The Herald (Harare)

5 February 2013

Zimbabwe: How to Distinguish True, False Prophets

opinion

Welcome to the wisdom corner, a place where issues and misunderstandings over Christianity today are solved by the word of God. In this week's article, I will be talking a bit about how we can distinguish a genuine man of God from a fake one or an impostor as these are the last days and the days of end time revival. Many people of the world are battling to understand what the Lord is doing in these last days.

Through the hands of His anointed one, God is doing strange miracles as He prepares the church for the second coming again of His Son, Jesus Christ the Messiah. I have been listening to people criticising the carrier of messages of revival as fake, but I wonder if the folks do have a product which is genuine.

For one to be able to claim that a product is fake, he or she must be able to point out at a genuine one.

Once there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed people of Samaria, saying he himself was somebody great. They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest saying , "This man is the power of God that is called Great."

And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptised both men and women (Acts 8:9-13).

From this passage of the scripture, we can see two characters and both had followers despite of the differences of the messages preached.

Simon was the first one to enter Samaria proclaiming that he was an ambassador of God. Many people believed him thinking that God was using him because of the magic he was performing.

He could bewitch the city in the night and tomorrow morning people would come to queue up at his surgery to receive treatment and medication. Simon was operating in the comforts of his zone. He had no threat, no competitor.

His products were the only ones on the market. In the fullness of time, Philip was sent by God to the city of Samaria to preach to the people of God in that city. As he continued ministering, great numbers were converted, the churches of Simon were greatly emptied.

So when the original comes to town, the fake ones will start to crumble. Philip preached Christ as He was and the people of the city could not resist God. His gospel was marked by miracles, signs and wonders. The power of God was the signature of his ministry. Simon lost his members to Philip until he himself was also converted. That is revival, the fake cannot resist the original. Only the fools can.

Many people today are demonised and they are castigating the works of God which are being done in our nation today. Some are saying we are living in the last days where it is fake prophets will arise.

This is true, but incomplete.

The Bible says we must be aware of false prophets, who come to us in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognise them by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-16). If a folk is assigned to verify the authenticity of a prophet, let the folk check the fruits of the prophet.

Does a prophet sleep around? Is there anyone complaining of having lost his or her property to the prophet? How many widows and orphans do the prophet carters for? Is the prophet not doing more than the responsible authorities? Is the prophet after his own self gain?

If the Bible is talking about false prophets, what is false in a prophet? Healing the sick in a world that has no medicines, is that being false? Is catering for more than 4 000 widows and 3 725 orphans false? Is bringing serious thieves, murderers and prostitutes to Christ and cleansing a city of all these dirty deals false? Telling the people the way they should go, is that being false?

Raising the dead and empowering the invalid of the society, is that the false the folks are talking about? So tell me what is false in a prophet and where are the Prophet Philip of the day, the genuine ones?

The Bible says in Matthew 4:4 man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. This tells me that God continues to speak even today apart from Him speaking through the Bible.

God is not confined to the bible, but the bible is there as our foundations where we start from and to guide us as we grow our spiritual muscles.

The Bible is for man not God. I hear people trying to arrest God by restricting him saying He can't do this and that, yet God is bigger than what we know. John 5:19 says, "So Jesus said to them, truly, truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise."

My question to the weaker brother is, if you see Jesus doing something that you have never seen or written in the bible will you continue to believe in Him?

He might be looking at what the Father is currently doing and start doing that, if it is not in your bible, hymn book and constitution will you accept what Jesus will be doing.

John 14:12 says "whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

We are a generation marked to do the works of Jesus even greater works which might never be found in the Bible.

What more do we want other than teeth growing instantly, increasing people's height, fat burning and people reducing their body weight instantly. Bald heads receiving bushes of hair there and there.

Pimples, growth and lumps disappearing instantly, bones coming together, these are miracles from the man of God.

This is revival!

Pastor Takura Rukwati is a pastor with the United Family International Church (UFIC).

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