The Biblical Truth of What Separates True Prophets From False Prophets

The Bible shows you how you can distinguish true prophets from false prophets. (Photo by Malcolm Lightbody on Unsplash)

During times of crisis and what seems to be the increase of darkness, one of the most important truths believers need to understand is how to walk in the light of the council of the Lord.

Powerful parallels of revelation that are seen when comparing the language of the relationship of the Old Testament prophets and God with Jesus and His disciples. In the book of Jeremiah, God addresses the false prophets and makes a clear distinction between the true and the false:

"For who among them has stood in the council of the Lord to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened?" (Jer. 23:18, ESV).

According to the word of the Lord from Jeremiah, what distinguishes true prophets from false prophets was that true prophets stood in the council of the Lord. Those who spoke for God had to meet Him and receive instructions and directives from His divine council.

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The Hebrew word sod means "council," is that is, a secret and divine council. Brown-Driver-Briggs defines sod as "council, counsel, assembly or divan (a legislative body), circle of familiar friends, intimacy with God." It is also used in the book of Amos:

"For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7)

Amos declares that God does nothing until He reveals His sod or divine council to His servants the prophets. "Council" differs from "counsel" in that the word "counsel" is "to give or receive wisdom and advice," whereas "council" means "to be part of the judicial, governmental and legislative company to institute laws."

Notice that when we talk about the council of the Lord, by definition, we are also talking about intimacy. Amos 3:3 (NKJV) asks, "Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?"

This denotes two who are walking together and doing life together as they are coming into a place of union that flows out of intimacy. It is agreement that flows out of doing life together. The first revelatory truth to grasp from walking in His council is that He reveals His secrets to those who are intimate with Him. Agreement that flows out of intimacy derives from a place of trust, because the two who walk together are doing life together.

The council of God is not a physical place, but where God's dwelling place is. Dr. Michael Heiser in his book, The Unseen Realm, says this regarding God's dwelling place as it compares to walking:

Think back to Genesis 3:8, a passage I've alluded to before, in which Yahweh approaches humans as a man. When Adam and Eve violated God's command, they suddenly heard "the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day." This "walking" terminology suggests that God appeared to them in human form (spirits don't "walk").

The text says that Adam and Eve knew it was God—there was no surprise or shock, the language is another way of saying that Yahweh's abode was among the Israelites— and where Yahweh's house was, his council was. On the other side of the veil was where Yahweh and his council could be found.

This is profound when we draw the relationship between walking with God and His divine council. If walking with God refers to someone who abides in His presence, then it gives greater significance to being the house or dwelling place of God. God's council is where His house is. Thus, if we are walking with God, He is also walking with us, and among, meaning that we ourselves are the place of His council.

The powerful truth and correlation between discipleship and walking with God is that walking denotes presence. Therefore, walking with God indicates continually abiding in His presence in order to learn.

Jesus, the Council of the Lord

As discussed previously, sod, "council" refers to where the secret and divine council of Yahweh takes place. Jesus, who is Yahweh in the flesh, taught His disciples differently than He taught the crowds, as we see in the narrative of the gospels:

"Then the disciples came and said to him, 'Why do you speak to them in parables?' He answered them, 'It is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given'" (Matt.13:10-11, MEV).

Jesus taught the crowds in parables, which was a fulfillment of Psalm 78 as well. A parable was a story with a hidden meaning or moral within it, which had the purpose of teaching and instruction.

When Jesus taught the parable of the seed and sower, even the disciples did not understand it. Then the disciples pull Jesus aside and ask Him to explain the meaning of the parable. His response is, "It is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven." Let us first look at the essence of His statement, which once again indicates that intimacy is the key to understanding the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.

All the Synoptic gospels record this dialogue with Jesus, which is evidence that it is important to understand the meaning of the parable. The parable itself was a seed that contained the seed of the truth that would produce a harvest in the life of the disciple who disciplined his life by it. The mystery of the kingdom of heaven was hidden or concealed in the narrative of the parable, and Jesus only revealed it to those yoked to Him in discipleship.

The Greek word for "mystery" is a powerful word when understood within the context of revelation about the life and culture of the kingdom of heaven. Vine's Dictionary defines mystery as: "musterion (3466), primarily that which is known to the mustes, 'the initiated' (from mueo, "to initiate into the mysteries"; cf. Phil. 4:12, mueomai, "I have learned the secret," RV). In the NT it denotes, not the mysterious (as with the Eng. word), but that which, being outside the range of unassisted natural apprehension, can be made known only by divine revelation, and is made known in a manner and at a time appointed by God, and to those only who are illumined by His Spirit."

The mysteries of the kingdom are spiritual truths that are revealed to the believer who has been initiated through intimacy. The name Enoch also means "initiated," so we can conclude that disciples are initiated into spiritual truths, which bring transformation through their walking with Jesus.

Thayer's defines mystery as "secret will of God and secret counsels which govern God in dealing with the righteous, which are hidden from ungodly and wicked men but plain to the godly." The Abbott-Smith Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament equates the word "mystery" or musterion with the Hebrew word for "secret council" or sod.

This is a profound truth if you have been following me up to this point. If Jesus is Yahweh in the flesh, then the disciples are walking in the very council (sod-secret council-mystery-musterion) of God!

In the midst of chaos and the increasing of darkness, God has called His children to become reacquainted with walking in the light of His council to become light in a time of darkness.

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