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The True and False

Prophetess

by

Diane Rodd






The Bible releases Godly women as prophetesses, both by explicit precept and by example. However, a women seeking to serve the Lord Jesus in prophecy also seeks to be a true prophetess. Furthermore, every women of God desires wisdom to discern true and false prophetesses. This pamphlet examines Biblical examples and principles to discover a wealth of Scriptural guidance on this subject.







The True and False Prophetess




Families Honoring Christ

"But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart
and a good conscience and a sincere faith."

Earl & Diane Rodd
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1st edition - June 1995

2nd edition - Dec 1997

3rd edition - August 1998

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FHC is an Ohio based ministry providing information, encouragement
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Unless otherwise noted, All Scripture quotations are from the

New American Standard Bible, Copyright 1988,

The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.



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The True and False Prophetess

Introduction

Revelation 2:18
18. "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this:
19. 'I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first.
20. 'But I have {this} against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray, so that they commit {acts of} immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
21. 'And I gave her time to repent; and she does not want to repent of her immorality.
22. 'Behold, I will cast her upon a bed {of sickness}, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds.
23. 'And I will kill her children with pestilence; and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.
24. 'But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them-- I place no other burden on you.
25. 'Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.
26. 'And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations;
27. and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received {authority} from My Father;
28. and I will give him the morning star.
29. 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'

Christian women must take this passage most seriously. In it we have a very explicit description of the activitites of a false prophetess. We must allow the written word of God and the Holy Spirit to examine the character of our lives, our actions, our words, and our motives to be sure we are not caught in any web of deception.

In verse 20 of this passage we discover the first danger sign. A false prophetess calls herself a prophetess. She establishes her own title of importance and lets others know about it. She advertises her abilities, her accomplishments and achievements. She desires the praise of men.

In the same verse we learn that a false prophetess has a teaching ministry which leads God's bond-servants astray. By her teaching and by her example those who listen to her and follow her example are not led closer to Christ but are led away from Him. Those she leads astray belong to Christ; they are His bond-servants, but somehow they are deceived by this false prophetess into committing behavior that is immoral and idolatrous. The lifestyle of this person and her followers is not chaste, pure or holy; the spiritual food she serves to them is not that which has been sacrificed on the altar of the Lord. It is food which appeals to the fleshly, carnal mind and thus self is the idol which is served and worshiped even though it may be subtly hidden and disguised in many different ways. The food is often teaching which is poplular, convenient and/or flattering to the hearers.

A false prophetess is one who refuses to repent. Because of a heart hardened to the voice of the Holy Spirit, we can observe these signs which follow a false prophetess: sickness, great tribulation and death to her children (natural and/or spiritual).

God has a purpose in allowing us to observe this kind of fruit. He says in verse 23 that He wants all churches to know that He is the one who searches the minds and hearts, and He will repay each one according to his deeds.

A true prophetess will be one who lives according to the Word of God. She will let another praise her, a stranger; she will not let her own lips praise herself (Proverbs 27 :2). She will have a fear of the Lord that produces praise for her in the mouth of her children and her husband. It will be her works that praise her not her own words (Proverbs 31 :28-31).

A true prophetess also has a teaching ministry, but it is one that has been refined by the fire of God's Holy Spirit. A true prophetess is one who knows the voice of the Holy Spirit and experiences His teaching ministry and revelation into her own life. When she opens her mouth wisdom comes forth and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue (Proverbs 31 :26). Her teaching points others to Jesus Christ, the way of the cross, and a closer relationship to Him. This woman shuns and discourages a dependency upon her. She encourages each bond-servant to hear the voice of the Beloved and to seek His face. This one is willing to speak the truth in love so that those close to her can mature and bear good fruit for Jesus.

A true prophetess is one who is quick to repent. She understands how easily the Holy Spirit can be quenched, and she knows true joy can only be found in loving obedience to the Father's will and ways. A soft, pliable heart is one that is sensitive to others because she has been disciplined much by her Heavenly Father. His heart's cry is her heart's cry. The two beat as one, and repentance is a way of life to this woman of God.

Those who are around a true prophetess see things more clearly, understand circumstances from God's perspective and are vibrating with the life and vitality associated with those who are blessed by God. A true prophetess is able to discern situations and point others to the victory of the cross and the power of the resurrection life. Life, not death, emanates from a true prophetess. She is an optmist because she understands the sovereignty of God; she is able to keep her place in His purposes for her. She never takes her eye off the goal which is Christ in her the hope of glory (Colossians 1 :27), and she labors in travail to see Christ formed in others (Galatians 4 :19).

