4th Sunday - First Reading: Deuteronomy 18:15-20

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I will raise up a prophet and I will put my words into his mouth.

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Deuteronomy 18:15-20 :

Deuteronomy 18:15-20 I will raise up a prophet and I will put my words into his mouth.

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Moses spoke to all the people, saying: 15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brethren—him you shall heed— 16 just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17 And the Lord said to me, ‘They have rightly said all that they have spoken. The Holy Bible : Revised Standard Version Second Catholic edition (2006), with the ecclesiastical approval of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Thomas Nelson Publishing for Ignatius Press. The English translations of the works of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) who also uses the RSV-CE or its Second Edition.

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18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not give heed to my words which he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. 20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ The Holy Bible : Revised Standard Version Second Catholic edition (2006), with the ecclesiastical approval of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Thomas Nelson Publishing for Ignatius Press. The English translations of the works of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) who also uses the RSV-CE or its Second Edition.

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In ancient Israel, as in the present day, many people claim to be prophets. These people want us to believe that they have special powers and are speaking for God. There is a difference between divination and prophecy. In many towns, at carnivals and circuses palm readers can be found and for a price they will tell you about your future. Divination is simply a human-initiated attempt to predict the future and reveal things known to God alone. Prophecy on the other hand is a method by which God speaks to His people through a human being. The larger question is how do you tell the difference between the two. Continuing on in Deuteronomy 18:21-22 God Himself gives us the answer.

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21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ — 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you need not be afraid of him. Who then is a prophet like Moses? It is a reference to all the prophets who followed Moses and of course the ultimate giver of God’s word, Jesus. Are the days of the prophets over? Is prophecy just a Biblical event of the past? No, prophecy continues into the modern day. The test of prophecy given in Deuteronomy 18:22 is still valid. If the prophecy draws people to the prophet and not God then the human is acting on their own initiative and is a false prophet.

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They are really saying, give me money and I’ll tell you what I think you want to here. There are six identifiers, any one of which, labels the person as a false prophet. 1. They teach through signs and wonders that lead people to false gods (Dt. 13:1–4), the rising table or the shaking voice of a loved one in a séance room is simply a trick to make a false god out of the medium. 2. Their prophecies aren’t fulfilled (Dt. 18:20–22), you didn’t get the promised job.

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3. They contradict God’s Word (Is. 8:20), it’s okay to have an adulterous affair because God will understand. 4. They bear bad fruit (Mt. 7:18–20); the adulterous affair, even if you are not caught, will bear the fruit of shame, guilt and distrust. 5. All men speak well of the “prophet” (Luke 6:26), this person is perfect, the only perfect person on earth was Jesus not a well thought of human being. 6. They reject Jesus, the one and only Christ, 1 Jn. 4:3, and no spirit which fails to acknowledge Jesus is from God; it is the spirit of Antichrist.

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