False Prophets: Why Do They Fail?

False Prophets: Why Do They Fail?

10 Reasons Why They Fail

False Prophets: They Always Fail

Why do false prophets fail? They always do. Worse yet, those who follow them also fail.


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Many have said it, but it bears repeating:

  • George Santayana started it: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
  • Bill Gates modified it: “It is fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

Those who fail to learn from history repeat it.

Despite the familiarity of this truth, scores of people have failed to learn from the past and follow false prophets to their calamity.

The Bible offers numerous warnings against following false prophets. It even offers vivid examples of them to confirm the warnings and illustrate their characteristics. The story of Eli and his two sons provides one of those pictures. (1)

Eli served as high priest over Israel. He had two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, who served with him as priests in the Temple. Their stories indicate their true natures which led to their ultimate failures.

False Prophets: They Fail Because They Do Not Know God

Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.” (2)

This word “knew” has two different meanings.

  • One expresses factual knowledge, e.g., book knowledge, understanding, or some kind of insight into a subject. In this way, you can recite information about different matters with some degree of mental acuity, and a level of intelligence. With this knowledge, acquired by observation and reflection, you can say, “I know it.”

That kind of knowledge does not define the kind of knowledge meant by “knew” in this verse.

  • Another meaning depicts an intimate, personal relationship with a person, an intimacy of knowledge by experience, a fellowship. This denotation defines “know” in this verse.

Hophni and Phinehas lacked this category of knowledge of God. They had no intimate, experiential knowledge of Him. Therefore, they did not know Him.

They may have known some facts about Him, e.g.:

  • God’s appearing on the mount to speak to Moses, and give him the law;
  • God’s bringing the Children of Israel out of Egypt, across the Red Sea, through the wilderness, and into the Promised Land.

They could tell some things about God, but they did not experience a personal knowledge of Him. They did not truly worship or obey God, true signs of false prophets who will fail.

The example of Hophni and Phinehas warns Christ followers of those in authority in the Church of Jesus Christ who do not know God. These acclaimed leaders may know about God, can describe facts about Him, and recount stories from the Bible about Him. But, they do not know Him in an intimate, personal manner.

False Prophets: They Fail Because They Neglect God

The priorities and practices of false prophets reveal it. Like Eli’s sons, whose behavior disproved a sincere heart for God, they spend little if any time in prayer and intimate fellowship with God. These leaders, on average, spend a few minutes a day in prayer, seeking God’s face.

Further, the content of their preaching and teaching, as well as the absence of the unction of the Holy Spirit upon it, confirms their lack of knowledge of God. They do not know Him. One cannot teach what one has not experienced.

Neither can leaders guide others to a spiritual level they have not attained. People who follow false prophets demonstrate not only a dearth of the knowledge of God and the lack of an intimate fellowship with the God Whom they say they serve.

They also neglect Him in their priorities and practices like the false prophets they follow. Like them, they, too, will fail.

False Prophets: They Fail Because They Disobey God’s Word

Eli’s sons disobeyed God’s word in the manner of the sacrifices they offered on behalf of others. God stipulated the acceptable offerings, the sequence of the offering, as well as the portion of the offering reserved for the priests after the completion of the sacrifice.

Hophni and Phinehas violated these requirements as given by God to Moses.

  • They demanded their portions prior to sacrifices.
  • They stole parts of the sacrifices for themselves after they completed them.

In violation of God’s decree, Hophni and Phinehas had utter disregard for the law of God as well as for the people offering sacrifices. They dishonored the sacrifices and failed in their responsibilities before God. No wonder God judged them for their sins.

False Prophets: They Fail Because They Adopt An Attitude Of Entitlement

Eli’s sons saw their offering of the sacrifices as an opportunity to satisfy their shameless desires with gratification of luxury. They took more of the sacrifices for themselves than God’s law stipulated. They demanded the choicest portions of animals before completing the actual sacrifice of the animals.

A similar attitude of entitlement exists among many Church leaders today. Contrary to Christ’s command of humble service, these false prophets believe they deserve special treatment because of their positions.

  • They demand and enjoy lives of luxury.
  • They command sizeable salaries and spend Church funds on expensive vehicles and palatial homes.
  • Their opulent clothing draws attention to their pride.

Often, they claim a special authority and anointing for them to indulge their impious desires. These false prophets satisfy their cravings with purchases from funds offered by believers who trusted that they made an offering to the Lord.

Like the sons of Eli, the false prophets, teachers, and preachers of our day take these offerings for themselves, beyond actual need. As a result, people have come to abhor offerings and view them with disdain, just as they did in the time of Hophni and Phinehas. (3)

False Prophets: They Fail Because They Indulge In Debauchery and Immorality

Up to this point in the story of Eli’s sons, their disregard for time to know God, their neglect of God, and their disobedience of God’s law qualified them for destruction. Yet, their wickedness does not end with these crucial failures. The Bible expands the depth of their sinfulness:

Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.” (4)

In that day, not unlike our day, the women helped in the temple, cleaning, sorting, organizing, and helping the priests. Some came to pray and worship. We read about Anna the prophetess who was in the Temple when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to complete the law of circumcision and to present Him to the Lord according to the Law. She is one who came to the temple to serve, honor, and worship God.

Eli’s sons used their positions to take advantage of these women and abuse them sexually. Their immorality became common knowledge among the people of Israel. Hophni and Phinehas lost the respect of those who brought their offerings to God at the Temple. Eli’s sons failed long before their demise.

Remember that those who fail to learn from history repeat it? The immoral practices of Hophne and Phinehas did not end with them. No doubt, you like I have read of some in leadership positions in the professing Church today who have illicit sexual relationships with women in their congregations.

Members of their families indulge their illicit sexual desires, too. Sexual trysts occur between staff members who travel together to meetings that promise to “glorify and honor God.” When implicated, they lie about their immorality and justify it as a means for their victims to come closer to God.

Just like Hophni and Phinehas before them, they are false prophets, teachers, and pastors. They, too, will fail.

False Prophets: They Fail Because They Disdain Discipline

After Eli heard some of the stories and reports that came back to him of his sons’ behavior, he said to them:

Why do you do such things, for I hear of your evil dealings by all the people? Nay, my sons, it is not a good report that I hear. You make the Lord’s people to transgress. If one man sin against another the judge shall judge him, but if a man sin against the Lord who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father.” (5)

When Eli questioned his sons, they responded with disdain for discipline. They did not care for their father’s warnings and rejected his attempts to correct them. In so doing, they disregarded God’s Law and His rule over them.

Eli had let his sons function as a law unto themselves in their roles as priests. He had become ineffective as a High Priest and as a father. He lacked moral authority to enforce Biblical practice upon his sons. They rejected their father’s warnings and correction, hastening toward failure.

Time and time again, this pattern recurs in the lives of false prophets today. Churches split over pastors’ refusal to accept discipline for their moral failures. Popular teachers ignore the warnings from those who love them and seek to correct their sinful lifestyles.

Like Eli, Hophni, and Phinehas, today’s false prophets plunge headlong into failure and take many along with them.

False Prophets: They Fail Because They Elevate Themselves

Hophni and Phinehas esteemed themselves above the people whom they served. They satisfied their own lusts without regard for God’s law. They ignored the impact of their behavior upon others and rejected the messages of those who attempted to correct them. Eli’s sons gratified their cravings as fitting for their positions, which led to their failure.

The “I am different” attitude of Hophni and Phinehas describes the false prophets in our day who have elevated themselves to a status beyond correction. They do not function in the Church the way God designed it:

  • setting themselves above Biblical Church structure;
  • rejecting correction;
  • declining direction and guidance from Godly servants;
  • deceiving others in financial matters; and
  • violate the tax laws of our land, to mention only a few examples.

When admonished for their practices, these false prophets fail to repent of their sins of disobedience to God and their violation of the trust of others. Like Hophni and Phinehas, they claim special anointing of God and disregard the correction of others.

False Prophets: They Fail Because Of The Dearth Of The Word Of God

1 Samuel 3 begins the story of Samuel’s residence in the Temple with Eli, the High Priest. Samuel’s dwelling with Eli resulted from his mother’s prayer for a son and her promises to give that son to God as recorded in 1 Samuel 1.1-2.11.

“And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.” (6)

The dearth of the word of the Lord describes three different conditions fostered by false prophets.

  • Dearth Of The Word Of God: Scarcity

When it says that the “word of the Lord” was precious in those days, it literally means scarce. Scarcity of something helps to determine its value. For example, people all over the world view gold as a precious commodity. They do so because of its scarcity and high quality.

In Eli’s day, he and his sons deprived the Children of Israel of God’s word. In fact, they disobeyed it with latitude. They failed to propagate God’s word, and it became scarce and of little value to the priests and the people.

As a result of their sinful behavior, the Children of Israel experienced the deprivation of God’s Word to them. The void of the life giving sustenance of God’s word brings certain failure.

  • Dearth Of The Word Of God: A Lack of Vision

Because Eli, Hophni, and Phinehas deprived the people of God’s word, they did not have any open vision to guide them. The revelation of God and His purposes for His people came from the spiritual leaders to whom God has given a vision of His plans and purposes. No one stood up and said, “Thus saith the Lord. Go this way.” This dire circumstance followed the failed leadership of Eli and his two sons Hophni and Phinehas.

