Recognizing a false prophet

Via I am the bread of Life blog, an excellent commentary on recognizing false prophets/teachers by Dr. David Reagan. Some additional notes by GCM Watch in brackets. After reading this, you should be able to identify these people floating around the church now. Some of them have big names, draw large crowds and cannot “preach” unless they are paid large sums of money. Others are operating for sidebar religious junkets like the gay christian and emergent church movements.

Keep in mind false prophets dont always dress weird and live in communes in the desert.

False prophets are all over the landscape today, and they are a sign of the times pointing to the soon return of Jesus. Jesus Himself warned of false prophets in the end times. His most detailed discourse on end time signs is recorded in Matthew 24. In that passage the very first sign He mentions is false prophets (Matthew 24:4-5), and it is the only sign He repeats (Matthew 24:11,24). His warning was blunt and plain spoken: “Many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many.”

The Old Testament test of a prophet is spelled out in Deuteronomy 18:22 — “When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously…”
This, of course, is an obvious test. But what if the prophecy is fulfilled? Does that guarantee that the prophet is speaking for God? Not necessarily. The reason is that a prophetic utterance might be fulfilled by coincidence or because of supernatural insight given to the prophet by Satan. So there must be other tests.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 Jn 4:1

Additional questions for determining whether a person is speaking authentically for God.

(1) Does the prophet speak in the name of a god other than the true God revealed in Scripture?
If a prophet speaks in the name of Allah or Baal or Vishnu [or any human], you can be assured that he is a false prophet. “If a prophet… rises among you and gives you a sign or wonder, and the sign or wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known), and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of the prophet…for the Lord your God is testing you.” (Deuteronomy 13:1-3)

(2) Does the prophet’s message pass the test of Scripture?
If a prophet tells you that you can be saved by putting your faith in Mary, the mother of Jesus, you can be certain he is not a spokesman for God. [be careful to note also now many are using science as a god of authority against the word particularly on issues of sexuality. If science conflicts with the truth of scripture, it is to be rejected.] “But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8)

(3) Does the prophet’s life manifest or demonstrate a commitment to holiness?
If a prophet lives a sinful life, his prophecies are to be doubted. “Among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing; the committing of adultery and walking in falsehood… Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets, ‘Behold, I am going to feed them wormwood and make them drink poisonous water.’” (Jeremiah 23:14-15)

(4) Does the prophet’s teaching produce the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)?

If the prophet’s followers are motivated to worldly living, the prophet does not speak for God.“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits… a good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.” (Matthew 7:15-16,18)

(5) Does the prophet emphasize vain visions?

If the prophet focuses on personal visions with sensational insights (visits to Heaven or Hell, for example), his words are to be distrusted. “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by… taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind.” (Colossians 2:18)


6) Does the prophet deliver only “positive” messages?

If the prophet never issues a call for repentance, he is to be suspect. “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; they speak a vision of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the Lord. They keep saying to those who despise Me, ‘The Lord has said, ‘You will have peace…” They say, ‘Calamity will not come upon you.’”(Jeremiah 23:16-17)

(7) Does the prophet appear to be greedy for monetary gain?
If the prophet operates in a manner that makes it appear that his greatest interest is money, he is to be avoided. “From the least even to the greatest, everyone is greedy for gain; from the prophet even to the priest, everyone practices deceit. And they heal the brokenness of the daughter of My people superficially, saying, “Peace, peace.” But there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 8:10-11)

(8) Does the prophet focus on the exaltation of Jesus?
If a prophet tries to bring attention to himself or focuses on the Antichrist or the sensational, he is to be questioned.“The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”(Revelation 19:10) Over and over, the Word of God commands us to test all messages lest we be deceived and led astray. Paul urged the people of Berea to test everything he taught them, and they did so by “examining the Scriptures daily” to see whether what he was teaching was scriptural (Acts 17:10-11). Paul was an apostle! How much more so should we test everything we hear taught by the standard of the Word of God. The tragedy is that most professing Christians today are incapable of testing anything because they are biblically ignorant. There is a famine of the Word in most churches today (Amos 8:11) as people are fed a diet of pop psychology and positive thinking. What about you? Are you in the Word on a daily basis? Are you capable of testing doctrine by Scripture? If not, then you are a sitting duck for deception. “Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

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10 thoughts on “Recognizing a false prophet

  1. MOG! (Man of God)

    I’ve prayed and asked The Lord to reveal to me HIS truth. I have sought the council of The Lord and of other MOGs that I know personaly. The teachings and conversations I’ve had with them, devine revelation from The Lord and his word, along with the articles posted on this website, reveal that the end time is upon us, and even though I prayed and asked God to reveal to me the truth and his secret things, upon receiving them, my heart and mind is troubled. (I mean its really heavy stuff) I know our job is to execute The Great Commission, teach the word of God, cast out demonds in the name of Jesus ect… but what are we to do about false prophets when we spot em? As of now, I have no position of leadership, but I do teach lessons to the youth (teens) of my church at Wed. Bible Study. These false prophets I speak of do not minister at my church but they are on their way to being placed in a position to do so, and I don’t know what to do…
    Help me out MOG…

