Recovered from backup
Original Post May 2019
Very recently I attended a Bible study at a very Middle American church. The subject was the Yehashua Apocalypse regarding false prophets, found in Matthew (7:15-23;24:11-14;24:23-28). Yeshua says that in the time following his ascension it would be inevitable that there would be false prophets. This teacher took a relatively unusual path through this material however. In the process he brought out a couple of points that are often overlooked. 1) by their fruit you will know them, therefore he looked at the fruit of the false prophet, where most would be concerning themselves with the good fruit: Compassion; Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, etc. 2) This teacher focused on the simple fact that one who comes falsely in the name of the Lord is using the Name in vain.
It was the start of a really important and meaty study that in the end he handled inadequately. Nothing he had to say as explicitly in error. But he left so much unfinished that it was a bit disappointing. In that interest rather than apologize in answer to his polemeic, I’ll simply try to fill in some of what he should have dealt with, though I assure you that the subject is big enough that it won’t really fit in a musing.
The earmarks of a false prophet are lengthy:
- If a prediction attributed to God does not occur, the speaker is false.
- If the speaking for God (prophecy) condemns Yeshua, the speaker is false.
- If the prophecy contradicts the Torah or the ministry of the Gospels, the speaker is false.
- If the prophet rants against persons or institutions in a way that sews hard feelings, rather than a desire to effect change in a considered and scriptural manner, the speaker is false.
- If the prophet lives a life that is immoral in light of the moral law or the law of Grace, that speaker is false.
- If the prophet encourages tolerance of that which is forbidden in the moral code of the Torah or the New Covenant, the speaker is false.
- If the prophet encourages communion and fellowship with those who name themselves believers, but live a life that is immoral, that speaker is false.
- If a prophet calls for offerings and sacrifice, but consumes the proceeds to live a lavish lifestyle or feed his own lusts, greed, drug abuse, alcoholism, or gluttony, that speaker is false.
This last one is so often cited by those most egregiously guilty. The glutton who preaches against greed. The greedy miser who preaches against lust. The lecher who reaches against gluttony. Etc.
There are a number of other points that could and should be added. But, as I said, I’m limited in this format. The point is that today there are a record number of those who qualify as false prophets and as a class, those who are loudest and most media driven tend to be the worst of the lot. Within the fellowship of Occidental Orthodox, Aminian*, Full Gospel movements and denominations—there have always been the fellow travelers that aren’t quite initiate, aren’t quite part of the fellowship. Historically we referred to their offering as Strange Fire in allusion to the unauthorized sacerdotes who were swallowed by the Earth for usurping the authority of Aaron. This Strange Fire is tolerated, often because the orthodox, Apostolic Preachers and Teachers are timid to risk judgment or even blasphemy if they are mistaken. Even with the Testimony of the Tanakh and the New Covenant, they flinch from the responsibility to protect the congregation.
One of the worst excesses and innovations of the Strange Fire is the concept of “priming the pump.” Godly piety and intense worship of the person of the Father in the name of Yeshua, and of Yeshua himself, aren’t sufficient for these people. They tend to conflate the sensate communion with the real presence of God with the Emotions that can engender. Not only do they dictate what emotions are proper and use this for a litmus test, they refuse to allow the Holy Spirit, the Ruach Hakodesh to move on his people in any mode they disapprove of. They also mistake the presence of the correct emotional tenor to be the presence of the Spirit of the Living God, the Ruach Elohim.
In this interest–they will use music, dance, ritual, neurolinguistic hypnosis, and stage magic to fake the presence and the miraculous gifts of the Spirit. The motive is that if people get excited enough by the fakery then they will be receptive and the Holy Spirit will be attracted by their misplaced faith and sort of take residence in the paradigm already in progress. It is ignorance at best and generally blasphemy. Either God is and is powerful enough to accomplish his own miracles without fakery or emotionalism, or he’s not real at all. I know he’s real and a present comfort. My heart breaks when I see those who are so desperate for him, divert themselves from the very course that would bring them the fulfillment they long for.
False prophecy is all around and that has never been different. Persons and people naturally see the potential for power in speaking for God and for taking emotional, financial, and personal advantage of the sincerely ignorant and hungry believer. But faith and worship are not the complicated ritual magic the professional cleric would have you believe. Faith is trust in the character and ability of someone or something. Worship is the adoring affection and intent cognizance/contemplation paid to an intimate loved one or thing. Sincerely trust, obey, and apprehend God and he will reveal his presence to you. Obey the Moral Law and the Law of Grace and you will please him. It’s not rocket-surgery.
*Of the teachings and movement introduced by Aminius.