God is a God of justice and order; whereas, Satan is the God of this world and of chaos in the cosmos. God lays down the rules and guidelines for mankind to follow; whereas, Satan comes around and sows confusion.
The great religions today trace their physical and spiritual roots to Abraham: (a) the Jews and Judaism through Isaac, Jacob, Levi and Moses as prophet and lawgiver; (b) Christendom through Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Perez … King David, Solomon, Rehoboam …Jacob, Joseph the husband of Mary and Jesus the Christ and His teachings were sown around by the apostles; and (c) the Muslims and Islam through Ishmael and Muhammad.
Together, the three streams could well be comprising more than half of the world’s population today. Unfortunately, each stream points to the other two as short of the truth that Yahweh has laid down to follow. Judaism claims and adheres to Moses and the Hebrew prophets; Christianity claims Christ Jesus and the apostles’ teachings abrogated the Mosaical Law ; and Muslims insist on Muhammad as their prophet who claims inspiration by and through the Angel Gabriel. All three believe and invoke angels and prophets as part of their respective economy but there exist great chasms between and among the three streams. And yet all three claim they have the same God who is called various languages as Yahweh, Elohim, El, Eloah, GOD, LORD, Father, Creator, I AM, and Allah among others.
In Islam, the Sunni Muslims differ from the Shiite Muslims. These two streams of Islam battle each other in sectarian violence in Iraq in the early months of the year 2006 continuing even today in the year 2008 as reported in newspapers, television and radio. Some Muslims boast that there’s unity in Islam but that is not true. There are among them who are passive, some moderates, others fundamentalists, and the extreme jihadists.
In Christendom, there are many differing interpretations and conflicting claims among several sects and denominations each one claiming that their respective leaders had communications with angels or felt divine inspiration thereby making them prophets. Let us cite a few examples.
- The Pope of Rome claims that he is the Vicar of Christ on Earth so that whatever he pronounces ex cathedra in matters of faith and morals it is authoritative that is equal and many times higher than the canon of the scriptures. At one time the papacy of Rome pronounced as a matter of faith that the earth is flat contrary to the postulates of Copernicus and then put to death Galileo for espousing that the earth is round and revolves around the sun. John Paul II, the Polish pope, publicly apologized for this error of the papacy. This item clearly proves that the Roman Pope is not after all infallible.
- Muhammad of Arabia in the seventh century of the Christian Era claimed that the Angel Gabriel gave him instructions. His visions resulted to the establishment of Islam as a religion.
- Historians record that Calvin, the Swiss Reformer, made claims that he received some visions from heaven directing him to reform the Roman Catholic Church. Many of his ideas like Total hereditary depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saints influenced many non-Romanist theologians who came after him.
- Joseph Smith, an American made the claim that an angel instructed him to read the gold plates in New York in the 19th Century of the Christian Era. This visionary established the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormon).
- Ellen G. White, an American, made the claim that she had heavenly visions which resulted to the establishment of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
- William Miller, an American, claimed that he had visions which became the foundational theories of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
- Felix Manalo, (Filipino) claimed that he is the angel of Revelation 7:2-3 who shouted to the four angels to stop inflicting destruction on earth.
- Preachers of Pentecostalism as a general rule, promote the idea that the Holy Spirit continues even in the twenty first century to endow the miraculous spiritual gifts as was done in apostolic times. This results to claims by preachers and church leaders of Pentecostalism that whatever they feel and think about church issues and activities are Holy Spirit inspired.
- Apollo Quiboloy, a Filipino, today claims that he received visions from God. He proclaims that the New Jerusalem spoken of in the New Testament is his cathedral in Davao City, Philippines. Many people who listen to his television programs understand that he makes the claim that Jesus of Nazareth is no longer the spokesman of God in the modern world. Apollo Quiboloy claims that he is now the unique adopted son of God and that he (Quiboloy) speaks for God. And that an individual today must go to him to get the antidote to neutralize the sin that is in the individual. Mr. Magliba of Pangasinan had his own claim. So did Mr. Ecleo of Surigao.