  • Dearth Of The Word Of God: Emphasis Upon Lesser Issues

In or day, the lack of vision exhibits a different aspect that results from a dearth of the word of God. Pastors and teachers today concentrate upon lesser life issues:

  • psychology;
  • emotional disturbances: and
  • “How To…” messages on money and health.

This emphasis, perhaps having some Biblical basis, has replaced the greatest good: sermons on foundational Biblical doctrines and personal holiness. These false prophets abandon preaching the word of God for “talks,” making no clear statement of God’s truths. Thus, the Church careens as a rudderless ship, without direction or standards. No wonder the professing Church experiences spiritual decay.


Dr. Ainsley Barnwell, a former mentor of mine before his death, counselled me,

“Tom, water never flows above its source. A spiritual leader can never take people above his level of spirituality. They will reflect their leader. If you maintain a low spiritual quality, so will the people that you lead. They will never rise above you. If you are not a man of God, your people will not be people of God.”

The failure of Hophni and Phinehas brought spiritual decay to Israel. Their spiritual failures reappear in the false prophets of today, who influence the spiritual decline of the Church.

In the third chapter of his epistle, James warns believers of the responsibilities of leadership. Those who lead in the Church have great liability for their actions. Leaders face greater condemnation for their failures, because the spiritual condition of those who follow them will reflect the leaders’ condition.

The examples of Eli and his sons provide a vivid picture of the causes of the failure of false prophets. Therefore, we must examine those who lead us to escape the same destiny of those who followed them.

May God, by His Holy Spirit, open our eyes to distinguish between truth and error, to identify the false prophets among us, and to escape their failures that threaten to destroy us.

Thank you, heavenly Father, that You have provided for us ways in which we can observe and heed Your warning to us through the Lord Jesus to beware of false prophets, ways in which we can examine them and come to some kind of evaluation and understanding of whether these men and women truly are men and women of God. Help us to reject the false and to pursue after the truth. I pray that You will open their eyes by Your Holy Spirit to see the truth, to understand it, and to grasp it. Grant us by the power of the Holy Spirit to conform our lives to the truth, to come to know You intimately, and to fellowship with You intimately. We will give You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, honor, glory, and praise for what You accomplish with the truth in our lives. Amen. 


  1. 1 Samuel 2.12-17.
  2. 1 Samuel 2.12.
  3. 1 Samuel 2.17.
  4. 1 Samuel 2:22.
  5. 1 Samuel 2:23-25.
  6. 1 Samuel 3:1.

Questions For Study

  1. Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinheas, did not know God. How does that happen:
    1. to preacher’s kids?
    2. to deacon’s kids?
    3. to Sunday School teacher’s kids?
    4. to your own kids?
  2. Is it right to call people who strive to follow God’s law, “legalists?”
  3. How can you obey God’s voice in your life without assuming that your good works earn you points with God?
  4. How do modern day false prophets evidence their attitude of entitlement?
  5. How does the church determine whether the demands of their pastors are necessary to live in this society or are born of a desire for luxury?
  6. Does your church have a plan in place to deal with the possibility of sexual immorality on the staff of the church?
  7. How does the church follow-up incidents that give rise to doubt regarding church staff?
  8. Is it ever right to disregard such immorality?
  9. Do you cause your spiritual leader to stumble by treating him as though he were above and superior to others in the church?
  10. Do you show him respect and appreciation without treating him as a “star?”
  11. Most churches state in their constitutions that the Word of God is the sole provider of wisdom and truth from the hand of God. Believers in these churches often read more of the latest popular books about Christianity or books with ethereal prose about communion with God than they read the Bible. Does your pastor discourage such choices and promote the reading of God’s word both in the church and in the home?
  12. What is your personal plan for learning to know God and know His word?

© Thomas P Hill. Website: www.masterministries.org.

Personal Information: Thomas P. Hill, M. A. in Ministry, Luther Rice Seminary; author of 3 books: Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing; Homosexuality, Christians, and the Church; and Keys To A Revolutionary Life (available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Tom’s web site). To invite Tom to speak at your college, church, or group, contact him by email at hill_tom@att.net.

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False Prophets Fooled You?

False Prophets Fooled You?

10 Things You Should Know Expose Them

False Prophets: You Can Identify Them

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No segment of society boasts more false prophets than politics. Commonly called pundits and politicians, they abound. These false prophets predict the rise and fall of people and policies that affect you and me. By a wide margin, their prophecies fail.

The world of sports possesses nearly as many false prophets as politics. Sportswriters and sports’ broadcasters, or false prophets, predict the winners, losers, and point differentials of every sport imaginable. They, too, mostly fail.

Religious false prophets populated every era and gathered followers who esteemed them. Their presence has increased to significant numbers today. It seems that wild proclamations, often based upon nothing more than imagination, enhance their popularity.

During the time of God’s anointed prophet, Jeremiah, Israel progressed deeply into sin, rejecting God’s laws. In chapter five of his book, Jeremiah recounts their injustice, hypocrisy, idolatry, and adultery. At the close of this chapter, Jeremiah identified the underlying cause of the people’s condition:

“The prophets prophesy falsely…” (1)

The false prophets and priests of Jeremiah’s day fostered the spiritual decline of Israel. As Jeremiah bewailed the spiritual condition of Israel, he described the characteristics of the false prophets that furthered it.

False Prophets: They Declare a False Message

When they said, “God said,” they lied. They spoke their own messages. Further, when the priests failed to correct the prophets, the priests gained support from the prophets for their lavish, wicked lifestyle. Moreover, the people loved it that way. (2)

False prophets today abound with their messages of deceit. They void previously sacred doctrines:

  • doctrines of salvation;
  • the sinfulness of humanity;
  • the authority of the Scriptures; and
  • the nature of God.

These represent only a short list of the doctrines they avoid to please people. Their disregard for truth has made their preaching a sham.

In similar fashion to Jeremiah’s day, pastors and Church leaders today defend their erroneous beliefs for financial gain. They gain authority by the influence of human effort. Like Jeremiah’s day, the Church seems to approve and applaud them. Scores of people find satisfaction and security in fallacies. Countless Church members cannot discern the difference between the true and the false.

Many who call themselves followers of Christ do not want to hear the truth. They would rather hear stories and problem solving techniques than messages on sin and the great doctrinal truths of Scripture. They have an aversion to sermons on the Lord Jesus and the holiness of God and His demands upon them.

To satisfy their desires they look for teachers who will make them feel good. These erroneous endorsements further encourage the deceptive prophets to continue their sinful ways. (3)

False Prophets: They Deride God’s Word.

The shameful practices of Israel’s leaders resulted in the people viewing God’s word to them with derision. (4) When God spoke to them through His prophets, the Israelites rebelled against Him and departed from His word without fear. Every level of society, rich and poor, defied God. His warnings fell on deaf ears and hard hearts.

They had no interest in God’s word. They traded God’s word for the messages of the false prophets and priests. Naturally, this brought about a dearth of the knowledge of God. Doubt and unbelief followed.

In our day, we reflect the same attitude in a different fashion. We have replaced reliance upon God’s word with cheap imitations to instruct and guide us in life:

  • books;
  • retreats; and
  • seminars.

Without exception, when people consult me with problems in their lives, they ask me to recommend a good book that will help them.

Persuasive false prophets urge us to buy their publications and attend their meetings, with glowing promises that offer solutions to all of life’s problems.

A friend of mine shared this experience with me. As a young man, new to the realities of life in Christ, he went to the one whom God had used to introduce him to these truths and asked him for a good book to read. After some deliberation, the man’s teacher wisely replied, “I recommend a book that usually comes in a black leather cover entitled, ‘The Holy Bible.’”

The mere writings of man cannot replace the Bible, God’s word to humanity. He provided all that we need for life and godliness in its pages. Further, His words are alive. The writings of Godly men and women can help us, but nothing can replace God’s word.

God has not promised to authenticate man’s writings, but He has given the Holy Spirit to illuminate our minds to understand His word and its role in our lives. As disciples of Christ, we must return to God’s word and let the Holy Spirit instruct and edify us that we may grow.

False Prophets: They Desire Possessions.

Jeremiah 6.13 identifies another characteristic of the false prophets, the desire for possessions. The false prophets of Jeremiah’s era loved money and sought positions of prominence. Their unbounded indulgences of the flesh drove them to dishonesty.

Their sin infected everyone, from the poorest to the richest, so that covetousness contaminated their whole society. No one denied his or her own selfish interests.

As in Jeremiah’s day, this characteristic helps identify false prophets today. No doubt, you observe distinctive and well-known preachers on television and hear them on the radio. Have you noticed how many of them urge you to prove your devotion to God by sending money to them?

It is interesting that they insist on money; no other demonstration of devotion will suffice, e.g., service or volunteer work. Further, these teachers entreat people to give money to them, not the local church, or some other Christ honoring ministry. Such practices have become common in the Church today.

False Prophets: They Disregard Duty.

False prophets in Jeremiah’s day disregarded their duties. Verse 14 of Jeremiah 6 talks about healing the hurt of God’s people slightly.

Imagine a physician treating someone with a broken bone piercing through his flesh. Rather than taking the time and effort to set the bone straight, this doctor merely wraps it and puts a band-aid on the injury. This is an appalling thought, isn’t it? Instead of really fixing the hurt, he just patches it up and hopes it heals a little.

