Discerning False From True Prophets
To begin what is a prophet? A prophet is someone who does speak or claims to speak in the name of God, a person who proclaims that he is speaking with the authority of God, that he is speaking in the name of the Father, or Jesus Christ.
A prophet is saying, I am coming to you and speaking to you in the name of the Lord, therefore anyone who claims to speak in the name of the Lord is a prophet whether true or false.
A true prophet is a person who is speaking through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God; who teaches all people to passionately love God and keep all of God’s commandments, and whose words spoken in God’s name [or by God’s authority] are true and come to pass.
A true prophet can also personally speculate and make mistakes; as long as he does not presume to do so in the name of the Lord; and clearly states that he is NOT speaking in the name of the Lord.
And very often, God has sent his angels to certain people in the past and said go deliver such and such a message or write such and such a thing down as a direct communication from God.
|In the past, whenever the nation as a whole sinned and turned away from God, speaking of ancient Israel as a theocratic state, God never corrected the nation through the priests [the ministry of the day], and rarely through the king. Some kings like David were also prophets.God sent prophets to the priesthood and to the king to correct them when they had gone astray. He sent people that he especially called for this particular purpose to go and correct the establishment, the presiding king and the presiding priesthood.Prophets were called to correct the religion or the church of the day. God did not correct the Church of God through someone within the leadership of that organization. He corrected them with a nobody.And the primary reason for this was that the church goes astray through arrogance and pride of place. And in order to humble these people, a nobody was chosen and sent to them to correct them.And the primary mission of a prophet, the primary message which a prophet brings is always repentance. “You are sinning. Turn from your sins. Turn back to God. And if you will not do so, God is going to apply the rod of correction, the rod of punishment to you”.God will not correct a nation or a people, He will not apply the rod of correction to anyone unless he first warns them through his servants, the prophets; whom HE chooses and whom GOD sends. And who does GOD choose? Why, anyone he wants.A prophet is not someone trained by the established church. In Israel a prophet was not someone trained by the kings or the priest. It was someone who was prepared for this purpose by Almighty God and called directly by God. A prophet is God’s choice.
There are certain people who call themselves apostles today who say that two prophets coming will be people trained by them. No, that is juts personal ego and conceit speaking, that is not going to happen. God chooses whom God wants. Period. And he is not going to pick somebody just because we think he ought to.
He will pick whom he regards as the choice he wants to do the job. This is not just speaking of the two prophets; It is speaking of any man of God.
God is going to choose his representatives by his criteria, and he has more wisdom than all of the so-called leaders of all of the so-called churches in the world.
God chooses whom HE wants, and he sends whoever HE chooses, to correct his people when they have gone astray. When the ministry of the church has gone so far astray, that God cannot work with them anymore, then God chooses somebody who IS faithful to him, and sends them to correct the wayward.
God also sends prophets to provide knowledge that cannot be acquired through regular means, through human understanding and thought processes. That is where the Holy Scripture comes in.
The Bible was written by the prophets and the apostles sent by Jesus Christ.
The faithful are a temple built upon the foundations of the apostles and the prophets. God sent those people to write out his word. To write out the things that he wanted as instructions for his people.
Now, the Bible today is complete. It has been complete for nearly 2,000 years or so, about 1,900 years. And the Bible is complete. We need not expect and God will not send anyone new to write anything more. But he will send people whom he is inspiring with understanding to explain these things more fully to people.
Things that have been sealed as the angel said to Daniel; sealed until the end time and could not have been understood before, will be made understandable through the servants of God, whom he will send.
Therefore it is written that, Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet, before that great and terrible day of the Lord and he shall restore all things. You know the Scriptures. You can look them up in Malachi, in Luke, in various other places. God will send a prophet in the last days. In fact more than one, there will be at least two prophets as it is written in Revelation.
The primary proof of a true prophet of God is that he will always be consistent with all recorded scripture, will all the other previous prophets of God.
Deu 13:1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth [TESTS US] you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
4 Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
The sin is not in speculating our own ideas; the sin is in being presumptuous in declaring that a man’s words are the words of God! And second; a sin is in teaching people to compromise and water down their zeal for the commandments of God! Thus leading people away from God and towards a zeal for the man or organization in place of god; which is IDOLATRY.
Deu 18:20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken?
22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.
God sends his prophets to reveal those things to us that he wants to reveal and to correct us and turn us back toward him. For it is written, Elijah shall turn the hearts of the children toward their fathers.
