Who Is a Prophet or Not?

Just because someone claims to be prophet speaking for Elohim does not make it so.

Numbers 12:6, A prophet among you. 

The Basis Requirements for Being a Prophet of Elohim

The Torah reveals the basic requirements of a prophet. If a person is a prophet, YHVH will reveal himself to a person as per the instructions Numbers 12:6 (see also Jer 23:28). The context of these instructions was the misuse of the mouth in accusation against an elder in Israel. Evidently, Aaron and Miriam (who was a prophetess, Exod 15:20) thought they had gotten a prophetic word from Elohim and felt justified in correcting Moses on that basis. They were wrong and YHVH’s punishments were swift and severe.

There Are Eleven Levels of a Prophet

A little known fact in modern-day church prophetic circles is that the Bible reveals that there are eleven levels of a prophet. The list below is adopted from The Guide to the Perplexed (by Moses Maimonides [or the Rambam] pp. 241–245.) Most so-called prophets in the church if they are on the list of the requirements for being a true prophet are at the lowest levels. This fact alone should cool the prophetic jets of most who think they’re Elohim’s elect and anointed prophet to the body of Yeshua. In reality, considering Israel’s long history, the Scriptures reveal that there were very few Elohim-sent prophets. Long periods of time passed without there being a true prophet of Elohim in Israel. There was no shortage of false and carnal-minded prophets, however. Now here’s the list:

  • Divine assistance given to a person to induce or encourage him to do something good and grand (e.g. Judg 2:18; 1 Sam 11:6; 1 Chr 12:18; Exod 2:17; 1 Sam 16:17). Scripture often records this occurrence when it states, “And the Spirit of YHVH came upon so and so…”
  • The person feels as if something came upon him, and as if he had received a new power that encourages him to speak. Such a person is said to speak by the Set-Apart Spirit. The books of Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Daniel, Job, Chronicles and the rest of the Ketuvim (Writings or Hagiographa) were written under the inspiration of the Set-Apart Spirit. See also 2 Sam 23:2; Num 11:25; 2 Chron 20:14–15; Num 23:5; etc.) Often prefaced by the phrase, “The Spirit of YHVH spoke to me…” or “So and so prophesied…”
  • Below are the levels of a prophet. Not all people who have these experiences are prophets. Those who hold the biblical office of a prophet will experience these things regularly and will manifest the biblical fruits, power, authority and anointing of a prophet.
  • This is the lowest class of a prophet. Those who introduce their speech by the phrase, “And the word of YHVH came unto me…” or a similar phrase. Sometimes he will see a prophetic allegory in a dream. Such was the case with Zechariah.
  • The prophet hears in a prophetic dream something clearly and distinctly, but does not see the speaker as in the case of the call of young Samuel (e.g. 1 Sam 3).
  • A person addresses the prophet in a dream, as was the case in some of the prophecies of Ezekiel (e.g. Ezek 40:4).
  • An angel speaks to him in a dream. This applies to most of the prophets in Scripture (e.g. Gen 31:11).
  • In a prophetic dream it appears to the prophet as if YHVH spoke to him (e.g. Isa 6:1, 8; 1 Kgs 22:19).
  • Something presents itself to a prophet in a prophetic vision; he sees allegorical figures, such as were seen by Abraham in the vision “between the pieces” (Gen 15:9–10); for it was in a vision by daytime, as is distinctly stated.
  • The prophet hears words in a prophetic vision, but does not see the person speaking to him; as is said in reference to Abraham, “And behold, the word came to him, saying, This shall not be thine heir.” (Gen 15:1, 4). This occurred to Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3ff)
  • The prophet sees an angel that speaks to him in a prophetic vision as happened with Peter in his vision of the sheet from heaven (Acts 10:3) (also Rev 19:10; 22:9)
  • He sees an Angel (or Messenger) of YHVH (literally, the preincarnate YHVH Yeshua) that speaks to him in a vision, as was the case when Abraham was addressed by an angel at the sacrifice of Isaac (Gen 22:15) and many other places where the Messenger of YHVH speaks to his servants directly (e.g. Gen 12:7; 16:7–13; 17:1, 22; 18:1; 22:11, 15; 32:24–32; 35:1; Exod 3:2; 13:21; 14:20; 33:9–11; 34:5; Num 11:25; Deut 31:15–16; Num 22:35–38; Josh 5:13–15; Judg 6:11–23; 13:3; Isa 6:1ff; John in the Book of Revelation).

If you fancy yourself being a prophet, where are you on this list? Probably near the bottom. Until Elohim elevates you, it might be best to hold your peace and wait a little longer on him.

