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Thieves amidst us are disguised. The ones that are hard to detect are those spiritual thieves that would take from us the crown of life for a mere fist-full of error. Many who serve these spiritual thieves are unwitting of the error of their paths, and these are not the thieves themselves, but act as the hands and mouths of Satan’s agents whom they serve. We are subject to their deceitful messages unless we heed the counsel given already to test the spirits. The process of testing the spirits in these last days could be likened to the tides coming in from various directions. It is like being in the midst of currents coming at you and you don’t know from whence they come. In like manner, there will be many false christs and false prophets among us, especially in these last days. {Matthew 24:5-11} These messages and teachings are coming into the churches and families bringing doctrinal errors which are sometimes difficult to discern.

Without testing the spirits with all four methods given in the Bible, we will not have discernment, for such opens the legal ground for Satan to confuse and to misrepresent. While it is important whether the doctrine or counsel in question is biblical or not, it is just as important we learn how to rely on the Lord to bring light so that we can discern rightly. There will be many false doctrines and false christs. This we cannot avoid. We cannot of ourselves discern, and even if we do manage to discern some things correctly, Satan knows that if we continue down the path of self-reliance when it comes to discerning the spirits, he has us in his grasp. And in his grasp, we will see things in the wrong light. We will be held under his seductive and hypnotic influence unknowingly. We may even view the honest and right intention of others as a spirit of crass antipathy or aversion.

Every doctrine, every teaching, every belief, and virtually everything that passes our senses having an impact on our spiritual realm must be tested. These principles are not only for testing the messages of extraterrestrial beings. They are for the discernment of men’s teachings that come from the Bible, and even the King James version. For scripture can be falsely used. Teachings also must be tested in reliance upon the Saviour by claiming and applying the promises available for us.

Consider the following biblical counsel about the use of precious promises:

2Pe 1:4-11 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Let me introduce what those tests are, and why it is important not to follow a new or untested prophet, or any message that does not pass even one of the following four tests as found in the Bible:

THE TESTS

  • Test 1. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” {Isaiah 8:20}
  • Test 2. “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” {Matthew 7:20}
  • Test 3. “When the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the Lord hath truly sent him.” {Jeremiah 28:9}
  • Test 4. “Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God.” {1 John 4:2}

In the book, A Prophet Among You, we find the following important quote:

“No one need be deceived as to whether a professed prophet is true or false. Standards have been established in the Bible that make it possible to determine which messengers have come with messages from God and which are counterfeits. If the Bible tests are applied consistently and persistently to the life and teachings of any prophet, they will reveal the source of his communications. Four major tests of a prophet are mentioned in the Bible. It is essential that all four of the tests be applied to anyone who claims to possess the gift of prophecy. All the requirements must be met. In addition to the major tests, there are several minor tests or evidences that should be noted.” [http://www.whiteestate.org/books/pay/PAYc06.html]

The law and the testimony are both lifted up as the guide by which we should test the spirits. If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Both the Word of God and his testimony are important in testing the spirits. What is the testimony?

“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” {Rev 19:10}

So we can deduce, that whatever is in the Word, and whatever is in the Spirit of Prophecy should be used both to test the spirits. Always depend upon God’s wisdom and promises before testing the spirits, and before you read anything or listen to anything of a spiritual nature or where discernment is needed. But all should test the Spirit of Prophecy by the greater light of the Word of God.

If you are not a Seventh-day Adventist, or have not had the opportunity to test the Spirit of Prophecy writings, then your time here can be an opportunity to do this. We present the Bible as the authority. The Spirit of Prophecy is a lesser light which is to be tested by the scripture. Therefore the number of Spirit of Prophecy quotations when being held up to the light of a scripture verse, is not an indication of their being of higher importance. It is evidence rather of the number of statements on the topic which need to be held up to the light of the scripture to see if there be wisdom in the testimony. If one scripture verse has the weight that can light 10 Spirit of Prophecy quotations, then how great is that scripture!

Two vital promises which will give you eyes of faith as you test the spirits are:

  • If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God. {John 7:17}
  • If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not and it shall be given him. {James 1:5}

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO CLAIM A PROMISE?

  • Search the scriptures for God’s promises and put them to memory.
  • Accept that he does what he says what he will do, that he keeps his promises.
  • Remember the promise(s) before the Lord and to thank him for his promise and for honoring his promise.
  • Be willing to receive the truth. For the revelation of truth is dependent upon one’s willingness to receive it. Hence, “if any man will do his will…”.
  • Be obedient to God’s commandments. If we are not willing to obey God or to do his will, then we enter into presumption and cannot obtain God’s promises under these circumstances.

WHAT SHOULD WE DO WHEN WE FIND A QUESTIONABLE COUNSEL?

