When the disciples asked Jesus about the end of the age, He gave them a summary of end-time events. Amazingly, in His short teaching He warned three times about the dangers of being misled by false Messiahs and false prophets.
If He had mentioned it once it would have been important enough to take note, but three times should put everyone on red alert!
Although He was talking to His disciples, His warning was not for them, but for the generation who would be living during the time of the end, which just happens to be us! He knew the scheme of the devil to destroy the faith of end-time believers by leading us astray. He even said the devil’s scheme would cause many believers to be misled, to fall away from the faith, and to even betray one another. That doesn’t sound like a faith-filled confession, but He said it anyway because it is the truth. Here is what He said:
4 And Jesus answered and said to them, “ See to it that no one misleads you.
5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. (Matthew 24:5-6)
10 At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.
11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. (Matthew 24:10-11)
23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘ There He is, ’ do not believe him.
24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. 25 Behold, I have told you in advance.
26 So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. (Matthew 24:23-26)
Anyone who thinks they are in no danger of being misled is already misled because the Master said we are in danger. Ready or not here it comes!
How to Avoid Being Misled:
So what should we do about it? We must be on guard against the schemes of the enemy recognizing what he is trying to do. We must pay close attention to every word of every teaching and every prophecy to separate truth from error. To do that, we must study the scriptures to know what they say. Although God has given us great Bible teachers to help us, He never intended for them to replace the Bible. There is no substitute for reading the scriptures for ourselves. No generation in history has ever had access to the scriptures like we have today through books, audio Bibles, Bible software, mobile device apps, and the Internet, so we should know the scriptures better than any other generation.
Our knowledge of the scriptures will protect us from being misled. The light of the scriptures will catch the errors presented to us. Darkness is dispelled by light, not by more darkness. In other words, the way we expose false prophecies is by the light of the scriptures, not by attacking the people who delivered the false statements. The people are not our enemy. We are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against spiritual beings in the unseen realm. This is what the Apostle Paul explained:
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:12-17)
In addition to the scriptures, God has given His people the Holy Spirit. If we practice listening to His voice, we can learn to hear Him bearing witness for or against any prophetic words. Through practice we can train our senses to discern good and evil (Hebrews 5:14).
Woe to the Grumblers:
After reading thousands of comments and emails from visitors to this site, I have seen many so-called believers attacking other believers, slandering them, and accusing them of being false prophets over the slightest little misunderstanding of something they said, but without even attempting to present one single scripture that was contradicted. In most cases, the accusers are grumbling only because their opinion was contradicted. They don’t hesitate to slander anyone who violates their opinion, including God.
The attackers don’t realize they are being used by the devil to slander and discredit the Lord’s anointed servants. Satan is the accuser of the brethren, so whenever we give voice to accusations we are giving voice to Satan. This is pure deception because those who do such things are convinced they are doing the Lord’s work when all along they are working for Satan. They are actually attacking the Lord Jesus by attacking His people because they are part of His body. They are attacking the very one they claim to be serving and serving the very one they claim to be attacking!
They often refuse to show their real names, preferring instead to call themselves things like Truth Finder, Truth Seeker, Disciple, Christian, and things like that. They would be more accurate to call themselves Hypocrite, Godless Sinner, Demon Servant, Slanderer, Enemy, and things like that.
The Bible says anyone who hurls these kinds of accusations against God’s people is in danger of hell. Jude warned us with specific examples:
9 But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “ The Lord rebuke you!”
10 But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed.
11 Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.
12 These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted;
13 wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.
14 It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “ Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones,
15 to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
16 These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage. (Jude 1:9-16)
Michael, the highest ranking archangel, would not dare say one bad word about Satan, but simply called on the Lord to deal with the matter. If Michael knew better than to accuse Satan, then who are we to attack any of God’s servants?
We should fear God enough to keep silent because verse 10 says those who do these things bring destruction upon themselves. Verse 15 refers to these people as ungodly sinners who will be judged for all their ungodly deeds! Believing themselves to be holy and upright, they are in reality nothing more than grumblers and fault finders who follow their own lusts and speak arrogantly. As stated in verse 11, “Woe to them!”
Whenever I receive these kinds of comments or emails, I delete them before even reading the whole message. Then I block their email address from being allowed to post any future comments. I have not invested years of work on this site to build a platform for the devil to accuse the people of God. This site is dedicated to building up God’s people, not tearing them down. It is dedicated to building faith, not promoting unbelief. So those who are bent on slandering God’s people will find no platform here.
