The Bible does not tell us exactly how people become false prophets, but we have some clues. I suppose it happens in different ways for different people. Some are brought up in demonic religions such as Hinduism which worship fallen angels and the human beings they possess. Inevitably some will rise up with supernatural powers or charisma within these religions who will be hailed as gurus or godmen. In such cases it ought to be clear to a Christian what the source of power was.
Regardless of how many nice things are added to the mixture, the whole thing is poisoned. You cannot come to the True God through such religions. These “godmen” may dare to say they are Jesus, but they are liars. However, such false prophets are not the main danger to Christians. Its too easy for an informed Christian to see through it. It is the second kind of false prophet that I would like to give attention to.
I believe that a lot of false prophets have at one time been followers of the Most High God – our God, Yhwh. These are people who at one time turned to Jesus Christ, and even began to hear the voice of God and see God’s miraculous hand in their life. Now, I suggest to you that just because a person has experiences like this, it does not mean that Satan will not come to tempt that person in the future or seek to use/destroy such a person. On the contrary, attacks will grow in subtlety and deceptiveness. The people who succumb to such temptations and fail to repent do not lose their spiritual giftedness. “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. ” (Romans 11:29). They simply become channels for a mixture of spiritual of the things of God and the things of the devil. It is possible for good and evil things to come from the same vessel. (James 3:10). Do you realise that there is a lot of Bible truth proclaimed by false cults like the Jehovah’s Witnesses? It is the error that they mix with it that makes them “false prophets” or “false teachers”. Now, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have no spiritual giftedness, they deny such things. Yet, what if other people, very familiar with important Bible truth, and very spiritually gifted with things like prophecy and healing and visions, begin to compromise and sell out? What if they begin to value power, money, influence and any kind of spiritual experience above our Lord and His revealed warnings? Will God stop them from operating in spiritual power? Will God even refuse to heal people through the gifts and messages He had formerly ENTRUSTED to them. The scary answer is “No”. God WILL at times continue to allow people to operate effectively in faith for the gifts, even though their hearts have departed from the true God, and have rather embraced the teachings of various “angels of light” that seek to destroy them and the church.
If this was a danger in the early church where the twelve apostles of the Lamb were present, as well as Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles who was inspired to pen much of the New Testament, then HOW MUCH MORE IS IT A DANGER FOR US IN THESE LAST DAYS, WHICH JESUS SAID WOULD BE CHARACTERISED BY APOSTASY AND BIG MINISTRIES OF FALSE PROPHETS.
Hear what some of the apostles wrote:
2Co 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
2Co 11:4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!
Paul was concerned that others were coming and preaching another Jesus, and imparting a different spirit, and a different gospel, and that the Corinthians were really OPEN to it!
1Jo 2:18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.
Christ means “anointed one” and antichrist means “in the place of Christ”. Its a substitute for the true anointing. One backed by the god of this world – Satan – himself.
John was concerned that many people with a false anointing had gone out and were deceiving the people. In John’s day, the false teaching was that of gnosticism. However, as we should know, Satan has more than one arrow in his quiver.
I thoroughly recommend you read the Apostle Peter’s warning about false prophets in 2 Peter. Listen to how he begins
2Pe 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers AMONG YOU, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
Yes, folks and if it could happen that in Peter’s days the Christians had FALSE TEACHERS among them, it sure can happen in this day of apostasy, these perilous times in which we live.
An Old Testament Model of an Apostate Prophet
Interestingly enough there is a character in the Old Testament who seems to be a “type” of such false prophets today. His name is Balaam and you can read about him in Numbers 22-24. He is referred to in Numbers 31, Joshua 13:22, Nehemiah 13:2. Balaam is important enough to be mentioned both in the Old and New Testaments, and several chapters of the Bible are devoted to recounting his story.
Did Balaam truly hear from God? The Bible makes it clear that he did!
Num 22:9 Then God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?”
Num 22:10 So Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying,
Num 22:11 ‘Look, a people has come out of Egypt, and they cover the face of the earth. Come now, curse them for me; perhaps I shall be able to overpower them and drive them out.’ ”
Num 22:12 And God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”
Here God is speaking and telling Balaam NOT to curse the Israelites, nor go with Balak’s emissaries.
Balaam tells these guys he cannot do what they are asking. But look at what happens next!
Num 22:14 And the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak, and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”
Num 22:15 Then Balak again sent princes, more numerous and more honorable than they.
Num 22:16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: ‘Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me;
Num 22:17 for I will certainly honor you greatly, and I will do whatever you say to me. Therefore please come, curse this people for me.’ ”
The devil is raising his offer. More flattery, more pressure from important people, more offers of great riches. How does Balaam respond?
Num 22:18 Then Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more.
Num 22:19 Now therefore, please, you also stay here tonight, that I may know what more the LORD will say to me.”
Balaam knows he is dependent on God. He cannot be effective independently of God. But he really wants those riches. So what does he do? He is going to God to get a different answer!
Now here is the scary bit.
Num 22:20 And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you—that you shall do.”
It seems that God has changed his mind! Before God said, “Don’t go.” But now God is saying, “If they come to call you, rise and go with them!”. What is happening?
By going to God a second time, Balaam was actually placing his own interests above those of the people of God. Pastors, when you do this, you are ripe for a deception FROM GOD HIMSELF.
God tells Balaam to go. But God is angry with Balaam, and has an angel on the path to kill Balaam. God uses a donkey to rebuke Balaam, but by now God has actually given Balaam over to his idolatry and greed.
God is going to use Balaam here to bless Israel against his will. But God is not happy with Balaam at all.
Did God withdraw his gift of prophecy or spiritual sight from Balaam? NO! God used Balaam to bless the people of God. You can read in in the Bible story. But because Balaam was now IN IT FOR THE MONEY, Balaam was on the path to destruction.
The Bible teaches that Balaam was the one who helped the king of Midian to destroy the Israelites. Balaam taught him to get the women of Midian in amongst the men of Israel and lead them into sexual immorality. Then the curse would come upon Israel.
Rev 2:14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.
This is Jesus talking to one of the New Testament churches! The error of Balaam lived on in the New Testament. And it is living on today in the lives of all the men and women who once knew God in purity in truth, but subsequently sold out for money, influence, the praise of men and the love of the world.
How is Balaam referred to at his death? This is interesting.
Joshua 13:22 “The children of Israel also killed with the sword Balaam the son of Beor, the soothsayer, among those who were killed by them. ”
The word soothsayer in Hebrew is kawsam, and it means one who practices divination. The prophet, who was hearing from God, died as an occultist!
Therefore people, we are not to uncritically trust spiritual people who can testify as to how God has spoken to them, even if they can back it up with signs and wonders! If they have sold out for mammon and the honor of this world, they could end up as soothsayers – fortune tellers in God’s eyes. It is not that God has withdrawn the gifts of the Spirit from the church, or has ceased to operate miraculously in our days. It is simply that he has WARNED us to be very careful lest NO ONE deceive us. Please read Matthew 24 again, as well as Matthew 7:15-23.
I submit to you that deception is now running rampant in some charismatic circles, and what is worse, some “big name” people have embraced it. Test all things by the Word of God if you want to obey God more than men. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22; 1 John 4:1).
God wants us to be spiritually gifted (1 Corinthians 12:1), but much more than that, he wants us to fear Him and love the truth. Remember that the Holy Spirit is first of all the Spirit of Truth, before He is the Spirit of Power.
Be careful of the things they promote on major Christian television networks. I have a small television network myself, and I can tell you, the pressure to compromise for the sake of money and popularity is never too far away.