Parsha Re'eh - Debarim/Deuteronomy 11:26 - 16:17
Walking on water. Changing water into wine. Casting out demons. Healing the sick. Raising the dead. Giving sight to the blind, speech to the mute, and hearing to the deaf.
Surely, this must be a man of Elohim!
Well, some beg to differ.
Of all the people Christian missionaries have tried to convert, the Jewish people have been the hardest. Though they have been successful in converting a good many Jews (sadly), as a whole, the Jewish people have proven themselves particularly resistant to Christianity.
Why have the Jewish people stood so strong against what Christians claim as the natural successor to their faith? Why, on pain of death, did so many refuse to convert?
Parsha Re’eh explains why in Debarim/Deuteronomy 13:
(1) "When there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he shall give you a sign or a wonder,
(2) and the sign or the wonder shall come true, of which he has spoken to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other mighty ones – which you have not known – and serve them,’
(3) do not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for יהוה your Elohim is trying you to know whether you love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart and with all your being. (Deb/Deut. 13:1-3 )
Who is a Navi?
As Moshe prepares to take leave, he instructs Yisrael on how to screen future leaders. Yisrael would have several leaders in various roles, and one was the role of prophet, navi.
A navi was someone who was in communication with Elohim and whose role it was to keep Yisrael spiritually on track. A navi inspired the people to serve YAHUAH and warned them of the consequences of not serving YAHUAH. He or she encouraged the people to obey Torah and not to transgress. A navi’s message, therefore, was often one of teshuvah, repentance.
A navi would also lead the people concerning secular matters, such as to go to war or not to go to war, based on the word of YAHUAH given to him. All in all, the navi’s job was to direct the people according to YAH’s will.
The Test of a Navi
If a person prophesied that something good would come to pass, and it did, then he was determined to be a navi (prophet).
If he prophesied something bad, and it did not happen, this did not affect his status. If he was already declared a navi, then he would still be a navi. He would not be declared false if the bad thing did not happen because YAHUAH is a compassionate Elohim and often relents from anger, such as with Yonah and Nineveh.
The one thing a navi absolutely never could do was lead the people to idol worship. The moment a person instructed another to worship an idol, he was determined to be a false prophet. Even if he was previously declared a true navi, at this point, he is determined to be false and none should listen to him.
Signs & Wonders
You may notice that the test of a navi has nothing to do with signs and wonders. The ability to do signs and wonders and work miracles does not make one a navi.
Yes, a navi can do signs, wonders, and miracles, just as Moshe, Eliyahu, and Elisha did, but the signs are not what give them their legitimacy as prophets. It's the fact that they spoke good things as revealed to them by the word of YAHUAH, and they came to pass.
Prophets make miracles, but miracles do not make a prophet.
Why aren’t signs and wonders the test of a navi?
Because witchcraft and ‘black magic’ do exist.
There is a spiritual world right before us that we can’t see with our natural eyes, and from times of old, people have devised ways to tap into this world and manipulate its forces. They have found ways to circumvent the natural order of things, to bypass YAH’s set pathways and guidelines, to get what they desire.
These are the soothsayers, mediums, spiritists, astrologers, witches, sorcerers, etc. that the Scriptures speak against (Shem. 22:18; Wayy. 19:31, 20:26-27; Deb. 18:10-11).
These people -- who are not of YAHUAH -- can also do signs and wonders, just like the magicians who copied the first two plagues in Egypt. They can manipulate the natural world and make ‘miracles’ happen. At times, they can even predict the future.
This is why the prophet is tested (Deb. 18:21-22), and why the one caveat is that he can never, ever lead others to idol worship.
If you listen long enough, a false prophet will always eventually lead one away from YAH.
The vast majority of people who converted to Christianity were people who did not know Torah. Even the Jews who converted were most likely uneducated in the Torah.
Anyone who truly knows and understands the Torah would not listen to Christian missionaries. They would know what Parshah Re’eh says about false prophets in Debarim 13.
It doesn’t matter how many signs and wonders and miracles one does - if he leads people to idol worship then he is a false prophet and one should not listen to him.
This is why the Jewish people have been resistant to missionaries. Jesus (JC) may have done many miracles - miracles that have caused billions of people to believe in him - but in the end, Christianity leads to idol worship.
Christianity elevates a man to make him equal and one with the Almighty, and they worship him. This is idolatry.
How does Christianity get away with this?
They abolish the Torah. They say the “Old Testament” was replaced with the “New Testament,” and the Everlasting Law is no longer valid. Thus, they invalidate the test of a prophet.
So, now, people will not learn Torah, they will not know the test of a prophet, and they will fall victim to the enticement toward idol worship. They will worship JC - a man.
The Jewish people know the Torah. They know not to be ‘wowed’ by signs and wonders. They know they must listen carefully to the actual message and not be distracted by the wiles of the messenger. The message of Christianity is to worship JC, and that they cannot do.
And neither can we.
YAHUAH is Elohim and there is none else (Deb. 4:39). YAHUAH commanded all peoples - Jews and Gentiles - to worship Him and Him only.
(3) "do not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for יהוה your Elohim is trying you to know whether you love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart and with all your being.
(4) “Walk after יהוה your Elohim and fear Him, and guard His commands and obey His voice, and serve Him and cling to Him.
(5) “And that prophet or that dreamer of dreams is put to death, because he has spoken apostasy against יהוה your Elohim – who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim and redeemed you from the house of bondage – to make you stray from the way in which יהוה your Elohim commanded you to walk. Thus you shall purge the evil from your midst." (Deb/Deut. 13:3-5)
JC may have done miracles, but his message and the message of his followers (even up to this very day) is to worship him as Elohim. This is apostasy, causing people to turn away from YAHUAH and His Torah.
A true prophet of Elohim may do signs and wonders, but he will never, ever lead anyone to worship an idol. That is a sure sign of a false prophet.