Guest post by Jeanette Andrade
November 20 Scripture Selection: Ezekiel 13-14
Food for Thought: Ez. 13; 14:1
All along, Satan has sent false prophets to draw people away from God’s perfect plan. God has been warning us of such people since almost the beginning of His Word, and He admonishes us to be diligently vigilant of them, especially in these last days. So how can we identify false prophecies and false teachings? How can we prevent ourselves from falling victim to false Christs? By staying grounded in the Word and by depending on the Holy Spirit for discernment.
Jesus says in Matthew 7:15-16, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” We cannot go by first impressions or by the person’s charisma or appealing words, but by what is revealed from the true “inner man,” the fruit. If the person is truly being led by the Holy Spirit and not by a deceptive spirit, the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal. 5:22, 23)) will be evident. Contrarily, no matter what the person says or does, if there are no signs of the fruit of the Spirit, the person should not be considered a true prophet of God. (Remember, Old Testament prophets did not enjoy the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as we do today, so the tell-tale signs of the fruit of the Spirit are not applicable to them as they are now, and therefore cannot be compared to the true prophets of today.)
Notice that Jesus did not say for us to follow people just because they appear to be able to perform miracles, though believers may and should be able to. The signs of false prophets are deceptive, and they will use every trick in the book. Jesus warns in Matthew 24:24, “For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” People not well-grounded in the Word will be impressed solely by the signs and wonders and be led astray. The way to distinguish God’s power manifested in a person from Satan’s is clearly spelled out in Mark 16:16-18: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
The Word also tells us in I John 4:1-3, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” The message of a true minister of God is always centered around Jesus Christ and not himself or any other person. Peter warns of the deceptive false teachers who introduce destructive heresies and deny the Lord (II Pet. 2:1-3). This is why it is so dangerous to allow the world’s insidious philosophy that all religions are of equal value and can somehow be brought under the same umbrella in the name of world peace. To do so is to deny Christ as the only Way.
We are warned by Jesus in Matthew 24:11 that “many false prophets will rise up and deceive many,” but that doesn’t have to include us. And it doesn’t have to include those in our sphere of influence. That is precisely why the Lord calls us “lights in the world, children of God, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation” (see Phil. 2:15). It is also why we are told to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (I Pet. 5:8).”
Digging Deeper (What scriptures can further enhance today’s reading?):
Getting Personal (What has God shown you in today’s reading?):
Confession of Faith (Example: Lord, based on Mat. 1:21 and 23, I understand that Jesus is God, and I receive Him as my personal Lord and Savior.):
Important Events on This Day (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.):