You know, a lot of today’s prophets seem to behave a lot more like the false prophets of old than like the prophets of the Lord…
In olden times, the prophets of the Lord told of famine (Acts 11:27-28), bondage (Acts 21:10-11), coming judgment (Ezekiel 3:17-21), /not/ succeeding in battle (1 Kings 22:14-28), punishing fire (Amos 1:1-2:8), etc.
But today some of the latest prophets teach others that if they want to prophesy they should only speak ‘positive’ and ‘encouraging’ words.
Yet, if we take a brief moment to look at the false prophets of old, this was exactly their practice!
The false prophets of old spoke of victory in battle (unanimously, I might add; all 400 of them in 1 Kings 22:6), peace (when there was none; Jeremiah 6:13-14), /safety/ from sword and famine (Jeremiah 14:13-16), etc.
With all of these positive words from the false prophets, Jesus told us that these false prophets were very well-liked people:
“Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 2:26).
The true prophets of the Lord, however, were very un-liked (read, “hated”) people (1 Kings 22:8), being thrown in prison (Mark 6:17-18) and threatened with death (Elijah in 1 Kings 19:1-2).
Yet not only are the topics different between the true prophets of old and many modern prophets, but so is the prophetic “success rate.”
Today’s prophets are encouraged to make mistakes while they are learning to prophesy, but in olden times the Lord said:
“The prophet, who 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 you say in your heart, /How shall we know/ the word which the LORD has not spoken?
“When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing follows not, /nor comes to pass/, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken, but the prophet has spoken it presumptuously.”
(Deuteronomy 18:20-22a, KJV2000, emphasis mine)
So for the true prophets of the Lord in olden times, they did not make mistakes (1 Samuel 3:19, 1 Kings 22:28, 1 Samuel 15:28-29, Isaiah 55:11)! If any prophet did make a mistake – if any of their words did not come true – they were supposed to be put to death for speaking things which the Lord had not spoken (Deuteronomy 18:22)!
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to “presume to speak” words which the Lord has not spoken…
As I wrap up, I’d just like to give one additional warning: /Even if/ a prophet’s word comes true, that doesn’t guarantee they’re from God. We read in Deuteronomy 13:
“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder,
“And the sign or wonder /comes to pass/, of which he spoke unto you, and he says, Let us go after other gods, which you have not known, and let us serve them;
“You shall not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. … “And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he has spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God”
(Deuteronomy 13:1-3,5a, KJV2000, emphasis mine)
So, friends, let’s be careful in uttering words on the Lord’s behalf. God does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:16-17), so if we speak on His behalf, we best make sure it is His firm and unchanging word we are speaking, lest we find ourselves also among the false prophets.