FIVE EFFECTS OF FALSE PROPHECY
By Will Graham
So, the world did not come to an end last month. I cannot say that I am all that surprised.
If the truth be told, I do not recall the amount of times I have survived the apocalypse over the past few years. From Harold Camping to Maya-mania to the recent constellation conspiracy theorists, the end is not yet here. But did not Jesus already promise us that, “of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36).
Christ, our chief cornerstone, states that no one will know the time of the Second Coming. That means that if someone claims to have identified the moment Jesus will return by means of special revelation or mathematical deduction, he is lying. The clear teaching of Christ must take precedence over and against all other voices.
False prophecy is a terrible curse. Today I want to look at five dreadful effects that it has upon the church and beyond. May the Lord of all truth keep us safe from false ministers!
1. False Prophecy Angers God
First and foremost, false prophecy is an affront to God Almighty. The Omnipotent One detests lies spoken in His precious name. After all, it is a clear violation of the third commandment when we baptize lies and falsehood appealing to the name of God.
The Lord said in no uncertain terms in the days of Jeremiah, “Behold, I am against them that prophesy dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them” (Jeremiah 23:32). God’s holy anger is ignited when false prophets make known their vain ideas. The big problem in Jeremiah’s day, of course, was that such pretenders preached using the name of the Lord. It is no small business to play about with the Lord. Such evil led the to Lord to declare that the false ministers had provoked him to anger (Jeremiah 32:32).
False prophets should be wary. They are not merely messing about with the devil or some grand socio-political figure; they are opposing the Most High God. Surely false prophets should spend less time trumpeting and more time trembling!
2. False Prophecy Misleads Believers
Since the false prophet abuses the name of the Lord, he misleads and confuses God’s beloved people. Back in the days of old brother Moses, God made it very plain that the predictions of some false prophets could indeed come to pass (Deuteronomy 13:2), but the underlying motive in their preaching was to mislead the people into following other gods.
Whether they know it or not, false prophets are instruments in the hands of Satan to wreak havoc in the midst of the Lord’s holy congregation. When a prophet declares that the world is going to end on a given date of the calendar, we know very well what Jesus Christ has spoken about such a matter. The preacher, therefore, is questioning the authority of the glorious Son of God.
In the wilderness they had a sure-fire way of getting rid of false dreamers: capital punishment. Maybe it would be a good idea to bring that practice back in our days? It would sure cleanse many of our Evangelical pulpits! How about a Bring Back Stones evangelistic campaign? Count me in!
3. False Prophecy Offers False Hope to Believers
Not only does false prophecy mislead believers into forsaking the authority of Christ over their lives, it also offers them a false hope which distorts the image of faithful biblical God. When a false prophet preaches in the name of the Lord and his words do not come to pass, many new converts may start to mistrust the Lord because the prophecy was not fulfilled.
This is the reason why mature believers – well versed in Scripture – need to be sharing these biblical principles with others so as to prepare them for the day of testing. We all know how naïve we can be as new believers. We believe almost anything that our leaders teach us. Sad as it is to say, I have heard testimonies of how such folk have willingly sold their houses, their cars, and given up their jobs, because their church told them that the world was going to end. And all to no avail!
Hope deferred, teaches Proverbs, makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12). False hope can produce spiritual depression and weaken one’s faith. False prophets, then, not only do a terrible disservice to themselves but also to the people of God!
4. False Prophets Hardens Unbelievers
True believers, though they have bouts with deferred hope, spiritual depression and a feeble faith, will ultimately come through in the end thanks to the unending grace of God. Nevertheless, there is another group in the local church that is also affected by false, prophesy, namely, the unbelievers.
The bad news is that false prophesy serves to harden the ungodly in their unbelief. It gives them a clear excuse to not pay any more attention to the blessed Word of God. When they see that false predications fail to materialize, their depraved hearts dismiss the counsel of the Lord. They fail to discern between man’s word and the Word of the Lord and thus their wicked hearts grow progressively colder and harder.
Televangelist money-scandals, claims of false healing, sexually-immoral praise leaders and outright false prophets add fuel to the unbeliever’s fire. As it is written: “For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you” (Romans 2:24). “If this is what true religion is all about,” they reason, “I want nothing whatsoever to do with it!” And they would be right to argue thus. However, the sad part is when they lump all of this falsehood into the same bundle with the genuine and hence depart from the living God.
5. False Prophets Turns Unbelievers into Scoffers
Finally, false prophesy leads the ungodly to make it increasingly hard for God’s people to speak forth the Word of God. Hardened unbelievers grow all the time more aggressive towards the living truth of the Lord and often turn into open scoffers, mocking and deriding those true servants of the Almighty.
As well as rejecting the light of the Word in their own lives, such impenitent souls seek to expel any manifestation of divine grace in anyone else. When they confront God’s spokesmen, they almost inevitably appeal to unfulfilled false prophecies in order to shame the Lord’s servants into silence. False prophecy, then, becomes a powerful tool in the arsenal of God’s merciless enemies.
Scoffers will come, as it is written (2 Peter 3:3), nevertheless, we should make sure that no one in our local churches is fabricating arms for the Satan’s militia.
It should be apparent to all that false prophecy is the plague of plagues. As we have seen, it angers God, misleads believers, offers them false hope and furthermore, it both hardens the ungodly and turns them into scoffers.
Remember those five unhappy truths the next time you feel tempted to listen to someone who tells you they know what date the Lord is coming back!
‘Til He comes.