How To Identify False Prophets

Everywhere you turn to, you see prophets. In fact, the prophetic ministry is the most flourishing of all ministries in the church right now. Prophetic churches are filled with people seeking to divine their future. What does the Bible say about prophets? Does the prophetic gift still operate in the New Testament? How do we identify true prophets? How do we know a false prophet?

Yes, the prophetic gift/ministry is still operational in the New Testament church!

Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,

Ephesians 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;

Ephesians 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;

1 Corinthians 12:9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,

1 Corinthians 12:10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

Prophecy is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and prophets are members of the five fold ministry (Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers). However, like we all know, for every genuine gift of God, there’s a counterfeit. Just like we have false apostles, false evangelists, false pastors and false teachers, we also have false prophets!

The purpose of this brief teaching is to help believers scripturally identify false prophets. This is very important because they’re all over the place deceiving millions of people, extorting money from many and leading many astray.

Who is a prophet?

A prophet is someone who, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, can fore-tell or forth-tell events, which the human mind could not have fathomed out on its own.

To foretell means to predict an event before it happens.

To forth-tell is to expose events that have happened in the past or are happening in the present.

Prophesying is not predicting based on permutations or review of facts. Prophesying is God revealing hidden secrets of the past or present, as well as accurately unveiling the future. True prophecy is 100% accurate, all the time, because God cannot fail and cannot lie.

2 Peter 1:20 but know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,

2 Peter 1:21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Get it right!

True prophecy does not emanate from the human will. True prophecy comes from the Holy Spirit and since the Holy Spirit cannot lie, every true prophecy must come to pass. That’s why when prophets of God prophesy in the Bible, they start their messages with, “thus saith the Lord…”. It means, “this is what God is saying”. It is not the man talking at that moment, but the Holy Spirit speaking through him.

Now, let’s get to the methods of identifying false prophets and false prophecies.

Deuteronomy 18:18 I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.

Deuteronomy 18:19 It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.

Deuteronomy 18:20 But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’

Deuteronomy 18:21 you may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’

Deuteronomy 18:22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not to be afraid of him.

We learn some important things from the passages above:

1. A true prophet speaks the word of God, because God puts his word in the mouth of the true prophet.

2. A prophet can presume to speak in the name of God, when God has not spoken.

3. A prophet can speak in the name of other gods.

In summary, a prophet can be influenced by any one of these spirits:

1. The Holy Spirit.

2. His own human spirit.

3. Evil spirits.

If a prophet speaks from the Holy Spirit, the thing must come to pass. If a prophet speaks from his own human spirit or from evil spirits, the thing may or may not come to pass.

Deuteronomy 18:22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

If any prophet claims to be speaking in the name of the Lord, by saying, “thus saith the Lord”, and the thing he prophesied about did not come to pass, know that God did not speak to that prophet, for God cannot fail! Whatever God says must come to pass!

So, if a prophet claimed to prophesy in the name of the Lord and the prophecy failed to come to pass as he said it, know that God did not speak to him. His mind or an evil spirit may have inspired him, it was certainly not God that inspired him!

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

1 Samuel 15:29 Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.”

Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.

Hebrews 6:18 So that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie , we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.

So, friends, it’s impossible for God to lie! If a supposedly God-given prophecy failed to happen as prophesied, be sure that that prophecy did not come from God and if a supposedly prophet of God gave a prophecy and it failed to come to pass, Bible says you should not fear that man. Don’t be afraid of him!

Deuteronomy 18:22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

And why should you not be afraid of such a man? Because he’s a false prophet! There’s also another situation which is more dangerous. A prophet can prophesy and the thing will come to pass exactly as he said, and yet he’s a false prophet!

Deuteronomy 13:1“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder,

Deuteronomy 13:2 and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’

Deuteronomy 13:3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Now, imagine a prophet gave you a prophecy and the prophecy came to pass. Isn’t that wonderful? Wouldn’t you immediately conclude that he’s a true prophet of God? Not so fast! You must test him further. Give him the WORD test!

Does he lead you to God or does he lead you to other gods?

Does he ask for money to go and do curse-breaking?

Does he ask you to go and offer sacrifices to break a curse?

Does he ask to take you to a river for cleansing?

Does he ask you to do anything that’s contrary to the letter and spirit of the Gospel of our Lord?

If a does any of these things that are capable of leading you away from God, though his prophecy came to pass, he’s a false prophet! You can’t be in Christ and be under a curse. The moment you come to Christ, you’re translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. You move from the curse of sin and death to blessings of God in Christ Jesus. You’re a new creature, old things (personal curses, familial curses, ancestral curses, generational curses, etc) are passed away, and all things become new!

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Galatians 3:13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),

Galatians 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Colossians 1:13 He hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

Child of God, don’t let any false prophet tell you you’re suffering from any form of curses, when you’re in Christ. Whoever tells you that is a child of hell who doesn’t know the gospel. Whoever tells you that you need to do curse-breaking is a cursed prophet. Your complete and total curse-breaking took place on Calvary about 2000 years ago, and became operational and effective in your life the moment you became born again!

A true prophet of God (like any other true servant of God) does not trade with his gift. He does not sell the gift for money. He does not make merchandise of the gift of God!

The Acts 8:18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money,

The Acts 8:19 saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit”.

The Acts 8:20 But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money.

The Acts 8:21 You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God.

The Acts 8:22 Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.

The Acts 8:23 For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”

You cannot buy the gift of God with money and a true servant of God will not sell the gift of God for money, like we see all these false prophets doing all over the place.

Matthew 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

Jude 1:11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.

A prophet who prophesies for reward or monetary gain has the anointing of Balaam, and will perish like Balaam. Any prophet that prays with you using incense, candles, special oil, etc, while demanding for money, is the first born of Satan!

Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

False prophets are not concerned with your soul salvation. They’re not concerned about holiness. They’re not concerned about the truth of the Gospel. They’re not concerned about the coming of the Lord. They’re not concerned about living a godly, contented, humble Christian life. They are destitute of the fruits of the spirit.

In conclusion, test any prophet carefully, with the word of God, before you believe them. Test their prophecies, observe their lifestyles and conduct, both on the pulpit and outside the pulpit. Watch their utterances. Observe their regard and respect for the written word of God. The true prophetic word can never contradict the written Word.

Beware of false prophets who are everywhere!

Shalom!

Published by Dr. Ndubuisi E. Ojo

Dr. Ndubuisi E. Ojo is a teacher and an expositor of the word of God with an intense passion for doctrinal purity and the restoration of the Church to the original Apostolic faith.

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