Why This Specific Spirit Test?

1 John 4:1-6 NASB
“Beloved, 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. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and now it is already in the world. You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. They are from the world, therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. The one who knows God listens to us; the one who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”

This is a topic that I have often thought about and I am basically just putting this out to you folks, to see what you think about the reasoning and functionality that has come to my mind, after much prayer, pertaining to that which underlies this mandate, that we Christians have all been given, by the Apostle John.

In both the Old and New Testaments we are told that God is a spirit and that there is a spiritual realm, with competing spiritual forces. There are spirits that originate from God and are aligned with His purposes and there are spirits that are not aligned with His purposes and are consequently not sent by God. These spirits that are not aligned with God’s purposes and consequently are not sent by God, are associated with false prophets, who disseminate false prophecies and false doctrines and can emulate false manifestations of God’s Holy Spirit.

The vast majority of us will readily acknowledge that there is a material world and that we are equipped to interact and make discernments with regard to this material world, by how we can touch, taste, see, smell and hear material objects within this material world. Conversely, making discernments within regard to the spiritual realm, as to what represents the spirit of truth versus the spirit of error, unfortunately, is entirely, another matter.

The Apostle John specifically addresses this requirement for discernment in the above Scripture where he tells us NOT to believe every spirit, but to test the spirits and how specifically, to test them. I found it interesting to note what the specific criteria is.

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and now it is already in the world.”

EVERY SPIRIT THAT CONFESSES THAT JESUS CHRIST HAS COME IN THE FLESH IS FROM GOD.

Christ comes from the Greek word χριστός (chrīstós), meaning “anointed one“. The word is derived from the Greek verb χρίω (chrī́ō), meaning “to anoint.” In the Greek Septuagint, christos was used to translate the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (Mašíaḥ, messiah), meaning “[one who is] anointed”.

So what we are talking about here is that Jesus, the anointed one or Messiah, has come in the flesh and is from God. This would be a recognition of who Jesus is, plus His superior authority and an acknowledgement that He has been manifested, appearing in a fleshly material body, like unto ourselves, sent by God.

Why is that so important? I would submit that this is critical because Jesus represents the superior authority of the spiritual realm, in the physical world, a world which Satan, has been given limited authority over. And to acknowledge the superior authority of Jesus, in the physical world, to which Satan has been granted limited authority, acknowledges the superiority of the authority of Jesus, over the limited authority of Satan. And neither Satan or any of his associated fallen angels, will of their own volition, willingly acknowledge that. If commanded to, by the superior authority, they must comply, and acknowledge, but they will not willingly, of their own volition, acknowledge this, where they have a choice.

Consequently, unless commanded in the name of Jesus to acknowledge this reality, they will defer or abstain from doing so.

And this behaviour, that is predictable, can and is to be used to discern if the spirit, speaks on behalf of God or speaks on behalf of the spirit of the antichrist.

So how might one use this predictable behaviour in a test? I would submit by asking the spirit the following question:

Will you confess that Jesus the Christ has come in the flesh and is from God?

And given a choice, if the spirit is not representing God, the spirit will not confess this reality. There will be silence or some form of non-acknowledgement.

OK, MY NEXT QUESTION IS WHY IS THIS NOT BEING DONE?

I have read a good number of books authored by so called prophets that expound upon how angels and or spirits have provided them with word by word dictation or verbatim transcripts to be passed onto the faithful and not once have I ever seen any instance where this test, provided by the Apostle John, has been recorded as being exercised. Not one. Why?

Many decrees have been passed on verbatim as coming directly from the Lord, but not one decree has been noted as having been tested, by those passing on these decrees. Not one. Why?

Many prophecies have been passed on verbatim as coming directly from the Lord, but not one prophecy has been noted as having been tested, by those passing on the prophecy. Not one. Why?

Considering that the Apostle Paul tells us in 2nd Corinthians 11:13-15 NASB that “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.”

With that reality in mind, does in not seem prudent to test the spirit sources from whence these “words from the Lord” originate?

