Testing Prophesy

Discussion in 'Important Things To Consider' started by HisManySongs, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. (originally posted by Revlynn - http://www.christianforumsite.com/threads/testing-prophecy.30963/)

    Firstly, let me say that I do not want this thread to become a debate about whether there are still prophets or the gift of prophecy is still operational/relevant today. This is addressed to those who do believe in the gift of prophecy, in the hope of avoiding some areas of danger.​

    We need to understand that just because a message begins with "Thus saith the Lord ...," or because it is presented as God speaking in the first person, does not necessarily mean that it IS from the Lord, or that it is true prophecy. We also need to be able to discern the source of the words that we receive ourselves.​

    A "word" of this kind has three possible sources: the Lord, the devil, or the human mind (our own or that of the person speaking.) We need to be able to tell the difference between the three, and the following 8 tests will help you to do that.​

    1. Does it line up with Scripture?
    If it is true prophecy, then it is inspired by the same Holy Spirit who wrote the Bible. He does not change; He does not say one thing in the Word and something different through modern prophecy. Many years ago I knew a lady who was "in love" with a married man. Quite regularly, she would get "prophetic words" saying that he was going to leave his wife and marry her. Were they from God? Most definitely not - the source was her own heart.​

    I also sometimes hear people quote something from Scripture in a "prophecy," but the quote is incorrect. Now, it is possible for me or any other preacher to make a mistake and say "Samson" when we meant "Solomon." It is not possible for God to do so. If the Scripture in the prophecy is incorrect, then it is a word from the mind of man, not from the Spirit of God.​

    2. Does it line up with the Character of God?
    Sometimes, a "prophecy" will appear to line up with the letter of the Word, yet it does not reflect the character of God. Often, "judgmental" prophecies come into this area. Now don't get me wrong, God is a God of judgment as well as a God of love. But when He has to bring judgment, particularly when He has to bring it against His own people, it grieves Him. An "off with their heads!" prophecy that seems to take delight in the judgment does not reflect His character.​

    Another instance is the prophet who walks into a church and, in an effort to big-note himself, sets about exposing every sin in the place. Again, God will certainly expose sin when the sinner is unrepentant and hard hearted; but He will not do so if the person is struggling, trying to gain victory over a particular problem, but for the moment at least losing the battle. In that case, the principle that "love covers a multitude of sins" cuts in.​

    3. Does it strike a chord with your own spirit?
    There is one great difference between prophecy in the Old Testament and prophecy in the New. In the Old Testament, the people did not have the Spirit of God within them. Their only way of knowing what God was saying was through externals: the written Law, and the words of the prophets. This side of the Cross, every born-again believer has the Spirit of God within. We are supposed to receive our leading from Him. Anything that is spoken to us by a prophet should be either a confirmation of what God has already spoken to our own spirit by His Spirit, or a preparation for what He is going to speak. In my experience, even when a prophecy is a rebuke, if it is truly from the Lord the hearer will recognize it as such (even if he doesn't want to know about it and refuses to respond.)​

    4. Is it true?
    This one should be a no-brainer. God is truth. The devil is a liar. If it is not true, the source should be glaringly obvious. Yet somehow, the prefixing of a statement with those four magical words, "Thus saith the Lord ..." can at times cause us to think that what we know to be untrue must in fact be true. Example: some time ago, someone attacked the ministry I lead with a false prophecy saying that God wanted it closed. One of the accusations in that word was that we were just operating out of our own thoughts, not seeking Him. Now, the truth is that we constantly seek the Lord for the direction for this ministry. The word was a lie, and because I understand these principles I was easily able to dismiss it as such. (There were also a number of other factors that showed it up as a false prophecy.) However, if I hadn't understood these principles, it would have been very easy for me to "repent" of something that wasn't even true, and close a ministry that God wants to remain active.​

