The Experience of the False Prophet
What is a “false prophet”? Is it someone who makes up a story out of his hat but never had any experience to back up that story? Or is it perhaps someone who had a profound experience but the experience is actually misleading?
There is no question that some false prophets simply concocted “visions” out of thin air but the Bible also teaches us about another type of “false prophet”.
In the First Book of Kings chapter 22 we are introduced to Zedekiah son of Chenaanah. This Zedekiah prophesied to King Ahab but his prophecy was false. Michaiah, who was a true prophet of God, described how Zedekiah had been misled. Michaiah describes God’s heavenly court sitting in judgment over Ahab. The court seeks to destroy Ahab and a medium is sought to accomplish this goal. A spirit is sent forth to persuade Ahab to go to battle where he will meet his fate. This spirit sent from on high was a real experience that Zedekiah and the other false prophets truly felt. But it was sent to mislead and to confuse.
It is clear that the fact that someone undergoes an “experience” does not prove anything. When Moses teaches us about the miracles of the false prophet he describes them as a test from God (Deuteronomy 13:4). Moses doesn’t tell us that the false prophet cannot perform miracles, signs and wonders. Instead Moses tells us that we need to measure those experiences, we need to evaluate those miracles and use our sense of discernment to understand if the miracles and the experiences are tests from God or if they are true prophecy.
The yardstick that God granted our nation so that we can evaluate these supernatural experiences is the testimony of our nation. Is the experience leading us in the path that God set us on when he took us out of Egypt or are these miracles introducing a “new” and “better” path?
Throughout history many people have attempted to market their “new paths” by claiming to be the real and rediscovered “old path”. But the path that God set us on travels through the hearts of His witness nation. And the only way that these people can claim our path for themselves is by dismissing our testimony.
As the nation chosen by God we have the responsibility toward ourselves and towards the world to remain loyal to the testimony with which we were entrusted. And the prophet Isaiah prophesied that the purpose of the Lord will indeed be fulfilled through our people. With our hearts on fire for God we will yet illuminate the world (Isaiah 60:3).