(Deuteronomy 13:1-5) (Vs.1) “If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, (Vs.2) and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” (Vs.3) you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love Him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Vs.4) It is the Lord your God you must follow, and Him you must revere. Keep His commands and obey Him; serve him and hold fast to Him. (Vs.5) That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the Lord your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you.”
Nothing new under the sun!
King Solomon wrote; “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). False prophets and teachers have always been around especially when it comes to fleecing the sheep of their hard earned dollars. In these last days they are multiplying and becoming an infestation within the wider Body of Messiah. Both Peter and Jude in their epistles describe the character of these wolves in sheep’s clothing that prey upon God’s flock.
Greedy shepherds with voracious appetites
Peter describes them as experts in greed-an accursed brood who have left the straight way, and wondered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness. Balaam was a false prophet who prophesied for money (2 Peter 2:14b-15).
Jude tells us that these greedy deceivers or enchanters, who without the slightest qualm, ingratiate themselves with the sheep but in reality are false shepherd who feed only themselves, and that the Lord has reserved the blackest darkness for them after they depart this world! (Jude 1:12-13). False prophets and teachers are always connected to money!
Enchanters deceiving and being deceived
Have you ever watched a snake charmer who plays his flute with such skill that it mesmerises the Cobra and controls how it moves? Now today we have those money hyper faith prosperity have it good in this world preachers on the airways and the internet claiming to be ‘apostles’ ‘prophets’ and ‘teachers’ who are amassing huge amounts of money from guidable, naive and spiritually deceived professing Christians. When writing to Timothy the apostle Paul called these false prophets and teachers evil men and imposters or literally enchanters who go from bad to worth, deceiving and being deceived ( 2 Timothy 3:13). These get to the point where they believe their own publicity!
Is money, money, always sunny?
The theme song of these money preachers well fit the lyrics of the ABBA hit which has a line in the lyrics that goes “Money, money, money Always sunny In the rich man’s world.” The world may be ‘sunny’ for them as they “fleece the sheep” financially, but their day of reckoning is coming.
Who are fleecing the sheep today?
The hyper faith prosperity money preachers are fleecing the sheep of their hard earned cash! Kenneth Copeland is worth around $300 million and owns several jets and huge amounts of real-estate. Nigeria’s richest pastor, David Oyedepo’s net worth is estimated at around $150 million. For most Northern Nigerian New Covenant believers they are persecuted and butchered by fanatical Jihad minded Muslims and it will come to the rest of Nigeria, and when it does, where will the money preachers hide then?
Hirelings always abandon the sheep when they see the wolf coming. True shepherds always lay down their lives with, and for their sheep! Go and tell these dear brothers and sisters in Jesus being savagely brutalised by their demonic persecutors and killers that God wants them rich and prosperous and having things good in this world!
Then you have Benny Hinn a proven false prophet and hype artist and teacher whose net worth is estimated at $60 million and Joel Osteen, the ‘feel good” preacher whose estimated net worth is around $40 million. Then you have another word of faith preacher Creflo Dollar who is estimated to be worth $27 million. Another word of faith preacher Jesse Duplantis is estimated to have a net worth of around $20 million and he owns at least two jets. Bishop TD Jakes net worth is around $18 million and he in reality actually denies the Trinity. These are just a few of the main ones who are teaching things they ought not to teach who own jets, stay in five-star motels, wear expensive clothing and jewellery and drive around in limousines and all at the expense of their ‘flocks.’ There are many propheteering who are into dreams and schemes designed to line their own pockets and satiate their own ego needs!
What Moses said in the Torah
In Deuteronomy Chapter 13:1-5 Moses wrote about false prophets who speak in the name of the Lord. It is one thing to teach Bible prophecy from studying scripture but something else when one says; “the Lord told me.” Those who give personal prophecies are responsible for what they say. Personal prophecies have their place but they will always be based and affirmed by the Word of God and not by the word of man alone! In the following portion from the Torah Moses told the people of God how to test a false prophet, let’s very briefly look at this.
(Vs.1-3a) “If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them, you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer.”
Satan can work miracles and display deeds of power and all kinds of false miracles signs and wonders. Supernatural power operating through a preacher does not mean that the power being displayed is from God. Blowing on crowds and waving ones coat over them causing them to fall backwards is in fact not even biblical. Nowhere do we find God’s people falling backwards when the power of God is present in their midst. In the Bible they always fell face down and were completely lucid knowing why they were prostrate before the Lord. The only Biblical record where people fell backwards was when they came to arrest the Lord Jesus and it was a judgment and not a blessing!
The magicians of Egypt, up to a certain point, were able by satanic power to duplicate some of the miraculous deeds of power that Moses and Aaron had exhibited by God’s power, but in the end God’s power prevailed! A false prophet may have a dream or a vision and it comes to pass but one needs to discern whether they are in fact speaking and acting by God’s power or by demonic power or by the latent power of the soul. Human soul power can produce fake healing and emotional responses where people ‘feel’ they have been healed, and that in many cases through auto suggestion fuelled by an overtly emotionally charged atmosphere, but later after the show is over and the ‘prophet’ has left town loaded with filthy lucre find out they were not healed at all.
