False Prophets

The Torah itself clearly states in many places that its laws are eternal, never to be abolished. And even Christians acknowledge that the Jewish Bible (Tanakh) is the word of God (YHWH). If the Torah is eternal and Jesus Christ (Yeshua HaMashiach) Himself claims to have no intention of abolishing or changing it, why do most Christians disregard the commandments which are clearly spelled out in the Torah?

  • Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
    (Matthew 5:17-20 ESV)

Yeshua said that he did not come to destroy, but to fulfill. Not to subvert, abrogate, or annul, but to establish the law and the prophets, to unfold them, to embody them in living form, and to enshrine them in the reverence, affection, and character of men. The annulment of the law would have resulted in the removal of the foundation that God had established with mankind.

  • If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy 13:1-5 ESV)

If the would-be prophet counsels us to break any of the commandments, he must be deemed a false prophet. For example, an alleged prophet who declared that God had sanctioned an adulterous relationship can be immediately identified as a false prophet because He has contradicted Torah. God cannot contradict Himself.

Paul the Apostle said, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV).

Moses said that a false prophet might be allowed to perform signs and wonders in order to test our fidelity to Torah. Yeshua warned us that “false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders” (Matthew 24:24).

Sadly, the traditional understanding and presentation of the Christian Jesus is that he was a prophet (and more than a prophet), attested by signs and wonders, but that he also cancelled the Torah. Such a person fits Deuteronomy’s description of a false prophet perfectly. According to Deuteronomy, conversion to faith in such a person would be a violation of God’s own commandments. Thus Judaism rightly rejects the Christian Jesus. Yet the real Yeshua of the Gospels is not at all like this. He is a prophet (and more than a prophet) attested to by signs and miracles, who called Israel to submit their lives to the highest standards of Torah. He kept Torah perfectly and never contradicted Himself nor did He annul any of the law.

This explains why His opponents among the Judean leadership labored so hard to find some way of demonstrating that He was a breaker of Torah. If they could prove that He was teaching against Torah, they could invalidate His claims. They were unable to do so. Nevertheless, Christianity has consistently presented Him as a prophet teaching against the Torah. This needs to stop immediately. A Messiah that breaks Torah and teaches others to do so is no Messiah at all.

Using the tests presented above, anyone can easily identify a false prophet. Some historical false prophets include Joseph Smith, Ellen White, Muhammad, David Pack, Herbert Armstrong, L. Ron Hubbard, Mary Baker Eddy, Todd Bentley, and Benny Hinn.

Many people actually prefer false prophets. The Prophet Isaiah said, “For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the LORD; who say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.” Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, “Because you despise this word and trust in oppression and perverseness and rely on them, therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant; and its breaking is like that of a potter’s vessel that is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a shard is found with which to take fire from the hearth, or to dip up water out of the cistern” (Isaiah 30:9-14 ESV).

A true prophet preaches repentance and obedience to God’s Law. Isaiah also said, “And when they shall say to you, Seek to the mediums and to wizards who peep and mutter; should not a people seek to their God, than for the living to the dead? To the Law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this Word, it is because no light is in them (Isaiah 8:19-20 MKJV).

A true prophet will always preach the Gospel message of Yeshua HaMashiach, not one of ‘another Jesus.’ For example, Mormons believe that Jesus is the brother of Satan and that God was once a man. Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus was Michael the Archangel.

  • Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but try the spirits to see if they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God; and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the antichrist you heard is coming, and even now is already in the world.
    (1 John 4:1-3 MKJV)
  • Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
    (1 Thessalonians 5:21 KJV)
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Mankind Was Created in the Image of God

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
(Genesis 1:26-31 ESV)

Out of all of God’s creation, only mankind was created in the image of God. But was does it mean to be created in the image of God?

The Hebrew word for “image” used in Genesis 1:26 is tselem (צֶלֶם), Strong’s H6754. The usage of this word suggests that man is made in the likeness or resemblance of God.

God clearly does not have a body of flesh and bones. Yeshua said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24 KJV).

In the Book of Revelation, John wrote, “And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God” (Revelation 4:2-5 KJV).

Certain groups, notably the Mormons, have committed the error of saying that God the Father has a body, and have thus become anthropomorphites, people who say that God has a human form.

This form of doctrinal decay has also set in among certain segments of American Evangelicalism, most notably in the Pentecostal Word Faith movement. Many Evangelicals have (temporarily or permanently) bought into the idea that the Father has a body.

Anthropomorphites argue that man is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26–27) and point to verses that refer to the strong right arm of God, the eyes of God, and so forth.

Tatian the Syrian said, “Our God has no introduction in time. He alone is without beginning, and is himself the beginning of all things. God is a spirit, not attending upon matter, but the maker of material spirits and of the appearances which are in matter. He is invisible, being himself the Father of both sensible and invisible things.”

