Prophetic service vs. False prophecy
Motto: ”… the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets” (1Corinthians 14:32)
”For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together”(Matthew 24:28)
In world history, prophetic word was a message mainly for those whom God loved and wanted to protect from something, from some kind of imminent harm or to whom He made some promise what to do in the future to be able to survive. In the Old Testament Israel benefited from this privilege and in the New Testament Christians are the chosen people. That kind of Christianity that consists of members whose hearts are circumcised in the spirit according to the testimony of Romans 2:28-29.
Isa 46:9-10 ”... I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done…”
In Psalms 147: 20 The Scripture reveals that He does it only to his people, does not let know his orders to other people.
1Thess 5:5 writes in this way: ”... Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.”
The Word reports on many cases when someone wanted to fulfil this mission arbitrarily, highlighting his own will, in opposition to God and the prophets sent by Him. However, the main feature of prophecy is the following: ”... 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.” (2 Peter 1:20-21).
Not few conflicts were caused during the times by the difference between the prophets sent by God and the false prophets, because the representatives of both sides usually claimed that the Lord had sent them. It would be difficult to talk about all the cases reported in Bible, thus I would like to mention only a few significant examples of Word that outlines the phenomenon itself somehow, as well as describes the most important features of the two opposite poles.
Jer 23:16-17 finds the false prophets sinful because of the false prophecies: ”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. They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one […] No evil shall come upon you.”
The false prophets are scolded in Ezek 13:10 like this ”... they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace” and in verse 16, ”see visions of peace […],and there is no peace”.
The Scripture also mentions the wickedness of false prophets in Micah 3:5: ”Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.” Verse 11: ”The heads […] judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us.”
In part 28 of the book of Jeremiah when the false prophet Hananiah predicted the Babylonian captivity to be shorter, he predicted something better than it had been originally planned by the Lord, Jeremiah told him (8-9) the following: ”The prophets that have been before me and before thee of old prophesied both against many countries, and against great kingdoms, of war, and of evil, and of pestilence. The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the LORD hath truly sent him.” Afterwards, the Lord revealed to Jeremiah that Hananiah did not say His will. Hananiah had to pay for this with his life.
We could also mention the persecution of Elijah who had to flee from Jezebel according to 1 Kings 19 and who also made the prophets of the Lord slain (1Kings 18:3). Elijah's life ended in an extraordinary way, he did not see death, but was taken away (2 Kings 2:11). He could be special to God, as he was given this privilege. / The spirit or strength, which was in him appears symbolically in Malachi 4:5, now as Elijah to whom Jesus referred in relation to John the Baptist (Matthew 11:14) and who he met in the company of Moses on a high mountain, where he took Peter, James and John with himself (Mark 9:2-9). /
So we can generally say that prophetic word usually aimed that God warn, caution, indicate the impending trouble, but it is also important to emphasize that the periods of trials promoted conversion in every time. In case of Nineveh the whole city was saved because the people listened to the prophetic word and changed. Obviously, there are also many cases when the plagues planned by God – because of the large number of sins - were no longer possible to avoid and e.g. people were fallen into captivity for a predetermined period of time, the same way as we have just read it in Jeremiah 28.
The word of God and telling the truth were never rewarded by the world of course. 1Thess 3:3 ”...no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.”
In the New Testament, in Luke's Gospel Jesus says the following in 6:26: ”Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” and in Matthew 16:26 this: ”... For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul…?”
The prophets themselves had very bitter fate. In Matthew 5:12 we can read that prophets were persecuted. In Matthew 23:29 Jesus told the religious leaders that ”ye build the tombs of the prophets” and the 34-37-and verse that says that ”some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge […] and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias…” In Luke 11:47-51 and in 13:34 we can read about Jesus’s same statement on this.
In Acts (3:14-15) Peter was speaking about Jesus like this: ” ...ye denied the Holy One and the Just [...] killed the Prince of life.” And in 7:52 Stephen said this in his speech of defence: ”Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One...”. Afterwards he was stoned to death.
In 1Thess 2:15 Paul writes this: ”...Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men.” And James writes this in 5:6: ”Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.”
In the book of Revelation (Part 11) the two witnesses, who are ”standing before the God of the earth” and who obviously act His will, will be overcome by the beast ascending out of the bottomless pit.
About the false prophet arising at the end of world history who is to serve Antichrist, we can read in the book of Revelation 13:11-17. (He will do great wonders, deceive the dwellers of the Earth, have an image of Antichrist made to which give life to be able to speak, make people to receive a mark in their right hand or foreheads including the name of Antichrist or the number of his name. 666)
We should also mention that John the Baptist was also beheaded and that the 12 Apostles suffered martyrdom except for 1.
1. Andrew - crucified on a cross
2. Bartholomew - beaten then crucified
3. James, the son of Alphaeus - stoned to death
4. James, the son of Zebedee - beheaded
5. John - exiled, died late in life
6. Jude (also known as Taddai, Thaddeus, Lebbeus) - crucified
7. Matthew – slain with a halberd
8. Simon Peter – crucified, his head being down and his feet upward
9. Philip - crucified
10. Simon - crucified
11. Thomas – thrust through with a spear
12. Matthias (who was elected later to replace Judas Iscariot) - beheaded
(in the wake of Fox's Book of Martyrs)
And it should be also mentioned that there were some of God’s men who even if they have not suffered martyrdom, took a share in persecution: ”... they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented ... they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” (Hebrews 11:37-38).
We had met with such words in section The 7-year end-time period that are about persecution. (Matthew 24:9-10; Luke 21:12; 16-17; John 16:2) In Luke 21:16 the Word writes that ”some of you shall they cause to be put to death.” (So not everyone). In section The Day of the Lord we can read words that speak that some believers will stay alive until the Rapture. It would be difficult to say how personal lives will turn. Of course, everyone should look personally for God's guidance and will in this respect.
Jesus tells those who will be betrayed: ”In your patience possess ye your souls.” (Luke 21:19) And the book of Revelation warns us in relation to the persecution of last time like this: ”He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” (13:10)
THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS IS THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY (Rev 19:10)
Anyway, God’s men were such that ”the world was not worthy of” (Heb 11:38).