The visions of your prophets were false and worthless;
they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity.
The oracles they gave you were false and misleading.
We live in dangerous times. False prophets are preaching everywhere. Whether radical clerics in the Middle East or the notorious Jim Jones in Guyana in the 1970s, false prophets are declaring death to infidels or claiming the world has entered end times.
The phenomenon is not new. False prophets are found throughout the Bible. Jesus warns, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matthew 7:15).
Over six hundred years before Jesus, Jeremiah spoke about how the false prophets and priests have brought corruption and trouble to the land: “‘The prophets follow an evil course and use their power unjustly. Both prophet and priest are godless; even in my temple I find their wickedness,’ declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:10–11).
In times such as these, it is especially difficult to filter the false from the true. We hear so many claims, many sounding legitimate, but John in his first letter does tell us how to test the spirit of truth. “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world” (1 John 4:2–3).
—Eric Kampmann, Signposts