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If I Were Told the Future - Lesson 4

Detecting False Prophets
 

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Let’s pray:

Our Father,

Your Word has shown us the importance of prophecy, and we now want to invest some of our time in studying it, so as to better understand it.

But what must we do with all those people who claim to be Your prophets, though their writings do not belong to the Holy Scriptures? How can we be sure that we are really facing a false prophet, before rejecting him definitively?

May Your Spirit guide us, as we open Your Book. In Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.



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Amos 3:7

Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.

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2 Peter 1:21

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

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Many a time, the prophets acted as intermediaries in order to communicate God’s messages to the people.



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Ezekiel 2:4

For they are impudent children and stiff hearted. I do send you to them; and you shall say to them,

«Thus said the Lord God.»

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Isaiah 58:1

Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.

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Moved by the Holy Spirit, the prophets not only predicted the future; they especially instructed the people to follow God’s commands.



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Ephesians 4:11-13

[God] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God.

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We can see that God has given the gift of prophecy to His church, not only to predict the future, but especially to uplift the members of His church, to improve them, to help them grow in unity and knowledge.



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Acts 2:17,18

«It shall come to pass in the last days,» said God, «that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

And on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy.»

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Will God send prophets again, to guide His Church in the last days?

The Word of God gives a very clear answer: Yes.



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God can also choose a woman to be His prophet:

«And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser. (...) And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.» (Luke 2:36,38)

«We entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and stayed with him. And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.» (Acts 21:8,9)

«And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.» (Judges 4:4)

«And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron (...).» (Exodus 15:20)



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Matthew 7:15

[Jesus said,] «Beware of false prophets.»

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Matthew 24:24

[Jesus said,] «For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets.»

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The problem with prophets is that some are genuine and others false.

As we draw near to the second coming of Jesus Christ, the number of false prophets will increase alarmingly...

Then, how can we distinguish the genuine prophets from the false ones?



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1 Thessalonians 5:20,21

Despise not prophesyings.

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

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Although false prophets abound, the Word of God warns us against despising all prophets.

God rather invites us to examine the words and deeds of every prophet, in order to know if he is truly sent by God.

Furthermore, the Bible gives us many clues, so that we may detect false prophets. Let’s look at some of these clues.



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Deuteronomy 18:21,22

«How shall we know the word which the Lord has not 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 Lord has not spoken.

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Jeremiah 28:9

When the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known that the Lord has truly sent him.

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Prophecies from God’s prophets are proven correct 100% of the time, nothing less.

A single error, and our inquiry is over!



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Deuteronomy 13:1-3

If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spoke to you, saying,

«Let us go after other gods, which you have not known, and let us serve them;»

you shall not listen to the words of that prophet.

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The fulfillment of what is foretold is not enough.

The teaching of the prophet must also be in accordance with the teaching of the Word of God.

Otherwise, that prophet is definitely a false one.



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Isaiah 8:19,20

When they shall say to you,

«Seek to them that have familiar spirits, and to wizards that peep, and that mutter,»

should not a people seek to their God? for the living to the dead?

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

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It is fundamental that we examine the prophet’s words in the light of the Word of God.

If these two sources disagree, if only about one point, we will then have to conclude that we are dealing with a false prophet.



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Lamentations 2:9

Her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the Lord.

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The reception of visions coming from God is closely linked to obedience to God’s law.

On several occasions in the history of Israel, the Lord ceased giving visions to the prophets because they, as well as the people, had rejected His commandments.



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Ezekiel 7:26

Mischief shall come on mischief, and rumor shall be on rumor; then shall they seek a vision of the prophet; but the law shall perish from the priest, and counsel from the ancients.

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Proverbs 29:18

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he.

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Beware of a prophet who claims to be sent by God, while at the same time teaching that the commandments of God are not important.



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1 John 4:1-3

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Hereby know you the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God; and every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God.

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The teaching of the true prophet of God will revolve around the person of Jesus Christ.

The goal of this prophet will be to lead people to accept Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord of their life.



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Matthew 24:24,25

[Jesus said,]

«For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Behold, I have told you before.»

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Let’s be careful: miracles are not the proof that we are dealing with a true prophet.

As a matter of fact, in the last days, false prophets will also be able to perform great signs and wonders!



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Matthew 7:15-18,20

[Jesus said,] «Beware of false prophets. (...) You shall know them by their fruits.

Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. (...)

Why by their fruits you shall know them.»

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The work of the prophet of God will be marked by the good fruit it bears.

Now what does the Word of God mean by «good fruit»?



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Galatians 5:22,23

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.

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The life of a prophet of God will reflect the character of God.

The fruit of the Spirit, stronger than signs and wonders, will certify the authenticity of his ministry.



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Isaiah 58:1

Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.

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A prophet who meets, without any exception, each and every one of the conditions required by the Word of God, is truly sent by God.

Then, it will be very important to study carefully the message he delivers, because it might be a serious warning which God personally intends for us.



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2 Chronicles 20:20

Believe in the Lord your God, so shall you be established; believe His prophets, so shall you prosper.

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Let’s carefully examine the words and deeds of every prophet claiming to be sent by God.

By detecting the false prophet, we will thus avoid being deceived by him.

By identifying the true prophet, we will have access to a reliable source of information, warnings, and encouragement coming from God, which will prepare us for the soon coming of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.



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Seven ways to identify the genuine prophet of God



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Let’s pray together:

Our Lord and Savior,

Armed with «the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God» (Ephesians 6:17), we will be able to detect the false prophets the enemy puts in our way in order to keep us away from You and cause our ruin.

But we will also be able to identify the true prophets You will send to us.

May we recognize Your prophets, when they arise, so that we pay attention to the message they will give us on Your behalf, and thus be ready for the great day of the return of Your Son, Jesus Christ.

We pray in His name.

Amen.


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