The fact that there are false prophets makes it critical for a Christian to be able to recognize a true prophet.
1 John 4:1- 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.
1.What a true prophet shares as a message from the Lord will always come to pass.
“When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.”
Ezekiel 33:33, Jeremiah 28:9
2.A true prophet will always give counsel that agrees with God’s word.
2 Peter 1: 19- We have also a more sure word of prophecy (a word from the Lord that is already confirmed- ESV, that is completely reliable- NIV); whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.
What should you do if a prophet gives you a message from the Lord that doesn’t match up with the Bible. Should a prophet be the final authority in the life of a Christian? No, The Bible contains prophecy, word from the Lord. It takes precedence over other prophecies because it is already confirmed and completely reliable.
In 1 Kings 13: 7-26, a prophet had been sent to Bethel to warn King Jeroboam of impending danger on account of God’s displeasure. This prophet had specific instructions not to eat or drink while on the assignment and to return home by a different route. He was approached by an old prophet from Bethel who lied to him and caused him to go against God’s instructions with fatal consequences.
3. A true prophet points you to God, and not to himself. He ensures that all the glory goes to God for any kind of success he records, not to him.
In 2 Kings 5: 1-18, Naaman’s encounter with Prophet Elisha led him to realize “that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.”
James 5: 17: “Elijah was human (just) like us. Yet, when he prayed that it wouldn’t rain, no rain fell on the ground for three-and-a-half years.” (God’s word Translation)
God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10: 34-35). You and I can have the same results as Elijah if we make ourselves as available to God for use as much as he did. The results are not about any man’s capabilities but about God’s mighty power.
4. A true prophet is willing to acknowledge the fact that he doesn’t always see.
Any of God’s children can prophesy at some point (Joel 2 : 28). The man who is called a prophet is the one who has a gift from God that enables him to prophesy relatively more often than the average Christian.
It is important to note that even the prophet will not be told every single thing about every possible situation. This is the difference between a man of God and the God of man. God alone is all-knowing.
Oftentimes, God would send a message to a prophet ahead of his encounter with the person for whom the message is intended (1 Samuel 9, 1 Kings 14) but there are situations when the man of God does not have a message from the Lord.
2 Kings 4: 27: “When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me why.”
What should the prophet do then?
He may still give counsel based on his knowledge of God’s word while being upfront about the fact that this is not a specific message from God.
1 Corinthians 7: 25: “With regard to the question about people who have never married, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who is trustworthy.” NET Bible.
5. A true prophet would never demand money in exchange for prayers, a miracle or any gift from God.
In 1 Kings 14:3, 2 King 5:15, and 1 Samuel 9: 7-8, the individuals consulting the prophets took along freewill offerings because their minds were renewed about giving. The man of God did not demand an offering. Prophet Elisha even rejected the gift that Naaman offered to him (2 Kings 5:16).
Acts 8: 18-20: “When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit. Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!”
No matter how much pressure a man of God is under, he needs to look to God as his sufficiency, he cannot stoop as low as to demand payment in exchange for prayers, miracles and solutions.