Testing the Spirits

From True Discernment:

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 1John 4:1

This is one of the most important passages for the church today. It is also one of the most misunderstood. Many in today’s lukewarm church make no effort to test the spirits. They swallow anything fed to them. Any teacher, preacher, or so called apostle or prophet that comes along is accepted as long as they have some kind of credential or some type of endorsement from the majority.

Some believe that they are testing the spirits but they test by the flesh. When a preacher draws large crowds, has a large church, or sells lots of books he is assumed to be operating by the spirit of God. His success in worldly terms is seen as God’s stamp of approval upon his message. If the message tickles the ears of the listener or if it makes the listener feel secure about the direction of his life, all the better. In fact I’d say that most people today believe the most important reason to attend a church service is so that they can be encouraged, so that they can feel good about themselves.

So, what is the proper method of testing the spirits? Let’s continue with 1 John chapter 4

Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:  1John4:2

The first problem with this passage of scripture is that most modern bible versions mis-translate it. The translation error concerns one single word but that one word when presented in the wrong tense completely changes the meaning of the verse.

Demons know and acknowledge who Jesus is. That doesn’t mean they are saved because they refuse to repent and submit to him, but they know and can speak the words.Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Math 7:22-23These people call Jesus Lord, yet he tells them to depart, that he never knew them.

Notice that it says every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ IS COME in the flesh…

It does not say every sprit that confesseth that Jesus Christ HAS COME

The words translated ‘is come’ is from the Greek word erchomai {er’-khom-ahee} meaning to come, to make oneself known, to be, to come into being, to be established.

In the Greek language this is a PRESENT TENSE VERB! To translate it as past tense (has come) turns the meaning of the verse on its head.

I am not a King James Only advocate but this is a case where the King James and the American Standard Version are clearly superior. The New International Version, The New King James, The New Living Testament, The Amplified, The New American Standard, and the English Standard Version, all put the verb in the past tense.
Why I am spending so much time on this point? Because the test of the spirit is not whether one can say that Jesus did exist. The test is that one can confess that Jesus does exist in the flesh in the here and now.

Let’s break this down a little further. The first thing to consider is that John says every SPIRIT that confesses. It does not say every tongue (flesh). Many people believe that if a person can mouth the words ‘Jesus is Lord’ or ‘Jesus is the son of God’ that somehow proves their message is from God. This is not true. The spirit must be tested by the spirit, not by the flesh.

Did you know that demon spirits can speak through a person’s mouth and say that Jesus is the son of God?

And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, JESUS, THOU SON OF GOD? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? Math 8:28-29

Just saying Jesus is Lord is not a good test either.

A person can say anything with their mouth. We know the devil can quote scripture like an expert. The test is not the mouth but the spirit. What is the spirit speaking?

The word confesseth here is the Greek word homologeo {hom-ol-og-eh’-o} meaning to SPEAK THE SAME AS, to agree with, to refuse to deny. This means more than just mental assent or acknowledgement. It means to be in complete harmony or union, to be one with.

So, regardless what a person may say with their mouth, you must discern what that person’s spirit is confessing. Is the spirit speaking the same as Jesus? Is that spirit in agreement with, in harmony with Christ?

Are they manifesting the character and nature of Christ? That is the test.

So, we know that it is the spirit, not the flesh that must pass the test and that confession means more than just speaking or mental assent.

Let’s look at this verse again

Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God:……. 1John4:2-3


Many believe that Jesus HAS COME in the flesh. Many believe that he WILL COME again in the future.

But few believe and confess that he IS COME IN THE FLESH right here and right now!

It is not enough to confess that Jesus lived and died and is coming again. The gospel declares that he lives today in us, meaning IN HIS CORPORATE BODY upon the earth.

When Jesus returns physically to the earth he will be in his glorified eternal body. The only flesh that Jesus will ever inhabit is OUR FLESH.

Do you see this? This is what all the prophets and men of God under the old covenant could only imagine. They didn’t really understand it. It was a mystery to them. It was the great mystery!

Colossians 1:26-27 says it is the mystery hidden from the ages – CHRIST IN YOU the hope of glory!

It is Galatians 2:20 – I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live, yet not I but CHRIST LIVETH IN ME…!