Anna

The New Testament only mentions the word prophetess in two other places. In Acts 21 :8,9 we read that Philip the evangelist had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses. Nothing more is mentioned about them. In Luke 2 :35-37 Anna is described as a prophetess. Here is the best job description for any woman who wants to be a true prophetess of the Lord. "And she never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers."

It is the hidden prayer closet of intercession where a true prophetess is trained in the will and purposes of God. It is the hours of separation from family and friends where the ways and methods of God become crystal clear. It is in the quiet of solitude where the heart is changed from glory to glory because the risen Christ sups with a true prophetess.

The Greek word for prophetess is derived from a root word meaning "to declare". A true prophetess is one who may be used of God to declare the divine will of God. Anna was prepared for her public ministry. She declared the baby Jesus to be the redemption for which all Israel was looking (Luke 2 :3). She had the spiritual eyes to see what few others could see. These are the only recorded words we have from this prophetess, but what a pure, clear word of truth she presented to her generation.

Deborah

A true prophetess doesn't seek the limelight. Deborah is our pattern in the Old Testament and is one we may seek to emulate. In spite of all the leadership we see in denominations, independent assemblies, and in parachurch ministries, our age can still be described as Deborah's day was described. "In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21 :25). Proverbs 21 :2 tells us, "Every man's way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts." Even though the Body of Christ says Jesus is Lord and King; it is not until He is actually obeyed as King that we really enjoy the blessings of His Kingdom on earth. Proverbs 3 :7 tells us what to do in such as age as ours. It says, "Do not be wise in your own eys; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil."

We can see in the first description of Deborah that she is a woman who feared God and understood the times in which she lived.

Judges 4:4
4. Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.
5. And she used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel came up to her for judgment.

A true prophetess is a woman of remarkable patience. Deborah did not go to the men and expose their lack of spiritual guidance and inability to free the people of God from their oppressors. She did not uncover the lack in her brothers because she understood the covering and security she enjoyed as the wife of Lappidoth. Deborah was a contented, godly woman and as such, she did not advertise her skills and abilities in public places or in showmanship. She patiently waited until the men came to her for counsel. Deborah did not sit under the tree in stubbornness or pride; she sat there in her appointed place, covered by the authority of her husband. She sat there in true intercession and prayer for God's people waiting for them to know that she had a word from the Lord for their generation. She is a prime example of one who knows not only how to wait upon the Lord, but she also knows how to wait for the perfect timing of the Lord. Once the men recognized the Lord's choice of her as judge, as the one who could accurately discern the times in which they lived, Deborah was free to declare the Word of the Lord to Barak and lay down the battle strategy that would defeat Israel's main enemy and give Israel rest and peace for the next 40 years.

We have no idea how long it took the men of her generation to recognize God's call on Deborah, but she never pushed or shoved her way into the leadership of Israel. She preferred to see the men lead, but they couldn't because they had lost their confidence in God (Judges 4 :8). God chose Deborah to help the men of her generation believe and trust in God. This is the mark of a true prophetess.

It is most interesting to note that it is Barak and not Deborah whose name appears in the faith chapter of Hebrews 11. A true prophetess is one who can allow others to receive the esteem of men for that which she brought forth into being. She is one who understands that eternal rewards are far more important than the earthly acclaim of men.

Huldah

In II Kings 22 :1-20 we read about Huldah, the prophetess, who was used by the Lord to clarify Israel's situation by declaring God's perspective or view of His nation. In this account Josiah hears the book of God's law read to him. God's truth had been lost amongst the rubble, dirt, and desecration of the temple. The idolatry and division of God's people at this time in history is known by anyone who has read the Old Testament. The written word of God pierced Josiah's heart; he tore his clothes as a sign of the seriousness of the need of repentance, and he gives these directions,

II Kings 22:13
13. "Go, inquire of the Lord for me and the people and all Judah concerning the words of this book that has been found, for great is the wrath of the Lord that burns against us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us."

These words are spoken to Hilkiah who is the high priest. The reader of this account would expect the high priest to go into the presence of the Lord and return with the Lord's spoken word. Even though Hilkiah has the title of high priest, he doesn't have the living word of the Lord for King Josiah. He knows he doesn't know how to hear the Lord in this situation, but he knows where to go.

In verse 14 of II Kings chapter 22 we read these words,

So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter); and they spoke to her.

