What Qualifies as "Speaking in the Name of the Lord"
and
What Qualifies someone as a False Prophet?

Page 3



Deuteronomy 18:20-22
and

Jeremiah 28




What does it mean
to speak "
in the name of the LORD"
about a thing that is supposed to happen in the future?


It can only mean one of these two different things:



Is it restricted to mean  that someone must specifically quote God's "name", letter-for-letter, using extremely precise language indicating that the words that came directly from God,

- or -


Does it have the more broad meaning that  someone's words lead the people to believe that he is indicating that he has received special messages from God, and those special messages indicate a specific event is coming in the future?



We have the answer to this question in the Bible, and can see it in several ways.






Firstly, The Bible says that ALL False Prophets are identifiable (Matthew 7:15-16).

16: Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
17: Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?


But we already know that many of the normal fruits do not apply to False Prophets. They show signs and wonders and at least believe they do many wonderful works.

Close examination of Jeremiah 28 and Deuteronomy 18:22 (our next topic) tells us precisely what these False Prophet fruits are. A requirement for extremely precise language that identifies each and every word that came from God does not work with this definition. It would mean that False Prophets who are careful, tricky, or perhaps demonic enough could not be identified by the specific False Prophet Fruit indicated next. Only dumb or completely crazy ones would be identifiable by this fruit, which would contradict Matthew 7:16.

What matters is that the people are led to believe, by the person making the statements, that the person believes that the message was delivered to them by God. Nowhere in the Bible does it place specific restrictions upon exactly how the person accomplishes this.

This refers to the person needing to say words like "These words come from the LORD" before saying the supposedly prophetic statement, or specifically making quotation marks around the words which were a prophecy.  If someone builds up the expectation and belief within an audience that he is speaking for God, and then he skips saying words like "These words come from the LORD" directly before saying the supposed prophetic statement, it doesn't matter. He still got the job done.




Secondly, If there was a requirement for extremely specific language to be used to indicate that a prophecy was based on communication from God, it would mean that Deuteronomy 18:20-22 and Jeremiah 28 are not consistent with one other (we see Jeremiah 28 next).




Thirdly,

God would have to be STUPID
to allow a loophole this big
to exist regarding how to identify False Prophets.


If there was an extremely specific language requirement,
this would mean that any old False Prophet could convince people
that he gets messages from God
(using whatever means False Prophets do for that)

and then,
 
the False Prophet could use somewhat obscure language surrounding the actual "prophecies",
in the full knowledge that the people will believe that his predictions come from God because of

#1, he creates the expectation through the way he wrote it,

and

#2, because he already created that belief and expectation in the people.

Then,
when some of the "prophecies" don't come true,
he could then just say "oops" to those, saying they weren't really prophecies,
while taking full credit for any that do come true!

Almost no False Prophets would  be identifiable that way, and
Matt. 7:15-16 says that they are.




Fourthly, Loopholes don't jive with Matthew 7:15-16. Such a thing would represent a loophole, and Deuteronomy 18:20-22 would not create one.




Jeremiah 28 (New Life Version)

Jeremiah and the False Preacher Hananiah

Copyright 1969 by Christian Literature International



In that same year, in the beginning of the rule of King Zedekiah of Judah, in the fifth month of the fourth year, Hananiah the son of Azzur, the man from Gibeon who told what would happen in the future, spoke to me in the house of the Lord.

He said to me in front of the religious leaders and all the people, "This is what the Lord of All, the God of Israel, says: 'I have broken the crossbar across the shoulders of the king of Babylon. Within two years I will bring back to this place all the objects of the Lord's house, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from here and carried to Babylon. I will also bring back to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the people of Judah who were taken to Babylon,' says the Lord. 'For I will break the cross-bar of the king of Babylon.' "

Then Jeremiah, the man of God, spoke to Hananiah, the man who told what would happen, in front of the religious leaders and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord.

And Jeremiah, the man who spoke for God, said, "Let it be so! May the Lord do so. May the Lord make the words you have spoken come true, and bring back to this place from Babylon the objects of the Lord's house and all the people of Judah. Yet listen now to what I am about to say in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people.