    5. Does it have spiritual significance?
    This is one of the great differences between prophecy and psychic powers. The devil will show you things just to satisfy your curiosity, or to make you look good (which makes him look good.) God does not do that. He will tell you only the things you need to know, either to make changes in your own life, to encourage change in the lives of others, or for intercession. I was horrified some years ago to hear of "prophets" who would call people out and say things like, "Oh, I can see your living room. You have this and that and something else" (describing the furniture and furnishings.) What is the spiritual value in that? I'm sure the person already knows what is in his/her living room. The only benefit can be to make the "prophet" look good. There is only one time when God would be likely to tell you what is in your house - if something there is wrong in His eyes, and He wants you to get rid of it.​

    6. If a time frame is given, does it come to pass within that time frame?
    Not all prophecies specify a time frame. Many prophecies of the Bible have not yet come to pass, but that does not mean that they are false prophecies: their fulfillment is still some time in the future. However, if a time frame is given, and it doesn't happen within that time frame, then it is not God. Twenty-five years ago some bright spark gave us "88 Reasons Why Jesus Will Return in 1988" (Yes, there was actually a book with that title.) Guess what? Jesus did not return in 1988. 88 reasons why He would still did not make it a true prophecy. At a smaller level, if someone prophecies that God is going to do something today/this month/this year, and at 12.01 tomorrow morning, or 1st next month, or 1st January next year, that thing has not happened, then that was not a word from God.​

    7. Where is it taking us?
    Deuteronomy 13:1 says that if a prophet comes, and what he says comes to pass, then he says, "Let's go worship other gods," the people are not to follow that prophet, because he is not of God. A prophetic word may seem to pass all the other tests, but if following it will lead you away from the Lord, then it is not God.​

    8. What spirit is behind it?
    In Acts 16:16-18 we have the story of a slave girl who followed Paul and his group, crying out "These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation." At first glance, that "prophecy" seems to meet all the tests here, yet Paul recognized that the source was demonic and cast the spirit out of the girl, to the great consternation of her minders. Why did it matter? Very simply, if this girl had been allowed to continue unchecked she would have gained acceptance as a prophet, which would have made the young Christians more open to receive future words from her ... words which would have brought the message of satan, not of God. Further, she would have been lifted up, with the glory going to her, and the focus being shifted from the vital message of salvation being brought by the apostles.​

    Whilst it is important for us to test prophecy, it is also important for us to ask the Lord for the gift of discerning of spirits, so that we can be aware of the deception that may lie behind what otherwise looks like a genuine word from God.​


    eric m williams, Fadingman and jaerod79 says Amen and like this.
  2. I can not help but wonder that if the Law of God about FALSE prophecies in Deuteronomy and Leviticus were carried out today...and the people who give prophecies were stoned to death when they gave ONE wrong prophecy....................would that change our perception of prophets today.?

    Then the 2nd thing is..........how could anyone improve on the gospel message of Jesus Christ?
    Ginger likes this.
  3. I don't think it would happen very often for two reasons,

    1. If the whole church is deceived, who's going to remember the prophesy when it fails? OR who's going to believe the prophesy was false?

    I ran into a false prophet one time. (I believe his intentions were good) If I had announced to the church he was a false prophet, I am certain I would have been the one stoned!!!!

    2. Most prophesies are open-ended and can be interpreted many ways or don't include a timeline. How can you declare it false when you don't know when the time has past?????

    You can't!
    Amanda likes this.
  4. No matter how exhaustive or accurate one writes on any topic, there are few people that will even consider changing what they believe on a certain issue. What prevents them from doing so? It is hard to say! Peer pressure (the church exerts a lot of that together with condemnation), longevity of beliefs, and then there is this: WE LIKE WHAT WE KNOW!

    We have learned a thing, understood that thing and even if it is wrong, we will not change our thinking because we are comfortable with what we know. Now that is not my opinion or my thinking but it is in fact a psycological fact which anyone can investigate and find out to be true. I believe that it applies to this posting about PROPHETS.

    Some say that there are prophets and apostles today. Now, what does it take for one to be an apostle??
    The Bible says that it requires one to have had a personal contact with the Lord Jesus Christ.(Mark 16:14).

