August 20, 2021
"The Word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination..."
“The Word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: Hear the Word of the Lord! This is what the Lord God says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing. Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins. You did not go up to the gaps or restore the wall around the house of Israel so that it might stand in battle on the day of the Lord. They see false visions and speak lying divinations. They claim, ‘This is the Lord’s declaration,’ when the Lord did not send them, yet they wait for the fulfillment of their message.’” Ezekiel 13:1-6
I have met my fair share of know-it-alls in my life, but I have met very few folks who actually know it all! Perhaps, the worst kind of know-it-all is the person who claims to be an expert on the Bible and speak on the authority of God, yet puts forth (as truth) things the Bible clearly opposes. That is what the Bible calls a “false prophet.”
Before we dig deeper into today’s passage of Scripture, it is important to understand what Biblical prophecy is in our generation. The apostle Paul said we should desire prophecy above all spiritual gifts.
“Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, and above all that you may prophesy.” 1 Corinthians 14:1
So, what is this prophecy Paul is saying we should pursue? First, it is not predicting new future Biblical events, per se. It is also not the process of writing new books of the Bible. Modern-day prophecy for believers is simple the Spirit-enabled ability to read God’s Word and understand it. Upon salvation, every new follower of Jesus is given the gift of the Holy Spirit. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to reveal the truth of God’s Word. Paul was exhorting the Messianic community in Corinth that they should seek God’s revelation through His Word. And this is precisely what Spirit-filled believers do when they read God’s Word, and He allows them to understand it, contextualize it within the times in which we live, apply it to our lives and share that revelation with others.
So, what is a false prophet? A false prophet is anyone who, apart from the Spirit’s revelation of God’s perfect Word, claims to speak on behalf of God. What is so dangerous about that? It gets well-meaning Believers to hope in things God never promised!
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but fulfilled desire is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12
The danger of false hope is that we genuinely believe the Lord has spoken through the (unbeknownst to us) false prophet. When the prophecy is not fulfilled, we blame God! Our trust in Him is strained. That is why WE must read the Word for ourselves, as the Holy Spirit, to reveal its truth and live according to its revelation.