If you're anything like me, you've always pictured false prophets as something like a televangelist with a mass following or a megachurch pastor who's caught up in making money. As I've come to know the biblical definition of false prophets, however, I've realized that you don't have to have a megachurch to become a false prophet - you don't need a following at all. Actually, you could be a false prophet right now, it's not that hard to do. Check this out: Peter tells us 4 things about false prophets:
Now Balaam was riding on his donkey and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand, the donkey turned off from the way and went into the field; but Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back into the way. Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path of the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she pressed herself to the wall and pressed Balaam’s foot against the wall, so he struck her again. The angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn to the right hand or the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam was angry and struck the donkey with his stick. And the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” Then Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a mockery of me! If there had been a sword in my hand, I would have killed you by now.” The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden all your life to this day? Have I ever been accustomed to do so to you?” And he said, “No.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand; and he bowed all the way to the ground. The angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out as an adversary, because your way was contrary to me. But the donkey saw me and turned aside from me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, I would surely have killed you just now, and let her live.” Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned, for I did not know that you were standing in the way against me.” - Numbers 22:21-34Let's take a deeper look - and ask ourselves some questions - and find out what Peter is trying to teach us about false prophets and how it applies to us:
"Untaught and unstable people twist [Paul's Epistles] to their own destruction, as they do with the rest of scripture. Therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."