Old Testament Prophets vs. New Testament Prophets – What’s the Difference?

When I left the Elijah List, my understanding of prophecy and prophets was, at best, skewed. I knew that prophets and prophecy were real, and that the bible talked about prophets as one of the “5-fold ministries”. Still, I knew that the fruits of our modern day “prophets” were NOT the fruits of righteousness and holiness, but greed, lust and licentiousness.

One day, I asked in desperation, “God! Then how do I know a True Prophet and True Prophecy??”

He replied, “Kevin … READ THE PROPHETS!!”

The End of Confusion

Could it really be that simple? How is it that, in our quest for understanding prophets and prophecy, we overlook about 1/3 (give or take) of the bible? Did God know in advance that, in the latter days, false prophecy would be so prevalent that His Children would need a clear guide to discern false prophecy and true prophecy?

I know this will upset those of you who believe that there is a difference between Old Testament prophecy and New Testament prophecy, but the bottom line is …. THERE ISN’T ANY DIFFERENCE! You will not find anywhere in the bible where God says … “OK, now you prophets who were before Jesus, this is how you should prophesy. And you 5-fold ministry prophets …. you prophesy this other way.” It’s just not there.

Exposing Sin

God, speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, tells us a key characteristic of a True Prophet:

Lamentations 2:14 AMP
“Your prophets have predicted for you falsehood and delusion and foolish things; and they have not exposed your iniquity and guilt to avert your captivity [by causing you to repent]. But they have divined and declared to you false and deceptive prophecies, worthless and misleading.”

True Prophecy will expose sin for what it is …. an abomination in the Eyes of God. True Prophecy will not play with sin. Sin separates God from His Beloved Children and He hates it … yes, He HATES sin. But it is because of God’s Love that He sends true prophets to His people … to bring them to a place of repentance so that the Divine relationship can be restored!

… They Would Have Turned

Are you still not convinced? Let’s try another verse:

Jeremiah 23:21-22 AMP
“I did not send these [false] prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in My council, then they would have caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them [My people] from their evil way and from the evil of their doings.

Funny … where are the instructions on “soaking” or how to have a “third heaven visitation”? Could it be that we’ve missed the mark? I’m not saying certain supernatural events will not take place in the life of a prophet … but those times are usually a result of consecration, service and sacrifice, not following the latest “5 steps to a Heavenly Encounter”.

New Testament Conviction …. by All

Am I coming across too legalistic? Am I ignoring “grace”? Doesn’t the sacrifice of Jesus cover all those “doom ‘n gloom” messages? Let’s look at prophecy in the New Testament for a minute:

I Corinthians 14:23-25 NKJV
“Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in [those who are] uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on [his] face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.

Wow! That almost sounds like the Old Testament! Have the modern day “prophets” included this instruction in their “User-Friendly Prophecy”?

I challenge you to take your understanding of what a modern day “prophet” is supposed to be and compare it to the Word of God. God’s Prophets paid a price … they didn’t charge a fee.

Afterthought: When I turned on my computer this morning, I received an email that David Wilkerson had died. Truly, that man was a prophet. He had a heart for his people and preached holiness and repentance. You would not find him at “How to Prophesy” seminars or touting the latest “soaking” CD. He kept his eyes on Jesus and was famous for his preaching against sin.I’m asking … “Where are those who will follow in his footsteps? Are there any willing to pay the price?”

Understand True Prophecy and you will Understand the Testimony of Jesus,

For the Truth,

Kevin Kleint
Email: kevinkleint@outlook.com

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  1. Ella says

    There is no difference between the function of the Old and the New Testament prophets. We wrongly apply the criteria for the gift of prophecy to the ascension gift of the prophet and tell these individuals that they “shouldn’t be harsh” and ” everything must be done in love”.

    Some people just have the gift of encouraging/edification/exhortation, which is the gift of prophecy. Paul says that all must desire to “prophesy”. And I believe he is saying through this that we must yearn to hear from God so that we can encourage/edify/exhort one another. And that is a level of prophecy that some prophesiers try to move past to function as self-made prophets, even though they don’t have the grace for it.

