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Heavenly Visions

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    PREDICTIONS OF FALSE PROPHETS

    J. N. LOUGHBOROUGH.

    “IF there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying,... thou shalt not harken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams.” Deuteronomy 13:1-3.HEVI 50.7

    In still further noticing rule six for testing the gift of prophecy, the question may arise, If the prophet makes some prediction that comes to pass, even if it be a miracle that he said he would perform, would not such fulfillment be one of the tests of a true prophet, according to rule five?-Not at all. In this rule six we are counseled to watch the nature of his testimony, whether it draws us nearer to the Lord, or away from him. Virtually, we are counseled to test the prophet by all the rules, and not decide that he is a true prophet because apparently he is in harmony with one rule. I say apparently, for the next question naturally arises, Where did he get his prediction of events to take place, if perchance he made a prediction? We understand from the Scriptures that anciently unprincipled men, false prophets, “stole” the words of true prophets, and passed them off as their prophecy, seeking thus to succeed with their deception.HEVI 50.8

    The Lord, by the prophet Jeremiah thus speaks of their work: “I am against the prophets, said the Lord, that steal my words every one from his neighbor. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.” Jeremiah 23:30, 31. Instead of the Lord using their tongues, and speaking through them even while in the vision, they steal the words of the true prophet, repeat them as their own words received from the Lord, saying, “He saith.”HEVI 50.9

    That lying spirits of Satan thus seek opportunities to learn what is to come, and then go forth to tell it, or to pervert and deceive their subjects, is apparent from the case stated by the Lord’s prophet Micaiah, respecting the spirit that was permitted to deceive Ahab’s four hundred false prophets, as recorded in 2 Chronicles 18:18-24.HEVI 50.10

    The Lord has told his people in these times that “the devil is a careful student of the prophecies of the Bible.” And why is this? Is it to learn the truth that he may help on the work of the Lord?-No, by no means, but rather that he may tell some of these things that are coming, -having stolen them from the Lord’s prophets,- thus making it appear that his prophets are true ones.HEVI 50.11

    Satan closely watches events, and when he finds one who has a specially strong spirit of opposition to the truth of God, he will even reveal to him unfulfilled events, that he may more firmly secure himself a seat in his heart..... During the experience of nearly six thousand years he has lost none of his skill and shrewdness. All this time he has been a close observer of all that concerns our race.-Testimonies for the Church 2:171, 172.HEVI 51.1

    Again we read:-HEVI 51.2

    Those who have bitterly opposed the truth of God, Satan uses as his mediums. To such he will appear in the assumed person and garb of another, it may be a friend of the medium. He will increase their faith by using the words of their friend, and relating circumstances which are about to take place, or which really have taken place, and of which the medium knew nothing. Sometimes previous to a death or an accident, he gives a dream, or, personating another, converses with the medium, even imparting knowledge by means of his suggestions. But it is wisdom from beneath and not from above. The wisdom taught by Satan is opposed to the truth, unless, to serve his purpose, he apparently clothes himself with the light which enshrouds angels. To a certain class of minds he will come sanctioning a part of what Christ’s followers believe to be truth, while he warns them to reject the other part as dangerous and fatal error.-Id.HEVI 51.3

    The wily adversary is called “That old serpent, which is the devil, and Satan.” Revelation 20:2. What is literally true of a serpent is true of Satan’s teaching and work. A serpent’s track is a meandering one. He can only travel by means of the wriggling and twisting of his body. Elder Mitchel, of Iowa, about two years ago told me of the catching of a “live and perfect snake.” It was placed in a long straight box, open at each end, and a trifle larger than the snake, so that it was not in any way bound, and was so loose in the box that it could have been readily and easily drawn out by the hand. But it could not get out itself because of insufficient room to make the meandering motions of its body needful to its forward travel, consequently it remained in the box, and starved to death. So of the track of “the old serpent,” the devil; while truth goes in the most direct line, Satan’s course is a meandering one. Speaking of him, the Saviour said, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:44.HEVI 51.4

    Although Satan’s prophets may do miracles; or may speak of things to come, by the aid of what they have seen take place (as the death of a person occurring at a certain hour), or tell of an event to come (of which they “stole” their knowledge from God’s prophet), yet in applying all the rules to their case, it will soon be seen where they fail to be in harmony with the Lord’s standard of true prophets, Satan will not teach submission to God’s law, but rather the service of other gods, even though it be in the self-pleasing way of shunning the path of self-denial. The Review and Herald, December 12, 1899.HEVI 51.5

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