3 CHARACTERISTICS OF FALSE PROPHETS
According to Matthew, false prophets have certain characteristics.
(Matthew 7:15-27) “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.
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. 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?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”
Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”
The following are the common threads that run through the lives of the type of false prophet described in Matthew chapter 7.
1. FALSE PROPHETS APPEAR TO BE GOOD—LIKE SHEEP—BUT ARE REALLY WOLVES.
They are the enemy of the sheep. The bad fruit that they bear is not a false gift, but rather an evil heart. Remember, these people will say to Jesus, “Did we not prophesy in Your name and cast out demons in Your name?” But He will say to them, “I never knew you.” He calls them “lawless.” It is interesting how Jesus defines “lawlessness” in Matthew chapter 7 in the description of the two different men building houses. \
He considered the one who heard His words but did not act on them to be lawless! Notice also that the Lord equates knowing Him with keeping His Word. The inability to teach or instruct a false prophet is the fruit of lawlessness. It does not matter if these people are able to perform signs, wonders, and miracles; their true fruit is revealed in whether or not they know and obey God.
(John 14:15) If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
2. FALSE PROPHETS HAVE THEIR BELIEF SYSTEM FOUNDED ON A FEW PET SCRIPTURES (SAND) AND NOT THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD (THE ROCK).
False prophets take certain Scriptures out of context that advocate their own agenda. They find Scriptures, pull them out of a story or an idea, and create a new doctrine.
3. FALSE PROPHETS HAVE POWER.
Unfortunately, their goal is to use their influence to lead people to themselves, instead of to Christ. A false prophet makes his or herself the answer in place of God. Instead of teaching the body of Christ how to hear God for themselves, false prophets think they are people’s direct line to God. Sometimes this perspective is the result of immaturity and/or a misunderstanding of what prophetic ministry really is.
However, if they exhibit the other signs we have been reviewing, and intentionally present their prophetic voices as the exclusive way to hear from God, they are treading on dangerous ground. Some people have a desire to be needed so badly that they lead people to themselves through their ministries instead of leading them to Christ.
(Matthew 24:24) For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.
It is important for us to be aware of this reality, as it is easy for people to assume that signs, wonders, and demonstrations of power confirm and validate certain people as authentic prophets.
Have you ever been under the influence of a false prophet? Tell me about it in the comments below.