Beware of false prophets – Part 1
Wherever there is danger in view, a warning becomes imperative. To fail to do so, is not only an act of negligence, but makes you culpable for the avoidable misfortune of those under your watch. The Lord had commissioned Ezekiel to give warning to the children of Israel. Ezekiel’s responsibility as a watchman was to sound the warning to them of the impending danger in order to avert their destruction. The people had a responsibility to take heed to 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 watching over the people.
In the New Testament, Lord Jesus Christ expressed similar concern for His disciples because of His love. He was concerned about showing them the way to heaven. He revealed that the way to heaven was narrow and urged them to make the effort necessary 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, the way of holiness and obedience to the Lord.
The unfortunate reality, is that, only very few people find the narrow way, take that way and continue in it until they get to heaven. The reason many do not take the narrow way is because the Broadway is very easy and convenient for the natural man and for the flesh. Also, many people are being deceived into the Broadway 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 may know of the danger ahead. That is the reason Jesus said: “Beware of false prophets.” He brought this warning to His own disciples to prevent the few that have found the narrow way from being side-tracked from it and drawn to the Broadway. The same warning, Christ gave at that 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 take heed to 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, savages 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 gone apostate. 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,” 2Peter 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 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 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.