    The word APOSTLE identifies someone commissioned with authority by Jesus Christ. This applies in a techical sense to certain men who played a role in establishing the church. They had been eye witnesses to the resurrection (Acts 1:22 and Hebrews 2:3-4).
    Now read and consider Luke 16:16............
    "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it."

    What does that mean?????????????

    this can mean that the "dispensation" of prophets was until John the Baptist.

    it can mean that OT scripture written by prophets was until John the Baptist. In other words, it would mean that there is no more scripture written by Prophets.

    it could mean that the OT Prophets section of scripture is no longer valid. But, of course we know that this last option cannot be true.

    For those who believe that PROPHETS and APOSTLES are valid today, either of the first two options is a problem.


    Because in Mormonism Joseph Smith is supposed to be a prophet who wrote new scripture. Therefore, either way, Mormonism's claim of having prophets and additional scripture is invalidated by Jesus' own words.

    Then in Pentacostalism, when a prophet gives a "prophecy or a word from God" he or she is rejecting the written Word of God as found in Matthew 10:1.

    Then there is Deuteronomy 4:2..............
    "Ye shall not ADD unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye dimish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you".

    "And whe He had called unto Him His TWELVE (12) disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease."

    Mark 16:14.........
    "Afterward He appeared unto the ELEVEN (11) (Judas was dead and Paul
    had not yet met Jesus on the Damasus road.) and upbraided THEM with THEIR unbelief and hardness of heart, because THEY believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen".

    Now lets confirm that Biblically my friends.................

    Hebrews 2:3-4................
    "How shall WE escape if WE neglect so great salvation which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord and was confirmed unto US bt THEM THAT HEARD HIM; God also bearing THEM witness, both with SIGNS AND WONDERS and with divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost according to His own will".

    There it is for you if you so chose to understand it as printed in your Bible.

    The miraculous "SIGN" gifts of the Holy Ghost were given to the disciples who became APOSTLES in the first century to confirm the apostolic revelation of God's Word.......THE BIBLE.

    They are then not valid today for the simple reason that the Bible has been completed (1 Cor. 13:10). The gifts were given as signs to the Jews (1 Cor. 1:22).

    Also, as the apostles were primarily communicating as oral tridition, they needed SIGNS to authenticate their message.
  5. Major, please go back and read the first paragraph of my original post. This was NOT intended to be a debate on the relevance of prophecy today, and I will NOT enter into that argument. The original post is in the "Holy Spirit Baptism and Living" forum, which is intended as a place of encouragement for those of us who believe in these things. It was reposted here by HMS because he believed it to offer some useful advice. Please stop trying to hijack threads.


  6. It appears my first responce was deleted as I do not see it posted here.
    Allow me to say this then.....My responce was NOT an attempt to high jack a thread. That is simply an inaccurate comment which IMO should not have been said at all. My responce was to do exactly as HMS did in that I believed it to offer some useful advice into what was posted.
  7. Thank you HisManySongs, for that information. My Wife and I have been targets of false prophesy. What you have presented is a very accurate list of warnings.

    When someone says "thus says the Lord" we cringe. My Wife was told by a so called prophet that she and a fellow in the same ministry should marry this fellow "Thus saith the Lord." They did marry and he was a pastor. Two years later and one child, he was caught in bed with my Wife's best friend. Obviously they divorced and he married the other woman. Little did my Wife know that he also was a homosexual with relationships with other men.

    I had the honor to marry her after she spent 17 years as a single Mom raising her son. My love for my wife has helped her a lot in getting over her past being involved in the cult that she was in. We have been married for 21 years and its been a little tough, but our Lord is so faithful in meeting our needs.

