Jesus said in Matthew 7:15-20
‘Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.’
Yes, we will know a false prophet not by his prophecies, miracles or casting out of demons but by his fruit. What is the fruit of a false prophet? The Apostle Peter gives a detailed description of the fruit of a false prophet in 2 Peter chapter 2. Shall we look at the characteristics of the fruit of a false of prophet from 2 Peter chapter 2?
Characteristics of the fruit of a false of prophet
- They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.– a false prophet will preach heresies. These are doctrines that go against even the basic principles of the Word of God.
- Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. – a false prophet’s conduct, actions, behaviour, speech will bring public shame to the Name of the Lord Jesus.
- In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. – a false prophet is one who is full of greed for money, fame, power and position. To receive all of these and retain them, he will exploit the innocent with many lies.
- This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority. – a false prophet will follow the desires of his flesh. He will never crucify his fleshly desires and passions. A false prophet will always despise counsel from established godly leadership.
- Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from the Lord. But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. – arrogance will be the hallmark of a false prophet. Because of their arrogance they will not fear to twist, turn, change even poke fun at scripture and utter blasphemous statements from their lips. They make statements which only God has the authority to declare. They exalt themselves to a demi-god status. They will even go to the extent of blaming or using as a cover Holy Spirit for sins and errors that they commit. They will preach blasphemous doctrines in matters that they have no understanding (eg: the Godhead, the divinity & humanity of Jesus, grace & sin, eternity, second coming of Christ etc.)
- They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish. – A false prophet is someone you cannot reason with. They are like animals. If you approach an animal even to help it, that animal will attack you thinking you are trying to attack it. Similarly, a false prophet will not accept reasoning but will attack back with insults, demeaning statements and talk down to others.
- Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. – a false prophet loves to display his wealth, possessions, achievements, accomplishments for all to see. They are not ashamed to revel in their earthly pleasures in front their own congregations.
- With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning – a false prophet has no conviction of sin. No Holy Spirit in them, so no conviction of sin. The heart is hardened so much that they will even break the law, openly lie, stage fake miracles, have extra-marital affairs and commit all the sins possible and act as if it is no big deal. They will always play the victim card and I am being persecuted card when they are caught in sin and confronted about it.
- they seduce the unstable – a false prophet does not approach just anyone. They have their perfect target audience. The unstable ones – People who love to hop from church to church. People who have a poor knowledge of the Word of God. People who love the prosperity of this world more than the holiness of God. People who have aspirational dreams of earthly prosperity which they know they can never achieve with their current state of affairs, so they go in search of a fast track solution to a life of abundance. People who have low self-esteem, self-identity issues are also prime targets. A false prophet knows who to target.
- they are experts in greed—an accursed brood!– a false prophet has great skill in coming up with many ways to make money. They are the best businessmen on the planet.
- They have left the straightway and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness. – A false prophet is one who has left the narrow and difficult way of Christ for the lucrative, profitable way of Balaam. A false prophet will not believe in trials and tribulations because all he wants his money, fame, position and status.
- These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.For they mouth empty, boastful words – False prophets love to boast. They love to show others how great they are, how rich they are, how big they have grown to be. The humility and simplicity that we see in Christ is no where to be seen in them.
- by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them. – False prophets will preach and teach things that appeal to the flesh and not the spirit. It is not about spiritual growth or inheriting eternity. It is all about dominion and prosperity here on earth. They promise people freedom but keep them as their slaves because they themselves are a slave to another.
Yes, we will know a false prophet not by his prophecies, miracles or casting out of demons but by his fruit and the above are the characteristics of the fruit of a false prophet. Have you noticed this fruit in anyone? If you have, he is a false prophet.
May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ protect you from deception.
Please read my other articles on deception
Did Jesus come to make you rich – the false prosperity teaching exposed
How to identify deception
Does scripture support miracle money?
Can we use John 20:30 & 21:25 to justify the signs we see today?
Why is deception so hard to detect?