The Trial Of Spirits - Both In Teachers And Hearers
This section, from the above booklet printed by Benjamin Franklin, serves as a history lesson on false prophets and false teachers that we need to heed today. Why take to heart William Dell and his exegesis of the Word of God? Because what he described is EXACTLY what we are seeing today being played out on TBN, CBN, the NAE, and in the New Apostolic Reformation by a whole host of false apostles, prophets and teachers.
... Wherefore we declare unto you from the Word of the Lord, touching these false prophets, who shall do so much mischief:
1. That they shall not proceed, or come forth from among the Jews, or Turks, or out of the barbarous Nations, they shall arise out of such as are called Christians.
2. Seeing amongst the Christians some are openly profane and evil, others seem to be religious and godly, the false prophets shall be found among the better sort; and therefore, saith Christ, they shall come in "sheeps clothing", as if they were of Christ's own flock: And Paul saith "They have a form of Godliness", that is, they shall be painted over gloriously, with all appearances of Truth, righteousness, honesty, goodness and all the names of godliness.
3. Seeing amongst those that seem to be the better sort of Christians, some give themselves to the ministry of the Word, and some do not; the false prophets shall be found among those Christians, who take upon themselves to be preachers, as Paul testifies (Acts 20) where having called together the elders and teachers of the church of Ephesus, he saith to them, "Ex vobis ipsis; Out of your ownselves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them".
And seeing among those who are ministers, some are light, and vain, and carnal, and formal persons; and other men of great worth and reputation, and seem to be precious members of Christ, and even pillars in the Church, so that the common people think, that all religion would go down with such good men; they having some gifts and enlightenings of the spirit, and seeming more than ordinarily godly, religious, wise, holy, sober, devout; now the false prophets shall be found among these.
And as they who opposed Christ at his first coming in the flesh, seem more wise, and holy, and eminent in the Church than the rest, as the Scribes and Pharisees, who sat in Moses' chair, and had the outward letter of the Word in all exactness, and the outward form of religion in all strictness; so they, who do, and shall most oppose Christ in His coming in His Spirit, and shall contradict His Word, and resist His servants and witnesses of His Truth, do, and shall appear more wise, holy, learned, and godly, than the rest of the teachers in the Church.
And thus you see, that the false prophets of Anti-christ shall arise among Christians; and among such Christians as seem to be godly; and among such seeming godly Christians as preach the Word; and among such preachers of the Word as seem to be of greater worth and eminency than the rest: and so in all these regards it will be a hard matter to discern them.
4. Again, such persons, of such appearance and worth and holiness as these, do usually get to their side the greatest and highest persons in the kingdoms and nations, and do obtain, not only their countenance and favour, but also their power and authority for themselves.
5. By both these means (viz. their seeming holiness, and their interest with worldy powers) they exceedingly enlarge their credit and reputation with the world, and do get multitudes of people and nations to entertain them.
For Anti-christ could not decieve the world with a company of foolish, weak, ignorant, prophane, contemptable persons, but he always hath the greatest, the wisest, holiest, and most eminent in the visible church for him, and by these he seduces and subjects to himself, even the whole world. ...