I asked this question tonight on Yahoo answers. “So how do we tell who is a false prophet?” and I got a big range of answers and I would like to distill them into 7 things you might want to look out for when looking at ministries and individuals.
ONE They are teaching something that is not biblical?
One answer said: “Do they follow the Bibles teachings? Its plain and simple, that’s why we need to read the Bible and know what’s right and wrong.”
The problem with this is so many interpretations exist of the Bible. But if someone is preaching something that is not coherent with good biblical teaching we can assume that they could be a false teacher/prophet. Another writer said, “When they are “On Line for GOD” does what they Preach and Teach line-up with the Bible (Word of GOD)?”
TWO Do their prophecies come true?
One responder said this: “Retroactively you examine their prophecies and determine if they were right or wrong.”
Some people are keen on making prophecies of future events and the time passes and the prophecy does not come true. The Old Testament says not to pay and further attention to any person like this. Some big Christians in the Christian world have tried and got it wrong.
THREE Are they exalting God or themselves in their prophecies?
This is one answer that points to this point: “I’d think a false prophet would want to prove to others that he is the real thing so they would do things in public to convince others. A true prophet wouldn’t have to do this or care to.”
Another answer along these lines “The one who tends to show off himself and acts as if he is holier than others.”
This answer says it succinctly “All prophecy is given by God, right? So, if the prophecy exalts man in any way, and does not give glory to God, then BINGO! False prophet.”
FOUR What is the way they behave?
Do they act Christian? Do they bear the fruits of the Spirit as mentioned in Galatians?
One writer said, “How do they talk? (in regular life?) How do they live? What are their Faith Statements?” We can look at the fruit of the Spirit in a person life but we cannot right off strange behaviour as Isaiah lying naked and John the Baptist dressing in camel hair would be considered strange today.
FIVE Does it witness with your inward witness?
One writer says: “Does your Inward Witness (Holy Spirit living in your spirit) connect and agree with what they say and teach and preach and prophesy?
We all have filters to the truth. Often a prophet will come with a message of correction and we have teaching that we believe in that are in error, and this bias sometimes will fight with our inner witness.
SIX Does it lead us to worship other God’s?
One writer says: “Clearly, then, a false prophet is one who is trying to turn us aside from worshiping the true God. If they are attempting to subvert our faith and cause us to stop serving the true God, of necessity they must be the false prophets!
Even Jesus warned, at Matthew 7:22, that in the final days so-called disciples would be performing great signs. But he would call their works lawlessness.
In the final analysis, a false prophet is one trying to subvert the true faith and turn worshipers away from the true God.”
I feel that Jesus clearly described today’s modern teachers that teach a prosperity gospel when he said you cannot serve two Masters; you can either serve God or Mammon. Teachers that teach prosperity are teaching a dangerous path for the modern Christian and leading them astray.
SEVEN Freely you have received freely give!
One common thing for teachers to do is charge for books and tapes and all sorts of resources. You can tell the worth of a teacher when he goes out of his way to make his information affordable. There are many websites that offer free space and there are many places real preachers could offer their material at a cheap rate or free.
When a ministry is making millions of dollars a year writing books and producing resources and not putting some of the material free online I have to question them.
Some of them playing ads for you to give to them show a lack of faith. Surely the God of Abraham, Moses and Paul is still the Jehovah Jirah, the great provider.
I pray that this has been helpful to you. I am not into naming names but this should be a little guide for you to check people that you read and listen to.