Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
May 5, 2001
Last Updated :
July 24, 2012
God's Greatness, Murmuring In The Wilderness, Serpent Of Brass, Elisha And The Shunammite Woman, Naaman The Syrian And Elisha, Healing And Other Signs And Wonders, Immediate Healing, Not For Today?, Twisting The Scriptures, Balancing The Scriptures, The Perfection To Come, Gift Of Prophecy And Tongues, Pentecost And The Outpouring Of The Spirit, Foreign Languages, Gift Of Knowledge, The Dead And Blind, One Body But Different Members, Seducing Spirits And Lying Wonders, Choosing The Right Church, No Gifts Or A Lack Of Faith?
One thing which the Apostle Paul makes absolutely clear, is that whenever these Gifts are in operation within a certain Body of Believers, they will result in good fruit which will edify and uplift all. He sums up how the Spiritual Gifts should manifest themselves in the following verses:
"Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret . . . If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints . . . Let all things be done decently and in order."
1 Corinthians 14:13, 27-33, 40, KJV
This leads us to another important topic concerning the various Gifts of the Spirit which I touched on earlier. One dangerous pitfall into which some churches have fallen, such as some of the Roman Catholic charismatics, as well as the Pentecostals, is that of being taken over, or possessed, by a false spirit which attempts to imitate God's true Holy Spirit. Don't ever forget that Satan is a copycat; he is an imitator; and he is a usurper who unrightfully tries to take that which is not his. This deceptive spirit tries to convince its deluded victims that it is the true Light of God; and that its manifestations are of a Divine Nature, when in fact they are not. Remember again the Apostle Paul's admonition:
"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."
2 Corinthians 11:14, KJV
As we saw previously, Satan, via the Son of Perdition, and the many other false prophets of the Endtime, may soon reveal his full power by using all kinds of seemingly "celestial signs" and "miraculous wonders", including miracles of healing, visions, false prophecies, etc., in order to trick the unwary. Maybe some people are being "slain" by the spirit in their churches, but it certainly isn't the Holy Spirit with which I am familiar! It is a deceptive demonic spirit of which we are warned to beware! It is what Paul also referred to as a "seducing spirit". If you have any doubts whatsoever about these people who foam at the mouth and fall all over the place, and writhe in what they call "spiritual ecstasy", then I seriously advise you to consider the following verses:
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;"
1 Timothy 4:1, KJV
"And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not."
Mark 9:18, KJV
"And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him hardly departeth from him."
Luke 9:39, KJV
Of course, Satan doesn't always manifest himself in such graphic forms. Sometimes he can be very subtle such as through his "healings". In addition to this, on the opposite end from the "holy rollers", we find a number of Roman Catholic "prophets" and "visionaries" who have made all kinds of false predictions which have never come to pass; and they continue making them to this very day. One in particular whom I am very familiar with, because I have read many of his prophecies, is John Leary. Most of these false prophets are rather harmless and usually end up hanging themselves sooner or later; particularly when they make a specific time prophecy which doesn't come to pass. Again, you will find this topic discussed in "Lying Wonders Of The Endtime", "Elijah: Where Are The True Prophets Of God?", "The Office Of A Prophet", etc. As I stated in those articles, the Lord, through Moses, gave us some very clear advice as to how to react to such false prophets:
"But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him."
Deuteronomy 18:20-22, KJV
Another set of verses I have shared a number of times before is the following where Jesus provides us with the ultimate test for determining the status of a prophet:
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
Matthew 7:15-20, KJV
The above verses can not only be applied to so-called prophets of our modern day, but they can also be applied to any situation you encounter in any church or organization you happen to join or visit. Exactly what kind of a spirit reigns over the place? Is it a spirit of peace, or is it a spirit of confusion? When you first walk in the doors on Saturday, Sunday or Wednesday night, what is your first impression? Is there a lot of confusion of tongues and many people "prophesying" at once? If so, I seriously doubt that this is the Lord's Spirit. Remember again the previous admonitions I shared from the Apostle Paul. The spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet. God is not the author of confusion. Let all things be done decently and in order. Just because there is a lot of music, and people singing and jumping up and down, and folks "prophesying" and "speaking in tongues", and foaming at the mouth, does not mean that God's Spirit is present; in fact, it isn't. Getting all excited, and hot and sweaty is a work of the flesh, and not of God's Spirit.
