by: Bill Bratt


Mat 24:23-24 (NKJV) says: "Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect."
People like to see signs and wonders.

The world today has its psychics and fortune tellers.
People want to know what is going to happen in the future. People are curious.

This is where prophets come in.

What is a prophet? Unger's Bible Dictionary says: One who is divinely inspired to communicate God's will to his people, and to disclose the future to them.

Prophecy then is an inspired message or warning from God to his people foretelling future events or instructing His people to change their human conduct and repent of sin.

Prophecy relates to Christian living.
An example is: Jonah and Nineveh:
Jonah delivered a prophecy to Nineveh and the people of Nineveh repented.
God was pleased with their repentance and deferred the punishment. The penalty was removed.

God gave Israel true prophets.

God used many prophets in the Old Testament:
Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Jonah, etc.

Prophets represented God to the people.
They spoke for God to the people.
Example: Nathan and David. God talked to Nathan and Nathan talked to David. (2 Sam. 12:)

Jesus Christ told the people to beware of the prophets in the world.

Mat 24:11 (NKJV) "Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many."

Mat 24:4 (NKJV) "And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you."

How can you know a true prophet of God from a false prophet?

Let's look at seven (7) tests to determine if a prophet is a true prophet or a false prophet:

TEST #1 - Do their predictions come true?

Let's read: Jer 28:9 (NKJV)
"As for the prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the LORD has truly sent."

There have been several ministers who have predicted the end of the world or that Christ would come on a certain date.

In 1831 William Miller predicted the end of the world and the return of Jesus Christ in 1844.
His prediction failed.
In essence he was a false prophet.

Ministers must be careful in not setting dates.
Only God knows the day and hour of Christ's return.
Mat. 24:36 says: "but of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only."

Just because someone may predict or accurately foretell a future event does not mean that that person is a true prophet of God.

Remember - even Satan tells the truth sometimes!

TEST #2 - Does the prophet have a divine commission?

Jer 29:9 (NKJV)
For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them, says the LORD.

Certain ministers say that they have a divine commission.
Perhaps it is to build a hospital to help the poor and the sick.
They tell you that God has spoken to them and that God has told him to tell people that they need to send money to him for this divine project.

Years ago, a T.v. evangelist told the public that God wanted him to build a hospital and if he did not get enough money then God would let him die.

Has God spoken privately to this prophet?
How do you know that God spoke to him?
He can't prove to you that God has spoke to him.
Remember, if God spoke to him, God can also speak to you.
God could speak to you and say: Give him some money.

TEST #3 - Are the prophecies consistent with Scripture?

2 Pet 1:20-21 (NKJV)
{21} for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."

Rev 22:18-19 (NKJV) says:
For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;
{19} and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."

(BSB.notes) Early Christian writers understood these verses as WARNINGS to false teachers who would tamper with or alter the content of the Bible.
Such individuals by their actions reveal their unregenerate state and, therefore, are cursed with judgment and excluded from the Book of Life.

TEST #4 - Do the people benefit spiritually from the prophet's ministry?

1 Pet 4:11 (NKJV)
"If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen."

Jer 23:13 (NKJV)
"And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria: They prophesied by Baal And caused My people Israel to ERR."
{14} Also I have seen a horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem: They commit adultery and walk in lies; They also strengthen the hands of evildoers, So that no one turns back from his wickedness. All of them are like Sodom to Me, And her inhabitants like Gomorrah."

Jer 23:32 (NKJV)
"Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams," says the LORD, "and tell them, and cause My people to ERR by their lies and by their recklessness. Yet I did not send them or command them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all," says the LORD."

Do the people benefit when the prophet and his corporation CONTROL everything?

Do the people get to benefit of doing local evangelism?

Many people today are starving for God's truth.

People don't want to hear sermons that are advertisements for the church corporation.

People want to hear well prepared sermons based upon the Bible.

TEST #5 - Does what the prophet say or do conflict with God's 10 commandments?

Deu 13:1-6 (NKJV) says:
"If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder,
{2} and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods'; which you have not known; 'and let us serve them,'"
{3} you shall not listen to the words of that 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."
{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 hold fast to Him."
{5} But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst."
{6} If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods,' which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers,"

Deu 13:1 (BSB.notes): These verses (vv. 1-6) warn the people against false religious leaders who would attempt to draw them away from God. Since both prophecy and dreams were a common means of divine revelation, the Israelites were vulnerable here to one who would claim divine revelation, perhaps even performing a "sign" or "wonder." The invitation to "go after other gods" (v. 2) would immediately identify a false prophet (cf. Num. 11:29, note). Verse 3 explains why false prophets are sometimes able to perform miracles.

Just because a vision, miracle or dream comes to pass, this does not mean it is from God.
God allows this because GOD IS TESTING YOU!

Paul said in his day that there were those who preached "another Jesus".

2 Cor 11:3-4 (NKJV) says:
"But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
{4} For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted; you may well put up with it!"

There are many churches today that PREACH ANOTHER JESUS.
A Jesus that is different than the Jesus of the Bible.

If Jesus Christ were to return just like He did the first time -
Would people accept Him or crucify Him?

Christ would be exposing the t.v. evangelists and religious leaders as hypocrites.
He would reprove the politicians, news media and the people in the entertainment business.
Jesus Christ did NOT write the book: "How to win friends and influence people?"
He would not win any popularity contests.
This is why, when He returns, he will return in power and in glory and ready to rule.

