Deuteronomy 13—Dealing With Both Carnal and False Prophets

Deuteronomy 13:1, If there arise a prophet.

In the modern (especially Charismatic) church not only is the term “prophet” carelessly thrown about, but so is the term “false prophet,” which is often applied to any Christian who simply “misses” hearing the word of Elohim correctly, but isn’t guilty of leading Elohim’s people astray spiritually into heathenism. We need to fine tune our use of these words and learn how the Bible uses them and then do the same.

For years, I also had been using the term false prophet too broadly and generically (as many in the church do) to apply to those who either prophecy presumptuously out of the dictates of their own heart, or who hear a word from Elohim but incorrectly interpret it or misapply it (as was the case with Nathan the prophet who repented for telling David incorrectly that it was YHVH’s will for him to build the temple), as well as to those evil prophets who lead YHVH’s people away from the Truth of Elohim and into paganism.

The term “false prophet” is not to be found in the Tanakh (or Old Testament) at all, and is only occurs several times in the Testimony of Yeshua (or New Testament) and is applied to patently evil, satanic individuals. Therefore, based on the biblical evidence, it is incorrect to apply this term to a godly individual who, for example, makes an accurate prophecy, but gets the dates wrong, or somehow misinterprets a prophetic message from YHVH. 

Although the term “false prophet” isn’t found in the Tanakh, there are many warnings given against individuals who, through their false prophecies, lead YHVH’s people astray into idolatry or who don’t urge the people to repent and get back to YHVH’s straight paths of Torah-obedience, or who otherwise involved in ungodly activities (e.g. Deut 13:1–5; 18:20–22; Jer 23:9ff; 28:1ff; Ezek 13:2ff; Isa 28:7). The term “false prophet” doesn’t strictly apply to a godly person who isn’t leading YHVH’s people into apostasy.

Therefore, based on the biblical evidence, the godly person who “misses it,” so to speak, should be more correctly called a presumptuous prophet (Deut 18:22), or foolish prophet (Ezek 13:2) or a carnal prophet (i.e. who speak out of the flesh; Ezek 13:1). Based on scriptural evidence, I can see no justification for applying the derogatory term “a false prophet” to a Christian who simply misinterprets a prophetic word from Elohim, or who erroneously adds their own ideas to the prophetic word while assuming they are from heaven. One should be wary of such a “prophet,” and, if possible, teach him or her how to hear and interpret a prophetic word correctly from Elohim, but the church should not reject them as a false prophet. For this reason and for the purpose of accountability, Paul instructed the saints in Jerusalem (and us) to judge the prophets who prophesy in the local congregation (1 Cor 14:29) to insure that what they are saying is indeed from Elohim and lines up with his Written Word.

Deuteronomy 13:1–6, A prophet or a dreamer … a sign or a wonder. A prophet may claim to receive his or her vision or “word from YHVH” while they are awake in a vision or in a dream while asleep (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 1007). According to Rashi (the Jewish Torah commentator), a sign is a supernatural event in heaven while a wonder is a miraculous event on earth. There are those among the people of YHVH who, as Adam Clarke states in his commentary on this verse, “pretend to have a divine influence, so as to be able perfectly to direct others in the way of salvation” or shows some “miraculous proof of his mission … or some type of representation of what he wishes to bring you over to” (vol. 1, p. 774). Yeshua warned about false prophets in the latter days who would deceive many (Matt 24:11) and false messiahs who might even deceive the “very elect” (verse 24). Paul talks about a “man of sin” that would arise showing signs and lying wonders such that some would fall from the truth of the salvation message of the gospel (2 Thess 2:1–12). Paul warns, “do not be soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word … let no man deceive you by any means (verses 2–3). He then (in verses 15–17) encourages the brethren to stand fast in the simple truths of the gospel of Yeshua:

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Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Company Explained

Ephesians 4:11, He gave some to be apostles. Did the so-called five-fold ministry offices cease after the New Testament era, or do they continue function in the body of Yeshua to this day? In our day, most people agree that the ministries of the evangelist, teacher and pastor are still in operation today, but many say that the offices of apostles and prophet have ceased to operate. Yet in verse 13, we read that these offices would operate “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of Elohim, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Messiah…,” which hasn’t happened yet. Therefore, it would stand to reason, that all these ministry offices are still needed today.

He. It must be kept in mind that Yeshua is the epitome of and over all (authoritatively) ministry offices that follow in this verse. When we ascended to heaven, he spread his own abilities out, as it were, among those he called to be leaders over his spiritual flock below (see Eph 4:8). Collectively, these ministry offices should be doing the work that Yeshua himself would be doing were he here on this earth presently.

