YOU are required to test the Prophets
The position of a Prophet, is someone that is specifically CHOSEN (See Is 1:3-10; Jer 1: 9) by the Almighty Sovereign Creator Power (God) named YHWH (pronounced as “YaH-WeH”) to speak “before” as in time by predicting future events, or “in place” by the interpretation of the will of YHWH before others, came about at the Mountain called Horeb (aka Mt. Sinai). The Israelites were there to receive the laws that were to govern their newly formed national identity, the Scriptural Nation of ancient Israel. The Israelites were afraid of hearing the voice of YHWH and of seeing the fire from the Almighty while He was speaking to them from the top of the mountain.
Moses asked YHWH and He agreed to provide prophets (before-speakers) for them from their own brothers (ones like Moses) to be the speaking mouth pieces on behalf of YHWH Himself. These appointed-anointed speakers (the prophets) were designated to communicate the will of YHWH to the Israelite people. See Deut 18:15-17.
The requirements and the tests for determining who a true prophet was from a false prophet became very important to the people. Unless the ancient Israelites of that time or even those of us living today can determine if a prophet is speaking the inspired will of the Almighty Sovereign Creator Power YHWH, the listener could be listening to a false prophet, one that was actually leading those hearing his words away from the Sovereign YHWH.
The required Biblical tests:
According to the Hebrew Scriptures there are some very specific tests provided for us to determine if a prophet is anointed and one who was appointed to speak the words given to him by the inspiration of the Sovereign YHWH.
The Following six verses below contain the Scriptural tests provided to us for determining if someone is a true prophet, whose word is true and was sent by YHWH.
1. Deut. 13:1 Explained: A prophet must provide signs and wonders, BUT even if his predictions come true, and yet he leads his listeners to serve powers (gods) other than the Almighty Sovereign Creator named YHWH that prophet must not be listened to; for YHWH is “testing” those that are listening to this false prophet. The penalty for false prophets (according to Biblical Israelite law) is death.
2. Deut. 18:18, a prophet can only come from among his own people (his own Israelite brethren). Therefore the prophet must be an Adamite by race (a Caucasian). He must also be a “true” Israelite (one that keeps the Covenant). In other words, the Israelites are not to listen to a Chinese prophet or a prophet from another race. A prophet must speak only the words that YHWH commands him to speak. He must speak no more and no less.
3. Deut. 18:19, the Israelites to whom the message by the prophet is directed or presented, are to listen and take note (to hearken) to the message that was specifically addressed to them. They (those listening to the prophet) are to act upon the message as was told to them, or they will be held accountable to YHWH. In other words, those that refuse “to hearken” will suffer consequences for not listening and not acting or doing what was presented or required by the message from the prophet of YHWH.
4. Deut. 18:20, Any prophet that pretends to be speaking (or prophesying) using the name YHWH, something that he was not commanded to speak, or who is speaking in the name of another power (a false God) would die.
5. Deut. 18:21, So, to reiterate. “And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which YHWH hath not spoken?”
6. Deut. 18:22, Explained, here we find the summary to the answer of the most important question. When a prophet speaks in the name of YHWH of things pertaining to the future and the things he speaks of do not happen, or the words are not fulfilled, then what he has spoken has NOT been inspired or given by YHWH. That prophet has spoken with presumption, and he is not to be feared or acknowledged.
The result of this truth is the fact, that everything that a prophet speaks (in before time) or pertaining to the future of those to whom the prophet is addressing MUST come to pass within their generation. Meaning: fulfillment must be completed during the life span of those listeners. Without this confirmation the prophet cannot be tested as one that was inspired to be speaking on behalf of YHWH.
If we living today are to assume for example, that the words of the author(s) of the book of Isaiah or those of any other ancient prophet are the authoritative and inspired word of YHWH, then all that is prophesied in the book by that prophet must have come to pass within the generation or life span of the people that were addressed by that prophet. A prophecy is NEVER applicable to people living hundreds or even thousands of years in the future.
Prophecies of future events:
To repeat, Prophets never speak of events hundreds or thousands of years in the future. Such prophesy has no value to those to whom the message is delivered or addressed and cannot be acted upon by those listening. A prophesy of future events only has value if the predictions of a prophet can be proven to have come true in the past, this is the only way a prophet can be tested to be a true prophet. Those hearing the prophecy and those who have tested the words of the prophet in the past (according to Scripture) as coming true, can act or “hearken to” the message of that tested true prophet.
Again, the testing of a prophet always requires a fulfillment of a past prophecy within the life span of the prophet, or within the life span of the generation listening to him. Note: a Biblical generation is within 40 +/- years from those hearing the message from the prophet.
Those of us that are living thousands of years after the prophets of ancient Israel spoke to the ancient Israelite people as YHWH instructed them, are as a fact, reading the Scriptural events of prophesies that have already been completed. We are reading history. If for example, Isaiah was a true prophet, (there is no doubt he was) his message of a prediction would have come to pass in his generation. But to us living today the prophecy is “past tense.” In other words, all past prophecy spoken by a “true” prophet of YHWH would have come to pass since the prophecy spoken was for the benefit of the immediate future of those to whom the message was addressed and delivered.
All other so-called prophets claiming “inspiration” must fall under the same testing requirements as the ancient prophets of Israel who spoke to the people of true Israel. If any prophet of today fails the testing requirements, then the words spoken by that prophet are not “inspired” and are NOT the words provided to them by YHWH. Their words are private, and not inspired by YHWH.
The testing of prophets is a requirement for all true believers of the Hebrew Scriptures, and it must conform to what YHWH in the Scripture teaches us. Understanding this truth is for our own benefit and will simplify much of what we read in the Scriptures especially those “prophecies in time” that predict the future. This eliminates all past tense prophecies that were presented for the benefit of the ancient Israelites only, but are NOT directed and are not intended for those of us living today.
Ancient Scriptural prophesies are useful to us as historical events and we can learn from them. The testing of a prophet and his prophesy helps to eliminate all unfounded conjecture and the fantastic opinions or predictions that come from false prophets. Such false prophets only seek control and manipulation of gullible people, or they are designed to lure people into jointing their Church.
What about the Book of Revelation?
Many modern day churches, especially TV oriented evangelical type “mega” churches are neck deep in future predictions. Hardly a week goes by when a new book isn’t offered to the Christian public (free of course with a recommended donation). This is prevalent in hard times. Millions of dollars are generated from so-called experts on the so called coming Revelation events. Are they reliable?
Let’s take a look. The Jerusalem Bible version (just one translation) in its introduction to the book of Revelation closes in part with this interesting paragraph: “As it stands, the text of Revelation presents many difficulties: repetitions, interruptions in the sequence of visions, and passages obviously divorced from their context. Many explanations have been suggested: that Revelation was compiled from diverse sources, that whole chapters have been accidentally misplaced, etc.” (Emphasis ours)
If one still wants to believe that Revelation is inspired, then the key to the prophecy written in the entire book can be found in Rev 1:4, since the verse says that the book of Revelation was written to the seven churches in Asia. Therefore, if you are not living in Asia some 2,000+ years ago, the events in it can not apply to you! Unfortunately Revelation is a book that some denominations can’t seem to do without. I guess they need it to keep the mystery of it going. But, were the events of Revelation “close at hand” or near “the time” the people of the seven churches in Asia lived, and when they heard the words or not? Read Rev 1:3, and 22:10, and then you can be the judge!
Yes, you can determine the truth by using the tests that YHWH has provided for you in His Scriptures!
Author: Yochannan William