By their fruits ye shall know them. Matthew 7:15, 16 “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves…Ye shall know them by their fruits”.
We have to look at the fruits of the ministries of these Prophets.
A wolf hides in sheep’s clothing to deceive and lull sheep into a false sense of safety and security in order to feed and feast on them.
This is repeated by Apostle Peter.
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you….. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of…. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you” (2 Peter 2:1-3) Covetousness and greed are clear fruits of the false prophets who make business out of their flock.
In our times members have to pay something to see the prophet and are either spiritually threatened, emotionally blackmailed or psychologically bullied to purchase prayed over church merchandise such as bangles, anointing oil, holy water, towels etc. without which they are doomed to failure, poverty and sickness.
(B). Does it Glorify Christ? Rev. 19: 10 emphasises that bible-based prophecy and prophetism deflects attention and importance from itself and draws attention to and ascribes importance to Jesus Christ. (John 1:27; 29-30; 3:30-31).
Therefore we can state that any modern-day prophet who entertains being thought of or regarded to be the centre of attraction and referred to in conversation or reference by them more than they refer to or converse about the Lord Jesus Christ is not a bible based prophet.
John 16:14 emphasizes that the central mission of the Holy Spirit is to elevate Jesus above everything and everyone else including the prophet themselves while directing and connecting people to the Lord of Lords and King of kings.
These two indicators of genuine Bible-based prophets and prophecy viz. not exploiting or manipulating the flock and being Christocentric and glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ are more important indicators of genuine biblical prophecy than the fact that a prophet’s predictions do indeed come true.
Even though Deut. 18:21-22 emphasizes fulfilled predictions as an indicator of genuine prophecy or prophets it must be read in light of Deut. 13:1-3 which emphasise that true prophets prioritise connecting people with the Lord Jesus Christ and empowering them to cultivate mature victorious faith-in-Christ life-styles independent of the prophet’s mediator-role.
Remember that even octopuses and cockerels accurately predicted winners of world cup soccer matches in South Africa.
Remember also that prophets, psychic mediums, fortune tellers, traditional healers, shamans, spirit mediums and magicians in many religious traditions do accurately predict future events.
Many Zimbabweans with a background of involvement with traditional healers, fortune tellers, spirit mediums and mapositori-type-prophets are being deceived this way in Zimbabwe.
Fake prophets who in reality are psychic-mediums, sorcerers, fortune tellers, magicians, hypnotists or charlatans now wear suits and read and preach from bibles which makes it difficult to distinguish true Bible-based prophets from false ones. Therefore accurate predictive prophecy is not enough evidence that one is a true bible-based prophet.
Written by Noah Pashapa PhD, Bishop of Life and Liberty Churches International.