The article which follows is really good. As she states, it is a good
introduction to understand the prophets. One line in here though gives me
a challenge: "Prophets are willing to submit to the authority over them."
The very nature of a prophet (office prophet) is not just to give
comforting or futuristic words of personal interest, but it is also to
reprove the status quo when it is off. Sometimes that means challenging
leadership. (Sometimes that means backing off.) The idea is that you CAN do it nicely and with Love.
Trying to "control" prophets really nullifies them. GOD sends His
prophets for corrections. Mutual submission, respect for authority and
order is all very important, too, though because you honor the "authority of the house."
In that, you must count the cost of your words.
The five fold office ministries should work together as a team. (I've
noticed it's very hard to do because of the power of it which is resisted
vehemently by the enemy.)
The pastor is not "over" the prophet. Nor is the apostle "over" the
prophet, nor is the prophet "over" the evangelist, pastor, teacher, etc.
When the true five fold ministry learns to work together without lording
it over, the Church will explode!
In the 'mainline' church environment where I minister, the gifts of the
spirit and the five-fold ministry are just beginning to be recognized as
something for now, instead of something that happened historically in the
Bible. The prophetic voice is being heard, and along with it, satan has
reared his ugly head and brought in false prophetic voices to deceive.
Some have already fallen into deception. Few know how to tell the
difference between the false and the true.
To help teach the truth and expose the lies of the enemy, I sought the
Lord for some basics. The mindset of many is still to depend on the pastor
for teaching and application from the Word, and many simply don't have
time to study in depth. Yet they need the protection of God from
So I believe the Lord provided me with this brief "starter kit" on
learning to accurately discern the true word of prophecy and the prophet.
Perhaps it will be helpful to you to share with others "new" to the
prophetic. There will be much to add, I'm sure, but we have to start
DISCERNING THE PROPHETIC
In these days of increased prophetic activity, it is critically important
that we be able to discern the true from the false; else we shall be
deceived and misled. Many of us have received sound instruction regarding
the prophetic, but to many it is a new subject. I asked the Lord for some
good 'bottom line' guidelines for discernment - things that can be quickly
read and applied in our lives.
Matt 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and
shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible,
they shall deceive the very elect. (KJV)
The "if" in this passage is the Greek conditional, which is better
translated "since". That means it is possible for us to be deceived! But
God's guidelines in His Word, the inner witness of the Holy Spirit (John
16:13) and the gift of discernment from the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:10),
provide us with tools to accurate discernment.
Here are 4 "quick" guidelines from the Word to help in discerning the
YOU SHALL KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUIT
First are the words of Jesus:
Matt 7:15-16 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's
clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by
their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? (KJV)
Notice it is the Fruit, not the Gift, that gives discernment, for the
Gifts are without repentance (Rom 11:29). The fruit of the Spirit must be
evident in the life of the prophet. Primary fruit - can you feel the love
of God from this person and their words? (This does not mean sinless
BEWARE OF LABELS
There are congregations which try to recognize the gifts of their
individual members and give them titles, such as "evangelist, prophet,
etc.". This can be positive, as it recognizes each person as a valuable
member of the Body of Christ, and encourages them to walk in their gifts
and callings. However, there is a down side.
Mistakes can be made. Pride can enter in. Jealousy and strife can result,
which opens the door to every evil work (James 3:16). We
are to desire the higher gifts, but not be jealous of someone else who
receives them. We can all prophesy (1 Cor. 14:31), but all are not
Jesus set the example of humility. The majority of the time, he called
himself "the Son of Man". He refers to himself as a prophet (in small
caps) only twice: (1) see Matt 13:57, Mark 6:4, Luke 4:24, and John 4:44,
and (2) Luke 13:33.
The strongest warning about labels is in Revelation 2:20-23:
20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman
Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my
servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.
21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is
22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who
commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.
23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that
I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you
according to your deeds. (NIV)
The Strong's concordance reveals the underlying meaning that this false
prophet causes God's servants to stray from the truth, to get off the path.
Jezebel is a witchcraft spirit, and its prophetic insight is NOT from God.
The word of knowledge, which may be true, comes from the same source as
tarot card readers, palm readers, etc. - from familiar spirits (demons).
Note: not all false prophets are women. This passage reveals the spirit in
operation behind this particular kind of false prophet.
If you are called to walk in the office of prophet, God himself will
establish you. Others will recognize the gift and authority from the
Lord. Giving yourself a title, even if it's true, will not do what only
God can do.
