Beware of False Prophets and Biblical Gurus—Accountability of “Prophets”

1 Corinthians 14:29, Let…prophets speak…let the others Judge.

How many YouTube, internet and podcast “prophets” are out there claiming to hear form Elohim, and are making all sorts of prophetic proclamations as they build their empires of fame and fortune supposedly in the name of Elohim? Caveat emptor! Let the buyer beware!

Many people who claim to be prophets have a hard time being accountable to anyone. After all, they’re sure that they have heard from Elohim, so who is anyone to question them? In their mind, to question them is to question Elohim. Lack of accountability of prophets to other prophets or spiritual elders is contrary to what the Bible teaches (1 Cor 14:29). Yet such accountability is a rare occurrence in most churches where the gifts of prophecy operate.

Such a demeanor of self-delusion among “prophets” who refuse to be unaccountable to anyone can become a major stronghold of pride on the part of these individuals

If they claim to be speaking for Elohim when they are not, they are running the risk of blaspheming Elohim by speaking lies in his name. In this case, in reality, they’re speaking from the dictates of their own evil hearts, and not by the Spirit of Elohim, which is something that Elohim hates and condemns (Jer 23:16–22; Ezek 13:2–7).

Such “prophets” are under the influencing control of their carnal nature instead of the Spirit of Elohim lack, and they lack self-control, humility and meekness. Moreover, those who are driven by their own passions of impetuosity, pride, anger and accusativeness are especially vulnerable to false prophetic proclamations. They are operating not from a sound (or moderate and self-controlled) mind that is under the control of the Spirit of Elohim, but from an unsound mind (2 Tim 1:7). Such people are even open to demonic spirits because they are controlled by a spirit of pride and hypocrisy. They hate accountability from other people because the light of truth shining through others onto them might expose them for who they really are and not who they suppose themselves to be—prophets speaking the oracles of Elohim.

Furthermore, when these “prophets” have psychological disorders (e.g. they are “bi-polar,” manic-depressive, or have an obsessive-compulsive disorder) or they are under the influence of either medically prescribed psychotropic drugs or non-prescribed “legal” pyscho active drugs (like cannabis) and this is combined with some knowledge of the Scriptures and a passion for the Bible great delusion can come forth all ostensibly in the name of YHVH Elohim. In reality, these “prophets” proclaiming a toxic mix of truth error. Beware!

Add to this the alluring opportunities modern technology presents these “prophets” for stardom due to easy access to social and digital media platforms and outlets like Facebook and YouTube, the possibilities for spreading their false prophetic delusion far and wide to others is great. Anyone—literally anyone—can look good on a digital platform, and can gain sycophantic and fawning followers (just look at the sins that have been uncovered on many of the current and past crop of televangelists), but do we really know their true character or who they really? That’s why the Bible admonishes us to know those who labor among us (1 Thess 5:12), and why YHVH has given us the gift of the discernment of spirits (1 Cor 12:10).

 

The Torah on the Conduct of Those in the Ministry

Leviticus 21

This chapter contains the regulations for the conduct of priests. YHVH’s standards are high, and a priest could easily be disqualified from service for failing to measure up. YHVH demands higher standards of righteousness, obedience and holiness for those in leadership over his people. 

The higher up in leadership one desires to go, the more one’s walk must characterize service, sacrifice, self-deprecation and holiness (see 1 Tim 3:1–13; Tit 1:5–9). The standards of holiness rise as one seeks to attain a deeper and more intimate relationship with YHVH, for as he entrusts a person with greater spiritual responsibility he gives a greater level of anointing commensurate with the responsibilities of the ministerial office. Spiritual responsibility and divine anointing aren’t things to be trifled with or taken for granted.

Yeshua condemned the religious leaders of his day for not practicing what they preached (i.e. hypocrisy), for living lives of pretense and show (he called such ones “whited sepulchers full of dead man’s bones”), and for greediness and pride. 

Check your walk in these areas. Do you want to “go places” with YHVH in service to him and his people? Are you willing to pay the price of self-sacrifice and self-deprecation? The sacrifices necessary to be Yeshua’s bondservant comes at a high price (especially for the flesh), but the spiritual rewards are priceless!

Leviticus 10:17–23, Physical defects on the priests.The priests who ministered before YHVH Elohim in the tabernacle were to be completely without physical defect. Why? Because they were a prophetic foreshadow of Yeshua the Messiah who is our perfect and Great High Priest.

