God’s Severity Against False Prophets & Their Followers – By Rev George Ong (Dated 20 Jan 2021)
“In the Old Testament, God treats the issue of false teachers utterly seriously. A false prophet who turns the people away from God must be put to death (Deut 13:5; 18:20). Can you sense the gravity of how God wants His people to deal with false prophets?
You may protest, “George, are you telling us we are to do the same to the false teachers of today? Kill them? You gotta be kidding!” Yes, I would be mad if I were to teach that, but honestly, is that all you can say?
Don’t you know that the way God treats the false prophets in the Old Testament is a picture of how we ought to deal with them today?
Of course, we mustn’t kill them, but do we work hard at ‘killing’ their false teachings? Do we sweat our guts out by refuting their false teachings aggressively and rebuking them sharply? Do we warn our sheep ardently from ever falling under their influence? Are we prepared to cut off our fellowship with them if they remain recalcitrantly unrepentant?
Or do we pretend as many do, that the problem doesn’t exist at all because we don’t want our respectable image marred and the trouble of getting our hands dirty with controversies?
Putting the Old Covenant false prophets to death seems extreme and unthinkable to us. But God Himself knows about the toxic harm and irreparable damage that false teachers could do to the community of His people. He knows the only way to deal with the cancer of heresy is to cut it at its root before it destroys the entire community.
When God treated false prophets with utter severity, the church has no right to shrug it off as a small issue to be overlooked. When God is greatly intolerant about false teachers, we cannot become carelessly tolerant of them.
Is there a more serious offense for false prophets such as Joseph Prince to falsify the truth of the scriptures? Is there anything more reprehensible for heretics such as Joseph Prince to lie about the truth of God’s word? Is there an evil worse than teaching the lies of Satan as if they were the truth of the Bible? Is there anything more repulsive to God than saying one is speaking for God when in actuality, one is speaking for Satan? Is there anything more damning for a false teacher, such as Joseph Prince, to claim that he is preaching the gospel that leads to heaven when in reality, he is preaching heresy that leads to hell?
“Nothing is more wicked than for someone to claim to speak for God to the salvation of souls, when in reality, he speaks for Satan to the damnation of souls.” (John MacArthur)
What about the Lord Jesus? Is He as harsh towards false teachers as His Father? You bet! The Lord Jesus’ attitude towards false teachers in the New Testament is the same as God in the Old. His most scathing denunciations were reserved for the false teachers of His day – the Pharisees and the scribes (Matt 23:13-33). They gave the impression they were teaching the laws of God when it was their traditions or oral laws, which they added to God’s commandments that they were championing (Matt 15:3,6; Mk 7:8,9,13).
Jesus warned about them in His first sermon, (the Sermon on the Mount) in Matthew 5:20 that their fake righteousness will never get them into His kingdom. He further denounced them as wolves who have come in sheepskin – being the false prophets of their day, and that their final destiny would be the fires of hell (Matt 7:15,19). In His last sermon in Matthew 23:13-33, Jesus relentlessly condemned these false teachers and spiritual leaders of Israel with seven woes or curses, and He again pronounced the destiny of hell on them (Matt 23:33).
“George, you talk about the dark destiny that false prophets would end up in; but what about the followers of heretics?”
Well, God has already given His take on the issue.
God treats the issue of false teachings in the Old Testament so seriously, that not only are false prophets put to death (Deut 13:5; 18:20), those who collude with them would share the same fate too (Deut 13:6-10; Jer 14:14-16).
Many believers of today think the decree of death by God on false prophets in the Old Testament and their followers only applies to the Old Testament but not the New.
But this isn’t true as Jesus in the New Testament had pronounced the sentence of hell (spiritual death), twice, on the Pharisees and the Scribes who were the false teachers of His day (Matt 7:15,19; 23:33). Furthermore, followers who embraced their teachings would suffer the same fate too (Rev 2:20-23).
Revelation 2:20-23 NIV
20 “Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.”
“I will strike her children dead,” (Rev 2:23) – referring to the spiritual children of the false prophetess, Jezebel, which would include members of the Church of Thyatira who have embraced her false teachings.
Jesus takes the threat of false teachings so seriously that unless these followers of heretics repent, He was prepared to cause intense suffering on His own children and even strike them dead.
Be warned that such severe judgements are not only reserved for false teachers but also their followers. This is true both in the Old Testament (Deut 13:6-10; Jer 14:14-16) as well as the New (Rev 2:20-23).
My loving advice to the followers of Joseph Prince is this, “You had better flee from him before it is too late.”
If anyone accuses me for using ‘scare tactics’, then he or she is also accusing God and the Lord Jesus for committing the same act, as I am unveiling no more than what they have revealed.
Since God was utterly tough on false prophets that He would even put them to death in the Old Testament, the church of today has no right to be any lenient to heretics, such as Joseph Prince, and be complacent about dealing with him and his heresies.
Since the Lord Jesus warned false teachers and especially people who collude with them with such severe judgement in Revelation that could even result in death (Rev 2:20-23), the contemporary church has no right to go soft on Joseph Prince, and take the issue of guarding their flock against being poisoned by his heresies any more lightly.”
Rev George Ong