by Darryl Orrell
As our nation continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen the results of how quickly fear and panic can cascade from coast to coast. Who would have guessed that toilet paper would be the most in-demand item on store shelves during a crisis? While the coronavirus has brought wide-spread suffering and death around the globe, we also see the emergence of false prophets. People who prey on the fears of others and their weak knowledge of Scripture during a crisis.
Jesus, during his Sermon on the Mount, said, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves" (Matt. 7:15). During the Holy Week, after the Lord's triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the disciples asked Jesus to tell them about the signs of His return and the end of the age. Jesus answered, saying, "See that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many" (Matt. 24:4-5).
In the latter, Jesus advised His disciples not to consume themselves with end-time conjecture about when He returns or the end of the age to avoid leaving themselves open to being led astray by false prophets. The fact that Jesus declared there would be false prophets who mislead many was a warning not only for first-century believers but for 21-century believers as well. It is a reality that should prompt the church to engage in fervent prayer, cling to those who are spiritually immature, and eagerly seek the lost to share the truth of God's word.
A recent example comes from a self-proclaimed prophet who prophesied in February that God showed him that the tide had turned against the coronavirus crisis (Foxnews.com). Imagine the number of people who clung to that false hope so easily and quickly only to see the health crisis rapidly grow worse across our nation and other countries. Today, there are nearly 1.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases around the world and more than 81-thousands deaths. Think about the number of souls who have been and will be led astray so easily to face the second death that is the lake of fire. That is why Jesus tells us to "Beware..."
The idea of a modern-day prophet is a farce because God has armed us with His written word. The Bible contains everything we need to know about who God is and about who and what we are and why we are in such dire need of a Savior. That is what Holy Week is all about; to honor Jesus's redeeming work on the cross and to celebrate His victory over death. The Lord's victory over the grave is the cornerstone of our faith, and without the resurrection, there is no hope of eternal life.
It is essential to say that being led by the Holy Spirit is different from people who say God has spoken to them in an audible voice. The Holy Spirit works from within the believer, helping us grow spiritually to become more Christ-like. He prompts us by way of conviction and intercedes for us in our prayers. If God were to speak to us outside of His written word, it would imply the Bible is not complete or sufficient, and if that were the case, how could we trust it. It would also negate the purpose and presence of the Holy Spirit.
So as we continue to step through this coronavirus pandemic and walk the narrow path of life, let us be on guard for false prophets, false teachers, and false messiahs, for the Bible says we will know them by their fruits (Matt. 7:16). Let us beware!
Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible® Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
"Beware" Copyright 2020 Darryl Orrell - All Rights Reserved.
Darryl is a writer, journalist, and evangelist who has a passion for teaching God's word. He is a 2018 graduate of Regent University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with Latin honors.