Ten: What Are False Prophets and Itching Ears?
Warnings in preparation of the end times are replete with counsel to beware of false teachers and false prophets. We not only have to watch for them, but we must watch ourselves. We need to heed warnings against being lukewarm believers choosing fables over truth and deceiving ourselves.
Matthew 24:5 gives a warning that many misinterpret. Yeshua says that “many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ, and shall deceive many.” Often this is interpreted that many shall come saying that they (the deceivers) are Christ. But the warning is that the people come in Yeshua’s name saying that Yeshua is Christ, but then after that go on to deceive many by teaching falsehoods. How deceived would you be if a stranger approached you on the street and said, “I am Jesus/Yeshua” and started preaching? You would probably think he was insane or drunk and walk away, but the odds of you believing him and being deceived are likely pretty slim. But that isn’t the warning being given here. The warning is that many will come in the name of Jesus, saying that Jesus is Christ, yet they still deceive many. In other words, preachers in their pulpits are far more likely to fulfill this Scripture than a crazy guy on the street. Isaiah 8:20 gives us an easy key to determining a false prophet – if they speak not according to the law. Anyone who tries to tell you that the law was nailed to the cross is by definition a false prophet.
Similar warnings against false prophets are found in Matthew 7:15-16, Matthew 24:11, and 2 Corinthians 11:13. Yet these false preachers, with their prosperity gospel, once saved always saved lie, and grace-excusing-sin messages will have a ready audience, as foretold in 2 Timothy 4:3-4: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” If you want to find truth, Psalm 119:142 tells you where to look: “Thy law is truth.”
2 Peter 3:16 warns of the unlearned (those not knowledgeable of Torah) and unstable (not strongly rooted in faith and truth) who will twist Paul’s writings and other Scriptures to their own destruction. That is a powerful warning. Those who have been taught that the Old Testament has been done away with, and thus not studied it and don’t know what it teaches, are highly susceptible to falling for the twisting of truth, and becoming deceived. Matthew 24:24 warns that these false prophets will be capable of deceiving even the very elect. That is why knowing the truth, worshipping in truth, and being set free by the truth, is so critical as we enter the last few years of this earth’s history.
Deceiving ourselves is also a possibility. James 1:22 says that we are deceiving ourselves when we hear, but don’t do, the word. We are told that we must worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24) and that the truth will set us free (John 8:32). The opposite of truth is a lie. Beware of the warning in 1 John 2:4: “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” God says such lukewarm believers make him want to vomit, and that they don’t realize that they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. (Revelation 3:16-17).
Sadly, many people will learn of the truths that have been covered here, and still make a choice to follow after tradition instead of turning toward truth. They believe that giving up their Saturdays and Christmas trees is a cost too great to bear so they cling to fables. Imagine yourself standing at the foot of the cross, watching Yeshua’s blood drip from the many wounds he received at his scourging , and from the entry points of the nail spikes. Now, imagine looking him in the eyes as he hangs there thirsting, and telling him that you love him and worship him, but giving up your Saturday is just too much to ask for what he is giving in return. May that never be! If you really love him, then keep his commandments. (John 14:15). They are not burdensome (1 John 5:3) but a delight (Isaiah 58:13-14). Anything else is a lie of satan!
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