False Prophets and Teachers are Nothing New

August 29, 2017 at 11:54 AM Leave a comment

Whether we’re dealing with Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, or some OT/NT writer or prophet, the subject of false teachers and false prophets in Israel often comes to the fore. Ezekiel 11 is a perfect example of the type of false counselor that lived in Israel at the time of Ezekiel.

1 The Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the east gate of the house of the Lord, which faces east. And behold, at the entrance of the gateway there were twenty-five men. And I saw among them Jaazaniah the son of Azzur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people. 2 And he said to me, “Son of man, these are the men who devise iniquity and who give wicked counsel in this city; 3 who say, ‘The time is not near to build houses. This city is the cauldron, and we are the meat.’ 4 Therefore prophesy against them; prophesy, O son of man.” – Ezekiel 11:1-4 ESV

This type of false testimony, done in the Lord’s Name, was anathema to God for no other reason than the fact that it was made of lies. When these men “prophesied,” their words actually defamed God. They spoke in His Name and supposedly on His authority, but they routinely said things that God had not told them to say. Notice God says that the men “devised” iniquity. They spoke falsehoods based on how they felt about something.

God set the record straight. In the first few chapters of Ezekiel, one of the things God did was to show Ezekiel the many ways in which the religious leaders of Israel had corrupted the worship and blasphemed not only God’s Name, but His place of worship. It had come to a point where God could not even enter into the very building that had been built and dedicated to Him because of the idolatrous practices that occurred there.

In Ezekiel 6, God expresses His outrage at that idolatry. He was done with it! He warns Ezekiel what is to come because of it.

4 Your altars shall become desolate, and your incense altars shall be broken, and I will cast down your slain before your idols. 5 And I will lay the dead bodies of the people of Israel before their idols, and I will scatter your bones around your altars. (ESV)

He promises to leave some of the Israelites alive, scattered among the nations (v. 8), and He also promises a remnant would come to the realization of just how terrible their idolatrous practices had been to God. Ezekiel 7 promises that God’s wrath will visit the nation and it would be devastating.

Ezekiel 8 highlights the fact that terrible “abominations” occurred within the very Temple itself. We wonder how this could’ve been?

5 Then he said to me, “Son of man, lift up your eyes now toward the north.” So I lifted up my eyes toward the north, and behold, north of the altar gate, in the entrance, was this image of jealousy. 6 And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel are committing here, to drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see still greater abominations.” (vv. 5-6; ESV)

The “image of jealousy” was very likely an idol that had been set up. God takes Ezekiel on a “tour” to show him exactly what is happening behind closed doors and in areas the religious leaders and people thought were closed to God’s eyes. Unfortunately for them, He sees everything. Nothing is hidden but we tend to convince ourselves otherwise because we cannot see Him as He watches us!

In Ezekiel 8, Ezekiel is shown the idolatrous images within the Temple (v. 5), the drawn images of idols on the walls of the rooms in the Temple (v. 10), and the elders of Israel offering incense to these images (v. 11). But that isn’t even the worst of it. Ezekiel is then taken by the Lord to see women weeping for “Tammuz.”

[Tammuz was] an ancient Sumerian and then Akkadian fertility deity, the husband and brother of Ishtar. The Sumerian and Akkadian civilizations preceded the Babylonian civilization in Mesopotamia. Tammuz had ties to the Canaanite Baal and the Greek Adonis and Aphrodite gods.[a] Since Ezekiel saw this vision in September (v. 1), these women may have been weeping for Tammuz because he was thought to die at the end of the summer but to rise again each spring.

[a] See Edwin Yamauchi, “Tammuz and the Bible,” Journal of Biblical Literature 84 (1965):283-90. [1]

In yet another instance, Ezekiel is shown roughly 25 men worshiping the sun with their backs to the Temple! (v. 16). One cannot help but wonder how this much idolatry was ultimately able to take control of Israel’s day-to-day experience, but it did. Is it any wonder that God refers to Israel as “Sodom and Gomorrah” on more than one occasion? He is rightly fed up with the amount of idolatry practiced in Israel all because the people preferred to worship idols rather than the God who secured their physical salvation from Egypt and set them on a journey to the Promised Land! This idolatry led to wanton lawlessness.

How about us? How about you? What is in your life that tends to push God out? What is in mine? We need to allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate our inner being so that we can root out and destroy those idols that keep us chained to parts of Satan’s world system.

We arrive to Ezekiel 11 where we learn of the coming judgment against wicked counselors; false prophets who did not speak for the Lord, but claimed they did.

“Son of man, these are the men who devise iniquity and who give wicked counsel in this city; 3 who say, ‘The time is not near to build houses. This city is the cauldron, and we are the meat.’ 4 Therefore prophesy against them; prophesy, O son of man.” – Ezekiel 11:2-4; ESV

God is speaking to Ezekiel here, pointing out the very men who often spoke in God’s Name, yet not truthfully. God tells Ezekiel to “prophesy against them” as a heads up and warning of what God is going to do to them for their false witness.

In the verses following verse 4 we learn that these false witnesses spoke out of their own fear and because of that, God would bring what they feared down on their heads. He does this as a judgment so people will know that He is the Lord (v. 10b & 12a). Because of this pronouncement through Ezekiel, one of the lead false witnesses dies on the spot (v. 13).

