Q: How are the actions of the false prophetesses similar to those of the false prophets described above?
A: The false prophets substituted the Word of God and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for false substitutes so as to seduce/mislead the people; the false prophetesses use the substitutes of “magic bands” and “veils for the heads” to seduce/mislead the people into following the wrong thing.
Point: The false love to substitute the Word of God and true worship for things that are pleasing to the eye and can be used for show. As this study is being written, there are false prophets selling handkerchiefs to eliminate financial debt, spring water to bring financial blessings, and so on and so on. Thousands of people will show up to see what they believe to be a picture of Jesus on a tortilla who won’t actually put His Word into practice in their life.
Q: What is the meaning of v.19 in how they profaned God by these actions?
A: Their true motive is not spiritual, but financial. Even if they were to profit millions of dollars, in the end it would only look like very meager “handfuls of barley and fragments of bread” when compared to the true, spiritual riches they have lost – and cost others -- in the process.
Q: How serious is the end result of false prophets’ activities?
A: They result in not only spiritual deception in the course of this life, but actually take lives eternally as they send people to hell.
Q: Can’t people claim that they were duped by the false prophets and therefore shouldn’t be held accountable for being deceived?
A: “...by your lying to My people who listen to lies”. (v.19) Every Believer has an obligation to adhere to the Truth, to test every message and messenger according to the standards of God’s Word; to do otherwise is to be culpable for accepting the lies. The Bible teaches that people are given over to deception because they continually refuse to accept the Truth and instead embrace the lie. It’s not a curse from God, but a result of one’s personal choices and behavior.
For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.
— 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12