WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 9, 2021
TOPIC: BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS!
BY T. O. BANSO
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15 King James Version).
2 Peter 1:21 says prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. This simply tells us that the source of every genuine prophecy is God and He gives it to whomever he chooses to use as His mouthpiece. In other words, anyone who speaks what God has not spoken to Him or shown Him is a false prophet, no matter how authoritative he speaks or how much he dramatizes his prophecy.
Perhaps, there is no ministry that has continued to cause much disquiet in the body of Christ all over the world as much as that of the ministry of the prophet. This is so because of the activities of those who present themselves as prophets and declare words purportedly from the Lord, but which fail to come to pass. That is, the time the prophecies were supposed to be fulfilled had come and gone.
Whether it has to do with personal prophecies or national prophecies, prophecies about election results and so on, the conducts of some prophets of today appear to be generating much controversy. Their prophecies sometimes contradict one another, thus making critics and even some believers wonder how confused these prophets are.
As explained in Smith’s Bible Dictionary, “The ordinary Hebrew word for prophet is nabi, derived from a verb signifying ‘to bubble forth’ like a fountain; hence the word means one who announces or pours forth the declarations of God.” According to Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary, prophets were the immediate organs of God for the communication of His mind and will to men (Deuteronomy. 18:18, 19).
The dictionary states, “The whole Word of God may in this general sense be spoken of as prophetic, inasmuch as it was written by men who received the revelation they communicated from God, no matter what its nature might be.” Whereas many people always view making prediction or fore-telling as the main function of a prophet, Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary submits that foretelling of future events was not a necessary but only an incidental part of the prophetic office.
It avers, “The great task assigned to the prophets whom God raised up among the people was ‘to correct moral and religious abuses, to proclaim the great moral and religious truths which are connected with the character of God, and which lie at the foundation of his government.’” It also notes that anyone being a spokesman for God to man might thus be called a prophet.
The prophet is one of the ministry gifts God gave to the church in Ephesians 4:11. Others are apostles, evangelists, and pastors and teachers. But it may not be wrong to say that the ministers that many people, including believers and non-believers, run after the most today are prophets. Unfortunately, many of these people go about complaining when they become victims of the activities of some of these prophets. No doubt, there are genuine prophets of God.
The Bible encourages every Christian to prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:1-5, 39). But there are two dimensions to prophesying: speaking forth the revealed or written word of God and foretelling. Speaking forth the Word of God is appropriating, proclaiming and confessing the promises and truths that God has already pronounced in His Word as one is inspired by the Holy Spirit.
As we have seen earlier, the whole Word of God may in a general sense be spoken of as prophetic. Every Christian can speak forth the Word of God or prophesy. “You will also declare a thing, and it will be established for you; so light will shine on your ways” (Job 22:28 New King James Version). 1 Corinthians 14:3 says he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. This is the goal of prophesying in the New Testament.
However, making predictions of a future event as inspired by the Holy Spirit is not something that every Christian or minister can do except God through the Holy Spirit gives one the revelation. This is where some ministers miss it or delude themselves. They become false prophets when they make predictions that never come to pass. God didn’t send them so He cannot back up their words. We have such false prophets in the Old Testament (1 Kings 22:6-2 Kings 3:13; Micah 3:5; Zechariah 13:2-5).
Some of the false prophets today even seek powers other than the power of God to be able to see beyond what the natural eyes can see. They use demonic power for divination pretending to be prophets of God. Their goal is fame and money. They might be able to see what is wrong with people but they can’t provide the solution. They achieve their goal but their followers’ lives remain miserable. Many of their followers eventually leave them in frustration after years of worshipping in their centres.
Genuine prophecy is not the product of a man’s cleverness; it is the work of the Holy Spirit. False prophets are moved by greed and love of money. Beware of them! The best they could do is excite their audience; they have no solution to their problems.
They are not sent by God. They are merely creative and bold people with no fear of God. They are exploiting the problems of people to enrich themselves. Jesus warns, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15 King James Version).
Beware of false prophets who, mostly, are smooth-tongued. This is not a new phenomenon. God told Prophet Jeremiah: “I stand against these prophets who get their messages from each other — these smooth-tongued prophets who say, ‘This prophecy is from the LORD!’ Their imaginary dreams are flagrant lies that lead my people into sin. I did not send or appoint them, and they have no message at all for my people” (Jeremiah 23:30-32 New Living Translation).
God has always been against the false prophets because they pretend to be speaking for Him and misleading the people, many times, giving them false hope. He said in the Old Testament that the prophet who presumed to speak a word in His name, which He had not commanded him to speak, or who spoke in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die (Deuteronomy 18:20). God has never condoned false prophecies. In Ezekiel 13:2-3, 17-18, God told Prophet Ezekiel to prophesy against the false prophets and the women in Israel who prophesied out of their own heart but had seen nothing. He called them foolish prophets (verse 3). Don’t follow foolish prophets!
If you are a genuine minister of God, don’t come under the pressure of people to begin to give prophecies or make predictions about the future just to keep your congregation or draw a crowd to yourself. If you do, how do you bring to fulfilment what you have predicted? You’ll either own up that you lied or tell another lie to sustain your previous lie! You could lie that the people didn’t have faith! Or you could lie that God changed His mind! As said by French Protestant minister, Jacques Abbadie, “One can fool some men, or fool all men in some places and times, but one cannot fool all men in all places and ages.” You are a false prophet. Deuteronomy 18:22 says, “When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him” (New King James Version).
Beware of false prophets! Don’t follow false prophets. Jesus says you’ll know the false prophets by their fruits (Matthew 7:16a). Deception by those who would claim to be the prophets of God is one of the signs of the end time. Jesus says they will deceive many (Matthew 24:11). “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand” (Matthew 24:24-25 New King James Version). Mark 13:22-23 records the same thing.
Prophecy is a “miracle of knowledge, a declaration or description or representation of something future, beyond the power of human sagacity to foresee, discern, or conjecture” (Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary). No minister can give a genuine prophecy except by the Spirit of God. Although the Bible says we must not despise prophecies, it also adds that we should test all things and hold fast what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21). Every prophecy must agree with the Word of God and be confirmed by the Holy Spirit.
The apostle John adds his voice by warning: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1 New King James Version). Did you see that? Many false prophets have gone out into the world. Beware of false prophets!
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: With the help of the Holy Spirit, I shall not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God. I shall not despise prophecies but I shall test all things and hold fast what is good. I shall not run after prophecies and prophets; I shall stay with the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. I shall not be a victim of false prophets and prophecies in Jesus’ name.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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