Let me again remind you of a story from the First Book of the Kings. When King Jehoshaphat of Judah, and King Ahab of Israel, decided to war against the king of Syria, the true Prophet of God, Micaiah, was outnumbered by four hundred false prophets who also had the gift of prophecy from their father the devil! In the end, the Prophet of God was vindicated, while Ahab was destroyed because he listened to the advice of his false prophets. There is also the example in the First Book of Kings of the lone true Prophet Elijah who slew the four hundred and fifty false prophets of Baal who were powerless before El Shaddai, the Almighty God of Israel. The point is, don't be deceived by numbers when you are looking for true manifestations of God's Spirit. The following verse from the Book of Proverbs holds a lot of truth if you can accept it:
"It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house."
Proverbs 21:9, KJV
In addition to looking for the actual fruits of the Gifts of the Spirit in a particular church or organization, such as changed lives, new people coming to the Lord, unity of the Spirit, etc., another primary requisite to consider is exactly how much time is devoted to the actual Word of God. I am not referring to Sunday school catechisms or other printed materials which are full of the dry words and spiritless wisdom of the founder(s) of that particular church or organization, such as their so-called "church fathers", "apostles", "saints" or their self-appointed "prophets", but rather to actual verses of Scripture straight from the Bible; and in my particular case, that means the tried and proven 1611 Authorized King James Bible. If you spend an hour in fellowship, and only five or ten minutes is devoted to the actual Word of God; and if this happens week after week, I would say that you are in the wrong place. How many of you can eat a ten minute meal and survive all week without eating another meal? Doesn't that sound ridiculous? Well, that is exactly what you are doing if you stay in such churches or organizations.
If all you are getting is a lot of loud music, singing, dancing, "prophesying" and "tongues", but no real soul food, again, you are definitely in the wrong place. You can go to a rock concert and feel the same way. You will come out of there just as hyped up in the flesh, but your spirit will be starving to death. You are better off staying home and reading your Bible on your own and asking the Lord to enlighten you by His Spirit; and He will if you ask Him to in sincerity:
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:"
Matthew 7:7, KJV
"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"
Luke 11:13, KJV
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
James 1:5, KJV
Even if you are in a church or organization which quotes the Word of God, unless they are actually living it, what good is it doing anyone? There are a lot of great preachers out there who get paid big money to preach up a storm; but unless they have the Anointing of God's Spirit, it won't move a soul. It won't bring a single person to Christ. It won't convict a single person to change their ways. Those people will come back the very next week to hear the same spiritless platitudes all over again. This is precisely what happened with the four hundred and fifty false prophets of Baal. They were yelling and cutting themselves with knives, but still ole Baal didn't wake up and send fire down from the sky to devour their offering. The Prophet Elijah found the whole situation to be quite hilarious:
"And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded."
1 Kings 18:27-29, KJV
As we know, after this display of phony spirituality by the false prophets of Baal, the true God of Israel harkened to Elijah and sent down fire to totally devour his water-soaked offering to the Lord; once again showing the true Might and Power of El Shaddai; and vindicating His true Prophet:
"And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God. And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there."
