Friday, April 15, 2011

Evaluating Prophets and Prophecies Today

By Rev Albert Kang

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good… (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21)

Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. (1 Corinthians 14:29)

Dear friends, 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 John 4:1)

We live in a time and age of great spiritual blessings but it is also of spiritual dangers. Prophets and their prophecies, both true and false, not only saturate the churches but also flood the mass media. For the believers, it has become difficult to distinguish between what are true and what are false. Since all prophets and their prophecies must be ‘judged’ or evaluated by the Word of God, I have listed some guidelines, although not exhaustive, for us to evaluate the authenticity of modern prophets and their prophecies.

1. There are many so-called prophecies but they are mostly just words of encouragement. For example, someone would say, "The Lord says that He is happy with you and what you are doing". These are not predictive but supportive. They are not foretelling but forth-telling.

2. Do watch how so-called prophets who make claims about their divine callings. If a person has to use excessive mystical claims, such as having special glasses to read golden tablets from heaven (Joseph Smith of Mormonism) or Jesus asking the person to sit on his throne (a local fallen prophet) or other mysterious claims that could not be verified, then our alarm bells should go off.

3. We also have to carefully evaluate to whom the prophet is pointing too. There are those who use Jesus Christ to verify their own ministries. They first point to Christ and then subtly the focus moves towards themselves. After a while, many begin to trust their prophecies and to certain extent 'worship' these prophets. This 'utility-based' approach is a good indication that the authenticity of the prophet concerned is to be questioned.

4. Watch out for the 'Holy Man' or 'Swami' syndrome. The prophet concerned moves around as though he has a personal telephone line to God and that his words are often times more popular than the bible.

5. We have to check all the prophecies made by the so-called prophets... especially those that predict events. For example, I can write 5000 different prophecies (or in another word - guesses) and in a general way. Let's say 30 of these may become realities but what about the rest?

6. Check how the prophet quotes scriptures and check his exegesis and hermeneutics. Remember the Bible never says what it never did say.Listen very carefully whether he adds or takes away from the Word of God. There is a so-called prophet who does not take money but claims that God is wanting him to write "The Final Testament".

7. Evaluate the prophecies whether the prophet is repeating some of those prophecies claimed by previously known false prophets.

8. Check whether the prophet uses excessively terms such as "the Lord told me" and "according to the Lord" instead of "according to the Bible" or "according to these scripture verses".

9. Here is a warning by the Apostle Peter -- But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. (2 Peter 2:1-3)

As for the recent prophecies that flood the internet world, I would recommend that you just stick to the prophecy mentioned by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, found in Matthew 24

 Matthew 24:4-8
Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains”.

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