False Prophets Speak Presumptuously

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False prophets speak presumptuously

 

Defining a Presumptuous Prophet

If we read the Webster’s dictionary definition,[1] we can see that to “presume” means to assume something is true “in absence of proof to the contrary.” From the surrounding information, we can also see that this often involves a deed performed with “unwarrantable boldness” or “without right or permission.”

If we want to know what God says about a “presumptuous prophet,” all we have to do is check out the book of Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 18:20-22
But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.

And if you say in your heart, “How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?”
When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that [is] the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously [H2087 – zadown]; you shall not be afraid of him.

The Hebrew word translated as “presumptuously” is the word “zadown,”[2] which basically means the same thing as the Webster’s definition.[1]

The root word for “zadown” is “zuwd”[3] meaning to act proudly and rebelliously. This should speak volumes to us about those who presume to speak the Words of the Most High in a haphazard way.

If we combine all of this information from both the Word of God and our own dictionary, we can safely conclude that a presumptuous prophet is a person who boldly speaks a “word from God” that does not come to pass. This “lack-of-fulfillment” nullifies the validity of their claims of hearing from God accurately, and places them in the category of “the rebellious.”

Going to Great Lengths to Avoid the Presumption Accusation

The truth is, our modern-day prophets are actually quite gutless when it comes to speaking a tried and true prophecy. They would much rather feed their listeners with pretty speech (sometimes accompanied by music) and point to some nebulous event that is impossible to track. This spineless tactic gives them an easy out, should the prophecy fail to come to pass.

As long as no one can hold them accountable, that’s one less worry for them.

They are also very fond of spiritualizing obvious weather patterns (and other phenomena) for given areas and associating them with Godly intervention.

  • “Alaska is going to have a heavy snow, symbolizing God’s desire to forget your sins and see you as righteous!”
  • “California is going to have an earthquake because God is wanting to shake your foundations and prepare you for the ‘New Thing’ that He is doing!”
  • “There is going to be an eruption of God’s Love around the cities and islands in the vicinity of the Ring of Fire!”
  • “The Pacific Northwest is going to experience a heavy rain, as God rains glory down on the region!”

This kind of dishonest wordplay should alert people that there is a wolf in their midst, but unfortunately, this is not the case. I’ve found that people are willing to forgive even the most flagrant abuses of the gift of prophecy.

Just as long as their idol remains safely on the shelf, all is well.

Meanwhile, the false prophet continues to avoid the accusation that he/she is speaking presumptuously, and the masses continue to be deceived.

Prophecy and the Timing Issue

In my research, probably the most used and abused rationalization for a failed prophecy, the “Grandaddy of them all,” is what I would call the “timing issue.”

  • “How do we know that what is prophesied will not come to pass later?”
  • “The Old Testament prophets prophesied many things that didn’t come to pass until after they were long gone!”
  • “There are still MANY end time prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled!”

False prophets (and the people who love to defend them) will use this rebuttal whenever they want to put the “BIG SMACK DOWN” on anyone who dares to challenge their failed prophecies.

This is usually the “go-to” argument that they use to keep the sheeple in check and their prophetic idols safely resting on their altars.

I will not take an extreme stance on this excuse, because it is valid to a certain degree, but I will offer the following suggestions.

When being confronted with the timing issue, ask yourself the following:

  • Does the overall prophecy lead you back to the commandments of God?
  • Are the majority of the prophet’s prophecies nebulous or unfulfilled yet?
  • Does the majority of the prophet’s prophecies provide him/her an “easy out,” like we discussed above?
  • Does he/she hold any other telltale signs of being a false prophet that I will share in this book?

While it is true that many prophecies did not come to pass until after the deaths of the biblical prophets, it is also true that these prophets did not fit into any of the other 9 criteria listed here.

Remember, if you have “two or three witnesses,” you have yourself a false prophet. It doesn’t matter if they are the sweetest people around. It doesn’t matter how convincing they are. If they look like false prophets and act like false prophets, they are not true prophets of the Most High!

The Timing Issue vs. the Word of God

When trying to discern a true or false prophet, it is important to remember that the timing issue was never addressed in the Word of God. He never said:

“If a prophet speaks a word in my name, and it doesn’t come to pass… wait awhile. I mean, you never know WHEN it could happen! Don’t judge the person who prophesies! He/She may be speaking something way out in the future!”

No! This topic was never discussed! Instead, the method of discernment shown in the Word is much more black and white, which begs the question:

Why did the timing issue never come up? Could it be that God never really wanted us to consider it in the first place?

This should give us something to think about.

