The Chief Distinguishing Mark of a False Prophet

By David Qaoud - Posted at Gospel Relevance:

How would you describe a false prophet? There are plenty of right responses to this question. Usually, what people think of are people who distort the Christian message for personal gain. If you said this you’d be off to a good start. But there is still one chief distinguishing mark of a false prophet above all else. What is it?

The context is Matthew 7:13-23, what one church calls “The Scariest Passage in the Bible.” This is the beginning of the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount. After talking about the narrow and wide gates, Jesus then discusses false prophets. Naturally, using basic Bible hermeneutics, we can conclude that there is a connection between X and Y — that is, there is a connection between the gates and the prophets. Jesus encourages his listeners to enter the narrow gate where the road is hard; false prophets do not. Therefore, the chief distinguishing mark of a false prophet is that they do not advocate the narrow gate and the hard road in the path of Christian discipleship (Matthew 7:14). 1

Jesus says the gate is narrow. The word narrow here is often used with a family of words to characterize suffering and opposition. Jesus is giving a realistic understanding of Christian discipleship; the way is grueling.

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