False prophets are among us, but often they are not the ones being accused of being false prophets. The real culprits are often the ones accusing others of being false prophets.
We all tend to perceive others through the filter of our own character, which is why everything appears pure to those who are pure, but everything appears defiled to those who are defiled (Titus 1:15). Therefore, those who accuse others are almost always guilty of doing the very thing they are accusing others of doing. So when someone accuses someone else of being a false prophet, more often than not, the real false prophet is the accuser and not the accused.
The Lord Jesus contended with religious hypocrites, called Pharisees, who falsely accused him of all sorts of terrible things. In the name of God, they ultimately murdered him. Today these same religious spirits are still operating in people who claim to be right with God. They are still attacking the Lord Jesus by falsely accusing his true followers.
So how do we know the true from the false?
The Lord Jesus gave us the answer when He warned us, unless we turn from our ways and become like little children, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3). By saying that, He challenged us to examine ourselves carefully because He required us to turn, to change, to become like children. Our eternal future depends on it.
Children believe what they are told without questioning, even when it makes no sense to them, even when they don’t understand, which is the polar opposite of the Pharisees who thought they knew things about God and His ways. The Lord Jesus warned them bluntly, “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?” (Matthew 23:33)
King Solomon shared the wisdom of God when he instructed us, “Trust Yahweh with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). Then he stated the same warning in another way, “Don’t be wise in your own eyes” (Proverbs 3:7).
If things were always the way they appeared to be, we would not need these warnings because we could always trust what we see and hear, but things are not always what they appear to be, so we must be learn to trust the Spirit of God who knows more than we do and sees what we cannot see. We must learn to trust the inner witness, the inner leading of our spirit man sensing and believing and acting on what the Holy Spirit is revealing. This is not just a suggestion. Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God, which means those who are not led by His Spirit are not His children (Romans 8:14).
Despite all these warnings, many Z3 visitors are posting comments with total faith in what they see and hear without even the slightest doubt that there might be more to it than what they see. If we could learn to trust God as much as we trust ourselves we would be mighty in faith!
Why is there such a rush to judge things we know nothing about? Why so much confidence in the way things appear to be? Where is the childlike faith? Many who think so highly of their own understanding have become like modern day Pharisees, defiled by religious spirits, thinking they know what they do not know. They should seriously consider the same question the Lord Jesus asked the Pharisees, “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?” (Matthew 23:33)
Here are some points to consider that can help us sort out the true from the false and protect our faith.
Warnings, Not Predictions:
Many prophetic words are given as warnings, not predictions, which means if the warning does not come to pass, it is a success, not a failure. It also means those who hear the word are accountable for what they do with what they were warned about. For example, Glenda Jackson warned
“God showed me that if Christians don’t start praying more than they ever have and even the churches become the house of prayer this next Presidential election is not going to take place. It is going to be suspended because evil is going to arise and some disasters are going to happen and some things are going to be put in place and the President is not going to be removed. He is going to stay in. These things are going to happen and they are going to be VERY BAD if we don’t get a hold of God. The church has got to get back to prayer. Prayer is the power He gave the church and we have to get the faith of God.” (See the complete post)
In this word, Glenda Jackson stated clear conditions for avoiding the problems. She said the trouble could be avoided if enough people prayed. Yet, many have submitted comments accusing her of being a false prophet. I delete many of those comments before they ever get posted because I don’t like giving the microphone to the Pharisees and scoffers. I used to send emails to those individuals to explain, but I learned it was a waste of time because none of them ever received anything I sent them because the people who make such absurd accusations think they already know everything. Their ears are deaf so they cannot hear any kind of correction.
Glenda Jackson delivered the word God gave her and her mission was accomplished as God gave us a temporary reprieve, another chance to get it right. That is a good thing, not a bad thing. This is the way it is supposed to work. It should be celebrated, not attacked.
Many prophetic words posted on Z3 News are warnings, not predictions, which means the messengers are prophets, not fortune tellers. Their attackers are usually the ones who are in error because they are practicing divination, seeking to know the future outside of a right relationship with God, which is an abomination to God (Deuteronomy 18:10-12). Anyone who insists on knowing the future should call the psychic hotline instead of masquerading as Christians.
Confirmations, Not Revelations:
Just as He has done from Genesis to Revelation, God still gives warnings to His people through dreams, visions, and words. However, the prophetic ministry is different under the New Testament than it was under the Old Testament.
In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit was not yet given, so He did not reside on the inside of the people. During those days, God gave them prophets to speak His words, but today we have the Holy Spirit living in us. Since we have been given much more, more is required from us. God expects each of us to hear from Him directly rather than being led by words given to us by someone else. New Testament prophecy is given to build upon what God has already shown us, to confirm what we received from Him, which is why Paul explained it is for edification, exhortation, and consolation (1 Corinthians 14:3).
Buildings are always built on something, a foundation. No one builds upon nothing. So edification means there must be something there first. Being led by prophetic words given by others is like trying to build on nothing. It is dangerous because we can be misled, which can damage or even destroy our faith.
