TESTS OF A TRUE PROPHET
prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."
1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21
Throughout history, God has spoken to His people through
prophets. As we draw closer to the end of time, it should come as no
surprise that individuals arise claiming to be a prophet of God. However,
nearly all of these fail to meet the scriptural requirements for a true
prophet. Rene Noorbergen, has studied a number of psychics and acclaimed
prophets including Jeane Dixon, and Nostradamus (Jeane Dixon, My Life
and Prophecies and Nostradamus: Invitation to a Holocaust). In
his book Ellen White: Prophet of Destiny he lists ten
biblical requirements for a true prophet. These are:
1) A true prophet does not lie. His predictions
will be fulfilled. (Jer. 28:9, "But the prophet who
prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the LORD only if
his prediction comes true.")
2) A true prophet prophesies in the name of the
Lord, not in his own name. (2 Pet. 1:21, "For prophecy never
had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were
carried along by the Holy Spirit.")
3) A true prophet does not give his own private
interpretation of prophecy. (2 Pet. 1:20, "Above all, you
must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's
4) A true prophet points out the sins and
transgressions of the people against God. (Isa. 58:1, "Shout
it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my
people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins.)
5) A true prophet is to warn the people of God's
coming judgment. (Examples of judgment such as portrayed in Isa.
24:20, "The earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the
wind; so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion that it falls --never
to rise again." and Rev. 14:6, 7, "Then I saw another angel
flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who
live on the earth --to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said
in a loud voice, 'Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his
judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea
and the springs of water.'").
6) A true prophet edifies the church, counsels and
advises it in religious matters. (1 Cor. 14:3, 4, "But
everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening,
encouragement and comfort. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but
he who prophesies edifies the church.")
7) A true prophet's words will be in absolute
harmony with the words of the prophets that have preceded him. (Isa.
8:20, "To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak
according to this word, they have no light of dawn.")
8) A true prophet recognizes the incarnation of
Jesus Christ. (1 John 4:1-3, "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. This is the spirit of the antichrist,
which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the
9) A true prophet can be recognized by the results
of his work. (Matt. 7:16-20, "By their fruit you will
recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from
thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears
bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear
good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and
thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.")
10) A true prophet acts in accordance with the
will and approval of God. (Deut. 18:19, "If anyone does not
listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call
him to account.")
Let's expand two of the more significant passages above:
18:15-22. [Moses said to his people] "The LORD your God will
raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must
listen to him. . . . The LORD said to me: 'What they say is good. I will
raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will
put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.
If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name,
I myself will call him to account. But a prophet who presumes to speak in
my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks
in the name of other gods, must be put to death.' You may say to
yourselves, 'How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the
LORD?' If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take
place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That
prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him."
8:19-22, "When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who
whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why
consult the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony!
If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.
Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are
famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their
king and their God. Then they will look toward the earth and see only
distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into
"Based on these texts, it becomes obvious that not
everyone who prophecies is a prophet of God-for a true prophet is
not a psychic who performs with the aid of a mental or
"spiritual" crutch, but is someone who has no degree of freedom
either in tuning in or controlling the prophetic impulses or prophetic
recall. These impulses are superimposed over the prophet's conscious mind
by a supernatural personal being, having absolute knowledge of both past
and future, making no allowance for error or human miscalculation." (Noorbergen,
Ellen White: Prophet of Destiny, pp. 21, 22).
HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE TRUE
From time to time, someone will tell me a new
“prophet” has arisen. My comment is that if the person is a genuine
prophet, he or she will show the evidences of one. We have a right to expect them
to be provided; for, since every word a prophet writes is flawless,
it is of the deepest urgency that we obtain definite evidence from
God that a new prophet is among us!
Especially prominent among them, however, are two
factors: (1) The person will be taken into vision in public
meetings, in view of many people. (2) While in vision (and some of
them rather lengthy), he or she will not breathe.
Repeatedly, both evidences
occurred during the 1840s and 1850s. That was enough time for the
believers to recognize that she was a true prophet. In later years,
public visions were not needed.
Here are several examples; the first occurred on
June 26, 1854:
“I [D.H. Lamson] was then 17 years old. It seems to
me I can almost hear those thrilling shouts of ‘G-l-o-r-y!’ which she
uttered. Then she sank back to the floor, not falling, but sinking
gently, and was supported in the arms of an attendant.
“Two physicians came in, an old man and a young man.
Brother White was anxious that they should examine Sister White
closely, which they did.
A looking glass was
brought, and one of them held it over her mouth while she talked;
but very soon they gave this up, and said, ‘She doesn’t
Then they closely examined her sides as she spoke,
to find some evidence of deep breathing, but they did not find it.
“As they closed this part of the examination, she arose to her feet,
still in vision, holding a Bible high up, turning from passage to
passage, quoting correctly, although the eyes were looking upward
and away from the Book.
“She had a view of the seven last plagues. Then she
saw the triumph of the saints, and her shouts of triumph I can seem
to hear even now. To these facts I freely testify.”—Elder
D.H. Lamson, Hillsdale, Michigan, Feb. 8, 1893; Great Second Advent
Here are the words of two other witnesses who were
there that night:
“I remember the meeting when the trial was made,
namely, to test what Brother White had frequently said, that Sister
White did not breathe while in vision, but I cannot recall the name
of the doctor who was present. . . . It must have been Dr. Fleming,
as he was the doctor called sometimes for counsel. He is, however,
now dead. I can say this much, that the test was made, and no sign of breath was
visible on the looking glass.”—Drusilla
Lamson, quoted in Great Second Advent Movement, 208.
“This is to certify that I have read the above
testimonials of David Lamson and Mrs. Drusilla Lamson, concerning
the physician’s statement when examining Mrs. E.G. White while she
was in vision, June 26, 1854.
