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But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. -- 2Peter 2: 1-3 (ESV)
It is shameful what modern Charismania has turned the gifts of the Holy Spirit into. I do not agree with cessationists who believe the gifts are no longer in operation but I understand why they believe that. Benny Hinn knocking down waves of people with his anointed sports coat. Heretical schools claiming they can teach the actual gifts of the Holy Spirit. Alleged words of knowledge being fed to the huckster through his smart phone. Healing on demand. Tongues that are nothing but gibberish. Then we come to the most abused gift today -- prophecy.
Prophecy should be the clearest for us since there is so much Scripture on the subject. In the Old Testament, there was no bible for the people to rely upon. There was scripture in the traditions passed down from generation to generation but no written word of God. As such God used men as prophets to relay to the people what sayeth the Lord. Because God does not stutter nor is He hard to hear, the proof that the prophet was true was simply based on if the prophecy came true. If the prophecy was false then the false prophet was stoned to death. Sounds harsh? Not really when you realize the person was lying and blaming it on God. Also, this meant that prophecy had to be specific. Here is the inescapable truth for the wannabe prophets of today:
Nothing has changed from the Old to the New Testaments other than the fact that we now have the final revealed will of God in His Holy Bible. We already know what sayeth the Lord on every subject. There is nothing He forgot that He is now secretly telling you. So unless your prophecy directly ties back to scripture, it is dismissed. Do not speak presumptuously on behalf of the Lord. Have you no fear of God? Consider the warnings from Peter in the key verses today. The first lesson we can take from these verses is that false teachers are comparable to false prophets. Both take the word of God and distort, twist and mangle it.
The second lesson is that these heresies destroy. I think we get lulled into a false sense of security because of the sheer volume of falseness we deal with each and every day. There are always victims behind these false utterances beloved. People who stray from the faith because of them. People who never get saved because of them. People who stay away from the church because of the obvious lunacy. I have spoken to people with completely shipwrecked faith who blame God because they believed a false prophet. I have heard the argument of what harm someone like Joel Osteen can do. After all he is just trying to be positive! The damage is usually irreparable. I saw a congregant of his once post on his page that he was confused because he had done all of the tithing and positive self-talk but the Sherriff was still coming to padlock his house in a week. Perhaps the only thing sadder than his confused faith was the responses from the Osteenites who were utterly clueless that he was going to lose his house. Telling someone in this position they just have to have faith or to believe God for the impossible is not only tone deaf it is cruel. The wolf is never harmless to the flock beloved; never.