Thursday, August 23, 2012

Is Jesus a False Prophet?

For those of us who are Christians the above question may sound scandalous. But according to the Word of God we are to test whether or not something or someone is worth following.

1 John 4:1 (KJV)
1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

So how do we know if Jesus/Yeshua (the Hebrew name) is a false prophet or not? Again the Word of God gives us guidelines.

Deuteronomy 18:21-22 (KJV)
21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?
22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

The first test for a so-called prophet is to determine if what he has said comes to pass. In the case of Yeshua many claims were made in the Old Testament about the coming Messiah. Yeshua fulfilled all of the claims referring to His first coming. He also worked many miracles and made statements about His death and resurrection. In every case those things came to pass.

Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (KJV)
1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
4 Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

This Scripture portion tells us that there will be false prophets who come our way who are able to do signs and wonders as well as prophesy. So although they meet the first test will they meet the second? Deuteronomy 13 instructs us that if the prophet tells us to go after other gods we are not to listen to him. Under Israel's theocracy at the time these false prophets were to be put to death. Verse 4 confirms that we are to walk after the Lord, fear Him, keep His commandments, obey His voice, serve Him, and cleave unto Him.

Did Yeshua pass the second test? Yes, He did. In fact, He followed God's commands perfectly. He never disobeyed and He never once told anyone to disobey them.

So it would seem that Yeshua was not a false prophet. Yet, why do His followers today not eat kosher food, observe Saturday Sabbath, or observe the feasts? Many would say that we don't have to do these things any more. However, if Yeshua had advised us to veer away from God's laws wouldn't that mean that He was a false prophet?

Think about this. When Jewish people are introduced to Jesus they are told that the Old Testament laws are no longer valid. What do they understand? They think about the two tests of a false prophet and immediately and rightly see that if this Jesus was changing God's laws then He was a false prophet and they must reject Him. So, by our insisting that Yeshua changed our obligations to the law we are setting up a barrier to God's own people. We become culpable in their rejection of the Messiah.

Let's rethink our traditions and analyze them using the whole Word of God.


  1. I think the main mistake in logic here is the assumption that Jesus was a prophet to be included in these tests. Yeah, if you use the definition of prophet as being able to predict the future, then you could call Jesus a prophet, but it looks pretty clear to me that these two passages are referring to a prophet as someone that is speaking for God, not God himself. Deut. 18:22 says "When a prophet *speaketh in the name of the LORD*". Jesus was not speaking in the name of the Lord. He was the Lord. Det 13:1 defines the prophet as "a dreamer of dreams", aka, someone who is receiving information from God. Again, Jesus was God, so he would not be receiving information from God to then pass on to the people. So in my mind, these verses do not apply to Jesus. If you look at Luke 7:28, you can see that it calls John the Baptist the greatest prophet born of woman, but if Jesus were being considered a prophet (and he was born of woman, so he would be included here), I think we can agree that he would be greater. So obviously, there are times in the Bible where it is not including Jesus in the category of prophet and so I do not think it unreasonable to say that the Deut passages are not including the Messiah.

    So all in all, I am saying that Jesus was greater than a prophet and would be treated differently. It's like a farmer telling his workers to use a certain type of feed to feed the animals and saying that if anyone comes along and tells them differently, then they are not to do it. However, if the farmer himself came back and said that they should use this new improved feed that was not available before, then the workers would obviously obey the new order instead. Back to Jesus. Now obviously, the Jews could not go and just believe any old person claiming to be the Messiah, but there were several "tests" that the true Messiah would meet so rather than testing to see if Jesus met the criteria for a prophet, they would be testing to see if he met the criteria of being the Messiah (which was much harder to meet seeing as how there are like over 300 prophecies related to the Messiah).

    So...when introducing Jewish people to Jesus, I do think that the first thing they should be introduced to is "Jesus as the Messiah", not "the Old Testament laws are no longer valid" because until we establish that Jesus had the authority and capability of being the fufillment of the law (and thus making the laws void), you are correct, they would be attempting to apply the "prophet" test to us and so reject what we are saying.

