Prophets, False As Moses had foretold, a host of false prophets arose in later times among the Hebrews, who promised prosperity without repentance, and predicted after "the deceit of their own hearts" (De 13:1-5; Jer 14:14-16; Jer 23:9-27). According to De 18:20-22, a false prophet was punished capitally, being stoned to death. There were two cases in which a person was held convicted of the crime, and consequently liable to its punishment:
1. If a prophet spoke in the name of Jehovah, he was tolerated, so long as he remained unconvicted of imposture, even though he threatened calamity to the state. He might be imprisoned (Jer 26:8-16; 1Ki 22:1-28), but could not legally be put to death, unless a prediction of his failed of accomplishment; then he was regarded as all impostor, and stoned.
2. If a person prophesied in the name of any other god, whether his prediction was accomplished or not, he was, at all events, considered a false prophet, and, as such, capitally punished. In the kingdom of Israel, Ahab could muster four hundred prophets of Baal at a time (1Ki 22:6). In still later times false prophets, uttering the suggestions of their own imagination, abounded in the Church, and did much mischief (Mt 7:15; Mt 24:11; Mr 13:22; Lu 6:26; 2Pe 2:1; 1Jo 4:1). SEE MESSIAHS, FALSE.