acts 5:37 (But don't hold your breath!).

I have seen people have everything including the kitchen sink thrown at them by way of providence (circumstances) and truth, and still in stupefying denial they refuse to acknowledge the error of their way. Why, because they don't know and love the TRUTH! They are slaves to the whims and opinions of men! “The fear of man bringeth a snare:” Proverbs 29:25.

Wondrously in our day we have seen, rather than a swift act of divine judgment to the destruction of false prophets, the men seem to die, and their work goes on. It even becomes successful (humanly speaking) and begins to take root in the earth and grow and spread, even worldwide. I.E. Jehovah Witnesses. Mormons, Church of Christ Science, Catholicism to name only a few. WHY? Because the seeds of heresy have been sown, and like weeds they cannot be permanently uprooted until the great Winnower Himself purges His field. See Mathew 13:41-43.

But because men are responsible for themselves and their own eternal destiny, but are too cowardly to stand for the truth against these false prophets, or to flee for fear of rejection, loving themselves and the approval of men more than God and His Truth their end is destruction. “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Revelation 21:6.

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2Thessalonians 2:11-12.

Having shared with you just five marks of the ways of false prophets. Let me now cast more light upon their darkness by demonstrating briefly from the Word of God what are the marks of the faithful preacher of the Gospel.

 True Gospel preachers

(1) Do not exalt themselves:

“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake”. 2Corinthians 4:5. This is not a matter of voice tone or constantly speaking of humility. The gospel preacher is in himself and to himself nothing.  See 1 Corinthians 3;7. As all objects of the free grace of God, the one huge lesson being constantly established in the soul is that CHRIST is ALL.

This is true for every genuine believer. He knows that he is but clay, an earthen vessel."In him dwelleth no good thing" But the minister of the gospel is doubly conscience of this fact; That he has been called to exalt the person and work of Christ Jesus the son of God. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30. This is no pious platitude. I have heard this coming from men who's sound was tinkling brass while they proceeded to espouse their experience and yet call attention to themselves.

But the gospel preacher has a message which is so large, that he has no room, nor time to get in the way! That message is CHRIST and Him crucified! It is the message of His Sovereignty over all things. See 1Corinthians 9:16. He is to preach Christ “constrained by Love” and warn men of the penalty of death for NOT “kissing the Son” being moved by the fear of GOD. The King has spoken.  See 2Corinthians 5;11-14.

Gospel preachers do not exalt themselves nor need they. It is enough that Christ is exalted. In the exaltation of Christ men are saved! “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32.

(2) No flattering message

“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:” 1Corinthians 2:4. The gospel preacher far from flattering the sinner and giving him a false sense of security, the sinner is debased and brought to naught by the declaration of his depravity. His absolute depravity. His total inability to save himself. Moreover his enmity to God and hostility to His law. See Rom 8:7,8, Eph 2;1-4, John 6:44, and Rom 3:10-18.

The gospel preacher knows that God the Holy Spirit must save the sinner from DEATH! That is the first work of the Spirit is to convince the hearer of SIN. Life from the dead is the glory of the gospel, and the preacher must start from there. Christ is the Savior of dead men!  See John 5;25, Ezekiel 37:1-10, and John 3:1-5.

Men and women through the faithful preaching of the plain text of scripture are shown by the gospel preacher and convinced by God of all the awful things they are and do which justly condemns them to the everlasting justice and wrath of GOD Almighty. See Rom 6;23,  Rom 1:19-32, and Rev 20:11-20.

The faithful gospel preacher is privileged to point men to Christ the Redeemer, Sacrifice and Savior of guilty and self-confessing sinners. By this Christ is exalted! See John15:5 and John 5:21. It is the one thing Christ came to do! See 1Timothy 1:15.

 (3) He does NOT twist God's Word but rather declares it!

“But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God” 2 Corinthians 4:2. The Duty of the preacher is to proclaim the gospel of Christ in the volume of the book, which is written of him! To be plain, clear and honest about the meaning of scripture. It is not his duty to be ambiguous, esoteric or even interesting, but FAITHFUL to the Word and message of scripture!  See Psalm 40:7,8 Luke 24:27, and Rev 19:10. Abiding in the doctrine of Christ. See 2John1:9.

He is to be PLAIN: “And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” Habakkuk 2:2. This glorious Truth is for the lost and saved, for the weak and strong, for the young and old Christ is sufficient for all men at al times.

(4) He is not out to manipulate the conscience of His hearers. The faithful preacher of Christ will preach the scriptures largely objective, leaving the hearer to deal with Christ. To approach Christ for grace and mercy in all His needs. To plead with God for understanding and obedience. For power and will to do His will. And God working through the preached word might be gracious to Him and illumine, convince and lead!

No subjective, deep experimental mind and heart games. The heart of man is deceitful ABOVE all things who can know it? As it was said by one Faithful preacher. "There are two steps to heaven. Out of self and into Christ". That's the goal of the preacher! “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” Col 1:28,29.

(5) Life is the result

Not all who hear the gospel will be saved. Not all who hear it will rejoice. Many will repel and be offended. But Bless God some who are chosen and called will hear, believe and obey, having been given life from God through Christ by the Gospel.

“For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:  To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?  For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:15-17.

Are you under the gospel? Or something else! Take heed how you hear!

Pastor Jesse Gistand
Grace Bible Church
San Leandro, CA 94572

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