Title: IDENTIFYING A FALSE PROPHET
When it comes to the subject of false prophets, I can’t think of anything more serious that catches the Lord’s attention and bring on His wrath. I’m thinking of passages like, “Woe to him who causes one of these little ones to stumble” (Matt. 18:6), and “Let not many of you become teachers, for you will incur a stricter judgment” (Ja. 3:1).
What’s the danger of false prophets? (State your opinion.)
Perhaps if we defined what a prophet is, it would help us to understand the graveness of being a false prophet. A prophet is one who speaks on behalf of God. Therefore, a false prophet would be one who says he/she speaks for God, when indeed God has not spoken to them…they are speaking their own contrived words. Sometimes false prophets spoke in behalf of another god. Such was the case of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. Sometimes people cannot distinguish between a true prophet and a false prophet. That’s what this Bible study is all about. In this study we will identify a false prophet, identify the dangers of/punishments of a false prophet, and learn how to equip ourselves to identify and avoid them.
The Old Testament had many false prophets. Not always could Israel distinguish between the true and false prophets. In the New Testament, Jesus warned of false prophets to come. They did, as recorded in the Book of Acts, and they have been scattered throughout history’s pages, even today. Praise God the Bible is clear on this subject, and addresses it with many scriptures.
1. According to the following passages, how can we identify a false prophet? Deut. 13:1-5; Deut. 18:20-22; Jer. 29:8-9; Jer. 23:13-14
1. (The prophecy or sign does not come true.)
2. (The sign comes true, but his message is to follow a different god.)
3. (They speak something contrary to what God has commanded.)
4. (God did not commission/send them.)
5. (God’s people do not benefit spiritually from them; in fact, are hindered/hurt.)
2. What do the above passages say the Israelites were to do with a false prophet?
At the hands of the Apostles, what happened to a false prophet in Acts 13:6-12?
3. Is God’s wrath only upon those who prophesy falsely, or also upon those who listen to them? Jer. 27:9-10
Listen to the intensity of the words used in these next passages that describes how God feels about false prophets. Jer. 23:21-32; Ezek. 13:1-23; Zech. 13:1-5; Micah 3:5-7; Rev. 22:18-19
4. According to this next passage, what happens to God’s people under the influence of a false prophet? Zech. 10:1-3
5. According to Lam. 2:14, what should a prophet of God be speaking about?
6. When it comes to recognizing and avoiding false prophets, nothing could be more wise than listening to the words of Him who IS God. As you read these passages, and notice an insight or principle related to a false prophet, stop and mention it, then continue on. Matt. 7:15-23; 24:4-13; 24:23-27, 36, 42; Lk. 6:26
7. Jesus taught His disciples well on the matter of false prophets, for they are very clear in their writings about warning us of them. Once again, mention insights/principles when you see them as you read. 2 Pet. 1:20 - 2:22; 1 John 4:1-4; Rev. 16:13-15
8. Who is the greatest deceiver of all?
What are the two greatest securities to keep from being deceived by a false prophet? (Having a close walk with God, and knowing His Word well.) Ps. 119:9-11; Matt. 24:24-25
In the last days, Satan will raise up a false prophet worse than them all. He will use him to deceive the nations in order to entice worshipers for himself. Notice God’s strong judgment upon him in Rev. 19:20; 20:10
There are three important ingredients we must weave into the fiber of our soul to keep us from following the lies of the great deceiver. According to Rev. 12:10-11, what are those three things?