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How to test the spirits and identify false preachers

one of the gifts of Holy Spirit is the gift to receive Prophecys. (1 Corinthians 12)

Jesus also warns us in Matthew 24:24

For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs 
and miracles to deceive even the elect -  if that were possible.

So I am wondering, how can we know that someone is a prophet of Jesus?


Jesus speaks of false prophets elsewhere, and lays out the appropriate test:

Matthew 7:15-20

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

A false prophet, therefore, is someone who claims to be a prophet, but whose works are evil, whereas a true prophet will bring forth good fruit, and his works will be edifying and uplifting of those around him, as per the teachings of Jesus and the principles of the Gospel.


Test the Spirits

John gives a fairly straight forward formula for testing just that.

1 John 4:1-4

Dear friends, 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. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

If I were going to add anything else to this (for the sake of context!) and without just quoting the rest of the chapter, is that John goes on to say that 'God is love, Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him'. So from John, we have 2 criteria

1) Do they preach the gospel of Jesus Christ?

2) and do they 'live in love'?

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