With the emphasis on the role of prophets by some major religions, how can you decide which prophetic words and/or writings are credible?
The Bible warns us in quite a few places about false prophets who presume to speak for God. It tells us their prophecies may even come to pass. But yet they are not necessarily of God. (Deuteronomy 13) Jesus describes them as wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15). “They promise freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity.” (2 Peter 2:19)
How do we discern? Do they lead us to the true God – or to a god of our own imagination? (Deut 13:2) Does their teaching conform to the rest of God’s word? (Deut 13:4) Jesus says “by their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:16) Be cautious. Sooner or later, they will reveal whether they serve themselves or God.
More importantly, we need to remember that the entire character of prophecy has changed with Jesus Christ. Revelation 19:10: “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
God has spoken in the greatest way – in the life, the death of his Son. And so the whole shape of prophecy has undergone a kind of silicon or Copernican revolution.
Perhaps we might like to have an “inner voice” or modern-day prophet to guide us.
But what more do we need to know about God’s will, God’s plans, God’s heart? In Jesus Christ, God has spoken in the greatest way. All prophecy must agree with, in fact, must be about Jesus Christ – his death, his resurrection, his coming in glory to judge, to bless. It must lead us to the true God – as he has revealed himself in Jesus Christ.
And so every person who believes in Jesus, who speaks of him, who takes up not a sword or gun, but a cross, as he did, they are prophets, in tune with the will of God. And they will prophesy – speak about God – for all eternity, in praise and worship.