A False prophet Versus a Carnal or Presumptuous Prophet

  • The Bible reveals that there are two kinds of erroneous prophets.
  • A false prophet tells the people to go after false gods and lead away from the Torah (Deut 13:1–5; 18:20).

A carnal or presumptuous prophet is one who claims to speak in the name of YHVH, but has really prophesied out of the dictates of his own carnal mind or heart (Deut 18:20–22; Ezek 13:3) and who refuse to follow the Torah and fail to distinguish between the set-apart and the profane, the clean and the unclean (Ezek 22:26). This type of prophet may not necessarily be telling the people to follow a false or pagan god like Baal or Satan. They will use YHVH’s name and appear to be a follower of YHVH. They are especially dangerous, since they are counterfeits posing as angels of light, when in reality they dangerous wolves.

A Local Church Prophet Versus an Apostolic Prophet

A church prophet is one who has the gift of prophecy and that gift is recognized in the local congregation. This gift is for the purpose of edification, exhortation and comfort of the members of the local body of Yeshua (1 Cor 12, 14). Such a prophet doesn’t have the authority to correct spiritual leadership.

An apostolic prophet (or the office of a prophet, Eph 4:11) is specifically ordained and commissioned of YHVH Elohim to have spiritual authority over a specific spheres of influence such as churches, regions, nations, or governments. These prophets have the gift of prophecy in addition to the spiritual authority of an apostles who has been sent by Yeshua. The prophets in the Tanakh and the apostolic writers fit in this category.

Sadly, some misguided people in the local congregation fail to recognize the biblical delineations between the apostolic and local church prophet. When they are blessed to receive the spiritual gift of prophecy, they presume that they automatically hold the office of prophet (Eph 4:11), when this is not the case. They jump the track and begin to misuse their prophetic gift in an ungodly and presumptuous manner by attacking members of the body of Yeshua including spiritual leaders. Miriam the prophetess made this disastrous mistake. YHVH brought judgment and shame on her and required that she repent of her self-delusion (Num 12:1–16).

Self Delusions and Misuse of the Prophetic Gifts

Don’t call your self a prophet, and don’t presume to be one if you haven’t met the biblical criteria for being a prophet. Just keep your mouth shut! If you don’t like a spiritual leader, then pray for them, turn the other cheek, or quietly leave and move on.

Often people pride themselves in their ability to hear Elohim speak to them. Sometimes they’re really hearing from him, but more often than not, they’re hearing from their own thoughts and emotions. Just because you think you have heard from Elohim doesn’t mean you’re supposed to tell others about it. Maybe you are, maybe you aren’t. Wait on YHVH about this. If you’re still not sure, then seek the counsel of your spiritual elders or leaders for advice on how to proceed. Don’t just assume that because you “got a word for the Lord” you’re supposed to pass it on to others. When in doubt, wait on YHVH. 

Beware of those who feel that they’re prophetic and feel the need to brag out it. Often as soon as they come into your midsts, they immediately want to tell people how prophetic they are, or they want to start correcting everyone including the spiritual leaders. These people are toxic, arrogant, presumptuous and they often leave behind them a wake of destruction. Their actions are not of YHVH, but are of the world, the flesh and devil.

Beware of people who think they’re a prophet and run a round telling people, “God told me to tell you…” or “God told me this or that….” These people are either arrogant and presumptuous and have ulterior motives that aren’t good, or they’re very immature and misinformed about the proper use of the biblical gift of prophecy. The biblical record is clear on this. The true prophets of Elohim usually didn’t call themselves prophets and didn’t draw attention to themselves. They simply received the word of Elohim and gave it, let the chips fall where they may and then left. They weren’t looking for public acclaim. In fact, they were usually unpopular and were persecuted.

Furthermore, those in the body of Yeshua must stop using their “prophetic gifts” to beat up on one another. Most of these “prophetic gifts” are not from the Spirit of Elohim, but are the inventions of carnal minds where people are speaking out of their hurts and wounds or biases and prejudices, or misconceptions and false beliefs that aren’t biblically based. It’s self delusion, and one can unwittingly become a tool of the devil to divide the body of Yeshua. We must seek the true prophetic gifts, and use them to build up the body of Yeshua, and also use them against Satan and his minions in this world. If the devil can keep us continually fighting against each other, how will the two sticks or houses Israel ever be reunited, the kingdom of Elohim established, and the devil defeated?

Coming against pastors, elders or spiritual leaders with accusing words, while claiming to have a word from Elohim is tantamount to blaming Elohim for one’s sin. You open your mouth and prophesy carnally from the dictates of your own heart while attributing it to the Set-Apart Spirit of Elohim is shameful! What do you think the Creator of the universe thinks about what you’re doing? I don’t want to be near you when the earth opens up its mouth under you as happened with Korah and his rabble! 

