7 Signs of a False Prophet

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Avoid deception, learn how to identify false prophetsThis is the first part in a series of two articles about false prophets. We are living in a time where lawlessness is increasing, YHVH’s law is being replaced with man’s law more and more. We have recently seen a re-writing of the ten commandments; it is called “the ten for churches.” YHVHs Ten Commandments were re-written “to put them in the context of modern-day living.”

There are already 600 churches in Britain that have adopted these. They have, for example, replaced the commandment not to commit adultery with “affair-proof your relationships”! What an abomination. It is a watered-down, anything-goes replacement of the original command. YHVH’s word is timeless and should not be changed (Deut 4:2). It is easy enough to understand: “do not commit adultery” still means “do not commit adultery.” We are not going to expand on this further; but for those interested, we have posted a link to the article. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9123866/Churches-adopt-new-Ten-Commandments.html

These are the agents causing the delusion spoken of, false prophets who twist YHVH’s word to fit into their “context.”

Take action! See to it that you are not deceived!

These are the signs of the times we live in. Many false prophets will arise and there will be a great falling away before Y’shua comes. He gave us the instruction to see to it that we are not deceived.

Matthew 24:4
4 And Y’shua answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.

This is an action that we need to take, WE need to see to it that we are not deceived. YHVH said:

Hosea 4:6
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your Elohim, I also will forget your children.

What is knowledge?

The Hebrew Word used for “knowledge”is “da’at

daʿat is a general term for knowledge, particularly that which is of a personal, experimental nature (Prov 24:5). It is also used for technical knowledge or ability such as that needed for building the tabernacle and temple (Ex 31:3; 35:31; I Kgs 7:14). daʿat is also used for discernment (Ps 119:66). Both deeds committed unintentionally (Deut 4:42; 19:4; Josh 20:3, 5; bĕlîdaʾat) and mistaken opinions are “without knowledge” (lōʾ daʿat, Prov 19:2).

Particularly distinctive is the prophetic concept of “knowledge of God” (daʿatʾ ĕlōhîm) which is particularly prominent in Hosea (4:1, 6; 6:6; cf. Prov 2:5). Knowledge of God is derived from those outstanding historical events in which God has evidenced and has revealed himself to chosen individuals such as Abraham and Moses. These revelations are to be taught to others. “Knowledge of God” appears in parallel with “fear of the Lord” (yirʾat YW Isa 11:2: cf. 58:2; Jer 22:16) as a description of true religion. The man who has a right relation with God confesses him and obeys him. To do justice and righteousness and to judge the cause of the poor and the needy is to know God (Jer 22:15–16). On the other hand where there is no knowledge of God there is swearing, lying, killing, stealing, committing adultery and breaking all bonds (Hos 4:1–2). Such will bring destruction upon a people (Hos 4:6; cf. Isa 5:13). Knowledge of God is more pleasing to him than sacrifice (Hos 6:6).
Harris, R. L., Harris, R. L., Archer, G. L., & Waltke, B. K. (1999). Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (367). Chicago: Moody Press. 

The knowledge spoken of here is knowledge of the truth. There really is only one truth and that is YHVH’s Word, from Genesis to Revelation. This is not referring to knowledge gained to impress others (that is earthly, even demonic; Jam 3:15), but knowledge to know YHVH, to know His will and to know what He expects of us. That is His truth! We can obtain this by studying His Word and by being obedient to Him. He will reveal the truth to us in accordance to our level of obedience.

To have knowledge of YHVH is to fear Him, to fear Him is to obey Him. Obedience brings discernment. This is what will keep us from destruction in the end. Experiential knowledge of Him and obedience to His Word will prevent us from being deceived.

The signs of a false prophet

The signs we are going to discuss in this article are applicable not only to prophets, but to teachers or shepherds as well. We shall henceforth refer to this group of people as prophets for ease of communication.

There are many who teach the Word; how do we know when truth is spoken? How do we identify a false prophet? There is much instruction in the Scriptures to teach us how to identify a false prophet. Would you like to be able to identify a false prophet? This study will help you to discern between a true prophet of YHVH and a false prophet. There are many signs to look out for. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but a good foundation.

1. A false prophet can do miracles

A true prophet can do miracles, but so can a false prophet. This is an important sign, but not the only one needed to distinguish between a true and a false prophet. However, most people stop here. People are generally persuaded by what they see. You will often hear the words: “It is true; I have seen it with my own eyes!” Is something always real if you have seen it with your own eyes? Then again, it might be, but not of YHVH! It is written that the false messiahs and prophets will do great signs and wonders and if people are persuaded by what they have seen only, they will be deceived. That is why it is important to look further than the signs and wonders!