Apostles. In addition to the twelve original apostles (including Matthias who replaced Judas Iscariot, Acts 1:26), here is a list of the other apostles, which might be called Yeshua’s ascension-gift apostles (Eph 4:8):

  • James, the half brother of Jesus and leader of the Jerusalem church (Gal 1:19)
  • Barnabas (Acts 14:14)
  • Paul (e.g. Acts 14:14)
  • Apollos (1 Cor 4:6–9)
  • Timothy and Silvanus (1 Thess 1:1 and 2:6)
  • Epaphroditus (Phil 2:25)
  • Titus, and other un-named apostles—at least two (2 Cor 8:23)
  • Andronicus and Junia (Rom 16:7)
  • Yeshua is the Apostle and High Priest of our confession (Heb 3:1)
  • Including Judas Iscariot, this makes a total of at least 26 apostles who are mentioned in the Testimony of Yeshua. 

With this list in mind, it now becomes logical to divide the apostles into at least three categories or level. Yeshua is the Chief Apostle. The original 12 that Yeshua appointed (minus Judas Iscariot) and possibly Paul would be the next tier. They are the foundational apostles. Yeshua mentions that the 12 apostles will rule over the 12 tribes of Israel and that the 12 foundations of the New Jerusalem are named after the 12 apostles (Rev 21:14). It seems that Yeshua commissioned these foundational apostles in direct, face-to-face encounters. After this come the lowest tier or ascension-gift apostles (Eph 4:8), which are all the other apostles.

Apostle Defined

Apostolos means “a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders.” According to the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, apostolos originally was a military or naval term relating to an expeditionary force that was sent out or dispatched. It came to be applied to a band of soldiers, or colonists and their settlement as well as to the commander of the expedition or an admiral. A common feature of all the definitions of the word was its passive character. In none of the definitions is there any suggestion of initiative on the part of the apostle. The word denotes the quality of being sent. In the New Testament, apostolos always denotes a man who is sent with full authority and is synonymous with the Hebrew word shaliach as is evidenced in John 13:16. Here is a legal term relating to one who is lawfully charged to represent the person and cause of another. This meaning is confirmed by the juxtaposition in this verse of the Greek words doulos/kurios and apostolos/pemptsas. Here the servant (doulos) stands under full jurisdiction of his master (kurios) and derives from him all that he is. Apostolos also denotes the “commissioned representative of a congregation” (Acts 13:2ff). Finally, the term signifies the “bearers or proclaimers of the NT message.” The latter meaning applied to not only the original twelve apostles that Yeshua commissioned and sent out, but to the first Christian missionaries or their most prominent representatives (Acts 14:4, 14). According to Paul, the apostles (1 Cor 12:28f) aren’t officials of the congregation, nor the chief of such officials, but are officers of Yeshua by whom the church is built (ibid. vol 1, p. 407ff). 

Attributes of an Apostolic Ministry 

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The Basis Requirements for Being a Prophet of Elohim

Numbers 12:6, A prophet among you. 

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

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Who is a true prophet?

Deuteronomy 13:1–6, A prophet or a dreamer … a sign or a wonder. A prophet may claim to receive his vision or “word from YHVH” while he was awake in a vision or in a dream while asleep (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 1007). According to Rashi (the Jewish Torah commentator), a sign is a supernatural event in heaven while a wonder is a miraculous event on earth. There are those among the people of YHVH who, as Adam Clarke states in his commentary on this verse, “pretend to have a divine influence, so as to be able perfectly to direct others in the way of salvation” or shows some “miraculous proof of his mission … or some type of representation of what he wishes to bring you over to” (vol. 1, p. 774). Yeshua warned about false prophets in the latter days who would deceive many (Matt 24:11) and false messiahs who might even deceive the “very elect” (verse 24). Paul talks about a “man of sin” that would arise showing signs and lying wonders such that some would fall from the truth of the salvation message of the gospel (2 Thess 2:1–12). Paul warns, “do not be soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word … let no man deceive you by any means (verses 2–3). He then (in verses 15–17) encourages the brethren to stand fast in the simple truths of the gospel of Yeshua:

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Master Yeshua the Messiah himself, and Elohim, even our Father, which has loved us, and has given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good word and work.

