September 2011

Yesterday during a discussion, a friend of mine bring up a very interesting view, his view seems to suggest that it is incorrect to use the term “A False Prophet” in the church, and false prophets and Antichrist does not come from with the church.

Hearing of this got me curious and I wanted to look from within the scriptures to see what the scriptures had to say about that.

What is a false prophet (OT context) ?

It is basic knowledge that a prophet is someone who prophesies and teach the people of God. In the Old testament, whenever a spirit of God rest on a person, that person would be able to speak and prophesy in Gods name. The first example of this is the appointment of the 70 elders recorded in Num 11:24. Sometimes Prophets through the power of the Holy Spirit, is able to perform miraculous signs (IE: Elijah, Moses)

While prophets are moved by God and spoke on behalf of God to the people, There are also occasions where God move Moses gave specific instructions to the people regarding a false prophet. It is written in Deut 13:1-5

In that description, a false prophets may be able to perform a sign and wonder, but yet his message will be one that turn people from following God (Deut 13:1-2). Moses said that it may be a test from God to see if you will turn away (Deut 13:3-4) , but nonetheless he had to be put to death (Deut 13:5).

Just before the destruction of the kingdom of Judah, there were many false prophets who spoke of the deliverance to the kingdom of Judah (Jer 14:14-18) one of the very notable ones is Hanniah which was recorded in Jer 28)

What is a false prophet (NT context) ?

In the new testament, as the Holy Spirit descended on the believers in Acts 2, prophets are simply people who speak the words of God, teach and edify others. The Holy Spirit is able to lead them to truth (Jn 16:13)

Yet at the same time, the bible also warns us of Antichrist, Elder John spoke often on them in the book of 1 john and 2 John . (1 John 2:18-23, 2 John 7:10). At the same time, the bible talks about false teachers as well. Elder Peter talks about them in his epistle . (2 Pet 2)

The reasons for lumping false prophets and false teachers is because I once discussed with everyone that prophecy, is just about predicting events in the future.It also involves “to speak as if divinely inspired ” and “to give instruction in religious matters”

A false prophet / teacher is someone who leads people away from the truth of salvation in the bible, deceive the people in lengthy intellectual conversations, while slowly knocking God off the discussion.

While my friend thinks that false prophets is a term that cannot be used on church members. But we should ask ourselves, will Antichrist and false prophet arise from the church?

Savage Wolves From The Flock

Before Paul left Ephesus on his way back to Jerusalem before his trial, he met the Elders of Ephesus church and said

“For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.” – Paul (Acts 20: 29-31)

While I sincerely hope that every brothers and sister in the church will not fall into this category, but let us be mindful, that while there are people outside of the church who would deceive and corrupt the faith of Christians, it is usually the ones that rise up among us that are harder to deal with. Over here Paul specifically talk about people that rise up among the church. It is worthwhile for us to look from within the bible to have a glimpse of what the apostles are facing then.

Examples From The New Testament

I tried to do a scan through the new testament for places where Paul or any of the apostles talked about false teachings that was spoken by people among the church.

1. Giving heed to fables, genealogies, spending time disputing them and not edifying (1 Tim 1:3-6)
2. Perverting the Doctrines of Salvations (Gal 1:6-9)
3. Denying Resurrection of Christ (1 Cor 15:12-19)
4. Using the doctrine of man, churning up new teaching that does not lead man closer to God, but had a false appearance of humility and Godliness (Col 2:20-23)
5. Following the doctrine of Balaam, teaching to eat food offered to Idols and Sexual Immorality (Rev 2:14)
6. Following the teaching of Jezebel and being sexually Immoral (Rev 2:20-23, CF 1 Cor 5:1)

So much as I want to live in the same utopia with that friend of mine, but I guess it would be really wrong to say that it is not possible to have “false prophets/teachers” in the church. While there may be some over positive Christian groups that may place me under house arrest for breaking their utopia, I would like to continue sharing something more active.

Defence 101

While the “defence against false teachers” lesson may be a long discussion to write, and I am well aware that I have not been able to complete the many series I have been working on, I would like to share quickly the basic principles to help readers defend against false prophets / teachers.

1. Be open about mysteries but not too hung up.

While some members of the church can go into deep “technical discussions” about the mysteries such as “Daniel’s Abomination,on of Desolation”, “666” ” End time prophecies”, “Little Horn”, “Beast from the Land and Sea” “Woman and Babylon” one should always keep an open mind, but also to keep the following principles mentioned by Moses.