Like Deborah, Huldah was patient and waited for the Lord's timing. The covering of her husband, the sanctity of her home and the holiness of her life had been carefully embraced. She had learned the Lord's lessons in the privacy of her own home, and it was in her home that the presence of the Lord was manifested through her. Huldah, like Deborah, only has two titles: prophetess and wife. However, resident in those two simple words are the agonies of prayers and intercessions for God's rebellious people who had forsaken the glory of their Lord for idolatry and the pleasures of the world. As a wife, she would have learned her lessons in submission which bring forth the fruit of humility and patience. As a true prophetess, her words spoken in her home could never have been found to be false. Now Huldah is given the responsibility and the authority to declare to these five men who have visited her in her home, the Word of the Lord concerning the wrath of God. Her words for King Josiah are extremely important, but she doesn't leave the solitude of her domain to go to him to give them to him personally. She remains in her home where she has enjoyed the presence of her Beloved Lord in the midst of a generation that rejected Him. A true prophetess understands the power resident within the spoken word. She doesn't need or seek the vainglory of the pomp and display of the king's court. She knows the secret counsel of the Lord of Lords; she knows the face of the King of Kings, and her worth has come from His hand and from His presence with her when no human eye could see. She doesn't need now to be seen by anybody. Patience has done its perfect work in her heart. She is able to speak the Word of God in her home with faith and authority to whomever the Lord sends to her.

This is the lifestyle of a true prophetess. Whether it be the neighbor lady next door or the elders from her local church, she responds the same to both. A true prophetess has learned her role of submission in the home; she has overcome every temptation to be seen of man; she has poured her life out secretly to her God, and she is ready whenever He chooses to use her. A true prophetess is a woman of faith who knows the voice of her Lord. Huldah did not have much written word to pour over and study. Her generation and those before her had walked far from the purposes and plans revealed in the written word of God. Much of the written word had been misplaced, lost, or forgotten. The captivity, idolatry and division of the tribes of Israel was evidenced for all to see, but God had a woman whom He could trust with His spoken Word. God had a chosen vessel hidden in secret who knew how to wait on Him, and she was the only one who could discern the circumstances from Gods' perspective.

Both Deborah and Huldah had a reputation that was outside the governmental structure of Israel. They were not part of the visible, external system of organization and busyness that could be observed with the natural eye. They knew their appointed place, and it was there they remained. The home of their husbands was their shelter from the deception and idolatry that plagued the religious system of their generation. The home was the vantage point whereby they could hear the cry of their God and suffer His pain and agony over the captivity, degradation and apostasy of His chosen people. The home was the training ground where a true prophetess of God was given small assignments by the Lord and because she was faithful with the little, God could entrust her with a directive word concerning His people.

Deborah had a word of victory and peace for her generation. Huldah, however, had a harder word to give. The wrath of God was going to come upon God's people because of idolatry, and He choose Huldah to say it verbally. However, in the midst of this truth, there is also a message of encouragement for King Josiah. This young man humbled his heart before the Lord, and God always honors humility and genuine repentance. Even though God would bring a curse and more desolation upon His own chosen people, He would not do it in Josiah's lifetime. Huldah probably didn't see it either. What she did see was a king who led God's people in victory against the principalities and powers of darkness who had taken control of the Lord's physical temple. In II Kings 23 we read of Josiah's destruction of the vessels that were devoted to Baal. He burned those along with the Asherah. He also broke down the houses of male cult prostitution which had been erected in God's temple. He then traveled to all the cities of Judah where he smashed every altar of idolatry he could find. This was the effect of the word of the Lord from a true prophetess.

Because Huldah's generation did not see the curse she prophecied, many may have labeled her a false prophetess because what she spoke concerning God's people did not happen immediately. She may have had to live with that accusation knowing that others did not understand the ways of her God. However, revival came to the leadership of her generation and very few expositors of the written word ever give Huldah much notice. Eternity will vindicate each and every true saint of God. Jesus said, "For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then recompence every man according to his deeds" (Matthew 16 :27). Huldah's lifestyle did not just save herself; she was used by the Lord to inspire her earthly king to challenge the powers of darkness, and light came into that generation of God's people.

Miriam

Miriam is the first women described as a prophetess in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word for prophetess is just the feminine gender of the Hebrew word for prophet which means a spokesman or speaker. There are thousands of women who are speaking in our generation. With the rise of feminism more women are speaking today than ever before. Within the church and outside the church, women in the western world have the freedom to speak. However, are the words we are hearing today coming from the mouth of true or false prophetesses? We must be able to discern properly according to the written Word of God.