In Ezekiel 13, these false prophets are fully condemned by God. The message is clear and the origin of the alleged “prophecies” of the false prophets is also made clear for us in v. 2.

2 “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, who are prophesying, and say to those who prophesy from their own hearts. (emphasis added; ESV)

Those false prophets foretold things from their own hearts, things they conjured up or things that simply came to them from within themselves, but certainly not from God, though they either thought it was from God or simply pretended it was from Him to convince the people. These leaders were the “dreamers” that Jude speaks of in detail. Paul also discusses these individuals who give themselves over to deceitful spirits and demons (1 Timothy 4:1). Paul goes into greater detail in his second letter to Timothy, 2 Timothy 3:1-9 where he points out that many of these types of people do what they do solely for the sake of self-aggrandizement. They do whatever they can to take advantage of people, wanting to be seen and honored as “leaders” who are in the know and speak for God. They enjoyed feeling important.

Society in Ezekiel’s day as well as Paul’s day was filled with spiritual con artists. It is the same with our society today. Like those of old, today’s false prophet/teacher has no fear regarding what they say because they either honestly believe that they are right (being deceived themselves), or they don’t consider that God sees and hears all things. Though His condemnation of their lies is clear, because His judgment is put off for now, they believe it will never come.

There is a great deal of teaching today that is purported to be “biblical.” Some even go so far as to say “God told” them to teach it. We’re hearing that more and more today on a fairly regular basis. Do these people not realize that by teaching what they teach and claiming to have heard it from God Himself (though it doesn’t align with the teaching of His Word), they are storing up judgment for themselves as they lead many people astray?

Christian: it is your responsibility to read His Word on a daily basis. This is how we not only commune with God, but learn about Him and grow within us the ability to not be led astray by doctrines of demons often voiced by false prophets/teachers. If any teaching does not fully align with God’s revealed Word, it must be rejected. Yet too often, it is embraced because of how it makes people feel.

The only way to know for certain whether some teaching or “prophecy” aligns with God’s Word is by actually reading and knowing God’s Word for yourself. There is no other way. There is no shortcut. God has no grandchildren and each Christian needs to take time with God through His Word daily.

Do you breathe daily? Do you eat several meals a day? Do you drink fluids? Why? Because you know that if you stop doing these things, you’ll ultimately die. Yet when it comes to God’s Word, we too often rely on others to tell us what to think, know, and believe about God and His Word. This is so asinine that it would be laughable if not so sad.

Too many people today think that the gurgling of their stomach is God speaking to them. They get an idea in their head and immediately without using any critical biblical analysis, accept it as being from God. So many teachers of the Bible are just plain wrong and it is easy to see but it’s like trying to point out the lawlessness of AntiFa to those on the Left; they don’t see it.

Yet, these same people are convinced they are correct so they continue leading thousands if not millions into error with them all because people want to be spoon fed any truth about God in very small doses. Because of it, they are unable to discern God’s truth. They provide themselves with every excuse to continue in their error. Normally, they refer to their feelings about something.

The false prophets of Ancient Israel were problematic because they led the people astray. They were terrible shepherds because they often spoke from their own fears or fantasies of their hearts. It gave them carte blanche to do and say whatever they felt was what the people should hear. It is the same with false prophets/teachers today.

A few years ago, I decided to start reading God’s Word every day. As you might imagine, it started off rather ritualistically. It was simply part of my check-off list. Now, it is one of the very first things I do in the morning and if I don’t get it done, bother me. What began as a perfunctory ritual where I often forgot much of what I read, has morphed into an exercise where I am now remembering and carrying with me throughout the day snippets of what I read in the morning. I ruminate on it and it certainly seems that God opens my eyes to greater understanding of His truth as revealed in His Word.

False prophets/teachers abound today. I cannot believe how many churches there are here in the south. Not only one on every corner, but many on the street between corners. Yet the amount of unscriptural teaching from many of these churches is astounding. I’ve either gone to some of them or checked their websites out and I’m appalled.

God’s Word is truth. Our feelings are never an accurate indicator of truth. Feelings cannot determine truth. Think of the people who feel AntiFa is right in their desire to shut down free speech as just one example and who support AntiFa’s efforts in that regard. Consider the politicians who will not condemn AntiFa’s hate and violence.

Feelings cannot bring us closer to God. Feelings cannot teach us about God. Feelings should never guide us but for today’s average church goer, feelings often move us one way or another. We certainly cannot be devoid of feelings, but we need to recognize that it is God’s truth that is to guide us, not how we feel about something.

There is a day coming when every false teacher/prophet will realize how much they’ve lied and led people astray. You can avoid being taken in by these individuals if you will take the time to study God’s Word yourself. Satan doesn’t want you to think. He wants you to feel using it to justify your thoughts, words, and actions. God puts the feelings at the end of the train; the caboose. They are not to guide us.

God wants you spiritually healthy. The only means to that end is to daily learn more about God, His truth, and His will for your life. That knowledge does not come through your fallen feelings. That knowledge comes only through the truth of God’s Word. Amen.

 

[1] Dr. Thomas Constable’s Notes on Ezekiel, pp. 51-52

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Cultural Marxism, Demonic, devil worship, Emotional virtue, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, Satanism, second coming. Tags: , , , .

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