The scriptures gave the Lord’s people ways to determine if a person was truly a prophet (one who had a message from the Lord to His people). Let’s look at those.

FAITHFUL TO THE WORD OF GOD – Deuteronomy 13:1-4, “If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, LET US GO AFTER OTHER GODS, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; THOU SHALT NOT HEARKEN UNTO THE WORDS OF THAT PROPHET, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.”

THE ACCURACY OF THE PROPHET – Deuteronomy 18:20-22, “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, EVEN THAT PROPHET SHALL DIE. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, IF THE THING FOLLOW NOT, NOR COME TO PASS, THAT IS THE THING WHICH THE LORD HATH NOT SPOKEN, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”

THE LIFESTYLE OF THE PROPHET – Jeremiah 23:14, “I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: THEY COMMIT ADULTERY, AND WALK IN LIES: THEY STRENGTHEN ALSO THE HANDS OF EVILDOERS, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.”

Besides there, there are other ‘tests’ for the Old Testament prophets. I did not singularly include ‘signs’, although it is included in Deuteronomy 13:1. There were some false prophets who also gave evidence of signs, yet they proved to be false.

What about our day? What is a test for us to identify false prophets today? The Lord said in 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. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” The appearance of these people and their claims are no proof of their true character. We know them by the lives they live. If you see a patch of thorns and thistles, do you expect to gather grapes or figs? NO. If we see in someone’s life immorality, lack of love, love for sin, a desire to be followed, no discernment of the Word of God, no good results from their ministry etc., these are indicators that they are truly false. We read in John 7:18, “He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory…” One who loves to draw attention to himself, rather than to Christ could certainly be a false prophet. How can we possibly have the discernment to identify and reject a false prophet? We must take on the responsibility to be serious students of the Bible, to be constant practitioners of heart-felt praise and prayer, and to spend much time at the feet of the Lord Jesus so that we can learn more and more about Him. That will help empower us be able to distinguish the true from the false. (274.8)