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How to Recognize If a Minister or Prophet Is a Wolf in Sheepís Clothing



How can we tell the difference between a false prophet and a true prophet?One way to test whether a revelation is from God or not is whether it agrees with prior revelations from Him.  For example, if someone prophesies that we should worship another God besides Jehovah, that person is a false prophet (Deuteronomy 13:1-9) and should be ignored.  Such a "revelation" would contradict the First Commandment (Ex. 20:3).  A prophesied prediction that eventually proves to be false also clearly isn't from the true God (Rev. 19:18-22), and should be ignored.So this pastor who made 50 false predictions shouldnít be followed or believed in as a prophet.


Consider the contrast with true revelations from God as found in Scripture.  Time and time again, such as in the book of Daniel, the Bible predicts the future, and it occurs since the true God can see into the future and know what will happen (Isaiah 46:8-11).  Indeed, this remarkable aspect of the Bible is what proves it beyond any doubt as being inspired, such as when it predicted Alexander the Great's successful invasion of Persia followed by his kingdom breaking up into four smaller kingdoms (see Daniel 11:2-4; 8:5-8, 20-22). 


Can there be new revelations from God outside of the bible?I donít think any new Scripture is being written today.I doubt that anyone alive is an actual prophet of God to which God is giving revelations in the way He gave them to Moses, Isaiah, or Paul.However, down the road, will there be additional, written books to the Bible?  What does the Bible say about this?  The Bible is apparently silent on this matter.  True, the Book of Revelation (22:18-19) says, on what's likely the last page of your Bible:  "I warn every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book:  if any one adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if any one takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book."  However, admittedly, despite their strategic position in the Bible as a whole, these verses seem to apply only to Revelation itself.  They can't be used to exclude the possibility of new, additional books of Scripture to come. 


We do know that there will be two witnesses who will be prophesying in the end time during the Great Tribulation (Rev. 11:3-13).  Could some of what they say or write be canonized during the Millennium?  According to Peter's citation of Joel 2:28 in Acts 2:17, "And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams."  So we should be open minded to believe that God may have more revelations that would be canonized as Scripture.  Of course, there will come a day when prophesying will cease, (I Cor. 13:8-10), but that day hasn't yet come, which can't be earlier than the day that Christ returns to rule the earth (Rev. 11:15; 19:10-16). 


Now a minister can be abusive, corrupt sexually, or a thief.Presumably almost anyone can figure out those kinds of problems, at least one the truth has been exposed publicly.However, letís focus on a more subtle problem here.Letís turn to another issue, which is the "health and wealth" gospel.This basically teaches that God wants and enables Christians to have good health and financial prosperity.A pastor may make the mistake of over-emphasizing that God often wants to bless us physically.  But since life also has trials in it, and God wants to see how much we're willing to sacrifice financially to help the poor or the church evangelize, we should never expect God has to give us good health and physical prosperity after conversion (James 1:2-4).  Itís a red flag if a pastor disproportionately spends too much time preaching about the joyful side of the Christian walk compared to its painful side.


We have to dismiss from our minds the so-called "health and wealth gospel" that some Christians teach.  Just because we serve God doesn't mean He'll take away all our trials and tests, whether in health or financially.  Paul was a very faithful man of God after being struck down on the road to Damascus.  But God let Paul have a thorn in his flesh, perhaps a health trial related to poor eyesight, despite his faithful obedience (see II Cor. 12:7-9).  Paul also suffered from appalling trails while preaching the Gospel, which he mentioned in detail (II Cor. 11:23-27).  Many of the most faithful prophets of God, such as John the Baptist, met awful ends.  Think of the listing in Hebrews 11 of the men and women of faith, and the trials so many of them had (see especially verses 35-39).  They shouldn't have doubted that they were serving God truly in the path of life they were in, even if they would have sinned from time to time, like Abraham, Moses, and David did.  And, of course, Jesus had both perfect faith and perfect obedience, but still suffered many tests and trials before dying on the cross to redeem us from sin.  (That leads to the observation that God died to free us from the evils that resulted from His giving us the free will to choose or not choose). 


Now, the Bible does tell us as Christians to expect that we will have trials (I Peter 4:12):  "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you."  Peter even then goes on to so boldly say:  "But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's suffereings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."  Now, it's very hard to have that perspective on our trials while experiencing them.  Consider this verse in James 1:2:  "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations [i.e., trials]."  Because we feel pain during the trial itself, we can't have joy then, such as (say) over the death of a family member.  But it's the product of the trial in improving and strengthening our characters that we should rejoice over, which James does note here some in the next two verses:  "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."  Similarly, Paul wrote (Romans 5:3-5):  "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also:  knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience, and experience, hope:  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love is God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."  It's a distinctly unpleasant truth.  But consider the old simplistic maxim of body builders in this context:  "No pain, no gain."  Or then, more colorfully, the atheistic German philosopher Nietzsche once said something like, "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger."  I admit fully, when we have harsh trials, such counsel sounds superficial emotionally, even calloused.  But we have to look at the fundamental purpose of life as being an experience that is supposed to build holy righteous character within us (or others) so long as we react correctly and spiritually to whatever trials are sent our way.  And holy righteous character is the one thing that we can take from this life; we weren't put here on earth to always be happy.


In conclusion, we should be alert to when someone who claims to be a prophet or is just a minister makes false claims about predicting the future and over-emphasizes the truth that God wants to physically bless His followers.


Eric Snow


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Why does God Allow Evil? Click here: /Apologeticshtml/Why Does God Allow Evil 0908.htm

May Christians work on Saturdays? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Protestant Rhetoric vs Sabbath Refuted.htm

Should Christians obey the Old Testament law? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Does the New Covenant Abolish the OT Law.htm

Do you have an immortal soul? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Here and Hereafter.htm

Does the ministry have authority? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Is There an Ordained Ministry vs Edwards.html

Is the United States the Beast? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Are We the Beast vs Collins.htm

Should you give 10% of your income to your church? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Does the Argument from Silence Abolish the Old Testament Law of Tithing 0205 Mokarow rebuttal.htm

Is Jesus God? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Is Jesus God.htm

Will there be a third resurrection? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Will There Be a Third Resurrection.htm



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