Do Not Listen to False Prophets

Hideyoshi, a Japanese warlord who ruled over Japan in the late 1500s, commissioned a huge statue of Buddha for a shrine in Kyoto. It took 50,000 men five years to build, but the work had scarcely been completed when the earthquake of 1596 brought the roof of the shrine cras … More


Moses warns the people of three ways in which temptation to idolatry may come:

  1. Through a false prophet. (v.v. 1-5)
  2. Through friends and relatives. (v.v. 6-11)
  3. Through a multitude of people. (v.v. 12-18)

The key phrase in Deuteronomy 13 is, “Let us go after other gods” (vv. 2,6,13). The Israelites were warned not to listen to false prophets or to anyone else who tried to get them to worship other gods (vv. 2-11). Loved ones and friends can especially be very persuasive. But love for relatives should not take precedence over devotion to God.

If a person has committed wickedness, the fact that hundreds of people approve of it doesn’t change  the fact it is sin and God instructs us as to how we should deal with it (vv. 12-16). A city that completely rejected God was to be destroyed so as not to lead the rest of the nation astray. But, Israel was not to take action against a city, as long as it was jut a rumor and had not been proven true. However, there are times, of course, when God wants us to take action and rebuke a wayward friend or group, but we must first make sure we have all the facts straight. “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him” (Prov. 18:13).


If I hear of friends or groups who have wandered from the Lord I should check the facts, to find out the truth, before doing or saying anything that could be harmful.

Deuteronomy 13:1-18 (English Standard Version)

"If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, 'Let us go after other gods,' which you have not known, 'and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. "If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods,' which neither you nor your fathers have known, some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him. But you shall kill him. Your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. And all Israel shall hear and fear and never again do any such wickedness as this among you. "If you hear in one of your cities, which the LORD your God is giving you to dwell there, that certain worthless fellows have gone out among you and have drawn away the inhabitants of their city, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods,' which you have not known, then you shall inquire and make search and ask diligently. And behold, if it be true and certain that such an abomination has been done among you, you shall surely put the inhabitants of that city to the sword, devoting it to destruction, all who are in it and its cattle, with the edge of the sword. You shall gather all its spoil into the midst of its open square and burn the city and all its spoil with fire, as a whole burnt offering to the LORD your God. It shall be a heap forever. It shall not be built again. None of the devoted things shall stick to your hand, that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of his anger and show you mercy and have compassion on you and multiply you, as he swore to your fathers, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God, keeping all his commandments that I am commanding you today, and doing what is right in the sight of the LORD your God."

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