As inexcusable as this sounds, it describes how the false prophets in Jeremiah’s era treated the spiritual ills of Israel. They made no attempt to apply God’s word to the people, which would bring healing to the spiritually suffering. Instead, they pronounced false messages to them.

A legitimate spiritual leader, or prophet of God, demonstrates to God’s people how to cleanse hearts, eradicate sin, and set straight errors in order for the Church to be healthy and strong.

False Prophets: They Declare a False Peace.

In addition, God accused the false prophets and priests of saying, “Peace, peace,” when no peace existed. (5) The priests and prophets attempted to cover up their failures by proclaiming that everything was good enough. God said that no peace existed despite the declarations of Israel’s leaders. Their problems underwent only a slight repair.

Scripture records in other instances where God warned the leaders of Israel of their similar failures to address the true problems of His people.

  • Jeremiah 23: God likened the false prophets and priests to shepherds who scatter and destroy their sheep.
  • Ezekiel 34: God described them as shepherds who fed and cared for themselves, but left the diseased and broken sheep without care.

Today, many pastors and teachers follow the same pattern. They proclaim the same message: “Peace, peace. Everything is successful. There are no problems here.” By avoiding the emphasis upon sound doctrine, God’s people have become spiritually sick and malformed.

Seldom do you hear a preacher over television or radio point out sin and call for repentance and reformation of life in conformity to God’s demands. They heal the wounds of God’s people only slightly, providing false help and hope.

As in Jeremiah’s day, this deceit fails to minister to the real hurts of God’s people. 

False Prophets: They Defy God’s Ways.

When God chastised false leaders who had forsaken God’s ways for their sinful acts, they responded with defiance. They experienced no shame for their sins. In fact, when their behavior failed to bring satisfactory results, they felt no disappointment or perplexity for their failures nor did any sense of humiliation lead them to repentance. They did not even blush. (6)

This same attitude helps to identify corrupt leadership today. They indulge their appetites for money and possessions as if they deserve them. They defend their practices by misusing Scripture. When their sin finds them out, they make mournful excuses for their behavior and strike repentant poses while continuing their life style.

They reveal a disinterest in correction and repentance. Many defend themselves with the mantra, “The ends justify the means,” as if stated spiritual aims can justify evil practices. They can’t and don’t.

False Prophets: They Deny God’s Ways.

The errant prophets and priests of Jeremiah’s day showed their true colors by a denial of God’s ways. In Jeremiah 6.16-17, God instructed them through Jeremiah to return to the old ways and walk in them, but they rejected His demands. In addition, they refused to heed the warnings of the watchmen He sent to warn them. They refused to walk in God’s way.

In our day, popular television and radio teachers evidently prefer the world’s methods to God’s ways. In their quest for crowds, they adopt worldly schemes that contradict God’s word. They teach that our new day demands conformity to its mores in order to reach the current populace.

They reject the old ways of God and replace them with tactics from business and politics. Calls for reform from Godly leaders who preach a return to Biblical teaching go unheeded.

Some say, “That is Old Testament. That doesn’t have anything to do with us.” To a certain extent that is true. We are studying Old Testament scripture where God dealt specifically with the sins of Israel and of Judah at the time. He pointed out how the priests, prophets, and kings:

  • failed to seek God;
  • led the people astray; and
  • set up idols to worship.

God has not changed.

False Prophets: God Will Judge Them.

Although this prophecy pertains specifically to a time in the history of Israel, it gives us a glimpse into the heart and mind of God. He the false prophets and Church leaders of our day just as He did then.

  • He will not long endure the foolishness that is going on presently in the Church.
  • He is the same today as He was back then.
  • He is not smiling and patting the heads of the pastors and teachers of our day who abuse the sheep.

God will hold accountable the false teachers, pastors, and spiritual leaders of our day for their sins. They have led people astray and refused to repent of their sinful behavior. They have not healed the hurts of God’s people, and He will judge them.

False Prophets: God Will Replace Them.

God will raise up shepherds who will feed the sheep and not themselves, who will fully heal the hurts of people. They will take care of believers and seek after the lost, too.

False Prophets: Application

As this story from Jeremiah unfolded, it describes the present condition of the Church of Jesus Christ. The Church today desperately needs revival.

A few years ago, I talked with a pastor of a large church who spoke casually about revival. He said, “I have read a couple of books on revival, isn’t it interesting?”

Then he asked me “Why do you think we do not see revival?”

I responded, “The pastors of our day do not have the courage to stand up for the truth.”

He turned his head a little bit and moved the discussion to another topic. It takes sacrifice to stand up for the truth.

The day will come when God will remove the false prophets from the Church. I yearn for the day when He will install true shepherds in their places. It will mark a day of revival.

Dear Heavenly Father, we face a crisis in the Church today. Its believers follow in the footsteps of the false prophets of Jeremiah’s day. I pray for mercy. I ask You to dethrone the false leaders and raise up those who seek after You and Your ways. I make these requests in the name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.


  1. Jeremiah 5.31.
  2. Jeremiah 5.31.
  3. 2 Timothy 4.3-4.
  4. Jeremiah 6.10.
  5. Jeremiah 6.14.
  6. Jeremiah 6.15.

Questions For Study

  • What dangers arise from believing false prophets in the political or sports arenas?
  • What dangers arise from believing false prophets in the spiritual realm?
  • Why do false prophets fool professing believers so easily?
  • Review these signs of a false prophet, examining them against a current spiritual leader.
    1. Does (s)he declare a false message? Can you find Biblical support for what (s)he says?
    2. Does (s)he minimize the value of reading and studying the Word of God?
    3. Does (s)he desire money and want to appear prosperous?
    4. Does (s)he fail to fulfill expected duties of a spiritual leader?
    5. Does (s)he seem to pretend that “everything is all right” when it clearly is not?
    6. Does (s)he tolerate sin? Does (s)he skip God’s demand for repentance?
    7. Does (s)he practice worldly methods to accomplish God’s purposes?

© Thomas P Hill. Website: www.masterministries.org.

Personal Information: Thomas P. Hill, M. A. in Ministry, Luther Rice Seminary; author of 3 books: Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing; Homosexuality, Christians, and the Church; and Keys To A Revolutionary Life (available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Tom’s web site). To invite Tom to speak at your college, church, or group, contact him by email at hill_tom@att.net.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format, in whole or in part, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, whether in whole or in part, a link to this document on our website is preferred but not necessary. Please obtain permission from Tom Hill for all exceptions to the above request.





Want To Spot False Prophets?


Want to Spot False Prophets?

10 Easy to Follow Tips to Spot Them

False Prophets: They Are Ungodly Leaders

By Thomas P Hill

How many false prophets in the Church of Jesus Christ can you identify? None? One? Several?

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In fact, with few exceptions, false prophets inhabit every church. They fool the unwary and gain leadership positions in the Church by deceit, prestige, and promises, as shown here, here, and here.

The Church of Jesus Christ faces a crisis in leadership. Many evidences confirm that false prophets exist in the Church today.


  • Even a casual observer sees spiritual decline in the Church and in the lives of believers.
  • Believers evade walking in holiness, and conform themselves to the world.
  • Preachers concentrate upon psychology and the emotional ills of mankind which turns the Bible into a psychology textbook.
  • Preachers disregard theology and doctrine with disrepute.
  • Pastors omit the challenges and corrections of sound doctrine. Instead, they emphasize a feel-good religion centered upon humanity and his feelings rather than about God and His righteous demands upon us as His creation.
  • Those who attempt to bring correction to the leadership of the Church today suffer condemnation as out of step, rocking the boat, creating dissension, and causing confusion in the Church.


False prophets and the failures of their ungodly leadership play a significant role in the spiritual decline of the Church. These errors grieve the Spirit of God and quench His work among Christ followers. We lack God’s glorious presence, supernatural authority, and ability that only His Spirit can bring to His people.

The Bible provides an account when the Children of Israel faced similar circumstances of faulty, ungodly leadership. They fled Egypt by God’s strong hand. They saw His glorious presence on Mount Sinai. Then, Moses went to meet with God and stayed there for 40 days. In his place, Moses left Aaron and Hur in charge of the people. (1)

While Moses talked with God on the mountain, the Children of Israel down below went into idolatry. They turned aside from God Who had displayed Himself on the mount and had revealed Himself to them with His law, and in physical, tangible ways. They turned and demanded an idol.

“And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.

And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.” (2)

False Prophets Dread Man.

Although this circumstance does not describe the totality of Aaron’s Godly leadership, it describes how easily one can become a false prophet, even for a short time of life.

Aaron displayed a dread of man. Although Moses left both Aaron and Hur in charge when he went up the mount, the text refers only to Aaron. What happened to Hur?

The Scriptures do not describe for us what happened to Hur. Jewish historians describe what they recorded as what happened to Hur. When the children of Israel rebelled and wanted to make an idol, they went to Hur first.

However, he stood up for God and said, “No. We worship God. We will not make an idol contrary to God’s law. We will not disobey and rebel against God and form an idol.” As a result, the people killed him.

Next, they came to Aaron and gave him the same message, “Make us gods.” Aaron gave in to their demands and said, “Ok. I’ll do that and I will make a god for you.”

