Introduction 1-2 The Inheritance of the Tribe of Levi 3-5 The Priests Due 6-8 Each Levite Shares in the Food 9-14 Prohibition of Occult Practices 15-19 The True Prophet 20 The False Prophet 21-22 The Touchstone: the Word of God

After the law for the king in the last chapter (Deu 17:17-2017He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.18“Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests.19It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes,20that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.) in this chapter follows the law for the priests and the announcement of the prophet. At the three offices of king, priest and prophet, we may think of the Lord Jesus. He is the true King, Priest and Prophet. A difference between these three is that a prophet has no succession, whereas the king and the priest do.

They also have their meaning for us, believers of the New Testament. As for the position, the New Testament believer is a king (“a kingdom”, Rev 1:66and He has made us [to be] a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him [be] the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.; 5:1010“You have made them [to be] a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”), a priest (Rev 1:66and He has made us [to be] a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him [be] the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.; 5:1010“You have made them [to be] a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”; 1Pet 2:55you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.) and a prophet, that is, he or she can do a prophetic service (cf. 1Cor 11:4-5a4Every man who has [something] on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head.5But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved.). In practice, however, it only applies to those who live up to it.

That is what is presented in the service and history of Israel in the Old Testament. There we do not see what we are in principle, but how the principle of the New Testament is lived out in practice. A difference is that in the New Testament all believers who belong to the church are priests, whereas in the Old Testament only the descendants of Aaron are priests.

The Inheritance of the Tribe of Levi

1“The Levitical priests, the whole tribe of Levi, shall have no portion or inheritance with Israel; they shall eat the LORD’S offerings by fire and His portion. 2They shall have no inheritance among their countrymen; the LORD is their inheritance, as He promised them.

There are two types of inheritance. There is an inheritance that Israel owns and there is an inheritance of God. Israel has received its inheritance as a blessing from God. Of this the people return to Him, as David said: “From Your hand we have given You” (1Chr 29:14b14“But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You.). What the people give to God is food for God. He calls it “My food” (Num 28:22“Command the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be careful to present My offering, My food for My offerings by fire, of a soothing aroma to Me, at their appointed time.’). That is also the food of the priests. But this food was first given by God as a blessing to His people. The worship we bring to God can only be what we have taken to us as food in a former stadium.

The inheritance we possess is what God has given us in Christ. The inheritance that God possesses is what we give to God in Christ. Our inheritance is the whole of spiritual blessings in the heavenly places, which is summarized in: eternal life. We have been introduced to this in the previous chapters. God’s portion is what we in turn give to God in Christ: the offerings by fire, the tithes, the first fruits.

The inheritance of LORD is also the inheritance of the Levites. The LORD Himself is their inheritance. What we offer to God is His own Son. We may do so in order to exercise out priestly service in this way. With this we also respond to our sonship, for God has “predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself” (Eph 1:55He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,), to His own joy.

The Priests Due

3“Now this shall be the priests’ due from the people, from those who offer a sacrifice, either an ox or a sheep, of which they shall give to the priest the shoulder and the two cheeks and the stomach. 4You shall give him the first fruits of your grain, your new wine, and your oil, and the first shearing of your sheep. 5For the LORD your God has chosen him and his sons from all your tribes, to stand and serve in the name of the LORD forever.

In what is said in Deuteronomy of the priests, their service or their clothing is not paramount, as is the case in Leviticus where a people go through the wilderness. In Deuteronomy, priests are seen as part of a people who have the inheritance and whose position must now be determined more in details. The same difference can be seen in the food of the priests. In Leviticus we also read about the food of the priests, but there it is connected with the most holy. Here it is about sacrifices that the people bring and of which the people eat, regardless of the priesthood class, but in which the people share with the priests.

The priests are kept alive by the sacrifices of the people, as are the Levies. This means that priestly service in the church, that is to say, worship, only flourish when every member of the church in his daily life – so to speak, as a member of the people – present his bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God (Rom 12:11Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, [which is] your spiritual service of worship.). Without daily dedication to God, not much will come of the priestly service.

It is good to see the difference between the priest and the Levite and what that means to us. Priests are offerors, they are worshippers. Levites are given to help the priests. Priests serve God, Levites serve the priests. The Levites maintain the priestly service. Levite service is all service aimed at promoting priestly service.