Matthew 24:24
24 “For false messiahs and false prophets shall arise, and they shall show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen ones.

Mark 13:22
22 for false messiahs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect.

Deuteronomy 13:1–5
1 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for YHVH your Elohim is testing you to find out if you love YHVH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 “You shall follow YHVH your Elohim and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. 5 “But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against YHVH your Elohim who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which YHVH your Elohim commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you.

2. His prophecies doesn’t come true

Would you say a prophet is a true prophet of YHVH if he has predicted the second coming of Y’shua and was wrong? According to Scripture, that is a very clear indication of a false prophet. He will most probably set another date and another, and yet people will still follow him…. how sad! There are many teachers like that, who set dates, are wrong every time, but people still faithfully follow after them.

Deuteronomy 18:21–22
21 “You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which YHVH has not spoken?’ 22 “When a prophet speaks in the name of YHVH, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which YHVH has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

3. A false prophet will lead you away from YHVH

The third sign to look out for is probably the most important. Does this prophet love YHVH?

Deuteronomy 13:1–4
1 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for YHVH your Elohim is testing you to find out if you love YHVH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 “You shall follow YHVH your Elohim and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.

To love YHVH is to:

  • follow Him,
  • fear Him,
  • keep His commandments,
  • listen to His voice,
  • serve Him and
  • cling to Him (Deut 13:4)

To love YHVH is not just an emotion, it is total devotion and obedience to Him. To love YHVH is to keep His commandments, all of them!

1 John 5:3
3 For this is the love of Elohim, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

What stands out in the passage in Deuteronomy is that the false prophet will skillfully attempt to lead people away from YHVH. The phrase “Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them” is used in an allegorical way, meaning to lead people to disobedience. A false prophet will teach lawlessness; they will teach you that the law was done away with when Y’shua died and was raised from the grave. That is simply a twisting of the Scriptures, because Y’shua said:

Matthew 5:17–19
17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

We have seen in the article “The fourth commandment – What did Y’shua do?that Y’shua was raised in Torah observance and kept the law perfectly. He came to show us how it should be done. That is the true meaning of fulfill!

4. “You shall know them by their fruit.” What fruit do they produce?

What is fruit?

42.13 καρπόςc, οῦ m: (a figurative extension of meaning of καρπόςa ‘fruit,’ 3.33) the natural result of what has been done—‘deed, activity, result of deeds.’ ἀπὸ τῶν καρπῶν αὐτῶν ἐπιγνώσεσθε αὐτούς ‘you may know these people by the results of their deeds’ or ‘… the results of what they do’ Mt 7:16.
Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (511). New York: United Bible Societies.

The fruits you produce are your works and the way you conduct yourself. What you think, say and do reflect who your Father is. A disobedient, unruly child is a poor reflection on his parents; how much more is disobedience to YHVH’s Word a poor representation of our heavenly Father. It takes His name in vain.

Does the teacher, who teaches you, conduct himself in such a way that it portrays the likeness of Y’shua? Is he obedient to YHVH or does he teach and live lawlessness? Does he bear the fruit of the Spirit or the fruit of the Adversary?

Matthew 7:15–18
15 “But beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are savage wolves. 16 “By their fruits you shall know them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 “So every good tree yields good fruit, but a rotten tree yields wicked fruit. 18 “A good tree is unable to yield wicked fruit, and a rotten tree to yield good fruit.

There is a passage in the Didache (no 11) that specifically deals with how to identify a false prophet. The Didache also known as “The teaching of the Twelve Apostles” is a writing that is thought to be from the time just after the Apostles. Here is some more information on the Didache for better understanding.

“The Didache itself, a manual providing guidance on how to conduct various church activities such as baptism (the preferred mode was immersion, although pouring water over the head was also acceptable in a pinch) or the Lord’s Supper (appropriate prayers for the bread and the cup are provided), is an example of another way the church grappled, usually successfully, with the challenges presented by the new circumstances in which it found itself.”
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (9–10). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

Here is what they wrote:

“(7) Also, do not test or evaluate any prophet who speaks in the spirit, for every sin will be forgiven, but this sin will not be forgiven. (8) However, not everyone who speaks in the spirit is a prophet, but only if he exhibits the Lord’s ways. By his conduct, therefore, will the false prophet and the prophet be recognized.”
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (265). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

Here are some guideline for us, which of these fruit does your prophet or teacher display?

The fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22–23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustworthiness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no Torah.

or the fruit of the Adversary?

2 Timothy 3:1–7
1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of Elohim, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

5. Many follow after them

The majority is not always right. How many people were in the ark in the time of the flood? Noah was a prophet of YHVH. He told people what was about to happen, but they did not listen to him. The end-times will be as in the time of Noah (Luk 17:26), but the popular teachers will have the followers, not the true prophets.

Luke 6:26
26 “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.

People want their ears tickled; they want sensation and intrigue. They want to hear something new!

2 Timothy 4:3–4
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

We see another example of this in the book of Acts. Paul was in Athens, and the people of Athens loved hearing something new. Is it different in our time?

Acts 17:19–21
19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming? 20 “For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean.” 21 (Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)

These teachers are the ones drawing the crowds. Be warned!

6. They, themselves teach and practice mixed worship

We have seen in the previous quoted passages how people want their ears tickled and always want to hear something new. They choose for themselves teachers in accordance with their desires. That is the reason why we see so may occult teaching mixed in with YHVHs Word. Do not follow them, they are deceived and will deceive you!

Ezekiel 14:3–5
3 “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts and have put right before their faces the stumbling block of their iniquity. Should I be consulted by them at all? 4 “Therefore speak to them and tell them, ‘Thus says YHVH Elohim, “Any man of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, puts right before his face the stumbling block of his iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I YHVH will be brought to give him an answer in the matter in view of the multitude of his idols, 5 in order to lay hold of the hearts of the house of Israel who are estranged from Me through all their idols.” ’

These men spoken of in this passage in Ezekiel are believers and leaders of the people, for they go to the prophet of YHVH, but they practice mixed worship. They practice idolatry, and they worship YHVH. Their idolatry is a stumbling block for them, and they will be answered in accordance to the deception of their hearts. They will, in other words, be deceived even further. Be careful and consider this. Do you or the person you follow practice what is not in accordance with YHVH’s word? YHVH will allow you to be led deeper into this deception.

Study to show yourselves approved (2 Tim 2:15), knowledge brings understanding and understanding discernment.

Philippians 1:9–10
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;

Be like the Bereans, do not just accept everything you hear as truth, go to the Word and see if it is indeed so.

Acts 17:11
11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

7. A false prophet is “in it for the money”

What does the Scripture teach in this regard? Prophets prophesying for money was already a problem in the time of Jeremiah and Ezekiel ((Jeremiah 6:13, Ezekiel 22:25). Y’shua instructed the apostles against asking for money. He said to them “freely you have received, freely you are to give.” and in the next verse:

Matthew 10:9
9 “Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts,

Here is a quote from the Didache regarding the taking of money by a prophet:

(6) And when the apostle leaves, he is to take nothing except bread until he finds his next night’s lodging. But if he asks for money, he is a false prophet.”
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (263–265). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

This is by no means “commanded” but, I am quoting this to show you what the teaching was in the time after the Apostles. Paul also wrote about this problem.

2 Corinthians 2:17
17 For we are not like many, peddling the word of Elohim, but as from sincerity, but as from Elohim, we speak in Messiah in the sight of Elohim.

Peddling means to conduct a retail business. Just think how many “preachers” are getting very rich on “tithes” and on the merchandise, they sell. They are the peddlers that Paul is teaching against. They have made the Word into a retail business. It is ironic that the preachers who preach lawlessness are also the ones how eagerly quote Malachi in order to convince people to tithe. Are those true prophets? Measure them to YHVH’s Word and decide for yourself.

There are, however, honest Torah-observant teachers, who do sell the books they wrote, or teachings they recorded, but they do this in order to cover the costs they incurred.

Please consider all seven these signs and measure the people you choose to learn from against YHVH’s Word. If they fall short on one of these, you are in danger of being deceived. Is that a change you want to take? We want you to also look at yourself, how do you measure up against these signs? We, as believers, can lead people astray by simply repeating false teachings. We are to search for the truth and only share truth with one another. Be like the Bereans and prove all things before sharing a message, for in a way each of us are a prophet or a teacher unto another and we will have to give account for every word we have spoken.

In a future article we will look at seven more signs. Subscribe underneath if you don’t want to miss it. Please share this message and leave us a comment if you have something to add or share..

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