Deuteronomy 13

Talks for Growing Christians

Condemnation of False Teachers

Deuteronomy 13

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Lesson Number 13

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The success of false teachers is a test of the believer’s faith.
  2. The judgment of false teachers is a test of the believer’s faithfulness.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t tolerate vestiges of idolatry!


  1. Deuteronomy 13 required the death penalty for which two groups of people?
  2. What safeguards were in place to protect against false accusations?
  3. How would the people know whether a prophet was false or true?
  4. List three goals that would be accomplished by the death penalty in the case of false prophets or followers of false prophets.
  5. In the history of the Old Testament did the people deal properly with false teachers?


  1. The death penalty was demanded for false prophets who promoted the worship of any god besides the one true God. The death penalty was also to be carried out in reference to anyone following such false teaching.
  2. The one who brought the charge had to throw the first stone, which would keep false charges to a minimum. If an entire city was led astray by false teaching, everything was to be burned and that city was not to be rebuilt. This would prevent anyone from profiting in any way from false accusations.
  3. Signs and wonders were not the sign of a true prophet. It was whether or not that prophet followed and proclaimed the Word of the Lord.
  4. 1. It would purge evil from among God’s people.
    2. It would be a severe warning to all of Israel.
    3. It would be a test of the faithfulness of God’s people.
  5. False prophets did arise in Israel and they were not dealt with except during times of revival. Many times this was too little, too late, and idolatry did sweep through Israel and Judah. Even to the point of child sacrifice to foreign gods.


  1. There will be false prophets who will have very “successful” ministries – including signs and wonders. God allows this apparent success as a test for believer. Will you be taken in by the false teaching of false prophets or will you follow the clear teaching of the Word of God? How will you know?
  2. While the Church does not carry out the death penalty, since it is not a theocracy as Israel was, the Church is called to deal with false teachers and eliminate false teaching. False teaching cannot be tolerated and false teachers within the church must be silence and excommunicated if need be. Discuss this principle from 1 Timothy 1 and Titus 1.


  1. Any town in Israel that turned away from the Lord to other gods was to be completely destroyed and never to be rebuilt again. No vestiges of idolatry were to remain. Are there any vestiges of idolatry still present in your life? Memorize 2 Corinthians 10:5.

Key Verses

  • “You shall not listen to the words of that [false] prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 13:3
  • “And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” Deuteronomy 13:10

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