The first couple of years I tried to contact them privately to explain why their comment was trashed, but I eventually learned it was a waste of my time because the people who do these things are so arrogant they believe they already know everything, so they refuse to receive any kind of correction no matter how kindly or clearly it is presented. So now I just hit delete and move on.
I already deleted several comments tonight for these same reasons. One of them started out saying, “None of these prophetic words ever come to pass…” I never read the rest of it. They might as well have written blah, blah, blah after that because it went straight to the trash.
These grumblers are unhappy with prophetic words for not being detailed enough, too vague, too cryptic, too general. They use that as an excuse to hurl more accusations against the person, claiming they are only saying it that way so they can later claim it happened. They think nothing about making these kinds of outrageous comments, even though they are destroying the credibility of the prophet by accusing him of just making up his own word to suit himself.
I would like to ask these mockers why don’t they go to God themselves and get those missing details? They claim to be believers, so why don’t they believe God to speak to them? Instead, they prefer to attack others for being too vague. Amazing!
If they weren’t so arrogant, they would realize how ignorant they are because the Bible explains why prophetic words are the way they are. The answer is found in this verse: “For we know in part and we prophesy in part” (1 Corinthians 13:9)
Prophetic dreams and visions only give us a small glimpse, part of the picture, because that is all God gives. God knows what we can handle and does not give us any more than that. If He gave us all knowledge and all insights we would be puffed up with pride, which would blind us from seeing the truth. We all live in corrupted vessels of flesh and blood with carnal appetites and desires. Too much knowledge would also cause us to rely on ourselves without turning to God. It is for our own good that we must rely on Him for everything because He is our only hope for salvation.
Yet these grumblers hurl false accusations against the servants of God because the word does not happen in the time frame they expected. For example, a prophetic dream revealed hyper-inflation is coming by the light of the blood moon. Because these mockers fail to understand blood moons are given for signs and seasons, not for specific dates, they go on the attack because hyper-inflation did not happen by the night of the last blood moon (Genesis 1:14). Comments like this show a dangerous combination of arrogance and ignorance!
Even the mention of the name of a major ministry is all it takes to get these mockers to launch an attack. They have filled their spirits with so much venom that when they just hear the name of an anointed ministry they spew forth vomit and feces all over themselves. They are Satan’s chosen vessels for slander and false accusations, but too ignorant to know when to keep their mouth shut.
Any great ministry moving in the power of the Holy Spirit is a prime target for Satan. He is not concerned about dead ministries singing kumbaya and playing bingo. He attacks the ones who are saving the lost, healing the sick, raising the dead, and casting out devils. Ironically, these are the very same ones these grumblers cannot tolerate either. Hmm…
They accuse the people of God for reasons that have nothing to do with violating scriptures. For example, earlier today someone commented that a minister mentioned in one of my posts could be a false prophet because he asked people to donate to his ministry and they did not feel right about that. They did not identify any scripture he had contradicted, yet they suggested he might be a false prophet. So ridiculous!
How to Deal with False Prophets:
Of course prophets make mistakes. Otherwise, Jesus would not have warned us three times about them. There are honest mistakes resulting from inexperience, such as adding their own interpretation to what God gave them and mixing the two words together as one. There are also dishonest mistakes, such as purposely making up words to mislead people into thinking they have a hotline to God just to exalt their own name or to get donations.
The right way to deal with false prophets is to compare their specific statements to specific scriptures so everyone can see they are contradicting the scriptures. There is no need to attack the person or call them names, just shine the light of God’s word on their words for everyone to see the difference. To do that, we first have to know the scriptures and make a little extra effort to lay it out side by side. Then our hands are clean because we have only shared the scriptures and directed our case against statements, not against people. Then everyone can see for themselves where their statements have contradicted scriptures. Our mission is accomplished without ever firing a single shot at anyone!
What if there are no scriptures addressing the specific prophetic word? For example, there is no scripture to disprove a prophetic word claiming Los Angeles will be destroyed by an earthquake on October 9 (I just made that up as an example). In that case, we can only wait to see if it happens or not. People who live in that area should pray to see if the Lord is leading them to leave or not. However, if nothing happens on that date we should still not accuse anyone of being a false prophet because we do not know that. There are many scriptural examples of God changing his mind, even after instructing his prophet to deliver a word. That is what happened when Isaiah prophesied to King Hezekiah telling him he would not recover from his illness, but the Lord changed his mind and healed the king and added fifteen years to his life (2 Kings 20:1-6).
