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Bible Teaching, Bible Study, Teaching, Verses, Sermons, online, mp3, classesA Bible Teaching Ministry of Galyn Wiemers

Daily Devotions, Evening and Morning Devotional


Sunrise on Temple Mount in Jerusalem; Back to Previous Devotion

December 20 - Morning

"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. 
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.

- First John 4:1-3

Sunset on the Sea of Galilee; Click to go to next devotion  
Test the Spirits
(which means Test the Speakers)

There are two things that false speakers claim: one, that they know God; and, two, they are somehow inspired to speak God’s will. The false speakers of John's day were not a hypothetical situation or a trivial side issue among the churches, but instead were very influential. The false teachers were successful enough to merit confrontation in all three of John’s letters, and are also harshly addressed by Peter, Jude and Paul.

In establishing the context of John’s warning “do not believe every spirit,” it is worth noting that the proceeding verses tell us to “believe in the name of his Son” and that this faith is confirmed “by the Spirit he gave us”:

“And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ…We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” – First John 3:23-24

John, like Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22, does not tell believers to trust the church’s validation of spirits or to submit to denominational authority or a minister’s accreditation by ordination. John considers the individual believer responsible for judging and evaluating the genuineness of the Spirit and the orthodoxy of men who are presenting their teaching. A Christian’s love and a Christian’s trust are not to be taken for granted or given haphazardly.  The object of love and trust must be tested and approved. John has already defined for the believers these contrasting values:

“Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light…Do not love the world or anything in the world.” – First John 2:10 and 15

Now, he tells them:

“We know it by the Spirit he gave us. Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” – First John 3:24-4:1

The test the believer is to use is introduced by John when he says: “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.” – First John 4:2-3

The key word in John’s test is “acknowledge.” Demons and spirits recognize the deity of Jesus, identify the humanity of Jesus and shudder because of what they know and believe to be true:

“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!” - Mark 1:24

“Whenever the impure spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, ‘You are the Son of God.’ ” – Mark 3:11

“He shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!’ ” – Mark 5:7-8

“One day the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?’ ” - Acts 19:15

“Even the demons believe that - and shudder.” - James 2:19

The difference between the true Spirit and the false spirit, or the true man of God and the imitation pastor is the word “acknowledge,” or homologeo in the Greek which means “to say the same thing as another,” “to confess,” “to agree,” “to assent,” “to concede,” and “not to deny.” Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit came he would testify and bring glory to Jesus:

“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.” - John 15:26

“When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth… He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.” - John 16:13-15

“Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” - First Corinthians 12:3

Historically, in 85 AD, John is dealing with the influence of pagan philosophies on Christian teaching.  Teachings such as Gnosticism, Docetism and adoptionism that denied the fact that the eternal Son of God had come in human flesh were rising in John’s churches in Asia. All of these false doctrines taught that a mere man was chosen by God to bear his Spirit from his baptism until his crucifixion, or that the eternal Son of God did not actually become flesh but merely “seemed” (from dokeo where we get the early false doctrine of Docetism) to have flesh. But, John uses the word elelythota (“to come”) in the perfect tense right beside homologeo (“acknowledge”) to indicate that this “coming” of Christ in the flesh, or the incarnation, was  a permanent change for the Son of God and that the second member of the Trinity would eternally exist in the body of the man Jesus.

Thus, John’s point was that in 85 AD the false teachers would not teach or promote what they could not accept, believe, acknowledge, or concede. The evil spirits cannot embrace the teaching that the man Jesus is the Christ who has come in the flesh to abide as a man forever. Demons and their mouth pieces (false pastors, etc.) cannot glorify that truth about Jesus Christ, but instead, they must deny it, reject it and replace it.

  Christian Quote from Church History

"We often confuse unconditional love with unconditional approval.
God loves us without conditions but does not approve of every
human behavior. 

-Henri Nouwen






Something to Ponder??
Charles Thomson, secretary of the Continental Congress (1175-1783) found a copy of the Septuagint (Greek translation of the OT during the years 250-132 BC) at a book auction. From this copy he translated the Bible into American English and published it in 1808. The first English Bible printed in America was in 1777 when the Continental Congress authorized Robert Aitken to print the King James Version with out the opening page of dedication the the king. This was the first English Bible translation made in America because up until the Revolution the British law required all English Bibles be printed in England. (Although, around 1750 two printers in Boston - Rogers & Fowle, and Kneeland & Green - printed a black market KJ Version with a fake London imprint.) The first Bible printed in a European language in America was Martin Luther's German translation in 1743. The very first Bible translated and printed in America was in
1662 when John Eliot, a colonial pastor, produced a Bible in the language of the Algonquin Indians. English Bibles had to come from England.
Hebrew and Greek Word Study   Facts and Information


Shamar (Hb) - Keep (Eng) - shamar is the Hebrew word that means "to keep." It is used over 400 times and translated in these and other ways: "guard," "watchmen," "observe," "careful," and "keep." Adam is to shamar the Gardern of Eden (Gen. 2:15).
Israel was to shamar the feasts (Ex.12:17).
Israel was to shamar the sabbaths (Lev.26:2).
Joshua was to shamar the book of the law (Js.1:8).
Eleazar shamar the ark of the Covenant (1 Sam.7:1).


The hardened heart of Pharoah in the book of Exodus matches the understanding of the Egyptians at the time of Moses. According to the ancient Egyptian “Book of the Dead” the deceased would go to trial in the Hall of Judgment where the dead would have to deny a list of sins. While the dead man was making his “negative confession” his heart would be weighed in scales against the feather of truth. The heart would confess the truth and tip the scales toward judgment.  To overcome this betrayal by the soft heart that could speak the embalmers would replace the heart in the chest of the dead man with a stone of the sacred dung beetle (scarab) carved in the shape of a heart and inscribed with incantations that commanded the heart not to speak against the dead during the trial (as revealed by x-rays of mummies). Thus, the heart was made “hard” and “unable to speak.” This is the same idea the Scripture present from this same time period when it says God “hardened” the heart of Pharaoh so that it could not speak.

Confession to Action   Facts and Information
Do I believe every pastor and Christian that I hear when they talk about God?
Can I identify a false teaching or an unscriptural idea?
I will judge things taught and said about God according to the written Word of God.
  "An inheritance quickly gained at the beginning will not be blessed at the end."
- Proverbs 20:21
Read the Bible in a Year; Bible Reading Program
Read one chapter each day to read through the narrative portion (or, the story line) of the whole Bible Genesis-Acts in one year. Read the General Text of the Bible Read the Complete Text of the Bible in a Year
Romans 15:23-16:27 Second John First Peter 1-3
Prayer for Today
Personal Prayer Church Prayer Item National Prayer Concerns World Prayer Concerns
 Positive influence on people you encounter Strength to rebuke sin

Secretary of Education

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Virgin Islands
Photo of Jerusalem; Pictures of Israel Bible Map and Diagram
Robinson's Arch, Jerusalem Nehemiah's Wall in Jerusalem 445 BC
Steps of a mikveh (ritual bath) at Qumran near the Dead Sea where the Dead Sea scrolls were found and, most likely, written.
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This diagram shows the location of Calvary in the
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