Posted by: forfreedomalone | 08/11/2018

What is a false prophet, really?

There is quite a bit of discussion and confusion at this time among those who follow a certain man who is held up as a prophet. He recently prophecied that a certain event would take place and it did not; as a result of which the question is now being asked, “Is he a false prophet?”.
 
This is a good question to ask, but unfortunately, once again due to the dumbing down of English, many who are answering it are answering it wrongly. Let’s look at what the Bible says about prophets.
 
The Bible mentions 4 ‘types’ of prophet.
PROPHET. This person is a man, or woman, of God, who brings the word of God to His people regarding God’s wishes on a matter or His intended actions. This person is 100% correct, 100% of the time. This group include such people as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Deborah, Hosea, Amos et al.
 
EVIL PROPHET. This person speaks accurately; what they say God has said will happen, happens. However, this person is not a spokesperson for God at all, because their desire and intent is to turn people away from God to worship either themselves or other gods. This type is mentioned in Deuteronomy 13.
 
FALSE PROPHET. This prophet is only mentioned in four verses in the whole Bible, all in the New Testament and three of those verses are in Revelation. In Revelation the false prophet is not named; in Acts the false prophet mentioned there is called Barjesus or Elymas, which mean, “son of Jesus” and “wizard” respectively. In both Acts and Revelation it is quite clear, from the context, that the false prophet mentioned is intent on turning people away from God. This is not a person who is prophecying falsely, but who is evil in their intent. This is another term for an evil prophet. From the context, the fact that the writers were Jewish and instructions in Deuteronomy 13 we know that the false and evil prophets are one and the same type.
 
PRESUMPTUOUS PROPHET. This prophet is mentioned in Deuteronomy 18. He is described as one who speaks falsely; that is, speaking a word which God has NOT commanded him to speak. This prophet is presumptuous. The Hebrew word translated as ‘presumptuously’ is ‘zuwd’ and means, “be arrogant, be rebelliously proud, to be insolent, act proudly”. God goes on to explain just how you will know a presumptuous prophet in verses 21 and 22, ” And if you say in your heart, “How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?”. When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word DOES NOT COME TO PASS OR COME TRUE, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.” (capitals mine)
 
So we have three prophets who prophesy accurately, God’s prophet, the evil prophet and the false prophet ; although those two are really one and the same; and one prophet who prophesies falsely, what is, what he says does NOT come to pass, this is the presumptuous prophet.
 
There is no mention of a wrong prophet, or a prophet who made a mistake.
 
The evil prophet was to be stoned to death, but there is no judgement passed on the presumptuous prophet. His problem is pride and arrogance, he has spoken without God’s authority, but he has not tried to turn God’s people away from him, as the evil prophet has. His reputation is of one who can be ignored. God says, “You need not be afraid of him”; his words are just hot air coming from his pride and arrogance.
 
For those who so closely follow what passes today for prophecy the great concern is that they have been following what they are calling ‘a false prophet’, but what they really mean is ‘an evil prophet’. They have not. They have been following a proud and arrogant man.
 
So what should be done?
Those who have followed should be aware that they have not discerned the pride and arrogance evident in the words and behaviour of the one they follow. The one they are following should humble himself before God and his followers and repent of his arrogance and pride. God is a God of great mercy and compassion, he will resist the proud, but he will give grace to the humble. Every follower of Christ has need to humble himself before Christ and his fellow believer at some time or other, so setting ourselves above this person and condemning them for their foolishness and pride is foolishness and pride in itself. We will one day be in a similar position, having made a fool of ourselves from pride and in need of forgiveness and compassion.
 
The reason this is so important is because it is vital to recognise pride and arrogance in ourselves when they rear their ugly heads. Pride, the Scripture says, leads to destruction and that is not a place any of us wants to go. Constantly we are reminded of the need for humility in our walk with God and our fellow man. The very fact that we are constantly reminded of the need for humility, in and of itself, constantly reminds us that humility is not our natural state; in fact, pride is our natural state and it is what was responsible for the mess we are all in, in the first place.
 
A prophet who prophecise falsely, who speaks off his own bat, is one who is foolish; not evil; who is proud and arrogant; not deceitful. This person must see the state of their heart, repent and humble themselves. The rest of us must extend compassion and mercy to one who could so easily be any of us, given the chance.

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