How Can I Know a True Prophet from a False Prophet?
Stephen from Lusaka, Zambia asked me in email; “How can I know a true prophet from a false prophet?”
Today in this internet and television connected world more than ever it is highly important to know the difference between a true prophet from a false prophet. Not knowing the difference can cause an eternity of pain. Knowing the difference can
How to tell a False Prophet from a True Prophet
To know a true prophet from a false prophet we need to study the Bible. False prophets always teach something different than what God teaches us in the Bible. The false prophet will either add to and/or take away from what God teaches us in the Bible. Basically, the false prophet adds to and/or takes away from the Bible so to say whatever message the false prophet wants to make. Above all, the false prophet’s message always goes against the Gospel of Christ Jesus; a false prophet’s message is something other than the good news of Christ Jesus coming as fully human yet totally perfect, suffering and dying on a cross for your and my sins, then physically rising from death and ascending into Heaven thus providing to you and me means into Heaven and His being the only way to Heaven.
False prophets do not teach the true Jesus; they teach their rendition of someone they name, Jesus. The rendition of Jesus false prophets create has little if any relationship to the actual Jesus described to us in the Bible. False prophets thus then have their own created holy books, scriptures, magazines, etc. that they say are more accurate and current than the Bible.
God in the Bible teaches us that His words are pure, will never pass away, that they do not need changed or added to and that no one should add to or change what He has written in the Bible (Psalms 12:6-7; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; Proverbs 30:5-6; Mark 13:31). God also clearly stated; “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book (Revelation 22:18-19).
So clearly God doesn’t want anyone to teach something that He has not said in the Bible. Yet, that’s exactly what false prophets do; false prophets add to and or change what the Bible states. False prophets also create their own teachings and ‘holy books’ and hold them as more important than the Bible. False prophets directly go against God’s teachings; some subtlety and others not so subtle.
Mormon Teachings about Jesus
For example the Mormon Jesus is the spirit-brother of Lucifer; which is nowhere mentioned in the Bible. The Mormon Jesus is one of the billions of spirit-babies that our “Heavenly Father” and our “Heavenly Mother” brought into this universe. According to the Mormons, when Jesus lived on earth, he had several wives, one of whom was Mary Magdalene. After his death and resurrection, he came to America to preach to the Indians. None of this Mormon teaching is in the Bible; you only find it in Mormon books and documentation.
Jehovah Witnesses Teachings about Jesus
Another example is the Jehovah Witnesses’ Jesus. The Jehovah Witnesses will tell you that their Jesus is Michael the Archangel, the first created being, who became a man and died on a stake instead of a cross; nowhere is any of this mentioned in the Bible. Jehovah Witnesses say that Jesus was raised as a spirit-creature, becoming Michael the Archangel again, while his body was dissolved into gases. None of this Jehovah Witness teaching is in the Bible; you only find it in Jehovah Witness books and documentation.
Islam (Muslims) Teachings about Jesus
Another example is the Islam Jesus. In Islam it is taught that Jesus was a messenger of God, but not the Son of God. Also, the Quran incorrectly teaches that the Christian doctrine of the trinity is that there are three gods: God the father, Mary his wife, and Jesus their son (Quran 5:116). Muhammad taught his followers that Christians called Jesus God and made Mary equal to God, and that Christians believe in three gods. Yet not any of what Muhammad taught is in the Bible.
The Bible Teachings about Christ Jesus
In many cults (as those mentioned above), the deity of Jesus Christ is negated, and in many world religions and personal views, Jesus is just another wise teacher. But the Bible says that all things were created by Christ Jesus and for Christ Jesus and that God calls Christ Jesus, the Son, God:
For by Him [Jesus] all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16).
But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions” (Hebrews 1:8–9).
We should expect Satan, the adversary of God and the father of lies, to advance many variants of the person of Jesus Christ through the teachings of false prophets. Satan would want all the false views of God and Christ Jesus to succeed in some measure to lead people away from the true Jesus.
Prosperity Gospel and Self-Esteem Gospel
Additionally beyond having false prophets teach a false God and false Jesus, Satan has false prophets teach a totally false Gospel (good news); the Prosperity Gospel and Self-Esteem Gospel. The Prosperity Gospel and Self-Esteem Gospel are the most popular methods of preaching today. Many atheists today were part of the Prosperity and Self-Esteem Gospels and thus is why they became atheists.
