What does it mean to prophesy, and in what way does a false prophet fail in this regard?*
* To prophesy is not so much to “foretell” as to “forth-tell”. The purpose of prophesy is not to predict the future, but to call people to God by proclaiming the certainty of God’s purposes in the events of history, whether they be past, present or future. The failure of a false prophet in this regard is the failure to truly call people to God.
What warning does Scripture give Christians concerning false prophets? See Matthew 24:4,11,24-25, Acts 20:28-31, 2 Peter 2:1, 1 John 4:1.
What is the religious nature of a false prophet? Matthew 7:15: They come to you in _______ clothing but inwardly are __________ ________.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15: They disguise themselves as servants of _________.
2 Timothy 3:1-5: They have a _____ of ________ but deny its power; see Titus 1:16.
Who is most like Satan: He who is outwardly vile and a wicked sinner, or he who has a form of godliness but in his heart is unrepentant and still loves the vain pleasures of sin?
Does a false prophet know he is a false prophet? Matthew 15:14: He is a _______ guide.
2 Tim 3:13: A false prophet is an imposter who ______ others and is himself ______.**
** A false prophet doesn’t know he is a false prophet, because the very nature of deception prevents him from knowing he is deceived! Like the religious leaders who put Jesus to death, false prophets are deceived to believe they are actually serving God.
What is the true nature of false prophets? Isaiah 56:10-11: They are ________ for gain.
Micah 3:5,9-11: They instruct for a _______ and divine for _______.
2 Timothy 3:2,4: They are lovers of ______, lovers of ______, and lovers of _________ rather then lovers of God.
2 Timothy 4:3: They ________ ears; i.e., they tell the people ____ ____ ____ __ _____.
2 Peter 2:2-3,14,18: They follow their ________ and in their ______ they will ________ you with ________ ________. Their heart has been __________ __ ___________. They speak _________ ______ __ __________ and entice by _________ ____________ those who escape from the ones who live in error.
Who does the New Testament uphold as the epitome of a false prophet? See 2 Peter 2:15-16, Jude 1:11.
What outward appearance did Balaam have that would lead one to believe he was a true servant of God? See Numbers 22:7-18,34, 23:5-12,25-26, 24:1-2,10-13,17.
Because a person prophesies words of truth and speaks blessings over God’s people, does that mean he must necessarily be a true servant of God? See Matthew 7:22-23.
What evidences do we find that Balaam’s heart was not right with God and God was giving him over to his lusts? See Number 22:18-22,32,35.
What was Balaam’s great sin that made him the epitome of a false prophet? See Joshua 24:9-10, Revelation 2:14, Numbers 25.
Note: Prevented by God from cursing the people of God and caused to give a blessing instead, Balaam counseled Balak to lead the people of God into sin so that God Himself would destroy them. In doing so Balaam did what all false prophets before and after him have done thus making him the epitome of a false prophet: He surrendered the people of God to sin out of greed for the worldly gain such would bring. Consider that a minister who waters down the word of God so as to not offend the tithers who pay his salary is no different than Balaam. And just like Balaam he is deceived that because he speaks blessings over God’s people he is a true servant of God.
What is the overall message of a false prophet? See Jeremiah 6:13-15, 8:8-12, 14:13, 23:14,16-17,21-22, Ezekiel 13:8-10.
How is the deception of a false prophet the same as that of the devil? See Genesis 3:1-4.
What is the result of a false prophet’s message in the hearts of those who give heed to his message? See Deuteronomy 29:19-21, Jeremiah 5:1-6,12,30-31, 7:1-15, Ezekiel 13:22.
Does the New Testament describe religious people who had a false security that they were saved but in fact would be destroyed by the wrath of God? See Matthew 3:1-3,7-10, Luke 13:23-28, John 8:31-47,59, 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3, 2 Peter 2:18-22, Jude 1:3-5.
What warnings does the Bible give us against believing the peace and safety message of the false prophets and developing a false security? See 1 Corinthians 10:1-13, Hebrews 3:5-4:11.
When the Bible commands us to not be deceived, is it possible that we could be deceived? See 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Galatians 6:7-8, Ephesians 5:3-7, 1 John 3:7-10.
What passage of Scripture summarizes the Bible’s teaching about false prophets and false security? See Matthew 7:13-27.
Scriptures to Memorize: “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it. Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:13-23).
Assignment: Read Jeremiah 5-8,23, Ezekiel 13, 2 Peter 2, and Jude.