Do you recall anywhere in God’s Holy Word where we are told that exercising discernment is optional? How about testing the spirits being optional? No, I didn’t find any either. In fact the exact opposite is explicitly emphasized. The criteria by which we are to discern is very clear. The Apostle Paul spells it out for us in Galatians 1:8-9 NASB where he states: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, even now I say again: if anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” Emphasis is mine.

People who work with databases have a saying that speaks of reality when it comes to expected results when using questionable sources, the statement is “garbage in, garbage out”. Does God’s Holy Word instruct us to validate our sources against that which is “contrary to”? And how does one do that? Once again, Scripture provides the answer in Acts 17:11 NASB which states: “Now these people were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”

What happens is that in the vast majority of cases today, where spirits from the spirit realm provide word for word dictation, verbatim transcripts, decrees and prophecies, those who receive them are so focused on how they have been used and the supposed “new” knowledge or revelation that they seem to have been made privy to, that they chase after the carrot to get more, with little or no concern towards its authenticity.

My question is, where is the filter? Where are the safety checks with regard to authenticity? And most of all, for Christians, why does this not bother or concern you?

The bottom line is that if this new so called flexibility didn’t work for Paul, it shouldn’t work for us either.

For your consideration.

Worthy is the Lamb. Blessings!

9 comments

  1. Wow! Touche! This should bother ALL of us.

    “Will you confess that Jesus the Christ has come in the flesh and is from God?
    And given a choice, if the spirit is not representing God, the spirit will not confess this reality. There will be silence or some form of non-acknowledgement.”

    When I first heard of this “test,” I wasn’t sure how to use it, but I had an opportunity to do so before I was to leave on an extended trip. First, I was driving to another part of the state for a wedding where I was to sing an original song I had written for the bride and groom. I was staying with friends and some of their family members I didn’t know. Next, I was going to fly to Nashville to spend about a week pitching my songs to people in the music business, sing at a “songwriters’ night” in a bar (!), and touch base with some relatives.
    The night before I was to leave, I was almost asleep when a voice in my head said very clearly, “DON’T GO.” Suddenly my plans seemed to turn to chaos, as I wondered what sort of calamity awaited me if I ignored it and went anyway. – Car accident? Plane crash? or …!?
    But remembering this test, I asked that very question you articulated here, and the response was dead silence. I thought, “Hmph. I thought not,” and went to sleep.
    I could see the Lord working in every step of that trip, from the extended God conversation with my friends and their relatives before finding out their relatives weren’t saved (My friends were delighted at how God used my “ignorance” to witness to them.) – conversations with fellow passengers on the plane and the people in the music industry, even witnessing through song to people sitting in a bar drinking. I don’t know everything the Lord was doing, but I had the distinct feeling I was planting seeds.
    (Glad I tested the spirits, or I would have either missed a great trip or spent the whole time in fear.)

    If this test is needed for one obscure person like me, how much more important is it for a preacher/teacher/”prophet” to test the spirits before declaring, “Thus saith the Lord!” to thousands or millions of people, who chances are, don’t themselves know how to test the spirits?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Annie, I loved your example. It struck me this morning (why these thoughts come across my mind in the morning as I am driving to work I have no idea) that this physical world we live in provides us with the tools to discern but we don’t function solely in a physical world, we also function in the spiritual realm and we need the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit to be able to discern God’s guidance from the opposing forces in the spiritual realm. And then 1 John 4:1-6 came to mind, followed by the question . . . why? Why was this sense for the spiritual realm that God gives us important? And why does it work as it does? And why is it’s use so absent? I think you illustrated a very good example and I am so glad that you shared it. Thank you, Annie! Blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Bruce. There’s very little discernment within “big tent” evangelicalism these days. I channel surf every night and regularly come upon TBN and Daystar and the errors being propagated are just egregious.

    Like

    • Hi Tom, oh I know, worse than useless fluff. I find it difficult to comprehend how some accept these prophecies and such as God’s new revelations. Mind boggling. And worse, some people pay for it so that they get a steady stream. One day at a time! Blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

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