  2. WOW! i really pray that god will intervene on your and the church’s behalf so that those who need to be will be exposed. its alot of young people and people in general who really are hungry for the TRUTH not just anything so when they hear this disguised mess they fall right into a strategic trap, persevere man of GOD, keep GOD first and he will continue to direct your path

  3. Andre

    If such people come to your church or get in positions of leadership or influence and what they live or what they teach is contrary to the written Word of God…go to that person and inform them of the Word of God. If they do not listen to you, take a witness with you and if they still refuse godly counsel, go to the pastor and explain what you are experiencing.
    If the pastor is of a reprobate mind and will not issue correction…leave that assembly and go elsewhere. When people ask you why you left..do not be coy…tell the truth as per the
    written Word of God and do so without malice or bitterness.
    You should not remain in a place that is polluted and does not honor the sovereignty of the Word of God.
    God will deal with that apostate church on his timetable. Pray for the ones remaining that their eyes will be opened to the truth and how to discern error.

  4. Hi Andre, that’s a good question.

    I would say that the Holy Ghost will present you with opportunities to speak up against any false prophets being introduced by leadership to your church.

    Make sure you can pinpoint what it is they say or do which is against God’s word. Im not talking about a witch hunt, but if this is what you suspect do some research and prepare yourself.

    You should seek first to bring the information to your pastor. Then allow him time to act (or not act) on it. If he does not act, you may want to ask if he can share with you about the status of information you presented. Of course the spirit in which you do such things (in this context) are important. Some of these pastors are so insecure they will immediately think you are challenging their “authority” and may attack you.

    I remember when my pastor hired a guy I had seen bumping in the gay clubs (in my bumping days) to lead our choir. The next week he brought his boyfriend to choir rehearsal. I was outraged. I went to my pastor’s wife and told her what I knew. She said, “baby, just pray”. Well the guy was there three weeks and he quit he said because he was moving out of the country.

    HOWEVER, had nothing been done I would have taken to the next level. Dont create drama without any substantiation but if there is clear doctrinal error being taught or advocated by such persons, you should take the opportunity to say something.

    And if youre serious, it might have to go to “next level” business.

  5. That was so good. This is great sound teaching. I just got one ol’ good nugget of truth and it has blessed me. I need to cut and paste this and send it to others!!!

  6. Good teaching indeed!!!
    Thanks for taking the time to “labor in the word”.

    This post is definintely going in the archives.

    Good Post!!

  7. MOG!

    Thank you for your response MOG! I am currently seeking instruction and guidance from the Lord as to how I should respond, I have prayed that the Holy Spirit lead me in the right direction and that I LIVE by the spirit; Which I beleive has lead me to ask you one more question MOG:
    Recently, my pastor has been blessed to be elevated to the office of a bishop. We have a large congregation and all were excited to hear the news; that is until he brought some new teaching to the pulpit. I do not remember what passage of scripture he came from, but I do know that it was in the old testamant. Basically, he used the scripture to justify his reasons for making his first act as a Bishop-elect. He asked the congregation to bring in gold that belonged to them, to the church; the deacons would take it some place, melt the gold together to make a chain and a ring. I don’t remember what the chain was supposed to symbolize, but the ring is to be a representation of his life-long commitment to the church (a marriage to the church). I had gold in my possesion, but I did not participate, he had also said if you don’t agree then get out of the way, and don’t put your mouth on what God has his hand on. I felt bad at first, but then after speaking to my father about it, and praying, I did not feel so bad. I know that if the head is sick, you can’t expect too much good coming from the rest of the body of the church. WAS THIS RIGHT?
    God Bless…
    MOGs everywhere…
    Thanks for your time and input…

  8. I wish that you people who writes about false prophets would firstly look at yourselves, i mean how do we know that yall are notb false prophets and accusing people like WILLIAM MARION BRANHAM? I know the bible said we should be awere of false prophets i know that God would not want to nhear people pointing fingures at others.So dont condem anyone because tTHE LORD JESUS CHRIST hasnt condemned you yet anyways. GOD BE WITH YALL thats the prayer f my heart. SHALOM

  9. I personally dont kno what charlotte is talkin bout, but andre you seem like you are already discerning the situation correctly. i would not have participated in that either cause it just doesnt seem like it would be something the lord told him to do. the devil speaks just as well as our heavenly father, it all depends on who is being listened to. to be honest with you that would have been my que to leave and let the lord lead me to another church

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