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Beware of false prophets and false brethren

Are False Prophets Altering God's Word?
Are False Prophets Altering God's Word?

Christians often spend a lot of their time and energy battling clear enemies of the Gospel who persecute them openly, like hostile governments or militants. Warfare prayers are often organized to paralyze their activities. However, what many of us do not realize is that there are many enemies within the Church who pretend to be godly but pervert the ways of God, hinder the Gospel and wound genuine believers in the process.

The Apostle Paul was emphatic when he warned the Philippian Church to be careful of this group of people. "For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ"(Philippians 3:18). They pretend to be godly but secretly work against the Gospel. They oppress and secretly persecute those who love and preach the cross.

Jesus also warned His disciples to be careful of those who are demonic but parade themselves as angels of light: "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves" (Mathew 7:15). In our time, there are similar false prophets, and their mode of operation has never changed.

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They speak what the Lord has not spoken and deceive those who are genuinely serving the Lord. Their objective is to distract God's people from the ways of the Lord. Through their "prophecies," many lives and marriages have been turned upside down and many have been bewitched through their divination.

These ferocious wolves have made worshipers poorer through their manipulations, making empty promises that never come to pass. In Nigeria, some angry worshipers are now going to the "prophets" to collect back the money they gave them after endlessly waiting for the word of the prophet to come to pass.

A close look at the operation of these false prophets shows that they are intentionally perverting the Word of God by trying to make it more appealing to the flesh and to the world. The Apostle Peter prophetically declared the emergence of so many false teachers in this age. Many have developed itching ears and have been drawn to false doctrines and the other gospels.

"But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them — bringing swift destruction on themselves" (2 Peter 2:1). There are now false teachers whose mandate is to introduce and teach errors that will take Christ out of the center of Christianity and place Him in the margin or remove Him altogether.

The false brethren are the ones who promote the activities of the false teachers and prophets. Genuine believers are attacked whenever they raise objections to these false prophets and teachers. In Nigeria, you dare not talk against these people for fear of ostracization and slander, and sometimes even physical assault. You simply cannot "touch the anointed," lest you suffer the consequences.

In 2 Corinthians 11:26, Paul mentions false brethren in the list of dangers he faced on his missionary journeys. There are many of us who have escaped their manipulations, but the dangers they pose to the faiths of many are a daily phenomenon. I personally have suffered so much in the hands of false brethren who claim to be custodians of the Gospel. I have been wounded so severally that sometimes I resort to solitude and even contemplate quitting my ministry.

Many in the Church have been deceived because they’ve been often taught that everyone in the visible Church is a true believer. "One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them" (Job 1:6). Sadly, the devil oftentimes attends church services. Every believer should ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of discernment.

Young Christians should beware of false prophets and teachers who use enticing words of man’s wisdom to deceive people. They do all they can to divert people away from God. Mature Christians who are not susceptible to the gimmicks of false teachers and prophets should beware of false brethren who are strategically placed by the devil to wound, discourage and attack believers.

It is devastating when some people you thought are your brothers in Christ turn against God and present a false Gospel to the world. If this has happened to you, share your pain with God, for it happened to Jesus and Paul as well. We cannot stop the activities of false brethren, but we can be mindful of them. And as for me, I have resolved to love all believers, trust few and do wrong to none.

Oscar Amaechina is the president of Afri-Mission and Evangelism Network, Abuja, Nigeria. His calling is to take the gospel to where no one has neither preached nor heard about Jesus. He is the author of the book Mystery Of The Cross Revealed.  

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