We are both priests and Levites. The believer is both a worshipper and someone who helps to perform the priestly service. This help is particularly evident in the ministry of the Word. The ministry of the Word is especially focused on this and not primarily on our practical walk. Our practical walk is the means by which the priestly service can be performed in a good way.

The food and income of priests and Levites are described in detail in Numbers 18 (Num 18:2-322But bring with you also your brothers, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, that they may be joined with you and serve you, while you and your sons with you are before the tent of the testimony.3And they shall thus attend to your obligation and the obligation of all the tent, but they shall not come near to the furnishings of the sanctuary and the altar, or both they and you will die.4They shall be joined with you and attend to the obligations of the tent of meeting, for all the service of the tent; but an outsider may not come near you.5So you shall attend to the obligations of the sanctuary and the obligations of the altar, so that there will no longer be wrath on the sons of Israel.6Behold, I Myself have taken your fellow Levites from among the sons of Israel; they are a gift to you, dedicated to the LORD, to perform the service for the tent of meeting.7But you and your sons with you shall attend to your priesthood for everything concerning the altar and inside the veil, and you are to perform service. I am giving you the priesthood as a bestowed service, but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death.”8Then the LORD spoke to Aaron, “Now behold, I Myself have given you charge of My offerings, even all the holy gifts of the sons of Israel I have given them to you as a portion and to your sons as a perpetual allotment.9This shall be yours from the most holy [gifts reserved] from the fire; every offering of theirs, even every grain offering and every sin offering and every guilt offering, which they shall render to Me, shall be most holy for you and for your sons.10As the most holy [gifts] you shall eat it; every male shall eat it. It shall be holy to you.11This also is yours, the offering of their gift, even all the wave offerings of the sons of Israel; I have given them to you and to your sons and daughters with you as a perpetual allotment. Everyone of your household who is clean may eat it.12All the best of the fresh oil and all the best of the fresh wine and of the grain, the first fruits of those which they give to the LORD, I give them to you.13The first ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring to the LORD, shall be yours; everyone of your household who is clean may eat it.14Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours.15Every first issue of the womb of all flesh, whether man or animal, which they offer to the LORD, shall be yours; nevertheless the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem.16As to their redemption price, from a month old you shall redeem them, by your valuation, five shekels in silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.17But the firstborn of an ox or the firstborn of a sheep or the firstborn of a goat, you shall not redeem; they are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar and shall offer up their fat in smoke [as] an offering by fire, for a soothing aroma to the LORD.18Their meat shall be yours; it shall be yours like the breast of a wave offering and like the right thigh.19All the offerings of the holy [gifts], which the sons of Israel offer to the LORD, I have given to you and your sons and your daughters with you, as a perpetual allotment. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the LORD to you and your descendants with you.”20Then the LORD said to Aaron, “You shall have no inheritance in their land nor own any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the sons of Israel.21“To the sons of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they perform, the service of the tent of meeting.22The sons of Israel shall not come near the tent of meeting again, or they will bear sin and die.23Only the Levites shall perform the service of the tent of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations, and among the sons of Israel they shall have no inheritance.24For the tithe of the sons of Israel, which they offer as an offering to the LORD, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance; therefore I have said concerning them, ‘They shall have no inheritance among the sons of Israel.’”25Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,26“Moreover, you shall speak to the Levites and say to them, ‘When you take from the sons of Israel the tithe which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall present an offering from it to the LORD, a tithe of the tithe.27Your offering shall be reckoned to you as the grain from the threshing floor or the full produce from the wine vat.28So you shall also present an offering to the LORD from your tithes, which you receive from the sons of Israel; and from it you shall give the LORD’s offering to Aaron the priest.29Out of all your gifts you shall present every offering due to the LORD, from all the best of them, the sacred part from them.’30You shall say to them, ‘When you have offered from it the best of it, then [the rest] shall be reckoned to the Levites as the product of the threshing floor, and as the product of the wine vat.31You may eat it anywhere, you and your households, for it is your compensation in return for your service in the tent of meeting.32You will bear no sin by reason of it when you have offered the best of it. But you shall not profane the sacred gifts of the sons of Israel, or you will die.’”). Here it happens briefly, in accordance with the book that is not so much about priests and Levites, but about the whole people. This emphasizes the importance of our daily life, how we behave in it. If we behave there in a way that suits someone who is a member of God’s people, it will strengthen both the Levite service and the priestly service. If we have a sloppy way of life, little will come of our service as Levites and priests.

