Isaiah 9:13-16 Character in Leadership, Part 3 False Prophets

Isaiah 9:13-16 Yet the people do not turn back to Him who struck them, nor do they seek the LORD of hosts. So the LORD cuts off head and tail from Israel, both palm branch and bulrush in a single day. The head is the elder and honorable man, and the prophet who teaches falsehood is the tail. For those who guide this people are leading them astray; and those who are guided by them are brought to confusion.

Biblical principle: Deceitful leadership will result in the destruction of the people they represent.

False prophets and teachers have existed throughout the course of time. Jesus Himself explains how to identify a false teacher in Matthew 7:15-16 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?”

God has a very simple message for false prophets, death. There are many examples of this in the Old Testament. One of them is Jeremiah 14:15 “Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who are prophesying in My name, although it was not I who sent them—yet they keep saying, ‘There will be no sword or famine in this land’—by sword and famine those prophets shall meet their end!” The message for false prophets is the same in the New Testament, death. 2 Peter 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.

False prophets and teachers are motivated by greed and money. This concept is noted throughout the Bible.  2 Peter 2:3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. Micah 3:11 Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe, her priests instruct for a price and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the LORD saying, “Is not the LORD in our midst? Calamity will not come upon us.”

James 3:1-2 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.

No man who is a pastor-teacher is going to be pure and 100% accurate in his teaching. It is not humanly possible and it does not exist. Any man who projects infallibility and purity in his interpretation of Scripture needs to be closely examined, period. To think perfection in interpretation of Biblical doctrine exists in humanity outside of Christ is unrealistic.

If a local body or an individual projects that a pastor-teacher is infallible in interpretation and teaching of Scripture, this should result in reflection and examination as well. In either case, Romans 3:10 “There is none righteous not even one”. We are all flawed human beings.

It is the responsibility of individuals to read the Bible and discern. For that matter, don’t take my word for it either. Search and seek, verify.

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