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Deuteronomy 13 (ESV)


1 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. 5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.



In this passage, we have the first of two (see 18:15-22) provisions concerning prophets.  Here we learn that, though certain prophets’ words turn out to be true, if they lure Israel to false gods, then they are by definition false prophets and should be put to death.  This text alerts us to the fact that false prophets may actually utter true prophecies, and we are thus warned not to be deceived into following their advice.  Indeed, we should “test the prophets.”

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. …… You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.(1John 4:1-4)



LORD, I am from you and I have overcome them.  I know that the one who is in me is greater than the one who is in the world.  I also know that since I confessed that Jesus is the son of God and my Saviour, God abides in me and I in God.  I trust the Holy Spirit to guide me in discerning the spirits and to lead my future path. (v4,15)