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False prophets in the Old Testament

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posted on Oct, 16 2015 @ 05:04 PM
The big name prophets that we know from the Old Testament are just the tip of the iceberg.
We can find more obscure prophets known from a single episode alone, and others who are left anonymous, and there must have been many more prophets who did not come to history’s notice at all.
Among these were many men who might be called “false prophets”.

The law indicates two kinds of unwelcome prophet.
There is the prophet who says “let us go after other gods and let us serve them” (Deuteronomy ch13 vv1-3).
Such would include the prophets of Baal who contested with Elijah.
Then there is the professed prophet of the Lord, “the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name which I have not commanded” (Deuteronomy ch18 v21).

My interest is in the second kind, who are more difficult to spot.

An early example is the “prophet of Bethel” (1 Kings ch13 vv11-19), who tricked another prophet into breaking the fast which God had ordered, simply because he wanted to enjoy the other man’s company.

Later, in Ahab’s reign, we see the professional insincerity of the four hundred prophets who told the king exactly what he wanted to hear.
“Shall I go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I forbear?”
“Go up; for the Lord will give it into the hands of the king” (1 Kings ch22 v6).
The Lord himself had a completely different message for Ahab, but the king’s rewards will have been more immediate.

Otherwise, we learn about “false prophets” from the complaints of the writing prophets.
Sometimes they bring prophets into their criticism of the priests;
“You [priest] shall stumble by day, the prophet also will stumble with you by night” (Hosea ch4 v5).
Similarly Zephaniah;
“Her prophets are wanton, faithless men; her priests profane what is sacred, they do violence to the law” (Zephaniah ch3 v4).
While Isaiah says that “the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink” (Isaiah ch28 v7).
As long as the priest is ignoring the Lord and acting in support of the status quo, the natural role of the Lord’s prophet is in conflict with the priests.
So if priest and prophet are working hand in glove, or conducting themselves in the same way, something is probably going wrong.

Micah complains about the mercenary prophets who lead the people astray;
“…who cry ‘Peace’ when they have something to eat, but declare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths”.
Whether they call themselves prophets, seers, or diviners, they will all be put to shame (Micah ch3 vv5-7).
But this failing of the prophets is partly the fault of the people themselves, who put them under pressure;
“For they are a rebellious people, lying sons, sons who will not hear the instruction of the Lord;
Who say to the seers ‘See not’’;
And to the prophets ‘Prophesy not to us what is right;
Speak unto us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn from the path, let us hear no more of the Holy One of Israel’” (Isaiah ch30 vv9-11).

The best record of the clash between true and false prophecy comes from the time of Jeremiah.
The political crisis was reaching its climax.
On the one hand, Jeremiah was presenting the blunt and uncompromising message that any revolt against Babylon would fail. It was not the Lord’s will that Jerusalem should break away from that connection, and he would not help them if they tried.
On the other hand, there was no shortage of prophets willing to encourage the people in their illusions, to “speak unto them smooth things”. They promised that the Lord would back up Israel, without fail, in anything they wanted to do.

“An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; the people love to have it so” (Jeremiah ch5 vv30-31).
Once again, that ominous alliance between priests and prophets.
They could not see what Jeremiah could see; that is, how the need for judgement would affect the Lord’s decision;
“They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’, and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say ‘No evil shall come upon you’” (ch23 v17).
Whereas “If they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to the people, and they would have turned them from their evil ways, and from the evil of their doings” (ch23 v22)
“They have spoken falsely of the Lord and have said ‘He will do nothing, no evil shall come upon us, nor shall we see sword and famine’” (ch5 v12).
He says about both priest and prophet;
“They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying ‘Peace, peace’, when there is no peace” (ch6 v14).
That word “Peace” has a double meaning. It’s not just about their relation with the outside world, but also about their relation with God. If the people are not “at peace” with God, then they won’t be “at peace” with Babylon either.
Therefore the priests would be “appalled” and the prophets would be “astounded” on the day when the Lord brought his judgement against the city (ch4 v9).