A PROPHET SUBMITS TO AUTHORITY
Prophets are willing to submit to the authority over them, and to submit
their words to other prophets for discernment. Other prophetic voices
will confirm a word as being from the Lord, and/or add interpretation and
application to it, thereby making it more edifying for the Body, which is
the purpose of the prophetic.
1 Cor 14:32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
Anyone who resists submitting to other prophetic voices, or who resists,
disdains, or defies authority is not a true prophet of God.
A PROPHET IS AN INTERCESSOR AND PERSON OF PRAYER
A prophetic person will spend much time in prayer. It is key to hearing
and recognizing the voice of the Lord. This is another fruit to be
examined in the life of a person operating in the prophetic.
EVERY biblical prophet was an intercessor. The scripture below bears
witness to this conclusion, as does a quick study of the prophets in the
Old Testament, beginning with Abraham.
[Jer 27:18] But if they be prophets, and if the word of the Lord be with
them, let them now make intercession to the Lord of hosts that the vessels
which are left in the house of the Lord, and in the house of the king of
Judah, and at Jerusalem, go not to Babylon.]
This is an important characteristic of the true prophetic ministry -
another fruit. This is so important to God. For those just beginning to
experience giving prophetic words, this is NOT A GAME! It is an awesome
responsibility to give the Word of the Lord.
The power of life & death is in the tongue, especially of a prophetic
word. For words of correction, there is a BIG difference between the
Conviction of the Lord, and the condemnation of the enemy.
Intercession produces the right heart toward others - God's heart. It
eliminates judgment and condemnation. It produces compassion for others.
It helps keep the Lord's word pure and untainted by the flesh. It helps
the prophet to stay humble and prevents him from falling into pride.
Even though Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, highly
exalted above everything, he also is still humbling himself and "ever
lives to make intercession for us" (Hebrews 7:25).
There are those called to intercession who are not prophets, but all
prophets bear some intercessory burden.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
God does not want us to be led astray - He gives us standards in His Word
to help our discernment. These are a start. The Word says we are to test
the spirits to see if they be of God, and hold fast to that which is good.
(I Thess 5:19-21 & I Jn 4:1)
If you are just realizing you have a prophetic call, this is also a
challenge to "examine yourself before the Lord" and ask Him to
help you "do it right".
September 30, 2000
DISCERNING THE PROPHETIC
Addendum to Part 1
CLARIFICATION OF SUBMISSION
Prov 15:22 Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of
counsellors they are established. (KJV)
After publishing Part 1, I received some wise counsel regarding the subject of
Submission. This is the result.
Scripture says we are to submit ourselves one to another - mutual submission
(1 Peter 5:5). We are to show respect for our leaders and those in authority
(Hebrews 13:17). Respect for others is still an important attribute of the
true prophet. Even Paul showed respect to the office of High Priest, though he
refused to back down on the message he had been given to speak, and though the
high priest had just ordered him to be struck. (Acts 23:4-5). Much could be
written about this subject, but the purpose here is to be as concise as
There are times when the leadership of a body of believers will oppose the
prophetic word. There are times when you, as a prophetic person, will be
called upon by the Lord to bring a word of correction or reproof. No one
enjoys this job! The reaction of the leadership is not your responsibility. It
is your responsibility to give the word. It is important to stand on the word
you have been given to speak, knowing WHOSE message it is. You may be
criticized, called rebellious and disobedient, insulted, etc. Leadership may
attempt to discredit you or manipulate you.
Part of the problem is church leadership's lack of understanding regarding
mutual submission. Part is from not understanding the "teamwork" of the
five-fold ministry (Ephesians 4:11-13). Part of the problem is lack of
understanding, especially in America, of authority, both by those in
authority, and those who are under authority. We are all under the authority
You will be called upon by the Lord to forgive, not take offense, and
intercede for those who have mistreated you. You will be called upon by the
Lord to "touch not the Lord's anointed", as demonstrated by David's respect
for Saul. It is not easy to be used in the prophetic, and the price is
sometimes high and painful for your obedience.
Remember the heart of the Father and do not deviate from the word you have
Posted - October 1, 2000
MORE ON DISCERNING THE PROPHETIC
by Nita Botzenmayer
The following principles are additional guidelines for discerning the true
AGREEMENT WITH GOD'S WORD
The Number One guideline in discerning a prophetic word: it will agree
with God's recorded Word. God will never prophesy something that opposes
KNOW YOUR SCRIPTURE
Throughout these guidelines, you see the importance of knowing the Word of
God. If you have questions about a word given, search the scriptures for
confirmation. Use your knowledge of scripture to "test" the word for
You cannot know too much scripture. You cannot study God's Word too much.
