Real Prophets #4

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This entry is part 4 of 12 in the series Real Prophets

I suspect the months leading up to the year 2000 saw more prophecies than any comparable period since, well, the last time they moved into a new millennium. But they weren’t really prophecies; they were just predictions. What’s the difference, you may ask? Well, predictions are not expected to be perfect—they are made on scientific data, like weather predictions or stock market predictions—and they can be wrong. Prophecy (at least, by real prophets) is made under divine inspiration—they speak on behalf of God. They are supposed to be infallible.

Now, how are you supposed to tell if a prophet is telling you the truth or not? How can you tell if he’s a real prophet or just a false prophet, or a predictor, astrologer, or whatever else it may be? Well, if you’re talking about God, then the place to go is the Bible, obviously. There are two interesting statements in the Bible (in the Law of God, specifically) dealing with how you answer this question I just asked: How do you know if a prophet is telling the truth or not? With all the modern-day prophecies we are hearing, these could be useful bits of information. The first one is found in the 18th chapter of Deuteronomy. Here, Moses speaking on behalf of God warns:

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.

Deuteronomy 18:20–22 KJV
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Ronald L. Dart

Ronald L. Dart (1934–2016) — People around the world have come to appreciate his easy style, non-combative approach to explaining the Bible, and the personal, almost one-on-one method of explaining what’s going on in the world in the light of the Bible. After retiring from teaching and church administration in 1995 he started Christian Educational Ministries and the Born to Win radio program.

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