Whenever the written word of God first mentions a word, idea or concept, there is the seed from which God's total view of that particular thing will eventually blossom. In Exodus 15 :20 Miriam is called a prophetess. However, we never see any words that she spoke that came to pass. We never see Moses or Aaron come to Miriam for advice, counsel or guidance. With Deborah and Huldah we have the specific word of God that shows the lifestyle and work of a true prophetess, but with Miriam we only have her title.

She did sing and play the tambourine after the Red Sea victory but that is not prophetic; that is praise for what God had just done. Micah 6 :4 says, "Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt and ransomed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam." The verse clearly places Miriam with Moses and Aaron as a leader of God's chosen people, and yet nowhere do we specifically see Miriam overtly leading the people with Moses and Aaron. Why does the Bible give Miriam the title of prophetess when we never see her prophesying to the people of Israel? Why does the Bible call her a leader when we never see her leading?

The Bible is the true word of God, so we must shake ourselves from charismatic religious tradition which enjoys the public praise and public display of its leaders and look for a woman's true ministry which is often hidden and far from the attention of the world and the church.

Deborah, Huldah and Anna, the three prophetesses we have studied so far were married women. Anna had been married for only seven years before she became a widow, but she went from her home straight to the temple where she remained in secret, fasting and praying for the will of God to come to earth.

In Exodus 2 :1-10 we read about a little Hebrew girl who knew how to obey her mother and knew how to address the princess of her land.

Exodus 2:1
1. Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi.
2. And the woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months.
3. But when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch. Then she put the child into it, and set {it} among the reeds by the bank of the Nile.
4. And his sister stood at a distance to find out what would happen to him.
5. Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the Nile, with her maidens walking alongside the Nile; and she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid, and she brought it {to her.}
6. When she opened {it,} she saw the child, and behold, {the} boy was crying. And she had pity on him and said, "This is one of the Hebrews' children."
7. Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?"
8. And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Go {ahead}." So the girl went and called the child's mother.
9. Then Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this child away and nurse him for me and I shall give {you} your wages." So the woman took the child and nursed him.
10. And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she named him Moses, and said, "Because I drew him out of the water."

A true prophetess understands submission, and the major lessons are learned in the home not in seminaries or Bible colleges. It is the family where God trains the leaders of His church (I Timothy 1 :13). Men and women who are leaders must deal with the unbelief and rebellion in their own hearts which is easily detected in the privacy and security of the home. If the lessons aren't learned there, other institutions cannot deal with disobedience effectively.

Miriam never had a husband, but she had a family. She had parents who must have trained her well for she was used of God as a prophetess and a leader of Israel shortly after Moses was born. She led Israel eighty years before the Red Sea event. She spoke the directive Word of the Lord to an Egyptian princess before Moses had learned to speak. Her greatest moment in God was hidden behind the reeds of the Nile bulrushes far way from the eyes of society. Miriam, like the Holy Spirit, hovered over God's chosen man. He was a defenseless, tiny infant who was incapable of feeding himself, defending himself, or accomplishing anything mighty for God. Miriam may not have known or understood the significance of her obedience to watch over her baby brother to see what would happen to him. It matters not what she understood; Miriam's destiny as a true prophetess lay in her ability to obey patiently the will of her mother. She did not play; she did not get sidetracked; she did not wander away. She remained in her appointed place, and thus she was ready.

When God needed a word spoken to declare His will, He had Miriam. This child was able to discern correctly the situation in which she found herself. She had no fear of death, and thus no words of death concerning Moses came out of her mouth. She spoke God's plan for Moses into the atmosphere, and no decree from Pharaoh could ever change God's destiny of Moses. Miriam had no fear of man. God's little prophetess boldy but humbly spoke God's direction and guidance into the ears of a Eygptian heathen princess whose heart had already been touched by the Holy Spirit. The pity in her heart needed a practical way to express itself, and Miriam had the Lord's words of guidance and direction that the princess needed to hear at that moment. The destiny of two nations lay in that directive word. Eighty years later the significance of that moment would manifest itself in the glory of God revealed in the life and ministry of Moses.

Miriam's finest hour in God came early in her life, but God permits us to see deeply into the latter life of this prophetess that we might learn by her example. I Corinthians 10 :11,12 says,

Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

A woman of God must always remain in her God-appointed place. In Numbers 12 we read of Miriam's pride in being used of the Lord.

