Discerning True Vs False Prophets.
Discernment is very important. Only a fool would take it lightly or evade responsibility for it. Every prophet should be discerned, by individuals praying fervently to God for His Wisdom. Prophecy should not be despised, as St Paul said:
“Quench not the Spirit.Despise not prophecies. Instead prove all things; hold fast to that which is good.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:19-21)
Over time, I learnt many ways to discern whether someone is a true prophet. And most of all God taught me that it is sheer pride to believe that you ‘know’ what He would say, because of your knowledge, or intelligence or learnedness or that you ‘don’t need to know’ or ‘hear’ what He has to say. Repent of this because to reject His true prophets greatly offends Him and arouses His anger. There are plenty of examples of prophecy in the Bible and what happens when people reject His Words and warnings given through prophecy. Read what He says! Do not be ignorant or full of pride.
These are the ways that I have learnt to listen to and discern prophecy and they are all as important as each other.
1. Whether their messages do not contradict any Truths of the Catholic Faith and authentic Church Teaching.
Their words likewise should not contradict the Holy Bible, of course. The words should honour Jesus as we’d expect for Our King and teach or reiterate the truths of our Faith.
These prophets should submit in obedience to a spiritual director. This is so that they themselves can be scrutinised and guided to know what is “of God”, when they are being tested or deceived and to help them discern God’s Will. A good spiritual director has the good of the soul and the whole Church at heart.
2. You will know them by their good fruits (ie. true conversions), growth in faith, hope and love/charity. The Bible tell us that this is a sign of a true prophet.
3. Whether their prophecies come true or are confirmed over the course of time.
Again the Bible tells us this is a sign of a true prophet. This especially applies to specific and unexpected events (not so much to general, expected events such as an earthquake in an earthquake zone.) This does not mean that prophecies involving chastisement cannot be mitigated, reduced, delayed or averted through prayer. They can! God warns us for a reason. But certainly when specific prophecies can and do unexpectedly come true, they can be considered to be a possible sign of authenticity.
4. Whether the prophecies shake you out of complacency.
The Bible warns us of false prophets proclaiming only “peace, peace.”
In fact the Word of God cuts like a knife- even to dividing soul from spirit. If it’s not challenging you, it’s not the Word of God!
5. Other genuine signs and miracles.
God gives signs. He has always done so. Pay attention to miracles-especially those which cannot be replicated or incited through emotionalism. Even more so when they are verified or experienced by more than one person.
6. Whether they impart with authority the Holy Word of God.
The sheep know their Shepherd’s voice and follow Him. God is not wishy-washy. He has all authority and power in heaven and on earth. He commands. He imparts His exact Words directly to prophets and they say ” The Lord says thus..” You must read your Bible and learn from Him! Do not think that because you have never seen or known of it in your experience, that it cannot be true.
7. Whether anti-fruits are present indicating a charleton. Eg. If they appear to seek personal gain (such as money, status, power or attention) or only gain for God, is important. Look at what they seek to gain. Examine their motives.
8. Whether the prophet has been greatly changed and affected themselves by their experience. Eg. Are they led to be transformed in holiness? Do they lead good and holy lives? This is best observed over time if possible.
9. Also Jesus says that His sheep know His voice
If you are close to Our Lord and have read many of His Words contained in writings to saints, prophets, seers and visionaries etc as well as the Most Holy Bible, your heart will leap at the sound of your Master’s voice! Inside you may feel a “little flame” burning in your heart whenever you hear the Words that are of the Holy Spirit, just as the disciples on their way to Emmaus felt.
Luke 24: “And they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within us, whilst He spoke in this way, and opened to us the scriptures?”
In all things, pray to the Holy Spirit for enlightenment, with a sincere heart.
9. A true prophet is never accepted in their hometown.
Jesus said so. They are rejected, slandered and persecuted. The more intensely this occurs, the more the devil is trying to stop them. All true prophets are lied about. The more holy the message,the more intense the attack against it. Be careful not to believe stories. Discover the truth for yourself. If in doubt, ask Jesus!
10. Lastly through (sustained) prayer for discernment (detached from any particular outcome).
It is an offence to God and the pinnacle of pride to not ask God His opinion!! No one is above God. He alone knows the answer to what you seek. Ask and you will receive. He will not give a rock when you ask for bread. He will answer you! Be patient though and offer sustained prayer and fasting. Discernment is a precious, precious gift from The Lord. When you receive it, be grateful! Thank Him in the same Spirit and with as much fervency as when you first asked!