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How Can I Recognize a False Prophet? (Y1.T1.D33)


Pexels, “John Finklestein”

Have you ever cut open a shiny red apple only to be disappointed by bitter rot?


This is what happens when we encounter a false prophet and it's why Jesus told us to examine the fruit of those who extrapolate the word of God for us.


When someone stands in a pulpit or claims God said something, our responsibility is to know the nature of God well enough to recognize the “good fruit” from the “bad.”


Like today, the “preachers” of Jesus’ time falsely represented God to the people. Jesus addressed a familiar hate-filled sermon when he said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy” (Matthew 5:43).


However, these words don’t exist anywhere in the law of Moses. God’s instructions about how we should treat our neighbors (and strangers) were quite the opposite. He never instructed us to hate. Instead his words were misconstrued by the people dispensing bad fruit.


So how can we know if someone is a false prophet?


First John 4:1 states, “Beloved, don’t believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”


The best way to recognize a good tree from a bad tree is to consume enough of God’s Word to recognize the sweet from the bitter.


Let's Read


43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ (Matthew 5:43)


21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat.

If he is thirsty, give him water to drink;

22 for you will heap coals of fire on his head,

and Yahweh will reward you. (Proverbs 25:21–22)


13 “‘You shall not oppress your neighbor, nor rob him.


“‘The wages of a hired servant shall not remain with you all night until the morning.


14 “‘You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind; but you shall fear your God. I am Yahweh.


15 “‘You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor show favoritism to the great; but you shall judge your neighbor in righteousness.


16 “‘You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people.


“‘You shall not endanger the life[a] of your neighbor. I am Yahweh.


17 “‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.


18 “‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people; but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am Yahweh. (Leviticus 19:13–18)

Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27–28,


45 that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. (Matthew 5:45)


Luke 6:32, Matthew 5:46


47 If you only greet your friends, what more do you do than others? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? (Matthew 5:47)


33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive back as much. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back; and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil.


36 “Therefore be merciful,

even as your Father is also merciful. (Luke 6:33–36)


1 “You shall not spread a false report. Don’t join your hand with the wicked to be a malicious witness.


2 “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil. You shall not testify in court to side with a multitude to pervert justice. 3 You shall not favor a poor man in his cause.


4 “If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him again. 5 If you see the donkey of him who hates you fallen down under his burden, don’t leave him. You shall surely help him with it. (Exodus 23:1–5)


15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. (Matthew 7:15)

Matthew 7:16–18, Luke 6:44,43

19 Every tree that doesn’t grow good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:19–20)


45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings out that which is good, and the evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings out that which is evil, for out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)


48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)


1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘You shall be holy; for I, Yahweh your God, am holy. (Leviticus 19:1–2)


Luke 4:32, Matthew 7:28–29, Mark 1:22

Meditation Moment


Dear God,


I need You to help me discern a lie when I hear one. I want to be the worker who properly handles the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). Where I’ve been deceived in the past, give me wisdom (James 1:5). Thank you that I can read your word for myself. Please, keep my eyes and ears open to the wondrous things out of your law (Psalm 119:18).


Amen.


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