“I was present at that meeting, and witnessed the
examination. I agree with what is stated by Brother and Sister
Lamson, and would say further that it was Doctor Fleming and another
younger physician who made the examination. After Mrs. White rose to
her feet, as they have stated, quoting the texts of Scripture,
called for a lighted candle. He held this candle as near her lips as
possible without burning, and in direct line with her breath in case
she breathed. There was not the slightest flicker of the blaze. The
doctor then said, with emphasis, ‘That settles it
forever; there is no breath in her body.’
of Fayette, Iowa, testimony dated August 29, 1897; Great Second
Advent Movement, 208-209.
The following incident occurred three years later in
“We were present when Sister E.G. White had a vision
in Waldron’s Hall, Hillsdale. Dr. Lord made an examination, and
said, ‘Her heart beats, but there is no breath. There is life, but no
action of the lungs. I cannot account for this condition.”—
Mr. and Mrs.
A. F. Fowler, Hillsdale, Michigan, Jan. 1, 1891; Great Second Advent
In the above examinations, notice that, while in
vision, Ellen spoke without breathing out. It is impossible to speak
yet she would do it for over an hour. A person cannot normally stop
breathing more than a few minutes without passing into
unconsciousness and death.
“I was present when Sister White had the above-named
vision in Waldron’s Hall, Hillsdale. In addition to the above
statement, I heard the doctor say that Sister White’s condition in
vision was ‘beyond his knowledge.’ He also said, ‘There is something
supernatural about that.’ ”—C.S.
Glover, Battle Creek, Michigan, Jan. 19, 1891; Great Second Advent
Interestingly enough, it was in the above vision
that, for the first time, Ellen was told that the Laodicean message
included the Advent believers. You can read what she was there shown
In June 1857, the Whites had driven to Buck’s
Bridge, New York, for weekend meetings. As James White spoke to a full
house, Ellen was taken off into vision. In the audience that morning
was a young man, 22-year-old Daniel Bourdeau from Vermont, who would
later become one of our leading evangelists. He helped pioneer the
work in California, and (because he was fluent in French) later in
Switzerland, France, and Italy. I like his
statement about Ellen in vision the best—because what he did was a
test which cannot be faked!
“June 28, 1857, I saw Sister Ellen G. White in
vision for the first time. I was an unbeliever in the visions; but
one circumstance among others that I might mention convinced me that
her visions were of God.
“To satisfy my mind as to whether she breathed or
not, I first put my hand on her chest sufficiently long to know that
there was no more heaving of the lungs than there would have been
had she been a corpse.
I then took my
hand and placed it over her mouth, pinching her nostrils between my
thumb and forefinger, so that it was impossible
for her to exhale or inhale air, even if she had desired to do so. I
held her thus with my hand about ten
enough for her to suffocate under ordinary circumstances. She was
not in the least affected by this ordeal.
“Since witnessing this wonderful phenomenon, I have
not once been inclined to doubt the divine origin of her visions.”—D.T.
Bourdeau, Battle Creek, Michigan, Feb. 4, 1891; Great Second Advent
Here are three additional descriptions of Ellen’s condition while
in vision. The
first statement is by J.N. Andrews
who first saw her in vision in
1852 and said that he had seen her in vision fifty times.
“In passing into vision, she gives three enrapturing
shouts of ‘Glory!’ which echo and re-echo, the second, and
especially the third, fainter but more thrilling than the first,
resembling that of one quite a distance from you, and just going out
four or five seconds she seems to drop down like a person in a
swoon, or one having lost his strength; she then seems to be
instantly filled with superhuman strength, sometimes rising at once
to her feet and walking about the room. There are frequent movements
of the hands and arms, pointing to the right or left as her head
turns. All these movements are made in a most graceful manner.
position the hand or arm may be placed, it is impossible for anyone
to move it.
eyes are always open, but she does not wink;
her head is raised, and she is looking upward, not with a vacant
stare, but with a pleasant expression, only differing from the
normal in that she appears to be looking intently at some distant
does not breathe, yet her pulse beats regularly.
Her countenance is pleasant,
and the color of her face as florid as in her natural state.”—J.N.
Andrews statement; Great Second Advent
Mrs. Martha Amadon,
who knew Ellen for many years, gave this description:
“There was never an excitement among those present
during a vision; nothing caused fear. It was a solemn, quiet scene,
sometimes lasting an hour . . When the vision was ended, and she
lost sight of the heavenly light, as it were, coming back to the
earth once more, she would exclaim with a long-drawn sigh, as she
took her first natural breath, ‘D-a-r-k.’ She was then limp and
Amadon, Documentary File 373.
Here is how James White described the visions
in his 1968 book, Life Incidents:
“1. She is utterly unconscious of
everything transpiring around her,
as has been proved by the most rigid tests, but views herself as
removed from this world, and in the presence of heavenly beings. “2.
She does not
breathe. During the
entire period of her continuance in vision, which has at different
times ranged from fifteen minutes to three hours, there is no
breath, as has been repeatedly proved by pressing upon the chest,
and by closing the mouth and nostrils.
“3. Immediately on entering vision,
her muscles become
rigid, and joints fixed, so far as any external force can influence
them. At the same time her movements and gestures, which are
frequent, are free and graceful,
and cannot be hindered nor controlled by the strongest person.
“4. On coming out of vision, whether in the daytime
or a well-lighted room at night, all is total darkness. Her power to
distinguish even the most brilliant objects, held within a few
inches of the eyes, returns but gradually. . .
has probably had, during the past twentythree years, between one
and two hundred visions. These have been given under
almost every variety of circumstance, yet maintaining a wonderful
James White, Life Incidents, 272.