how does a prophet makes it certain that what he is prophesying is from god and his prophecies are not his own thoughts?
how can we verify that a prophesy told to us by some prophet is true or not?
should we wait till the prophesied event .to happen…to verify it or can we verify it …as soon as we hear that prophesy
@Joshua_Mathew That is a great question. That depends on what is meant by the word prophecy - it can have two meanings:
- Speaking God’s Word boldly in a way that challenges culture and is rooted in Scripture
- Foretelling future events like prophets in the Old Testament
If you mean prophecy in the first sense, we can simply study the Scriptures to verify what is being said - like the Bereans in Acts.
Acts 17:11 - Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
If you mean prophecy in the second sense, a different approach is needed. First of all, some people do not even believe OT type prophecies occur anymore - they believe that prophetic gift came to an end with Christ. But, let’s assume you do believe prophecy in the second sense still occurs, here is what I would recommend:
- if a person claiming to be a prophet says ‘God said’ and they are ever wrong, even once, then they are not from God - prophets who come from God are always correct when they foretell events
- generally God raised up prophets at significant times in Israel’s history - there were not true prophets on every street corner - even in ancient Israel they were not common
- generally I recommend skepticism - for example, many people prophesied that Nabeel Quershi would be healed - and he was not - people often confuse their own feelings for God
I Thess 5:20-22 - Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.
Deuteronomy 18:20-22- But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.” 21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.
Here are some other threads you may find helpful:
The Lord Jesus grant you wisdom in all things. Are those answers helpful? Do you have any additional questions or push back?
So as far as i can make out, we can or cant believe in second case of prophecies?(please correct me if my inference about your statement is wrong) Is it ok to not believe in them if God actually mentions about them in the Bible ? I am just curious !!
@chandrakishore Some people believe that the second case of prophecies ceased after the age of the apostles. I do not think it is wrong to hold this view, though I think it is important that we do not put God in a box. God could raise up a prophet who foretold the future if He so desired.
I think the reason people deny this second type of prophecy is because they see it abused so often. People often claim to speak for God when they are, in fact, doing no such thing and God has not spoken. To avoid that abuse, people take a hard line stance. If we see no good evidence that such prophecy occurs today and many people are abusing it / lying about having that gift - why don’t we just deny its existence to keep people from being led astray or getting confused?
I don’t think this view is wrong, but it is likely an over reaction. That said, I’ve never experienced the second type of prophecy in my own life - I’ve seen people fake it, but I’ve never seen the real thing. I think it could happen - I’ve just never seen it and been convinced it was real.
i do have a follow up question
can we call the so-called prophet who w[quote=“SeanO, post:2, topic:9475”]
if a person claiming to be a prophet says ‘God said’ and they are ever wrong, even once, then they are not from God - prophets who come from God are always correct when they foretell events
Can we say that if rest of the prophesies happened… it was just a coincidence?
@Joshua_Mathew So, here is how I would approach this - there are a few possibilities:
- They really did prophesy from God, but then they rejected God / fell into sin and decided to lie or are deceived by the enemy
- They were lying all along and it was just a coincidence
- They really were prophesying from God and now they are old / scenile / sick and cannot think clearly
- They are an extremely simple or mentally ill individual who has deceived themselves into thinking they are a prophet
- They come from a culture / background where people normally spoke prophetically and are still learning to discern between truth and elements of their own culture
So, I have no way of knowing which of these is the case. I would not trust anyone who was ever wrong - though I think in the case of someone who just got old or fell ill I may have more understanding there…
Again, I’ve never encountered real prophecy, but I think these 5 situations are Biblical possibilities.
When the prophetic prophesy, he is practising a gift. The Bible seems to cause us to associate the prophetic with “Thus saith the Lord”
He prophesies also from his sonship. He hears from God because he is a sheep from God’s sheepfold. It is an easy thing for the person. He needs to discern whether it is from the Lord or not. The idea or voice could be from himself, the enemy, or God. He must also align himself to the will of God before he can prophesy to another person.
We will know by firstly their fruits, fruits as in character and the words they speak.
We will know also by the prophesy that they speak, if they speak life towards the person, it is more often a forthspeaking. He speak forth what is not into being. Warnings can come from the prophetic. How do you check whether they are true? If you are a Christian and you yourself hears/discerns God’s voice. (Sheep from his sheepfold)You will also recognise the words of a false or true prophet. They are very familiar to the mind of God. Or the mind of a natural man or the enemy.
@Benjamin_Tdh Thank you for your thoughts! I definitely agree we need to see the fruit of a person’s life before trusting their teaching - that is so important.
But I think that “my sheep will hear my voice” does not refer to discerning true from false prophecy. Rather, it means that those who belong to God will recognize Jesus for who He is and follow Him. It is not so much about discerning a prophetic word from God as it is about recognizing that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.
John Piper makes this same point in the following article.
In other words, my elect ones, my sheep that the Father has chosen will hear my voice and will follow me and that will prove that they are elect. My sheep hear my voice means my elect are enabled by God to hear the truth, the true shepherd when the gospel is preached.
Josh- This is how I do it. When someone prophecies over me , I will be taking it in my personal prayer before I receive it . But sometimes my prayers will be answered through prophecy as well . Here is where the Spirit of God fills us or assures us with peace as we receive it. Few times I declare verbally “ I don’t receive it “until the Lord confirms it when I pray and meditate His word.