Today, we hear of modern day prophets prophesying about things to come that are outside of the Word of God. Are these true prophets of God? What does the Bible say about prophets and what is the true test to validate if modern day prophets are what and who they claim to be?
The Old Testament is full of prophets. There are the Major Prophets and the Minor Prophets. The Minor Prophets are not minor because they are unimportant. It is because their books are relatively minor in size when compared to the larger books of the prophets like Isaiah. These men were called by God and God spoke to them and they normally would say, “Thus says the Lord“ when they prophesied (Jer 26:2). When the Old Testament prophets prophesied, their prophecies always came to pass. Prophets like Jeremiah, Elijah, Ezekiel, Joel, and many others had historical events prove that they were sent from God and that they spoke the words that God gave them to speak, but there were also dozens of false prophets.
Today there are many so-called prophets that we might spell “profits” because they are motivated by money and make sensational claims. They promise financial blessings for anyone that sends in their “seeds of faith.” They even claim to know how many viewers or listeners there will be and that they will have their mortgage paid off or see their business prosper if they send in their offerings today. Truly God does not work this way. These are wolves in sheep’s clothing . What makes me say that they are really in it for money and not for God’s purposes? God knows that, “The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured human lives; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst” (Ezek 22:25). These false prophets claim to have a special revelation from God and can prophesy about things, people, and events that are to come. You see many on TV, on the Internet, and on radio that claim to be modern day prophets.
In Deuteronomy 18:18, there was a prophecy from Moses about a prophet that would come in the latter days and what He would say and do: “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him.” This was one of the first prophecies about Jesus Christ. Like Moses, Jesus would bring people out of their sin, like Moses brought Israel out of Egypt (representing sin). He, like Moses, would bring them to the Promised Land, which for believers is the Kingdom of Heaven. One of the greatest tests of whether a prophet was sent from God or not would actually be if God put the words in his mouth. Now let’s see what God says about whether they are indeed true prophets from God or if they are a self-proclaiming prophet, thus making them a false prophet.
False Prophets Test
What was the test to see if a prophet was truly from God or was a false prophet? The litmus test for whether a prophet is from God or is a self-made (man-made) prophet is given in many different places in the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy 18:22-23 it says, “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.” Today, these so-called prophets should be thankful that they did not live in the Old Testament days for the penalty for being a false prophet was death!
Isaiah writes in 8:20, “God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.” Jeremiah said that, “among the prophets of Jerusalem. I have seen something horrible: They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that not one of them turns from their wickedness. They are all like Sodom to me; the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah” (Jer 23:14).
Predictions of False Prophets
John actually saw the increase of false prophets as a sign of the end times and he commanded believers to not believe them. In 1 John 4:1 he wrote, “friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Jesus said that in the last days, “many false prophets will appear and deceive many people” (Matt 24:11). Jesus and John’s prophecies came true in their day and they are increasing in number in our day. I have been in churches where some have prophesied about things that neither came true or that did not square with the Word of God. God is not giving new revelation today because we have all the revelation we need with the New Testament and the Old Testament. Jesus warned us to “watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matt 7:15). Further, Peter wrote that “there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping” (2 Pet 2:1-3).
Warnings of Adding Too or Taking Away From the Word of God
God gives a serious warning to anyone who adds to or who takes away from the words in the Bible. These warnings were given in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. I believe that anytime someone tries to add to the Word of God in the sense that they “heard God speak to them” is adding to the canonized Word of God and God takes this very seriously. In Deuteronomy 12:32 it says, “that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.” In Deuteronomy 4:2 it is written, “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.” Even in Proverbs 30:6 God says we must “not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.”
Even in the New Testament, God thunders out that I “warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll” (Rev 22:18-19).
We have seen from Scripture that false prophets are in it for the money, they want to seduce people to follow them, they want to deceive others, they strengthen the hands of the evil doers, they do not turn people away from their sins, they introduce heresies, they are motivated by greed, and they crave self-glorification. The end is not a pretty picture for them. God will judge them at His return. As Peter wrote, their fate is sealed for they will be “bringing swift destruction on themselves. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping” (2 Pet 2:2-3). If you try to correct them using the Bible, watch out, because they are going to respond to you in a vicious way and even turn on you, for “they are ferocious wolves” (Matt 7:15). We have been warned to not believe them, stay away from them, and most importantly, don’t be one! For the end of every false prophet is worse than can even be imagined.
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