Numbers 12:1
1. Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had married a Cushite woman);
2. and they said, "Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?" And the Lord heard it.
3. (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.)
4. And suddenly the Lord said to Moses and Aaron and to Miriam, "You three come out to the tent of meeting." So the three of them came out.
5. Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the doorway of the tent, and He called Aaron and Miriam. When they had both come forward,
6. He said, "Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream.
7. "Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My household;
8. With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings, And he beholds the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant, against Moses?"
9. So the anger of the Lord burned against them and He departed.
10. But when the cloud had withdrawn from over the tent, behold, Miriam {was} leprous, as {white as} snow. As Aaron turned toward Miriam, behold, she {was} leprous.
11. Then Aaron said to Moses, "Oh, my lord, I beg you, do not account {this} sin to us, in which we have acted foolishly and in which we have sinned.
12. "Oh, do not let her be like one dead, whose flesh is half eaten away when he comes from his mother's womb!"
13. And Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, "O God, heal her, I pray!"
14. But the Lord said to Moses, "If her father had but spit in her face, would she not bear her shame for seven days? Let her be shut up for seven days outside the camp, and afterward she may be received again."
15. So Miriam was shut up outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on until Miriam was received again.

She and Aaron speak against Moses, and these are their words, "Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well? And the Lord heard it (Numbers 12 :2). " Nothing done in this world is hidden from the eyes of God. He not only sees our actions and hears every word we speak, but He knows the thoughts, intentions and motives of every human heart. David was a man who understood this basic principle of life, and he passed these words on to Solomon, "As for you, my son, Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever" (I Chronicles 28 :9).

God allows us to see this principle come to pass in the life of Miriam. The thoughts and intentions of her heart, her anger, pride and jealousy, are manifested in the disease of leprosy for her closest family to see. Her greatest triumph in God as a child was hidden from the eyes of the world, but the discipline of her Father God was an open manifestation of her sin for her family to see that she might be healed physically and spiritually.

Miriam's pride lay in God's choice of her whole family to be used by Him to deliver Israel. She and her brothers have a unique place in God's history. One whole family was united by God's purpose and will, and together they enabled God's will to come down on earth. What a model family for us to emulate and as such, God uses that family many times in the Old Testament to display the holiness and obedience He requires of His chosen vessels. Miriam's pride in being chosen by God led her to be jealous of Moses' wife. Miriam had no place in her heart for Zipporah. Miriam couldn't detect the seeds of bitterness in her own heart, and what was in her heart came out her mouth. She couldn't love Zipporah and thus the unity of that family was in danger of being destroyed.

When a prophetess has encountered a tremendous victory in the Lord and she is not recognized by man, she must be very careful that the unity of her home remains intact. Division is an abomination to God because His purposes can flow only where there is a true unity working through a true love relationship (Psalm 133). He uses Miriam as an example to us that we might understand the holiness and purity God requires in a true prophetess. The words in verse 15 of Numbers chapter 12 are very significant. The people of Israel did not move until Miriam's time alone with her Heavenly Father had done it's complete work. Miriam is not an example to us of a false prophetess. She is an example to us of a true prophetess who experiences the deep eternal discipline of her Father God. This discipline is most necessary. Without it the people of God in our generation will not be able to move on in His purposes for us. A true prophetess will experience a depth of conviction of sin within the confines of her home that bring her into a place of true repentance that affects the whole family of God.

Hebrews 4:12
12. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
13. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

A true prophetess allows the word of God to deal with her heart so that the words of her mouth and the tone of her voice exemplify the true heart of God in her situation and circumstances.

The False Prophetess

A false prophetess is described in the New Testament (Rev. 2 :18-20), but it is in the Old Testament where a description of false prophesying can be found.

Ezekiel 13:17
17. "Now you, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who are prophesying from their own inspiration. Prophesy against them,
18. and say, 'Thus says the Lord God, "Woe to the women who sew {magic} bands on all wrists, and make veils for the heads of {persons} of every stature to hunt down lives! Will you hunt down the lives of My people, but preserve the lives {of others} for yourselves?
19. "And for handfuls of barley and fragments of bread, you have profaned Me to My people to put to death some who should not die and to keep others alive who should not live, by your lying to My people who listen to lies."'"
20. Therefore, thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I am against your {magic} bands by which you hunt lives there as birds, and I will tear them off your arms; and I will let them go, even those lives whom you hunt as birds.
21. "I will also tear off your veils and deliver My people from your hands, and they will no longer be in your hands to be hunted; and you will know that I am the Lord.
22. "Because you disheartened the righteous with falsehood when I did not cause him grief, but have encouraged the wicked not to turn from his wicked way {and} preserve his life,
23. therefore, you women will no longer see false visions or practice divination, and I will deliver My people out of your hand. Thus you will know that I am the Lord."