Whether the account of Hur occurred or not, Aaron displayed dread of man. Fear of man appears in different forms:

  • a physical fear, where we fear for our very lives. We fear that some kind of physical harm could come to us, perhaps even death. That is a very real kind of fear. Perhaps Aaron felt this kind of fear.
  • an emotional, psychological fear, prevalent in the Church of Jesus Christ today. It reveals itself in this fashion. Our leaders today, like false propohets, display a fear of man that causes them to give in to mankind’s demands because they do not want to lose friendships or families from the church. They want a crowd, so they will yield whenever they need to yield in order to encourage people to stay and visitors to come.

Consequently, they water down the truth so that they might appeal to the crowd. The dread of man has reared its ugly head. They fear that if they stand for the truth they will hurt people. Then, people will leave, because they dislike the preacher and his messages. They will not respond to him.

This emotional fear causes false prophets to set aside the truth. Instead, they cater to mankind because of fear and they want to satisfy the crowd instead of God. That describes a very real, common experience in the Church of Jesus Christ today.

The Scriptures remind us,

“The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” (3)

Because of his dread of man, Aaron fell into a snare. Ultimately, he made an idol for the people.

The Church must avoid false prophets and choose leaders who will tell the truth and minister God’s truth with love. Today, many church leaders display one of the clear signs of false prophets: dread of mankind. They give in to man’s demands and desires instead of adhering to God’s truth.

False Prophets doubt God.

Aaron showed another characteristic of false prophet’s faulty, ungodly leadership: he doubted God. Aaron failed to trust Him. In those six verses describing Aaron’s plans, he fails to mention God at all. He did refer to the idol as though it was God. But, as far as making any reference whatsoever to the almighty God, the true and the living God, Aaron did not refer to Him.

  • Like Aaron, false prophets follow the world’s methods.
    • First, he devised a plan to get gold for the idol.
    • Second, he used his own skills and abilities to make the idol.
    • Finally, he tried to imitate reality by calling the idol, God.

Throughout the whole experience of Aaron with the golden calf, he relied upon the world’s methods and means. He simply followed the world’s way of doing things, the manners and practices of the world, which he learned in Egypt. He doubted God. Instead, he looked upon the world’s methods that would somehow solve the problem.

In similar fashion, the Church and false prophets fail to trust God. They develop their plans according to the world’s patterns. They leave God out of the picture, and that describes Aaron’s sin. They lead the Church to trust the ways and means of the world.

As a result, we follow false prophets and adopt the world’s practices. Then, we ask God to bless our efforts, and attempt to give God the glory. At no point do we truly trust God and seek His will and purpose.

  • Like Aaron, false prophets fail to trust God.

The Scriptures tell us frequently that when we rest upon the arm of the flesh we sin against God. God reminded His children of this truth in Isaiah 31,

“Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help.” (4) 

In Scripture, Egypt always pictures the world and the flesh. “Don’t go down to Egypt for help,” He said. “They have horses, yes. They have manpower, yes.”

However, God in essence said, “Oh, that is all it is with the flesh, horses and manpower. I am your defender. I am your protector. I am your provider. Trust me.”

Again, God again told His people in Jeremiah 29,

“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” (5) 

Perhaps you emulate the Church and false prophets today that pay lip service to seeking after God. We start all of our church services and meetings with prayer. After all, this is a church function, and we should pray.

Therefore, we give God His due, almost like a pledge of allegiance to the flag. We will say our one or two minutes of prayer.

That describes lip service. It does not describe seeking after God with all of our hearts. To find God and His presence and plans, we must seek for Him with all of our hearts. God does not reveal Himself to the flippant. He reveals himself to the sincere in heart, those who come to him seeking him with all of their hearts.

Like Aaron, false prophets follow the world’s methods and fail to trust God, seeking Him with their whole hearts.

False prophets depart from truth into false doctrine.

Aaron exhibited another characteristic of false prophet’s faulty, ungodly leadership, departure from truth into false doctrine. Towards the end of the text he declared, “Tomorrow is the feast unto the Lord. These gods brought you out of Egypt. We will worship this god.”

  • Like all false prophets, Aaron led the people astray with false teaching and doctrine.
    • A few commentators describe the idol as one of the many idols that the Children of Israel saw in Egypt. Aaron copied it to comfort them.
    • Others explain the idol as an attempt by Aaron to make an image of the true God.

In either case, like all false prophets, Aaron led the people into false doctrine in their worship of the idol.

  • Like false prophets, Aaron sacrificed truth for the sake of peace.

Today, false prophets lead the Church into false doctrines in the same fashion as Aaron did. They push for peace at any price, even if it means sacrificing the truth. Many leaders push for unity and want it so badly that they set aside truth to get it. We do not want contention and strife. Therefore, we set aside the truth to avoid controversy and contention.

However, neither unity nor peace occurs. It is merely a cessation of strife. When you set aside the truth, you lose the basis for unity and true peace, which rest upon the truth.

Righteous ends do not sanctify nor make holy ungodly means to attain them.

Scripture shows that Jesus did not make peace at any price. In fact, He often brought division among people by inserting the truth. Jesus said,

“I came not to send peace, but a sword.” (6)

The Lord Jesus demands the truth. Granted, the search for the truth and insistence upon it might bring temporary discomfort. However, the truth will ultimately bring freedom, peace, and unity based and founded upon the truth, not a false foundation of peace at any price.

The Scriptures confirm this truth. The Lord Jesus warned his disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees, the false prophets of His day, talking about their false doctrine. He said,

“Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.” (7)

The false prophet’s false doctrines cause dissension and problems. Do not follow it.

  • The intrusion of false prophet’s false doctrines into the Church requires Christ followers to reject them and their insidious errors.

In His letter to the Church at Ephesus in Revelation 2, Christ praised the Ephesians, because they put out those from among them who followed error and false doctrine. They stood for the truth and received commendation for it.

Later in that same chapter, the Lord Jesus pronounced judgment upon the Church of Thyatira. They permitted false doctrine to exist within the Church. God does not want peace at any price. He wants the truth first. Then, unity and peace will come as consequences of the truth.

That, however, runs contrary to the Church today. Following the lead of false prophets, we want peace and unity at any price. We even call those who demand the truth troublemakers. Instead of welcoming those who stand for the truth, we often times want to remove them out of the congregation instead of rejecting the false prophets and their ruinous doctrines.

If you have done any baking, you know the effect of a small amount of yeast. When you put yeast—just a very small amount of yeast—into a baking recipe, it affects the whole recipe. And it doesn’t take very much.

The Scriptures warn us that a little leaven, a little false doctrine, leavens the whole loaf. When we permit false doctrine to permeate the congregation, it affects the whole body. Following false doctrine evidences the presence of false prophets in leadership.

The book of Jude calls Christ followers to contend earnestly for the truth. (8) We must stand up for the truths of God’s Word, and we resist the false doctrine. Further, the Scriptures tell us that we are to speak the truth in love, not anger, or contention. Rather we stand for the truth in love, demanding that our leaders speak the truth.

We must hold Church leaders accountable as God holds them accountable to the truth. We must require them to teach us the truth, calling to their attention their failure to lead us into the truth.


Because he dreaded man, Aaron satisfied the cries of the Israelites by following the world’s methods. His doubt led him to fail to trust God. His departure from the truth caused him to take a further step from God when he fashioned an idol for them to worship.

As our text reveals a clear picture of false prophets and their faulty, ungodly leadership, which brought about the horrible circumstances of Israel and the golden calf. Aaron’s faulty leadership permitted it to happen and contributed to it.

The Church of Jesus Christ is satisfied with an Aaron, who in this sad circumstance emulated false prophets. It wants someone who will give them what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear. Therefore, the Church suffers.

The Church of Jesus Christ must reject false prophets and follow godly leaders, without dread for man, who trust God, and who will lead us and guide us into the truth.


  1. Exodus 24.12-15.
  2. Exodus 32.1-6.
  3. Proverbs 29:25.
  4. Isaiah 31:1.
  5. Jeremiah 29:13.
  6. Matthew 10:34.
  7. Matthew 16:6.
  8. Jude 3.

© Thomas P Hill. Website: www.masterministries.org.

Personal Information: Thomas P. Hill, M. A. in Ministry, Luther Rice Seminary; author of 3 books: Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing; Homosexuality, Christians, and the Church; and Keys To A Revolutionary Life (available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Tom’s web site). To invite Tom to speak at your college, church, or group, contact him by email at hill_tom@att.net.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format, in whole or in part, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, whether in whole or in part, a link to this document on our website is preferred but not necessary. Please obtain permission from Tom Hill for all exceptions to the above request.



Success: An Elusive Dream?

Who Else Wants Genuine Success?

Unlock the keys to genuine success with

Keys To A Revolutionary Life

Keys Cover Photo



This short, easy to follow book answers the following questions:

  • Do promising opportunities exceed resources?
  • How do I handle uncertainty? Because uncertainty comes back.
  • Success: an exclusive dream, only for the wealthy?
  • Does success rest only in a fat bank account?

This book provides a Biblical description of success and how to experience it…a revolutionary life.

Get it today from one of these fine stores.
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Popular Belief: Bible Approves Homosexuality?

Want Quick and Easy to Follow Biblical Answers to Homosexuality and the Church?



