Another of my YouVersion notes – written a while ago but brought to mind today with my reading of 1&2 Thessalonians.
And the Lord said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. (Jeremiah 14:14 ESV)
This description of false prophets in Jeremiah’s day is very familiar to us today. There are many preachers who are telling people what they want to hear, not what they need to hear.
For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold, (2 Timothy 4:3 AMP)
We must be discerning about what we listen to and what we read. For we will all be judged in accordance with whether we have truly been Christ-followers.
“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So you’ll recognize them by their fruit. (Matthew 7:15, 16, 19, 20 HCSB)
On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:22, 23 ESV)
Those who have positions of authority will receive harsh judgement if they indeed lead their flock astray. Jesus condemns those who are concerned with looking good now and their wealth and position in society.
He also said in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who want to go around in long robes, and who want greetings in the marketplaces, the front seats in the synagogues, and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and say long prayers just for show. These will receive harsher punishment.” (Mark 12:38-40 HCSB)
Matthew’s gospel tells us that false prophets will arise during the end times:
For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will deceive many. Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. “If anyone tells you then, ‘Look, here is the Messiah! ’ or, ‘Over here! ’ do not believe it! False messiahs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Take note: I have told you in advance. So if they tell you, ‘Look, He’s in the wilderness! ’ don’t go out; ‘Look, He’s in the inner rooms! ’ do not believe it. (Matthew 24:5, 11, 23-26 HCSB)
Acts 20:28-32, Paul warns the leaders/overseers of the church at Ephesus to shepherd the Church of God.
I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. And men will rise up from your own number with deviant doctrines to lure the disciples into following them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for three years I did not stop warning each one of you with tears.
1Thes:1-12 Paul warns that apostasy and lawlessness will precede the coming of The Lord.
Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him: We ask you, brothers, not to be easily upset in mind or troubled, either by a spirit or by a message or by a letter as if from us, alleging that the Day of the Lord has come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 HCSB)
Paul continues in this passage: Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him: We ask you, brothers, not to be easily upset in mind or troubled, either by a spirit or by a message or by a letter as if from us, alleging that the Day of the Lord has come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. Don’t you remember that when I was still with you I told you about this? The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders, and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 5, 9, 10 HCSB)
It is clear from all of these passages and many more that the coming of false prophets was foreseen by The Lord himself and his prophets and apostles. We must beware of those who preach “good news” which is about this life and not the Good News, which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the message of Salvation for eternity.