The first characteristic of a false prophecy is determined by its source. It comes from the woman's own inspiration or heart. She may be sincere in what she is saying but her words do not reveal the Father heart of God. A true prophecy will always be an expression of God's heart and not man's heart.

Verse 18 of Ezekiel 13 is very obscure but the last words give clear meaning. Women who give a false prophecy are those who show partiality and do so for selfish gain. The true prophet of God pronounces woe on these women whose actions show they are hunting or chasing those who are God's chosen servants. The false prophetess preserves or protects those who bring her personal gain.

The Word of God has much to say about partiality. The following scriptures reveal the truth about this aspect of God's character.

Romans 2:11
11. For there is no partiality with God.

Ephesians 6:9
9. And, masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.

Deuteronomy 10:17
17. "For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality, nor take a bribe.

Galatians 2:6
6. But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)-- well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me.

Because partiality doesn't reflect the character of God, a true prophecy will not allow words of partiality to influence others.

Proverbs 28:21
21. To show partiality is not good, Because for a piece of bread a man will transgress.

II Chronicles 19:7
7. "Now then let the fear of the Lord be upon you; be very careful what you do, for the Lord our God will have no part in unrighteousness, or partiality, or the taking of a bribe."

Proverbs 18:5
5. To show partiality to the wicked is not good, {Nor} to thrust aside the righteous in judgment.

James 2:8
8. If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law, according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well.
9. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin {and} are convicted by the law as transgressors.
10. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one {point,} he has become guilty of all.

The Word of God makes it very clear that a true prophecy must expose God's enemies and encourage God's servants.

Verse 19 of Ezekiel 13 also seems obscure, but the last words are very clear when we read them with the the understanding of God's impartial heart. A false prophecy comes from a woman who is sustained by the flattery of men. She won't bite the hand that feeds her. Her provision comes from man not God. Thus the words of a false prophecy are words of death to a true servant of God. Her words are used to kill the life within God's chosen and to counter the will of God in a situation. Her words are used to keep alive that which God wants to die.

Verses 20 and 21 are a tremendous encouragement from the Lord. He Himself will set His people free from the evil effects of a woman who is prophesying falsely. These women will no longer be able to use words to deceive, confuse or damage the Body of Christ. These will know that God is Lord.

Verse 22 gives us the clearest contrast between true and false prophecy.

  1. A false prophecy disheartens the righteous with falsehood. This falseness accuses the righteous and causes him grief, but the words that produced that effect did not come from the Lord. He never intended the righteous to be disheartened and full of grief through false guilt and condemnation.
  2. A false prophecy encourages the wicked and preserves a life of rebellion and sin against God. A false prophecy doesn't bring the hearer face to face with his wickedness; thus a spirit of repentance doesn't accompany a false prophecy.
True prophecy will encourage the righteous and call the wicked (within and without the church) to repentance.

Noadiah

Nehemiah 7 :14 gives us our only Old Testament reference to a false prophetess. Nehemiah was used by God to restore the temple. He was tempted many times and in many ways to give up his call in God, and the enemy used people to discourage Nehemiah and those who were working with him. Noadiah is mentioned as a prophetess who, along with other prophets, tried to frighten Nehemiah.

A prophetess who frightens God's chosen people and attempts to thwart them from obeying the command of the Lord is one who is deceived by the comfort and security of the world around her. She has compromise in her own lifestyle, and she is not one who is willing to identify with true men and women of God who build for God and not for themselves. She is one who wants the acclaim and approval of man and his plans rather than one who chooses a life of obedience and sacrifice to the will and purposes of God.

The Place of the Woman of God

I Corinthians 11 :5 tells us a woman's appointed place in the world and in the church is prayer and prophecy. We have been deceived into thinking that it is a public ministry which only occurs in public meetings. May the study of scripture set us free as women to live a life that is pleasing to God in every way so that His plan and purposes for the words and activities of His chosen women may bear only good fruit.

(This was written in 4/15/1987. It is part of a larger work that studies God's written word concerning women.)

Copyright by Earl & Diane Rodd