Who and what is a false prophet?

Deuteronomy 13:1, If there arise a prophet.

In the church not only is the term “prophet” carelessly thrown about, so is the term “false prophet” as applied to any God-fearing individual who simply “misses” hearing the word of Elohim correctly, but isn’t guilty of leading Elohim’s people astray spiritually into heathenism. For years, I had been using this term too broadly and generically (as many in the church do) to apply to those who either prophecy presumptuously out of the dictates of their own heart, or who hear a word from Elohim but incorrectly interpret it or misapply it (as was the case with Nathan the Prophet who repented for telling David incorrectly that it was YHVH’s will for him to build the temple), as well as to those evil prophets who lead YHVH’s people away from the Word of Elohim and into paganism.

The term “false prophet” is not to be found in the Tanakh (or Old Testament) at all, and is only found several times in the Testimony of Yeshua (or New Testament) and is applied to patently evil, satanic individuals. Therefore, based on the biblical evidence, it is incorrect to apply this term to a godly individual who, for example, makes an accurate prophecy, but gets the dates wrong, or somehow misinterprets a prophetic message from YHVH. 

Although the term “false prophet” isn’t found in the Tanakh, there are many warnings given against individuals who, through their false prophecies, lead YHVH’s people astray into idolatry or who don’t urge the people to repent and get back to YHVH’s straight paths of Torah-obedience, or who otherwise involved in ungodly activities (e.g. Deut 13:1–5; 18:20–22; Jer 23:9ff; 28:1ff; Ezek 13:2ff; Isa 28:7). The term “false prophet” doesn’t strictly apply to a godly person who isn’t leading YHVH’s people into apostasy.

Therefore, based on the biblical evidence, the godly person who “misses it,” so to speak, should be more correctly called a presumptuous prophet (Deut 18:22), or foolish prophet (Ezek 13:2) or a carnal prophet (i.e. who speak out of the flesh; Ezek 13:1). As such, I can see no biblical precedence for applying the derogatory term “a false prophet” to such a person.


2 thoughts on “Who and what is a false prophet?

  1. So in your estimation a pastor who consistently tells his congregation that there is a pre-trib rapture and we will all be out of here before the proverbial you-know-what hits the fan, isn’t necessarily a “false prophet” but one who misinterprets scripture? Can you elaborate on the scripture concerning if a prophet says something and it comes to pass but it wasn’t according the God’s word, that they were to kill that man? Duet 13

    • Yes to your first question. A Bible teacher who misinterprets Scripture is false teacher, and not necessarily a false prophet. The latter is one who leads the people away from Elohim into idolatry (i.e. to serve other gods) according to Deut 13.

      There are three ways by which one can “prophesy” or predict the future. The gift of prophecy is potentially given to many people as a residential motivational gift according Romans 12:6. The question is this: What are they doing with it, and who or what is the source of their information? There are three potential sources:

      The Spirit of Elohim.

      The mind of man.

      The spirit realm. This is witchcraft or divination.

      See my post today on Deut 13 and perhaps it will answer some more of your questions.

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