The Bible is clear that mankind, unlike the rest of creation,  is made in the image of God. Furthermore, the Bible repeats this truth after sin enters the world, which means even though sin has stained and marred us, we remain God’s image bearers.

Part of being made in God’s image is that Adam had the capacity to make free choices. Although he was given a righteous nature, Adam made an evil choice to rebel against his Creator. In so doing, Adam marred the image of God within himself, and he passed that damaged likeness on to all his descendants (Romans 5:12). Today, we still bear the image of God (James 3:9), but we also bear the scars of sin. Mentally, morally, socially, and physically, we show the effects of sin.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned — for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.
(Romans 5:12-13 ESV)

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
(James 3:7-10 ESV)

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:9-11 KJV).

John Calvin wrote the following comments on Colossians 3:10:

“We are renewed after the image of God. Hence, too we learn, on the one hand, what is the end of our regeneration, that is, that we may be made like God, and that His glory may shine forth in us; and, on the other hand, what is the image of God, of which mention is made by Moses in Genesis 9:6, the rectitude and integrity of the whole soul, so that man reflects, like a mirror, the wisdom, righteousness, and goodness of God. He speaks somewhat differently in the Epistle to the Ephesians, but the meaning is the same. Paul, at the same time, teaches, that there is nothing more excellent at which the Colossians can aspire, inasmuch as this is our highest perfection and blessedness to bear the image of God.”

What John Calvin is saying is that to image God is to “mirror” His invisible attributes to the world, somewhat like Moses, who radiated the glory of God after being in God’s presence. Therefore we are not to reflect Adam, the culture or even ourselves to the world. Rather God has bestowed upon us the amazing ability and awesome responsibility to be His mirrors on the earth, reflecting His goodness and glory to all for His glory and our joy. All persons are God’s image in a basic sense, but Christians image Him more than non-Christians and mature Christians do so even more.

God formed man from the dust and gave him life by sharing His own breath (Genesis 2:7). Accordingly, man is unique among all God’s creations, having both a material body and an immaterial soul/spirit.

The good news is that when God redeems an individual, He begins to restore the original image of God, creating a “new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). That redemption is only available by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior from the sin that separates us from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Through Christ, we are made new creations in the likeness of God (2 Corinthians 5:17).

The image of God is generally held to mean that people contain within their nature elements that reflect God’s nature: compassion, reason, love, hate, patience, kindness, self-awareness, etc. Man was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). Though we have a physical image, it does not mean that God has one. Rather, God is spirit (John 4:24), not flesh and bones (Luke 24:39).

Yeshua alone has imaged God perfectly. Many New Testament Scriptures, and even Yeshua Himself, declare this.

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
(2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV)

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.
(Colossians 1:11-16 ESV)

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
(Hebrews 1:1-4 ESV)

And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me.
(John 12:44-45 ESV)

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
(John 14:8-11 ESV)

Yeshua told is how we can best mirror the image of God and the radiance of His Glory as Moses did. Yeshua said, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16 ESV).

Joseph Smith: Prophet of God?

Joseph Smith, Jr. was an American religious leader and the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He is regarded as the Prophet of the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ by his followers.

Beginning in the early 1820s, Jospeh Smith said he had visions, in some of which he said an angel directed him to a buried book of golden plates, inscribed with a Christian history of ancient American civilizations. In 1830, he published what he said was an English translation of these plates as the Book of Mormon, and organized branches of the Church of Christ, saying he had been chosen by God to restore the early Christian church. Church members were later called Latter Day Saints or Mormons.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1 ESV)

As Christians, we should have the attitude that there are no parts of the Bible that we don’t believe, don’t like, or won’t teach, preach or obey. We cannot be like Thomas Jefferson, who brazenly sat down in the White House with a razor in one hand and a Bible in the other and cut out the portions he rejected, asserting his authority over the authority of God. We cannot be like those who are more subtle than Thomas Jefferson and simply ignore parts of the Bible as primitive, dismiss them as outdated, or explain them away with human reasoning.

The Apostle Paul showed us the proper attitude to have towards Scripture when he said, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV).”

The Apostle Peter expanded this admonition when he said, “And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:19-21 ESV).”

The Scriptures are given by God’s inspiration, the very words of God, all we need to know God, a perfect guide for life, pure, true, trustworthy, perfect, effective, powerful, not to be taken from or added to, for everyone, to be obeyed and the standard by which all teaching is to be tested.

From the very earliest days, the church knew which books were God’s inspired Word. They read them, studied them, obeyed them, lived them, and passed them on. We should do the same without adding anything to the Scriptures. King Solomon said, “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar (Proverbs 30:5-6 ESV).”

