Who ARE the "false prophets"? How would YOU recognize one?  

The Plain Truth

Personal from the Editor

May, 1966

PERSECUTORS HAVE CALLED me a “false prophet.” Now how would you KNOW whether the accusation is true — or false? There ARE false prophets today. And they are not a few, but MANY! The WHOLE WORLD — that is, the world as a whole — is DECEIVED today. The world is deceived about the TRUE VALUES of life — about the things that really count. The world is chasing false goals, false gods. The world has lost its way. It has lost THE WAY to peace, to universal prosperity, to good health, to happiness. The world is in chaos, awaiting the fateful NUCLEAR World War III! But who ARE the “false prophets“? How would YOU recognize one? Actually, it probably is not very important to YOU to know whether my persecutors are right or wrong, when they call me dirty names, hurl epithets, resort to innuendo, impute sinister motives, strive to discredit, attempt character assassination. What is important to YOU is whether what you read in The PLAIN TRUTH really IS the truth — whether what you hear over The WORLD TOMORROW broadcast is true — not whether I, as an individual, am true or false. I think our readers know by now that we always say: “DON’T believe what we say BECAUSE you believe in us.” We say “Listen with open mind, without prejudice, then CHECK UP in your own Bible — PROVE whether it is true, and BELIEVE what you find PROVED!” I don’t seek to induce people to believe in ME — I seek to lead them to believe in JESUS CHRIST! But just HOW would you KNOW whether a man is a “false prophet”? Would YOU know, for sure, how to recognize a false prophet? There is one absolutely SURE WAY to know. Here it is: You may search the Bible from beginning to end. The false prophets have had ONE THING IN COMMON. They have always put the emphasis on a promised desirable RESULT, while ignoring, rejecting, or opposing GOD’S WAY to that result. They always treat with the EFFECT, not the CAUSE. But the TRUE prophets of God have always put emphasis on the right CAUSE — on God’s WAY to the desired blessings. Let me explain that. Let me make that PLAIN! This magazine deals with making truth PLAIN — understandable! You may search the Bible from beginning to end. You’ll find the true prophets, apostles, ministers of God put first emphasis on the right CAUSE, not the effect. They proclaim THE WAY that leads to peace, happiness, security, and finally, eternal life. In Bible language, this means that God’s Word, and God’s true prophets and ministers put first emphasis on God’s LAW. And, further, since sin is the transgression of God’s law, the true ministers lift up their voices to SHOW THE PEOPLE THEIR SINS (Isaiah 58:1). They call the people to REPENTANCE, reconciliation to God through Jesus Christ, forgiveness of sins, leading those who have been going astray back into the RIGHT WAY of God’s Law through God’s free grace. It’s just this simple: There is a right WAY that leads to every desired result — blessings now, and eternal life forever. God’s Law is merely a defining of THAT WAY. But the whole world has been going astray — going the WRONG WAY. God sends His prophets and ministers to proclaim the RIGHT WAY, to show people that they are going the WRONG WAY, to cause them to turn around and get back on the RIGHT WAY through Jesus Christ by God’s free grace. Then the desired result follows. And that’s the ONLY way to that desired result! But the false prophets ignore or oppose God’s Law. They encourage people in continuing their WRONG WAY. They ignore or tacitly approve this WRONG WAY. They work for PEACE, for prosperity, for desired GOOD THINGS, while encouraging people to travel the OPPOSITE DIRECTION FROM those desired ends! This WHOLE WORLD is following that pattern. Public acceptance goes right along with a world traveling THE ROAD to sickness and ill health, to boredom and unhappiness, fears and worries, inequality, injustice, heartaches, frustrations, insecurity, poverty, crime, insanity, violence, war, and death. But God’s true servants are not OF this world nor of its ways. WHY do so many people have tooth decay and cavities? The toothpaste manufacturers compete in advertising and television commercials, each claiming its particular brand means “FEWER CAVITIES. The cavities are the RESULT. They say nothing about the cause, which is a lack of proper food