by E. T. Dodoh
The Prophet speaks for God, he is God’s mouth-piece. He stands in the stead of God for man – the interpreter of God’s mind to the people. It is believed and forever established that the Bible is the inspired word of the living God. The final message that God has for man. It is this word of God that forms the basic fundamental principle which the knowledge of man about God is adduce. Isaiah 8:20.
A false Prophet is a self proclaimed prophet whose prophetic utterances do not go in harmony with the scriptures. These are his characteristics:
1. CONTRADICTION OF THE SCRIPTURES
It is misleading and deceiving for the fallen man to proclaim anything contrary to the scriptures, which is the only correct and full revelation from God to the human race. For example the erring man has been proclaiming times without number the definite dates for the second coming of Christ, which is contrary to the Bible and unacceptable to the Bible-student.
And of course, the Lord Jesus emphatically affirmed that nobody knows the date, even the angels in Heaven except the Father only. Matthew 24:36.
Let everyone be on the watch at this end time to search the scriptures daily to compare and contrast the prophetic utterances in the daily newspapers and in the over-grown mushroom prayer houses and churches which contradict the living Word of God.
2. THE WORSHIP OF ANGELS
Angels are the messengers of God. They are ministering spirits according to the Scriptures. Psalm 104:4, Matt. 4:11, Heb. 1:14. The ministry of Angels cover the whole realm of the Bible from the book of Genesis to Revelation. The Angels are creatures of God and not the creator as such they are not to be worshipped. And it is clear from the book of Revelation 19:10, that St. John the Apostle after he has seen the Revelations, which God sent through the hands of the Angel to reveal to him, he then fell down to worship the Angel, but the Angel refused to be worshipped.
However, the reverse is the case these days as we see many of the false prophets of this generation worshipping Angels. They render their petitions and prayer requests in the names of these Angels. They emphatically shout the names of these Angels during the act of worship. Many of them do portray the image of these Angelic beings on their sign-posts and some print them in their baptismal cards.
Nevertheless, we must be able to identify their notorious activities as the scriptures clearly stated that there is no other name given among men under heaven whereby we might be saved. Acts 4:12
They must be ignorant of the true Word of God and its interpretation and should not be left in this sort of darkness rather the true child of God should pray and make a comprehensive search of the scriptures and approach them, peradventure they may be converted from the worship of Angels before the end of time.
3. IGNORANCE OF THE DEITY OF CHRIST
Another sign of the false prophet is their complete ignorance of the name and deity of Jesus Christ.
They go about to establish other names and other medium through which they offer their requests to God. They never believe that Jesus is the Son of God, nor do they believe that their is power in the name of Jesus Christ, nor do they adhere to the foundation principle of life.
They ignore and belittle the great name of Jesus Christ. They go about to proclaim their own names and affirm to pray in other names which differ from the blessed name of Jesus. But the Bible says, In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. John 1:1. In their ignorance they go about to convert souls and their followers do sing and worship in different names.
As the only ground of reconciliation between God and man is the Lord Jesus Christ, it is also a definite sign that they do not know God because the Bible says, that the Lord Jesus Christ is the express image of God, Heb. 1:3. However, this ignorance of the great name of salvation can be eliminated if they will agree to read the living word of God and accept the true interpretation of the Word. The Bible says that lack of knowledge is destructive and this is a fact and non-debatable. For as many has failed to know who Jesus is, shall go away into everlasting destruction. John 3:36.
4. IMMORAL BEHAVIOUR
The eternal God is a moral being and his foundation never changes. God is a God of righteousness and expect His followers to walk perfectly as He is. That is why He told Abraham in Genesis 17:1 “Walk before me, and be thou perfect”. But the false prophet of this day do not care so much about the moral aspect of behaviour, rather they commit a lot of atrocities in the name of prophecy and go about to deceive people; they themselves being deceived. No wonder the master has said in His Word that “by their fruits ye shall know them” Matt. 7:20.
Further He said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are raven wolves”. Matt. 7:15. The prophet stands in the place of God among men as they declare messages believed to come from God, but when their immoral behaviour become discouraging and unbearable, the very community which they minister imitate them and the generality of the standard of morality falls below expectation.
It is expected that the moral life of Righteousness, Holiness, Faith, Love and other spiritual virtues must be expected from the ministry of the true prophet of God. But one ought to be more careful in his observation to see that the ministry of the prophet that fall below these standards and grope in the lust of the flesh such as telling lies, strife, division, confusion, immorality, rebellion, rioting and such like are clear sign of the false prophet in disguise.
5. SPREADING OF HERESIS
There is no doubt that the presence of Anti-Christ teachers in the last days was prophesied in the Old Testament.
The Anti-Christ in this context is the man who teaches contrary to the principles and doctrine of Jesus Christ. Right from the beginning of times whenever God did something, Satan always try to perform a type that will pervert that genuine aspect of that which God has done. It has been clearly stated in Isaiah 30:9, 10, Amos 8:11 with other scriptures that the teachings of this oppressors of Christ is mainly to spread wrong teachings, which go contrary to the pure teachings of Christ.
This definite signs of the false prophet of the time is very common among us today. For example, some carry heavy cross on their shoulders when they go out for open air services (religious programmes done in the public). Some times they pin them at the entrance of their premises claiming that in so doing they are sharing with Christ who has in His Word, “He who does not carry his cross and follow me is not worthy of me”. Mark 8:34. Although we know that there is such statement in the Bible, yet we must understand the context and how it apply to our day to day practical life. And in the light of the context, the word “cross” refers to the suffering of Christ and that Christ’s followers may sometimes pass through hard-times that not withstanding their patience and endurance will count how faithful they are in the course of their faith and endeavour. Matt. 16:24, Luke 9:23.