Does Scripture contain errors? The truthfulness of the Bible is inextricably tied to the nature of God. God is a truthful God who does not lie. Since God is ultimately the author of Scripture, it is perfect, unlike every other uninspired writing and utterance. The doctrine of inerrancy asserts that because God does not lie or speak falsely in any way, and because the Scriptures are God’s Word, they are perfect. As a result the entire Bible is without any error.

Yeshua used copies and translations. He trusted them, so we should too, especially when the science of textual criticism has confirmed that our text is accurate. Due to the fact that we have so many manuscripts to check, we are certain that the text of over ninety-nine percent of the Bible we have today is faithful to the original manuscripts. Most of the variations we do find involve spelling (e.g., color vs. colour), word order, or style. Less than one percent of all variations have anything to do with doctrine, and no doctrine is affected by any of those variations.

Can Scripture be written today? No, it cannot. The Tanakh ended with the prophet Malachi predicting that the next major event in history would be the coming of John the Baptist, who would prepare the way for Yeshua. Four hundred years of silence followed in which no Scripture was written until John the Baptist came, just as promised. The Brit Chadashah ends with its final book, Revelation, telling us that no other books of the Bible are to be written after it and that we will have silence until the Second Coming of Yeshua. The Bible tells us that Yeshua is God’s final word or revelation to us and that we should not add anything to the Bible.

One way of saying this is that the canon of Scripture is closed. No books, not even a word, will be added to the Bible. The warning at the end of Revelation applies to the Bible as a whole.

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. (Revelation 22:18-19 ESV)

God still speaks to people and groups, albeit not in apostolic, inspired, canonical revelation. Examples include such things as predictive prophecies, dreams, visions, angelic visits, and other such means that the Scriptures speak about. In dealing with any alleged extra-biblical revelation, we must follow the biblical cautions. The Apostle Paul said, “Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 ESV).” We must follow the biblical guidelines for testing those who prophesy or allege other forms of extra-biblical revelation.

Are they loyal to God? Is their word consistent with the Bible? Is what they describe or predict accurate? Is their character Christlike? Does their word build up and encourage the church in truth? Do the church elders confirm their word?

While Christians should and do enjoy multiple good translations of the Bible, we must always be careful of corruptions of Scripture. Corruptions are “traslations” that seek to undermine the very teaching of Scripture. These translations include the Jehovah’s Witness translation called the New World Translation, which was written in large part to eliminate the deity of Yeshua Ha’Mashiach, and the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Doctrine and Covenanats which were written in part to promote Tritheism (the belief that there are three distinct, powerful gods, who form a triad) and Monolatrism (the recognition of the existence of many gods, but with the consistent worship of only one deity). These are not translations, per se, but terrible corruptions of Scripture masquerading as God’s Word.

Mormons read poetic passages such as, “His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him (Psalms 98:1)” and wrongly conclude that God has a literal body of flesh and bones. However, the Bible clearly states that God is not a man and that He is a spirit without a physical body.

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
(Numbers 23:19 ESV)

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
(John 4:23-24 ESV)

A list of basic Mormon beliefs (heresy) can be found at the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. Follow this link (Mormon Beliefs, Are They Christian?) to learn more.

Joseph Smith made a considerable amount of prophecies during his lifetime We know that the criteria of a true prophet is not failing when predicting the future. This is because God, who is outside of time and the creator of the universe, makes no mistakes when he tells us what will happen. Therefore, if anyone claims to be a prophet of God and speaks in the name of God and gives a prophecy that fails, then the person is not of God. Was Joseph Smith a prophet of God? There are two ways to find out. First, compare what he says to Scripture and if what the prophet teaches contradict Scripture, then he is a false prophet. The second way is to examine any prophecies that he has made. If a single prophecy fails, then the person is a false prophet. Please note that having several fulfilled prophecies and even a single false prophecy still means that the person is not a true prophet of God. The test for a prophet is not if he gets them most right, but all right. The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry have listed a few of Joseph Smith’s False Prophecies on their website.

Joseph Smith said, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” Please see the Articles of Faith at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ website.

In addition, the Book of Mormon is filled with inaccuracies and errors. There are far too many to list here in this article. Interestingly enough, Joseph Smith’s book is known as The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul warned us of such writings in his epistle to the Galatians.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
(Galatians 1:6-9 ESV)

In conclusion, Joseph Smith was not a prophet of God and the Book of Mormon and other LDS literature are terrible corruptions masquerading as the Word of God. Joseph Smith and the Mormons are the example I have chosen for this article, please note that these tests and guidelines apply to any and all self-proclaimed prophets.