Beware of false prophets
Whenever the Lord gives an assignment, He makes it very explicit, and leaves no room for personal or public opinion. He wants His work to be done His way. The Lord had commissioned Ezekiel to give warning to the children of Israel. Ezekiel’s responsibility as a watchman was to sound the alarm to Israel of impending danger, in order to avert their destruction. The people had the responsibility to heed the warning, lest they perished. Failure on either side spelt doom and destruction. The appointment of Ezekiel as a watchman by the Lord springs from His love for His people. The same love also motivated the watchman in issuing out warning to the people.
The Lord Jesus Christ expressed similar concern for His disciples because of His love. He was concerned about showing them the way to heaven. He said the way to heaven was narrow and urged them to make the necessary effort to enter through the “strait gate”. Then, He gave the warning that “wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat”. On the other hand, the way to heaven is a strait, narrow way: the way of repentance and salvation; the way of the cross and self-denial and the way of holiness and obedience to the Lord.
The unfortunate reality, however, is that only very few people find the narrow way, take that way and continue on it until they get to heaven. The reason many do not take the narrow way is because the broad way is very easy, convenient and well suited for the natural tendencies of the flesh. Also, many people are being deceived into the broad way because it is the way of liberty and uncontrolled freedom, which eventually leads to destruction.
Hence, the Lord told Ezekiel to give them warning, to blow the trumpet loud and clear that the people might realise that there was danger ahead. It is also for this reason that Jesus warned that we must, “Beware of false prophets”. He brought this warning to His own disciples to prevent the few that had found the narrow way from being side-tracked to the broad way. The same warning He gave at the time, He still gives to us today by His Spirit through His Word.
Looking at the activities of the end of the age, the nearness of the coming of the Lord and the happenings in the world, the Lord is giving this warning, so that believers will not be carried away by the wind of liberty, ease and convenience blowing all around them. True disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ will earnestly heed His warnings. Christ in His warning to His disciples gave a vivid description of false prophets. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15). Their outward appearance is a far cry from their inward disposition, motive and nature. They may look nice, gentle and meek outwardly, but inwardly, they are destructive, savage and ravenous wolves.
In contemporary times, there are false prophets, just as there were at the time of the prophets in the Old Testament and the apostles in the early church. Some of these false prophets were once in the faith, but now have become apostates. They are clever, cunning, subtle and, through the use of good words and fair speeches, communicate error. “Who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Peter 2:21).
False prophets deny the teaching and word of the Lord. They are not concerned about the Great Commission – bringing souls to the Lord, but speak “perverse things to draw away disciples after themselves”. Their primary concern is to take away those already in the fold. They will not go to sinners outside who have never been born-again. “And they that handle the law know me not”. There are false prophets who hold offices in churches, teach in Sunday schools, organise prayer and deliverance ministries and are prophesying to other people – yet they do not know the Lord. Many families have been destroyed through their prophecies. “For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed” (Isaiah 9:16).
Children of God are warned not to follow after people who teach erroneous doctrine and cause divisions and offences in the household of faith. “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Romans 16:17).
Further Reading (King James Version): Ezekiel 33:1-7; Matthew 7:13-15. Matthew 7:15-17; 2 Peter 2:1; Acts 20:29-31; Jeremiah 2:8; 50:6; Isaiah 9:16; Romans 16:17,18. Matthew 7:15; 24:24; 2 John 7-11; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 2 Corinthians 2:17; Ezekiel 13:22; Jeremiah 14:14; 23:16. Matthew 7:19,22,23; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Romans 1:24,28; Numbers 22:12,13,15-21.32,34,35; Numbers 23:10; 31:8,16.
No comments yet