Jeremiah urged the people to ignore these providers of false comfort;
“So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your soothsayers, or your sorcerers, who are saying to you ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon’” (ch27 v9).
Not surprisingly, the people on the other side showed him the same hostility;
“Then they said; Come, let us make plots against Jeremiah, for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not heed any of his words” (ch18 v8).
It was a combination of priests and prophets who seized hold of him and accused him in front of the princes (ch26).
The prophet Hananiah son of Azzur opposed him with counter-prophesies, in the house of the Lord, in the presence of the priests (ch27).
The prophet Shemaiah, one of the exiles in Babylon, wrote to the priests in Jerusalem urging them to put Jeremiah in the stocks (ch28).

On the other side of the desert, the prophet Ezekiel was engaged in a similar conflict (Ezekiel ch13).
He criticised those who “prophesy out of their own minds” and “follow their own spirit” (vv2-3).
They said “Thus says the Lord” when the Lord had not sent them (v6).
As in Jerusalem, they showed their falsity by seeing “visions of Peace” for Jerusalem, when Peace was not what the Lord intended (v16).

In the final event, the prophets of judgement were vindicated, and the comforting prophets were shown to be foolish deceivers.
Therefore Zechariah could foresee a time when a man would be ashamed to own the name of prophet.
His family would disown him. His father and mother would say “You shall not live, for you speak lies in the name of the Lord”.
Existing prophets would abandon the hairy mantle of prophecy, and claim to be tillers of the soil instead.
(Zechariah ch13 vv2-6)

The allegations of “false prophecy” in the Old Testament reflect the tension between two types of prophet.
The first type, which includes the writing prophets and other “big name” prophets, teach that God will defend his people against his enemies, but that he cannot be taken for granted as offering unconditional support. For there is also the possibility of judgment for sin.
The second type offer the comforting assurance that the support from God is unconditional, and cannot be forfeited.
The “false prophets” are the second group, who make it even harder for the people to follow the guidance of their God.

posted on Oct, 16 2015 @ 05:56 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Which type are you?

I will confess to being the latter.

I choose honey and locus though....and so what to each.

Learn from everything around you, it's where it starts.


posted on Oct, 16 2015 @ 06:01 PM
a reply to: Treespeaker
I'm not either kind.
Paul lists the workers in the church as "apostles, prophets, teachers, workers of miracles...", and I would class myself as a teacher. Or what Jesus called "a scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven".
I like to think I'm a faithful teacher.

posted on Oct, 16 2015 @ 10:12 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

I'm definitely the first kind.

I do think, though, that Christians are quick to overlook and forgive all the evangelical false prophets. I'm talking about the ones who give predictions (like Pat Robertson) and who are wrong every year. The bible says if a prophet is wrong even once, they are not to be followed. In fact some of them would be stoned to death for the things they say in the mega churches along the bible belt.

posted on Oct, 16 2015 @ 11:48 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

I think we have 2 types of false prophets today.

One claims Armageddon is complete destruction that can't be avoided. Then they try to rationalize either a date or proximity.

The second claims that one particular group will be saved merely by faith, regardless of works. All religions share this second prophet.

I imagine a true prophet would present the future as a choice just like the biblical prophets. Because whatever hasn't happened is still dependent on our willingness to repent for our sins.

The reason that Isreal was prophesied against in war always was tied to their obedience to the law. Isreal always prospered when the true prophet was able to bring them back to obedience to God's law. But Israel was always destroyed when they ignored or even killed God's prophets.

If we fail to repent we should expect harsh judgment. But if we repent then we should expect the kingdom to flourish.

It's foolish to think we understand the future and we are specifically told that no one will know the day or time. Which implies that no one will fully understand the prophecies until they occur. All will be deceived even the elect if that is possible.

edit on 17-10-2015 by Isurrender73 because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 17 2015 @ 02:02 AM
a reply to: Abysha
Yes, indeed. And for that matter the "prosperity gospel" could be cited as an example of "speak unto us smooth things, prophesy illusions".

edit on 17-10-2015 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 17 2015 @ 11:44 AM
a reply to: Isurrender73
Yes, I've often commented on the futility of trying to "set dates" for prophesied events, even put up a thread about it.
Armageddon is really what the Old Testament calls "the Day of the Lord", the time when God puts out his power and organises the world as he wants it to be.
In Revelation, it equates to the return of Christ, and is followed by the chapters describing the new Jerusalem.

