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How do you know if a prophet is from God?

Answer

Thanks for asking this question. I am sorry to hear that you are experiencing difficulty in this area of not knowing if you should trust a prophet.

There is a Bible verse that deals directly with this:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God (1 John 4:1-3)

In the New Testament period, there was a great threat from a philosophy called gnosticism, which regarded the flesh as evil. As a result some who became Christians denied that Jesus could really have been fully human. This is why John insists here that true teachers must confess the incarnation of Jesus. In recent years the opposite problem has existed, of people being happy to say Jesus was human but refusing to say that Jesus was God the Son come in the flesh. The principle here is whether someone who claims spiritual authority worships and serves Jesus as Lord, and teaches the truth as Jesus did.

Another problem these days is the way some preachers claim that 'wealth and health' are given to everyone if they have true faith - which suggests they are not following the Jesus of the Bible; who lived in poverty and died as a young man to fulfil God's purpose in his life on earth. 

You can also use these tests to check:

Now the works of the flesh are evident:sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self- control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:20-22) [emphasis added]

Is the prophet more in line with the first set of flesh examples or the second set of Spirit led examples? Sorcery or magic is found in the first list and is therefore not from God. Notice that a godly person has patience, kindness and gentleness and will not dominate you or push you to accept his authority if you are unhappy about what he is doing.  

There are also some examples of people in the Bible who practiced magic:

When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar- Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord (Acts 13:6-10)

Here Paul is very strong in the way he speaks to the false prophet. But earlier on in the book of Acts there is an account of a person who practiced magic who was now a follower of Christ:

But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed (Acts 8:9-13).

In summary, we find that in the bible, we are told that there will be people that will come in the name of Jesus, but have nothing to do with him. However, the bible also gives us some characteristics for us to test a prophet; that they believe in Jesus as Lord and that they are led by the Spirit. I hope these Bible verses can help you make the right decision to keep being around a prophet. If they are not from God then please can I encourage you to stay away from them, or to talk to them about who Jesus really is.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost. That includes me, you and any prophet in question. We all need to know forgiveness through Jesus' death and resurrection.

I do hope this general answer to your question goes some way to helping you find peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: www.lookingforGod.com

In closing, I want to encourage you to get more involved with your local church. It would be good to speak to a Christian leader or another trusted church individual regarding your question. I know they would be delighted to further answer you as well as offer prayer and support as you continue your spiritual journey:

http://www.lookingforgod.com/churchfinder

Please use our Interactive Answer Matrix and feel free to ask another question. Our helpful staff are praying for you and waiting to try and answer to you from the Bible, and will be delighted to tell you more about Jesus Christ the Lord, the Saviour of the world.

http://www.lookingforgod.com/your-questions

*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

*If anything in this answers affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at http://www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline


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