containing certain organic alkaline mineral elements. They say nothing about faulty diet — the CAUSE. They treat only with the RESULT. The world is full of hospitals. They are over-filled with patients paying the PENALTY of broken physical laws. The hospitals and the doctors ignore the CAUSE, and treat with the RESULT — try to relieve, prevent or remove the PENALTY of broken law! Notice, now, a few Biblical examples of where God’s true prophets put the emphasis, and where the false prophets put it. After Solomon, son of David, died, the nation Israel rejected Solomon’s son Rehoboam as king, and set up Jeroboam instead. Then the tribe of Judah seceded from Israel, in order to have Rehoboam for their king. The tribe of Benjamin went along with Judah. King Jeroboam of Israel immediately set up two golden calves as idols for Israel to worship; rejected the Levites (tribe of Levi) as priests, and put the lowest of the people, whom he could control, into the priesthood. The tribe of Levi then joined Judah, becoming the Kingdom of Judah. They became known as “the Jews.” All succeeding kings of Israel followed in the sins of Jeroboam. One of them, king Ahab, married Jezebel the daughter of the king of Sidon. Jezebel brought with her hundreds of the prophets of Baal the sun-god, introducing Baal worship in Israel. King Ahab gathered together these false prophets before him, and asked: “Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear?” And they answered, “Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king” (I Kings 22:6). These false prophets advised the king to go a WRONG WAY, and promised a GOOD RESULT. But Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, was visiting king Ahab, and he asked if there was not a prophet of the ETERNAL that he might consult. Ahab answered, “There is yet one man, Micaiah … by whom we may enquire of the ETERNAL: but I hate him, for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil” (verses 7-8). So Ahab called God’s prophet, who told him that a lying spirit had spoken falsely in the mouths of these false prophets — and that Ahab would never return alive if he followed their advice (verses 19-23). This prophet advised going THE WAY of the true God — THE WAY of PEACE, and not of attack, aggression and war-making. Ahab went THE WAY of the false prophets — defied God’s law — AND WAS KILLED IN THE BATTLE! Through Jeremiah (23rd chapter) God speaks of the false prophets. “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the ETERNAL. Then, speaking of our very generation in this 20th century — just prior to Christ’s second coming, of today’s drought and upset conditions resulting from misled people going the WRONG WAYS: For the land is full of adulterers; for because of the curse, the land mourneth; and the pastures of the wilderness are dried up. Their course is evil” — they are going the WRONG WAY — “and their might is not right. Both prophet and priest are ungodly” — that is, carnal, unconverted, selfish — “even in my house [the churches] I have found their wickedness, says the ETERNAL. Therefore THEIR WAY shall be to them like slippery paths in the darkness, into which they shall be driven and fall: for I will bring evil upon them IN THE YEAR of their punishment (that is, in the soon-coming “DAY OF THE LORD” which probably is to last for one year), says the ETERNAL.” (Jeremiah 23:1, l0-12. Revised Standard Version.) Continuing, same chapter: God foresees a horrible thing in those who PROFESS to be His ministers: “… they commit adultery, and walk in lies.” Leading churchmen in Britain are now advocating legal and public approval of homosexuality, and calling fornication and adultery “THE NEW MORALITY.” Even United States ministers are approving this lying so-called “New Morality.” Jeremiah continues: “… they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness;” — that is, they ignore or reject GOD’S WAY, which is His Law. They approve the world’s ways contrary to God’s ways. They fail to show the people THEIR SINS. They go along with the world. “… they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah” (Jer. 23:14-15). Today, for the first time in all history, leading churchmen are openly approving “sodomy” — homosexuality — the most revolting IMMORALITY in violation of God’s Law. Further, same chapter: “Thus saith the ETERNAL of Hosts, Hearken NOT unto the words of the