What is meant by this? It is recorded in Luke that the angel told Zacharias. Speaking of John, That the child shall turn men toward the wisdom of the just. He shall turn people toward God [NOT to himself].
He shall teach repentance from sin. That is the role of a prophet, any prophet, all prophets warn and teach repentance from sin.
How do we know them, who is a true prophet of God and who is not?
Jesus Christ tells Moses to write these things beginning in Deuteronomy 13:4, You shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and you shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he has spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust you out of the way which the Lord thy God commanded thee to walk in. So, shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.
This whole chapter of Deuteronomy is discussing the same subject. Any man who claims to speak for any other god or encourages people to follow any other god, por to be lax towards God’s commandments; is a false prophet. He is leading you astray from the Eternal.
Anyone who says, well you must believe the Bible as it is explained by this person or that person IS a false prophet. Because he is putting some man between the people and God. He is saying, believe the Bible, but only as this particular fellow explains it. The person who says that is a false prophet.
He is pointing you toward that man instead of toward God. He is in fact, a false prophet.
And anyone who points you directly to God, toward God, and says believe God, believe his word, believe the Scriptures, test all things by the Holy Scriptures; hold fast that which is good and true, put God and a passionate love and zeal for his commandments first: That person is a true prophet of God or certainly a man of God, a faithful follower of God and Jesus Christ.
A false prophet is a follower of [and teaches people to follow] someone else, or something else, or of some other person or man; and not a true follower of God.
If a man says, follow the teachings of this person or that person, or follow their words and believe the Bible as they explain it. They have placed that person between you and God.
They are false prophets because they are causing you to follow this other man and not follow God directly.
A man of God says, follow God directly. Test all things, (whatever any man says) by God’s word and hold fast that which is good.
How do we recognize a false prophet?
First, he tells us to follow other men, or to tolerate sin and not to have any zeal for the practical application of God’s commandments, or he seduces to follow other gods by trying to mix paganism with God’s ways; rather than to serve the Eternal in spirit and truth.
He does not want you to be zealous for the Eternal and his commandments, so he will constantly attack such zeal as being Pharisaical. He will say “Do not be over righteous by being zealous for the practical application of God’s commandments. He will try to get you to focus on organizational unity instead of unity with God, proclaiming the lie that organizational unity IS unity with God.
Such men are FALSE teachers and FALSE prophets, for they want to lead you away from a passionate enthusiastic zeal for all of God’s commandments. Any person who teaches that it is alright to work or pay others tpo work or to have catered meanls and go to restaurants or engage in any other commandment sbreaking: IS a FALSE teacher and a FALSE prophet!
The second means of discerning a false prophet can be found in Deuteronomy 18:20, But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
And if you will say in your heart, How shall we know the word which eternal has spoken? When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the eternal have not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously. You shall not be afraid of that man. You shall not fear him. You shall have no regard or respect for such a person.
There you have it. A true prophet is someone whom God chooses, God calls, God prepares and God sends; and he speaks the truth of God and is absolutely consistent with the Word of God. He points all men toward God and he teaches the true word of God, the truth of God.
And a false prophet is someone who decides for himself to stand up and speak and to presumptuously declare that his word;, his own words, his own ideas, his own thoughts; are the word of God. He is presumptuously saying, my words are God’s word. He stands up and says, this is God speaking to you today through me. And then he proceeds to lie in the name of the Lord.
This is an abomination to God because it casts disrepute upon God. When people begin believing this man represents God and all the while he’s lying and deceiving the people.
A false prophet is an abomination. A presumptuous man who says that he is speaking the words of God, when God has not sent him and he is speaking his own words, not the words of God. And he is telling people to do things contrary to the word of God. And he is leading the people about and away from God and toward his own beliefs, his own perspectives, his own positions, his own traditions and his own ideas and is not focusing them on God. This person is an appalling abomination to God.
Now, the apostle Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians 2. He writes, Now, we beseech you brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by words, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
Let no man deceive you by any means, for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition. Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped. So, that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that when I was yet with you, I told you these things.
The final abomination will exalt himself above God. While virtually proclaiming that he is a God. Simply by claiming that he has authority over God, authority over God’s word, authority to change [to bind and loose] God’s word.
And in changing God’s word, he is doing what? He is turning people away from God and toward himself and his own teachings, and his own traditions, and his own philosophy, and his own opinions and beliefs. And he is a false prophet and such a false prophet is a disgusting, loathsome, detestable, appalling abomination in the eyes of Almighty God.