  2. Michelle, thank you for your comments. Let's see if I can address them. First, your comment about Jesus not being a prophet, one who speaks for God, but rather He is God Himself. You're right that Jesus is more than a prophet. He is God. But John 8:28 teaches that Jesus spoke what the Father told Him to speak.

    John 8:28 (KJV)
    28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

    Also, from the Jews' perspective, Jesus fits the potential prophet definition. Jesus came speaking God's words. But to them Jesus began a new religion. It is different from Judaism. If they know Torah they know that God told them through Moses that if a prophet came in God's name (this is what Jesus said himself) that if this teaching took them away from God and His commands they were to reject that prophet.

    When anyone is first introduced to Jesus, they don't necessarily know that He is God. He appears to be a prophet/teacher/good man, etc. The instructions in Deut. were set up to help determine whether that person was someone worthy of following. Based on how Jews perceive Jesus, they rightly reject Him.

    Your second point about the farmer is also a good point, except that the farmer is human. He can change his mind based on new knowledge, etc. God becomes a bait and switch artist if He changes His mind and contradicts what He said in the past. Because He is God He would know that things down the road would be different and He would never have put in Deut. the caution not to follow anyone who goes against His commands.

    Can you clarify what tests you are referring to that Messiah needed to meet? Do you simply mean all the body of prophecy about Messiah in the Old Testament? If you do, I agree that they are relevant tests and they should convict people to follow Jesus. But the Deut. 18 passage begins with the following:

    Deuteronomy 18:15-22 (KJV)
    15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
    16 According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
    17 And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
    18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
    19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
    20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
    21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?
    22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

    Moses, speaking in this passage, says that the Lord would raise up a prophet from among the people like unto himself. He goes on to describe one of the two tests I mentioned. This same passage is quoted in Acts 3:22 where Peter is making the point that Jesus is that Prophet that the Lord raised up.

    Lastly, I agree that we should be introducing the Jewish people to Jesus as Messiah. But Jewish people already know that Christians don't follow Torah. This pretty much sets their minds against anything that we have to say, which is very sad and I'm sure that you would agree with that.

    Please respond further if you have any more comments. I enjoyed your very thoughtful response. Blessings!

  3. I'll give you that the Deut 18 passage is referring to Jesus. However, the passage that is really causing the divergent thoughts on the matter is the Deut 13 passage because that is the one dealing with a prophet saying something against what they had been told before, which in reading around the passage, I still don't see that as applying to God himself. You mention that since God knows what is down the road, if he intended on changing it, he would not have put the caution to not follow anyone who goes against His commands. I disagree. There were plenty of false prophets out there, so the warning was still needed. And yet the caution seems quite natural to not include the commander himself in a warning. For example, in the farmer's case, it is likely that he knew/suspected that something better might come along later, yet there would be no need to add on "except myself" because it would be understood that the originator himself could change it. Any worker that refused to do what he said later based on "but you said not to follow anyone who told you to use a different feed" would be looked at like the were being ridiculous.

    I am obviously not Jewish, so I can't say how the Jews would go about applying tests, but it makes more sense to me that if someone came along and said that he was the Messiah, I would not jump to seeing if he matched the prophet test and could be followed. I would jump to the harder tests (and yes, I am referring to the prophecies of the OT) to see if he really was who he said he was.

    And lastly, you mention that Jewish people know Christians don't follow the Torah and that sets their minds against anything that we have to say. I agree with this and that it is sad, but if you think about it, isn't the whole world in a similar position in some shape or form? For example, many people believe homosexuality is ok and also know that Christians will call it sin. So, their beginning mindset is to not follow Christians because they are not doing what is right (with them thinking that it is right to be accepting of homosexuality). Are we "setting up a barrier" to these people? Are we "culpable of their rejection of the Messiah"? I would say no on both accounts. We are simply stating the truth. We cannot lie about it in the name of bringing people to Christ because that just produces fake or shallow Christians. I would say the same with the observing of the OT laws. We are not setting up a barrier and we are not to blame if they reject Christ. We are stating what we believe to be true based on our reading of the Word of God and not skirting the issue just because we might lose some people. Let's leave the pricking of their hearts to God and just be as obedient/true to him as we can.

