How to Distinguish Between True and False Prophets

Jeremiah 14:14 (RSV)
"And the LORD said to me: 'The prophets are prophesying lies in My name; I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.'"

Scripture states that we as Christians have different gifts, according to the grace given us. Regarding the gift of prophesy, one with such a gift should use it in proportion to one's faith. We must remember that this gift comes from God, and not from one's efforts. There is a difference between amount in proportion and according to faith. Amount in proportion means how much of the gift one has received. According to faith is whether one is using the gift appropriately. If use of the gift and the teachings of Scripture differ, then there is a problem, for they must agree with each other. The gift of prophecy can easily be abused. Followers of Christ must be careful not to put too much emphasis on personal experience as well. Care must be taken that they, too, be consistent with Holy Writ. They must prophesy and teach in accordance with Scripture, especially in regards to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

No matter what kind of great revelation a person may claim to have received from God, if it is inconsistent with the word of God and does not have at its center Jesus and His Gospel, then it is a false prophecy. One might claim that all of one's prophecies are of God, but every prophecy must be tested. A true prophecy will be consistent with the word of God. What the servants of God who proclaim His word must be careful of is to make sure that their message is centered around the Bible and its Gospel. If the message does not give glory to God and does not accurately proclaim salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone, then it is an incorrect message. It is a false revelation. And we as Christians need not fear such a message, revelation, or prophecy.

We need to be certain in our hearts and minds that any prophecy we receive is in accordance with the word of God. We must continually study our Bibles under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and know it thoroughly, for this is the way we can determine whether a prophecy is true or not. In this way we can avoid being deceived and remain true to God's word.

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