Answers the following prominent questions:

  • Is it a sin to be gay or to be in a same-sex relationship?
  • Popular belief: Bible approves homosexuality?
  • What Bible passages do people believe refer homosexuality?
  • God made me this way? Reasons why it matters.
  • Abomination or orientation? Unlock this emerging challenge.
  • Christian – homosexual destiny?
  • Prominent controversy: Sodom’s dirty secrets?
  • Revolutionary breakthrough: Jesus’ unconditionally loving homosexuals?
  • Jesus’ comments on homosexuality?: Jesus Controversial attitude on homosexuality
  • Can a homosexual reconcile with Christian beliefs?
  • What does the Bible really say about homosexuality?

At last, the 7 most important Biblical references on homosexuality explained and confirmed from the Bible and nonBiblical references.

Unlock the controversy between the Bible and homosexuality.

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Digital Edition: $2.99 (MSRP/USD)
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Also available on iTunes. Search: Homosexuality, Christians, and the Church and locate it in the book section.

The royalties from your purchase go to Master Ministries International, Inc. and help finance this world-wide ministry.


Fooled By False Prophets?

False Prophets: Monumental Crisis

73 Signs Of False Prophets and How To Avoid Them

DGH Cover Design2

The Church of Jesus Christ faces a crisis. False prophets have invaded the Church and captivated the minds of unprepared people. Their messages sound authentic but lack Biblical authority.

It answers these questions:

What conditions in the church cultivate this crisis?

How can I identify false prophets?

What features describe them?

What doctrinal errors do they endorse?

How must Christ followers respond to this insidious challenge to stem the decline of the Church and to set their sails to catch the winds of revival.

This book provides a Biblical description of these frauds and the response of Christ-followers to them.

Get it today from one of these stores.

Paperback edition: $9.99 (MSRP/USD)
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Digital edition: $3.99 (MSRP/USD)
Amazon Kindle
Also available in iTunes. Search for Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing and locate it in the book listings for its title.

The royalties from your purchase go to Master Ministries International, Inc. to help finance this world-wide ministry.

Jesus: Unique Life Before Birth?

Jesus: Unique Life Before Birth?

10 Easy To Follow Secrets

Jesus: “Before Abraham was, I am.” (1)

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Did Jesus exist prior to His birth? Does the Bible give any clues to answer this question? If so, how does the Bible describe Jesus’ preexistence?

To answer these questions, the study of Christ reaches back before time to examine Jesus in His original state. Most often, the consideration of Christ begins with Old Testament prophecies of Jesus, which foretells His human birth.

At the same time, however, the Scriptures reveal His original grandeur in the heavenlies.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (2)

Jesus Christ’s Preexistence

A common misconception traps many who study Christ. That snare relegates Him to His earthly life only. However, in this passage, the Bible calls Jesus as “…being in the form of God.” (3).

Thus, Christ existed antecedent to His birth to Mary. His birth as a man did not mark the start of life for Jesus. His life predates His earthly birth. The word of God confirms this awesome truth.

For instance, the first two verses of John’s gospel affirm that Jesus Christ, the Word, existed in the beginning with God.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” (4)

To establish Jesus’ life as beginning with His birth from Mary contradicts the clear teaching of Holy Writ. Christ’s being extends backward and forward into eternity from His physical birth.

Jesus Christ’s Appearance

In His primeval circumstances, Jesus existed, as the text says, “…in the form of God.”

  • That preexistent form, however, did not consist of a physical body.
  • Nor does the reference describe the human form of Christ on earth as a representation of God’s form.
  • Further, it does not mean that Jesus subsisted as a replica of God.

In its literal meaning, the word “form” denotes that in which an essence manifests itself. In the instance of God, His form consists of the visible, glorious light of His divine essence. It describes His majesty, His glory, without human shape. He lives as spirit. (5)

This description, then, expresses the primeval existence of Jesus: a manner equal with God’s appearance, because Jesus lived “…in the form of God.”

Jesus Christ’s Deity

The glory that the preexistent Christ possessed reveals His deity. Jesus shared equality with God by nature. They possessed the same essence. That makes Jesus Christ deity, One of the members of the Triune Godhead. Jesus had this nature from eternity past.

Christ made frequent reference to His oneness with the Father. For example, He openly declared, “I and my Father are one” (6).

To Philip, Jesus said,

“…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father…Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?” (7)

Numerous other Biblical references confirm this astounding fact. Jesus Christ was God. 

Jesus Christ’s Privilege

The privilege of Christ appears in the phrase, “(He) thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” (8)

  • The form that Jesus held prior to His birth did not come by theft. No high handed action elevated Christ to it. Nor did He obtain it by snatching it, presuming it, or by winning it in some contest.
  • Jesus did not regard His privilege as something to hold onto at all costs. In fact, as the context of the passage further states, Christ voluntarily gave it up that He might take another form, a physical one like you and me.

Jesus held His privilege because of His oneness and unity with the Father.

Jesus Christ’s Preexistent Life: Application

These simple truths lead to some important applications for daily life.

  • They detail certain, infallible facts to believe, which bring comfort to the trusting heart.
  • They refute common fallacies concerning Jesus, which Christians must reject.
  • They outline a pattern of behavior for you and me to follow. The greatest One of all showed the greatest degree of humility toward those who deserved it least. The true child of God will emulate that same conduct.
  • These confirm the suitability of Jesus Christ to become the Savior of sinners. No one else can claim an existence with God prior to human birth.

Only Jesus, once in the form of God, took upon Himself human flesh, became the God-man, and sacrificed Himself as a Substitute on behalf of sinners, like you and me, to reconcile to God those for whom He died.

Therefore, you can trust Jesus as your Savior, Redeemer, Lord, and Advocate with God the Father. I pray that God by His Holy Spirit will give you faith to believe upon Jesus today.


  1. John 8.58.
  2. Philippians 2:5-8.
  3. Philippians 2.6.
  4. John 1.1-2.
  5. Exodus 33.20-23; John 4.24.
  6. John 10.30.
  7. John 14.9-10.
  8. Philippians 2.6.

© Thomas P Hill. Website: www.masterministries.org.

Personal Information: Thomas P. Hill, M. A. in Ministry, Luther Rice Seminary; author of 3 books: Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing; Homosexuality, Christians, and the Church; and Keys To A Revolutionary Life (available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Tom’s web site). To invite Tom to speak at your college, church, or group, contact him by email at hill_tom@att.net.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format, in whole or in part, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, whether in whole or in part, a link to this document on our website is preferred but not necessary. Please obtain permission from Tom Hill for all exceptions to the above request.

Emerging Church: Nietzsche vs. God?

10 beliefs Unlock Emerging Church Controversy

 “God is Dead.” (Frederick Nietzsche)

“Nietzsche is Dead.” (God)

The emerging church faces a dilemma. It believes Nietzsche.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche

In the mid 1800s, Frederick Nietzsche startled the world with his declaration, “God is dead.” Atheists and the Agnostics applauded him and thanked him for saying what they had thought and said for many years. It shook the world then, and it shakes the world even now.

Although popular today, few people know the philosophy that spawned Nietzsche’s statement. He summarized it in one sentence: “The things that you think you know, you don’t know.”

You think you know that God exists, but He doesn’t. You think you have experienced God, but you haven’t. You think that God created all things and sustains them. He did not create all things, and He does not sustain anything.

“The things that you think you know, you don’t know.” That underlying philosophy led Nietzsche to make his provocative statement that disturbs us even today, “God is dead.”

Even fewer people realize that Nietzsche’s philosophy serves as the rallying cry of our culture. This belief leads to the conclusion that no one possesses ultimate, objective truth. Many truths exist.

“The things that you think you know, you don’t know” influences and infects the emerging church today. The rejection of ultimate, objective truth rests at the foundation of the emerging church movement and the Church growth movement.

Emerging Church: Jesus vs. Nietzsche

More surprising yet to many, Jesus Christ refuted and contradicted that philosophy centuries before Nietzsche even took his first breath. It happened on a Sabbath day in Capernaum, a city located on the northeast corner of the Sea of Galilee.

Jesus visited Capernaum many times before this particular Sabbath morning when He went to the Synagogue to teach from the Scriptures. As the Lord Jesus left the Synagogue, He encountered thousands of people who came from Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan.

The size of the crowd prompted Jesus to use a boat for His platform. From the boat, Jesus had a view of the fields surrounding the city of Capernaum: lush grain fields, well trodden pathways among them, clumps of thorns scattered throughout the crops, and the birds that came and took away the seed on the well worn paths.

That view prompted Jesus to teach the Parable of the Sower, recorded in Matthew 13. It refutes and contradicts Nietzsche’s philosophy, “The things you think you know, you don’t.”

Emerging Church: Jesus’ Parable Of The Sower: The Sower And The Seed

Jesus used this parable to illustrate the message of the Kingdom of God. The Lord Jesus interpreted this parable, so we can understand it.

We start with the sower, a vivid picture to the people of those days. A sower carried a bag over his shoulder which held the seed for planting. As he traversed his land, he took seed from the bag and scattered it over the land as he walked.

The sower pictures the Lord Jesus and His ministry. Like a sower, Jesus traveled throughout Samaria, Judah, and Galilee. As He traveled through these nations, He scattered seed. He fulfills the picture of the sower.

Like Jesus, the master sower, Christ-followers scatter seed as well. We emulate Him, and we scatter the seed as he did.

