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In Matthew 24:24, Jesus warns, "For false christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-if that were possible." Similarly, 2 Thessalonians 2:...
We can't. That is the real dreadful thing. We cannot discern well-calculated, and sometimes demon-driven 'miracles'. Yet we can rest assured that those who belong to the Lamb need not fear a thing. They have been 'immunized'. These verses will help add flesh to the above crisp answer. 1. The counterfeit will be so convincing that there is no way of refuting it. Hence many will buy the fake, and fall for it. Mat 24:24a But it is impossible to deceive the elect of God. Mat 24:24b 2. Why does this happen? Is God unfair? Not at all. Titus 2:11, He has granted everyone a chance to hear the saving gospel. Then there are those who reject this truth, and choose to follow man-made philosophies - twisting Scripture (especially the writings of Paul 2 Peter 3:16, 2 Cor 4:3) - so that they can listen to 'great teachers' who churn out teachings of rebellion. 2 Tim 4:3-4. 3. When the stage has been set like this, God Himself sends them a powerful delusion, so that they can believe the lie. 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12. 2Thessalonians 2:9-10 So if you are worried about falling victim to these counterfeit miracles, please be guided by this - Isaiah 8:20, 'To the Law and to the Testimony! If they do not speak according to this Word, they have no light of dawn.' So don't follow them. It is also sad that some of these 'miracle' workers will think that they are serving God, but they will be rejected at the last Day - Matthew 7:22-23. They will be rejected because of disobedience - Mat 7:21. The greatest deception is yet to be manifested. The beast and his cahoots will demonstrate some of the most polished miracles ever seen on earth - Rev 13:11-15. Yet for the saints - (those who obey God's Commandments and keep the Testimony of Jesus - Rev 12:17, Rev 14:12) - these will not be deceived. Only those not written in the book will be deceived. Revelation 13:8. So don't engross yourself trying to validate the miracles - you can't. They will appear so real they can pass any scrutiny. And some of them will be real miracles, anyway (though wrought by the rebellious). Rev 13:15, Matthew 7:22. But the elect will not be tricked. Bless.
You must learn to dig into the scriptures for yourself to get an answer to this matter, mostly BECAUSE that will be the only way to discern these matters on a case by case basis. And there is scripture to prove this out but because some people carefully cherry pick texts to prove what they believe (the idols of their hearts - Eze 14:1-11) instead of discern truth, many of these texts don't get taught and quoted in discussions about discernment. That means you must go looking for them yourself, spending a lot of time with your concordance and doing exhaustive searches of multiple related keywords. Over time this gets easier, and with this type of study you will soon know the scriptures better than the so-called experts. The law of prophets (Dt 18:9-22) starts off telling us a list of means used by the people of Canaan to discern God's intent, and God calls them detestable. Yet we later find him commanding his prophets to use some of them at various times later in scripture and their history. The casting of lots (divination) and the reading of signs have always remained common. Jesus commanded us to know the signs of the times (a form of omen reading) and the Apostles cast lots to determine Judas's replacement. For that matter, God commanded Joshua to cast lots to assign territory to the tribes when the land had been subdued. So these means they are not inherently evil. It is the process and the interpretation of these that gets out of line with God's intent. Gideon used the omens in careful consultation with God and God honored that. Yet many would reject his leading on that basis because they cherry-pick their support texts and this list says these things are detestable. Dt 8:3 says we are to live by every word that proceeds from God's mouth and this proves that. You can't cherry-pick. Dt 13 is the law of the false prophet. The bible never actually uses that term. In the original languages it speaks of those who prophesy falsely. Dt 18 and Eze 14 also speak of these and make it clear that God uses them. Dt 13 tells us that if they are using miracles God sent them, but that does not make them true. You must compare everything they say against every word God has spoken to see if they are consistent. God uses these to test you. It is not a matter of their miracles being false. God empowered those miracles as the proof that he sent those people to test us (Dt 13:3,4). Therefore, this deep, constant and continual study of scripture for yourself is the ONLY way to discern whether any prophet or miracle worker is true. The fact of the miracle proves that this person was sent by God but does not prove him true. Now we must look at the definition of a prophet given in Dt 18 because the church has never used the biblical definition and refuses to teach it. Because the people refused to hear God's voice at Sinai, and instead sent Moses up the mountain to get God's word and relay it to them, God gave us the prophet who will listen to his word to give that word to those who refuse to hear God directly. The only way to properly discern anything is to hear God directly. Many of us depend on pastors, teachers, advisors or denominational leaders instead of studying the matter from scripture or any other truthful source for ourselves. Furthermore, because we all have idols of the heart and often refuse to cast them down, the word we get from these "prophets" can be suspect. Dt 13:3, 4 advises us to take their word as truth but must study God's word for ourselves. So if this word is true, the miracle will never be counterfeit but the miracle worker may be. The miracle will always be the proof that the miracle worker has been sent by God, but will never be the proof that the prophet's word is God's word. Study for yourself and question everything.
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