For example, last week a man sent me an email telling me God gave him a word for me. The word was I am supposed to move to Dallas as soon as possible. God never told me anything about moving to Dallas, so I would be insane to act on his word. I replied to him attempting to explain 1 Corinthians 14:3, but he did not receive it and even rebuked me for rejecting his instructions, which was a confirmation he was not speaking from the right spirit.
The foundation must come first, then we can build upon it. We must each go to God directly and receive our revelations from Him and from His written word. Direct revelation is our foundation, the rock upon which our faith is built. Peter gave us an example to follow when he received revelation that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus then confirmed it by telling him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” (Matthew 16:17-18). Peter had to go to the Father to get his revelation and so do we. There are no shortcuts. We must seek a right relationship with the Father above all else (Matthew 6:33).
New Testament prophecy is designed to build upon the rock of revelation as God confirms His word through others. Many are skipping the foundation, attempting to build upon nothing. In their desire to know the future, some even seek after prophetic words, scouring the Internet, watching all kinds of YouTube videos from people they know nothing about, seeking to know things God has not revealed to them. By doing these things, they have already departed from the faith, seeking to empower themselves through knowledge rather than trusting in God. They think they need to know because they are relying on their own understanding rather than God, which is the opposite of childlike faith. Those who practice these things fail to enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3). They put themselves in great danger of injuring or even destroying their faith.
Having built without a foundation, they become easy prey for the enemy to get them offended at God and despising all prophetic words. When the prophetic word does not happen they way they thought or in the timing they thought, they go on the attack, accusing God’s anointed servants of being a false prophet, which is the same as accusing God because He takes it personally. So having departed from the faith, they then make themselves enemies of God while all along thinking they have the high ground, which is what the Pharisees did to the Lord Jesus when they accused Him of being demon possessed (John 8:52). They picked up stones to throw at Him (John 8:59). The modern day Pharisees throw stones in the form accusations posted in blog comments.
We Prophecy in Part:
Prophecy provides helpful insights, but it is only partial information (1 Corinthians 13:9). We see little glimpses, but not the whole picture. For example, with prophetic trading insights, we sometimes see prices without dates, graphs without prices, and dreams with hidden symbolism. God does it this way by design because He wants to sort out those who are seeking Him from those who are seeking to enrich themselves. Just as he hid the mystery of Christ for many generations, He hides the complete picture of our future as an invitation to seek Him for more insights (Proverbs 25:2).
When we hear a prophetic word, we all have a tendency to assume we know what it means, so we add our own assumptions without even realizing it. What God said will come to pass, but our assumptions are usually wrong. Those who think they know some things then conclude the prophetic word was false when all along it was their error. They attack and slander the messengers rather than humbly examining their own wrong assumptions. Their faith fails them because it was built on their own understanding, which is the wrong foundation.
The humble will receive correction and consider their own errors. They will learn to pay closer attention to every detail of every word God speaks, holding fast to what He says while adding nothing to it. Their faith will endure and they will receive what God promised.
Since we all see in part and know in part, the person who receives a prophetic word can make the mistake of adding their own assumptions to it when sharing it with others. They can mix their own understanding with the pure word, so it becomes distorted and inaccurate, especially if they are new to prophetic ministry. It can cause just as much confusion as a false prophet, but they are not false prophets because they received a true word from God and had good motives whereas a false prophet did not receive anything from God and has wrong motives. For this reason, I believe we should be slow to accuse anyone of being a false prophet.
There have always been false prophets, but the Lord Jesus warned us there would be many of them in these last days (Matthew 24:11). A false prophet is someone who claims to have heard from God when God never revealed anything to them. They are in error because they are not in right relationship with God and not even seeking to get right. They have their own agenda, which is usually to promote themselves or enrich themselves.
The Lord warned the prophet Jeremiah about the false prophets in his day.
14 Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds.
15 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who are prophesying in My name, although it was not I who sent them—yet they keep saying, ‘There will be no sword or famine in this land’—by sword and famine those prophets shall meet their end! (Jeremiah 14:14-15)
We must be on guard against false prophets and avoid them when they are exposed. However, by following the scriptural pattern of using prophetic words only to confirm what God has already revealed to us personally, we already have a built in protection, which keeps us from being misled.
Modern day Pharisees are just like the original Pharisees. They masquerade as religious zealots when in reality they are hypocrites. They talk the talk, but do not walk the walk. They are quick to accuse others of being false prophets when in reality they are guilty of the same thing because they claim to be right with God when in reality they do not belong to Him. They claim to speak for God when they have not heard from Him. They claim to bring correction in the name of God when they are the ones in error. They claim to be on their way to heaven, but they will not enter in because they reject child-like faith, which God requires from everyone who follows Him.
They are the ones the Lord Jesus warned about in this passage:
15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?
17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 So then, you will know them by their fruits.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’
23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:15-23)
For more on this topic, please see my previous posts:
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.