False Prophets

Concise Bible Dictionary:

These, at various periods in the history of Israel, appeared in large numbers: Ahab had “about four hundred” of them (1 Kings 22:66Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king. (1 Kings 22:6)). Such are described as speaking “a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord” (Jer. 23:1616Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:16)). There were three that opposed Jeremiah to his face—Hananiah, Ahab, and Zedekiah (Jer. 28:11And it came to pass the same year, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year, and in the fifth month, that Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet, which was of Gibeon, spake unto me in the house of the Lord, in the presence of the priests and of all the people, saying, (Jeremiah 28:1); Jer. 29:2121Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, of Ahab the son of Kolaiah, and of Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, which prophesy a lie unto you in my name; Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall slay them before your eyes; (Jeremiah 29:21)). In the New Testament the Lord, early in His ministry, warned His hearers to beware of false prophets (Matt. 7:1515Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Matthew 7:15)); and in the church, the spirits are to be tried, for many false prophets have gone forth into the world (1 John 4:11Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)). They were and are Satan’s counterfeits of the prophets of God, and their purpose is, on the principle of imitation, to neutralize the word of God.