Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Matthew 7:15
There are many false prophets throughout the Bible, but even today, people continue to be deceived by them. So, who are these "false prophets"? What do they do? And how can we discern them?
What Do False Prophets Do?
1. Give False Prophecies
As the Lord says in Jeremiah 23:21, "I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied." These prophets are not anointed by God and have not heard from God. They prophesy from an evil spirit, steal the words from other people, or make up their own "prophecies".
..... they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err. Jeremiah 23:13
..... I am against the prophets, says the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. Jeremiah 23:30
..... they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. Jeremiah 23:16
Why do they do so? They mostly do this to support evildoers who are in power, or to build themselves up as "prophets" so they can reap benefits from their followers. This is rather common among many "influencers" nowadays.
..... they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none does return from his wickedness ..... Jeremiah 23:14
2. Commit Adultery
It seems like these false prophets often commit adultery as well. The Lord even likened them to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, who were well known for their homosexuality and other perverted sexual practice.
3. Tell Lies to Lead People Away From God
Instead of leading people to turn to God as what a true prophet should do, these false prophets lie to them and cause them to turn away from God and to forget His name.
How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? ..... who try to make my people forget my name ..... as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. Jeremiah 23:26-27
False Prophets and Their Judgement
There are many stories about false prophets and their endings in the Bible. In order to avoid this blog from becoming too lengthy, I have saved this in my next blog - False Prophets and Their Judgement.
Can We Still Find Real Prophets Today?
Yes of course, but their appearance may be different from what people used to believe. Instead of famous Bible scholars or Church leaders, prophecies now may come from a child, a worker, or even a non-Christian as God desires. As it is written,
And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. Acts 2:17-18
How to Discern False Prophets?
First and most obvious, follow the prophecy and check its accuracy! If the Word is given by God, it must come to pass! If it does not come to pass, it is not from God!
Second, if the prophecy is about the future and you are not certain if the prophecy is real, ask the Lord directly! As a born again believer, everyone has access to the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ!
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
Third, compare "prophecies" with the Scriptures. Prophecies must align with God's Words! For example, if a prophet tells us that a wicked nation will prosper, we must be careful because we know God demands justice, and this kind of prophecies does not align with God's Words.
Lastly, we can also tell by experience. After hearing many prophecies from different prophets, I can sometimes tell immediately whether a "prophet" is real or not just by their words and gestures.
With experience, I am sure our readers can find their own way to discern false prophets. However, we must still be careful, as it is prophesied in the Bible that even the elect may be deceived.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matthew 24:24