The Gifts Part 58
Determining the ultimate goal of a word of prophecy is yet another biblical means by which we can judge prophecy. If a prophetic word exhorts you to repentance, holiness, righteousness, obedience and humility, if it points the way to Christ and the cross honoring God and not man, then it is very likely that the word is from the Lord. When a word of prophecy is of the Lord, its ultimate goal will be your sanctification, your preparedness, and your spiritual maturity. Even when God gives a word of forewarning concerning things to come, in His goodness and mercy He addresses His beloved in such a way that they are comforted by the knowledge of His protection and the reassurance that He will keep them safe and unharmed under the shadow of His wing.
If however, a word exhorts you to licentiousness, rebellion, and disobedience urging idolatry rather than subservience to God, if man is honored rather than Jesus, if a word’s singular purpose is to spark fear in the heart and gives no hope to the faithful, then give that word a wide berth and do not let it worm its way into your heart.
Deuteronomy 13:1-3, “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods which 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 know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
So let’s unpack this passage for a while just so we get a better understanding of certain essential facts. First a prophet or a dreamer of dreams does not merely prophecy as this passage points out, but they may even give a sign or a wonder, and that sign or wonder might even come to pass. As exciting as the notion of being given a sign or a wonder then seeing it come to pass might be what we must be aware of is that false prophets and those who would deceive us into straying from the path of righteousness are likewise endowed with power. A sign or a wonder in and of itself is not evidence that an individual is of God or divinely inspired!
Even though a sign or a wonder might come to pass, one that was foretold by a certain individual, we must still be wise in determining the ultimate goal, and seeing whether they point the way to Jesus, or to an idol or false god.
By what this passage implies, we realize that God allows such men to exist, and uses them to test us, to see whether we love Him with all our heart and all our soul. Are we worshiping God out of love, or a vested interest? Do we love Him with all our heart and soul or do we feign love in order to get material possessions? Is it the true God that we worship or the idols of our own making, those things which have supplanted Him, and those things to which we have surrendered our hearts in lieu of Him?
To those who would insist that we have nothing to worry about, that we can dismiss this scripture passage offhand because false gods are not as numerous as they once were, and believers are in no danger of following those that still remain, I would submit to you that false gods are as plentiful today as they’ve ever been. A false god need not have an altar, a temple, an image fashioned of bronze or gold or steel. A false god is anything that takes the rightful place of the one true God in our hearts, and the church today is filled to bursting with false gods and idols of every shape and size. If anything in your life robs you of the time that could have otherwise been spent with God, if anything in your life robs you of the resources that could have otherwise been given to God, then that thing is an idol, a false god.
So why is it important to determine the ultimate goal of a prophecy? Why is it important not to be mesmerized by signs or wonders but dig deeper to see if they point the way to Jesus or another? Because the day is coming when one will come performing great signs, deceiving those who dwell on the earth, telling them to worship something other than God, and many will follow after him because of the signs he performs.
Revelation 13:13-15, “He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he has granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.”
If all we are concerned with are signs, not bothering to inspect the fruit, not bothering to determine the ultimate goal, but being content with seeing something that suspends natural law, like fire coming down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, then we will be among those who will bend and bow to something other than the one true God. Will there be those that will not worship? Yes, the Bible tells us there will be, but they will be those girded with truth, those for whom the lateness of the hour is not reason to slumber but to be all the more alert and awake.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.