Jesus called the “seed” the Word of God, the message of the Kingdom. In Mark 1.15, we read that the Lord Jesus went out and preached the gospel of the kingdom. He said, “Repent and believe for the kingdom is come.”

As the Lord Jesus scattered the seed, He proclaimed the message of the Kingdom of God, the gospel, the good news. He declared Himself as God the Father’s provision for sinners like you and me.

He proclaimed himself as God’s Son, Whom the Father had sent to become the Savior of sinners. “Whoever believes in me,” He said, “shall never die, but shall inherit eternal life.

Emerging Church: Jesus’ Parable Of The Sower: The Wayside Soil

The “soils” occupy a significant function in the parable.

In that day, many paths meandered through the crops, and people and beasts used them to travel from location to location. The ground became very hard. Because they interspersed between the various crops, the sower would scatter some of the seed on the hardened pathways.

The hardness of the soil prevented the seed from penetrating it. In fact, the birds of the air came and fed off of those seeds that fell on the wayside. The seed never had a chance to penetrate down into the soil.

The Lord Jesus used picture to identify those who have hardened hearts. The Word of God does not penetrate them nor sink into their minds, hearts, souls or spirits. In fact, the devil comes quickly and grabs away the seed of the Word of God before it even has a chance to take root.

The pathway identifies for us those people who reject the Word of God. They have hardened hearts just like the hardened soil. The devil comes and takes away the seed of the Word of God so they cannot believe.

Emerging Church: Jesus’ Parable Of The Sower: The Stony Soil

I remember many years ago my wife’s uncle took a trip to the Holy Land. When he

came back, he coined a new phrase: “Rocks, rocks, rocks, everywhere you look, rocks. Stones all over the place. That is all you see is stones, stones, stones, rocks, rocks, rocks.”

The parable describes that common stony soil where the scattered seed would hit a very thin layer of dirt where stones lay underneath it. It would enable the top part of a plant to grow.

But as it tried to grow a root base, it encountered the rocks and died. It wouldn’t grow because it had no root to obtain nutrients and moisture necessary for growth.

The Lord Jesus used this illustration to identify people who have hearts like the stony places. God’s word comes to them and takes a little root. Initially, they accept the word of God with great joy. However, when the bright sun of trial and difficulty comes, it scorches their infantile faith and kills it.

Emerging Church: Jesus’ Parable Of The Sower: The Thorny Soil

Thorns grew in strange places in Israel. Sometimes big clumps of thorns scattered throughout the plot of good soil that the sower wanted to sow. On other occasions plots of thorns would grow in the corners of fields, making it difficult to clear out all the thorns.

As the sower sowed his seed, some of it fell among the thorns. As the thorns grew, they choked out any seed that had any beginnings of life and would even prevent seed from reaching the soil. The thorns would choke it out.

The Lord Jesus used this soil example to identify those people who have thorns in their lives. The thorns represented the deceitfulness of riches, the cares of this world, and covetousness, the lust of things.

These temptations draw us in, promising much but causing such great harm. These thorns of life choke out the Word of God and prevent it from taking root and becoming fruitful in our lives.

Emerging Church: Jesus’ Parable Of The Sower: The Good Soil

When the sower scattered the seed into the good soil, it grew up, matured, and brought forth fruit, abundant fruit. Some of the seeds brought forth 30 fold, some 60 fold, some 100 fold, a fruitful crop from the good soil.

The Master wanted us to see a picture of those who received the word of God, the message of God, the message of the gospel, and believed it. When Jesus called them to believe, they trusted Him.

All Christ-followers possess a common characteristic, fruit. The presence of gospel fruit enables us to identify true Christ-followers. Those who falsely profess their allegiance to Christ do not bring forth gospel fruit. The true followers of Christ bring forth fruit, some 30, some 60, some 100 fold.

Emerging Church: Jesus’ Parable Of The Sower vs. Nietzsche

As we think back over this parable, remember the fallacy of Nietzsche: “The things that you think you know, you don’t know.” In this parable, the Lord Jesus contradicts and refutes that fallacy.

The Parable of the Sower pictures the Lord Jesus as the Sower Who sows the seed of the gospel of the Kingdom of God. God revealed the gospel throughout Biblical history as His overall plan of redemption.

God revealed His plan of redemption, the gospel, from creation, to the sinful fall of mankind in the Garden in Eden, to His redemption provided through Jesus Christ, and to its ultimate completion in the consummation of all things at Jesus’ second coming.

The Lord Jesus ministers now in the era called redemption, that part of redemptive history in which God fulfilled His promise. He promised Adam and Eve in the Garden and prophets down through history foretold that a Prophet would come, a Savior.

The Lord Jesus came in fulfillment of all of those promises and announced the gospel of the kingdom, the seed of the parable. We now live in that part of redemptive history during which the Father calls people like you and me to trust and follow Christ, and permits Christ-followers, like Jesus the Sower, to scatter the seed of the gospel to others.

The day will come that Christ promised when the time for scattering seed will cease. Harvest time will come.

The emerging church growth movement as exemplified in the emergent church, mega-Church, and the seeker friendly movements, has adopted the fallacy from Nietzsche’s philosophy. They reject absolute truth.

Therefore, we need many seeds, they say, not one seed of Christ’s gospel. Many truths, i.e., seeds, exist. You have your truth. Other people have their truth. These over there have their truth.

Everyone’s truths have equal value. No distinction between truths exists. It all depends on how you grew up and the society in which you live. One forms truth in one way and others in another way. They all exist together.

The emerging church makes no distinction among truths. It welcomes everyone’s truths.

Emerging Church: Refutation of Nietzsche: The Existence Of One Seed

In the parable, only one seed existed. Jesus proclaimed one message, one gospel of the Kingdom, not many. He identified Himself as the one Savior, one Lord Jesus. With this parable, Jesus refutes the false philosophy of Nietzsche prevalent in our day.

Jesus presented absolute truth, only one seed, not many.

Emerging Church: Refutation of Nietzsche: The Effect Of The Soil Upon The Seed

Jesus refuted a further extension of the philosophy of Nietzsche. Nietzsche’s philosophy encourages the error that many truths exist.

However, the failure to generate a successful crop in the parable did not result from the fault of the seed. The failure of the seed to produce fruit resulted from the failure of the soil.

Yes, varieties of soils existed, but only one seed. In every instance of failure, it resulted because of the nature of the soils, whether the hardened pathway, the stony ground, or the thorny patches. The seed failed to mature and produce fruit because of the failure of the soil.

The Lord Jesus explained that the soils provide a picture of people. The failure of the soils pictures the response of people to the message of the gospel of Christ, the seed. Many, like the faulty soils, fail to accept the seed of the gospel and reject it.

The world wants the Church to adapt the gospel, the seed, to the soil. It calls us to change the message for every society. Each society needs their own message. “They need their own truth,” they proclaim.

Granted, we have a variety of peoples and societies. But, we have only one gospel, one message, one Savior, the Lord Jesus. The failure does not arise from the nature of the message, but from the nature of those who hear the message and reject it.

Emerging Church: Refutation of Nietzsche: The Production Of Fruit

Where the soil received the seed, it grew and produced fruit. Fruitfulness identifies a child of God, a member of the Kingdom. Those who receive the message of Christ and trust Him reveal a measurable change in their lives. They will grow into righteousness, some 30, some 60, some 100 fold…always, always, always.

Emerging Church: Jesus vs. Nietzsche: Summary

Nietzsche declared a fallacy, and many in our day have fallen for it. It has extensive roots within our society and societies around the world. It has infected and impacted the professing Church of Jesus Christ, too.

The Lord Jesus gave a warning at the end of His parable. He told those who listened, many of them pictured by the various soils in the parable, “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

He urged them to listen to His message. He called them to believe the message that He proclaimed to them about salvation through trust upon Him, the Father’s provision for sinners. He invited them to follow Him.

His cry in that day resonates down through history to our day, to sinners like you and me. “Trust me. Believe me,” He said.

In essence, His cry was,

  • “Break up the fallow ground,” ground by the wayside that has grown hard.
  • “Remove the stones from your stony ground. Tear out the thistles that infest the ground that you might receive the seed of the gospel, believe upon Me, and follow Me.”

The emerging church of today needs to heed the simple truths that Christ expressed in this parable. Whether or not you follow the emerging church, I pray that the Holy Spirit will use this easy-to-understand explanation to lead you from error into truth, trusting Jesus Christ and following Him.

© Thomas P Hill. Website: www.masterministries.org.

Personal Information: Thomas P. Hill, M. A. in Ministry, Luther Rice Seminary; author of 3 books: Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing; Homosexuality, Christians, and the Church; and Keys To A Revolutionary Life (available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Tom’s web site). To invite Tom to speak at your college, church, or group, contact him by email at hill_tom@att.net.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format, in whole or in part, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, whether in whole or in part, a link to this document on our website is preferred but not necessary. Please obtain permission from Tom Hill for all exceptions to the above request.



False Prophets: Features? Beliefs?

13 Marks To Believe

False Prophets: They are Masters of Disguise

“The people who were honored in the Bible were the false prophets. It was the ones we call the prophets who were jailed and driven into the desert.” (Noam Chomsky)

Image courtesy of debspoons at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of debspoons at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do false prophets exist today? If so, what traits separate false prophets from a true prophet of God? Mere professors of Christianity lack interest in how to identify them.