“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” -Moses (Deut 29:29)

While the above mentioned topics can generates hours and hours of endless research, let us not forget that the most important part of a Christian is to obey God and to preach and save the people. (Matt 28:18-20 ). It is Satan’s best move to “trick” followers of God to spend endless time doing the unimportant work while leaving the most important ones undone.

Do not be too quick to call your research “Bible Truths” where it cannot be prov-en or disprove, and not to be too hung up if you cannot find verses to “fit” into your theory.

Always have the faith that the Holy Spirit will guide its members into all truths, in due time he will reveal and not just to one, but to many who is mindful of the things of God (Jn 16:12-13)

2. Be grounded in the truth, do not believe in everything, test all teachings.

While false teachers / prophets spends alot of time creating endless dispute and drawing countless of reference from the scriptures. Let us learn from the Bereans whom Paul encountered in his missionary journey.

“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men” – Luke (Acts 17: 10-12)

These people search the scriptures daily to find out if the preaching of Paul is indeed in accordance to the bible. It is necessary for all Christians to be acquainted with the scriptures. Just as Paul said

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” – Paul (2 Tim 3: 16-17)

Our faith is one that is build on the Prophets and The Aposltes, with Christ as our cornerstone. Let us all learn understand the scriptures.

3. Resolve Not To Twist The Words Of God and Go Beyond The Teachings Of the Bible

Throughout history, we have seen that although Christians study the bible diligently, yet they came up with many ideas that are contrary to the teaching of the scriptures. this is particularly so in the last days, just as Paul once said in 2 occasions

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth” – Paul (1 Tim 4:1-3)

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie” – Paul (2 Thess 2:9-12)

Therefore, let us learn to love the simple truths we learn in the bible, and let us be careful in our interpretation of the scriptures. Let us not learn to go beyond the teaching of Christ (2 John 9) for people who teach beyond the teaching of Christ does not abide in Christ and does not have God. In our zealousness to understand the words of God let us constantly remind ourselves not to think beyond what is written.

Let us also learn not to twist the words of God, even though through it we can draw new teachings which may seems to edify others. God has provided sufficient materials to work with and those who twist scriptures often twist it to their own destructions. (2 Pet 3:14-16)

At The End Of The Day

Let us continue to be faithful in learning the scriptures, and learn to guard our faith diligently. I would like to close off by quoting the instruction of Paul to Timothy

“O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.
Grace be with you. Amen.” – Paul (1 Tim 6:20-21)

On Thursday, I had a sharing with a group of friends on the topic of “Remember To Forget”. It is the forth law of the 7 essential laws of spiritual success. They are very important rules of life that Christians should live their lives by.

In that discussion, when I was asked the question, “How much is your sense of the love of God”

At that instant of time, i was trying to find the 3rd stanza of this hymn. which reads

“Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.”

I was doing a bit of reading on cyber hymnal, and some of the Internet website. Apparently this stanza was taken from a Jewish poem known as “The Haddamut”. It is written by a Jewish man name Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai, he was a synagogue singer (AKA Cantor) in Worms, Germany.

The writers of the hymn, Frederick M Lehman and his daughter Claudia L Mays found this poem pencilled on the wall of a patient room in a mental asylum. It was obviously written during the period when the patient is sane. They added the first 2 stanza and the chorus.

Sometimes we need to be constantly reminded of Gods love, as we tend to forget how much God loves us. There was a Christian that once exclaimed “We would probably have forgotten about Christ sacrifice if not for the holy communion.”

I am sure, for every Christian who is on earth, will know how unworthy we are of Gods love, and the greatest demonstration of the love of Christ is none other than what Paul said in the book of Romans.

“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Paul (Rom 5:6-8)

Let us hold on to that love, not allowing anything to separate us from the love of God just as Paul mention later in the book of Romans

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or
famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?As it is written:
” For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord ” – Paul (Rom 8:31-39)

The love of God is such that he send his only begotten son to the world, to die for our sins. (John 3:16). As partakers of this grace of God, let us learn no longer to live for ourselves, but let all of us learn to live for God

” For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. ” – Paul (2 Cor 5:14-15)

As we ponder over the love of God, let us keep these verses in our mind.

Title : The Love Of God
Lyrics : Frederick M Lehman
Music : (Arranged by Claudia L Mays)

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race-
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.