God was very specific in His Word. He spoke of a “method of discernment” that was very absolute, and I believe that we should be just as strict with our judgments as well. It doesn’t matter how much we identify with said prophet. It doesn’t matter how nice he is or how sweet her words sound.

God gave us His Word to obey. He did not give us the Word so that we can apply our human reasoning to it and rationalize it away.

A Presumptuous Prophet is not Worthy of Honor

The Bible says that if someone prophesies something that fails to come to pass, we are to have nothing to do with that person.

Let’s take another look at Deuteronomy 18:20-22:

Deuteronomy 18:20-22
But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.

And if you say in your heart, “How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?”
When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that [is] the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

In translating “you shall not be afraid,” the word “guwr” [H1481][4] was used. It means to “keep company with,” “abide with,” as well as “be afraid of” and “stand in awe of.”

Whatever definition you pick, the prophet who has spoken falsely (the “false prophet”) is a person who is not worthy of honor or adoration in any way. This may be very harsh to our western sensibilities, but it is truth, nonetheless.

While it should be obvious that we should treat people with kindness and civility, we need to also realize that there is a big difference between being nice to and honoring someone. Much like there is a big difference between being friendly and developing a companionship with a person.

If I came into contact with a false prophet, I would say “Hi,” and be cordial, just like I would with any other person. I might even smile. But I definitely wouldn’t go over to his house for a barbeque or let him know I approve of his twisted ways.

I would not honor him because he is misrepresenting my King.

Likewise, you should not be afraid to call out those who walk and talk in presumption, especially if it is backed up by two or three witnesses from Scripture.

We are called to protect those who are falling into the trap of the enemy, not to endorse those who cause them to stumble.

Footnotes:

[1] Webster’s Definition of the word “presume” (Source)
[2] Blueletter Bible definition of the word “zadown” [H2087] (Source)
[3] Blueletter Bible definition of the word “zuwd” [H2102] (Source)
[4] Blueletter Bible definition of the word “guwr” [H1481] (Source)
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4 Comments

  1. I appreciate your thoughtful perspective…there are wolves among us…difficult to discern…I often wonder if some would have doubted Jonah because Ninevah wasn’t destroyed …alternatively, if the city hadn’t repented there would have been no-one left to broadcast that the words Jonah spoke came from God…tough spot to be in…today’s “prophetic” words are often either too vague to have meaning, or so specific they are obviously false when they fail to occur…but those “prophetic” words somewhere in between are often the most difficult to discern…

    1. In those situations, it’s always good to consider the past track record of the “prophet.” There is a 99.9% chance, when you hear a prophet utter a prophecy that it’s not their first. Also, it’s always good to consider whether or not they steer you away from the commandments of the Most High (Scriptural Witness #4). All the best!

  2. I like this series; it’s very good. I just recently learned this myself during the whole “Blood Moons” scare last fall (2015). The thing that stood out to me was how none of the supposed prophets were pointing the way back to Torah. Instead, they made a bunch of money off of other people’s fears (mine included, sad to say). They definitely did NOT encourage anyone to read and follow the passage in Joel 2:12-17. What happened last autumn truly taught me to look at any and all prophets through the lens of what I call the “Joel 2:12 Test.” Using this criteria has helped me to get rid of all of the false teachers and prophets that I had been listening to, some of them for years

  3. There is one such “prophet” that is slogging around the tv circuit as guest speaker and “prophet of God” even as we speak. I see him frequently as I’m surfing through programs to find something/someone decent to listen to.

    I have seen videos of this man’s church, and it is a frightening spectacle of what the Holy Spirit is NOT and what He is NOT doing among His holy remnant. There was a spirit there, all right, but it was not a Holy One! The only thing missing was a Baal idol or a golden calf!

    Not only is it important to recognize the prophet for what he/she is (or isn’t), but it’s also important to recognize the fruit of the tree….i.e. who is following him/her and what is the aura (shadow) around them.

    Remember the Peanuts cartoon and Pigpen? Pigpen had an aura around him in the cartoon that appeared to be “unpleasant”. He smelled, was dirty and dirt fell off him with every step he took! My point: A false prophet and his followers have an aura, a spiritual “smell”, if you will, that will eventually be discernible as evil, wicked, false and definitely not of the Father. If you are spiritually alert, you will discern that spirit almost immediately…..it won’t take long to see it, hear it, smell it, discern it.

    Something in our spirit will prompt us to take heed; the unction of the true Spirit, if you will. That’s our cue to pay attention.

    Test everything….everyone….for there are wolves out there and even though they don’t look like Pigpen or even smell like Pigpen, their evil, wicked deception does.

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