Do you want to identify false prophets? Jesus warned that they would come. Near the end of His famous Sermon On The Mount, He declared:

 “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”  (Matthew 7:13-20)

False Prophets: Their Occurrence

This warning from the Lord Jesus confirms their existence and cautions their potential harm to believers. The Lord cancels all doubt regarding their presence. They will and do exist, and He commands His disciples to watch out for false prophets and to guard against them.

False Prophets: The Duty of Examination

Since the Lord Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets,” we dare not set aside that command. As followers of Christ, we have a responsibility to heed His caution for our own spiritual welfare.

According to popular error, no one has the right to examine another person, including his/her religious beliefs. The advocates of this fallacy believe that the Bible forbids it. They mistakenly apply Christ’s teaching at the beginning of Matthew 7 to this issue, imagining that Scripture forbids judgment.

However, a careful reading of Matthew 7.1-5 shows that Jesus did not forbid judging but instead gave direction on the manner of judging. In fact, the Bible frequently gives guidance in Romans, 1 Corinthians, I Timothy and Revelation on how to examine others and ourselves. We must approach it carefully, knowing that He will judge us in the same manner that we judge others.

Believers have a duty to examine those who come to them as teachers and assume church leadership positions. We must scrutinize their fruits to insure their authenticity, so that we do not follow false prophets. (More follows.)

The devil’s deceits and the pressure of the world have blinded our eyes and pulled us away from that responsibility. We must examine our leaders thoroughly, because Jesus warned us that false prophets would come. If we ignore this duty, we open the door to deceitful leadership.

False Prophets: Their Deceit

Notice that in His warning, the Lord Jesus did not refer to a blatantly wicked, evil person. We see them. Jesus did not warn His disciples about diabolically evil men and women who blaspheme God.

Instead, He talked about those who purport to follow Christ. These false leaders say they follow Christ. They claim to follow the truths of Scripture. They declare, “I teach you what the Bible says.”

We must scrutinize our leaders because counterfeit teachers, false prophets, come disguised as sheep. They look like sheep, but hide their inner wolf natures.

I do not know a lot about raising sheep. But I do know that no shepherd wants a wolf in his flock. As soon as a shepherd sees a wolf in his flock, he destroys it in order to protect his sheep.

That describes the warning of Jesus. Wolves do not march into a congregation identifying themselves as wolves. They come disguised as sheep, professing to follow Christ.

Paul identified these kinds of false prophets in his day. He warned his friends in Corinth in a fashion similar to Christ’s warning:

 “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-14)

When satan tempts you, he does not always come in a frightening fashion, like the picture of the red devil with the pitchfork in his hand. Sometimes he disguises himself as good, even as an angel of light, a wolf masquerading as a sheep.

We need to evaluate teachers, pastors, televangelists, and radio hosts. We have a duty to examine them lest we follow false prophets to our spiritual harm.

False Prophets: Their Discovery

Jesus taught us how to identify false prophets. Jesus’ picture of fruit provides the basis on how to recognize them. He said:

“Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles?”

This is obvious isn’t it? Fig trees produce figs, and thorn bushes produce thorns.

Jesus went on to say:

“Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”

Jesus could not have made it more plain.  Good trees bring forth good fruit, not bad. Bad trees bring forth bad fruit, not good fruit.

With this simple picture Jesus gave His followers the method to discover false prophets:

 “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

The discovery of false prophets begins with the examination of their fruit. The presence of bad fruit from a leader identifies him/her as false and does not come from God, regardless of the extent of his/her skills and abilities. Good trees do not bring forth bad fruit. Bad trees bring forth bad fruit.

When He said that we would know false prophets, He did not say we might know them, or we could know them. He said we will know them; more literally, it means we shall fully know, without a doubt.

False Prophets: Their Teachings

A logical question follows: “What qualifies as good fruit? How can we discern the good fruit from the bad?” A shortened list identifies three crucial criteria for spiritual leaders whether man or woman.

  • What does (s)he propose as doctrinal truth?

True Biblical doctrine includes:

  • the sovereignty and transcendence of God;
  • the deity of Christ and His substitutionary atonement for sinners; and
  • the inspiration, inerrancy, infallibility, and the Scriptures as final and fundamental authority.

This doctrinal teaching demonstrates good fruit. If the person under examination does not hold to these basic doctrines, you should suspect a false prophet.

  • What character and nature of life does the teacher or pastor you follow reveal?

Examine the character and nature of the life of the teacher or pastor you follow. What persistent pattern and character of his/her life do you perceive? A check of these matters will help you to evaluate the character of this person.

  • How does this person view the world? 
  • Does (s)he love the world?
  • Does (s)he want to be like the world?
  • Does (s)he encourage you to live like the world, to conform to the world to win the world?

Television and radio personalities and many authors proclaim messages that emphasize these elements. They teach that as a Christian you can have all of the world’s goods, and encourage you to pursue them, because you are entitled to them. They imply that it is your right and privilege as a child of God to have all of the abundance of the world, because God loves you and wants you to have it all.

Please note these warnings from 1 John:

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16-16)

The wrong attitude toward the world can provide a glaring signal of bad fruit.

  • What characterizes this person’s attitude toward the flesh?

Another character issue that signals bad fruit includes a person’s attitude toward the flesh.

  • What does (s)he say about the flesh?
  • Does this leader purport himself or herself in a fleshly manner of life?

Galatians chapter five describes the works of the flesh and someone who lives to satisfy the passions and lusts of life.

Following that section it says: “But the fruit of the Spirit is…” The passage then lists nine qualities of someone who lives under the influence and control of the Holy Spirit. The difference between the two lists is like night and day.

At the end of that whole passage, Galatians 5.24 says:

“They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”

Do you see the works of the flesh in the life of this person? If you do, that signals bad fruit. On the other hand, if you see the fruit of the Spirit exhibited in this person, it shows good fruit.

  • Does this person indicate any influence of the devil in his/her life and ministry?

The Scriptures describe the devil in a variety of ways. One calls him the prince of darkness. Ephesians chapter six provides the hierarchy of the devil and all of the various powers that he has under his power and authority.

One of them pinpoints the powers of darkness. Do the characteristics that you observe in this leader suggest to you that this person has a dark side?

John in his first epistle tells us:

“This then is the message which we have heard of him [the Lord Jesus], and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:5-7)

Jesus said in John’s gospel chapter eight,

“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have he light of life.” (John 8:12)

Does this person walk in the light or in darkness?  Beware of one who walks in darkness, one of the fruits of false prophets.

  • What kind of fruit does this leader produce in others?

How would you describe the followers of this teacher?

  • Do their lives differ in any way from the lives of unbelievers?
  • Do they show an interest in leading holy lives?
  • Do they demonstrate obedience to God?
  • Do they show their love for Christ?
  • Do they ever acknowledge the work of the Holy Spirit?

Fruit reproduces itself. Peach trees replicate themselves in peach trees. Thorn bushes bring forth other thorn bushes. Examine the fruit of the followers of this leader. It will give you insight into the nature of the leader and help you avoid false prophets.

  • Does what the leader says or writes match up with scripture?

This suggestion comes from Isaiah chapter eight.

“When they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:19)

Observe what this leader says and writes.

  • Does it match up with Scripture?
  • Does it fit what the Bible teaches?

If it does not, it is because there is no light in them. These are bad trees, bad fruit, false prophets.

Godly prophets speak and write truths that conform to scripture. You can trust them.

False Prophets: Their Destiny

Jesus concluded His teaching on false prophets with an awful warning.

“Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:17-20)

False prophets face a certain future. Like the corrupt tree that does not bring forth good fruit gets destroyed, so Christ at the judgment will destroy the false prophets. Jesus described their fate in this text andt also in the verses that follow it.

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7.21-23)

At that day, many will appear before Him, stand there, and say, “Lord, look at all the wonderful things we did in your name.”

Jesus will say to them: “Depart from me. I never knew you.”

False Prophets: Summary

False prophets profess to follow Christ and portray themselves as His sheep, even saying some of the right things land doing wonderful works in the name of Jesus. They deceive many from their true identity, wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Jesus said that we would know them by their fruit.

Faithful followers of Christ must examine their pastors, television and radio broadcasters, and authors of the books that they read. Do they reveal good fruit or bad fruit?

Upon examination we may find false prophets, whom we must no longer follow.

Questions For Review

  1. The Bible says we should examine false prophets. What criteria should we use to scrutinize them?
  2. When you suspect a person who claims the role of a Prophet of God, but is in fact an unbeliever, how can you prove it in your mind and heart?
  3. Describe “good fruit” in the life and ministry of a Godly prophet.
  4. Describe “bad fruit” in the life and ministry of a professing believer or false prophet.
  5. List examples of good doctrine.
  6. Describe a false prophet’s world view.
  7. What emotional reaction do you have when you hear God say to an admired leader or to you: “Depart from me, I never knew you?”

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for this warning that You have left for us to beware of false prophets. We see many of them in our day. You told us they would come. You told us we would know them, that we could spot them, that we could examine them and discern the true from the false.

Father, as we have examined this passage of the Lord Jesus teaching us, there is so much there that only the Spirit of God can open our eyes to see all of it, to understand any of it, and to apply it as we examine and follow the advice of the Lord Jesus.