As you learn more about the Hebrew roots of the Christian faith and the Written Torah-Word of YHVH, are you being led astray from the simple Word of YHVH, whether as found in the Tanakh (OT) or in the Testimony of Yeshua (NT) by people claiming to speak as an oracle from heaven? Deuteronomy 13:3 says that YHVH proves his people “to know whether you love YHVH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul.” Jude, the half brother of Yeshua, speaking of the spiritual delusion to occur in the last days exhorts us to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once and for all delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3). Are you standing firm and earnestly contending every day or are you being allured by the siren’s song of the false prophets and teachers who lead people away from the gospel truth into spiritual delusion and eternal oblivion?

There is no place in the Scriptures that indicates that the ministry of the prophet isn’t still valid within the body of Yeshua today (see Eph 4:11; 1 Cor 14 entire chapter; also Joel 2)—and all the more so as the time of Yeshua’s return draws near (see Joel 2:28–30).

How then can we tell the true from the false prophets? One simple test is this: All the true prophets of the Bible were obedient to the Torah and often their message involved rebuking YHVH’s people for Torahlessness and urging them to repent. This is one of the major biblical proofs to determine the validity of a prophet. Regardless of whether one calls oneself a prophet, or whether men call someone a prophet is irrelevant. His living in accordance with and pointing people to YHVH’s Torah-Word is the determining factor.


 

New Video: What Are YOUR Romans 12 Motivational Gifts? Introduction and Overview

The motivational gifts of Romans 12:6–8 are prophecy, service, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading and mercy. The Creator has given at least one of these gifts to every human being to be used for the betterment of mankind. Knowing and functioning in your gift will help you to find your purpose and destiny in life, so that you can know the Creator’s perfect will and plan for your life, thus bringing you great joy, happiness and fulfillment as this video explains.


 

Gut Feelings and a Prophetic Word

Psalms 16:7, Reigns/heart/kidneys instruct me. Is this a reference to our “gut feelings” and our need to trust them? Night seasons is a poetic way of saying “difficult time of darkness, confusion, indecision, and uncertainty.”

This may be one way the Set-Apart Spirit directs us is through our inner or deep conscience. In reference to the Set-Apart Spirit, Yeshua said that out of our bellies will flow living waters (John 7:37–38).

The Hebrew word navi often translated as prophet can, according to some lexicologists (e.g., Gesenius) means “to bubble up” in an almost ecstatic sense, presumably under the influence of the Spirit of Elohim. If this is the true meaning of the word, then perhaps there’s some connections between the gut instructing one, living waters flowing from one’s belly, and the word of YHVH bubbling up prophetically out of one’s belly.


 

What We Can Learn from Jonah, the Mixed Up Prophet

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25 Life Principles the Book of Jonah Can Teach Us