The question of faith and works is too large to be talked through in a single thread, and it would take us too far away from the main theme of this one, which is Old Testament prophecy.
I can summarise it briefly;
EVERYONE in the New Testament, including Jesus and James, testifies to the essential nature of faith.
EVERYONE in the New Testament, including Paul, testifies to the importance of doing what is right.
The key to the relationship between them is that faith comes FIRST, in order of time, and works follow on afterwards. This is the consensus, even though different writers focus on different aspects of the formula.

edit on 17-10-2015 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 25 2016 @ 10:30 AM
I've found this thread as something a bit unusual happened to me a few weeks back...
I usually listen to a radio station here in the U.S. called KLOVE. It's contemporary gospel music and have been listening during my morning commute for going on 3 years now.

Anyways, a few weeks ago there was some storms approaching and the signal went ou. Was bleeding in with some other station. I just decided to switch to something else and found this station with a minister, Dr. Robert Jeffress ( never heard of him before) and he was doing a series on the book of Daniel.
Wow. He covers a bit each day in this 30 minute broadcast and had some takes on it I have never heard.
He, Dr. Jeffress, says he thinks in the end time Rome will be a strong military as it was in biblical times. Also supposedly Daniel has been interpreted as being able to accurately foretell the exact time of the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.

Curious if you've heard of Jeffress and any of this?

posted on Mar, 25 2016 @ 11:24 AM

originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: Isurrender73
Yes, I've often commented on the futility of trying to "set dates" for prophesied events, even put up a thread about it.

Without a date, time or expired date it's simply not a prophecy.

Attempting to claim that setting such requirements is 'a futility' is to be expected from those that are so restricted and shackled by their own bias.

posted on Mar, 25 2016 @ 11:42 AM

originally posted by: Prezbo369
Without a date, time or expired date it's simply not a prophecy.

That is a private, artificial definition, constructed to meet the needs of your own argument.
I have noticed this "argument by definition" as an growing practice on these boards, on both sides of the debate.

According to more common usage, a "prophecy" is anything that a prophet is declaring (as part of his function).
A argument constructed on your private definition has no value.

In any case, I think you actually agree with me that setting such requirements s a futile act.
Your only objection is that you think I am using the wrong word for what these people are doing.
Do you have to be so aggressive even when you're agreeing with people?
edit on 25-3-2016 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 25 2016 @ 12:43 PM
a reply to: maybee
Firstly, I don't know about Dr Jeffress. In fact I know nothing about American preachers or the American church, so I can't comment on that.
Yes, at first glance, the "fourth kingdom" in Daniel ch7 does seem to be pointing towards Rome.
But would a future kingdom be a literal Rome, or rather a state like Rome? There are comments in Revelation about "Babylon", but hardly anyone would apply them to the literal geographical site of ancient Babylon. Everybody understands them as talking about a power which resembles Babylon in dominating its world.
I think all the hints which appear to indicate "Rome" need to be treated in the same way. They should be applied to a power which would dominate the world and mistreat God's people in the same way that Babylon and Rome did in their own time.
The actual geographical location could be somewhere else altogether.

My comments in another thread ("The futility of date-setting") would tell you what I think of attempts to foretell the exact date of Christ's return.
If he is getting it out of Daniel, he is probably using the "seventy weeks" passage of ch9. At a guess, he is saying "seventy years after 1948".
Once 2018 has passed, we can cross that one off the list as well.

edit on 25-3-2016 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 26 2016 @ 08:23 AM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Wow. That's exactly what he's been talking about tho he has not predicted a date. Now oddly enough I was looking at the Daily Mail(yeah I know) but there is a pic of some old ruins that's been recaptured from ISIS. it said it use to belong to Rome.
Just odd to see after thinking bout all this Daniel stuff.

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