I pray, Father, that You would pour out Your Spirit upon each one of us individually to teach us, to open our eyes to see the truth, and to discern light from darkness, good from evil, false from true, that we might know the truth, that we might follow after the Lord Jesus. We will praise you Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for what You accomplish in our lives, Amen

© Thomas P Hill. Website: www.masterministries.org.

Personal Information: Thomas P. Hill, M. A. in Ministry, Luther Rice Seminary; author of 3 books: Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing; Homosexuality, Christians, and the Church; and Keys To A Revolutionary Life (available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Tom’s web site). To invite Tom to speak at your college, church, or group, contact him by email at hill_tom@att.net.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format, in whole or in part, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, whether in whole or in part, a link to this document on our website is preferred but not necessary. Please obtain permission from Tom Hill for all exceptions to the above request.





The Crucifixion of Jesus: Myths? Beliefs?

3 Truths Unlock The Crucifixion’s Meaning

The crucifixion of Jesus creates controversy:

  • martyr?;
  • myth?;
  • scapegoat?
  • substitute?

Image courtesy of bela_kiefer at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Since the first century, the Christian Church has faced challenges to the crucifixion of Jesus. It began when the guards of His tomb lied about the resurrection.  In short order, false doctrines and fictitious conclusions developed.

Since the 1600s, challenges persist against the meaning of Christ’s death. In recent times, speculation calls the crucifixion:

  • a replica of other religious leaders;
  • its universal application to all humanity; and
  • divine child abuse.

According to most popular position, Christ did not die for any one in particular, but all mankind in general.  In the crucifixion, Jesus merely provided the means for salvation, which made it possible for all mankind to secure salvation.  In short, Jesus’ death did not actually secure the salvation of any one; it only made it possible.

To many, these statements appear Biblically correct.  Yet, they contain subtle deviations from true Biblical doctrine.  To err on the meaning of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the central doctrine of Scripture, carries serious implications upon virtually all other doctrines.

Note Charles Spurgeon’s warning on this very issue:

“The doctrine of redemption is one of the most important doctrines of the system of faith.  A mistake on this point will inevitably lead to a mistake through the entire system of our belief.” (Hayden 108)

In contrast, the Biblical truth concerning Jesus’ death contradicts these popular, but false, ideas.  It presents a death that actually saves sinners. It explains that the crucifixion accomplished its purpose:  to provide payment for sin in full for the sins of God’s chosen people.

Again, Charles Spurgeon spoke to this question:

“We hold that Christ, when He died, had an object in view, and that object will most assuredly and beyond a doubt, be accomplished.  We measure the design of Christ’s death by the effect of it.” (Hayden 109)

Numerous Scriptural references describe the crucifixion in exactly these terms.  In particular, Galatians 1.3-4 sets forth this Biblical truth:

“Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.”

Jesus Christ gave His life as a Substitute for the sins of God’s people to deliver them from sin.

The Crucifixion of Jesus: A Selfless Death

To all mankind, death is a certainty.  It takes many forms:

  • sometimes by accident;
  • sometimes by mistake;
  • sometimes by disease.

It has one common thread.  Death comes upon all mankind. It happens to all of us.

The death of Jesus Christ has no equal in history. No one took His life from Him, nor did it occur by accident.  As stated in Galatians 1.4, “(He) gave Himself…”

In an entirely selfless act, Jesus laid down His life: freely, lovingly, completely, voluntarily. In His own words, Jesus described His death this way in John 10:17-18:

“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. {18} No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”

No precious thing like gold, silver, or precious stones could meet God’s demands for sinful mankind. The Apostle Peter described it in 1 Peter 1.18-19:

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”

In short, Jesus died a selfless death.  No one took His life from Him.  He gave Himself, freely, completely, and voluntarily.

The Crucifixion of Jesus: A Substitutionary Death

By definition, a substitute takes the place of another person, place, thing, or concept.  It contains two key elements:  replacement and a specific object that the substitute replaces. Otherwise, substitution does not occur.

A universal application of Jesus’ death does not save any one.  If it provided salvation for any one, then it would by definition provide it for all mankind. However, we know by the Scriptures and by practical observation, that not all mankind is saved.  So from a logical point of view, Jesus’ death could not provide a universal atonement.

With particular emphasis, the Bible makes clear in Galatians 1.3-4 the substitutionary death of Jesus: “…(Jesus) gave himself for our sins…”  Jesus did not just die.  He died on behalf of and in the place of others.

This truth strikes at the very heart of the fallacy of universal application of Jesus’ death. As noted earlier, a universal application of the crucifixion of Jesus states that He did not die for any particular person.

Yet the Scripture says, “(He) gave Himself for our sins…”  It shows the death of Jesus as a substitutionary death on behalf of specific people for a specific purpose.

In fact, Jesus Himself described His death as a substitutionary death for particular people.  The following two references confirm it:

“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

In addition, Jesus described His death this way in His explanation of Communion, the Lord’s Table.  With clarity, He revealed that He came to give His body and blood for others.  He had in mind particular people, “His Sheep,” God’s chosen people, for whom He died as their Substitute.

Note this emphasis in Luke 22:19-20:

“And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”

The substitutionary death of Jesus Christ is a crucial Biblical doctrine.  Without question, Scripture confirms that Jesus died as a substitute for God’s people, and for them alone.

The Crucifixion of Jesus: A Specific Death For a Specific Purpose

The Bible confirms that not only did Jesus die for a specific people. He died for a specific purpose. He died to put away the sins of those for whom He died. Our passage plainly declares that Jesus’ death accomplished its purpose.

Note what it says in Galatians 1:4:

“Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:”

“Who (Jesus) gave Himself for our sins…”

As a Substitute, Jesus endured sin’s penalty, death, in the place of specific people. He gave up His life to pay for their sin. His death atoned for the sins of those for whom He died. It did away with their sins, every sin and every kind of sin. Sin would never again condemn those for whom Christ died.

“…that he might deliver us from this present evil world…”

In Jesus’ death, He rescued those for whom He died from the course of life corrupted by sin. Jesus plucked them out of the affairs of life that sin had corrupted. This completed work of Christ resulted not according to any one’s merit. It resulted from the counsel, purpose, mind, and intention of God.

The crucifixion of Christ fulfilled God’s intention to recover lost sinners, not to make it possible for sinners to be saved.  The Bible says in Matthew 18:11:

“For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.”

Therefore, unless Jesus actually recovered what He came to save, He failed.

Scripture states that Jesus came to save His people from their sins, not make salvation possible.  The description of Jesus regarding His birth from Matthew 1.21 declares:

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

Thus, unless Jesus completed what was required to save them, He failed.

Jesus fulfilled His intention and completed all the requirements to save those He came to save.  Any other doctrine opposes Biblical truth and dishonors God.

Nothing can summarize nor more clearly say it than a statement from the London Baptist Confession Of Faith of 1689:

“The Lord Jesus, by His perfect obedience and sacrifice of Himself, which He through the eternal Spirit once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of God, procured reconciliation, and purchased an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven for all those whom the Father hath given unto Him.” (London 21)

The Crucifixion of Jesus: Summary

It is important to identify false doctrine and areas of incomplete knowledge of the truth.  Whether it comes from ignorance, self-righteousness, or outright rebellion, such unbelief glorifies mankind and robs God of His proper glory.  It denies the death of Jesus of its effects and abases it.

It is especially significant to know and understand the Biblical doctrine of the particular substitutionary death of Jesus Christ for God’s chosen people. It details knowledge about the character of God:  His love, grace, mercy, and faithfulness.  It also shows His relationship with mankind and mankind’s relationship with God.

This, then, explains the truths about the death of Jesus Christ. They will mold our judgment by giving us instruction to believe. These truths comfort us in doubt and uncertainty, ground us in faith, and give rest to our consciences.

If you trust upon Jesus Christ as your Savior, the Holy Spirit wants to reveal to you the truth about the death of Jesus on your behalf.  He longs to bring you to fully praise and honor God for what He has done for you. He wants His children to glorify Him.

It I pray that the Holy Spirit has clarified these truths for you and opened your eyes to understand them.

It is possible, that in reading this article, you realize that you have no part in Christ. These truths have no application in your life. You realize that you have no personal trust in God or in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Perhaps today, you know for the first time your need of a Savior. Your sinfulness makes you helpless before God with no inherent ability to save yourself. Perhaps today the Holy Spirit has opened your eyes to see God’s provision in Jesus Christ. He died to pay the penalty of sin for sinners like you.

I pray that you will experience the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in your life.  I pray that God by His Spirit will come to you in grace and bring a spiritual transformation in your life today.


  1. Hayden, Eric W. Spurgeon On Revival. Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI. 1962.
  2. The London Baptist Confession Of Faith Of 1689.

© Thomas P Hill. Website: www.masterministries.org.

Personal Information: Thomas P. Hill, M. A. in Ministry, Luther Rice Seminary; author of 3 books: Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing; Homosexuality, Christians, and the Church; and Keys To A Revolutionary Life (available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Tom’s web site). To invite Tom to speak at your college, church, or group, contact him by email at hill_tom@att.net.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format, in whole or in part, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, whether in whole or in part, a link to this document on our website is preferred but not necessary. Please obtain permission from Tom Hill for all exceptions to the above request.