Let’s look at a subject that both Old and New Testaments deal with . . . “False Teachers.”
The apostle Peter writes,
- “But false prophets also arose among the people . . .” (II Peter 2:1 – NASB)
And they did, as noted by the prophet Jeremiah,
- “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture . . . both prophet and priest are profane . . . They prophesied by Baal and caused My people to err . . . Do not listen to the words of the prophets . . . They speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the LORD . . . I have not spoken to them . . . If they had stood in My counsel and they had caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way” (Jeremiah 23:1, 11, 13, 16, 21-22 – NKJV)
Here, in this text from Jeremiah we see that false “shepherds” rose up among God’s “people.” They actually “prophesied” in such a way that “caused (God’s) people to err.” God speaks through His faithful prophet Jeremiah, “Do not listen to the words of (these) prophets!” They spoke things that came from their “own heart” and not from the heart of God, not from His “mouth.” They were professing to speak for God saying, “All is well for you” (23:17) . . . but all was not well and God’s “people” were not being told the truth.
Happening today? You bet it is, just as Peter warned . . . . .
- “. . . just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies . . . many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned” (II Peter 2:1-2 – NASB)
As there were the “false teachers” of old there are the “false teachers” of more recent times. Ellen G. White (Seventh-Day Adventists), Charles Taze Russell and Judge J. F. Rutherford (Jehovah Witnesses), Joseph Smith and Brigham Young (Mormonism), Mohammed (Islam); people who have built religious empires off their false teaching. More recently, names such as William Branham, Paul Cain, Bob Jones, Kenneth Hagin, Oral Roberts, A. A. Allen, and very recently, Rodney Howard Browne, Todd Bentley, and “those involved in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) under C. Peter Wagner’s guidance.” Benny Hinn, with his large following, has made and continues to make false prophecies while claiming to be a prophet of God. Harold Camping made his prediction “of the return of Jesus and the end of the world,” that it would occur in 1994.” When Christ didn’t return he then predicted it to happen in 2011.
The apostle Paul, in his final letter, warned that,
- “. . . evil men and imposters will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (II Timothy 3:13 – NASB)
Because of the means of communication we have in our world today, being aware of all the ways in which we can be reached with a multitude of messages, it behooves us to be on guard (note I Timothy 13-14)! T. A. McMahon has it right when he says,
- “The antidote for what may seem to be an overwhelming flood of deception is very simple and is available to every true believer: we all, by God’s grace, must be Bereans (Acts 17:11), diligently searching the Scriptures daily to know whether or not what is being taught or declared is true to the Word of God.”
Have a good day brethren . . . and as you walk ask yourself, “Are you a Berean? Are you in the truth and walking according to the truth of God’s Word?” Beware that you not be caught off guard by imposters, by “the Liar.”
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