"The men who spoke for God before us from long ago spoke of war and trouble and disease coming to many lands and great nations. As for the man who told that peace would come, when his word comes to pass, then that man will be known as the one that the Lord has sent."

Then Hananiah, the man who told what would happen, took the cross-bar from the neck of Jeremiah the man of God and broke it. And Hananiah said in front of all the people, "The Lord says, 'In this way I will break the cross-bar of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all the nations within two years.' " Then Jeremiah the man of God went his way.

Some time after Hananiah had broken the cross-bar from off the neck of Jeremiah, the Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, "Go and tell Hananiah, 'The Lord says, "You have broken the cross-bars of wood, but you have made bars of iron in their place." For the Lord of All, the God of Israel, says, "I have put the cross-bar of iron on the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. And they will serve him. I have given him the animals of the field also." ' ''

Then Jeremiah who spoke for God said to Hananiah who told what would happen, "Listen, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you. And you have made these people trust in a lie. So the Lord says, 'See, I am about to take you from the earth. This year you are going to die, because you have spoken against the right and power of the Lord.' "

So Hananiah, who had said these things in God's name, died in the seventh month of the same year.



A short version of the story:

A false prophet named Hananiah is busy prophesying to the people that, according to God, within 2 years, things would be happening relative to war.

Jeremiah, the actual man of God (not a false prophet), says back to him, but loud enough so everyone can hear it, "That sounds nice, but well, someone ELSE prophesied of peace. And when HIS word comes true, you'll know that HE is the man of God, as opposed with, you know, .... you!"

Hananiah the false prophet gets pissed off and starts breaking stuff, and keeps babbling his same old crap. Jeremiah goes on his way.

Sometime later, Jeremiah (the actual man of God) gets word from God to go tell Hananiah that his prophecy really was completely wrong. Jeremiah does that, and Jeremiah also tells him that he's NOT a Man of God, as he made the people trust in a lie. Essentially, he's just a False Prophet. And, God's going to kill him sometime this year because of his spouting of garbage in His name.

Hananiah manages to die that July, and it wasn't because Jeremiah offed him.



The two critical things to note here are:



First thing: Jeremiah 28:15 helps show us that specific language requirements do not exist regarding the act of leading of the people to believe that the communication is supposed to be a prophecy.


 Jeremiah 28:15:


This was Jeremiah's last visit to the False Prophet Hananiah, in which he gives Hananiah the low-down.
He tells him that he's a False Prophet, beyond a shadow of a doubt, and that's just how it is.

After he does that,
his expansion and clarification of this is as follows:


What the Bible says:

Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet,

Hear now, Hananiah; The LORD hath not sent thee;
but thou makest this people to trust in a lie (KJV).



What the Bible does NOT SAY:

 Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The LORD hath not sent thee;

but  you told them, in very precise and unmistakable language that
you spoke for God, but you weren't actually doing so.



The point Jeremiah makes is that the False Prophet's words made the people trust in a lie/falsehood. Jeremiah indicated this to be part of what defined Hananiah as a False Prophet.










Source: www.blueletterbible.org



Second thing:


Deuteronomy 18:20-22 tells us one thing
that always qualifies someone
as a False Prophet


20: But the prophet, which 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.

21: And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?

22: When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that [is] the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, [but] the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.





We have one False Prophet Fruit clearly identified now.

When the WORD of the Prophet comes to pass,
that's our indicator as to a True Prophet vs. a False One.

That means.. the WORD. Speech. Even in the oldest Greek versions.




What the Bible says:


Jeremiah 28, verse 9:


King James Version

The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the LORD hath truly sent him.

New International Version
"But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the LORD only if his prediction comes true."

New American Standard Bible
"The prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, then that prophet will be known as one whom the LORD has truly sent."

Amplified Bible
But as for the prophet who [on the contrary] prophesies of peace, when that prophet's word comes to pass, [only] then will it be known that the Lord has truly sent him.

