Why False Prophets Are On the Increase Today

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Why are false prophets on the increase? What’s behind this rise of false teachers?

Jesus’ Warning

Why are false prophets on the increase? What’s behind this rise of false teachers? To start with, Jesus Himself said that in the last days “many false prophets will arise and lead many astray” (Matt 24:11). He said many…not a few, but many! And that’s the case today! How many thousands of self-proclaimed apostles or prophets do you know of? Jesus wanted us to “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matt 7:15). They “are ravenous” or hungry “wolves” who are eager to fleece the flock? How so? By selling books about prophecies, end times, dreams and visions. They fleece the flock by selling millions of books, DVD’s, prophetic Bible Versions, and a plea to send them “seeds of faith” so that “you” will be blessed. Instead of calling them “prophets,” we should consider calling them “profits” or Prophets for Profit, because that’s what they’re really up to. That’s there hidden agenda…to separate the Christians from their money.

There will be “many false prophets will arise and lead many astray” (Matt 24:11)

Peter’s Warning

The Apostle Peter warned the church that “just as there were also false prophets among the people, 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). Peter said “there were also” false prophets in Jerimiah’s day and Isaiah’s day, and so there “will be” false teachers or prophets in the last days. Listen how concerned Peter was by stressing that, not a few, but “many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories” (2 Peter 2:2).  Notice that Peter said there will be many who follow them, not just a few.

John’s Warning

Best Place To Start Reading the BibleThe Apostle John quickly notes how we can discern truth from error. He wrote, “Anyone who…does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God” (2 John 1:9). If there is no mention of repentance, confession of sin, or striving for holiness, they are not continuing “in the teaching of Christ.” If so, clearly they do “not have God.” Pretty simple, really.

Paul’s Warning

The Apostle Paul had a lot of experience with false teachers and so-called “super apostles” (2 Cor 11:5), and Paul wrote that “such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds” (2 Cor 11:13-15). You can see for yourself in the Word of God that the qualifications for apostles today is impossible to fulfill, meaning God has permanently closed the door for any possibility that there will be any more apostles (Acts 1:21-22).

Jerimiah’s Warning

Jeremiah the Prophet saw hundreds of false prophets in his day and was utterly grieved by it, and so should we. He wrote, “An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes” (Jer 5:30-31). Notice that the people “loved to have it so” when hearing the prophets “good news” prophecies. They didn’t want to hear about the need to repent and return to God or face captivity or face the coming judgment of God. They wanted to hear soothing things… pleasing things. They loved to have it so but not so with the true prophets of God. They were often scorned, imprisoned, beaten, beheaded, and one, even sawn in half. Tradition has it that evil King Manasseh had Isaiah sawn in half, although we can’t be sure, but the Book of Hebrews does mention that some “were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated” (Heb 11:37).

“The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction…”


There were roughly 800 or more false prophets for every one prophet that was sent from God during the latter days of the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah). Elijah faced similar odds when trying to show Israel who were really true prophets. It’s sometimes called The Showdown at Mount Carmel Corral because Elijah faced 450 false prophets (1 Kings 18:1-46). Have you ever noticed that in the Biblical accounts, the majority was almost always wrong!

If you read the qualifications of a true prophet of God in Deuteronomy 18:20-22, you’ll find that it’s one strike and you’re out! It’s not like baseball where two out of three isn’t bad. In Jerimiah’s day, there were roughly 800 false prophets for every one of the true prophets of God (i.e., Isaiah, Jerimiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, etc.). The shepherds or teachers in Jerimiah’s day scattered rather than gathered the sheep (Jer 23:1). Even the “prophet and priest are ungodly” (Jer 23:11). These false prophets “strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his evil” (Jer 23:14), so instead of what true prophets do and petition them to repent before God, the false ones said, “All is well.” What does God say about these false prophets? He says, “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD” (Jer 23:16). Instead of pointing the people to strive for holiness, they said, “‘It shall be well with you” when the very opposite was true (Jer 23:17). The very same thing is happening today with these self-proclaimed “prophets.”


Today there are thousands who are self-anointed or self-appointed prophets and apostles, but they are not from God. This is not the day for prophets or apostles. We have all we need already from God Word that has already been once and forever delivered (Heb 1:1-2; Jude 1:3). Who of us can add to what God has already said? Who can add counsel to God’s Word or who can speak for God, having His authority behind it? The biblical truth is, none of us can! In “times past,” God spoke through His apostles and prophets (Heb 1:1-2), but today He speaks through the Son of God and through the Word of God, made clear by the Spirit of God. No one can tell you that his or her vision is from God. I would ask them, “Which god was it? Was this god a little “g” god from the “god of this world” (2 Cor 11:3-4)? We must be carefully discerning. Discerning truth from error is not so much right verses wrong, but right and “almost” right.

Here is some related reading for you: Biblical Evidence that Modern Day Prophets are False Prophets

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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