OLD TESTAMENT TESTS FOR FALSE PROPHETS

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Therefore I will give their wives to other men and their fields to new owners. From the least to the gretaest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace.Jeremiah 8:10-11
In the Old testament, various signs or works pointed to a true or false prophet. Many of these can be applied today.

1. Does the prophet use fortune telling?
Divination was expressly forbidden by God.
When you enter th land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God. The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so.Deuteronomy 18:9-14

No true teacher or prophet would use fortune-telling or have any dealings with spirits of the dead.
Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.Jeremiah 14:14
For there will be no more false visions or flattering divinations among the people of Israel.Ezekiel 12:24
The seers will be ashamed and the diviners disgraced. They will all cover their faces because there is no answer from God.”Micah 3:7

2. Have the prophet’s short-term prophecies been fulfilled?
If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.Deuteronomy 18:22 used this as a test. Do predictions come to pass?

3. Is the prophet marked by a desire to say only what pleases people?
Many false prophets told people what they wanted to hear. A true prophet serves God, not people.
They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious; “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace.Jeremiah 8:11
But I said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! The prophets keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.'”Jeremiah 14:13
They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’Jeremiah 23:17
“‘Because they lead my people astray, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash,Ezekiel 13:10
This is what the Lord says: “As for the prophets who lead my people astray, they proclaim ‘peace’ if they have something to eat, but prepare to wage war against anyone who refuses to feed them.Micah 3:5

4. Does the prophet draw people away from God?
Many teachers draw people to themselves or to the system or organization they have built.
If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, “Let us follow other gods,” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.Deuteronomy 13:1-3

5. Does the prophet’s prophecy confirm the Bible’s main teaching?
If a prophecy is inconsistent with or contradictory to Scripture, it is not to be believed.
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.Acts 17:11

6. What is the prophet’s moral character?
False prophets were charged with lying,
From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit.Jeremiah 8:10b
Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.Jeremiah 14:14

drunkenness
And these also stagger from wine and reel from beer; priests and prophets stagger from beer and are befuddled with wine; they reel from beer, they stagger when seeing visions, they stumble when rendering decisions.Isaiah 28:7

and immorality.
And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible: They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that not one of them turns from their wickedness. They are all like Sodom to me; the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah.”Jeremiah 23:14

7. Do other Spirit-led people discern authenticity in this prophet?
Discernment by others who are led of the Spirit is a key test.
But Jehosaphat asked, “Is there no longer a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?”1 Kings 22:7

The New Testament speaks of this a great deal.
When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them. therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me–just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep.John 10:4-15
The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.1 Corinthians 2:14
Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.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

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Life Application Study: The MARKS of the TRUE GOSPEL and of FALSE GOSPELS

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The MARKS of the TRUE GOSPEL and of FALSE GOSPELS
The Book of Galatians

FALSE GOSPEL: Treats Christ’s death as meaningless
I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! – Galatians 2:21

TRUE GOSPEL: Teaches that the source of the gospel is God
I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. – Galatians 1:11-12

FALSE GOSPEL: Says people must obey the law in order to be saved
The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” – Galatians 3:12

TRUE GOSPEL: Knows that life is obtained through death; we trust in the Son of God (Jesus) who loved us and died for us so that we might die to sin and live for Him
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

FALSE GOSPEL: Tries to find favor with God by observing certain rituals
You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! – Galatians 4:10

TRUE GOSPEL: Explains that all believers have the Holy Spirit through faith
He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. – Galatians 3:14

FALSE GOSPEL: Counts on keeping laws to be right with God
You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. – Galatians 5:4

TRUE GOSPEL: Declares that we cannot be saved by keeping laws; the only way of salvation is through faith in Christ, which is available to all
Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. – Galatians 3:21-22

TRUE GOSPEL: Says that all believers are one in Christ, so there is no basis for discrimination of any kind
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:26-28

TRUE GOSPEL: Proclaims that we are free from the grip of sin and that the Holy Spirit’s power fills and guides us
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. – Galatians 5:24-25

[from the Life Application Study Bible, NIV; Tyndale House/Zondervan]

Life Application Study: GOD’S ARMOR FOR US

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We are engaged in a spiritual battle — all believers find themselves subject to the devil’s attacks because they are no longer on the devil’s side. Thus, Paul tells us to use every piece of God’s armor to resist the devil’s attacks and to stand true to God in the midst of those attacks.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world against the spirutual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm, then, with the belt of truth bucked around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Sprit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:10-17

In the Christian life we battle against rulers and authorities (the powerful evil forces of fallen angels headed by the devil, who is a vicious fighter — see 1 Peter 5:8). To withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. Paul is not only giving this counsel to the church, the body of Christ, but to all individuals within the church. The whole body needs to be armed. As you do battle against “the powers of this dark world”, fight in the strength of the church, whose power comes from the Holy Spirit.

