During the last few weeks, I’ve been talking about signs of the end. The signs that I’ve been focusing on are a little more subtle than others because they don’t have to do with “heavenly” anomalies but have to do with things that happen in or to the body of Christ. I’ve used other references, but the basis of talk has been Matthew, chapter 24. In this passage, you see Jesus’ disciples asked Him about the signs that would signal that the end is near and that would reveal that Jesus’ coming is eminent.
Today, there is much talk of signs of the end: celestial signs, the four blood moons; terrestrial signs, earthquakes in many places; social signs, the rise of the spirit of the Antichrist; biblical signs, the encircling of Israel by enemies and the rapid evangelization of places where the gospel never had much historical effect. But, I have felt impressed to focus on those which happen within or in close proximity to the Body of Christ.
So far, we have talked about two signs Jesus spoke of to His disciples:
- The decline in the popularity of Christianity.
- The rise of offense and betrayal in the church.
Today, we will speak of a third sign which Jesus told His disciples would be a sign of the end:
The rise of false prophets.
Jesus told His disciples that many false prophets will rise up and deceive many people. To fully understand what Jesus is speaking of, I think it is best to start with a good definition of a “false prophet.”
The term “false prophet” can apply to a gamut of individuals. Most think of a “false prophet” as being one who teaches things that are heretical according to scripture, and certainly it does apply to that scenario.
“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves.” 2 Peter 2:1
But look at what else Peter said about “false prophets”:
“And many will follow their debauched lifestyles. Because of these false teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed.” Verses 2-3
The original language definition of “false prophet” is:
pseudoprophḗtēs (“a false prophet”) specializes in “the art of misimpression,” like about how they were “commissioned” by the Lord to touch the world with their message. But when in fact, they operate by self and for self so they must be exposed for what they are – and are not!
So, what does all this mean? Is the definition of a “false prophet” confined to those who teach things like Jesus wasn’t born of a virgin; or He didn’t really die physically on the cross?
I don’t believe so.
The biblical term “heresy” applies to ANYTHING that is anti-biblical. The definition of “heresy” is simply: “a choice.” A choice to teach anything that doesn’t line up with scripture and the heart of God!
Even unbelievers can recognize blatant heretical teachings. It is the subtle stuff that you must watch out for. It is just as heretical to ignore the teachings about sin and focus only on specific parts of the Bible as it is to teach something that is anti-scriptural!
I’m not going to call names today, but things like this bother me tremendously:
“God is saying that if you send in money (a certain amount) right now, your runaway daughter or son will come home!”
“God is saying that there are 100 people out there right now who are supposed to give $1000 dollars!”
“In every situation in which someone is not healed, it directly tied to the individual’s lack of faith!”
“God wants you to be rich! That is the blessing of Abraham!”
These are some examples that I can think of. Other things are bad too. I hear a lot of talk about living a victorious life but I don’t hear a lot of talk about repentance being a part of that process.
Those who are members of Capstone know that I don’t consider it my calling to call out people who present teachings that are not biblical. I don’t have time for that because my calling is to teach you to live a biblical life! That takes all my time. Those who know me also know that I’m not saying that I know all about biblical truth or cannot be wrong about things.
But, Jesus; not Parkey said that in the last days, false prophets would rise up and deceive many. It doesn’t have to pull you away from Christ to deceive you – it only has to get your focus off of true biblical living!
I never saw our Savior saying many of the things that are being said today and they are not consistent with His or the disciples’ teaching!
To keep from being deceived, you must be a student of the Bible. Half truths bring you to the same place as outright lies! Educate yourself so that you can rightly divide the word of truth! A little leaven brings change to the whole lump of dough!!!
Be aware! Deception is a part of the arrival of the end. I’m more concerned about avoiding deception than I am signs that appear in the heavens! Signs verify where you are – deception creates a pathway that takes you somewhere you don’t want to go!
Don’t be afraid of the end! It is a time of fulfillment for those who love the Lord!
Jesus said it this way in Luke 21:28:
When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”