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The Eighteenth (Prophets)

Happy New Year!

As we get closer and closer to Jesus' return, we are undoubtedly going to see more and more prophets come forward. It's important to understand that prophets provide key messages from Yehovah when they're needed. He doesn't have a TV station where He can interrupt broadcasting to provide us direction or instruction! It's also important to understand that with His prophets will come false prophets, and we need to be cautious to prevent from being deceived by them.

First, let's talk about what prophets actually are. One of the ways we can determine what words mean and how they're used by the Holy Spirit in scripture is by looking at the first occurrence of the word. This is a common practice used to interpret scripture, and it's discussed in E. W. Bullinger's How to Enjoy the Bible. He took a look at the word "prophet" and its first occurrence is in Genesis 20:7 where it's used to refer to Abraham.

This verse doesn't give us much information on what a prophet is. In fact, with the modern day use of the word, it gives us some confusion. You won't find any verses of Abraham foretelling future events, but that's mostly what people these days think is the only thing prophets do. Perhaps the next occurrence will give us some more information.

Exodus 7:1 calls Aaron a prophet. However, this is an interesting situation because it's calling Aaron Moses' prophet! The next verse gives us some amplifying information, letting us know Aaron was to speak to Pharaoh for Moses. Because of the things Yehovah did for Moses to show Pharaoh His power, Pharaoh saw him as a god. So now we know that a prophet is a spokesperson for a god, and true prophets speak to us from Yehovah.

The next occurrence of the word gives even more amplifying information. In Numbers 12:6, Yehovah Himself states that He will communicate with prophets via visions and dreams. He was a little upset at the time. Aaron and Miriam were speaking against Moses because of the woman he married. Yehovah came down in a pillar cloud to speak those words Himself to Miriam, Aaron and Moses. So we also know that prophets will be communicated with by Him using visions, dreams, and, for extremely loyal, dedicated and faithful servants, direct mouth to mouth speaking.

Since we're on a roll, let's go to the next occurrence of the word "prophet." Here, we are given a method to determine the validity of a so-called prophet. Deuteronomy 13:1-4 tells us if a prophet tells us to serve any gods other than Yehovah we shall not listen to them. Seems a little obvious, but there's a key aspect to this that's important. In these verses, we're told the prophet gives us signs or wonders that actually come to pass. So we see that if a prophet tells us something and it actually happens, this is not sufficient to verify the person is not a false prophet. False prophets can give signs or wonders that actually happen as well. Remember, Satan has spirits that have the ability to foretell the future, as well as those that can enable people to perform "miracles" (Exodus 7:11,12).

Jumping ahead to Deuteronomy 18:22, we see that if what a prophet said doesn't happen that's a clear indication that the person does not speak in the name of Yehovah. Now we start to see where the current usage of the term "prophet" gets its beginning. True prophets may give signs or wonders from Yehovah, and this would be one part of determining their validity. Another part, as we discussed above, being they don't tell you to follow other gods.

As always, testing a prophet's words via scripture and praying about them is a must. Anything spoken contrary to scripture is a clear indicator of a false prophet as scripture is to be used for reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). If everything the person says lines up with scripture, PRAY! Ask Him to give you wisdom and discernment so you are not led astray.

So what types of things are we listening for from His prophets? Going through scripture you can find that it can pretty much run the gamut. From instruction, to warning, to future events, prophetic messages can vary greatly. In fact, going through the occurrences of prophet I came across 2 Samuel 24:11-15. In these verses, the prophet Gad gets a message for David which is a choice from Yehovah on what punishment should be given for what he did. So, prophets can even give choices from God!

But aren't prophets only in the Bible? Why do we care about how to discern true prophets of Yehovah from false prophets? Much the same as the fact that demons are discussed in scripture and didn't just stop existing, prophets didn't stop existing once the last book of the Bible was written. In fact, we know that there are going to be at least two important prophets in the tribulation (Revelation 11:3-12), and I believe there are true prophets even today. Joel 2:28 tells us the Holy Spirit will be poured out on all flesh and there will be prophets and dreamers and seers. There is a lot of chaff out there, but we must not ignore the true prophets of Yehovah that are giving us important, key messages from Him!

Shabbat Shalom and God bless you! May your 2021 be full of blessings and joy!

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