Some of their teachings are hash and they create room for violence. In the situation where people do not yield to their unfruitful work of darkness, they are ready to use a sort of forceful tactics. As a result, there could be clashes in some areas or places of their domain. They teach abstinence from certain types or manner of food which the Word of God clearly stated that one may partake these things by word of prayer.
These false teachers or prophets who plant their corrupt seeds into the heart of men should be carefully checked in the light of the Word of God. This is necessary because since the period of the Apostles, Anti-Christ doctrine has been spreading and embraced by the unstable souls because of the death of the Gospel truth. 2nd John 1:7-13. They proclaim that Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh and these are the deceivers or the Anti-Christ teachers. However, the child of God must not fear them; they are to be checked and rebuked by the Living Word of God. A true child of God must not accept them nor their teachings, as we know that whosoever accept them shall share or partake in their punishment.
God has given us light from His Word to enable us to be able to stand fast in the liberty which Christ has given unto us. As David has said in Psalm 119:105, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path”.
6. THEY APPEAR AS WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING
We have cause to be very cautious because their pretences are very fair and plausible and such as will deceive us, if we be not upon our guard.
They come in Sheep’s clothing, in the habits of Prophets. We must take heed of being imposed upon by men’s dress and garbs. They pretend to be sheep in appearance and outwardly appear so innocent, harmless, meek, useful, righteous, holy and even dutiful and all that is good, as to be excelled by men. They can show love and give themselves to charitable work to the extend that they can only be identified by the discerning of Spirit of God. 1st Cor. 12:10.
But inwardly; they are ravening wolves. This is because under these pretences their designs are very malicious and mischievous. Every hypocrite is a goat in Sheep’s clothing; but a false prophet is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. They are more dangerous and harmful than an ordinary hypocrite within the church. This is a fact and very serious because people look upon them as God’s mouth-piece and also whatever come out of their lips are regarded as true and final. Those that will cheat us of any truth, and posses us with error. Their pretence design mischief to souls. Paul called them grievous wolves. Acts 20:29. Now, since it is so easy and dangerous to be cheated, we must beware of false prophets.
It is said by their fruit ye shall know them. Here is a good rule to go by in this caution; we must prove all things (1st Thess. 5:21). The illustration of this comparison of the fruit being the discovery of the tree. You can not always distinguish them by their bark and leaves nor by the spreading of their boughs but by their fruit ye shall know them. The fruit is according to the tree. Christ insist upon this, the agreeableness between the fruit and the tree. If you know what the tree is, you may know what fruit to expect.
In this direction’’; one may easily like to know the manner of fruit in its actual sense but the answer may be in a variety or various manners of aspect. However, for example, the non-discriminable lighting of candles coming out in multiple colours (white, red, black, yellow, blue, etc.) in their mushroom places of worship may be questionable. This is very true on the ground that the Lord Himself during His incarnated ministry has not at any time put any measure of emphasis on the importance of lighting candles to invoke the presence of God in worship or services.
But the master’s recommendation was stressed on the other way round according to St. John 4:24, where He says, that God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. And of course, from the above quotation we must conclude that the important substance in this context is placed on the worshippers’ faithfulness and truthfulness to god and not the surface or outward appearance. This very sign about false prophets today is common in many places of their worship or prayer houses.
In another development, the skyrocketed prices with which they offer to their worshippers in their bargain is another question of careful observation. In other words as they purchase these articles in lower prices, they must surely bill their worshippers about 100% higher than the normal equilibrium prices.
In this way or situation, their victims are helpless and have no other option than to buy from the prophet since any one bought outside can not be acceptable. The day has come that all these open signs of the false prophets and teachers ought to be highly checked by every true believer in Christ having realized that the good Lord has urged us to watch and pray. And in the right interpretation of the context word of watchfulness, one will never allow himself to be blindfolded or grope in the darkness of ignorance when the true light that shines in darkness is beaming and the darkness can not comprehend it. John 1:5.
7. THE BAREFOOTING GROUP
Another characteristics of the false prophet is the barefooting kind of demonstration whenever they go out for worship. They may put on shoes as they go to their normal duties and commitments in life but as they happen to move to the direction of the place of their worship or prayer houses, they must immediately put off their shoes. This kind of practice is very ideal to them (both children and adult). They also urge their admirers to follow suit. Although they claim that it is Biblical in that when Moses saw the burning bush and turned back to watch over it, that God advised him to put off his shoes that where he stood was a hoy ground. But it is one thing to know what the Bible means. And this is the more reason God says in His word that my people die because of lack of knowledge. It must be realised that the putting off of shoes and with the uncircumcised heart of human being can not afford salvation to any man.
8. THE WORSHIP OF IMAGES
Finally, another characteristics of the false prophet which shall be mentioned here before we summarise this write up is that of the worship of images.
Some hang the images of the Saviour and other departed saints in their places of worship and abode for reference of worship.
It is said that some not only bow down for these images but go as far as kissing them as an act of respect and honour in worship.
It should be vividly clear that mere hanging these images in our domains for refreshing of memories might not be sin but they are not to be worshipped because god has commanded us never to bow down to any graven images or likeness of anything in Heaven or on earth nor under the earth.
Furthermore, there are other characteristics of the false prophets. Nevertheless, the true child of God must be on the watch to avoid and never to fellowship with these agents of the powers of darkness even though they transform themselves as angels of light. We must be grateful unto God who has given us His Word to guide from falling into the evil hands of the false prophets and teachers of our time.