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The prophet Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 32:8 ... "Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord."
How did he know? What was the criteria he used to judge the word (applies to dream, vision or sign as well)?
The book of Jeremiah is loaded when it comes to a study on true prophets verses lying or false prophets. Today I want to focus on only twp elements as it pertains to discerning a true word from the Lord.
Jeremiah 32:6 provides the context. He heard the word of the Lord saying your Hanamel your cousin is going to come and say; "Buy my field which is in Anathoth, for the right of redemption is yours to buy it."
When Hanamel came and did as the word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah said then he was able to say, "Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord."
Discerning True Words of the Lord - Lesson 1
One of the criteria is; did the event occur as predicted?
Years ago others recognized that God gave me a prophetic gift. It has operated primarily in the realm of government (leaders, church, business). One way this has been expressed is that sometimes God will give me a word for a leader. Over the course of 25+ years I've received words that brought correction or restoration to a variety of leaders. Some were removed and some restored. My testimony is this, to date, I can say I have a testimony like Samuel. So far, the words I've given have been fulfilled. One word for one leader's restoration took 20 years to manifest. It was fulfilled in stages with the last element being fulfilled two years ago.
1 Samuel 3:19 - So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. NKJV
However, just because a person shares a prophetic word that comes true, that does not make them a true prophet. They can have a prophetic gift but their character or actually lack of character can make them a false or lying prophet.
Discerning True Words of the Lord - Lesson 2
What is the character displayed in the life of the person delivering the word?
This is one reason why were are admonished in the New Testament:
1 Cor 14:29 - Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.
1 Thess 5:21 - Test all things; hold fast what is good. NKJV
2 Tim 2:2 - And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men ....
God's Word is the Ultimate Authority
John 12:47-48 - And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.
2 Peter 1:19-21 - And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.