Sunday, January 17, 2021

Prophecies - How to Discern the True from the False (From James Goll)

(Maumee Bay State Park, Ohio, on Lake erie)

I'm on the leadership team of Holy Spirit Renewal Ministries. This past summer we had a wonderful online mini-conference with Robby Dawkins and James Goll.

I've heard Robby several times - what a great activist for Jesus and the Kingdom!

This was the first I'd heard James speak. I, and many of our people, were greatly blessed. You can hear James's message HERE.

James is a prophetic voice I pay attention to, as do many other Christian leaders I admire.

This is important, because crises like the pandemic (Y2K, plagues, wars, economic meltdowns, etc.) bring out many false prophets. 

False prophecies abound on the internet. I have heard so many false prophecies over my fifty (!) years as a Jesus-follower. Most of them have only...

...produced fear in people, 

...caused people to get defensive and retreat from the battle (my Jesus took authority and calmed the storm, rather than saying "Look out disciples - here comes the big one!"), 

...are non-victorious (my Jesus is still the Lion of Judah, and on the offense, not hunkering down in a bunker!), ...

...and have never come to pass (I can't remember a time I heard a false prophet repent of this, and ask for forgiveness for all the anxiety they produced in good people).  

I believe in the manifestation of prophecy. 

I desire to prophecy. (Christians - read THIS.

So, for followers of Jesus, how can we discern the true from the false? Here's what James Goll says in his book The Seer

1. Does the revelation edify, exhort, or console? “But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation” (1 Cor. 14:3). The end purpose of all true prophetic revelation is to build up, to admonish, and to encourage the people of God. Anything that is not directed to this end is not true prophecy. Jeremiah the prophet had to fulfill a negative commission, but even his difficult message contained a powerful and positive promise of God for those who were obedient (see Jer. 1:5,10). First Corinthians 14:26  sums it up best: “Let all things be done for edification.” 

2. Is it in agreement with God’s Word? “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16a KJV). True revelation always agrees with the letter and the spirit of the Scriptures (see 2 Cor. 1:17-20). Where the Holy Spirit says “yea and amen” in Scripture, He also says yea and amen in revelation. He never, ever, contradicts Himself. 

3. Does it exalt Jesus Christ? “He will glorify Me; for He will take of Mine, and will disclose it to you” (John 16:14). All true revelation ultimately centers on Jesus Christ and exalts and glorifies Him (see Rev. 19:10). 

4. Does it have good fruit? “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits…” (Matt. 7:15-16). True revelatory activity produces fruit in character and conduct that agrees with the fruit of the Holy Spirit (see Eph. 5:9; Gal. 5:22-23). Some of the aspects of character or conduct that clearly are not the fruit of the Holy Spirit include pride, arrogance, boastfulness, exaggeration, dishonesty, covetousness, financial irresponsibility, licentiousness, immorality, addictive appetites, broken marriage vows, and broken homes. Normally, any revelation that is responsible for these kinds of results is from a source other than the Holy Spirit. 

5. If it predicts a future event, does it come to pass? (See Deuteronomy 18:20-22.) Any revelation that contains a prediction concerning the future should come to pass. If it does not, then, with a few exceptions, the revelation is not from God. Exceptions may include the following issues:
- Will of the person involved. 

- National repentance—Nineveh repented, so Jonah’s word of judgment did not occur. 

- Messianic predictions (they took hundreds of years to be fulfilled). 

- There is a different standard for New Testament prophets than for Old Testament prophets, whose predictions played into God’s Messianic plan of deliverance.

6. Does the prophetic prediction turn people toward God or away from Him? (See Deuteronomy 13:1-5.) The fact that a person makes a prediction concerning the future that is fulfilled does not necessarily prove that that person is moving by Holy Spirit-inspired revelation. If such a person, by his own ministry, turns others away from obedience to the one true God, then that person’s ministry is false—even if he makes correct predictions concerning the future. 

7. Does it produce liberty or bondage? “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father’” (Rom. 8:15). True revelation given by the Holy Spirit produces liberty, not bondage (see 1 Cor. 14:33; 2 Tim. 1:7). The Holy Spirit never causes God’s children to act like slaves, nor does He ever motivate us by fear or legalistic compulsion. 

8. Does it produce life or death? “Who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor. 3:6). True revelation from the Holy Spirit always produces life, not death. 

9. Does the Holy Spirit bear witness that it is true? “As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him” (1 John 2:27). The Holy Spirit within the believer always confirms true revelation from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of truth” (see John 16:13). He bears witness to that which is true, but He rejects that which is false. This ninth test is the most subjective test of all the tests we’ve presented here. For that reason, it must be used in conjunction with the previous eight objective standards.