  4. I would just add one further comment. If God can change what He has said in the past why can't He change the rules again? What if down the road a new scripture is discovered (and let's assume that it seems to meet all the qualifications that our canon had to meet) that claimed now we would have to be saved by certain works? How would we be able to stand firmly on the Word of God if it can change? God cannot contradict Himself. Changing the rules is a contradiction and it is against God's nature.

    Hebrews 13:8 (KJV)
    8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

  5. Christ didn't change. Just the method by which the law was satisfied. In Old Testament times, the law could obviously not be satisfied by Christ's death on the cross because that had not occurred yet. This is not a contradiction of any sort. If something hasn't occurred, it hasn't occurred.

    As for this new scripture, how do you propose that it is meeting the qualifications that our canon had to meet and yet still manage to say we are saved by certain works? The OT predicted the Messiah, so in that case, the people had something to go off of to know that it was him. The Bible predicts a second coming of Christ, but considering we will be meeting him in the clouds/dead are raising, I don't think there will be any denying that that is happening, so I am not clear on how you are proposing that some new scripture could be found.

  6. Actually, there is no change in how the law was satisfied. Before Jesus, the law could not be satisfied. There was no perfect substitution before Jesus. Salvation has always been by grace through faith. The law, as Hebrews points out was never able to save. The rituals, sacrificial system, etc. allowed the covering of sin and other non-sin related uncleanness, so that the Jewish people could go into the Temple/Tabernacle and meet with the actual presence of God. Without that covering humans would be struck dead. So, we are basically in agreement with what occurred at Jesus' death and resurrection.

    One day according to Ezekiel (chapters 40-48, in that area) there will be another Temple. Whether this is built prior to the Millennial Kingdom or during it, many of the sacrifices, etc. will be in place again. So it would seem that there really has been no change to the benefit of the Law, since this occurs after Jesus' death and resurrection. So why do things change in between? I believe that they shouldn't.

    As to my example, it was purely made up and was not perfect. I believe that the canon is closed. My point is that the Jewish people do not accept Jesus based on what God told them in Deuteronomy because He appears to be a false prophet. They are being obedient to God's Word.

    So I believe the problem is actually with traditional Christianity. According to the last line of your first Aug 27 post we are to be obedient to God. But we're not if we leave out the Old Testament. After all, Jesus fulfilled (a better translation is "established") the Law. Didn't He fulfill the command not to murder? Why did He fulfill some of the Law, but not all of it? I realize I am adding new thought to this thread, but we might as well examine this issue fully.

    If God changes the rules after He tells His people not to listen to anyone who tries to change the rules He's not the loving God that He is. He has contradicted himself and that is contrary to His nature. He would not do it.

    Thanks again, for your meaningful comments.

  7. Satisfy is a bad word for what I was trying to convey (that Christ did not change), but you can just as easily put your words into my second sentence. "Christ didn't change. Just the method by which the people could come into the presence of God." Does this not fit into your category of something Jesus changed (Jesus himself not changing nor his purpose of Jesus doing what he did in the future). If not, why not? If so, why do you accept Jesus as someone to follow as he's gone and told the people differently than they were told in the OT (he has told them that they can come into his presence as a result of his death on the cross)? Meaning, if nothing can change at all, I understand from Jewish perspective why they can't accept Jesus, but I don't see how a person that believes nothing can change can follow Christ.

    The Ezekiel passage is one that admittedly confuses me, and so I can't answer you there. One day perhaps God will give me some understanding regarding it. Regardless, the continuance of the law throughout all time does not provide a good explanation to me. During the time where these new sacrifices are going to be taking place, aren't we supposed to already be perfect (in deeds as well as in a perfect body)? And if so, what is the purpose of a sacrifice if there is no uncleanness to cover? Or is it just those born during this time (and so can sin/be unclean) that are doing the sacrifices? I haven't read Ezekiel in a while, and it is more study than I have time for now, but I don't remember that being the case. But if it is the case, then again, what is the purpose of the sacrifice? If it is to cover uncleaness, then Christ's death was not sufficient and seems to be have done in vain. And if the sacrifices are just serving as some reminder, then it sounds like the purpose of the sacrifices are changing from what their purpose was in the Old Testament, but according to you, nothing can ever change, so this also is not a satisfactory answer. Hmmm...this whole paragraph is just me rambling my thoughts because as I said, it confuses me, and I have yet to come across someone that is able to explain it clearly.

