A false prophet is an unfaithful prophet, one who has had a real connection with God, but has wandered from the right way. Among the ancient Gentiles, many prophets prophesied ungodly things, but none of them are referred to as false prophets. In the Old Testament, we find no false prophet outside of Israel, except in very rare cases, such as Balaam, who was a true prophet of God before he surrendered his integrity for earthly gain. God said of men who began to prophesy things He did not send them to say, “I did not send these prophets, but they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied” (Jer. 23:21).
In this New Covenant, a “false prophet” is the equivalent of a “false apostle” (2Cor. 11:13) or a “false teacher” (2Pet. 2:1). These are ministers who are confident that they are ministers of Christ, when Christ has not sent them.
Those who have not been sent by Christ cannot speak for him. And it is a pitfall into which a religious society has pushed many a young man with a heart for God. We can do evil, thinking we are doing God service, and if He has not sent us, whatever we claim to do in His name is false. In order to truly speak for Christ, we must first be spoken to by Christ; otherwise, the term “false prophet” will apply to us as well as to those in the Bible who did wrong, thinking they were doing right.