Testing the Gifts

Lesson 30

1. Why do we need to test all spiritual manifestations?

1 John 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.

2. What will the Lord say to many who have prophesied?

Matthew 7:22,23 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? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

3. What did He say would arise in the last days?

Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

4. What four specific injunctions does Paul give?

1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 Quench not the Spirit. 20Despise not prophesyings. 21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

5. According to what word must we test all things?

Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

The first and most important test of a prophet is that his message is in harmony with the law of God and the testimony of earlier prophets.

6. How does a false prophet’s appearance deceive people?

Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

7. How then can we distinguish the genuine from the false?

Matthew 7:16-20 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

8. False prophets strengthen the hands of the wicked, so that what?

Ezekiel 13:22 Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life:

The second test of a prophet is the fruit of his ministry. Does his own life reveal God’s character? Does his work bear the marks of the high and holy calling of God. Are people’s lives elevated through his influence?

9. What does the accuracy of a prophet’s predictions indicate?

Jeremiah 28:9 The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the LORD hath truly sent him.

10. What would inaccuracy of prediction indicate?

Deuteronomy 18:21,22 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? 22When 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.

11. Yet even if a sign should come to pass, what in a prophet’s message would prove him to be false?

Deuteronomy 13:1-5 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, 2And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; 3Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. 5And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

The third test of a prophet is the accuracy of his predictions. Predicting, however, is not the primary function of a prophet. A prophet’s work is to bear the messages which God gives, and those messages may or may not contain information about the future. But when God does reveal future events, we may be sure that it will happen just as He has foretold.

Sometimes God gives conditional prophecies. Jonah’s message of the fall of Nineveh, for example, was conditioned upon the response of the people.

Because Satan can also foretell certain events before they happen, fulfilled predictions cannot be considered conclusive evidence of the genuine gift of prophecy. But Satan cannot predict with 100% accuracy as God does. For this reason, when a prophet’s predictions are consistently fulfilled throughout his entire career, we must take it as evidence of his authenticity. We should then look for the other tests to be met as well.

12. What is one key teaching that must be checked?

1 John 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.

13. What two physical effects did Daniel report from his vision?

Daniel 10:17 For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me.

The effects of Daniel’s vision are described in detail in Daniel 10:7-19.

A. Daniel alone saw the vision. The men with him did not see it, but were afraid.

B. He lost all his own strength.

C. He lost consciousness, then heard a voice.

D. A hand touched him, which set him on his hands and knees.

E. He then arose to his feet.

F. He became dumb.

G. His lips were touched; he was able to speak.

H. There was no breath in him.

I. He was given strength.

14. When the prophet Balaam heard the words of God and saw the vision of the Almighty, how was his physical condition described?

Numbers 24:4 He hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open:

Although never a conclusive test of divine inspiration, supernatural phenomena accompanying a vision do lend credibility to a prophet’s message. But because Satan can counterfeit such signs, we cannot base our confidence in a prophet solely upon physical manifestations.

Physical signs are not always present when a prophet receives a revelation. God has often spoken to His prophets in dreams while they were sleeping.

15. We have many members in one body; and in what respect are all members of the body different?

Romans 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

16. What does each member have differently?

Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

Please also read 1 Corinthians Chapter 12, especially verses 4-11, 14-19 and 28-30. The Bible does not say that a true believer has to have any one particular gift. Neither does it say that the believer may choose his gift. The Holy Spirit gives different gifts to different people, “dividing them severally as He will.”

17. Among the signs Jesus said would follow them that believe, they would speak with what?

Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

The word “tongue” (glossa) means “language.”

18. On the day of Pentecost, how did each foreign visitor hear the apostles speak?

Acts 2:6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

A second manifestation of the gift of tongues took place at the house of Cornelius, a Roman centurion (Acts 10:46).

19. How did Peter explain that the gift of tongues at the house of Cornelius was no different from what was experienced at Pentecost?

Acts 11:17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

The only other recorded instance of tongues in the Bible is Acts 19:6. And there is nothing in the passage to indicate that its manifestation was any different.

20. Though I speak with tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as what?

1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

21. What is the only Biblically acceptable procedure for speaking in other tongues?

1 Corinthians 14:27 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.

22. What if there is no one to interpret it?

1 Corinthians 14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

23. Let all things be done unto what?

1 Corinthians 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

“Except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? For ye shall speak into the air.” 1 Corinthians 14:9.

“Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.” 1 Corinthians 14:11.

“If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?” 1 Corinthians 14:23.

24. Does confusion come from God?

1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

25. What is the purpose of tongues?

1 Corinthians 14:22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

26. How therefore should all things be done?

1 Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

In the Light of God's Word...

I understand that the Bible has set forth specific tests for determining the genuineness of prophets.

I understand that spiritual gifts are distributed according to God’s will, not ours.

I understand that the purpose of the gift of tongues is to communicate the gospel, and would be useless where it is not needed for that purpose.

Next Lesson: When All Religions Unite

"And all the world wondered after the beast " Revelation 13:3 . Lesson 22 identified what this beast power is and it's pursuit to enforce world-wide worship according to it's dictates. If all the world is wondering after it, then one must conclude that the religions of the world will give in to it's demands and join with it. Lesson 31 examines the second beast of Revelation who makes an image to the first beast. It will be in league with the first beast and will work to cause the world to follow it's false doctrines and traditions which will lead to eternal destruction and ultimate death. Our only safety net is to follow God's Word by the power of the Holy Spirit!