Some issues require much study, prayer and claiming of promises as we test the spirits. We will encounter questionable messages, false healers and satanic counsel more and more as these last days are coming to a crisis. In some cases we may find false teaching even from those whom we find some good teachings. We should learn to follow the teachings of men so far as they follow Christ and to discern for ourselves by the Bible. The Bible example to test the spirits is first applicable to testing the words of a prophet, but also to the particular message of a teacher or a writing. But a teacher can be in the process of learning from God and not necessarily have all light revealed. A teacher may have also given a good message at one point, and may stray away from the will of God at another. They are not held to the same intense scrutiny of a prophet. For everything that a prophet gives as a message must be 100% accurate or they are entirely a false prophet. With teachers and pastors, the message they give is itself to be held to the same scrutiny.

In addition, we are also counseled not to investigate or entertain spiritualistic theories. See the Spirit of Prophecy counsel quoted below:

“Be cautious in regard to what you read and how you hear. Take not a particle of interest in spiritualistic theories. Satan is waiting to steal a march upon everyone who allows himself to be deceived by his hypnotism. He begins to exert his power over them just as soon as they begin to investigate his theories.” {MM 101.5}

COUNSEL ON CIRCULATING ERRORS:

Errors of concern which I will mention here and of which are of particular danger are found in those messages coming from Ernie Knolls. These dreams of late have been teaching the hearers to look to God for where to send tithe, when God has already given counsel within his Advent movement for where and how to give the tithe. To look further is to reject the counsel already given and to enter into presumption. For a more complete published analysis of the Ernie Knoll dreams please see the following statements given at Audioverse and the links to speakers Eugene Prewitt and Steve Wohlberg published works on the subject at: http://www.audioverse.org/dreams_of_ernie_knoll/

COUNSEL FROM THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY ON USE OF MONEY AND TITHE:
Please see the counsel from the Spirit of Prophecy:

  • “I saw that Satan bade his angels lay their snares especially for those who were looking for Christ’s second appearing and keeping all the commandments of God. Satan told his angels that the churches were asleep. He would increase his power and lying wonders, and he could hold them. “But,” he said, “the sect of Sabbathkeepers we hate; they are continually working against us, and taking from us our subjects, to keep the hated law of God. Go, make the possessors of lands and money drunk with cares. If you can make them place their affections upon these things, we shall have them yet. They may profess what they please, only make them care more for money than for the success of Christ’s kingdom or the spread of the truths we hate. Present the world before them in the most attractive light, that they may love and idolize it. We must keep in our ranks all the means of which we can gain control. The more means the followers of Christ devote to His service, the more will they injure our kingdom by getting our subjects. As they appoint meetings in different places, we are in danger. Be very vigilant then. Cause disturbance and confusion if possible. Destroy love for one another. Discourage and dishearten their ministers; for we hate them. Present every plausible excuse to those who have means, lest they hand it out. Control the money matters if you can, and drive their ministers to want and distress. This will weaken their courage and zeal. Battle every inch of ground. Make covetousness and love of earthly treasures the ruling traits of their character. As long as these traits rule, salvation and grace stand back. Crowd every attraction around them, and they will be surely ours. And not only are we sure of them, but their hateful influence will not be exercised to lead others to heaven. When any shall attempt to give, put within them a grudging disposition, that it may be sparingly.” {EW 266.1}”
  • “You who have been withholding your means from the cause of God, read the book of Malachi and see what is spoken there in regard to tithes and offerings. Cannot you see that it is not best under any circumstances to withhold your tithes and offerings because you are not in harmony with everything that your brethren do? The tithes and offerings are not the property of any man, but are to be used in doing a certain work for God. Unworthy ministers may receive some of the means thus raised, but dare anyone, because of this, withhold from the treasury and brave the curse of God? I dare not. I pay my tithe gladly and freely, saying, as did David, “Of Thine own have we given Thee.” A selfish withholding from God will tend to poverty in our own souls. Act your part, my brethren and sisters. God loves you, and He stands at the helm. If the conference business is not managed according to the order of the Lord, that is the sin of the erring one. The Lord will not hold you responsible for it if you do what you can to correct the evil. But do not commit sin yourselves by withholding from the Lord His own property. ‘Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully’ or negligently.” {2SAT 74.4}

    When persons declare that they will not pay their tithes because the means is not used as they think it ought to be, will the elder of the church or the minister sympathize with the sinners? Will he aid the enemy in his work? Or will he, as a wise man endued with knowledge, go to work to correct the evil and remove the stumblingblocks? Let those who are dissatisfied state plainly their grievances to the ones who they think have erred instead of talking the matter over with others and thus fanning the flame of discontent.” {2SAT 75.1}

By Deborah Jabs

[END]

Article Copyright 2008, Deborah Jabs


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