 

The Office of Bishop Explained

Acts 20:28, Overseers, to shepherd the church.

The word bishop is the Greek word ἐπίσκοπος (pronounced episkopos) and means “an overseer, patron, one who watches or protects, one who cares for others, a man charged with the duty of seeing that things to be done by others are done rightly, any curator, guardian or superintendent; the superintendent, elder, or overseer of a Christian church” (TDNT, vol. 2, p. 608). This word or related cognates occur only several times in the NT (Luke 19:44; Acts 1:20; 1 Tim 3:1, 2; 2 Tim 4:22; Tit 1:7; 3:15; 1 Pet 2:12, 25). 

Yeshua is the Chief Shepherd and Bishop over his people (1 Pet 2:25), with those holding those earthly offices under his authority. 

The TDNT notes that the role of the episkopos is to strengthen that of the pastor in watching over the flock (e.g. Acts 20:28; 1 Pet 5:2). The NT with regard to the congregation in Ephesus seems to equates the episkopos with the presbuteros (or elders-leaders of a congregation, see Acts 20:28) indicating that there is more than one leader or overseer over a congregation—literally, a group of leader-elders. Elders (presbuteros), pastors (poimen) and bishops (episkopos) are again viewed as equivalent in regards to local leadership in 1 Peter 5:1 and 2. In this passage, the leadership terms are in the plural, thus not indicating a central lead figure per se although it is the scriptural norm from the time of the patriarchs, through the priesthood, judges and kings of Israel to have a human who exercises ultimate authority. Such leaders can be elected (Acts 1:21ff; 6:3ff) or be appointed by an apostle (Acts 14:23; ibid., p. 615f).

 

Oil, Dew, Fellowship and the Spirit of Elohim

Psalm 133:1–2, Good…pleasant…oil. The whole message of the Bible is about reconciliation—first between YHVH Elohim and man, second between men. Sin is what has split vertical and horizontal relationships apart. The plan of redemption and salvation that YHVH has laid out for man to follow is the path man must walk for broken relationships to be healed—reconciled. 

It is a good and pleasant thing when humans are individually and collectively reconciled and come together, when brethren dwell together in unity because their sins have been forgiven, because they are all worshiping the same Elohim and follow his ways of truth and righteousness. This brings people together.

The Tabernacle of Moses in which the high priest and his subordinates ministered exemplified in symbolic ways Elohim’s process for man to be reconciled to his Creator and to his fellow man by dealing with the sin issue. When this process is complete, humans are brought into the presence of Elohim, which is symbolized by the holy of holies in the tabernacle.

Oil in Scripture is a picture of the anointing of Elohim brought on by the presence of the Set-Apart Spirit—his divine presence resting on and filling humans. It is heaven’s accepting kiss upon humans who are walking unity and in accordance with the divine will of Elohim, which in turn brings humans into unity with each other. When this occurs, people are carried to a higher level in their spiritual walk and are brought together in worship of and service to their Creator. This is like warm anointing oil poured out upon the head and running down a person’s body. Sometimes this spiritual phenomenon can be felt physically upon the human body. This is truly a glorious occurrence when heaven and earth meet and kiss each other. It’s a good and pleasant thing and helps to cement relationships.

Psalm 133:3, Dew…Hermon. The work of the Spirt in a person’s life, which brings on the anointing, is likened to gentle dew or to rain (Deut 32:2), which gently waters the dry ground. When this happens, the ground is revivified and rejuvenated resulting in fruitfulness. Mount Hermon is the highest peak in Holy Land and its name (from the Heb. word charam) signifies something that is devoted for a holy use. It is a picture of heaven. Therefore, the dew of Hermon that descends upon the mountains of Zion is the anointing of heaven that comes upon YHVH’s people. It is precious and holy and only to be used for a divine purpose—not for selfish gratification.

 

The Significance of Table Fellowship

Luke 24:30, He sat at the table. (See also vv. 41–43; John 21:12–13). In Bible times, when a covenant of friendship had been broken, as had occurred when the disciples forsook Yeshua prior to his apprehension, the broken relationship would be restored by eating together. After his resurrection, Yeshua had at least three meals with his disciples in order to renew loving covenantal relationship with them (Manners and Customs, pp. 78–79). 

