Monday, February 20, 2017

Discerning of Prophecies and Prophets

Testing The Spirits By Faith

“Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36).

This brief article is simply a deliberate work to draw attention to the reality of false prophets and prophecies. From the onset, the Lord revealed to me that many Christians would be overlooking this message, but the kind-hearted would be filled with peace and wisdom (Daniel 12:3). Regarding our message for this week, the time in which we are living has produced a lot of false prophets who uses social media and other platforms to deceive. From our observations, some people are unable to discern the error in some teachings because some scriptural references are being used to justify a doctrinal position. However, in their desperation for riches, the motives of some are clearly evident. On some occasions, we have seen some ministers being ‘financial’ advisors to the flock and having an ‘anointing’ to operate in such an office. Because of greed, here in South Africa, we have seen the mushrooming of so-called investment schemes, ego-centric self-promotion, and offering of quick fix solutions to problems. Now, we may have written a similar message in the past, however, let this not escape your attention that as the future unfolds and the DAY of the Lord draws near more false prophets would enter the scene (Matthew 24:11). I understood from the Lord that Satan would be using the activities of false prophets to sow confusion and to deepen deceit (Matthew 24:24).

Briefly, like you, we honestly don’t know the DAY of the Lord and neither does the angels and the Lord (Matthew 24:36). The coming of the Lord and the Rapture have been a subject of intense discussion over the centuries, and this blessed hope has kept the hearts of countless Christians focused on the Lord. In other words, despite the troubles of the day, the hopeless challenges the brethren of old were comforted by the promises of the Lord and His coming (Hebrews 11:13-16). What a living faith these brethren had!

In contrast, some Christians today when they hear or read about a prophetic message regarding the Lord’s coming they expect it to happen immediately, and if it does not happen immediately the messenger is labeled as false. While we should test the spirits (1 John 4:1), we are encouraged to hold on to the good (1 Thessalonians 5:21), and encouragement in the name of the Lord is meant to edify. It is thus not prudent to label an unfulfilled word of encouragement as false. Also, a message from the Lord which is intended to encourage or to warn us is meant to edify and ready us for Christian service (Luke 12:35). Unless a brother or sister went ahead of him or herself by tendering a specific date for the Lord’s coming, a Christian should not turn to mocking a prophetic message. A few months ago, I had a conversation with a brother who told me that he was mocked by a fellow Christian when he shared a vision from the Lord regarding His coming. The tone of His message sounded urgent as if the Lord would come at that very moment but he did not set a specific date. He merely conveyed his conviction. Let us therefore not become mockers, remember we ought to be for the encouragement of the brethren and not be seen as the opposition (2 Peter 3:3; Luke 9:50).

Discerning False and True Prophets

True, some prophetic utterance may require some discernment, and there are repeated offenders who are in the habit of delivering false prophecies, and in our day there are many notable false prophets. The Bible says that false prophets are known by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20), and some of these fruits include the evidence of their message(s) which would turn out to be false (Deuteronomy 18:22). Often, and despite evidence of some false predictions to the contrary, some Christians who lacks discernment would still follow the false man of God.

How do we discern a false prophet? Firstly, a false prophet will defend his false prediction by offering an alternative interpretation by adding further falsifications. Biblically, a prophecy from God should always be 100% accurate (1 Samuel 3:19).

Secondly, a false prophet like attention and they often try to draw attention to themselves more than to God (1 Kings 22:12 and verse 24). In other words, their egos are always crying out saying, ‘look at me and what I have, follow me.' However, a true prophet of God is always clothed with honesty, humility, and truthfulness, always pleased to serve others more than his or her needs (Deuteronomy 9:18-20). Thirdly, false prophets have a spirit of false humility and a spirit of greed and dishonesty (2 Corinthians 8:9). They love and enjoy the luxurious worldly lifestyle, and in their greed, they charge and set a price on their preaching engagements (Matthew 10:8). Kindly allow me to add, the Lord do provide for His children’s needs, and it often comes through others the Lord commanded, and it would often be in the quantity that we need (1 Kings 17:4 and verse 9; 2 Corinthians 8:14-15). Additionally, we may add some other characteristics of false prophets like their deceitful behavior, false promising, lying and their appetite for recognition. Since the devil operates in the background, hidden from people, his identity is easily recognizable through falsehood. God willing, we will devote an entire article on the identity of Satan shortly. The Lord has revealed a great deal of his personality to us over a period of more than five years.

People are Not Your Enemies

Brethren, by unmasking these workers of deceit we are not implying that they are our enemies and that we should harbor ill-feelings against them. Scripturally, when two of the Lord’s disciples expressed disgust at some residents of a Samaritan village, who opposed the Lord’s message, He rebuked them. Why, because we are commanded to love and to pray for those who persecute us (Luke 9:54; Matthew 5:44) Humans are special in the sight of the Lord, and He came to save us (Genesis 1:27; John 3:16-17). Additionally, we are scripturally charged that our wrestle is not against flesh and blood, but against demonic powers (Ephesians 6:12). Therefore, our aim as the body of Christ is to expose the identity of Satan behind some people he is using. Our prayers are that those who finds themselves under his ‘cloud of deceit’ should be able to recognize his schemes, one of which is the spirit of greedy. Biblically, Satan is known to use material prosperity to reward those who submit and obey him (Matthew 4:8-9; Mark 4:19; 1 Timothy 6:8-10).

We repeat, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV). We know that he is loaded with every trick of deceit! Finally, do you want to be able to discern false prophets and prophecies? Well, your Source to help you identify falsehood is the Holy Spirit. He is not our servant but our helper (John 14:26), and since He is our helper we need to allow Him to teach us the Scriptures to discern the truth (John 16:13), and falsehood would be laid bare. We ought to spend time in God’s Presence through prayer, Bible reading, and worship sessions. We also further need to give the Lord our undivided commitment.

Finally, don't miss this opportunity, we would like to extend an invitation to anyone who does not know the Lord Jesus Christ yet, or of you are not born again, to pray our suggested prayer on this link Prayer of Sincere Repentance by faith and come follow the Lord (Matthew 4:19). You may also contact us for any questions or comments about this article or our ministry.

Yours truthfully

Brother Glenn