Using one’s so-called prophetic gift to accuse a spiritual leaders in the body of Yeshua is a serious offense. If a leader has violated Torah, only apostolic leaders have the authority to correct him. If the laity sees a spiritual leader sinning (violating the Torah or preaching another gospel), then they have several recourses. They can pray for that leader and ask YHVH to correct him. They can humbly and respectfully come to that leader as Yeshua instructed in Matthew 18:15–20 with their concerns. If the issue isn’t resolved, then he can bring several eyewitnesses with him (ibid.; 1 Tim 5:19). If that doesn’t work, then one can go to other elders for them to try to resolve the issue (ibid.). Under no circumstances is the laity to take matters into its own hands and try to correct leaders. It is better to simply turn the other cheek and walk away from the erring leader and his congregation or ministry and let YHVH deal with him than to violate scriptural protocols by taking matters into one’s own hand. Aaron, Miriam and Korah incorrectly accused Moses. This is the spirit of Satan, the accuser of the brethren, and such action brings with it the severe punishing judgments of Elohim. On the other hand, David refused to touch the erring Saul, “YHVH’s anointed” because it wasn’t his place to do so (1 Sam 24:6, 10; 26:9).

Beware of carnal prophets in the Messianic Hebrew roots movement. Some are outright money grubbers looking to tickle ears and titillate the mind with all kinds of prophetic pronouncements. Others are well-meaning, but are simply misguided and lacking a complete understanding of the Bible, history, a grasp of world events, and logical thinking skills. This type of errant behavior often causes such individuals to add two and two and come up with five. I call it cramming to fit and painting it to match. When their prophetic pronouncements are wrong, seldom do they admit it. They simply sweep it under the proverbial rug and move on to the next prophetic pronouncement as if nothing ever happened. It’s the used the car salesman trick. You can always count on a new sucker coming around the corner to replace the last sucker he just ripped off. Avoid these kind of people. Don’t allow them to lure you in just because they have a big ministry, a fancy website, are popular conference speaker or you hear them on the radio, see them on television or YouTube or they’ve written a book. None of these things matter to YHVH Elohim. He cares about character, righteousness and whether one is following his Written Word or not. The things that men esteem are an abomination to YHVH Elohim (Luke 16:15). His ways are not our ways and his thoughts aren’t ours (Isa 55:8–9). He’s far above all of men’s arrogant nonsense including their false and carnal prophetic pronouncements! It’s time that we all got lined up with YHVH Elohim and his Word and stopped following men like sheep to the slaughter!

Finally, all the true Biblical prophets were Torah-observant. Anyone who tells you they weren’t is a liar and deceiver or is ignorant in their knowledge of the Scriptures. If one seems to be prophetic keep this simple axiom in mind. To the degree they are Torah-compliant in their lives is the degree that their prophecies will be accurate and vice versa.


3 thoughts on “Who Is a Prophet or Not?

  1. Good article. I personally know 2 living prophets of Elohim. Yeshua HaMashiakh and Ya’akov Natan Lawrence. Natan, please don’t let this embarrass you; its just how I see it. A prophet is one who speaks the Word of Elohim.
    Blessings, John

    • We all are called to be prophets——that is, to speak only the oracles of Elohim. Both Moses and Paul encouraged all of the saints to be prophets in this sense. So I am one in that sense just like everyone else. As far as the office of a prophet, it is doubtful that I fall into that category. If so, then I am near the bottom of the 11 levels of a biblical prophet by my best calculations——probably at level 3 or 4 of 11. I will admit, though, that I have been called of Yah to come in the spirit of John the Immerser to call his people to repentance and to be one of many to help prepare the way for Messiah. That does not equate with being in the ministry office of a prophet though. We have all been called, each in our own way, to this awesome ministry of helping to prepare the way for Messiah. In this sense, let us all take on the mantle of a prophet and go forth for our Lord and Savior, Yeshua the Messiah!!! Onward and upward one and all!

      One more thought. One would have to be crazy to want to be a true biblical prophet. It scares me a lot to even think of it. They were persecuted, hated, rejected, tortured, imprisoned, murdered and often fleeing for their lives. This is not something that anyone should or would want. The so-called modern prophets who are running around making merchandise of YHVH’s people and are popular in modern churchianity and who are preaching a Torah-lite or Torahless message——well, Elohim will judge them. Few if any of them fit the biblical definition of a true prophet. Not my determination or criteria——the Word of Elohim’s!

      • Ro’ee,
        I know of no other mortal that speaks and writes as much truth of Elohim as you do.
        Since attending your school (Hoshanarabbah.org) I have learned and grown much and I thank you greatly for that.
        Todah Rabbah, John

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