prophets that preach unto you: they make you vain:” — that is, they flatter, approve, encourage vanity — “they speak a vision of their own heart, and NOT out of the mouth of the ETERNAL. They say unto them that despise me, The Eternal hath said, Ye shall have peace;” — they promise a GOOD RESULT, while approving a WRONG WAY. Or, to quote from the Revised Standard Version: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets [preachers] who prophesy [preach] to you, filling you with VAIN HOPES; they speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the ETERNAL. They say continually to those who despise the Word of the ETERNAL, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to every one who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No evil shall come upon you.'” That is, go THE WRONG WAY, and there will be no penalty — no evil RESULT. They promise a good result for a wrong cause. This 23rd chapter of Jeremiah is a prophecy about conditions in OUR TIME, NOW shortly before Christ’s return as KING of kings to rule the whole earth. Notice, in verse 20: “… in the LATTER DAYS, ye shall consider it perfectly.” Continuing: God says, “I have not sent these prophets [preachers], yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they preached. But IF they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words [the words of the Bible], then they should have turned them FROM their EVIL WAYS, and FROM the evil of their DOINGS” (verses 21-22). Again, “… he that hath my Word, let him speak my Word FAITHFULLY says God (verse 28). God’s Word instructs in THE WAY of God. God’s Law is GOD’S WAY. The preachers and self-appointed ministers who profess to be the ministers of Jesus Christ — who tell you God’s Law is “done away” — who “work together for PEACE while condoning the WAY of transgression — THEY, SAYS YOUR GOD — are the false prophets! And they are the MANY, not the few! A deceived and misled world needs to WAKE UP! King Ahab accused the prophet Elijah of harming Israel. He said, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” Elijah answered, “I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the Commandments of the ETERNAL, and thou hast followed Baalim” (I Kings 18:17-18). They persecuted and killed the true prophets. Then they persecuted and killed the greatest Prophet of all — Jesus Christ. AND WHY? Because they proclaimed God’s truth faithfully. Because they showed the people THEIR SINS. WHY do they accuse ME? Simply because I, my son Garner Ted Armstrong, and this whole WORK OF GOD PROCLAIM THE WORD OF GOD FAITHFULLY — because we DO cry aloud and lift up our voices, and SHOW THE PEOPLE THEIR SINS! The false ministers MUST either accuse us of THEIR guilt, or stand branded by the very WORD OF GOD as false ministers! So they accuse! From beginning to end, your BIBLE puts the emphasis on OBEDIENCE to GOD’S WAY of life — the WAY to peace, happiness, and eternal life as God’s gift. As soon as God created the first man on earth, “The Eternal God COMMANDED the man, saying …” (Genesis 2:16). But what happened? Satan came along. The man DISOBEYED God’s Command. He specifically disobeyed FOUR of the Ten Commandments. He obeyed Satan, and thus had another god before the true God. He dishonored his only Parent, God his Creator. He COVETED what was not his, and he STOLE what belonged to God and was specially forbidden him. RESULT? Curses, sorrow, suffering, and DEATH (Gen. 3:17-19). He followed the WRONG WAY, and it produced a WRONG RESULT! Humanity degenerated, until in less than 2,000 years only ONE man was righteous, going the RIGHT WAY, obeying God, and that was Noah (Gen. 6:9). If any other had been obedient, he would have been SAVED in the ark. God spared Noah’s wife, sons and their wives because of Noah’s obedience. In two generations after the flood, Nimrod “emancipated” the people from God’s government — God’s Laws — God’s WAY. Then, seven generations later, once again there was ONE MAN on earth who OBEYED God. BECAUSE of this faithful OBEDIENCE, God gave Abraham the PROMISES on which all the national wealth and prosperity of the United States and the British Commonwealth nations were based — as well as the PROMISES on which the spiritual SALVATION for YOU and the whole world rest. And God confirmed and RE-promised these greatest of all PROMISES to Abraham’s son Isaac, “BECAUSE that Abraham OBEYED my