How do we test spirits?
The Bible warns us 1 John 4:1 "Dear friends, 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." NIV
Too often we forget that we live in a spiritual war zone.
Eph 6:12 "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the
powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces
of evil in the heavenly realms." NIV
The devil will try to mislead you and will show himself as
being the truth. 2 Cor 11:14-15 "And no wonder, for Satan
himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not
surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of
But remember that deception is his only weapon. He is the
father of lies and he has no good intentions on your behalf.
John 8:44 "You belong to your father, the devil, and you
want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer
from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is
no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native
language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." NIV
No wonder that the apostle John encourages us to test the
spirits. The context of his warning was false prophets.
Jesus warned us against those as well! Matt 7:15-16 "Watch
out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's
clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." NIV If
you believe in a non-biblical prophet, please put that
prophet on the test.
However the testing of spirits is not limited to prophets,
but to anything that is spiritual.
How can you test them? Here are a few tests that will
guarantee you if those spirits are from God or not.
The first test is given by the apostle John himself, in the
context of testing the spirits.
Test 1. 1 John 4:2-3 2 "This is how you can recognize the
Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus
Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit
that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the
spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and
even now is already in the world." NIV
The first test is to make sure the spirit acknowledges that
Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. These verses are best
understood in the light of the Gnostic-like errors that
existed since John's time. They were denying that Jesus
actually came in the flesh. 2 John 7 "Many deceivers, who do
not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have
gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and
the antichrist." NIV and by their action actually denied
that Jesus is the messiah.
Be careful though and know that the devil and his agents
acknowledge the historical incarnation but do not confess
Jesus as Lord. Look at how the evil spirits were recognizing
Jesus during his ministry on earth:
Mark 1:23-24 "Just then a man in their synagogue who was
possessed by an evil spirit cried out, "What do you want
with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I
know who you are-the Holy One of God!"" NIV
Mark 5:7-8 "He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you
want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God
that you won't torture me!"" NIV
As you can see, evil spirits acknowledge Jesus as being the
Son of God and were acknowledging his ministry.
The Bible even says: James 2:19 "You believe that there is
one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-and shudder."
The big difference is that the evil shutter when the name of
Jesus is mentioned and none will acknowledge Him as the Lord
and Messiah. Make sure that the spirit you are in contact
with acknowledges Jesus as Lord and Messiah. No evil spirit
will preach about Jesus being our Lord and being our
Messiah. No evil spirit will invite people to accept Jesus
in their lives. They loathe the name of Jesus!
Every spirit sent from God will glorify God and worship God.
Angels of God do not receive worship for themselves!
Rev 19:10 "At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he
said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you
and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus.
Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of
Jesus is giving us the second test.
Test 2: Matt 7:16-20 "By their fruit you will recognize
them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from
thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a
bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,
and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does
not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." NIV
Test the lives of those pretending to be send by God. Are
there inconsistencies in their lives? Is their lives in
agreement with God's Word? Are they receiving glory for what
they do, or is God receiving glory? Are they relying on God
only for direction or are they basing their teachings on
writings from men? Are they or their followers putting their
word above the Bible? Have any of their prophecies never
come true? (Remember the devil is a liar and will mix truth
with lies. If any of their prophecies has never been
fulfilled, unless it is predicted for the future, even
though they gave some prophecies that were fulfilled, they
are not from God!) Any inconsistencies like these will
reveal to you if they are from God or not.
Test 3: 2 Peter 3:3-7 "First of all, you must understand
that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and
following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is
this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died,
everything goes on as it has since the beginning of
creation." But they deliberately forget that long ago by
God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out
of water and by water. By these waters also the world of
that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the
present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept
for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. NIV
The Spirit of God always speaks in accordance to God's Word,
the Bible. He acknowledges its authority. Anyone putting
anything above the Bible or anyone degrading the Bible, is
not from God!
1 John 4:4-6 "You, dear children, are from God and have
overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than
the one who is in the world. They are from the world and
therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the
world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows
God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not
listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth
and the spirit of falsehood. " NIV
2 Peter 2:1-2: "But there will also be false prophets among
the people, just as there will be false teachers among you.
They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even
denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-bringing swift
destruction on themselves." NIV
You must test every visitation and message with those in the
a) Here are a few references to angelic visitations. We can
compare our own experiences to these: To Abraham: Genesis
18:2; Genesis 22:11-18; To Hagar: Genesis 16:7; To Lot:
Genesis 19:1-17; To Jacob: Genesis 28:12; To Moses: Exodus
3:2; To Israelites: Exodus 14:19, Judges 2:1-4; To Balaam:
Numbers 22:31; To Joshua: Joshua 5:15; To Gideon: Judges
6:11-22; To Manoah: Judges 13:6; Judges 13:15-20; To David:
2 Samuel 24:16,17; To Elijah: 1 Kings 19:5-11; To Daniel:
Daniel 6:22; Daniel 8:16; Daniel 9:21; Daniel 10:5-10;
Daniel 10:16; Daniel 10:18; To Shadrach, Meshach, and
Abednego: Daniel 3:25; Daniel 3:28; To Zechariah: Zechariah
2:3; Zechariah 3:1-2; Zechariah 4:1; To Joseph: Matthew
1:20; Matthew 2:13; Matthew 2:19; To Mary: Luke 1:26-28; To
Zacharias: Luke 1:11-20; To the Shepard's: Luke 2:9-11; Luke
2:13,14; To Jesus, after His temptation: Matthew 4:11; To
Jesus, in Gethsemane: Luke 22:43; To Jesus, at the
sepulcher: Matthew 28:2-5; Mark 16:5-7; Luke 24:23; John
20:12; At the ascension: Acts 1:10,11; To Peter and John:
Acts 5:19; To Phillip: Acts 8:26; To Cornelius: Acts 10:3;
Acts 10:30-32; To Peter: Acts 12:7-11; To Paul: Acts 27:23;
To John: Revelation 1:1; Revelation 5:2; Revelation 7:11;
Revelation 10:9; Revelation 11:1; Revelation 17:7;
Revelation 19:10; Revelation 22:8
b) Angelic message will be verified by God's Word, it will
never violate, confuse or twist God's written Word.
c) An Angelic visitation will be to promote God's will, not
flatter your flesh or promote darkness.
