WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JULY 09, 2022
TOPIC: MARKS OF A TRUE PROPHET
BY T. O. BANSO
“When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 18:22 New King James Version).
According to Smith’s Bible Dictionary, the ordinary Hebrew word for prophet is nabi, derived from a verb signifying “to bubble forth” like a fountain. Therefore, the word means one who announces or pours forth the declarations of God. The Greek word for prophet is prophetes which means an interpreter or forth-teller of the divine will. A prophet is God’s spokesman. He is someone through whom God speaks. This may sometimes include foretelling, which is the only thing many people associate prophets with. The Bible records prophets both in the Old and New Testaments.
In the New Testament, one of the gifts that Jesus gave to men when He ascended to heaven is the prophets. Ephesians 4:11 says He gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. Not all those who call themselves prophets are true prophets. God did not send all of them. “The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart” (Jeremiah 14:14 New King James Version).
Revelation 2:20 says Jezebel called herself a prophetess. Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15 New King James Version). He also said in the end time, many false prophets would rise up and deceive many (Matthew 24:11).
So how can you know a true prophet? 1 John 4:1 says, “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” (New King James Version).
Marks of a True Prophet
1. He prophesies by the Holy Spirit, not by divination, soothsaying, sorcery or other demonic means. God forbids sorcery, divination, etc. or patronizing those who practise such things (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 19:26, 31; 20:6; Deuteronomy 18:10; Jeremiah 27:9-10). Knowledge of the future can come through the Word of God, visions, dreams, or trances but the inspiration must come from the Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 13:1; Numbers 12:6). Don’t rely on unbiblical means to know the future.
2. His prophecies come to pass, including those with or without a particular time of fulfilment. Some prophecies of true prophets could come to pass even after their death. Any prophecy, except a conditional prophecy, that does not come to pass is not from God. Such a prophet has either missed it or is a false prophet.
Deuteronomy 18:22 says, “When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him” (New King James Version).
What about the true prophet? “As for the prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the LORD has truly sent” (Jeremiah 28:9 New King James Version).
3. He speaks the mind of God, not what the people like to hear or what makes them feel good. Isaiah 30:10 says that the rebellious children of Israel said to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things; speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits.” Their prophets said to them peace, peace when there was no peace (Jeremiah 6:14; 8:11; 27:16-17; Ezekiel 13:10; Micah 3:5).
4. He does not lead the people away from God to worship an idol – himself or a false god. God warned the Israelites in Deuteronomy 13:1-3 not to follow any prophet or dreamer among them who sought to lead them after other gods even if he had given a sign or a wonder before that came to pass. Prophets are to bring people back to God, not to lead them away from Him (2 Chronicles 24:19).
5. His prophecies agree with the Word of God. They are consistent with the Bible. They don’t replace what the Bible teaches. No prophecy is superior to the Word of God. Any prophecy that is contrary to what the Bible says must be rejected. “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world” (1 John 4:2-3 New King James Version).
6. He lives a holy life and is morally upright. He does not practise what the Bible forbids. His life is not contrary to what God expects of His children and His servants. He doesn’t prophesy lies or commit adultery (Jeremiah 23:14). He is not a drunk (Isaiah 28:7).
The Bible says, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits…A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:15-16a, 18-20 New King James Version).
7. His prophecies are confirmed by other Spirit-filled, mature believers. If the Holy Spirit in them does not agree with his prophecies, they’re most likely not from God. 1 Corinthians 14:29 says two or three prophets should speak and others judge. No prophet should feel that his prophecies (not himself) cannot be judged. Even personal prophecies should be judged or tested by the recipient (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21). He may need to seek counselling or spend more time praying among other things depending on what the prophecy is about.
After King Ahab’s four hundred false prophets had prophesied, telling him to go up, for the Lord would deliver Ramoth Gilead into his hand, King Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not still a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of Him?” (1 Kings 22:7 New King James Version). Jehoshaphat was proved right.
8. He does not have to be famous or popular. He does not declare a popular message. People may not like him or receive him well. True prophets in the Bible were persecuted (Matthew 5:12). Luke 6:26 says, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (New King James Version).
9. He edifies, exhorts, and comforts. He is not out to scare or terrify his audience though, sometimes, God can use him to deliver a fearful message to the people to draw them to Him or bring them to repentance. 1 Corinthians 14:3 says he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.
Beware of false prophets. You will not be a victim of false prophecies in Jesus’ name.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I shall not be a victim of false prophecies or be led astray by false prophets in Jesus’ name. I shall not be a false prophet. Father, open the eyes of all in the bondage of false prophets. Deliver them; set them free. Expose all false prophets so that they will no longer deceive people.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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