Summary: Watch out for false prophets
(Read Ad pages from TV Guide on psychics.)
Now, what I want to know is, if these people know, then why, when you call them,
do they ask your name? Hey, you’re the psychic, you tell me. I mean, you’re the
ones who can tell the future, who can read the tarot cards and tell me what’s going
to happen to me, whether my relationship will work out, if I’ll get that promotion at
work, yadda, yadda, yadda. And they will share their wisdom with us for the low,
low price of $3.99 per minute ($3.50 if you use a charge card).
These people are prophesying, you might say. They claim to be prophets. The word
prophet means “a person who speaks for God or by divine inspiration.”. A false
prophet is one who is a false teacher. These people are false prophets. They cannot
tell the future. And if they could, they would be the richest people in the world
because they would know the Powerball numbers every week and who to bet on in
the Super Bowl, World Series, etc., etc.
When it comes to these psychics, some people will believe anything! Christians
aren’t exempt from this mindset, either. They see someone on TV preaching and
they think they must be of God. They see a book in a Christian bookstore and
assume it must be okay.
Matthew here is warning us to “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in
sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
Jesus said that these false prophets would come to you in sheep’s clothing. Think
about it. If a wolf wanted a lamb chop for dinner, and had the ability to wear a
sheep suit, what better way to sneak into the flock and get it. He might look like a
sheep, but on the inside he would still be a hungry, vicious wolf. You see, the old
saying that "if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is probably a duck" is
not necessarily true. In fact, we all walk like and quack like a lot of things we
aren’t. The strategy of Satan is not to show up in a red suit and horns, pointed tail,
and a pitchfork. That’s not how he works. His strategy is to appear to be something
he is not.
I remember as a kid playing with the 8-ball like I used in the children’s chat. I
would ask a question, then keep asking till I got the answer I wanted. I remember
playing with a ouija board, asking questions like: Who killed Kennedy, what will I
do for a living, and so on. I often thought my sisters were moving the little plastic
thing you were supposed to lightly rest your fingers on. Even accused them of it. I
used to read my horoscope to see what the future held for me. Now, these may be
harmless things, maybe just games. Then again, maybe not. You’ll have to decide.
Read 1 John 4:1 We need to test these psychics, these games. Are they from God?
A false prophet is too good to be true, too perfect. They appear to be thoroughly
Christian and say all the right things. The terminology is just what it should be. They
talk about God, Jesus, the cross. They quote from the Bible. Nothing in their speech
betrays their true identity.
The difference between genuine and counterfeit is never obvious. Nobody at a store
would be fooled if I handed them a $20 bill from a Monopoly game. But what if the
20 I handed them was perfectly shaped, green, had the marks of currency, felt like a
twenty, and had Andrew Jackson’s picture on it. Then they might be fooled.
Compared to counterfeit money, religious counterfeits are even more difficult to tell
So if a false prophet appears to be a true prophet and a true prophet appears to be a
true prophet, how can we tell the difference? If we can’t depend on outward
appearances, how do we know what is true and what is false? How do we determine
whether a religious leader or a group is really from God? Well, we have to dig
deeper, see past the outward appearance. The key is to unzip the sheep’s suit.
Some listen for the name Jesus or a few Bible verses, and if the person does that it
must be okay. Yet there are lots of false belief systems that will make you feel good,
that look good, and that use the name Jesus. A friend of mine was telling me about
his Aunt & Uncle who emptied their bank account and sent every penny to Jim &
Tammy Faye Bakker. They were even ready to sign over their houses when the