Beware of False Prophets: Identifying False Prophets in the Modern Day Church.
The Bible warns of false prophets in several passages:
- Matthew 7:15-20 (NIV) - "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."
- 2 Peter 2:1-3 (NIV) - "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping."
- 1 John 4:1 (NIV) - "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."
- Examine their teachings: Compare the messages of suspected false prophets with the teachings of the Bible. If their teachings contradict or twist the Scripture, they may be false prophets (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
- Evaluate their character: False prophets may exhibit immoral or unethical behavior, contrary to the principles of Christianity (Galatians 5:22-23). Look for patterns of dishonesty, manipulation, or exploitation.
- Inspect their fruits: Jesus taught that we would recognize false prophets by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20). Evaluate their impact on the lives of their followers and the church community. If their actions bring division, strife, or confusion, they may be false prophets. God is not a god of chaos; he is a god of order and love. If it's not in love, it's not of God.
- Test their prophecies: If someone claims to be a prophet, examine the accuracy of their prophecies (Deuteronomy 18:21-22). A true prophet will have a consistent record of accurate prophecies, whereas a false prophet will not. In other words, if they aren't batting a thousand (100% accurate) they are not a true prophet.
- Assess their motives: False prophets may be motivated by greed, power, or fame (2 Peter 2:1-3). Be cautious of those who seek personal gain or attention through their ministry.
To protect yourself from false prophets, it is essential to cultivate a strong relationship with God, study the Bible, and maintain a discerning spirit. Seek guidance from trusted spiritual leaders and remain vigilant in your faith. Remember the wolf is a devourer masquerading as another of the sheep. He is not a Shepard. Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd, and the sheep are not his own. When he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf pounces on them and scatters the flock. The man runs away because he is a hired servant and is unconcerned for the sheep." (John:10:11-13 BSB)
Good article. Often times, there may not be the luxury of time to check fruit, examine motive, etc. The only check is, The Word, time & peace. We all are daily walking our calling, as we're growing up. If you're truly called. You're willing to lay yourself/rep on the altar in rev fear. If you're wrong, God will correct you SWIFTLY and often harshly. Handling The Word is serious. Young prophets/teachers mistep as we all have, and we pay. .Best thing people can do is pour themselves into the Word. if a word is from God, it will land w/o emotion but peace. Let the peace of God guide your heart. Don't be foolish, test the spirit and get your nose in the Word to test teachers, ask questions. Remember, the 1st false prophet was Satan in the church of Eden. Start there.