Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his holiness.(Jeremiah 23:9)
One of the evils of the last days is the fact that at a time when people desperately need a clear Word from the living God, false prophets abound, misleading them unto damnation. This broke Jeremiah’s heart and it breaks my heart as well.
I wrote a book about this phenomenon in 1998, called BEWARE THE NEW PROPHETS, in which I gave the scriptural tests to determine true and false prophets. The problem of false prophecy in the church is basically twofold, 1) The False prophets themselves, who prey on the flock, and 2) The faithlessness of the confessing people of God.
In other words, if there wasn’t already a Benny Hinn or a Joel Osteen, someone would have to invent one, because there is a ready-made constituency for their false ministries. The false prophets reveal the faithlessness and superficiality of the false congregations, and of the false shepherds. Jeremiah says the same,
A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?(Jeremiah 5:30-31)
The people love it, therefore it shall be ! They love the “supernatural” even if it is unscriptural, they love the idea of a “Great man of God” like Simon Magus. They love the idea of a humanistic God as presented by Joel Osteen, or Rob Bell. Such a non-judgmental God is a perfect idol for the times, suited for the psychologised, postmodern generation.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.(Jeremiah 23:16)
For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD.(Jeremiah 23:11)
* False Prophets make God’s people vain and profane- The opposite of Holy, is profane. False prophets make God’s Holy people profane by presenting to them a false vision of God. But the people who follow the false prophets are not interested in the attributes of the thrice Holy, Infinite, personal Redeemer God.
They are instead presented with a new gospel, tailored to meet their needs, centered around the concerns of our day, their “felt needs”, and there are of course churches and preachers who will gladly cater to them. Because of the psychologized, “me centered” focus of the modern evangelical teachers, much of the church has lost the sense of the “Otherness” of God, “High and Lifted up”, “fearful in praises and glorious in Holiness”.
An example of profane would be the sermons of men like Mark Driscoll, who feel the need to use sexually charged language, and to explore sexual themes in his services which shouldn’t even be mentioned in public, let alone in the house of the Thrice Holy God! Yet the Mark Driscolls are wildly popular. “My people love to have it so…”
* False Prophets encourage the unrepentant-
They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?(Jeremiah 23:17-18)
Rob Bell is another one of the false prophets, a man who stands in a pulpit in the name of God, and has a huge following, yet writes a book which denies the eternality and surety of the Hell God has prepared for the devil, his angels, and all who follow them.
Like it or not, we need Hell. A God who has no ultimate sanctions for those who rebel against him, is not worthy of faith let alone worship. Such a God wouldn’t be Holy, nor Just. Hardened sinners need to know that there is a Hell for the unrepentant, it can at times be the only way that they will ever repent.
But False prophets are experts at calming people’s fears, bolstering up their confidence and running interference ,blocking out any conviction. This is why they are so loved by all, and so eternally dangerous.
They say “Peace,Peace, when there is no Peace…”
* False Prophets are Immoral-I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness; they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.(Jeremiah 23:14)
The most outrageous example of this would be Todd Bentley. This evil man who is mightily acclaimed in charismatic circles to be a “mighty man of God”, left his wife and children and married one of his interns.
This happened within a month after being “Anointed” by major leaders of the prophetic movement, as the next great man of God!
I truly thought that would be the last we would hear of this dangerous charlatan, but thanks to another false prophet, Rick Joyner, Bentley has been rehabilitated into “ministry”.He is currently embarking on a trip to England.
Immorality always goes along with idolatry, which is what these people and their followers are truly guilty of, so we shouldn’t be surprised at their adulteries. After all Bentley counted as his mentors the disgraced Bob Jones, a false prophet who was caught seducing women, and Paul Cain, another false prophet exposed as a sexual degenerate.
Oh that God’s people would hearken unto the Word of prophets such as Jeremiah, who marks for us what to expect in a true prophet…
I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.(Jeremiah 23:21-22)