The Israelites of Ezekiel’s day would have been wise to be on guard against false prophets. In that regard, they failed. What were the false prophets of that time like and what was their influence on the chosen seed? Ezekiel 13 supplies some answers.

Be advised: the message of Ezekiel 13 will not make you smile, nor will it make you so happy that you will want to do a cartwheel or go hug a puppy. Most likely, what you read in this chapter will cause you to feel nauseous and angry. It is a strong message from the rejected God of heaven about the role that false prophets played in leading His people astray.

Jehovah charged Ezekiel, “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel” (Ezekiel 13:2). God did not withhold His mindset about those false prophets, as He directly told them, “I am indeed against you” (13:8). What was it about such prophets which caused the Lord to oppose them?

The false prophets prophesied “out of their own mouth” (13:2). They were guilty of following their own spirit and had seen nothing (13:3), that is, they had seen no vision from the Lord nor had He revealed a message to them. They preached what they wanted to say.

What else did the Lord say about them? “They have envisioned futility and false divination, saying ‘Thus says the LORD!’ But the LORD has not sent them . . .” (13:6). They claimed their message came from the Lord, but it was not from Him at all: they made it up. They were pretenders, frauds who proclaimed fraudulent messages.

How did God describe the false prophets’ preaching? “Because you have spoken nonsense and envisioned lies, therefore I am indeed against you says the Lord God” (13:8). How could the children of Israel be so gullible?! How could they “buy into” nonsense and lies? They either lacked knowledge (Isaiah 5:20) or else they lacked the conviction and courage to oppose futile fairy tales.

What else? “Because, indeed, because they have seduced My people, saying, ‘Peace!’ when there is no peace . . .” (13:10). Rather than strengthen God’s people, the false prophets seduced them. Rather than turn them to the truth, they turned them away from it. Picture this: the false prophets declared “Peace” to the Jews about the status of Judah and Jerusalem. God, on the other hand, had a different viewpoint, declaring that there was no peace (13:16). When the answers/thinking of humans differs from the Lord’s, someone is wrong and needs to change, and we know it is not the Lord!

their false prophecies and foolishness (13:17-20), causing the Jews to be as prey in their hands (13:21). Whose fault was it that the Jewish people were led astray by error? It was not God’s! The fault lie both with the deceivers and those who allowed themselves to be deceived. It was the proverbial case of the blind leading the blind (Matthew 15:14). Do you know what was really sad in that whole mess? Jehovah through Jeremiah said, “And My people love to have it so” (Jeremiah 5:31).

When you look at the next-to-last verse of Ezekiel 13, here is what you find God saying to the false prophets: “Because with lies you have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and you have strengthened the hands of the wicked, so that he does not turn from his wicked way to save his life” (13:22).

What consequences of the false prophets’ work did the Lord enumerate? For one thing, they made the righteous sad. The remnant is devastated mentally when false messengers lead their brethren astray.

Second, the falsehoods of the messengers strengthened the hands of the wicked. What the wicked needed to hear was a call to repent and turn back to Jehovah; instead, what they got were messages which assured them that they were in good shape, messages that comforted those who should have been uncomfortable due to their rebellion against the law of God. As a result of being told, “Peace, peace, you are just fine,” the people had no motivation to turn from their wickedness. So, what did they do? They continued on the same course of action, which was a path of destruction.

The same principle is at work today. If a man is living in a relationship that Jesus calls “adultery” (Matthew 19:9), but some false teacher pats him on the back and tells him that his relationship with that woman is acceptable, the false teacher is lending his support to sin and hinders the man from getting out of a sinful situation.

A congregation wants to appoint a woman as one of its pastors. It consults a false teacher who assures the current leaders that God loves sisters in the Lord just as much as He loves brothers, and he reminds them that sisters have many talents to offer. The false teacher is supporting a false proposal, and by doing so he is hindering the church from discarding a faulty, unscriptural arrangement. Through his influence, they have no interest in sticking with God’s truth.

The Master said to beware of false prophets (Matthew 7:15). He who heeds that warning is wise.

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— Roger D. Campbell