New Living Translation
So a prophet who predicts peace must carry the burden of proof. Only when his predictions come true can it be known that he is really from the LORD."

English Standard Version
As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the LORD has truly sent the prophet."

New King James Version
As for the prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the LORD has truly sent.

21st Century King James Version
The prophet who prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known that the LORD hath truly sent him."

New Life Version
As for the man who told that peace would come, when his word comes to pass, then that man will be known as the one that the Lord has sent."

Holman Christian Standard Bible
As for the prophet who prophesies peace—only when the word of the prophet comes true will the prophet be recognized as one whom the LORD has truly sent."

New International Readers Version
But what if a prophet says peace will come? Only if it comes true will he be recognized as one who has been truly sent by the Lord.

Today's New International Version
But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the LORD only if his prediction comes true.








Source: www.blueletterbible.org






What the Bible DOES NOT SAY:


(New Life Version modified)
As for the man who told that peace would come, when his word (minus any mistaken dates and times) comes to pass, then that man will be known as the one that the Lord has sent."

(New Life Version modified)
As for the man who told that peace would come, when his word (minus the stuff he added due to his enthusiasm) comes to pass, then that man will be known as the one that the Lord has sent."

(New Life Version modified)
As for the man who told that peace would come, when whatever God actually told him (even if he didn't say it right) comes to pass, then that man will be known as the one that the Lord has sent."

(New Life Version modified)
As for the man who told that peace would come, when his word (minus the embellishments he added to what God told him) comes to pass, then that man will be known as the one that the Lord has sent."

(New Life Version modified)
As for the man who told that peace would come, when his word (minus his insinuations that led you believe something wrong) comes to pass, then that man will be known as the one that the Lord has sent."

(New Life Version modified)
As for the man who told that peace would come, when something different from what he said happens but what he said was loosely based on a dream someone else had comes to pass, then that man will be known as the one that the Lord has sent."

(New Life Version modified)
As for the man who told that peace would come, when his prediction doesn't come true but he sounds really honest when he says he's still a prophet, then that man will be known as the one that the Lord has sent."

(New Life Version modified)
As for the man who told that peace would come, when what he meant to say (but did not say quite right) comes to pass, then that man will be known as the one that the Lord has sent."

(New Life Version modified)
As for the man who told that peace would come, when what he said does not happen but he had a really good excuse as to why it didn't, then that man will be known as the one that the Lord has sent."





We now have a concise definition of one fruit that identifies a False Prophet.

  • If words pour forth from a person, and
  • those words indicate a prophecy or prediction, and
  • the audience has been led to believe that the person believes that communication with God has yielded these things,

THOSE WORDS MUST COME TRUE

 - or -

THE PERSON IS A  FALSE PROPHET and is NOT a MAN of GOD.



This is an extremely specific 'fruit' in the Bible which is to be used for the express purpose of identification of False Prophets. This point is further evidenced by Matthew 7:22-23 and Mark 13:22 which warn us that the normal "fruits" WILL NOT WORK.




An additional point.

There are certain characteristics that are required within a statement for it to actually be a prophecy, and we can figure out what these requirements are by reading what the Bible has to say about prophecies, as well as examining the many actual prophecies that exist in the Bible.


Depending on the types of things a particular False Prophet says in his supposedly-prophetic statements, we can compare the statement made by the person to the actual characteristics that are required for a real prophecy. If someone makes people believe that he is receiving messages from God, but these messages fail those tests, the speaker could only be a False Prophet.

That's a very long topic for discussion and isn't included here. It is available elsewhere on this web site, though.



This also means that there is yet another loophole that would not work.

 
A False Prophet who gets people around him to help him pick what to say,

and replaces "I" with "We" in his spoken prediction
does not change WHO SPOKE the words, and
does NOT change WHO ANNOUNCED the prediction,

would not automatically make the people who helped him pick the words
into False Prophets too. All it would mean is that this person was not only a False Prophet, but also a manipulator of people's feelings an allegiances.




Also, nowhere in the Bible does it say
that a False Prophet must acknowledge the truth about himself
for it to be official.

Hananiah didn't.



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