2 Thessalonians 2:6, And now you know what withholds that this person might be revealed in his own time, in his time. For the mystery of iniquity was already at work in Paul’s time. Only he who now lets. And the word “lets” actually means restrains or holds back or holds down.
V 7, only he who now letteth will let, will restrain or hold back until he is taken out of the way. That is he is stopped from doing the restraining. And then shall that wicked one be revealed, whom the eternal God shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, deceiving men, deceiving the world, turning them away from God.
Deceiving the world, turning people away from God’s word, deceiving them with power; and signs; and lying wonders; with miracles. And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness or wickedness and those that perish because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion.
This same deception was already working in Paul’s day and it is w working very hard in the Church of God today. There have been and are MANY false teachers and prophets crept into the faith today! This final abomination is just that; the FINAL ABOMINATION.
Why? Because people don’t love the truth and commandments of God! They don’t love the word of God.
They’re content to sit back and be told what to think and what to do. They’re content to be led around by the nose. They are not ready to study the word of God, to prove all things. They are not testing what these people say or this man says or what any prophet says. They are just letting themselves be led about because they do not love the truth. They are not willing to make the effort to seek out the truth.
Verse 10, Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them a strong delusion, and they shall believe a lie. That they all might be damned to believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness or wickedness.
Those who are willing to be led about, who are not willing to take the time and the effort to open mindedly study God’s word, to test and question all things, to prove all things, to hold fast that which is good. And to test the prophets, to test the apostles, to test the evangelist and see whether what they are saying is true or not. To see if what they are saying is consistent with God’s word or not.
If you are not willing to apply the acid test of the Word of God, and prefer to just study the out of context scriptures provided, along with the false reasoning’s of spiritual con artists, If you will not make the effort to do the legwork, to do the preparation, to do the study, to learn to discern between right and wrong, and holy and profane, and good and evil, to learn to separate the wheat from the chaff, then you will be led around and led astray. And you will be deceived, because the deception is very strong, it is incredibly powerful.
This final false prophet will do tremendous miracles and he will doubtless do them in an attempt to duplicate the miracles of Jesus Christ so as to demonstrate to the people that he is a godly and Christ like person. That he is a holy and righteous person. This final false prophet shall appear like a lamb. He will appear gentle, meek, even weak, vulnerable. He will be a peace lover, he will present himself as a man of peace, as a man of honor, as a godly person.
We find him described in Revelation 13:11, And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as [the words of the] a dragon.
He does not speak the words of God, and he has the appearance of a lamb, an appearance of godliness. But he did not speak godly words. He spoke the words of the dragon, the devil.
Very many leaders in the faith today do this very same thing, enticing people to forget their zeal for the Eternal and all of his commandments. Such men are false prophets, false teachers ungodly leaders. Please read through the whole book of Jude.
And what are the words of the dragon, the devil?
His words are follow me; don’t follow God! Do what I say. Listen to my interpretation, my take on the Bible. I have the right and the authority and the power to substitute the traditions of my church for the Scriptures.
The Scriptures must be interpreted by our church tradition, and church authority. You people don’t have enough of God’s spirit, you don’t have enough understanding, you can’t understand the Scriptures. So listen to what I say.
I’ll explain it for you; listen to what I say; do what I say. Don’t worry about studying the Bible so much. Look up the Scriptures I tell you to look up, but don’t go wandering off and study independently because you will be confused and that confusion will lead you away from me.
Notice, the confusion will lead you away from me, from my church, from this church.
No, God’s spirit won’t lead you away from God. Maybe you’ll get exposed to some truth if you look at God’s word. And if you look at what these people say or at what a particular false prophet says with an open mind and ask God to give you some understanding and lead you into the truth, maybe you’ll realize that this person is a false prophet and he does not want you to know that. He does not want you to follow God. He wants to follow himself, him.
Revelation 13:12, this person who looks like a lamb, and speaks the words of the devil; in leading people AWAY from the will and commandments of God. Who speaks the words of the dragon. Who deceives people away from God into following himself. He exercises the power of the first beast, which is the Roman Empire.
And he exercises the power of the first beast and causes the earth and them that dwell within the earth, around the earth to worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed. He causes people to worship this government. This governmental system by telling the people of the earth, this is a great and godly government. This is a righteous government. This government has my blessing.
The final climatic abomination says: “I am the great prophet of God, the great man of God. And I have put my blessing and my sanction on this government. This is a holy government. It is a God approved government”. And he causes people, all the people to stand in awe of this government and this system.
Religious leaders are to focus on GOD, NOT on themselves! This attitude is an abomination to the Eternal!