Now a true prophet of God will not go beyond what is written in God’s Word and will only speak and act according to what is revealed in the Word of God. No man has any licence from God to go beyond what is written and if they do there will be consequences. As Solomon wrote; “Do not add to His words, or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar” (Proverbs 30:6) See also (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32) (Revelation 22:18-19).
If that prophet leads those whom he is prophesying to into covetousness, idolising those pleasures, spiritual subjective experiences, manifestations, utterances, lifestyles and pursuits that do not line up with God’s Word, then he is designated by God to be a false prophet, even though he demonstrates supernatural power and some degree of accuracy in what he has been prophesying. See also (Matthew 7:15-23) (2 Thessalonians 2:9).
In the Old Testament while Moses was away up in the mountain meeting with God and receiving the Ten Commandments, Aaron the High Priest, to gain the favour of the Israelites and to appease their demands to worship a ‘god’, fashioned a golden calf and the people worshipped it with dire consequences when Moses came down from the Mountain holding the Word of God written by the finger of God! Revelling was replaced by retribution and 3,000 Israelites fell in a one day. This curse was actually reversed at Pentecost where 3,000 Israelites were saved!
Today in multitudes of mega churches, especially in the hyper faith money, health and wealth camp, they worship around the golden calf of money egged on by their so called ‘prophets’ pastors and teachers lining their own pockets! This is a mark of these last days in which we are living.
Paul writing to Timothy about these kinds of people intermingling within the Body of Messiah lists their character and deeds and it revolves around what these so called believers love. The list begins with lovers of self and lovers of money and ends with lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-having a form of godliness but denying its power.
Added to this, faithful believers are not to have anything to do with them unless they find themselves also becoming ensnared by the love of self, with the love of money and with the love of pleasure! (2 Timothy 3:1-5). As Paul wrote; “Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33). One bad apple in a barrel of apples will ultimately spread to the other apples in the barrel unless that bad apple is removed and thrown away!
Everything must be tested by the Word of God, whether it is a prophecy, a dream, a vision, a manifestation of some kind or a teaching. C. H. Spurgeon said; “the Word of God is the iron anvil upon which the hammers of men’s opinions are smashed!” The apostle Paul also wrote; “Do not treat prophecies with contempt, but test all things, Hold fast to what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5: 20-21). Paul also wrote; “For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to prophets, For God is not a God of disorder, but of peace—as in all the assemblies of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:31-33).
The inner spirit man of a true prophet is subject to self-control even though he or she may express their prophecy with emotion or exuberance. Also it must be discerned by other prophets who are also skilled in the Word of God. Self-control is a fruit of the spirit and self-control will also be exhibited in a Spirit-led meeting of worship and in those who are participating in it and where the gifts of the Spirit practiced Biblically are evident.
All of us who have the Holy Spirit on the inside of us have been given a regenerated spirit man through the indwelling Holy Spirit exhibiting love, power and self-control or a spirit of a sound mind! (2 Timothy 1:7). Today there are so many prophetic utterances, dreams, vision and manifestations attributed to the Holy Spirit within many churches that it is not easy to discern what is from the Spirit, or from the latent power of the soul, or from demonic power. This is why the spiritual gift of discernment is desperately needed in the wider Body of Messiah in these last days when spiritual deception is virtually out of control in many assemblies of the saints of God. Now let’s continue…
(Vs. 3b) “The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Why did God allow false prophets to intermingle with His people and why does He allow it today in certain cases? It is actually a litmus test to see those who really love Him with their whole being from those who don’t. Those who hold fast to his Word and know what it says will be able to test the words of those who are prophets. If their dreams and visions and pronouncements are not in line with the Word of God then we are to not hear them but ignore them and if necessary in certain cases to refute their utterances from the Word of God. Sometimes God will test a certain assembly in this way.
It is not in every case of course but sometimes He allows this to occur to keep His people on track Biblically. It is the exception and not the rule, as false prophets will always spring up like weeds when God is at work in a local assembly of New Covenant believers. Weeds need to be pulled up by the roots so that the wheat can grow as it should and was created by God to do. Weeds can represent false prophets and teachers that have no spiritual nourishment in them whatsoever and hinder the growth of the wheat unless removed. However, wheat can represent the nutritious grain of the Word of God that has spiritual nourishment for the soul. And then we read…
(Vs.4) “It is the Lord your God you must follow, and Him you must revere. Keep His commands and obey Him; serve Him and hold fast to Him.”
As New Covenant believers in Messiah Jesus we must strive with the help of the blessed Holy Spirit to follow the Lord and to revere Him by keeping His commandments and obeying Him, serving Him and holding fast to Him. This we cannot do by the power of our own will or strength but only through exercising our faith in the power of the Blood of Jesus, in the power of the Word of God, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and by praying continuously in the Holy Spirit.
