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Discerning the True From the False Prophet

by Mary J. Craig, D.P.M.

Prophets speak for some god or another, either the god of "self," Satan, or the one true and living God, the Creator. The true prophet is to speak right things about the true God. In both OT and NT, the idea is to present and honor God consistent with His nature and purposes. It's all about sources... self, Satan, or the Spirit of the Lord. It's all about words.. .ours, demons', or the Word of the Lord. It's all about whose authority is being' asserted.. .ours (self), Satan's (lies and falsehoods), or the Word of the Living God.

Every true believer in Christ today speaks and prays prophetically. Be sanctified by the truth of the Word, for the sins and wounds of the heart taint communication with the true God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Love truth at all costs, for in these last days, many will be deceived. (2 Thessalonians 2)

Two "seeds" have been growing up for a long time now. They come from two sources. One comes from true Wisdom and one from false wisdom. One comes from the Creator and one comes from the contender. The "seeds" are words. One is the Word, true, enduring, living, eternal, always accomplishing what it is sent to do, coming from the Creator. The other is a word, false, in error, a lie, a fake. One grows up and bears fruit, to be known as The Word Made Flesh, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and those called "saints," the people of God, the people of faith, the "righteous" daughter of Zion, the people of the Covenant, those born of the Word and of the Spirit. The other grows up and bears fruit, to be known as the seed of the Serpent, the "wicked," the daughter of Babylon, Queen of Heaven, the Great Harlot, Whoredoms and Error. One is the seed that is true, the "wheat," and the other is false, the "chaff." The true Word has creative power. The false word can only counterfeit, distort, mar, pervert, profane, copy the true. One, the true, like Christ Himself, is a prototype, authentic. The other is false, like a reproduction.

To discern the "seeds" one must discern the source. Behind the seed and root lies the thought and intent of a heart. The heart of the one, true, and living God is holy, good, without evil, not seeking to harm, exploit, abuse (Exodus 34, Isaiah .6,.J John 4, e.g.). The heart of the contender for the place of God, the one we know from the Word to be Satan, Lucifer, etc., is proud, evil, full of hatred and murder and lies, slimy, devious, sneaky and subtle, seeking to steal and destroy the true Word, seducing and doing anything to lead the creation away from the Creator, desiring to kill the Creator and take over in His place. (Genesis 3, Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28, John 8.10)

Here you are. The person before you has a "Thus saith the Lord..." they have had a vision, a dream, a "word." They're proclaiming, preaching, witnessing, teaching, prophesying. But the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy. (Revelation 19.10)

Every believer can come to discern the true from the false, truth from whoredoms and error, straight from perverse, by asking the following questions, for starters:

Who is this person?
2. What do I know of his/her moral character and lifestyle?
3. Are they mercenaries, drunkards, profane/wicked, conspiring with others to deceive and defraud, immoral, lacking personal integrity?
4. Do they think godliness is a means to financial gain, wanting to get rich in the physical realm more than to be "rich toward God?"
5. What do they want you to value?
6. What do they want you to worship? Really. In order to get what?
7. What is their attitude toward suffering? Tribulation? The sovereignty of God?
What do they promote?
9. Where do they focus your attention?
10. Do they honor God and live honorably? Are they even concerned with honor?
Have they had a definite call experience?
12. Do they enjoy controversy, arguments that result in quarrels, malicious talk, and/or friction?
What is the source of their vision, their dream, their "word?"
14. Are they prophesying by "Baal" or by God?
15. Are they speaking as of the world, or speaking as of God?
16. Is what they say consistent with God's nature and purposes as revealed in the written Word of God? Consistent with what the Word teaches?
17. Is what they say in conformity to previous revelation, i.e., the revealed, written Word of God? Truth?
Do they confess the Word Incarnate, Jesus Christ come in the flesh? (Remember, false prophets are not necessarily anti-Christ. Anti-Christ holds to false doctrines about Jesus Christ. False prophets may even be true believers who speak falsehoods about Christ and/or who speak or teach out of their own minds and hearts, like Peter in Matthew 16.)
Is the teaching sound, healthy, correct, in accord with the foundations established in the written, revealed Word of God?
[This should include a solid, biblical, consistently declared gospel -- Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, God incarnate (in flesh), conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, crucified and buried, his blood shed for the forgiveness of sins, raised from the dead bodily, ascended into heaven to the right hand of God the Father, coming bodily again in power and glory. The message to all creation -- Repent (turn from your sin and your own way to God) and believe in/upon the Lord Jesus Christ alone for your salvation and eternal life.]
20. Do you come away feeling like you have been robbed of the truth?
21. Who's listening to them?
22. Who's being attracted to them?
23. Are they speaking folly or wisdom consistent with the Wisdom of God?
False wisdom is sensual, evil, demonic. James 3
What motivates them? [What motivates you?]
25. Do they cater to the whims of their audience [to
your desires], speaking lies with shows of power?
Do they call themselves a prophet, or a prophetess?
27. Do they claim their visions and words have their source in God but counsel rebellion and encourage immorality?
28. Do they carry selfish ambition, bitterness, envy in their hearts?
29. Do they capitalize on the ministry, "hawking" the Holy Spirit and the gifts?
30. Do they "press" the covenant of grace for personal gain, seeking to profit rather than that the people of God would profit?
31. Do they encourage lawlessness under the guise of "we are not under Law, but under grace?"
32. Do they confront true prophets of God with false accusations, calling evil good and good evil?
33. How do they handle the people of God?
34. Do they cause people to go into error and trust in lies?
35. Do they commit adultery and walk in lies so people do not turn back from wickedness?
36. Do they make light of sin, get people to laugh at something God takes seriously, mock the means of repentance, cause people to laugh at what God hates?
37. Do they focus more on the honor of their "office," or the responsibility of their place in the kingdom of God?
38. Do they offer the crown without the cross? (Luke 4)
39. Who are they "serving?" Self? Satan? Or the Sovereign Savior?
40. How do they handle the written and revealed Word of God? Do they encourage people to study the Word or to follow after signs and wonders?
41. Is there pepper in the salt shaker? Lies mixed in with truth?
42. Do they use the scriptures to manipulate, dominate, and intimidate, establishing themselves as the authority over you, rather than kneel with you in humility before the Word of God?

(Examine: Deut. 13, 18; Proverbs 3-9; Jeremiah 5, 23, 27-29, John 8, Luke 6.26: Acts 8, 13; Galatians 1; Ephesians 4; 1 John 2, 4; Amos 3.8; Micah 3.5,11; Isaiah 28; Ezekiel 13, 22; Colossians 2; 1 Timothy 1.6; 2 Timothy 3, 4; Hebrews 12; James 3,4; 1 Peter 4; 2 Peter 2; 2 John; Jude; Revelation 2,3,12,17, 18)

There are no shortcuts in the school of the Holy Spirit. Do your homework. Be a good Berean. Fail the "discerning good and evil" test and be strong only in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2. 1ft) Confess your faults and failures, seeking forgiveness and chastening, correction and cleansing, sanctification. Humble yourself before Almighty God. Love the truth. Truly seek grace, true wisdom, and desire to walk in vital spiritual union with God the Father through Jesus Christ, His Son and our Savior, Lord, and Master, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit applies what Jesus Christ has accomplished for you by His life, death, and resurrection. Ask questions. Ask Him. Grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. He loves you. He wants every believer to discern the false from the true, good from evil, the Word of Wisdom from words of wisdom.

Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
(2 Timothy 2:14-15)

For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
(Hebrews 5:13-14)

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God?.. Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water... May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 5.13,14; 9.14; 10.22; 13.20, 21)

Copyright © 1999 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.


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