2 Corinthians 11 vs 12-15: But what I do, I will continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast.
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.
And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
How can you spot modern day Judases? Satan has cunningly formed these imposters into near look-alikes. Like any counterfeit, if we know what to look for, they can be detected.
False apostles and prophets are always marked by:
The dealings of God begin deep inside the individual to conform that person to Christ in personality and character. 2 Corinthians 3 vs 18: But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
The end result is that person will possess the internal make-up of a servant of God. False apostles and prophets lack this internal make up and personality that is in true apostles and prophets.
This is because they have not been transformed by the power of Christ from their old natures.
They call themselves and develop themselves. They are not, nor ever appear, completely changed by God. This lack of internal transformation by God’s power can ultimately be detected on two levels:
These men and women will possess no intimacy of relationship with Christ, they are not abiding in the vine.
Matthew 7 vs 23: “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!”
False apostles and prophets will have no real relationship with true believers
They are false brethren. 2 Corinthians 11 vs 26: “in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren”,
Galatians 2 vs 4-5: And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
False apostles and prophets can also be detected by their conduct
Paul spoke of their “cunning craftiness”. Ephesians 4 vs 14: that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.
Their false practices are an extension of their false characters. Scripture reveals many practices that characterise false apostles and prophets, and these include the following elements:
Secrecy and mystery in their doctrine and lives instead of openness. Galatians 2 vs 4-5: And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage) to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. “Keeping secrets” is a good indication that something is wrong.
A spirit of bondage or control of others instead of promoting true liberty. Galatians 2 vs 4-5: And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage) to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
A true apostle or prophet never wants to bind or control anyone.
Manipulation through flattering words instead of speaking the truth in love. Romans 16 vs 18: For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.
Ephesians 4 vs 15: Speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into him who is the head Christ.
Deception and pretence instead of honesty and integrity
Matthew 7 vs 15: Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. Matthew 24 vs 11: Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
False miracles born out of a demonic empowerment instead of true miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 24 vs 24: For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
Penetrating the local church with their message instead of penetrating society with the gospel. Acts 20 vs 29: “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
Jude For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
True apostles and prophets do not draw people to themselves. This is the work of false apostles and prophets. True apostles and prophets are concerned with winning the lost.
Detracting and drawing away from the local church and toward themselves instead of building it up and drawing people to Christ. Acts 20 vs 30: “Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves,” 1 John 2 vs 19 .
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
Pride – watch out for this element in ministers, usually it’s a tell tale sign. Lucifer the father of the false fell because of pride. Isaiah 14 vs 11-17: “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.
I will sit on the mount of the congregation. On the farthest sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the most high.”
Scripture is clear that apostolic and prophetic ministry will be targeted by Satan for neutralisation because it constitutes a threat to the demonic kingdom.
A company of false apostles and prophets have arisen concurrent with the company of the true. The aim of this demonic assault will be to weaken the true and detract from its effect on the earth.
That the enemy will be defeated by the church is clear, the modern movement of Judas Iscariots will hang themselves and ultimately fall, while the true will move forward to receive power and claim the nations.