    The function of the prophet is different. The prophet can prophesy and will always have the gift of prophecy. But she or he functions just the same as her or his Old Testament counterpart. But they are more concentrated on holiness, on repentance, on taking the Sword of the Word to the self and bringing the full, accurate counsel of God to the Church and/or the sphere of society God called them to.

    I know this because the Word of God has become real to me. My life follows this pattern.

  2. Steve says

    I agree with your article but would like to add a few points:
    A difference exists in the quality of the annointing and calling of (not necessarily all but many) prophets of the church as compared with those in the OT.
    As you mentioned all Christians are encouraged to seek the gift of prophecy. No Jew in the OT ever was, instead God alone decided and called them. I believe this explains why there is so much low quality and erroneous prophecy in the church as compared with the OT.
    The OT prophets were so annointed they never made any errors, if they did so they would be stoned to death under the OT law from God. No such infallible anointing necessarily accompanies NT prophets. Instead the bible calls other prophets to test what they say with no punishment of prophets, eg death, who make errors ever implied.
    These represent significant differences between prophets and prophesying in the OT v NT. It is important that we understand this. I believe that ALL Christian prophets (Im talking about those who have a genuine gift in prophecy not the wolves) make mistakes and prophesy falsely on occasions. This even included David Wilkerson who predicted (500?) Fires across NY in 2008 and warned us to stock pile food and water back then (over 5 yrs ago). I still have the utmost respect for him but discerned that that word was not of God back then. Every honest charismatic Christian who has ever prophesied will admit they have also made such errors at some time, (although most will not admit this). If we go in denial of this then the cessationists will have a field day. They will clain no genuine prophet or that gift exists today. The truth is that there is a significant difference in the way prophecy opperates in the NT compared with the OT.
    There are hardly any (or very few) 100% accurate prophecies in the Christian church whereas the OT ones form part of the word of God itself and are completely pure.
    I WOULD GUESS that there are 200 false prophecies (more or less) for every genuine one on the Elijah List. That website is a very bad source of prophecy though, open to all sorts of deception and run by an overseer who has NO DISCERNMENT, (who lacks the gift of discernment of spirits) and who lacks an ability or inclination to analyse them against scripture with his mind.
    Two strands appear to me to exist on that site though. i) those who move primarily in an ooccult annointing, of the R. Joyner and Kansas City Prophets + false Toronto annointing type, which consists of 100% error and ii) those, like the prophets linked to Peter Wagner, most of whome i discern as having a genuine gifting in prophecy but because they adhere to many false teachings and dont move in the gift of discernment of spirits also make a huge No of errors.
    When commenting in an open letter on Wagners error in promoting/exalting Todd Bentley in 2008 Dutch Sheets aknowledged that he and the other prophets linked to Wagner did not move in discernment. They have had some good prophesies as well as errors in the past. I dont think they should be tarred with the same brush as the likes of Joyner and Co. I dont think God does so. However if they dont have discernment then it woud seem unwise for them to publish prophecies until they had sought and recieved that gift and become accustomed to moving in it, its like playing Russian roulette with deception otherwise. Few people do this which is a strange thing.
    Deception is also increasing as we head into the end times and even previously relatively reliable prophets are often finding clear and certain discernment harder to come by.
    The key however is to still seek God for this gift of discernment (as well as testing words against scripture). A genuine NT prophet should never assume that God will not allow you to make mistakes (in the way OT prophets didnt make mistakes) but to always be aware that the enemy can hijack ones ministry for his purposes by ministering false prophecies to you. Unfortunately this is starting to happen more and more in recent years. Many previously genuine prophets are moving across from being quite reliable to moving more often in a false occult annointing as a result.
    Watch out, however, for a great release of discernment from God upon many in the African churches in the near future. Despite all their errors and lapses the batton of dominent Christianity is passing from the western world to African and Chinese Christiansin particular, in the near future. And the Jews will turn to Christ.