2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. (2 Peter 2: 1 & 2)

The church in America – and, I think, throughout he world – has come to a crossroads. Of late, there has been an immense cultural phenomena culminating in many, many Christian ministers prophesying falsely of the 2020 political election. Not speaking here of the political landscape, but the spiritual one, this phenomena has caused great disillusionment. There are still ministers claiming that they didn’t prophesy falsely and that the fault for events not unfolding as they prophesied lies elsewhere. Yet it remains plain that those who claimed Trump would be in office for this term prophesied falsely.

I don’t want to seem melodramatic about it, however, many seem to want to swep it under the rug when in fact it is an absolutely devastating crisis in the church on the global scale. The whole world was watching as celebrity ministers throughout American evangelical circles prolhesied, and declared adamantly that one thing was going to happen, and even when it became apparent that they were mistaken, they doubled down and declared the more adamantly even to the support of what became a riot at the American capital. Its a big deal. And I don’t mean politically, I mean spiritually. ‘…by reason of whom THE WAY OF TRUTH shall be evil spoken of.’

Christianity, and Jesus Christ, Himself (for He is the Way (John 14:6)) are being evil spoken of today because of these things, and it is not of un-merited persecution but because of false prophecy. How are we going to win the lost to Jesus Christ if our revered ministers are evidently false prophets? If people already assume Christians are delusional because we heed and follow the teachings of people who are proven to have prophesied falsely and contributed to political chaos? Likewise the many in the church who are dissillusioned, how many will lose their faith because of false prophets?

In fact what we are seeing is the fulfillment of many New Testament prophecies about the last days. False prophets, false saviors (both religious and political (Matt. 24:24)), turning unto religious fables and political conspiricy theories rather than sound Gospel doctrine (2 Tim 4:3 & 4); fixation on the miraculous rather than on Truth (2 Thess. 2:9 & 10). (For a more specific look at this thought see post: Signs, Wonders, the Roots of Holiness and the Last Days Deception) These things will culminate (according to scripture) in a great falling away until the mainstream of the church is deceived by he covenant of the antichrist (2 Thess. 2:3). Again, i don’t want to seem overly dramatic, but it is easy to see how large swathes of the church can be deceived and led astray in ways most thought impossible in the light of these recent events.

Those who prophesied falsely may have spoken out of their desires, or from the perspective of their theology, or from some obligation via partisanship to declare certain things – our aim here is not to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart but simply to recognize that these prophesied falsely out of their own hearts.

Jeremiah 23:16
16 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord.

So the first question we need to collectively ask is: what do we do with false prophecy, and how do we handle false prophets?

Actually the prophets of scripture are quite clear about this. As Jeremiah said above: ‘…hearken NOT unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you…’

Deuteronomy 18, also gives us advice:

Deut. 18:22
When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

Do not fear those who prophesied falsely: do not reverence their words, or let their message impact you.

Here’s one more from the New Testament:

2 Timothy 3:5b
…from such turn away.

Turn away from the ministry and message of false prophets. Do not attack or persecute them, don’t track them down and shout them down as they preach, simply ignore them. Ignore their entire ministry and message. Hearken not to their words (Jer. 23:16), do not fear [revere] them (Deut. 18:22), turn away from them (2 Tim. 3:5).

This might be difficult, as it seems like the many who prophesied falsely in this recent case were many of the mainstream evangelical Christian church leaders. What did Peter say was the precursor to this?

…even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them… (2 Peter 2:1)

In order to get where we are now, false teachings had to have already been introduced into the church – even false teachings that deny the Lord, Jesus Christ (again, see the post linked above ‘Signs, Wonders…’ where I talk about this in particular). That means – according to Peter – such damnable heresies DO exist in the church. (Many people don’t realize that a lot of the contemporary theology about he end times specifically actually deny the Gospel and the very blood of Jesus which bought us – for an explained example (of a doctrine you have likely been taught) see post: The Rapture, and the Return of the Old Covenant)

The church needs to recognize the crisis situation it is in, and repent. Those who prophesied falsely need to repent, yes, but we also as a church need to rethink much of what we have been taught (particularly by those who have prophesied falsely) because in order for this to have taken place in the scale and scope that it did, false doctrines had to have already been established in the church. I.e. we were already led astray before the false prophecies even came.

Ok, so we have looked at how to handle false prophets biblically (ingore them, disregard their teaching, don’t revere them), and we have also considered (briefly) that this phenomena in the church, and the recent events are actuallly the FULFILLMENT of True, biblical prophecy. How, now do we avoid deception in the future?

Do we reject all prophecy, and deny that God still sends prophets today?

Actually, he reason we led into this post with 2 Peter 2:1 & 2 rather than a similar passage speaking of false prophets is because the context of 2 Peter 2 gives us very good teaching about the prophetic. Let’s look at the preceeding verses, and see what Peter teaches about True prophecy, and how to discern it:

2 Peter 1:15-2:2
16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Wow, that’s good! He is pointing out that there is a genuine prophetic, and it is possible to operate in it, and not be deceived.

1) They didn’t follow cunningly devised fables, but were eyewitnesses of Christ (v. 16)

True Christian spirituality comes down to this one basic thing: fellowship with the living Christ. Here, Peter points out that they (the disciples) didn’t convert because they heard an intiguing doctrine, or someone convinced them intellectually of something, rather, they each had a personal experience with the Lord Jesus Christ. They knew He was God in the flesh because they KNEW Him. What is True, God will confirm to you if you heed Him personally, and allow Him to speak to your heart. I could share any number of examples from different churches that I could discern when some spiritual phenomena was being faked (or was actually a demonic maifestation) simply by paying attention to Christ within me. Your personal experience with vitally Christ is important (John 15:4 & 5). if you don’t have fellowship with Christ, get saved.

2) We have also A MORE SURE word of prophecy…

Peter, who saw Christ transfigured before his very eyes (and this is the very experience he is speaking of in this passage), and heard the voice of God the Father audibly; who also experienced trances, and visions and could discern the voice of the Holy Ghost (Acts 10:9-20) points out here that the most certain word of prophecy, which trumps even our own experience is scripture.

The Spirit of prophecy wrote the bible.

3) Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man…

When True prophets speak, it is not by the will of man, but men are moved by the Holy Ghost. If there is partisaned motivation, or a human desire involved in the prophetic it cannot be counted as sure, it must be vetted. Just because we like what we hear, or are flattered by it, or because we WANT to be does not make it prophecy; in fact, if all of those things are present, we should question it with great scrutiny.

The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Truth, not the spirit of flattery, and He does not speak to appease the will of man. He testifies of the Truth, and He testifies of Christ.

True prophecy is at the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, not at the bahest of man.

2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.