Don't let anyone tell you that the law has been done away.

Isa 8:19 (NKJV) says:
"And when they say to you, "Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter," should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?"
{20} TO THE LAW AND TO THE TESTIMONY! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."

Isa 8:19: People through the ages have turned away from God during times of great distress, when actually they need Him most, and consulted those who offered false hope. The Lord strictly forbids any kind of divination, fortune-telling, astrology, or necromancy (cf. Deut. 18:10; 1 Sam. 28:7-20; 2 Kin. 21:6). The phrase "wizards who whisper" is a reference to ventriloquists who sought to disguise their voices as representations of ghosts or spirits from another world.

Some ministers claim to "know the Lord," and yet do not keep God's commandments. Notice what
1 John 2:4 (NKJV) says to them: "He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a LIAR, and the TRUTH IS NOT IN HIM."

Many ministers who claim to represent God try to "do away" with God's laws and commandments.

They accept part of God's Word and reject the rest.

There is one commandment that they especially reject, which is GOD'S TEST COMMANDMENT.

Which of the commandments is the TEST COMMANDMENT?

What do you do when you take a test?
You study before the test and try to remember the material for the test.
Now which of the commandments are we told to remember?
God says to "Remember the Sabbath".
Why - because people want to forget it.

When God's law is rejected or assumed to be "done away," there remains no standard for good or evil. Every one does what he thinks is right in his own eyes. God tells man what sin is in
1 John 3:4 (KJV) "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."

The ten (10) commandments were given to us as a guide to living.
There are blessings if you obey them and cursings if you break them.

The ten (10) commandments help us to have a right and proper relationship with God and our fellowman.

A true prophet will be a commandment keeper - not a commandment breaker.

TEST #6 - Test the spirits

1 John 4:1 (NKJV) Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
1 John 4:1 (B.S.B. notes): Another crucial passage for our modern era, this verse emphasizes that believers are not to be naive about claims of spiritual authority, gullibly accepting all such claims. Instead, believers are cautioned to subject the spirits to testing to see whether or not they are of God. The presence of false prophets claiming the authority of the Holy Spirit only underscores the necessity of "testing the spirits." This "testing" is an evaluation of spiritual claims based upon the authority of the Scriptures.
1 John 4:2 (NKJV) By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,

1 John 4:2: (vv. 2,3) (B.S.B. notes) The criterion given to evaluate spiritual claims concerns the Person of Jesus Christ. Throughout this epistle, the author states that a proper understanding of Christ is a mark of genuine Christianity (cf. 1 John 2:22, 23; 4:15; 5:1, 5). Those who deny "that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh" reflect the spirit of Antichrist -- they are not believers. Most likely, these comments are aimed at the false teachers who compromised the unique role of Jesus Christ as both God and man. Consequently, this doctrinal test is not sufficient in every situation. Mere verbal confession of a doctrinal statement does not guarantee genuine regeneration (cf. Matt. 7:21-23; Luke 6:46). However, since these heretics had openly minimized certain truths about Christ, their statements betrayed their allegiance to Satan.

1 John 4:3 (NKJV) and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. {4} You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4 (B.S.B. notes): (vv. 4-6) The differences between the false teachers and the genuine believers exemplify the dichotomy between the forces of God and the forces of Satan ("the world").
1 John 4:5-7 (NKJV) They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. {6} We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. {7} Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

(BSB.notes) (vv. 7-21) The noun and verb forms of "love" (agape, agapao, Gk.) occur a total of 27 times in these verses. (vv. 7-12) Returning to the theme of mutual love ("love one another," vv. 7, 11, 12), John shows that love is grounded in God's nature. Those who have been "born of God" ought to emulate His character. God provides both the source (v. 9) and example (v. 11) of the believer's love. Moreover, love for others is an integral part of one's relationship with God (v. 12). While "no one has seen God" (cf. John 1:18), God's love is evident in the work of Christ (v. 9) and in the believer's love for others (v. 12).

TEST #7 - Does the prophet teach the truth?

John 17:17 says: "Thy word is truth".

Does God expect you to follow a minister or prophet who is not teaching you the truth?

The Bible says that when the blind lead the blind they both fall into the ditch.

Luke 6:39 (NKJV)
"And He spoke a parable to them: "Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch?"

Some people allow themselves to be led by those who teach false doctrine.

What is the fate of those who fail to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good?

Isa 9:16 (NKJV) says:0
"For the leaders of this people cause them to err, And those who are led by them are destroyed."

What are you supposed to do if you are being taught by a false teacher?

Let's read 1 Tim 6:3 (NKJV)
"If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness,"
{4} he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,"
{5} useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. FROM SUCH WITHDRAW YOURSELF."


How can you know a true prophet of God from a false prophet? You can prove a prophet with the following tests:

TEST #1 - Do their predictions come true?
TEST #2 - Does the prophet have a divine commission?
TEST #3 - Are the prophecies consistent with Scripture?
TEST #4 - Do the people benefit spiritually from the prophet's ministry?
TEST #5 - Does what the prophet say or do conflict with God's 10 commandments?
TEST #6 - Test the spirits.
TEST #7 - Does the prophet teach the truth?

Footnote: B.S.B. notes = Believer's Study Bible.

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