    You state that the Jews reject Jesus because he appears to be a false prophet according to Deut. This means that they believe Jesus to be telling them to do something different than what they had been told. If Jesus was in fact telling them to continue carrying out their rituals (as I believe you would say that he is actually doing), why did they believe him to be a false prophet? Many Jews did not accept Jesus long before there was "traditional" Christianity, so "traditional" Christianity cannot be blamed for giving these people this idea.

    With your line of thought (being that due to Deut, nothing can change ever), establish seems like it would be worse translation for your points than fulfill. Establish means to "Initiate or bring about", so if he is starting the law, it sounds like he sure is changing something (or a new religion is being founded). As for fulfilling the command to murder, Christ's death did not take away our ability to sin, so the moral laws would still be in place because his death is not fulfilling the purpose of those laws. However, his death fulfills the purposes of the other laws, so there is no reason to have two things doing the same thing. Anyways, as you said, this is a new line of thought, and I would rather not have to justify entire Christianity in this thread (which if we kept on adding things, that could very well happen).

    To be continued in next post. Evidently, this blog only accept 4096 characters :/

  8. And as I have stated in the other posts, I don't agree with your last paragraph at all. Deut. 13 does not apply to the originator himself, so he is not contracting himself, and even if he was, I think it would be a hard case to make that he was an unloving God just because he changed from requiring people to do all of the laws listed in the Torah to having Christ's death cover them instead. What is unloving about that? It is easier for me to understand a non-Christian's thought that God is unloving because he sends people to hell. At least that sounds like an unloving thing to do (and again, that is the non-Christian's perspective. I myself do not believe that and rather believe that he does that because it is what we deserve but in his loving kindness, he provided a way such that we would not have to be sent to hell).

  9. Michelle, because we live in a fallen world I don't believe that we can enter the actual presence of God (i.e. the Temple) without the covering that the sacrifices, baths, etc. provide, even though we can enter the spiritual presence of God because of Jesus' death and resurrection. (The indwelling Holy Spirit.)

    I don't know that anyone fully understands why the sacrifices will be put in place again. There will still be fallen individuals alive during the Kingdom so they will continue to need the provisions of the sacrifices, etc. For those who have glorified bodies the sacrifices may just be memorial in nature. This part I don't know.

    Jesus never disobeyed the Law (including all the ceremonial aspects of the Law) because if He had He would not have qualified as a perfect sacrifice for us. However, He did come against many of the man made traditions that the Jews had put in place as a hedge around the Law. He came against those traditions that served to stand in the way of following God's actual Law. In this way He could have been viewed as a false prophet according to Deut. if the people viewed the traditions as law, but at His trials the governing officials were not able to convict Him except on the basis of false testimony. Obviously, Jesus was disbelieved for a whole lot of reasons besides Deut. This is true today for the Jewish people. I'm only pointing out an area that I believe we as Christians have overlooked.

    The word "establish" used in the context of Matthew 5:17-19 is referring to something that already exists, so the meaning of "initiating, or to bring about" does not fit. However, "establish" according to the Free Online Dictionary also means "to make firm or secure". This is what Jesus was doing for the Law.

    I believe that the Deut. passages were given so that anyone (even God Himself) coming along with a different message would be ignored.

  10. I need to add that the Deut.13 passage specifically says that God is using this passage as a test to determine whether or not the people love God with all their hearts and with all their souls. So, yes, even if God himself came with another message He was to be ignored.

  11. I was talking about the spiritual presence (obviously, I am a Christian and yet have never been in the physical presence of God). Before Christ, there was no indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and so that is a change, which was the point.

    "Make firm or secure" for establish doesn't make sense either. Was the law shaky before?

    I don't know why God using the passage as a test to determine whether or not the people love God with all their hearts and souls means that God was to be ignored. It still doesn't make sense why the originator would be included, but we are obviously not going to ever agree here.

  12. Michelle, I think you are right that we will not find an agreement here. I want to thank you for your insight and thoughtful comments. Blessings in your walk with Jesus!