When we seek to hold fast to Him we come to realise with an ever increasing awareness that He is in fact is holding fast to us and when the enemy attacks us we can call upon the name of the Lord for deliverance. As Moses says in the Torah; “The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He drives out the enemy before you, giving the command, ‘Destroy him!’”(Deuteronomy 33:27). Having said this, God had a very severe penalty for false prophets in Israel. It was not a light and frivolous matter with Him and it should not be for us either where hearing of the Word of God is concerned. Lets’ look at what God said…
(Vs.5) “That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the Lord your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you.”
Today we do not stone false prophets but their presence within a local assembly of New Covenant believers in Messiah Jesus is not a small matter with God. God treats false prophets as preaching rebellion against Him because their prophecies are not grounded in, or according to His Word the Bible. False prophet will always turn God’s people away from the path of truth as revealed in the Word of God.
As it is written; “The sum of Your word is truth; And every one of Your righteous ordinances endures for ever” (Psalm 119:160). The entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation is the Spirit-breathed Word of the Living God and Messiah Jesus is the full-embodiment of the Word of God revealed in a flesh and blood body.
As it is written; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:1-3).
God redeemed His people by the blood of the Passover Lamb and brought them out of slavery to Pharaoh and the Egyptians. God had a people who would be exclusively His being separated from the pagan ideals, culture, practices, lifestyles and the idols of Egypt. Those false prophets that by stealth and deception prophesied in such a way as to lead God’s people away from faithfulness to Him were to be removed permanently. These wicked and evil false prophets were to be purged from among God’s people. Today there needs to be a purging within the wider Body of Messiah in the western democracies. False prophets and teachers are not killed but they need to be exposed for what they are and removed.
In these last of the Last Days those who desire to love the Lord with all of their being, even though they are being worn down by Satan and his cohorts from Hades, will be able to recognise false prophets when they appear having by stealth infiltrated the Body of Messiah and laying truth and error side by side, denying the Lord Jesus who purchased them with His blood, and by their rebellion bringing swift destruction upon themselves (2 Peter 1:1).
To sum up; While we do not stone false prophets today they must be removed from the assemblies into which they have infiltrated if those assemblies are to experience the power of God’s Spirit in revival. Most of that which is called ‘revival’ in the western Churches is not really revival. In some cases it is a seasonal spiritual refreshing of the Body of Messiah that comes from the presence of the Lord after heartfelt repentance (Acts 3:19-20).
A true revival first and foremost sees the Holy Spirit purifying the Body of Messiah, bringing about repentance and a renunciation of those sins that can so easily beset all of us. In a Biblical revival the first thing that happens is not singing and worship and praise but saints on their faces before God, repenting of sin and bringing their minds, their emotions and especially their wills into subjection to God’s will and that without reservation or hesitancy of any kind.
Once there has been a thorough repentance and dealing with sin and a willingness to renounce it and confess it for what it is with no excuses, then the singing, the praise and the worship will follow suit. This is the Biblical and historical pattern of all genuine revivals! Those who have been revived will not be lying on their backs in some kind of euphoric spiritual state of mind, but face down or on their knees, pleading with God to have mercy on their sinful souls and seeking His forgiveness and cleansing from all of their sins.
There will be weeping and contrition of mind followed by consolation from the Holy Spirit and then followed by praise and worship and the releasing of the gifts of the Spirit and believers being of one heart and soul. After this the unsaved will get saved through the power of God operating in and through clean vessels! In any real and genuine Biblical revival false prophets will not be seen or tolerated and if they do somehow succeed by stealth to go under the spiritual radar of some newly revived assemblies, they will soon be discovered and ejected from the assemblies! (Acts 8:18-24).
The only means by which we will not succumb to spiritual deception through false prophets and teachers is to follow only the Lord by being led by the Spirit moment by moment, walking by faith in the power of God’s Word, in the power of the blood of Jesus and by His Spirit and by praying continuously in the Holy Spirit.
We must cultivate a reverence for our Triune God as He is holy and high above man and set apart from sinners and all who continue in sin and from sin itself. By the power of the Holy Spirit and by calling upon the name of the Lord and the power of the blood of Messiah Jesus in times of heaviness through many temptations that relentlessly pursue us every day we will be delivered from satanic powers and principalities in high places.
We must seek to constantly serve our Triune God in the local assembly and where we work and in whatever field of ministry and service He has placed us and in whatever gifts He has released in us.
We must hold fast to Him as one holds fast to a life raft in stormy waters. In holding fast through faith and persistence we will very soon discover that it is not we who have a hold on Him but that He has a mighty grip on us!
So then God Himself has said; “Let the prophet who has a dream retell it, but let him who has My word speak it truthfully. For what is straw compared to grain?” declares the LORD. “Is not My word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that smashes a rock?” (Jeremiah 23:28-29).
Dreams and visions have their place within the local Body of Messiah but will never usurp the prominence and absolute final authority of the Word of God! If we all knew our Bibles better we would be able to better discern false prophets and teachers who by stealth seek to infiltrate our ranks to introduce their destructive heresies to spiritually disable us as the Body of Messiah! May the Lord give us the ability to discern those propheteering with their dreams and their schemes!