Of the sacrifices the people bring, three parts must be given to the priest. Sacrifices are those sacrifices that the people themselves are allowed to eat. The only sacrifice from which the people may eat is the peace offering. In a spiritual sense, food has the meaning that what we think and absorb in our mind forms our character. In other words: our character is partly determined by what we read and listen to.

The priest receives as his food “the shoulder and the two cheeks and the stomach”. “The shoulder” of the sacrifice speaks of spiritual energy that the Lord Jesus has shown. He continued under all circumstances and completed the work in obedience to His God and Father. If the shoulder is my food, it creates this character trait in me. I then will also go my way in persevering obedience. From this results priestly service. But if it is only priestly service, without first having been food, it is quickly only form. “The two cheeks and the stomach” are connected to the digestive system, by the food will have its effect in the character.

These things apply to the Lord Jesus during His life on earth. He has always walked in the way of His God, He has contemplated God’s law day and night (Psa 1:22But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
), for God’s law is within His heart (Psa 40:88I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.”
). He has always been in the things of His Father (Lk 2:4949And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s [house]?”). There is also an application for us. As priests we must always be in the things of God. It is not enough only to hear the Word. It is important that we think about it, that we process it.

The priest also receives food from the first fruits. The first fruits are that which has just come from the land. So it is about what is fresh and not something that has been in the barns for years. This indicates how important it is that we keep on using “grain”, which speaks of the Lord Jesus as the grain of wheat that fell into the earth and died, through which we received eternal life (Jn 12:2424Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.). Every time, every day, we must experience a new joy, “the new wine” in the Lord, through what we read of Him in the Word. Every time, every new day, we must feed on new, fresh food and experience the new power of the Holy Spirit, “oil”.

When our life of faith loses its freshness and we rely on old knowledge and experiences, dead orthodoxy arises. In the meetings this will manifest itself in following a pattern of habits or even the drafting of a liturgy. In both cases a human order is followed and there is nothing to be noticed of freshness and spontaneity in the coming together. Then we eat from old stock. This is the consequence if we do not feed the priest within us and if we forget the Levite, if we do not have an eye for what he distributes to promote the priestly service.

In addition to grain, new wine, and oil, “the first shearing of the sheep” must also be given to the priest. The wool of sheep here speaks of what comes from the new nature in the brothers and sisters. It is the warmth of the fellowship of the brothers and sisters. The first blessing is noticeable in the priestly service. Priestly worship shows how the “first shearing” is doing. There is a cold service if the ‘warmth of the wool’ is missing in the meetings. Then the priestly service is carried out of habit, without the awareness that we belong together as brothers and sisters. We do meet in the meetings, but during the week we don’t care about each other, we live along each other.

Priestly service exists because of God’s sovereign election. He desires priests in His presence, that they may serve in His name. No priest can stand there and serve because who he in himself is, as if he personally has any quality that God can appreciate. God has laid His Name upon them. That is why priests are pleasant to Him. That service never comes to an end. God wants this to be a continuous activity (Heb 13:1515Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.).

Each Levite Shares in the Food

6“Now if a Levite comes from any of your towns throughout Israel where he resides, and comes whenever he desires to the place which the LORD chooses, 7then he shall serve in the name of the LORD his God, like all his fellow Levites who stand there before the LORD. 8They shall eat equal portions, except [what they receive] from the sale of their fathers’ [estates].

The service is performed by Levites in Jerusalem, by those who are ‘on duty. If a Levite who lives somewhere in the land also wants to, he may also go and serve. He must not be hindered in this. He will not be too much, there is room for him. Here is also an application for us to make. We may gather as a church in the Name of the Lord Jesus to listen to God’s Word, as happens in many places on the first day of the week. For the ministry of the Word, every ‘Levite’ must be given the opportunity. If someone has it on his heart to do a service through the Spirit, he must be given the opportunity to do so, even though there are so many “ministering” brothers.

