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If there arises among you a prophet … and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 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,” you shall not listen to the words of that prophet. (Deuteronomy 13:1-3)

What does the Bible have to say about prophets, specifically as it relates to those who are genuine and those who are false? There are many who think a prophet is someone who has the ability to predict or foretell what is going to happen in the future. That characteristic is certainly evident with the prophets of God but it is also evident in those who were antagonistic toward God and His people, e.g. Balaam the seer. So then, predicting future events — even if they come to pass — is not the true test of a prophet of God. The key to seeing that is in the statement above — “of which he spoke to you, ‘Let us go after other gods.’ ”

We glean from this warning that such an enticement from someone, even though gifted with prophecy, marks them as a false prophet. In other words, no prophet of God is going to incite His people to walk contrary to His Word, regardless of what the “spirit” told them — in fact, we would have to conclude that the “spirit” in question is not of God. To amplify the point, just prior to these verses, Moses issued yet another reminder not to add to or take away from the Word of God (Deuteronomy 12:32).

In the very beginning, the Adversary coaxed the woman into disobedience with “crafty” words. If you think about it, he predicted something that did come to pass — they came to know the difference between good and evil; but he also led the woman astray by adding to and taking away from the Word of God. You might say that the Adversary was and is the first false prophet on record — but he isn’t the last one. Consider that the Hebrew word translated as “crafty” (ערום arum) is from the same root from which we get the word “naked” — as in Adam and Eve realized they were naked (ערומים eirumim).

In other words, after the fall mankind began to emulate the methods of the Adversary by adding to and taking away from what God has said — as if His Word was imperfect and needed our help. Scripture clearly states that deception is a huge part of what we have to face in these last days, therefore, we must be on guard. Messiah said that people would come in His Name saying that He was the Messiah “and deceive many.” He followed that up by saying that many “false prophets will rise up and deceive many” (Matthew 24:11). How is that possible? Perhaps it will be through lying signs and wonders — able to foretell what is coming but by leading God’s people astray. Therefore, beware of those who prophesy in God’s Name but invite us to follow another path. Keep your eyes fixed on the Messiah and your life grounded in the Word.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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