Saturday, February 18, 2017

What is a False Prophet?



A false prophet is somebody who claims or pretends to speak for God, when God has not sent him. There have been many false prophets throughout history; and there were many false prophets in ancient Israel. In fact, it appears that for most of their history the false prophets outnumbered the true ones by a wide margin. King Ahab had 400 false prophets and one true one. His name was Micaiah the son of Imlah. They gave Ahab contradictory advice. He chose to follow the advice of the false ones, and came to an untimely end. His story can be read in 1 Kings 22:1–40; and 2 Chronicles 18. In the days of Jeremiah too there were many false prophets, and few true ones. They gave the people contradictory advice. The word of the Lord to the people through Jeremiah concerning the false prophets was:

Jeremiah 27:

14 Therefore hearken not unto the words of the [false] prophets that speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon: for they prophesy a lie unto you.
15 For I have not sent them, saith the Lord, yet they prophesy a lie in my name; that I might drive you out, and that ye might perish, ye, and the [false] prophets that prophesy unto you.

Jeremiah 29:

8 For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your [false] prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed.
9 For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the Lord.

One of those false prophets was particularly vicious and nasty. His name was Hananiah. He contradicted everything that Jeremiah said. In the end even God seems to have had enough of him, and sent him this message through Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 28:

15 Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the [false] prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The Lord hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie.
16 Therefore thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the Lord.
17 So Hananiah the [false] prophet died the same year in the seventh month.

He came to an unhappy ending. Jeremiah prophesied in Jerusalem for 40 years, against immense odds, warning the Jews of the calamity that would befall them if they did not repent. The Jews (with the help of their false prophets) fought against Jeremiah, and tried to silence him, but the Lord protected him against them. The promise of the Lord to Jeremiah at the start of his ministry was:

Jeremiah 1:

18 For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land.
19 And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee.

They fought against him relentlessly, trying to silence him, but did not prevail. He spoke to them boldly the words of the Lord, until their city was destroyed and they were taken captive into Babylon. They chose to hearken to the voice of their false prophets instead of Jeremiah, until the calamity finally came upon them. 

There are also many false prophets among us today, who fight against God and his Restored gospel. They pretend to speak with authority from God, when God has not sent them. One of the most outspoken of these is John F. MacArthur. He is the quintessential false prophet of our time. He pretends to speak with authority from God, when God has not sent him. He has also had some nasty (and false) things to say about Mormons and Mormonism:


The answer remains the same as the one that the Lord gave through Jeremiah: “I have not sent them”. The Book of Mormon, however, still gives the best answers. It is written for our time:

3 Nephi 29:

5 Wo unto him that spurneth at the doings of the Lord; yea, wo unto him that shall deny the Christ and his works!
6 Yea, wo unto him that shall deny the revelations of the Lord, and that shall say the Lord no longer worketh by revelation, or by prophecy, or by gifts, or by tongues, or by healings, or by the power of the Holy Ghost!
7 Yea, and wo unto him that shall say at that day to get gain, that there can be no miracle wrought by Jesus Christ; for he that doeth this shall become like unto the son of perdition, for whom there was no mercy, according to the word of Christ!

In the Book of Doctrine and Covenants too the Lord has had a few things to say about them (punctuation revised):

D&C 10:

55 Therefore whosoever belongeth to my church need not fear, for such shall inherit the kingdom of heaven;
56 But it is they who do not fear me, neither keep my commandments, but build up churches unto themselves to get gain; yea and all those that do wickedly, and build up the kingdom of the devil—yea verily, verily I say unto you, that it is they that I will disturb and cause to tremble, and shake to the center.

The Book of Mormon is true. It is the word of God. No one can fight against the Book of Mormon and prevail. They will share the same fate that all false prophets have done since the world began.

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