  • When YHVH gives you some specific and direct marching orders, don’t disobey him no matter how difficult or distasteful they may seem to you. You may not pleased with the unexpected consequences of your disobedient actions. Jonah found this out the hard way.
  • Before pointing our fingers at Jonah for declining the mission YHVH had given him, how many of us have done the same no matter how small or large the assignment?
  • When we disobey YHVH (i.e. sin) instead of peace and tranquility, YHVH brings storms into our lives to redirect us back to him.
  • When YHVH tells us to do one thing, and we want to do something else, we, at this time, must bring every thought of ours captive into obedient compliance to our Messiah (2 Cor 10:5).
  • When we rebel against fulfilling a divine mission, YHVH will pursue us to get us back in line with his perfect will for our lives.
  • Sin and rebellion puts us into a spiritual state of sleep, so that we’re oblivious to the consequences of our actions upon us and those around us.
  • We cannot hide or run away from our sin and rebellion. It will be exposed, even if YHVH has to use heathens and strange circumstances to do so.
  • Only when we humbly confess our sins and repent will the storms of YHVH’s judgment cease and the sea of life made calm.
  • Jonah, to his credit, owned his sin and took full personal responsibility for it without blaming others or making excuses. He didn’t want others to suffer for his folly. He was willing to accept the consequences of his sin. Because of this, YHVH showed him favor, prepared a fish to swallow him, and then gave Jonah three days in the fish’s belly to ponder his errant ways.
  • When in a place of trouble and distress, Jonah prayed and expressed his faith in YHVH. When facing distresses in our own lives, how often do we fail to cry out humbly to our merciful Father in heaven?
  • The eyes of YHVH are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry. (Ps 34:15)
  • The righteous cry out, and YHVH hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. YHVH is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but YHVH delivers him out of them all. (Ps 34:17–19)
  • We should be ready and willing to pray anywhere at anytime. Jonah prayed in the belly of a fish. What excuse do we have for not praying no matter when or where in our time of distress?
  • Jonah was a spiritual backslider, yet he repented and YHVH heard and accepted his prayer. Jonah’s example should be an encouragement to any backslider no matter how grave the sins he has committed against the Creator.
  • As Jonah’s three-day tenure in the fish’s belly was prophetic of Yeshua’s time in the grave, so Jonah’s “resurrection” from the depths of the sea points to the resurrection of our Messiah as Yeshua himself so declares in Matthew 12:40. Jonah’s faith in the Creator along with his “death” and “resurrection” points sinners to the Messiah who alone can save us from the sting of sin which is death. Our only hope of victory over death and the grave is through Messiah and the resurrection from the dead he promises to those who are his.
  • Upon repenting of his backsliding and being mercifully delivered from certain death, Jonah humbly submits to YHVH’s mission to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh. Jonah had to repent of his own sin before he was meat for the Master’s use. Jonah accepted the yoke of his mission, and fulfilled his mission with great boldness. When YHVH gives us a mission, we must be bold to fulfill it faithfully and without hesitation. We must be willing to go when and where and to whom he tells us. We must faithfully  do exactly as he has commissioned us, to proclaim what he has commanded us and nothing more or less.
  • When YHVH gives you a prophetic word for someone, don’t let your personal emotions cloud your perspective. Don’t forget that you’re merely YHVH’s spiritual mailman who is delivering his mail, not yours. Period. Jonah let his anger for Nineveh (Israel’s mortal enemy) cloud his judgment.
  • A prophet must accept his divine mission without any preconditioned biases against the message’s recipient and must remain as emotionally neutral and unbiased as possible. He should focus only on fulfilling his mission as YHVH wishes and remain impartial and personally emotionally detached, so as not to pollute the purity of the divine message.
  • No matter how many miraculous things YHVH does in a prophet’s life, and no matter the magnitude of the message, the greatness of the recipient of the prophetic word, or the importance of the mission, a prophet needs to stay humble (small in his own eyes) before YHVH.
  • Prophetic words of judgment are always conditional upon the recipient’s response. If they refuse to repent, the word will come to pass. If they repent, YHVH will relent and the judgment will pass.
  • The Ninevites wholeheartedly fasted, prayed and repented of their sin, and YHVH in his mercy spared them. This is the key to averting YHVH’s well-deserved judgment upon individual sinners and a sinful nation.
  • Don’t wish harm on others no matter how evil you think they are or how much you think they deserve YHVH’s judgment. At all times, orientate your heart and thoughts to that of the Father. He is merciful, gracious, patient and longsuffering and so should we be. His mercy triumphs over his judgment.
  • Don’t wish judgment or destruction on your enemies. If you do, YHVH might spare your enemies and bring judgment on you just to teach you humility. We all deserve YHVH’s judgment, and were it not for his merciful grace, where would any of us be? Instead, we must seek the well-being of our enemies through their repentance and salvation. The missionary of YHVH must pursue his divinely inspired endeavors with a heart of love and mercy that overshadows any personal feelings he may have to the contrary. This is getting in tune with and acting out the heart of our Heavenly Father.
  • Jonah, in not being pleased over the Ninevites’ repentance and YHVH sparing them judgment, evidenced his own self-righteous pride toward the heathens. After all, YHVH had miraculously and mercifully delivered him when he was a backslidden sinner. For Jonah not to show the same grace to the Ninevites that YHVH had shown to him was a manifestation of prideful hypocrisy. We must be quick to extend the same mercy and grace to others that YHVH has shown to us. After all, YHVH loved us all while we were yet sinners (Rom 5:8)!
  • The conversion of sinners should bring the saint great joy, not sullen anger as occurred with Jonah. In this situation, he manifested a despicably carnal and rotten attitude!
  • There are few things as repugnant as a saint who falls prey to his base and carnal passions. In this case, Jonah was acting like pouting, puerile prophet who instead of being joyful at the salvation of sinners wished ill on them. Yeshua declares that the angels in heaven rejoice at the salvation of one lost sinner, yet all Jonah could do was to manifest a vindictive spirit.
  • Jonah was a conflicted prophet who spewed both sweet and bitter waters from his mouth. He was a true prophet of Elohim who manifested some truly noble and saintly character traits, to be sure, but he was conflicted in that he had not conquered some of his most carnal and base passions. Such prophets are a liability to the kingdom of Elohim. When in tune with YHVH’s Spirit, they are capable of much good, but when under the control of their own perverse, moody and sinful nature, they are perhaps a greater liability to the kingdom of heaven then they are an asset to it.