On False Prophets and Prophecies

“Beware of false prophets”-Matt.7:15; Jer. 23:16 (Image: 10 Commandments monument by Elhanan ben-Avraham)

“You shall not take up the name of the LORD in vain, for the LORD will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.” – the Ten Commandments

For the last forty years in Jerusalem we have watched prophets of every variety and flavor blaze brightly across our sky to deposit their prophetic predictions – most invariably wrong – only to sputter and burn out, being of the very nature of meteorites.

Does anyone recall to mind the memory of “Y2K”, or “88 reasons the Rapture Will Happen in 1988,” or the ‘great fire’ to fall from Heaven in Jerusalem in 1988, or the ‘great default’ that would destroy the American economy, or “The Coming Russian Invasion of Israel” back in the ‘70’s, or the Peres vs Shamir election that would not happen in 1984 because “before the mud dries on the Golan, Syrian tanks will descend and the blood will come up to the horses’ bridles”? And now we have those modern ‘prophets’ who have declared to us that Heaven assured them that Mr. Trump would be the president of the USA for the next four years. They were wrong, no matter how much they wish us to ”just believe.”

Well, in the old tradition of the Great American Medicine Show clanging into town to cure your ills, how much of modern Christianity has become superficial antics and entertainment, muttering and false prophecies and false healings and wild speculations and dreams of wishful thinking and magical repetitions verging on the superstitious to conjure a new Pentecost by those who know not to discern between the God-given imagination and the voice and the visions of the Creator. And therein we find an inordinate craving for signs and wonders of the supernatural, whereas the song sung in Heaven is, “The whole Earth is filled with His glory,” so we’ve not so very far to search.

Today we are seeing the office of prophet being watered down and reduced to mere guesswork and speculations, with very lowered standards- the same lowering of standard as we see happening in the world around us. But God does not lower His standards, the eternal standard remains: “You shall not take up the name of the Lord in vain…”

We have grown weary of false prophecies, false healings, false words from God, and even false love- which is nothing but hillul Hashem – and taking up the Lord’s name in vain.  This should not be, and is certainly leading to disappointments which are facilitating the predicted Great Falling Away. The intolerable must not be tolerated. As any may have noted in my art, I’m a stickler for details, and I’ve been watching and noting the ‘prophets’ of our days, including notables and some of the less notables – things that simply did not come to pass. Of course some of them use the Jonah card, saying it did not happen because they prayed. Some seem to believe that without their prayer the sun would not again rise. No, as Dylan said, “If something isn’t right, it’s wrong.” As we witness the decline in standards in art, music, films, so some are reducing the standard of the word ‘prophecy’ to maybe, if, sometimes, and mere guesswork. As one whose profession is the use of the God-given imagination, I tell you that many in the Charismanic world cannot discern between that and the voice and visions of God. I’ve little need of their dreams and visions, having plenty of my own, thanks, and will solidly ground them in art and poetry. This is not a talent show for the next round of entertainment, nor is it a horse race at the Camptown Racetrack where we can bet on the bobtailed nag or the bay, but an issue of Life and Death. It is far more concerning than shifts in political histories.

Something that is 95% clean is still unclean. Something that is 95% true is false. Truth is not partial. If I fix a car but only partially, it will not run. If I am sloppy in planning a composition in a painting, it will not work. If I cast a fly partially well but the fly lands too hard on the water’s surface, the trout will not be caught. Why should our standards be any lower for the Most High- the God of Truth? False prophets and prophecies should be marked and held firmly accountable. We should not be surprised when Sinners act just like Sinners, but more alarming is when proclaimed ‘prophets’ issue us falsehood with impunity and immunity. ‘The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom’. Come let us return to the authentic bedrock from which  bursts forth deep springs of Wisdom- and Truth. Truth is indivisible and non-negotiable.

“I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who by Myself spread out the earth, who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who confounds the wise and turns their knowledge into nonsense, who confirms the message of His servant and fulfills the counsel of His messengers.”- Isaiah 44:25

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Elhanan ben-Avraham, born in 1945, is a professional artist, poet, writer and father of two, grandfather of four, living in Israel since 1979. He has served in the IDF, taught the Bible internationally, published five illustrated books of poetry, painted two large Biblical murals in public buildings in Jerusalem, and most recently produced THE JERUSALEM ILLUSTRATED BIBLE, among many other works. He and his wife live in a quiet village in the Mountains of Judah.