In Hebraic thought, one’s table is a sort of sacred altar where familial and spiritual communion occurs. You don’t just break bread with anyone—only your close friends. Additionally, when a prayer of thanksgiving is made over a meal, YHVH’s Presence is invoked making the meal a sort of spiritual act where heaven and earth commune together. This is one reason why the Passover seder meal is of such serious significance. Only those of one’s spiritual family are to gather together at the seder where together they meet with Elohim. Furthermore, this is why Paul states in 1 Cor 5:9–11,

I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. (emphasis added)

 

Where you want to go may depend on where you’ve been…

  • From shepherd to spiritual leader.
  • From carpenter to spiritual house builder.
  • From fishers of fish to fishers of men.
  • From tent maker to tabernacle builder.
  • From husband and parent to church leader.
  • From your profession to ? in the kingdom of Elohim.

Exodus 3:1, Tending the flock. Moses spent forty years in the wilderness of Midian tending the flocks of Jethro, his father-in-law. After this phase of his life, YHVH called and commissioned Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt and then to shepherd them through the wilderness en route to the Promised Land. This was the very same wilderness where Moses had shepherded Jethro’s sheep for forty years. Moses’ job as a physical shepherd prepared him for the next phase of his life—his ministry as a spiritual shepherd. 

Often YHVH chooses individuals as his servants based on their vocational background, which provides training for the spiritual ministry to which he then calls them. For example, David was a shepherd before he became the king over Israel. Amos was a picker of fruit and a shepherd who called the nation of Israel back to become good spiritual fruit and to come back to Elohim, Israel’s true spiritual Shepherd. John the Baptist was a priest calling the Jews to repent of sin and to become a holy nation. Yeshua was a carpenter before he became a builder of the spiritual house of Israel (Heb 3:3–6; 1 Pet 2:5), and several of Yeshua’s disciples were commercial fishermen before becoming “fishers of men” or apostolic evangelists. Paul was a tent maker helping to raise up the fallen tabernacle of David. Sometimes our physical vocations may be an indicator of what our spiritual calling is. 

Being a shepherd of physical sheep is a most suitable profession to prepare one for tending YHVH’s spiritual sheep. A shepherd has to put the needs, comfort, care and protection of the sheep above his own needs and wants. This is one reason why the Scriptures refer to those who care for and protect YHVH’s spiritual sheep as shepherds or pastors. 

There are many similarities between physical and spiritual shepherds, and physical and spiritual sheep. Unless one has been a physical shepherd and cared for physical sheep or even children, it is unlikely these reasons will be readily apparent. This is why being a parent is a one of the qualifications for being an elder or deacon in the church (1 Tim 3:2, 4, 12; Tit 1:6).

 

Moses’ Rotten Apple Son

Exodus 2:22, Gershom. A sad piece of Bible trivia is that some of Moses’ descendants didn’t follow in his righteous steps. Gershom’s sons became idol worshipers (Judg 18:30–31). Many of the children of righteous men in the Bible didn’t follow in the footsteps of their fathers in remaining faithful to Elohim. 

Examples rotten apple children falling from good fruit trees include Isaac (Esau), Aaron (Nadab and Abihu), Samuel (1 Sam 8:1–3), and David and many of the other righteous kings of Judah. 

What’s more, the Bible tells us nothing about the spiritual status of the sons of any of the prophets or apostles. Whether they remained faithful to YHVH or not, we don’t know. If they had been notable in their service to YHVH, it seems that Scripture would have some record of it. 

One thing seems certain. Most of the high visibility servants of YHVH were solitary figures. Little if anything is known about their spouses, families or children who seemed to play no major role in the key figure’s ministry activities. 

Interestingly, there are also several examples of righteous sons coming from unrighteous fathers and vice versa. This is the case with several of the kings of Judah. 

All this is to say that just because a child was raised well in a godly family doesn’t guarantee they will continue to serve Elohim and walk in righteousness. Likewise, just because a child was raised in an ungodly, even wicked family, doesn’t mean they will be wicked and ungodly. 

Salvation is an individual matter. YHVH calls and chooses whom he will, and it’s up to the individual to respond to that calling. Some will respond, but most will not. As Yeshua said, many are called, but few are chosen (Matt 22:14), the gate is wide that leads down the wrong path, while the one that leads down the straight path is narrow (Matt 7:13). One thing is certain though. The Father’s arms are open wide for his prodigal children to return to him, and so should ours (Luke 11:15–31).