voice, and kept my charge, MY COMMANDMENTS, my statutes, and MY LAWS (Gen. 26:5). The whole test of the nation Israel was one of OBEDIENCE — of being willing to live God’s WAY — the WAY to peace, happiness, wealth, and all good things. To them, God said, “Ye shall make you no idols nor graven images … Ye shall keep MY Sabbaths, … IF ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and DO THEM, then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase … and I will give you PEACE … (Lev. 26:1-6). These material blessings, individual and national, would follow. It was a matter of CAUSE and EFFECT. A matter of A WAY that produced the desired RESULT. The people of Israel wanted the RESULT, but, later, they REBELLED against going THE WAY of that desired result. Jesus Christ came teaching GOD’S WAY. He said, THINK NOT that I am come to destroy the law …” — so the whole world thinks He DID come to destroy it! The whole world rebels. It defiantly goes the opposite WAY. Then tries to eliminate the penalty. That’s why this world is SICK and in CHAOS! Jesus magnified God’s Law — enlarged upon it. Jesus said “… fear him which is able to DESTROY both SOUL and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). So the false prophets teach, and the world believes, the soul CANNOT be destroyed, but will burn forever in “hell.” One came and asked Jesus: “What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Jesus told him what to DO — KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS, naming specifically half of them (Matthew 19:16-19). So the false ministers teach, and the people believe, we must NOT “keep the Commandments.” Again, Jesus said, “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” (Mat. 7:21). So the false prophets say that if you DO God’s will, as expressed in His Law, you will be under a CURSE and go to hell. The apostle Paul taught the Gentiles that God’s “Law is HOLY, and the commandment holy, and just, and GOOD,” and that “the Law is SPIRITUAL” (Romans 7:12, 14). The false ministers teach that the Law is harsh, contrary to our best interests, and a yoke of bondage. Thus they lead the people into SIN! Paul taught Gentiles “For not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but THE DOERS of the Law shall be justified” (Romans 2:13). So the false leaders teach, and the people believe, that THE DOERS of the Law are under a curse of damnation. Paul said, “Do we then MAKE VOID THE LAW through faith? God forbid: yea, we ESTABLISH THE LAW.” (Rom. 3:31). So the blind leaders of the blind say, we DO make the Law of God VOID by faith — we do NOT establish it we ABOLISH it! And on and on it goes. Not long ago, two great leaders of the world sat together in conference in the Presidential suite of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. One was the leader of the world’s most powerful and prosperous nation. The other a great world-acclaimed religious leader. They talked about working together FOR PEACE. But neither teaches the world THE WAY, and THE ONLY WAY to world PEACE! They seek to PREVENT the natural RESULT, or PENALTY, of a world going the WRONG WAY — a world in REBELLION against God and His LAWS OF PEACE. That result is present strife, war, violence, and threat of war. They work for a right RESULT, while tacitly APPROVING this world’s (Satan’s) WAY, which destroys peace and produces violence and war! War is simply THE PENALTY of broken LAW. When will the “great” statesmen and religious leaders wake up to that fact? Yes, this world treats the RESULT, seeks to relieve or abolish THE PENALTY of broken LAW, while continuing to transgress Law and produce more penalties. But the Laws of God are INEXORABLE! You break God’s Laws, and they will BREAK YOU! What is SIN? Sin is the transgression of LAW. When Christ comes in all POWER and GLORY, to RULE ALL NATIONS with divine WORLD GOVERNMENT, He will FORCE this world to be HAPPY — to have PEACE — to become universally prosperous. Yes, it will require divine power and FORCE TO COMPEL a hostile world, rebellious against Authority and right Law, to find peace, happiness, joy — and ETERNAL LIFE. Of course no one can EARN eternal life. That comes by God’s grace, as His free GIFT. But God has laid down conditions: REPENTANCE, and FAITH! Yes, you can tell, if you want to, WHO are the false prophets! ]]>

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