Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
In the Gates

This is a Test

The Second Commandment

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Deuteronomy 13.1-5

If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.”

But the people of God need such false prophets to arise from time to time. By them the Lord sharpens our discernment, fortifies obedience, and enables us to prove and improve love for Him.

We pass these tests when we examine all we hear by the whole counsel of God in Scripture (Acts 17.11) and hold fast only to the ways of the Lord. Each act of obedience makes us stronger, but we must maintain constant vigilance, for false prophets can be very persuasive.

Do not expect false prophets to announce themselves as such. They will use the language of the Kingdom and the Gospel to press their visions and schemes; we must be vigilant, discerning, and in touch with the great heritage of Christian belief in order to know which voices to heed and which, because they foment rebellion against God, must be suppressed.

This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to and click on our Book Store.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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