So What is a False Prophet? ~ Reflections from Acts

The prophets and the prophetic movement have been under considerable fire lately with what has been happening in the US. There is heightened interest in the prophetic both positive and negative. The biggest confusion seems to come in defining what a false prophet is. ⠀

Acts 13 describes a story of a specific false prophet, Elymas, who had influence over a Roman proconsul, Sergius Paulus. He was interested in the apostles Paul and Barnabas speaking the word of the Lord to him. Elymas deliberately tried to stop this and was struck with blindness for his deception and lawlessness. You can read about this in Acts 13:6-12.⠀

“When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.”

Acts 13:6-12 ESV

Elymas was a false prophet because of his MOTIVES and not necessarily the accuracy of the words he was giving. False prophets can give accurate words but they are “wolves in sheep’s clothing” deliberately trying to deceive the people. Remember, the devil knows your details too. Do not be moved by the accuracy of a prophetic word.⠀

Jesus gave us the guidelines to identify a false prophet. He said we could identify them by their fruits.⠀

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits…”⠀

Matthew 7:15-16a NKJV⠀

What are these fruits? Good fruit is the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). These are nine different manifestations of love. If love is not the motivating factor for giving a prophetic word, then it is false. True prophets can make mistakes and get it wrong. They do not operate under the laws for Old Testament prophets as we are under the New Covenant and the Holy Spirit has been poured out upon all flesh.⠀

Therefore, false prophets are not defined by accuracy but by the motives of the heart. Do you have questions about this? Please drop them in the comment section below…👇🏼⠀

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