False prophets and teachers – characteristics
1 Peter 5:21 True prophets are to speak not by the will of man, but by the Holy Spirit.
1 Peter 2:1-19. False Prophets and teachers:
1. they will bring in destructive heresies
2. the way of truth will be blasphemed– even the wicked will be able to see through the person and see the hypocrisy. Listen to what their critics are saying, and see if it is true
3.. by covetousness, they will exploit you with deceptive words. They know what you desire – wealth, property, personal power- and they speak on how to get it- justifying the message with twisted interpretations of scripture. They know how to appeal to your weak points. Secret – do not be covetous….and you will not be deceived. Money is the usual hook in your mouth. Be rich and powerful like them.!!
4. they walk according to the flesh and speak of worldly things. They may show lust of uncleanness. They will despise authority, but will be one themselves. They are self willed, presumptuous, and will speak evil of true authority.
5. They act like natural brute beasts and speak evil of things they do not understand. They are corrupt. Watch the arrogant way they act. Just ask yourself- would Jesus act like that, or say what they do?
6. they are spots and blemishes. They rejoice and celebrate in their own deceptions while feasting with you…or feasting on you. Their eyes are full of adultery (spiritual and/or physical). They entice unstable souls. Look at the response of people around them. Do they just eat up everything that is said , no matter how outrageous? Are they stupid sheep? If so, stay away.
7. their heart is trained in covetous practices. they are experienced at getting you to lust after worldly things. they take advantage of subconscious jealousy on your part. They are con artists.
8. they have forsaken the right way. Notice they will ignore items of gospel truth and focus on just certain worldly topics.
9. They follow the way of Balaam (**worldliness again). He was a very influential sorcerer who, although aware of the true God, made his services available on a freelance basis. Balaam still advised King Balak how to tempt the Israelites into disobeying God: Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, that they might eat food sacrificed to idols, and practice immorality. The false prophet will tell you, then, how to sin and win over your righteous “enemies” by tempting them to fail.
**emphasis is on the pride of life, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.
10. they speak great swelling words of emptiness. Do you hear them that really sound good, but they are not saying much? They can really put on a show. Check your bible and see if they are even using the scripture in context. they will put different meanings on what is there.
11. they promise liberty while putting you in bondage. Freedom in Jesus is free. Liberty with these guys will cost you a lot. You will have to pay somehow – either with your soul or your wallet, or both.
My own observations:
1. they will pressure you into things…..like you have to do something NOW or you will not get a miracle. give money now while the holy spirit is still moving. Gain is NOT godliness. !!!
2. they use guilt to manipulate you.
3. they claim to “hear from God” who seems to either
a. say really stupid things– like this is the year 2008, so God wants you to give 2008 dollars to the preacher. or Jesus was rich, he did not have to work. or the bible talks about money more than any other topic. If unbelievers can pick up on this hype, then the believers really look stupid when they fall for this stuff.
b. generalizes so that it can apply to anyone, or mean about anything. examples : God is showing me that he loves you very much. Duh ! or, God knows your problem and he will help you. Duh again ! ……There will be changes this year. (so?) ….. God will do a new thing (ok, like what?)…. Seek my face says God…… God wants to invade the church and change it for himself. …. Too general…..!!!!
c. REAL prophets will tell you very specific things, that are accurate and helpful, and will direct you to humility, obedience, and holiness.
4. They do not talk about Jesus as savior much. they are selfish, and abuse scripture, they use numbers as gimmicks in sermons designed to get your money, fake holiness, compromising morals or doctrine, making fake promises to get you moving in their direction, they never admit they are wrong.
5. there is an emphasis on personal power. What are we going to do with this promised power? Even if we are in a battle with satan, we are told in scripture to submit to God, and resist the devil and he will flee from us. We are not told to get puffed up and try to fight satan ourselves. If it is power to get wealth, it is usually a worldly approach to getting money, and has nothing to do with sharing the money with the poor. If you have to pay to hear about how God wants you rich, or buy someone’s book, then you are just supporting their business. If they cared about you, or they were really hearing from God, they would share the wealth secrets for free. Prophets for hire are just “prophets” making a profit. !!! Prophets for hire are false prophets.
6. they are persuasive. they will also repeat something over and over until you give in. and believe them.
7. they are con artists– sociopaths. Sociopaths have no heart, no conscience and no remorse. They don’t worry about paying bills. They think nothing of lying, cheating and stealing. Sociopaths often blend easily into society. They’re entertaining and fun at parties. They appear to be intelligent, charming, well-adjusted and likable. The key word is “appear.” Because for sociopaths it’s all an illusion, designed to convince you to give them what they want.
8. Their lives show disobedience to the commandments of God (Yahweh (YHVH), not some other god)
Somehow the subject of money will come up.
This is what the Bible says about giving money to them:
“And he who gives his money to the rich, will surely come to poverty.” (Proverbs 22:16)
So, it would be wise NOT to give money to rich prosperity preachers. You will get poverty, not prosperity, by giving to them.
How to spot a con artist:
(from the real business world, but it applies to the church as well)