This article would like us to focus on lying angels and false prophets. If we are aware that there are lying angels and false prophets, then we become more watchful about who and what is our authority and bases of religious truth that pleases Yahweh. The Apostle Paul believed that behind every human error and confusion there is a spiritual being moving it. He writes, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:1) Apostle Peter gives a very serious warning and says: “Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) The warning here is: Satan and his angelic host are aggressively sowing confusion and error among people who seek the will of God. Be watchful! Know who you believe and follow. Know what you believe and follow. There are lying angels and false prophets around us today.
Of course we should be aware that there are two general divisions of angels: good angels and bad angels. The good angels are God’s ministers or servants for the salvation of Abraham’s seeds while the bad angels are Satan’s ministers or servants to confuse and mislead mankind. Christ Jesus declared that Satan is the Father of lies (See John 8:44. Before the creation of the material cosmos, Satan and his host of angels rebelled against Yahweh (See Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; 2Peter 2:4-11; Jude 6). Their final destiny is the hell fire.
Lying angels could appear and sound as good angels (See 2 Cor. 11:13-15). Satan could appear as a beautiful angel dispensing power, wealth, and kingdoms (See Matt. 4:1-10). Or Satan could appear and sound in a very unusual form as the source of wisdom and liberty as in the case of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. (See Genesis 3).
In the Old Testament, there are many instances when lying angels and false prophets competed against good angels and true prophets, for the control of individuals and kingdoms. Read the story in 1 Kings 13. It is about a true prophet from Judah who rebuked and admonished King Jeroboam of the Northern Kingdom who built a rival temple in Bethel of the tribe of Ephraim some twenty kilometers due north of Jerusalem. The prophet was given instructions by Yahweh in verse 9 “You shall not eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way you came.” He was obedient until an older prophet came by and seduced him to do otherwise. The prophet of Judah knew the instructions of God and repeated it to his fellow prophet. But the older prophet said in verse 18, “I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.’” But this older prophet was lying.
Older men (prophets or preachers) could be moved by jealousy to destroy fellow prophets or fellow preachers by telling lies or misrepresent facts and even invoke angels or their academic degrees to gain credence because they are not the ones honored to undertake a task. Beware! What is best is to stick to what you personally know from the Bible as the instructions of God. So Apostle Paul warned in his Letter to the Galatians (1:8) that even if an angel from heaven comes down and gives another gospel (instructions on anything), stick to what the Holy Spirit has expressly recorded in the canon of the scriptures. Christ, Himself, has warned that scribes and Pharisees of His time were blind guides who led the trusting ordinary Jews. The Jews were led away from the truth.
Gehazi, prophet Elisha’s servant, as recorded in 2 Kings 5 tells of a person’s misrepresentation, lying and greed to exact from the Syrian General Naaman silver bullions and garments. Jeremiah in 4:31 and 14:14 said that duly appointed prophets prophesied falsely setting aside God’s revelations, while priests ruled or judged by their own wisdom not by God’s precepts. Read also Jer. 23:11-40. Prophet Jeremiah comes out very strongly about prophets who have delusions or invent prognostications when he says, “Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not uncovered your iniquity, to bring back your captives, but have envisioned for you false prophecies and delusions.” (Lamentations 2:14)
Prophet Ezekiel warns in the same way about false prophets of his days in 13:1-16 and 22:25-28. Prophets who pretended to speak for the Lord even if they have not in truth received any revelations. Micah also indicted elders, prophets and priests who served for pay: He declared: “Her heads judge for bribe, her priests teach for pay, and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the Lord, and say, ‘Is not the Lord among us? No harm can come upon us.’” (3:11)
In the New Testament, sufficient warning about false prophets and “false Christ” is given. Every Bible reader is warned to be very careful. Every individual has to decide for himself and choose what is safe and originating from the true God. All the conflicting claims are true! There are blind teachers who lead into destruction the equally blind followers! There are presumptuous Bible teachers! Bible teachers with delusion of grandeur!
Our Lord Jesus Christ is very clear in Matthew 7:21-23 when he gave a picture of the Judgment Day, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”
©2008 – Eusebio Tanicala, Ph.D.