  • The BELT OF TRUTH (vs. 14a)

Satan fights with lies, and sometimes his lies sound like truth; but only believers have God’s truth, which can defeat Satan’s lies.

  • The BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (vs.14b)

The devil often attacks our heart — the seat of our emotions, self-worth, and trust. God’s righteousness is the breastplate that protects our heart and ensures His approval. He approves of us because He loves us and sent His Son to die for us.

  • The SHOES OF THE GOSPEL (vs. 15)

Satan wants us to think that telling others the Good News (the Gospel of Jesus Christ) is a worthless and hopeless task — the size of the task is too big and the negative responses are too much to handle. But the footgear God gives us is the motivation to continue to proclaim the true peace that is available in God — news everyone needs to hear.

  • The SHIELD OF FAITH (vs. 16)

What we see are Satan’s attacks in the form of insults, setbacks, and temptations. But the shield of faith protects us from Satan’s flaming arrows. With God’s perspective, we can see beyond our circumstances and know that ultimate victory is ours.

  • The HELMET OF SALVATION (vs. 17a)

Satan wants to make us doubt God, Jesus and our salvation. The helmet protects our mind from doubting God’s saving work for us.

  • The SWORD OF THE SPIRIT (vs. 17b)

The sword is the only weapon of offense in this list of armor. There are times when we need to take the offensive against Satan. When we are tempted, we need to trust in the truth of God’s Word.

These who are not “flesh and blood” are demons over whom the devil has control. They are not mere fantasies–they are very real. We face a powerful army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, these beings become our enemies, and they try every device to turn us away from Him and back to sin. Although we are assured of victory, we must engage in the struggle until Christ returns, because Satan is constantly battling against all who are on the Lord’s side. We need supernatural power to defeat Satan, and God has provided this by giving us His Holy Spirit within us and His armor surrounding us. If you feel discouraged, remember Jesus’ words to Peter: “On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18).

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OUR TRUE IDENTITY IN CHRIST

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[source: Life Application Study Bible, NIV translation]

We are justified (declared “not guilty” of sin)
and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – Romans 3:24

No condemnation awaits us
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, – Romans 8:1

We are set free from the law of sin that leads to death
because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. – Romans 8:2

We are sanctified (made holy) and made acceptable in Jesus Christ
To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ–their Lord and ours: – 1 Corinthians 1:2

We are righteous and holy in Christ
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. – 1 Corinthians 1:30

We will be made alive at the resurrection
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. – 1 Corinthians 15:22

We are new creations
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – 2 Corinthians 5:17

We receive God’s righteousness
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:21

We are one in Christ with all other believers
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:28

We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. – Ephesians 1:3

We are holy and blameless
For he chose in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love – Ephesians 1:4

We are adopted as God’s children
he predestined us for adoption to sonship through esus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. – Ephesians 1:5-6

Our sins are taken away, and we are forgiven
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace – Ephesians 1:7

We will be brought under Christ’s authority
to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment–to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, – Ephesians 1:10-11

We are identified as belonging to God by the Holy Spirit
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, – Ephesians 1:13

We have been raised up to sit with Christ in glory
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, – Ephesians 2:6

We are God’s work of art
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10

We have been brought near to God
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. – Ephesians 2:13

We share in the promise of blessings through Christ
This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members togeher of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. – Ephesians 3:6

We can come with freedom and confidence into God’s presence
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. – Ephesians 3:12

We are members of Christ’s body, the church
After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church–for we are members of his body. – Ephesians 5:29-30

We are made complete in Christ
and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. – Colossians 2:10

We are set free from our sinful nature
In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, – Colossians 2:11

We have eternal glory
Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. – 2 Timothy 2:10

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