Genuine and False Prophecy

The Spirit of Prophecy is as involved in the Church today as She ever was. Because the Lord never changes, and since the Lord Himself instituted prophecy and commissioned prophets in the past, both prophecy and prophets must continue to exist and be an influence in the Church, even though the Enemy continually seeks to discredit legitimate prophecy. But how can we discern true prophecy from false prophecy?

the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Revelations 19:10, NKJV)

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because 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 of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. (1 John 4:1-3, NKJV)

“If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’ – which you have not known – ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. (Deuteronomy 13:1-4, NKJV)

Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. (1 Corinthians 14:29-31, NKJV)

Many more verses could be cited if we had space, but obviously the Lord has definitely ordained some people to be prophets, while others falsely claim to be prophets. The same is true about prophecy in general. The mere fact that there is counterfeit prophecy and counterfeit prophets demonstrates that there must also be genuine prophecy and genuine prophets. No one bothers to create a false copy of something that doesn’t exist. A person only forges counterfeits of genuine articles, otherwise his $100 bill will be easily discredited..

The Lord is well aware of Satan’s schemes, and that is why He gave us some means to test prophecy and prophets. The Lord wouldn’t waste His breathe discussing a totally meaningless matter. The fact is the Lord wants to speak to us, both through His written word (logos), and through His current spoken word (rhema). Yes the Lord has given us the Scriptures to reveal His general will for us, but He also uses His current spoken word to reveal His specific will for us in our time, to comfort us, and to pronounce blessings and warnings over us.

The Lord may speak to us through His written word (logos), but cause it to resonate in our spirits so that it becomes a spoken word (rhema) of God. He may also give us personal visions, or we may have sudden knowledge, or we may even hear the spoken words of the Lord. The Lord may also speak similarly to someone else on our behalf who then reveals the Lord’s words for us. Remember:

And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel,’I AM has sent me to you.'” (Exodus 3:13,14, NKJV)

He is forever the God of the present! God is still speaking to us personally today and acting on our behalf, today! There will never be a time when the voice of the Lord becomes irrelevant, certainly not when we need to hear from Him most — today.

Copyright (c) 2007 Jon Straumfjord