It is Romans 6:4 and Col 2:12 – buried with him in death but RISEN WITH HIM in newness of life!

Do you really believe and confess (speaking the same as) that Christ lives in you? Do you actually manifest the presence of Christ in your spirit or do you just believe that Christ died (past tense) for you. Do you really understand that if you are truly born again by the spirit of God that Christ lives in you, or do you just hope to go to heaven when you die (future tense). Perhaps you are hoping for the rapture to take you to Jesus (future tense) before you physically die.

You need to get a revelation of this truth!

Jesus said in Math 11:11 that John the Baptist was the greatest prophet born under the old covenant. But he added that he who is least in the kingdom is greater than John. Why is that?

Because in Gods kingdom, under His new covenant, it is CHRIST IN YOU! And Christ is greater than all the old covenant prophets and kings!

Let’s continue on with the verse.

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. 1 John 4:3

When a spirit fails to confess that Jesus IS COME in the flesh, that is the spirit of antichrist. Let me explain.

Most people misunderstand the term antichrist. They think of some evil end time ruler who will be the devil incarnate. While there may well be a person who physically embodies the term that is not what this scripture is speaking of.

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 1 John 2:18

What does John mean when he says many antichrists?

The term antichrist doesn’t mean opposite of Christ. It means IN PLACE OF CHRIST.

The evil end time ruler who is to come will not come as someone who is mean and nasty (opposite of Christ). He will come as an impersonator. He will seek to take the place of Christ in the lives of believers.

John says that even now there are many antichrists. Right now there are many who seek to take the place of Christ in the lives of believers.

The spirit of antichrist doesn’t care if you believe that Jesus HAS COME. He doesn’t mind if you believe that Jesus WILL COME. But he doesn’t want you to believe and confess that Jesus IS COME.

If you understand that Jesus is come in your flesh right here and right now, then antichrist cannot take Christ’s place in your life. And that is the purpose of antichrist, to serve as an alternative to Jesus.

This is exactly what all false teachers teach. They set themselves IN PLACE OF CHRIST. They speak of the great anointing that THEY have. They tell us that if you’ll send THEM your prayer request, THEY will agree with you and THEIR powerful agreement will produce results.

They tell us that God is going to be doing great things at THEIR next meeting or there will be a great anointing at THEIR next crusade so you MUST make plans to BE THERE.

All of this is antichrist in nature. If you listen carefully you will hear this antichrist spirit plainly in almost every major ministry today.

Do you feel like you need to get a great man of God to “agree” with you for your needs to be met? Do you feel like you must “sow a seed” of money into some ministry in order to get God to do something for you. Do you think that God will meet your needs sooner or in a greater way if you are a “partner” with some ministry? Do you feel if you could only be near the man of God, that if you could only get to that meeting, your prayers will be answered?

If you feel like that, you have been taken captive by the spirit of antichrist. You have been deceived. You don’t really believe that Christ lives in you. You have allowed some man to take the place of Christ in your life.

I once heard a popular woman “evangelist” say “Partners, I have heard your prayer requests and help is on the way!” She then held up her new 8 tape teaching series on health and nutrition. Yes sir, help was on the way and you could have that help for a “love gift” of $69.95!

That was the spirit of antichrist speaking right straight out of her mouth. She didn’t “hear” her partner’s prayer requests. She wasn’t truly able to meet their needs. But she was putting herself in the place of Christ for those people who would follow her.

Some of you will say ”now hold on there brother, what she really meant was……….”

I know what she really meant. What she really meant was what came out of her mouth.

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Math 12:34

What was in her heart came out of her mouth. It was the spirit of antichrist. Look at this.


……. even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 1 John 2:18-19

Where did all these antichrist spirits come from? They came from within the church! This is not speaking of Muslim’s or Hindu’s, or even Mormons. John is speaking of false teachers who began in the body of Christ.

Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  Acts 20:30

Again, the scripture agrees. Men shall arise from within the church seeking to draw away disciples unto themselves. They don’t make disciples unto Jesus. They make disciples unto themselves.
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 Peter 2:1

And do you know what these men (and women) call their disciples today? They call them partners. This is the spirit of antichrist.

Now let’s look at one more aspect of testing the spirits that is widely misunderstood by the body of Christ.