The Levites in Jerusalem live from what the Israelites bring. If there is a new Levite now, they have to share it with one more. The Levites living in Jerusalem may have the low thought that they will get less. This low thought should not be conceded to. It is also irrelevant whether the new Levite has another source of income, for example by selling the land he had in his place of origin.

The same is true of the ‘Levite’ in this day and age. Every work for the Lord deserves to be rewarded by God’s people who benefit from it (Gal 6:66The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches [him].). It does not matter whether such a worker has another source of income. No distinction should be made between those who are so-called ‘full-time’ in the work of the Lord and those who, in addition to their work in society, are engaged in other work of the Lord. If it is good, every believer is fully engaged for the Lord (1Cor 15:5858Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not [in] vain in the Lord.). The Lord determines the work for each one, and everything should be done for Him (Col 3:1717Whatever you do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.).

Levites are given to the priests to help them in their service (1Chr 23:28-3228For their office is to assist the sons of Aaron with the service of the house of the LORD, in the courts and in the chambers and in the purifying of all holy things, even the work of the service of the house of God,29and with the showbread, and the fine flour for a grain offering, and unleavened wafers, or [what is baked in] the pan or what is well-mixed, and all measures of volume and size.30They are to stand every morning to thank and to praise the LORD, and likewise at evening,31and to offer all burnt offerings to the LORD, on the sabbaths, the new moons and the fixed festivals in the number [set] by the ordinance concerning them, continually before the LORD.32Thus they are to keep charge of the tent of meeting, and charge of the holy place, and charge of the sons of Aaron their relatives, for the service of the house of the LORD.). All of our service in the character of the Levite must be aimed at doing better justice to our service as priests, i.e. bringing sacrifices to God. Those who make themselves free for the sake of that service are entitled to the support of God’s people (1Cor 9:1414So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.; 1Tim 5:17-1817The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.18For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”).

Prohibition of Occult Practices

9“When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. 10There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you. 13You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. 14For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you [to do] so.

God proposes to His people what kind of detestable things they will meet in the land. He warms them not to get involved in any way in it or be open up to it. The detestable things in different forms. Here we recognize the occultism that has fascinated many people today and more and more of them fall prey to it. To let children go through the fire occurs in witchcraft. Spiritism is to use demonic powers to penetrate things that are hidden from us in order to obtain information in that way (1Sam 28:77Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a woman who is a medium at En-dor.”).

Both a medium and other practitioners of occult practices as well as those who are involved with them, are detestable to the LORD. A person can only be influenced by all these forms of demonic practices if he consciously opens himself up to them. One empties one’s mind and surrenders oneself to passivity, so that the evil spirit is offered his field of work and can do his pernicious work.

Any form of religion in which we surrender our will except to God is demonic. This effect can also occur through a false form of quiet time, a kind of meditating, without consciously thinking of the Lord Jesus. In the so-called “centers of silence”, demons are offered an excellent means to fill man’s mind with everything but God and His Word. The only remedy against demonic influences is to listen to God’s Word that calls us to be active and sober (1Pet 4:77The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober [spirit] for the purpose of prayer.).

God wishes His people to be “blameless” or impeccable before Him (verse 1313You shall be blameless before the LORD your God.). This corresponds to the teaching of the letter to the Ephesians. In it we read that God has chosen us, believers who belong to the church, to be “holy and blameless before Him in love” (Eph 1:44just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him in love.). It is inconceivable that He, Who has chosen His own to such a special position, can allow them to open themselves up to pernicious influences.

Yet also the believers in Ephesus, and over their heads we too, are warned of this (Eph 4:17-1917So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,18being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;19and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.). In contrast to the walk of the nations, in which they are not allowed to participate, is set what is taught to them concerning Christ (Eph 4:20-2420But you did not learn Christ in this way,21if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,22that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self [lit man], which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,23and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,24and put on the new self [lit man], which in [the likeness of] God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.). Paul then attaches to this the practical consequences which their new position should bring with it, both in word and deed (Eph 4:25,2825Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one [of you] with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.28He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have [something] to share with one who has need.).

