BIBLE READING: ISAIAH 8:18-20; DEUTERONOMY 13:1-5; JEREMIAH 23:25-33; MATTHEW 24:11-13; 1JOHN 4:1-3
“Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a Word from the Master. On the other hand, don’t be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.” 1Thessalonians 5:19-22 (MSG).
One of the most dangerous things about these End Times is the rise of the spirit of deception amongst a large number of Christians. When some of the Apostles questioned the Lord Jesus about the Signs of the Last Days, the very first warning He gave had to do with this critical issue: “And Jesus, answering them, began to say, “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My Name, saying ‘I am He’ and will deceive many” (Mk.13:5-6 NKJV).
The Lord’s Divine Alarm resonates throughout the Body of Christ today due to the rapid spread like cancer of false prophets. One of the major reasons some of these agents of satan parading themselves as prophets appear successful is because many believers are gullible and deficient in knowledge (see Hos.4:6).
You see, the devil’s primary source of power is not his capacity to terrify his victims, but his ability to deceive those who lack a Proper Foundation in Christ. No wonder his representatives the false prophets masquerade themselves as angels of light and ministers of righteousness (see 2Cor.11:13-15).
There are two major types of false prophets:
1.) Those who started out well as genuine prophets but fell along the wayside: Such ministers were originally the Mouthpiece of God, speaking as His Oracle (1Pet. 4:11) but gave room to familiar spirits and the spirit of divination due to various pressures including fame, money, the quest for rapid Church growth, etc.
2.) Those who went into a covenant with the devil for supernatural power: Such ministers sold their souls to satan ab initio in order to obtain a demonic prophetic anointing.
Mature believers have learnt to not only believe a fraction of what they hear but also know which fraction to believe (see 1Cor. 2:9-16). There are basic ways to distinguish genuine prophets from false prophets:
a.) Genuine prophets speak in line with God’s Word: True prophets know that the highest realm of prophecy is the Prophecy of the Scriptures (see Rev. 19:10).
b.) Genuine prophets are broken men: The encounters they’ve had with God have birthed humility within them (see Num.12:3).
c.) Genuine prophets are preachers of righteousness: They reflect the Values and Character of God and have nothing to do with iniquity (see 2Tim. 2:19; 2Pet. 2:5).
d.) Genuine prophets are carriers of God’s Presence: This is a major difference because even false prophets are anointed which reinforces their deception (see Jer. 23:18-24). Manifestations of power aren’t signs of Divine Approval but God’s Presence is.
e.) Genuine prophets have Divine Authority: The Name of the Lord i.e., Jesus, is the Signature of the Godhead (see Matt. 28:19). In other words, the prophet who prophesies in the Name of Jesus has the Full Backing of Heaven (see Deut. 18:20-22).
The Lord Jesus sounded this warning to the Church while concluding His Timeless Sermon on the Mount: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.Therefore by their fruits you will know them” (Matt. 7:15-20 NKJV).
Heavenly Father, we thank You for the privilege of serving You. O Lord, please grant us the grace to prove all things and discern false prophets in order to avoid deception.