How to Tell the Difference Between Old Testament and New Testament Prophets

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How to Tell the Difference Between Old Testament and New Testament Prophets

When I left my job working for a well-known prophetic ministry, my understanding of prophecy and prophets was, at best, skewed. I knew that prophets and prophecy were real, and that the Bible talked about prophecy 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 to understand 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 between false prophecy and true prophecy?

I know this will upset those of you with dispensationalist training who believe that there is a difference between Old Testament prophecy and New Testament prophecy, but the bottom line is that 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 simply not there. Not even in 1 Corinthians 14 (see Appendix C).

Exposing Sin is a Prophet’s Forte

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!

What is sin?

1 John 3:4
Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

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.

Now that’s strange. Where are their current 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 as too legalistic? Am I ignoring “grace?” Doesn’t the sacrifice of Jesus cover all those “doom and 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? No they have not.

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.

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Series: Prophetic Masquerade

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False prophets mimic the spirit

False Prophets Mimic the Spirit of God

False prophets and their followers love to convince those watching that the Holy Spirit is moving upon them by putting on an outward show of jerks, quakes, nonsensical phrases and other odd “spiritual manifestations.”

Sometimes, the show is an outright lie – they are completely faking it. At other times, an actual spirit is pulling the strings. And sometimes it’s a little of both. Trying to discern just what is going on can be pretty difficult.

This article will attempt to lend some clarity to this phenomenon.

Aiding Abetting Antichrist

III. Aiding and Abetting the Antichrist

Most false prophets are unwitting accomplices to a diabolical plan. As they continue to churn out support for a false image of the Messiah, they have no idea that they and their listeners are actually assisting Lucifer in his plan to deceive the world.

VI. Prophet Paul Cain – The Madness

Unfortunately, this tale of perversion and pretense is not confined to the late “prophet,” Paul Cain. There are many self-appointed “spokesmen for God” out there who are acting as enablers or participants in the most grievous types of sin. And our leaders open wide the door of the churches so that these wolves can feed off of you: body, soul and spirit.

14 replies on “How to Tell the Difference Between Old Testament and New Testament Prophets”

  1. I was slightly confused as to what the role of the prophet is in NT and found your teaching clear and precise. Although I know it’s not what we see often in the church today I needed some clarity on what it really is.

    Thank you.

    1. Thanks Liz, there are other posts on this site that clarify the role of a prophet … and I plan on writing more on the topic in future posts. Feel free to subscribe to the newsletter to be informed of updates!

  2. Thank you, Kevin, for your willingness to speak and write the truth.

    I am a reluctant prophet. I am a pastor, who has pastored 5 churches for 3 different denominations over a period of 20 years. In the last 14 years (and to some degree, even before), the Lord has used me as a prophet – as you have defined one. In the last 14 years I have been an active part of 9 churches – 7 of which have either thrown me out of their churches or have forbidden me to speak in a prophetic word. Two have forbidden me to step foot on their property upon threat of legal prosecution for trespassing. One of the churches I had pastored, but when confronted with their sin, they promptly threw me out of their church. Another one was considering me for membership when I confronted the board with sin they were displaying. They threw me out and locked the door anytime they saw me coming.

    In most of these cases, I begged to meet with and converse with the boards/leadership and they all refused to meet and speak together as Christ directed in Matthew 18:15 – 17.

    I have been lied about, had professing brothers and sisters stab me in the back – even to the extent that two leaders from one church followed my wife and I to other congregations where we had established ourselves, and they met with the leadership and warned them to reject me as I was a “troublemaker.” I even had one person run over me with her car after church when I dared to expose sin in the congregation.

    However, I am not complaining – just giving you some insight into the fact that TRUE prophets of God will be persecuted (as Christ stated). I am not ashamed of the ministry He’s called me to and am humbled that He has chosen to do so. He suffered for me to bring life – how can I do any less?

    Christ is my refuge, my strength, my reason for obeying Him.

    It is a comfort to know that there are real disciples of Christ out there, who also realize what a true New Testament prophet is.

    May God richly bless you with all His riches in Christ Jesus as you continue to labour for Him.

    1. Wow brother! Looks like you’re doing something right! Be encouraged ….

      Luke 6:22-23
      Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

  3. Thank you for the post. These are not really the days of Elijah-are they? The Bible teaches that ‘these last days God has spoken ti us through His Son.

    Am I right in believing that the New Testament time brings prophecy to build and encourage the church. When one hears the self appointed “prophets” of today prophecy doom and destruction and use tactics to by pass the doom by paying money and not repentance and having the light of God shine upon the believer’s life – one wonders what these can be!

    No prophecy is to be taken lightly too. May God open the eyes of His children’s hearts to know Him in truth

    1. Hi Susan,

      The Days of Elijah are Days of preparing for His Return and making straight the pathways. In Yeshua’s days, John came correcting the religious leaders of his day and rebuking religious leaders who had strayed from the Truth. Yeshua continued John’s work (which was actually the Father’s work). Yes we are living in the days of Elijah.

      If you believe that God’s prophets have changed between the OT and NT, by default, you believe that God’s methods change .. thereby making Him a God that changes. If you believe that, then this verse is a lie. “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6) Don’t feel bad, I once thought along those same lines, but then I realized that I had been deceived by my teachers… many have, and many continue in that deception. But the Truth is, our God NEVER changes… His methods don’t change and prophets and their message don’t change. The “go to” chapter most use is 1 Corinthians 14, which APPEARS to claim that prophecy has changed. Check out this post where I correct this understanding.

  4. Hi, Kevin — everything you have written has been aligned with me. It has helped to find someone in agreement, especially how to address the verse that prophets “edify, exhort, and comfort.” I still feel that, when attempting to draw our elders and head pastor to look at scripture, rather than engaging, they imply it’s a lack of grace, rather than understanding that without awareness of our sin, there’s no need for grace, or for Christ.

    What would be helpful is guidance on how to address? Since I am unable to get at least a reasoned and scriptural discussion from the Elders (“He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it”)….I have submitted to them saying I am open to rebuke based in doctrine, but have only gotten shut out (they have said they will no longer address the issue I brought forth).

    I am, per Matthew `18, bringing to the next level up outside of the local church the area leader of the denomination. But what do you propose?

    Other pastors have said, when I described the teaching and response, to just “run as fast as you can.” There is no biblical context for that, though.

    1. Hi Tim, I admire your heart and desire to be respectable to people place above you, but you have to know when your efforts will not be appreciated (barring a miracle). This is going to be very hard to take, but there is really nothing you can do for them.

      The current church model was destined to fail, and you can see it in the fruit. Before you just dismiss what I am saying as hopeless negativity, read up on the history of the church. If what I’ve written on this blog resonates with you so far… trust me, and dig a little deeper. You’ll see that I’m telling you the truth. I’ve started a series called “The Irony of the Church Fathers” where I outline the changes in our belief from the book of Acts forward.

      There is a reason WHY things are the way they are.

  5. Nice one brother may the Lord continue to strengthen you even as you continue on this great job. Thanks bro admire you from a far

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