Did Isaiah miss it when he told the king he would die and not recover? No, he delivered the word the Lord gave him. It was the Lord who changed His mind after the king repented. If we accuse Isaiah of being a false prophet we would be guilty of bringing false accusations against him. We have no way of knowing what God spoke to Isaiah, so we have no business talking about it. We would be wise to remain silent about things we know nothing about.
Other examples of God changing His mind are found in Exodus 32:9-10, Deuteronomy 9:25-29, Numbers 14:11-23, Numbers 16:20-35, and Amos 7:1-6.
So what if someone is known to be giving false words from God? The Lord Jesus gave us three specific steps we should follow in dealing with any unrepentant sinners, which would include false prophets. It starts by confronting them privately, not publicly. Exposing their sin in public is the very last recourse, not the first.
15 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.
16 But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.
17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17)
So we have scripture to support public rejection of a known deceiver, but it is the last resort used only after all other remedies have failed. In the meantime, we would be wise to remain silent.
Example of False Prophecy:
Here is an example of false prophecy happening today. Many people are all excited and commenting about a YouTube video testimony of a 15-year old Jewish boy, named Natan, who had an experience in which he apparently died for a few minutes. While he was dead he saw some things, including many end-time events. Like any prophetic word, we must put Natan’s words to the test of the scriptures. I replied to some comments about Natan’s testimony, but more comments keep coming and it is hard for people to find older comments, so I decided to put them into this post for future reference.
Testing this prophetic word against the scriptures is not a personal attack against Natan. This is all about the scriptures. I believe he really had an encounter, but the question is whether his encounter was from God or from demonic spirits. Any revelation from God must agree with God’s word because the Spirit of God will never contradict the word of God. So let’s consider specific statements Natan made and compare them with the scriptures.
Natan claimed he was shown we are saved by weighing our good deeds against our evil deeds, but the Bible says:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Again Natan claimed we receive salvation by our good works when he said, “If someone is really strict and studies Torah and does acts of kindness, he will be saved.” His statement directly contradicts the words of Jesus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)
Natan’s claims about salvation also contradict the Apostle Paul writings:
9 That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” (Romans 10:9-11)
Natan said he saw his Jewish family members and rabbis in heaven. According to the Bible, the only way to heaven is by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord. Therefore Jewish people who die without accepting Jesus Christ as their Messiah are not in heaven, but are lost forever in hell. The following scriptures prove this point:
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14:6)
11 He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone.
12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:11-12)
9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)
The scripture gives us another test to know whether a prophetic word or teaching is from God:
1 Beloved, 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.
2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;
3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. (1 John 4:1-3)
Natan never confessed that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh or anything even close to that. According to verse 3 that means he is speaking from the spirit of antichrist. Combining that fact with the other false statements gives us lots of evidence to know we should not listen to Natan’s testimony. We must protect ourselves from the scheme of the devil by refusing to listen to any messengers delivering words that contradict scriptures.
Natan said many other statements that agree with scriptures, but that does not make up for the false statements he made. His statements are not weighed in a balance to see if the true outweighs the false. The devil mixes truth with lies to help sell the lies. If a revelation is truly from God then every word of it would agree with the word of God, but that is not the case here. Therefore, Natan’s testimony fails the test.
God expects us to know the scriptures to avoid being deceived. He warns His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). Our life depends on knowing the scriptures because otherwise we are easy prey for the devil.
God has already given us the scriptures, the Holy Spirit, and the five ministry gifts for the equipping of believers for the work of ministry and for building up of the body of Christ. These include apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Ephesians 4:11-13). Since the prophetic ministry is given by God, we would be wrong to reject all prophetic words. God wants to give us insights through prophetic ministry that we would not get otherwise. So we must learn how to test every word by comparing it to scriptures. If there are no specific scriptures then we can rely on the inner witness of the Holy Spirit in our heart. Then we can reject false words and enjoy the blessings of true words spoken by God.
There is much more that could be said about this topic. See my previous post, Eight Rules for Radicals.
Author: James Bailey
James Bailey is a blogger, business owner, husband and father of two grown children. In 1982, he surrendered his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. In 2012, he founded Z3news.com to broadcast the message of salvation by reporting end time news before it happens.