True and False Prophets

True and False Prophets

Today’s post was written by Zac Poonen, pastor of Christian Fellowship Church in India. We have permission to post this in full, and we wanted to do so because we found it to be so powerful—and perfectly in line with the move of the Holy Spirit in our midst. May it bless you as much as it’s blessed us!

True and False Prophets

True and False Prophets wolves in sheep's clothing
We read in Daniel 11:32 that those who are influenced by the spirit of the antichrist will use smooth words (flattery) to draw people to themselves. The one unmistakable characteristic of every false prophet in history has been flattery. And the one unmistakable characteristic of every true prophet has been rebuke.

False prophets flatter people in order to win them to their group, or to build their own kingdoms, or to get honor, or to get money, etc. Many of these false prophets correspond faithfully with people, in order to retain their personal hold over them. Their letters will not, however, contain words of rebuke and correction (as in the letters of the Lord and of the apostles – as we read in Revelation 2 and 3 and in the epistles). Instead, they will only contain words of flattering commendation.

Smooth words will only defile your heart with pride and self-satisfaction. Words of rebuke on the other hand will cleanse your heart and make it pure. Jesus said, “Those whom I love, I reprove and I discipline” (Rev. 3:19). Rebuke is one mark of Divine love.

False Prophets vs. True

False Prophets vs. true
When God sends a prophet into our midst, to rebuke us, that is a proof of the fact that God loves us. When God forsakes a church, it will “no longer have a prophet in its midst” (Ps. 74:1, 9) to rebuke it. Instead, it will have preachers who preach smooth words (2 Tim. 4:3-4). That is a sad condition for any of God’s people to be in.

In Revelation 2 and 3, we see that even though five of the seven churches there were in a bad shape, yet the Lord had not forsaken them as yet. The proof of this is seen in the fact that He sent a prophet (John the apostle) to rebuke and correct them through his letters.

John had strong words even for the elders – words such as, “You have left your first love… You are spiritually dead… You are wretched and poor and blind and naked…” If those elders and those churches did not respond to those words of rebuke, and repent, they would be forsaken.

When False Prophets Take Over

Once the Lord “takes away the lampstand” (Rev. 2:5), He will not send His prophets to rebuke that church any more. The false prophets will then take over, and smooth words will be heard regularly at the meetings, Sunday after Sunday! This has happened in church after church, in generation after generation, throughout these twenty centuries. And it is happening all around us today.

It is at such a time, that there is a great need for those “who know God, who are strong, and who will do great things for Him” (Dan. 11:32). Because they know God, they will fear no man. But there is only one way to know God – and that is through the daily sacrifice. The veil has to be rent if we are to enter into the Most Holy Place where God dwells. So don’t ever allow the daily sacrifice to be taken away from your life.

If your husband or wife treats you badly – DIE. When you suffer unrighteously – DIE. If your brothers betray you and hate you – DIE. As you die to your Self-life, you will get to know God and Jesus better.

Copyright © 2002 Zac Poonen

* As stated below in the comments, Rival to the Throne is the clearest explanation of what Zac is discussing in this post. If you have struggled with his words, I highly recommend you listen to this life impacting message by Martha. I know it changed me forever.

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    • sue

      Such a powerful word for today, Thank you and bless you for sharing.

    • Paul

      Thank you for this post. I discovered Zac Poonen on a few years back and have come to so deeply appreciate his sound teaching of the Word!

      P.S. John you take the prize for always having the best graphics to accompany every message that Shulamite puts out there! 🙂

    • Sam

      Thank you John. So very exact word… and you probably have seen this happen in several church enviroments. They just would NOT listen, and they have been ravaged by wolves. Strangely enough, the “sheep” seem to be “happy” in their stubborness, though the lampstand is far away. I guess the real sheep went out the door without slamming it.

      It is a story of old.


    • Sandy

      Oh yes, what a blessed strong word indeed, I will listen carefully to it
      (especially the last paragraph.)
      Thank you for sharing it!

      I agree to what Paul said about the graphics and I think the prize goes to the one where John talked about Jesus having nowhere to lay His head!!! ;P

    • Susan

      Thank you John! Love Zac.

    • Irene

      Please help me understand what he means by the daily sacrifice. I am also having difficulty with his statement “as you die to your self-life” since I have been crucified-past tense- with Christ. Yes, my old habit patterns in my soul and wrong thoughts must be renewed with The Truth – The Indwelling Life of Christ- but my old man already died on The Cross.

      • Jennifer

        Irene, these are great questions. The daily sacrifice appears to be Mr. Poonen’s paraphrase of Jesus’ command in Luke 9:23 to turn from our selfish ways and take up our cross daily IF we want to follow Him. And though we are new creations now, with dead old selves, we can go back (Eph. 4:22-24). I heard Martha say that everything is solved and all provision available in our new creation – there is NO problem ever – if we can BELIEVE utterly that we are dead and gone. The Cross comes to expose all the places we’re still tied to our old dead self, and when we see it, we have to die to that old self-life and be freed from it. Martha’s Message of the Month, ‘Rival to the Throne,’gives the clearest explanation of all this that I’ve ever heard – it changed my life.

        • Sam

          That word is huge… “exposure”. The daily cross “exposes”. Yeah, that’s in the Scriptures: And despoiling the principalities and powers, he has EXPOSED them…

          I believe the “old man” is a by-product. It is not original, it is the phantom by-product of the irrational hatred of God; it is an ugly, horrific lie. And simply, His sacrifice of love exposes it as such: a lie of terror. Human history is the proof that we humans can live clutched unto a lie, follow its rules and regulations (that’s the saddest part of it)… and bow to it.

          We do. We go to one or the another. We go to a lie or we go to the Cross. And I tell you, God is helping us… to CHOOSE the lie or the real.

          The best gift of God is the SIMPLE cross.
          It is so very SIMPLE.
          It just exposes the lie.

          The Cross EXPOSES the lie. You don’t even have to effort for Christ to do this, bacause I tell you: it will EXPOSE the lie.

          Thank you Jen!

    • Marsela

      Thanks John! I too appreciate Zac Poonen’s teachings. Found out about him a couple of years ago, through a friend who had posted a couple of quotes from him on fb. I was drawn then to listen more of him, and found his sermons on you tube. Sound teachings.
      Jesus told us, the only way we will be able to discern between the true and the false, what is of Him and what’s not of Him, is if we ourselves will do the will of God, no other way. John 7:17

    • Pauline

      What a sobering truth . . . need to heed.
      Thank you, John.

    • Linda

      That was a prayer answered in about five minutes. I still have a lot of dying to do! Too much self life yet! Jesus help me to continue to DIE! Thank you for sharing!

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