1. Gifts of Prophecy

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"Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy,
they will be done away..." 1 Corinthians 13:8

Prior to the time of Jesus, prophets delivered the word of God to the people. But in these last days, God speaks to us through His Son.

"God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world." Hebrews 1:1-2 (NAS)

In the early church, the gift of prophecy was encouraged (I Corinthians 14:1); although Paul, the apostle, spoke of the day that would come when prophecy would cease:

"Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away." 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 (NAS)

The need for prophecy before the written word of the New Testament

As the words of Jesus were written down by the apostles and Jesus' close disciples, they were distributed to the churches by letter. The collection of these letter written by these inspired apostles and disciples is referred to as the New Testament. Once the copies of these inspired letters were being circulated among the congregations, the need for inspired prophets diminished. Jesus told his close disciples that He would give them the Holy Spirit to remember His words. As the disciples wrote what we now call the New Testament, the Holy Spirit guided their memories and understanding:

Jesus said to His close disciples:  "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." John 14:26 (NAS)

The Rise of False Prophets

Even before the time that true prophecy would fail, there arose false prophets to deceive the people. This is one of Jesus' warnings that He gave very early in His ministry:

"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves." Matthew 7:15 (NAS)

From the Old Testament days to now, the people of God have been plagued by the deception of false prophets, false teachers, false gods and false spirits. 

The tests of a false prophet or teacher (or a dreamer of dreams)

The scriptures provide a number of tests so that we can determine a true prophet of God from a false prophet.  Let's look at eight of these below:

Eight Tests of a False Prophet, Teacher or Spirit

Test #1: Do all the prophet's prophecies come true?

"When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him."  Deuteronomy 18:22  (NAS)

"The prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then that prophet will be known as one whom the LORD has truly sent." Jeremiah 28:9 (NAS)

Test #2: Even if the prophecies come true, does that prophet or dreamer of dreams have you go after and serve gods other than the One True God?

"If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him." Deuteronomy 13:1-4 (NAS)

Test #3: Do prophets take their own words or thoughts and make them seem as if they are from God? Do they prophesy false dreams?

"The prophet who has a dream may relate his dream, but let him who has My word speak My word in truth. What does straw have in common with grain?" declares the LORD. Is not My word like fire?" declares the LORD, "and like a hammer which shatters a rock? Therefore behold, I am against the prophets," declares the LORD, "who steal My words from each other. Behold, I am against the prophets," declares the LORD, "who use their tongues and declare, 'The Lord declares.' "Behold, I am against those who have prophesied false dreams," declares the LORD, "and related them, and led My people astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting; yet I did not send them or command them, nor do they furnish this people the slightest benefit," declares the LORD." Jeremiah 23:28-32  

Test #4: Do prophets tell of peace and safety for those that continue to sin against God willfully... when the Lord's word does not provide peace and safety? "For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for gain, and from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely. And they have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, saying, 'Peace, peace,' but there is no peace." Jeremiah 6:13-14 (NAS)

"So My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will have no place in the council of My people, nor will they be written down in the register of the house of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel, that you may know that I am the Lord GOD. It is definitely because they have misled My people by saying, 'Peace!' when there is no peace. And when anyone builds a wall, behold, they plaster it over with whitewash; so tell those who plaster it over with whitewash, that it will fall. A flooding rain will come, and you, O hailstones, will fall; and a violent wind will break out. "Behold, when the wall has fallen, will you not be asked, 'Where is the plaster with which you plastered it?'" Ezekiel 13:9-12 (NAS)

"For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?" Hebrews 10:26-29 (NAS)

Test #5: Does the prophet or teacher try to teach a different gospel than what has been laid out in the New Testament? "I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ." Galatians 1:6-12 (NAS)
Test #6: Does the prophet or teacher try to add to or take away from the prophecies or other words of God contained in the Bible?

Or does that prophet or teacher not recognize the New Testament epistles or letters as the Lord's command?

"You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you." Deuteronomy 4:2 (NAS)

"I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book." Revelation 22:18-19 (NAS)

Paul, referring to his writings to the church that he received by revelation from Jesus, "If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord's commandment. But if anyone does not recognize this he is not recognized." 1 Corinthians 14:37-38 (NAS)

Test #7: Does the prophet or teacher perform so-called signs, wonders or miracles...and at the same time introduce strange teachings that are contrary to what the Bible teaches? "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep." 2 Peter 2:1-3 (NAS)

Matthew 24:24-26 -- "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance. If therefore they say to you, 'Behold, He is in the wilderness,' do not go forth, or, 'Behold, He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe them." (NAS)

Mark 13:22-23 -- "...for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order, if possible, to lead the elect astray. But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance." (NAS)

Matthew 7:15-16 -- "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. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they?" (NAS)

Matthew 24:11-13 -- "And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many. And because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved." (NAS)

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 -- "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds." (NAS)

Galatians 2:4-5 -- "But it was because of the false brethren who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you." (NAS)

II Thessalonians 2:9-12: "...the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness." (NAS)

I John 4:1 -- "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (NAS)

The church in Ephesus is noted for finding false apostles -- Revelation 2:1-2 -- "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: 'I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot endure evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false..." (NAS)

Test #8 -- Does the prophet or teacher exalt himself to being as a god?

II Thessalonians 2:2-4 -- "...that you may not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God."

In addition tp prophecies fading away, scripture also says that tongues would cease.

3b.  Gifts given by the Spirit that were intended to fade away.

  1. Prophecy.
  2. Tongues.
  3. Knowledge.
Gifts That Fade

Click on "Tongues" below to continue...

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