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Gene’s Daily Scriptural Postings

Testing Modern Day Prophets: Matthew 7:7-20

Focus Passage: Matthew 7:7-20 (CEV)

As Jesus nears the end of His famous “Sermon on the Mount”, He gives a warning to those listening to His words. This warning is about false prophets, and Jesus gives a very clear way we can single them out. Surprisingly, this way of identifying false prophets is not what people seem to use today.

Jesus tells those listening, “Watch out for false prophets! They dress up like sheep, but inside they are wolves who have come to attack you. You can tell what they are by what they do. No one picks grapes or figs from thornbushes. A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. Every tree that produces bad fruit will be chopped down and burned. You can tell who the false prophets are by their deeds.” (v. 15-20)

The incredibly simple test we can use is by looking at what the prophet does. How the prophet lives will determine whether they are from God. Jesus could have said, “Watch out for prophets, because anyone who comes after me who claims this title is trying to lead you astray.”

When we look at the broad Christian church throughout the centuries following Jesus, it would seem as though most take this stance, but Jesus doesn’t say this. Instead, Jesus hints at the possibility of more prophets coming in the years after He lived.

Most people believe prophets were simply people in the Old Testament who called the people back to God and/or who predicted about the upcoming birth of Jesus. The logic says that since Jesus came and fulfilled the prophecies, there is no more need for any prophet to come.

However, this is a poor way of looking at the Prophet’s role. Instead, each prophet was called to share a message from God for a people at a specific period of history. All of God’s prophets pointed towards Jesus in some way. The Old Testament examples we have all point forward to Jesus. But following the gospels, any new prophet must point back to Jesus and forward to His second coming to be eligible.

Also, to be considered a true prophet according to Jesus’ own words, the prophet’s actions must line up with God’s character. This doesn’t mean that they are sinless, because even the prophets in the Old Testament couldn’t claim this level of perfection. Instead, it means that they are continually striving towards God and better representing Him to those they are sent to.

Someone who claims to be a prophet must love like Jesus and be a genuine witness for God through both their words and their actions. False prophets always have great things to say and a convincing argument, but their actions betray their motives, and if they are not living in a way that is moving towards God then Jesus calls them false. If they have a sin that they don’t want to get rid of, then they cannot be from God. Because Jesus put this test in place, we can trust it will stand the test of time!

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