Remember, Satan used scripture to tempt Jesus in the wilderness, but Jesus
knew the "whole counsel of God", and defeated him with scripture (Matthew
The trick Satan used was to take a partial scripture and misapply it.
It is important to know the "big picture" of scripture, so you won't be
tripped up by one scripture taken out of context.
THE INNER WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT
With individual prophecies, determining if a word is accurate and "right
on" may be more difficult, unless there is some obvious discrepancy with
scripture. Some individual prophetic words are very specific and
directional. Some are general and vague, and the interpretation and
application may not be evident.
These directional words are potentially life-changing, very important
to you and to God. So how do you tell if the word is right?
An accurate individual prophetic word given to you will give an "Inner
Witness" by the Holy Spirit within. It will be a confirmation of something
you already know in your spirit, even if you have not verbalized it
As another has said, if it is from the Lord, His Presence will accompany
the words. You may even feel His manifest presence in the natural.
If you don't have an inner witness, but think it MAY be from the Lord, and
it lines up with scripture, what do you do? Sometimes, the only way to
tell is to "put the word on the shelf ", pray, and wait for the Lord to
reveal it to you.
If the word causes confusion or distress of spirit, it is not from the
Lord, as God is not a God of confusion. A word of correction, even if
painful, will bear witness to the Spirit within, and your conviction and
repentance will bring restoration and healing from the Lord. Do not
confuse "Confusion" with the pain of facing the correction brought by the
Lord to help you, and miss the word you need.
DON'T GO ON APPEARANCES
The appearance, gender, age, or other outward appearance of the person
giving the word is not grounds to receive or reject it. You must weigh
the word, not judge the giver of the word.
Speaking of John the Baptist, who wore rough clothing, ate a weird diet,
and lived in the wilderness (strange appearance!):
Matt 11:7-11 As John's disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the
crowd about John: "What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed
swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in
fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings' palaces. Then
what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a
prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: "'I will send my
messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.' I tell you
the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater
than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is
greater than he. (NIV)
From this scripture, we see that odd appearances cannot be a reason to
receive or not receive a word from the Lord. Speaking of odd appearances,
can you imagine what Jonah looked like to the Ninevites after spending 3
days in that whale?
It is also important to note that "he who is least in the kingdom of
heaven is greater than he (John the Baptist)." This means God can use
"baby" Christians as well as mature Christians, children, youth, old
people, and everyone in between to speak His words of prophecy.
He requires obedience, not a certain appearance or age. I have had
prophetic words given to me by children. I almost missed the word of the
Lord because I looked at their youth instead of weighing the word given.
IS THIS WORD PROPHESYING TO MY FLESH?
Remember Satan used scripture to tempt Jesus. He will use it against you,
too, if he can. If the word lines up with scripture, and sounds good,
there is yet another question to ask: Is this word appealing to my flesh?
Example: A man I know had a word given to him promising a large financial
blessing, which was supposed to occur within a certain period of time. He
received this word joyfully, as it seemed scriptural, and he needed money
at the time.
When this word did not come to pass by the appointed time, he became
bitter toward God, until the Lord revealed to him that the word spoke only
to his fleshly desires. It encouraged him to have faith in money and not
This example does not mean God does not want to bless us financially. It
just illustrates how the fleshly desire of greed was spoken to in that
word, which caused the receiver to get out of focus with the Lord, and
even get angry and bitter toward Him. It shows the subtlety the enemy will
use to cause us to go astray.
Scripture says the flesh wars against the spirit (Romans 7:23). A
word that appeals to the flesh should automatically be suspect, and
There is no substitute for prayer. The Lord does not play favorites. He
speaks to each one of us. He is not insulted when you have questions. In
fact, He delights that you ask Him FIRST! As part of your "test" of the
words, it is good to submit them to the Lord in prayer.
Ask the Lord for His wisdom in how to receive, interpret or apply the word
given to you, or if you are to receive the word at all.
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives
generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (NIV)
THERE IS ALWAYS A CHANCE FOR ERROR
In the Old Testament, a prophet was to be 100% accurate. If one word he
spoke was not right, he was declared a false prophet. Thankfully, we are
under the law of grace.
We are all human beings, subject to error. We are not sinless perfection.
No matter how long we have been used of the Lord to prophesy, we may still
"not hear right" occasionally. Our lives may be above reproach, and we
still might "miss it".
Every word should be tested, regardless of the reputation of the prophetic
voice giving it. A true prophet will not be insulted, he/she will rejoice
that you are obeying the command in scripture to