The True Prophet

15“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. 16This is according to all that you asked of the LORD your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’ 17The LORD said to me, ‘They have spoken well. 18I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require [it] of him.

In these verses the difference becomes clear between listening to whom the nations listen and listening to the Prophet Who the LORD will give. Opposite all the demonic influences of the previous verses is the Word. Preservation for the influence of demons lies in the fact that we are closed to everything mentioned in verses 9-149“When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations.10There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer,11or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.12For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you.13You shall be blameless before the LORD your God.14For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you [to do] so. and that we are open to everything mentioned in verses 15-1815“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.16This is according to all that you asked of the LORD your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’17The LORD said to me, ‘They have spoken well.18I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him..

The Prophet mentioned in these verses is the Lord Jesus (Acts 3:19-2319Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;20and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you,21whom heaven must receive until [the] period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.22Moses said, ‘THE LORD GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN; TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE HEED to everything He says to you.23And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’; 7:3737This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, ‘GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN.’). Moses is a picture of Him. That He is “from your countrymen” indicates that, in order to be that Prophet, the Lord Jesus became Man. In the Gospels there are several references to the fact that He is the Prophet Who is announced here by Moses. Sometimes it is only a feeling (Jn 6:1414Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”; 7:4040[Some] of the people therefore, when they heard these words, were saying, “This certainly is the Prophet.”), sometimes an expression of faith (Jn 1:4545Philip *found Nathanael and *said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and [also] the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”). It is also contained in words spoken by the Lord (Jn 5:4646For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.; 12:49-5049For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment [as to] what to say and what to speak.50I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”). The character of the Lord Jesus’ service as a Prophet is similar to that of Moses, but He is far above Moses, however special Moses is as a prophet (Deu 34:1010Since that time no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,). He is the Beloved Son.

The circumstances under which the promise of the Prophet like Moses is made make it clear that the Prophet will be a Mediator. The confessor who does not listen to His words shall die (Heb 12:2525See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned [them] on earth, much less [will] we [escape] who turn away from Him who [warns] from heaven.). As believers who belong to the church, we are warned not to despise the prophecies, the word that comes to us in the church on behalf of God (1Thes 5:20a20do not despise prophetic utterances.).

The False Prophet

20But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’

Many false prophets have risen in the history of Israel who have said to speak in the name of God (Jer 23:2525“I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy falsely in My name, saying, ‘I had a dream, I had a dream!’; Eze 13:66They see falsehood and lying divination who are saying, ‘The LORD declares,’ when the LORD has not sent them; yet they hope for the fulfillment of [their] word.; 1Kgs 22:66Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for the Lord will give [it] into the hand of the king.”). They are the forerunners of the false prophet, the antichrist, the worthless shepherd (Zec 11:17a17“Woe to the worthless shepherd
Who leaves the flock!
A sword will be on his arm
And on his right eye!
His arm will be totally withered
And his right eye will be blind.”
). The antichrist will not only pretend to speak for God, but will pretend to be God himself (2Thes 2:44who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.). It is the pinnacle of overconfidence.

A false prophet can also say to speak on behalf of other gods. He adapted his image of God to the audience he has in front of him. Whoever is not familiar with the Word of God will fall prey to his misleading language and share in the same judgment that this false prophet will strike.

The Touchstone: the Word of God

21You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’ 22When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

The touchstone is and remains the Word of God. What is false always becomes public by comparing it with what is true. God’s Word is the truth. Wonders and signs that are not based on the Word of God come from a wrong source.

The true prophet opposes the false prophets, who will occur especially in the end times. In the end times, false prophets, under Satan’s direction, do miracles and wonders and signs, as the Lord Jesus did during His life on earth (cf. Acts 2:2222“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— with 2Thes 2:99[that is], the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,). The real prophet is someone who speaks the Word of God. Not the wonders and signs are convincing whether anything comes from God, but whether it is in accordance with the Word.

Therefore, we should not be impressed by vague uncontrollable wonders, or by half wonders or wonders of limited duration. We can think of healings or speaking in languages or other miraculous expressions attributed to the Spirit, but which require man to become without will and surrender to a miracle worker. We should not be afraid to announce God’s judgment to such prophets, although they even dare to claim of themselves that they are men of God.

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