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Perfection or Deception

“And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’; when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.”-Deuteronomy 18:21-22 (NKJV)

Satan is the ultimate counterfeiter. Where there’s something of spiritual value and benefit for God’s people, you can be sure that our adversary has devised a deceptive “stand-in” to lead us astray. Prophecy is no exception. The devil was hard at work during Israel’s infancy as he sought to infect the Israelites with false prophets who said they spoke “in the name of the Lord.” His agenda? To get God’s people off-track by convincing them to follow false prophets.

The problem with counterfeits, however, is that there’s always a test to reveal their true colors. When people are patient enough to apply the appropriate test, the deception will become evident and the deceiver will be exposed. God gave the Israelites a specific test when it came to the false prophets in their midst. It was really simple. If their prophecies came to pass, they were true prophets of God. If their prophecies didn’t go down as predicted, they were to be marked as false prophets and executed. No gray ground there!

By establishing this standard, God teaches us three things. First, there will be false prophets we need to watch out for. Second, true prophecy will always have a perfect track record. And last, any prophecy containing the slightest bit of error is part of the devil’s deception. When it comes to prophecy, it’s either a matter of perfection or deception, absolute acceptance or utter rejection.

This is the standard we apply to the Bible in determining it is God’s Perfect Word. There is not a single prophecy in the Bible that has proven incorrect or inaccurate in the slightest degree, and keep in mind that nearly one-third of it is prophetic in nature! This should produce a healthy appreciation in our hearts for prophecy. May we seek out opportunities to share about the Bible’s perfect prophetic track record.

Discuss an experience where you learned something was not as you had thought. How did God teach you through this?

Dig into Deuteronomy 18:15–22. What is the true test of a prophetic utterance? What was the penalty for the false prophet, and why do you think this was the case?

Decide as a group to enjoy the blessing of prophetic preaching. Set aside a time to meet together and listen to one of the messages from the Active Word archive. Choose from hundreds of messages found at ActiveWord.org.

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