    So thank you for your thread, and I hope it saves someone from the trap that my Wife fell into.
  8. Brother... that's a touching story and I'm very sorry to hear of your wife's suffering. I've been blessed with a wonderful wife myself - 24 years now - and she is a great blessing to me. Just an FYI, if you want to get someone's attention, either use the reply button, or use the "@" sign in front of their name, like @HisManySongs - the system will even give you a choice in case you don't recall the whole name. By doing it way, the person you're talking to will be notified by the system :)
    Chopper likes this.
  9. I am in full agreement with the opening post, but I think it may help to specify what the purpose of a prophet is and what the commonalities of prophets throughout scripture are.

    In simple terms, the primary purpose of a prophet is to show God's people (or a person) how to get in line with God's will when they are not in His will.
    Foretelling is not always part of the job.

    Those who are seeking God's will tend to enjoy hearing the prophets.
    Those who despise God hate them, and those who are comfortable where they are don't like them.

    Where a prophet works, you will inevitably find change and probably conflict.
    When they are working in God's will they rarely leave people feeling comfortable or happy about life unless those people are in or striving to be in God's will.

    In this regard, prophets are somewhat like cops. Nobody wants them around until they personally need them.

    Scripture also shows us that most prophets tend toward depression or isolation. It is hard to see what God wants a person or people to do and then see those same people ignore the message and know that they will suffer for it.
    It is also difficult to know that even though you are doing God's will and striving to help others do the same, most of them will reject the message, minimize you, or outright attack you.

    All that said, if a prophet leaves everyone feeling good and is popular, then it is unlikley that they are serving God.
  10. #10 JohnC, May 5, 2015
    Last edited: May 5, 2015
    I will preface this that I make no claims to be a prophet or have a manifestation of The Spirit that includes prophecy....

    I have experienced times where looking back - I recognize that God was reassuring and comforting me and showing me that HE has things under control.... but I don't have enough clarity that I can really pin down ahead of time what God is about to do.... It was only after looking back that I realized that God had prepared me ahead of time for the events coming up so that I was not "Surprised" by the events.... I may well have been very hurt, pained, sad, and disappointed by the response of both "The Church" and Secular society - but I was not "Surprised" by the events taking place OR by the response to them....

    I really think that so much of the issue behind "Prophecy" is a complete misunderstanding of what it's all about....

    The root of Prophecy is a "Forthtelling" of the things of God.... God may well give "Advance preparation" to believers..... He may warn, clarify things, rebuke, comfort, encourage..... Most of all, though - He shows that HE has things under control... That HE is in charge.... We must remember though - that because God's plan centers around His act of Salvation on The Cross - the gospel MUST be the center of prophecy - as The Gospel is the "Centerpiece" of His Work.....

    Ironically - many times, real prophecy may well simply encourage the believer that God has things under control... That HE has this in His hand - that even though there is agony, pain, suffering, and fear... That even though there will be great tribulation - HE still has this under control, and that this is all in His hand.... We seldom recognize it as such..... We just realize AFTER the fact that God made sure that we were prepared.....

    The trouble with US really is our nature of being "An Evil and adulterous generation" seeking after a sign... We LOVE LOVE LOVE signs and wonders.. We will believe anything, do anything, follow anything for signs and wonders... and Jesus HIMSELF declared that behavior "Evil and Adulterous".... Chasing after "prophecy" IS EVIL AND ADULTEROUS BEHAVIOR - because people doing such can never be filled or satisfied... It's an addiction - just like power, sex, drugs, or alcohol..... They will do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to get another "Fix" and all it brings is emptiness and pain - just like every other addiction.

    Deuteronomy AND Galatians both warn that EVEN IF "Signs and wonders" really do come true - it in NO WAY authorizes the MESSAGE of the prophet.... In fact - it's the opposite... The MESSAGE authorizes the Miracle... The fact that "The prophet" uses his office/signs to AUTHORIZE a message contrary to that of Jesus and the rest of scripture should IMMEDIATELY identify him as FALSE.... But so many times - we LONG to believe what we want to believe... and so when the guy tells us what we want to hear - we are willing to go along with whatever else he says....

    Euphemia and eric m williams say Amen and like this.

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