"Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge." 1 Corinthians 14:29
All prophetic words must be “judged” or tested to be proven true or false against the perfect standard - God's written Word. The written Word of God is called the "MORE sure word of prophecy." (2 Pet. 1:19) The same Holy Spirit who inspired the written Word will never speak contrary to it (2 Peter 1:20-21).
The "sword of the Spirit" is "the word of God." (Eph. 6:17) God the Holy Spirit will never contradict or speak contrary to the very words He inspired. This would be impossible.
"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6:17
The Bible instructs us to "Despise not prophesyings" and also instructs us to "let the other judge." (1 Cor. 14:29; 1 Thess. 5:20)
We are hemmed in by these two divine instructions concerning prophecy. On one hand we are to place all prophecy on trial against the "more sure word" to see whether or not it is genuinely from God. On the other hand, we must not despise prophesyings, but be open to God speaking to us through prophecy which will always glorify God in Christ and minister "unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort." (1 Cor. 14:3; 1 Pet. 4:10-11)
"Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater (as a servant) is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying." 1 Corinthians 14:1-5
As Christ's disciples we are exhorted here to "desire spiritual gifts." v3 We are also instructed to be "good stewards of the manifold grace of God." (1 Pet. 4:10-11)
We must not shun all prophecy because of the false ones we witness, yet we must test all "words" against the ultimate authority of the written Word of God.
“Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove (test) all things; hold fast that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21
Let’s review what we just read in 1 Thessalonians 5:
- “Quench not the Spirit”
- “Despise not prophesyings”
- “Prove (test) all things”
- “hold fast that which is good”
"All things" must be put to the Biblical acid test to see whether they are true or false. This includes behavior, fruit, teachings, prophecies, motives, etc.
The person who pretends to prophesy for the LORD and can’t even quote a few of His Scriptures from “the more sure word of prophecy” has no business being allowed to function (especially extensively) among God’s people as one who is operating with an authentic prophetic gifting (2 Pet. 1:19-20). The person who does not know God’s Word cannot possibly himself judge what he thinks he is hearing from God against the holy standard if he doesn’t know that standard (the written Word).
THE LIFE OF DISCERNMENT
God's method of teaching His children to discern is primarily through His holy Word:
"But strong meat (deeper Biblical truths) belongeth to them that are of full age (spiritually mature), even those who by reason of use (of the written Word) have their senses exercised to discern (discriminate between) both good and evil." Hebrews 5:14
Remember to always "prove (test) all things." The word "All" here can refer to doctrines, fruit, dreams, visions, prophecies, etc. As wise virgin believers who are diligently watching and staying ready by keeping their lamps full, we must never be naive, but discerning in all things concerning the will of God (Prov. 14:15; Col. 1:9-10; 1 Jn. 4:1, etc.). Knowing the will of God assures that we will be able to discern what is not His will.
“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” Proverbs 30:5-6
False prophets and teachers, who are Satan's agents (2 Cor. 11:13-15), constantly attempt to widdle away at the doctrinal walls which keep the righteous safe from deception. In this the enemy of our souls, like a skilled boxer, is seeking to get us to drop our guard (God's Word), so that he can move in for the kill. Remember that it is "Satan" who "cometh immediately, and taketh away the word." (Mk. 4:15) Our LORD desires and expects us to know His will so that we are not duped by men or devils (Eph. 4:14). To know His Word is to be able to distinguish between evil and good, holy and profane (Ezek. 44:23).
"Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is." Ephesians 5:17
"What is His will?", you might ask. His written Word is His will (see Rom. 1:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3-4; Prov. 22:19-21; Ps 33:11; 119:105; Joshua 1:8). There is no mystery here. You never again need to wonder what God's will is. He has seen fit to have His Word on record for us. This is to allow us the privilege of possessing His written will (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11). And, in knowing His will, we are able to discern what is not his will. Consequently, we will not be "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine (or prophecy), by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive." (Eph. 4:14)
“The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.” Psalms 33:11
The Holy Spirit will never speak contrary to His eternal oracles given to us in written form (in the Bible). The written will of God is what is referred to in Scripture as the "more sure word." (2 Pet. 1:19) Though He does inspire prophecy today (1 Cor. 12:7-10, etc.), God will never inspire anyone to speak contrary to His unchanging Word once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). The Holy Spirit and the Word work hand in hand (Eph. 6:17). In fact, it was God the Holy Ghost who inspired the written Word (2 Pet. 1:20-21; 2 Tim. 3:16). So, any prophecy that does not align with Scripture is clearly not from God and must be exposed as such to warn others, lest they be deceived and misled by it (2 Cor. 10:5; Eph. 5:11; Gal. 1:6-9). If the person who gave the false prophecy refuses to repent and publicly recant after being confronted, he must also be removed.
"To the law and to the testimony (written Word): if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Isaiah 8:20
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1
The written Word, which reveals the LORD and His will, must always be earnestly contended for and defended (Jude 3; Phil. 1:17). Pray for discernment and be exercised in the performance of His Word (will), so that you will not be beguiled. If you do not know the written Word (LOGOS), you will have no basis or standard to discern doctrines and prophecies against, so you will consequently be vulnerable to deception. Here is God's prescription for this deficiency:
"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15
Okay beloved, be exhorted to always walk in discernment. "Keep (guard) thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." (Prov. 4:23) "Keep thyself pure." (1 Tim. 5:22) Remember to prayerfully and with the Holy Scriptures "Prove (test) all things; (and) hold fast that which is good." (1 Thess. 5:21)
In Christ Our Lord,
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