Are There False Prophets In The U.S. Today?

Are There False Prophets In The U.S. Today? April 14, 2024

Do you believe there are false prophets in the United States today?  If you do, do you think they are dangerous?  Let us look at some ideas from Biblical times and see what we might find in our own time.

Gemini_Generated_Image_By William Orr1270
False Prophets Scroll        Gemini generated image By William Orr

Should we be concerned about false prophets today?

  • What is a prophet?
  • How can a prophet be false?
  • Are false prophets dangerous?
  • Do we have false prophets working in the world today

What is a false prophet?

The Oxford Companion to the Bible tells us that prophets have been a part of Judaism and Christianity since the earliest times.  It is important to define what we mean by the word “prophet.”

In a previous article called “Can You Spot A False Prophet?” we saw that A prophet, then, is one who utters divinely inspired revelations.

If these divinely inspired revelations are false or if the revelations are not, in fact, divinely inspired, then the prophet is a false prophet.

A false prophet can be false in his message or in his very person.

For the purposes of this article, a prophet can be anyone who has been inspired by YHWH to make statements which reveal that inspiration.  We will not qualify the nature or method of that inspiration but will leave that for later discussion.

Praying to heaven
Pixabay Image by Barbara Jackson

A prophet who meets this definition will have legitimately, in whatever manner, received a message from YHWH and will have transmitted that message to the people intended by YHWH.

Are false prophets dangerous?

This is the crucial question.  We turn first to the Bible itself. It turns out that the Bible authors had quite a bit to say about false prophets!

The author of the Book of Deuteronomy wrote, quoting YHWH: 

“But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.”

The Ezekiel author, also quoting YHWH:

My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord God.

The Book of Jeremiah:

“And the Lord said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.”

We can see that in the Hebrew Bible, Israel’s God was greatly concerned about what he saw as false prophets and we can infer that they were indeed seen as dangerous.

What does the New Testament teach about false prophets?

The first book found in our New Testament, the Gospel of Matthew, contains several admonitions against false prophets.

In Matthew chapter 17, verses 15-20, we find Yershua speaking to a crowd:

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”

In Matthew chapter 24, verse 24, Yeshua warns:

24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”

The Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles contain similar warnings.

From this standpoint, we find that false prophets are still a danger to be warned about even during and after the ministry of Yeshua.

Were false prophets involved in the formation of the Christian religion?

This is, of course, a sensitive subject involving different people’s understanding of what is involved in salvation in the Christian tradition.  Yeshua’s specific theology and formula for salvation relating to what he saw as the coming Kingdom of God is very different than the theology and formula asserted by Paul, the self-proclaimed “apostle.”

In my previous Patheos article, “Was Paul A False Prophet,” we saw that these approaches to salvation are so different that an argument has been made that Paul himself, could be seen as a false prophet.

Do we have false prophets working in the world today?

False prophecy can be found in false scriptures
False prophecy can be found in false scriptures   Gemini generated Image by William Orr

The Taliban

In spite of any argument to the contrary, we do most certainly have false prophets working in the world today.

The Jerusalem Post, on April 12, 2024, reported that Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada has stated that:

“…Taliban has suspended girls’ education past the sixth grade and banned women from public spaces such as parks, gyms, and bathhouses.”

“I am administering God’s Hudud,” Akundzada said, using an Arabic word that literally translates to “limits,” and refers to the sets of laws and punishments prescribed by Islam. “They object to it, saying public stoning and hand-cutting are against their laws and human rights… Islam is a divine religion that deserves respect, but you insult it instead.”

The Taliban claims to be doing the work of Islam’s god.  The Taliban limits rights for the majority of its population.

The Taliban and its leaders are FALSE PROPHETS.

Prosperity preachers

The Christian Post, reporting on April 11, 2024,

Some 2,700 years ago, the Prophet Micah warned that “prophets tell fortunes for money.” (Micah 3:11 NIV) The business of prophecy selling continues in 2024.

Panganai Java, the flamboyant Zimbabwe-born but Maryland-based preacher better known as Prophet Passion Java, finances his lavish lifestyle by preaching the prosperity gospel and charging his followers $555 for phone calls.

Based on the warning in the Book of Micah, together with common sense, we can see that the Gospel of Prosperity is false and that its preachers are FALSE PROPHETS.

 

False prophets are working in the U.S. today
False prophets are working in the U.S. today Gemini generated Image by William Orr

Politicians

There is no tactful way to approach this.  Any politician who claims:

  • to be the sole savior
  • to be “chosen”
  • to be above man’s laws
  • to be above a god’s laws
  • to admire dictators

is a FALSE PROPHET.

Clearly, there are most certainly false prophets in the world and the United States today.

These examples are but a few.  You can easily find many more simply by reading a newspaper.

Our times, while unique, reflect the whole history of our civilization.

I believe that false prophets will always be with us.  If we are to remain faithful to any sense of human compassion, we are called to be wary at all times of these imposters and sowers of the seeds of conflict and deceit.  False prophets and the damage they do is the concern of every person, whether one follows a specific faith or not.  If anyone falsely claims to be speaking the mind of YHWH (or any other deity, for that matter), that person is a false prophet and needs to be shunned by the civilized and aware citizens of the world.

I would like to hear your thoughts on this.  Do you believe there are false prophets in America today?  Please let me know your thoughts in the comments!

 

About William T. Orr, Jr.
William T. Orr, Jr. is a retired educator, most recently the principal of a high school named in the Top 10 in the nation by Newsweek magazine. His school was also named to the Newsweek Top 100 each year while he was principal. Orr has been a teacher, a counselor, and a school administrator. He was influential in working in the district and state to lobby for more equitable pay for educators, and has long been a vocal advocate for more academic freedom for educators. Orr has a B.A. in English Language and Literature, a M.Ed. in Education Administration and Supervision, and an Ed.D. in Education leadership. He’s also completed Postdoctoral study at Yale Divinity School and Dallas Theological Seminary. Shortly after retirement, Orr began to study Abrahamic religions with a focus on why and how small religious sects among an often conquered people became what evolved into three of the most dominant and influential religions in the world today. Orr grew up in the American South and the Christian religion. His studies have shown him that what is taught to the children of religion in the 1960s to the 2020s is woefully inaccurate and downright wrong in some cases. These unfortunate facts have informed politics and society in dangerous ways. You can read more about the author here.
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