Many Pentecostals and charismatics claim that spiritual gifts are the evidence of the Holy Spirit, but is that really what the Bible tells us?
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by Lex Meyer
I'm sure you've heard people say the evidence of the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues, or some other spiritual gift, but that's not what the Bible says. The Bible actually warns us about false prophets who will do signs, wonders, and miracles but they will lead people astray.
"If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’ — which you have not known — ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him."
- Deuteronomy 13:1-4
Did you catch that? False prophets can do signs and wonders. One great example of this is when Pharaoh's magicians were able to reproduce many of the signs that Moses did. They were not working in the Holy Spirit, but they were able to mimic the signs that Moses. This is why the Bible tells us to test the spirits.
"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world."
- 1 John 4:1
Yeshua warned us that false prophets would be able to do signs and wonders, and there is a possibility they might even deceive the elect.
"For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect."
- Matthew 24:24
It's scary to think that God's people might be led astray by false prophets, and Yeshua also warns us not to be deceived even when people come in His name claiming that He is the Messiah.
"And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Messiah, and will deceive many."
- Matthew 24:5
These false prophets even call Him Lord and claim they are doing wonders in His name, but in reality, they don't even know Him.
"Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’"
- Matthew 7:21-23
These false prophets practice lawlessness and do not do the will of the Father.
If these false prophets can do signs and wonders, then we cannot claim that such things are the evidence of the Holy Spirit. Most Pentecostals claim that speaking in tongues is the sign of the Holy Spirit, but numerous pagan cults practiced a form of tongues. In fact, it was quite common in pagan temples.
For example, the Dionysian cults, the Prophetess of Delphi, and the maidens of Bacchus all practiced a form of ecstatic language. The cults of Osiris, Mithra, and Eleusian all practiced ecstatic tongues, claiming them to be supernaturally induced languages. Even the Greek philosopher Plato referred to a number of people who spoke in tongues while they were praying. Therefore, we cannot say that speaking in tongues is the evidence of the Holy Spirit. So, what is?
Listen to what Yeshua had to say about this topic.
"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. Do men gather grapes from thorn-bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them."
- Matthew 7:15-20
The evidence of the Holy Spirit is the fruit not the gifts. If you are walking in the Spirit, you'll produce the fruit of the spirit.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."
- Galatians 5:22-23
If a person's not producing the fruit of the Spirit, then they're not walking in the Holy Spirit, because you'll know them by their fruit.
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