Both the Prosperity Gospel and Self-Esteem Gospel leave out the law entirely and to present only the gospel. The gospel, even then, is not always the good news that through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has reconciled sinners to a just and holy God. What these false prophets preach is the gospel of prosperity and self-esteem, a gospel that puts the emphasis on one’s self and one’s abilities to provide for one’s own needs, instead of on Christ, who supplies all of our needs. Jesus told us that only one thing was needed, and that was Himself (Luke10:42). Both the Prosperity Gospel and Self-Esteem Gospel teach that God is a genie granting wishes if one has enough faith to believe that their ‘prayer’ wish will come true.
False prophets teaching the Prosperity Gospel and power words take the Bible and twist it into something it is not. For example in Mark 11:22-24, false prophets teaching the Prosperity Gospel teach that if one believes hard enough and long enough and has enough faith in it that they will always get what they ask for in prayer. Now in Mark 11:22-24 Jesus does say, “whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be done for you.” Yet does this mean that faith is a force that makes whatever we believe and say come to pass? No, it most certainly does not! According to Jesus’ own words in this passage, it is God, not the believer, who actually brings the thing ask for in prayer about. Thus, Jesus says, “it will be done for you,” not “you will do it”; “believe that you have received it,” not “believe that you have taken it.” And this will happen when we pray, that is, when we ask God. So, our faith is to be in God, not in our faith or in our words.
Nowhere is the self-esteem gospel more prominent than in the ministry of Joel Osteen. Not many people would take issue with much in his seventh principle, “Choose to be Happy” that he wrote in his first book; “Your Best Life Now: Seven Steps to Living at Your Full Potential” Though Osteen undoubtedly has the best of intentions for his followers and does have some good advice at times, his holistic unbalanced approach to Scripture throughout his teachings and books place emphasis on one’s self rather than God and distorts Bible teachings. Osteen blatantly avoids unpleasant concepts such as sin, sacrifice, and, as 2 Timothy 3:12 puts it, suffering for the sake of the gospel. Unlike Joel Osteen, a faithful pastor and teacher of the Bible teaches that there is a cost to being a disciple of Christ; that Christ didn’t suffer on the cross just so we could have a great life or so that God could be a magic genie, ready to conjure up whatever we want, provided we say the right words and maintain a positive attitude. Joel Osteen’s message isn’t a message of mankind’s sin and God’s grace, but a message of self-esteem and prosperity.
Teachings of Atheism
According to atheism, you and I arrived here by chance through a blind, random, purposeless processes, and per atheism we are nothing more than highly evolved animals. In the atheistic worldview, there can really be no hope or meaning because, according to atheists, when you’re dead, that’s it, you’re dead—you cease to exist. There is no ultimate hope, or meaning, or purpose in the religion of atheism.
There is a culture war going on right now where the biblical worldview is rapidly being replaced with a secular humanistic worldview. Secularists are aggressively reaching out especially to our kids and trying to convince them that the religion of atheism is the right one. Bill Nye “the Science Guy,” for instance, is putting a lot of energy in trying to denigrate creationists and impose his religion of naturalism on the education system and Richard Dawkins is working towards disallowing Christians into higher education i.e., not allow followers of Christ Jesus into colleges.
The Bible teaches that atheists are not really atheists. That is, those who profess to be atheists do ultimately believe in God in their heart-of-hearts. The Bible teaches that everyone knows God, because God has revealed Himself to all (Romans 1:19). In fact, the Bible tells us that God’s existence is so obvious that anyone who suppresses this truth is “without excuse” (Romans 1:20). The atheist denies with his lips what he knows in his heart.
As you can see, false prophets abound! If you do not study and know the Bible, you will fall for the snare of false prophets that Satan puts out to catch people having apathy towards the truth of God and His love for you. Satan doesn’t want you to be forever with God in Heaven. Satan will do his best to keep you from the Truth.
God leaves it up to each of us to choose to know Him and be forever in Heaven with Him. God does not force anyone against their will to be with Him. God has given to everyone knowledge of Him (Romans 1) and He wants everyone to choose to be with Him (2 Peter 3:9). God has given to us the Good News (Gospel) of Christ Jesus!
The Good News—the best news!—is the message of the gospel of Christ Jesus. This is the message that everyone needs to hear! Everyone needs to hear that they are special, made in the very image of God. Their lives have purpose and meaning because God has a plan for their life. Everyone needs to be taught that they can have hope because of what Jesus did for them on the Cross. Although the good news starts out with the bad news (in Genesis) that we are all sinners who have fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:3) and that our own righteousness is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), the message of the gospel doesn’t end there. Jesus Christ stepped into history to pay the penalty of death that we deserve because of our sin (Romans 6:23a) and offers us eternal life as a free gift (Romans 6:23b). We can be saved by believing and trusting in Him (Romans 10:9). Now that’s the Good News that children need to hear!