1 Kings 18:36-40, KJV
The point of all of this is to show that if a church, organization or individual has the true Spirit of God, the Gifts of the Spirit will be manifested in their lives in some way; and it will bear positive fruit for the glory of God. Before concluding this article, let's consider the facts one more time: Throughout the Old Testament we find many clear examples of great signs and wonders, including different manifestations of the Spirit. Likewise, in the New Testament, Jesus' ministry was filled with manifestations of the Spirit. The ministries of His Apostles and the First Disciples which followed after them were also filled with the manifestations of the Gifts of the Spirit. Finally, towards the end of the First Century, when the final Book of Revelation was given, John was still manifesting the Gifts of the Spirit, particularly the Gift of Prophecy. In other words, clear up to the very end of the Holy Bible, we encounter different manifestations of the Gifts of the Spirit. Nowhere is there any sign of them having ever ceased.
So the question then is this: If the Gifts of the Spirit didn't end by the last verse on the last page of the last chapter of the last book of the Bible, then where did they end? What solid Scriptural foundation are these people using to make such a claim? At what point in the history of the true Christian Church did God say, "Okay, it's all over. I am withdrawing the Gifts of the Spirit now. You don't need them anymore."? Could it be that this is just an invention of the compromising Roman Catholic Church and her spiritless daughters? If we are not currently witnessing many true miracles and great signs and wonders within the so-called Christian world, then I suspect that it is not because the Lord has withdrawn His Spirit, but rather because those who claim to be His Prophets and Emissaries do not really have His Spirit, or else they do not possess the faith that they should have in order to manifest the Gifts of the Spirit. Remember again what Jesus said in Luke chapter eighteen:
". . . Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"
Luke 18:8b, KJV
It seems really odd to me that from one end of the Bible to the other, we find all of these examples of the Lord manifesting His great Power through His chosen vessels; yet today, in what many view as the Endtime, when we would expect the greatest manifestations of His Spirit to be present in order to combat the greatest manifestations of evil, there is basically nothing. Could it be then that those who claim that the Gifts of the Spirit are no longer in operation today are simply trying to cover their own tracks, and their own inability to take the Lord at His Word and have the faith to expect miracles? This is a very sobering thought as it points to every single one of us who claims to be a Christian. It is definitely an idea worth pondering. The only other possibility that I can see is that in these Last Days, the Lord has indeed chosen to withdraw His Spirit except for a very small portion, because He is sick and tired of a rebellious unbelieving world. In other words, maybe we don't deserve any signs, just as Jesus told the unbelieving Jews of His day:
"But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:"
Matthew 12:39, KJV
Perhaps this is in preparation for the arrival of the Beast and the False Prophet. I discuss this topic in such articles as "Who Hindered the Antichrist?", "Age of Deception, Age of Delusion", etc. Personally, I don't believe that the Lord is going to pour out His Spirit if He knows that it is just going to be wasted, or else used inappropriately. As we have already seen, when the Lord does permit such wonderful manifestations of the Spirit, it is usually for the specific purpose of bearing fruit for the Kingdom of God. Perhaps because of our pride and our self-righteous attitudes, the Lord knows that He can no longer trust most men with such precious Gifts, because they would abuse them, and allow them to inflate their pride beyond measure. This is clearly brought out in "Elijah: Where Are the True Prophets of God?". None of us can deny that possessing such a Gift as healing would be truly wonderful. Just imagine if we could not only heal people's spirits by bringing them to Jesus Christ, but we could also heal their sick and broken bodies as well. Sadly, for most of us, myself included, it would inflate our pride like a hot-air balloon!
With these remarks, I am going to bring this series to a close. I believe I have given all of us some serious things to think and pray about. I trust that this series has been instructive, and a blessing in your life. If you have enjoyed it, please consider sharing its URL with your online friends. If you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, etc, I would also appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thanks so much, and may God bless you abundantly!
For additional information, you may want to refer to the list of resources below which were also mentioned in this article, and which are likewise located on this very same Bill's Bible Basics website:
Lying Wonders of the Endtime
Elijah: Where Are the True Prophets of God?
The Office of a Prophet
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
A Biblical Cafeteria or the Whole Course?
The Only Credentials You Need!
John Lennon's Imagine and Secular Humanism
Where Are the First Century Churches?
Who Hindered the Antichrist?
Age of Deception, Age of Delusion