Micah 3: A Discussion of False Prophecy
In Micah 3, we have judgment occurring, and it is particularly interesting to read about false prophets who had apparently been pretty good at the job.
Mic 3:5 Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.
Mic 3:6 Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them.
Mic 3:7 Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God.
These people are going to lose whatever power they did have, but that obviously raises the question of what power they did have. Is false prophecy a real thing?
The short answer is I believe it is. I think it can be something that is encouraged by demonic activity as well. However, I do not believe any demon, including Satan, is omniscient which of course leads to the question of how they have this ability. It is hard to learn the future from beings that do not have unlimited knowledge of the future.
That is a key point to remember about false prophecy. Every time that you see false prophets in the Bible, they are never perfect. For example, I think about Daniel. He was special because he was able to interpret the dreams through the power of God. It wasn’t by his own power since evidently the other prophets were not able to do it by whatever power they had. It wasn’t just human reason. Even if Satan himself had been with those other prophets at that time, he was clearly not able to read the future. Demons do not have perfect knowledge either.
False prophets may indeed make some correct predictions in the same way that I can make some accurate predictions. For example, I might predict something about the stock market correctly. I might predict correctly, and I might be incorrect. No one is perfect on the stock market, but that is because we are not perfect in making our estimates on future activity. Our human reason cannot predict the future perfectly, but that does not mean I am wrong all the time.
In a similar vein, demons are smart creatures. If there was demonic activity influencing the false prophets in the book of Daniel, they are also limited in a similar way. Without that perfect knowledge, even with the potential predictions that might take place, it would be imperfect. They might be right sometimes, but they cannot be perfectly right.
In contrast, prophecy from God is never wrong, so that is an important way to differentiate it. I think about the miraculous predictions of the coming of Jesus Christ. There is no way human way to make these predictions perfectly. That is the differentiation. We might be right sometimes based on human reason, but God, who has perfect knowledge of the future, can certainly impart that knowledge to humans.
With that background, we can advance to this idea of Micah. God is going to take away whatever ability they might have. Their reasoning as humans will be wrong perhaps. I draw this out because I think it is important to recognize that these men were not having godly visions in the first place. Maybe they were following God at one point, but those days seem to be over. They were now false prophets causing the people to wander. However, they still were able to predict certain things correctly by virtue of perhaps human reason for demonic assistance, and it seems as if that is what we’re talking about here. As it says at the end of verse seven, they were not going to be good prophets because there would not be an answer from God. That is the only way to be an accurate prophet.