What does it mean to deny the Lord? Again, many people believe that as long as someone can say Jesus is Lord that makes them and their teaching acceptable. But Peter is not talking about that.
Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? Luke 12:24

This doesn’t mean that someone will come before you and try to tell you that Jesus was not God or that Jesus was not the Son of God. That false teaching would be obvious. This scripture says that these teachings will be brought into the church privily meaning craftily.

These false teachings are subtle. They are close to the truth and may contain some element of truth but taken on the whole they are false. Just like the difference between has come and is come is subtle but crucial to the real meaning of the verse.

The Greek word here translated denying is the word arneomai {ar-neh’-om-ahee} meaning to deny, abnegate, abjure, not to accept. In other words it means to CONTRADICT.

Remember, a person can say anything with their mouth (flesh). They can say Jesus is Lord but if their teaching contradicts the teaching of Jesus, they are denying Christ. Let me give you an example.

Many ministries today teach the so called doctrine of “seed faith” giving. They tell you that if you want God to meet your need, you must first “plant a seed” meaning make a gift of money to their ministry. Many go so far as to say that God will not do anything for you until you first promise to give money to Him.

But what did Jesus say?

Jesus clearly says that God will GIVE us the physical things we need if we will seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Math 6:33

Birds don’t sow or reap. They don’t heap up their food into barns. They just go out every day and gather what God has provided for them. Jesus asked the question, don’t you think you are better than birds. If God takes care of the birds in this way, won’t He take care of you?
Who hath prevented (preceded, or gone before) me, that I should repay him? Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine. Job 41:11

So, any minister that teaches that you must “sow a seed” for God to meet your need is directly contradicting the words of Jesus.

According to 2 Peter 2:1 that minister is a false teacher. He is a liar and is speaking by the spirit of antichrist. He is denying (contradicting) the Lord.

Here’s one more example.

Most ministries and churches today operate in some form or fashion by exacting pledges, promises, or vows from their members. This may seem innocent enough. You may even have pledged to the building fund in your church. You may have promised to give some amount of money over the course of some time period to pay for a new building or some other project. As with the case of seed faith giving mentioned above, many ministries tell people if they don’t have the money to go ahead and pledge it, or vow to pay it and God will provide it. But what did Jesus say?

Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. Math 5:33-36

An oath is a pledge, a vow, a promise and Jesus says here not to do it. He is saying you shouldn’t make a promise or pledge of some future action because you don’t know what the future holds.

Consider this verse.

Do you still think you should precede God with a pledge or promise and expect him to repay it?It is CHRIST IN YOU in you the hope of glory!

Again, those that teach vows, pledges, and oaths are denying (contradicting) the Lord. They are operating by the spirit of antichrist.

Do you know why many of God’s people fail to get their prayers answered, why they fail to receive their healing or their material needs remain unmet? Because they don’t go to Jesus. They go to some man who claims to represent Jesus. This is antichrist.

So remember, a person can speak anything out of their mouth. Just hearing the words from a person’s mouth is no test of the spirit. Paul says we should know no man after the flesh. Neither should we judge by the flesh but by the spirit. The spirit must be tested by the spirit, not by the flesh.

A man may mouth the words ‘Jesus is Lord’ but if his spirit does not confess (speak the same as) Jesus, if his spirit is not one with, in unison with the words and teaching of Christ he is antichrist.

He may have a big banner over his pulpit proclaiming that Jesus is Lord. He may even end every meeting and broadcast by saying “Remember, Jesus is Lord” but if his teaching and doctrine contradict the doctrine of Christ, he is a false teacher.

If a ministry or church is not teaching you that Jesus IS COME in your flesh today, they are antichrist.

If they are not teaching you that the gospel is CHRIST IN YOU, they are antichrist.

If a preacher doesn’t clearly teach that you can manifest the kingdom of God right now in your flesh, he is antichrist.

He is seeking to take the place of Christ in your life. He is attempting to draw away disciples unto himself.

From these many antichrist teachers we must withdraw. You must understand that you don’t need to go to a man to hear from God. You don’t need to pay money to a minister to get God to move in your life. You can hear from God yourself. You can know God’s will for every day of your life.

Jesus Christ IS COME in the flesh!

It is CHRIST IN YOU in you the hope of glory!

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