The Bible speaks of true prophets and false prophets, and demands that we should be able to tell them apart, and even proceeds to tell us how to carry out that business. It says in
1st John 4:1 (KJV), “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
Moreover, Jesus Himself, in the context of false christs and false prophets, insists that, “See that ye be not deceived!” In fact that word ‘deceive’ appears a whole four times in Matthew 24 alone, in relation to the events at the time of the end. To test a prophet is Biblically justified; at least we are advised so also in 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21.
1John 4 :1 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.
It would do us great good, then, to find out the tests of a true prophet in Scripture, for our application, as it seems this is going to be a rampant occurrence in this day and age. Let’s therefore proceed to study out this issue in plain English, that all and sundry may understand.
1. You shall know them by their fruits Matthew 7:16
This simple test of fruitage could be applied to the ‘prophet’ and even his followers. We only inquire of ourselves, ‘What’s the fruit of their works? What’s the product of their activities?’ If they are in tune with what is expected of faithful Christians, then all is well! But if they are contrary to the fruits of the spirit (you could read those up in Galatians 5:22-23), all is lost! Remember that prophecy is a gift of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 12:8-10), and thus we would expect that those in whom the Holy Spirit works bear the same fruits of the same Spirit.
Now, this test of fruitage will appear like a simple test to pass. For example, if we consider Dr. Owuor and his followers, many a just judge would consider them of every good intent. He has been forefront in campaigning for repentance and holiness, a restoration of spiritual sanity. It is reported that he has even prayed for HIV/AIDS patients and they were healed. These are values that are more than just needful in the morally and physically ailing present-day society.
I doubt whether the ordeal the followers of these men and women of faith are subjected to in the process dubbed the ‘reception’ of the Holy Spirit; that is the falling down and wriggling on the ground; is by any means gentle. Maybe our modern-day prophets have to replicate the events of John 20:22 or Acts 8:15 to earn credibility, but the whole collapsing part.
Lets relook at two instances where people had some form of ‘spirit’ in them.
M’t:17:15: Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
This man went to Jesus to plead for his son who was possessed by some demons. The demons would ‘toss’ him ‘down’ and about in fire and water putting the life of the child at risk. M’t:17:18: And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
Here we see a demon spirit living inside a boy tormenting him. What is the second instance?
Acts 2:1: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3: And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4: And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
When they recieved the Holy Spirit, this people did not fall, they stood! And that is a testament of their lives, they stood to be stoned, burnt at stakes, tortured-they stood to preach the gospel of Christ. No one fell to the ground!
All in all, if you gather your facts upon the table, you could able to determine objectively how they weigh in upon the test in Matthew 7:15-20.
2. And it came to pass
We find the Biblical basis for this test twice in the Old Testament. Jeremiah 28:9 and Deuteronomy 18:22. It happens that the two verses are similar, one stated in the positive and the other in the negative.
There is a conditional element. In the Bible, some prophecies appear not to meet their fulfillment, but this does not discredit any of the Biblical prophets. You might want to note that Jeremiah and Moses, way before declaring fulfillment as a test of a true prophet, introduce the conditional element. Jeremiah does it ten chapters earlier (Jeremiah 18:7-10), and Moses does it in Deuteronomy 4:29 and Deuteronomy 8:19. And that’s not all: the conditional aspect is also found in Zechariah 6:15 and 2 Chronicles 15:2, among other texts.
So what’s this conditional element? Simple. Some prophecies are conditional. They may or may not come to pass depending on whether some things happen. For example, Jonah’s point-blank prophecy of doom on Nineveh in forty days (Jonah 3:4) did not come to pass, because the Ninevites repented. (Jonah 3:10). And Jonah remains a true prophet of God, the only minor one that Jesus specifically quotes.
I read on the internet that the cherished seer declared on national television that a greater quagmire of post-election violence than that experienced in Kenya in 2007-2007 was impending during the 2013 elections unless there was a three-day national fast before the elections. That is definitely a conditional prophecy, but whether the condition to avert the peril was met, I leave upon you to find out and decide.
It happens that that’s not the end of the road. Can a false prophet’s predictions come to pass? A big YES! See Deuteronomy 13:1-5. A false prophet might pass the test of predictive accuracy, yeah, but his teachings MUST be in line with scripture, in line with the commandments of God.
And you guessed it right: a true prophet must therefore pass ALL the Biblical tests, not one or two or even three of them.
3. Confession of Christ incarnate
In 1 John 4:1-3, the Holy Spirit via this little letter gives us another litmus test, that every spirit (and you could read ‘person’ into the word ‘spirit’ in this case, for the spirit of prophecy which is of God is bestowed upon a person) should accept and confess the Lordship (actually, the Diety) of Christ, and so his having come to live among mortal men in flesh indeed.
While Owuor tells the nation to repent, when he preaches and wants to ‘lead people to salvation’ he repents on their behalf! Where is a single instruction in the Bible that you can repent on another person’s behalf? Where is a single example of a preacher or a prophet telling the sinner repeat this after me? “… Dear Jesus, I know I’m a sinner, please forgive me all my sins …” Then, “You’re now saved!” This is completely a spiritual dishonesty, where a preachers require sinner to repeat their own repentance on the sinner’s behalf.
4. To the law and to the testimony
Isaiah 8:20. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them”.
Now, the Hebrew Bible, before the advent of the New Testament, had three sections. The Law (the five books of Moses); The Prophets (Hosea, Daniel, Jeremiah, etc.); and The Hagiographies or Poetic Books (the sacred writings of Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, etc.) Now, here Isaiah takes two of those three sections to represent the whole Scripture. (‘The Testimony’ is a reference to the prophecies.)
Let’s get into the first section, the Law. It’s unfortunate that Christianity today has greatly diminished the authority of the Law, but the fact of the matter is that God’s Law endures forever (2 Kings 17:37, Psalms 111:9), the Lord never changes (Malachi 3:6), and His will is that we do all His commandments (John 15:14). Now, the whole section termed ‘the Law’ is actually summarized in the ten commandments of Exodus 20:3-17. If a prophet should practice, or teach, contrary to any one of them, then ‘there is no light in them’. Needless to say, this ‘Law’ includes the sanctity and observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, as the fourth commandment requires. (Exodus 20:8-11)
Secondly, ‘the Prophets’. The same line of reasoning can be applied to this aspect. If a ‘prophet’ shall teach anything contrary to the established prophetic doctrines, they are leading their flock astray. It follows that the examiner of the ‘prophet’ in question should also be equipped with a true knowledge of prophecy as outlined in Scripture in order to apply this test. Prophet Owuor teachers about the secret rapture where in it-sinners are givena second chance for petinance while righteous people are snatched to heaven to avoid the great tribulation. This doctrine is false and contrary to the whole bible. Read…The truth about the secret Rapture