Written by Evi Idoghor
There was a unique group of people who were living under unique circumstances. A king from another land had invaded their territory and captured their king. The so-called king even had the audacity to take away with him some of the articles of worship from the house of the Lord, thus enormous fear gripped the people of the land—if this foreign king didn’t have regard for their God, then they were doomed. So, they looked to their prophets to bring a word from the Lord. Possibly, words of hope and encouragement.
However, beforehand, Jeremiah, a devout prophet of God to His people, warned the Israelites not to listen to these prophets who were going to fill their ears with what it was itching to hear. “Do not listen to the words of your prophets who prophesy to you, saying “behold the vessels of the Lord’s house will now shortly be brought back from Babylon,” for they prophesy a lie to you.” He warned, but they failed to listen. He went ahead to inform them that their present situation was actually the will of God and He also had a plan to preserve them if they served this King who held them captive, but if they didn’t, they would lose their lives.
Rather, they wanted to hear from a prophet, Hananiah, who told them that he also heard from the Lord, and the Lord said their sufferings were going to be over in two years. However, if you are familiar with this story, the captivity lasted for 70 years.
It is no news that we still live in times when people claim that they have heard from God, and as such, this is what He is saying for a particular season. Such messages were rampant during the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Many, (especially in this part of the world) emerged saying, God had told them that the pandemic would be over within a short period of time or God had exposed the cause of the pandemic to them. Some had contradicting messages with others, but somehow, they all claimed their messages were from the same God.
This whole “God spoke to me” or “thus saith the Lord” went to another level during the US elections in November of last year. Many claimed that God said President Trump was going to win the elections, and they kept praying and prophesying that it would indeed happen, even after the results were announced.
Some pastors called for angels to leave their posts in Africa and South America, to ensure that the word of the Lord will come to pass, no matter what. Social media prophets also did not allow their audiences to rest, as they all kept saying—thus says the Lord, Donald Trump would win the November 2020 elections. And then, it didn’t happen.
“When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if that thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” —Deuteronomy 18:22 (NKJV)
Before this verse, Moses was addressing the people of God, telling them what to do and what not to do. He also revealed to them that God was going to raise a prophet like him from their own community who was going to do all God would require of him. But there was a caveat. God made a bold declaration that anyone who spoke lies in His name, under the guise of prophecy, would die. Then the people wondered: how then do we know who is from God, and who isn’t?
The Litmus Test
A litmus test according to collinsdictionary.com is any test in which a single factor determines the finding. It can be used in chemistry to test for alkalinity or acidity of a solution. If you insert a light blue litmus paper into a solution and it turns red, then the solution is acidic. If you insert a red litmus paper into a solution and it turns blue, then the solution is basic. It’s that simple, there are no if’s or buts about it. In the above scripture, the litmus test for determining if a prophecy is from God is the ability for that prophecy to become reality—if the prophecy doesn’t happen, then it isn’t from God.
Numbers 23:19 tells us that God is not a man that He should lie or the son of man that he should change his mind. The book of Isaiah also reiterates this point saying that just as the rains water the earth, causing the flowers to flourish and doesn’t return to where it came from, then the word which God has spoken or sent out can never return to Him void. Simply put, if God said it, then it must happen. It is impossible for God to lie or contradict Himself.
Beware of False Prophets
The bible warns us countless times about false prophets and why we should avoid them. False prophets are dangerous to the body of Christ (The Church) and also unbelievers. You can imagine the number of people, who do not believe in God, but heard all these prophets, pastors, ministers, evangelicals, Christians, and so on, prophesy that the sitting president at the time, was going to continue his tenure, and then it ended up not happening. Wouldn’t they then see Christianity as a joke? Wouldn’t it further put them off from Christ?
Just because something seems uncomfortable, does not mean it is not the will of God. In Jeremiah 27: 5-7 (NKJV) God said “I have made the earth, the man, and the beast that are on the ground, by My great power, and by My outstretched arm, and have given it to whom it seemed proper to Me. And now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant; and the beasts of the field I have also given him to serve him. So all nations shall serve him and his son and his son’s son until the time of his land comes; and then many nations and great kings shall make him serve them.”
If you keep reading further God goes ahead to warn them not to listen to anyone who would speak a word contrary to that which He had already spoken, because those were lies. I wish all the people who prophesied falsely came out to say they were wrong and repent of their sins. Yet, some of them are still stubborn about it, while others have rested on the scripture which says—we know in part, therefore we prophesy in part. However, the events in November 2020, was an isolated situation. They declared that Trump was going to win the election, yet the outcome simply told us that those words were lies.
I would say that perhaps what the bible was speaking about where that scripture is referenced, was when the prophets of old, spoke on certain things that were going to happen, however, none of them had the full picture. Yet, they all worked hand in hand, even if some never met themselves, to convey God’s message about Christ being the redemption for all humanity.
It is a different case if you are praying for a certain outcome, and it doesn’t happen, compared to when you are saying this is what God said, and it doesn’t happen. Those are two completely different things. And since God can never lie, then the prophet who has spoken falsely is the liar.
Anyway, what happened in the months leading up to November, and after that, was an eye-opener for Christians to begin unlearning certain doctrines and practices that they thought to be true. God has been taking me on that journey since 2016. When we align our lives according to His will, which is His word, then we begin to see and weigh things differently.
“Your pursuit for prophecies, signs, and miracles, should never outweigh your pursuit for Jesus.”
If there is one thing you can take away from today’s article is the proven fact that God cannot contradict Himself. If someone says to you that they have a word from God for you, measure it against Deuteronomy 18:22, regardless if the word is good or bad. I would also say this, we have the opportunity to ask God for mercy, especially in situations when we receive a bad word, which might involve sickness or loss of any kind. We can cry out to God, and He can show us mercy. So do not just accept anything anyone throws at you. Hezekiah was an example of this, he got a word that he was going to die, however, he pleaded with God, and God had mercy on him (2 Kings 20).
The danger also lies where these so-called prophets tell you that you are going to become the next big thing or win a contract or stumble into billions. Be careful. Don’t chase after such prophecies. They are misleading. One thing I have learned in my journey is that when you are actively seeking God, He orders your steps. You wouldn’t need someone to tell you that you will become this or that; you are already in a relationship with the One who has the ability to make such happen. If He chooses to, fine, if not, that is still okay.
In conclusion, false prophecies are misleading, they portray God as a liar and are off-putting to those who don't know Christ. So, we must avoid them at all costs. True prophecies are great, I believe in them because they are biblical and from God. Yet, everyone must measure the word they receive (test the spirit) against Det. 18:22, and countless scriptures that support what this verse says. Remember, your pursuit for prophecies, signs, and miracles, should never outweigh your pursuit for Jesus.
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