If a spirit manifests itself to you, here are some biblical
clues to discernment.
§ If the spirit tells you it is the spirit of a dead
relative or friend, it is not an angel from God. God's
angels do not inhabit human bodies or join themselves to
human spirits. God's angels do not draw attention to other
beings other than Jesus and the Father.
§ Does this spirit socialize and spend undue time with you -
it is not a spirit of God.
§ Does this spirit use physical things to impress you;
sights, sounds, colors, the "supernatural"; it is not a
spirit of God. God's angels deliver messages to God's people
and then vanish. They do not "hangout" with humans
§ Does the spirit flatter you and build up your pride? This
is not one of God's angels.
§ Does the spirit try to force you to do something against
your will? This is not a true spirit of God. God's Spirit in
you will lead and guide you into all truth. You will have an
inner peace that this being is from God by its message
(which must line up with God's word and pass all tests
§ Did the spiritual encounter bare spiritual fruit? Angels
are sent to deliver God's people, bring God's message, and
help promote the plan of God through His people. Satan's
demons come to deceive, destroy, confuse and confound.
The warning from the apostle John 1 John 4:1 "Dear friends,
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." NIV holds true even more today
than ever. We are facing such a prolific of religions and
various doctrines, and this all in the name of Christ and
the Spirit of God. The exhortation is very relevant and
important to us. Are you testing the spirits?
Remember only God's Holy Spirit will lead you the truth. The
devil will only lead you to a mixture of truths and lies.
John 16:13 "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will
guide you into all truth." NIV
Have you tested the spirits you are in contact with? If you
are not familiar with the Spirit of God, it isn't too late
yet to accept Jesus into your heart and experience God's
Spirit in your life. He is the only One who can give you
inner peace. Will you accept Jesus now by answering the
Altar's call at http://www.answers2prayer.org/saviours_call.html
In I John 4:1 we are told, " Beloved, believe not every
spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God;
because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
The Greek word used here is dokimazo meaning " to test or
approve, discern, examine or prove" So now that we know what
we're supposed to be doing let's look at how to go about
If we want to know "... whether they are of God..." then
we need to look to His Word to see if the spirits align with
the truths, principles and promises found there.
Something to remember though, " But the natural man
receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are
foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they
are spiritually discerned." I Corinthians 2:14
So if we are to discern whether something is of the
Spirit of God then we must accept God because as natural man
we are incapable of discerning it on our own.
And how do we come to know God? Romans 12: 2 "And be not
conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good,
and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
It is by receiving God's Spirit and being transformed by
renewing our minds by His word that we are able to discern
whether spirits are of God or not.
In His Love, Crystel
John is speaking to believers. He calls them "beloved."
He says we are not to "believe every spirit" but "test" them
as to "whether they are of God." Why? Because there are
"many false prophets" who have "gone out into the world."
Behind every prophet is a spirit. The great question is does
the Spirit of God or an evil spirit lead this teacher.
Before we trust any teacher, we must "test the spirits."
In 1 Thess.5:20-22, Paul says "Do not despise prophecies.
Test all things; hold fast what is good."
In Mt.7:15-16, Jesus says "Beware of false prophets, who
come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are
ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.
In Acts 20:29, Paul said to the Ephesian elders "For I know
this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in
among you, not sparing the flock."
In 2 Pet.2:1, Peter says "But there were also false prophets
among the people, even as there will be false teachers among
you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even
denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves
In Eph.4:14, Paul says that a sure sign of spiritual
immaturity is "tossed to and fro and carried about with
every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the
cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting."
If we believe and have faith and have Christ within us and
the Holy Spirit leading us, we can test the spirits and know
if something is of God or not. If we study the Lord's word
and are biblically mature in the word, then we can test the
spirits and know what is right. If there is ever any
question in testing the spirits, the answer is always
directly in the Bible. MAY ALL BE BLESSED!
Love And Blessings
KJV --1Jo 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try
the spirits whether they are of God: because many false
prophets are gone out into the world.
1Jo 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit
that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of
1Jo 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus
Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that
spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should
come; and even now already is it in the world.
GW--1Jo 4:1 Dear friends, don't believe all people who say
that they have the Spirit. Instead, test them. See whether
the spirit they have is from God, because there are many
false prophets in the world.
1Jo 4:2 This is how you can recognize God's Spirit: Every
person who declares that Jesus Christ has come as a human
has the Spirit that is from God.
1Jo 4:3 But every person who doesn't declare that Jesus
Christ has come as a human has a spirit that isn't from God.
This is the spirit of the antichrist that you have heard is
coming. That spirit is already in the world
By the fruit they show in their life.
Any spirit that confesses Jesus is lord, Jesus is the son
of God and that Jesus came to die for mankind is of God. (1