When asked about the last days by his disciples, Jesus said that many things would occur during this time, and among these, he said, “Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many” (Matt. 24:11). False prophets are one major reason Jesus warned several times that we should be sure and not be deceived in these last days. Collectively, deceitful modern-day prophets ultimately play a significant role in end-times apostasy and the great “falling away” described by the Apostle Paul (2 Thess 2:3). Thus, it makes sense that we should be wise and understand key characteristics of these anti-Christ system players and supporters.
As background, put simply, and generally speaking, a (true) prophet is one whom God uses to communicate his message to the people and the peoples’ leaders; in other words, a spokesperson. In 2 Peter 1:21, Peter says, “For prophecy never came by the will of man but holy men of God spoke as they were carried along by the holy spirit.” Earlier in the same passage, Peter likens God’s “sure word of prophecy” as to a “light that shines in a dark place.” Genuine current-day prophets effectively and accurately share God’s word of truth.
Characteristics of false prophets
In addition to communicating God’s truth, a true prophet will also commonly correct moral and spiritual-based mis-truths communicated by others (ref: BibleGateway.com dictionary, “prophet”), including those shared by false prophets. For the most part, false prophets do the opposite of true prophets; that is, they lie and deceive. False prophets, just like God’s true representatives, may be found in any of a multitude of positions, but are especially found in positions of spiritual or religious leadership. Thus, they are typically easily visible, communicating publicly and openly to an audience who may- at least loosely speaking- trust or believe them to be God’s messengers.
We should be aware that false prophets prey on others who are: not anchored by sound doctrine; naive; lacking pure motives; and/possessing “itching ears”; desiring only good news and non-confrontational teaching; or, possessing a spiritual foundation that is built on something other than solid rock.
In Jeremiah’s day, so-called prophets in Judah did not properly foresee or communicate about coming destruction and captivity at the hands of the Babylonians. Instead, they communicated what the kings wanted to hear. In direct contrast, Jeremiah told the hard truth that he received directly from God. He was then held captive because his warning was unpopular and not good news. We see this dichotomous pattern elsewhere in scripture. God speaks to this pattern directly in scripture, which is highly applicable for the current end times in which we live:
- “An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?” (Jer 5:30-31)
In several places in scripture (i.e. Deut. 18:22, Jer. 28:9, etc.), we are told that the simple test for detecting whether a prophet is truly communicating a word from God is looking to see if the message that they speak comes true.
Motives of false prophets
So what specifically should we be aware of so that we are not deceived by these impostor prophets in the end times? Motives of modern-day false prophets may be impure due to any combination of the reasons below. Note first however, that many, if not all, of the following reasons for deception are merely a consequence of so-called God’s messengers in our society already serving, “sold out” to, and/or strongly deceived by, the controlling, anti-Christ Chaldean network (note: see my prior and future posts with more details about this secretive, underground worldwide organization). The following dark motives of false prophets addressed in scripture are largely a result of these “prophets” belonging to this secretive, occult-driven organization:
- Money– “Its heads give judgment for a bribe; its priests teach for a price; its prophets practice divination for money; yet they lean on the Lord and say, “Is not the Lord in the midst of us? No disaster shall come upon us.” (Micah 3:11)
- Control or enslavement– “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” (2 Peter 2:19)
- Pride/ego– “…They like to walk around in long robes, to receive greetings in the marketplaces, and to have the chief seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets.” (Jesus speaking of Pharisees) (Mark 12:38-39)
- Traditions and symbolism– “You neatly set aside the commandment of God to maintain your own tradition.” (Jesus speaking to Pharisees) (Mark 7:9)
- Lawless/sinful– “I have also seen the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doeth return from his wickedness; they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah. (part of prophecy passage for the last days) (Jer 23:14)
- Heretical/deceiving– “…they will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who brought them- bringing swift destruction on themselves…because of them the way of truth will be defamed.” (2 Pet. 2:1)
- False peacemakers– “Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who make my people stray; who chant ‘peace’ while they chew with their teeth, but prepare war against him who puts nothing in their mouths.” (Micah 3:5)
- Evil spirit– “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” (2 Cor 11:13-15)
All of the these motives of false prophets still exist in our current times. In fact, false prophets and their deceptive activities will only get worse as the end times get closer. Though their actions will likely become more and more obvious, they will still have power to deceive “even the elect (if it were possible)” in the Tribulation period (Matt 24:24). In discussing the time of the great Tribulation, Jesus told us that false prophets will even perform great signs and wonders (Matt 24:24). There is no greater, obvious and simple example of this than the culmination of the false prophet himself, who will perform “great wonders,” and will openly endorse the worship of the Anti-Christ as God in the Tribulation period (Rev. 13:12-14).
In our last days, in some places of Christian worship, deception in the church may still be extremely subtle and not completely obvious and transparent. For anyone who may be looking for some practical ways to detect false church leaders, etc. in addition to the above signs, the following (below) are a few quick tests. These are a few very important, top-of-mind issues, but not an exhaustive list.
Do church leaders openly believe in and communicate fundamentals such as…
- Jesus Christ as the only Son of the one true God, and the only way to God himself? (“…every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. ..1 John 4:2-3) Do leaders and their church openly believe, communicate and strongly reinforce the fundamentals of Jesus’ virgin birth, crucifixion, resurrection, and final coming?)
- The commandments of Jesus? (along with their relation to obedience versus habitual sin)
- Prophetic events that will soon unfold? (i.e. events that we are already starting to see and hope for that the bible tells us will lead to the return of Jesus Christ) Given the current times in which we live, there is NO excuse for church leaders to avoid these.
- God’s judgment and the reality of hell? A prophet/leader who truly cares about the people will gently, but sternly, warn of the consequences of facing God’s time of wrath in the Tribulation; and even much more importantly, the perils of one’s soul being eternally separated from God.
In the current times, the stakes are very high due to heavy spiritual warfare. Eternal salvation of one’s soul is on the line. Even those who are saved in Christ still need good spiritual food and teaching that can only come from those with pure motives and pure hearts. To every extent possible, don’t waste time listening to those who deceive, mislead or represent obvious doctrinal errors in their ministry.
Grace and Peace,
Lion’s Lair (LL)