All moves of the Spirit, insights, all “whispers in the heart” should be checked against Scripture. There is a reason why God besides sending us His Son & His Holy Spirit, also gave us His Word. How can we know for sure something is from God? By reading the Bible. Our final authority in doctrine & practice is the Word of God, not men. If any doctrine, manifestation, spiritual exercise (activation), etc. is NOT in the Scriptures, then beloved we should avoid it, we don’t need it! Be very careful with those teachers who say they have new revelations from God! 2 Tim. 3:16-17 says:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
God says that in the Scriptures we already have ALL we need to be complete & equipped for every good work. But even that we are not cessationists & we believe God can talk to us by giving us a dream or by impressing things into our hearts, we also know for sure it won’t be to change biblical doctrine, it will be in full agreement with His Word, it will be on a personal level, meaning it doesn’t have same authority as inerrant Scripture, & also needs to be tested to see if it comes from God.
I’m writing this post not to criticize if you or a loved one is embracing some of these doctrines of the Latter Rain Movement, but on the contrary I come to you humbly, because several years ago I was also one of those who embraced some of their doctrines not knowing well all of their theology, not knowing well at the time the Scriptures, & also because their deception is very subtle. They also prey on the young who are the future of the Christian Church! So out of love for my brethren I think the warning of danger is needed, since many souls are at stake.
Our congregation got involved with some of these Latter Rain teachers & we heard from them the emphasis they put on the manifestations or ‘encounters‘ with God, these were first or more important than doctrine or the Word of God. They say because “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life”. They suggested that the word ‘letter’ here, means the study of the Scriptures. But this is false!!
They are taking out of context & twisting 2 Corinthians 3:6. That phrase doesn’t mean to put aside the Word of God and rely on sensations or feelings, that contradicts the Bible! The verse in context is talking about the letters written on tablets of stone, the law of the Old Covenant, that condemns us of sin (which waves is death -kills-, Rom. 6:23), the law (even good) could not saved us but only gave us a death sentence. That is the reason we needed a Savior, Jesus Christ. Now we believers are ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter (law) but of the Spirit.
- Jesus said: “It is the Spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and are life.” John 6:63
The words of Jesus don’t kill us but on the contrary are life. In these last days more than ever we need to know the Word of God & check the spirits that are behind everything before we welcome them in our hearts & our lives.
In his book ‘When Heaven Invades Earth’, op. cit., p. 93, Bill Johnson, a leading apostle on the NAR movement & pastor of Bethel Church at Redding, Ca. stated:
Jesus made a frightening statement regarding those who hold to Bible study vs. experience, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). If our study of the Bible doesn’t lead us to a deeper relationship (an encounter) with God, then it is simply adding to our tendency towards spiritual pride. . . . Jesus did not say “My sheep will know my Book;” it is His voice that we are to know.
If you read John 5:38 right before that verse Johnson misused, Jesus said:
“You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe the One He has sent..”
Jesus is telling the Jews that they didn’t recognize or believe Him as the promised Messiah of the Scriptures, because they didn’t have the Word of God abiding (G3306= remaining, dwelling) in them.
Gnostics also claim they hear God’s voice, angels & spirits that impart them divine knowledge (Gnosis) that nobody else have. Moreover Gnosticism claims that hidden divine knowledge (which is in reality esoteric knowledge) leads to salvation! For this reason it is essential (& matter of death or life) to be able to recognize if something is of God or not.
How will the sheep recognize Jesus or His voice, if they don’t have the Word of God abiding in them because they neglect it? By the way you won’t find any of their experiences or God’s encounter (gold dust, feathers, stigmata, etc) in the Scriptures. Jesus said that if we love Him we’ll keep His Word (John 14:23). I rather please Jesus than men, wouldn’t you?
Jesus primarily speak to us through the Bible as His spoken Word. The Greek words logo & rhema both mean spoken word (more on next post).
Then Jesus answered and said to them. . . For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. . .24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself. John 5:21-26
Jesus is talking about the spiritually dead. Did we hear Jesus audible voice when we believed the gospel & got born again? No, but according to the Scriptures we heard His voice & He gave us life, now we need to follow Him by learning His Word & by keeping it .
God, who at various times and in diverse ways spoke long ago to the fathers through the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, Heb1: 1-2.
27 Because those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, did not know Him, in condemning Him they have fulfilled the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath. Acts 13:27
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Rev.3:20
Today, if you hear His voice,8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of temptation in the wilderness.” Heb.3:7, 15, 4:7; Psalm 95:7-11
See also Importance of the Heart
The voices (words) of the prophets were read every sabbath! These means when we read or preach from the Word of God people is hearing God’s voice in their hearts. We need to preach His words not ours, so people can hear & believe.
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame. . .
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!” Rom. 10:8-15
All these teachers from NAR, WoF, etc. have conferences, books, cd’s, spiritual exercises teaching how to hear “God’s voice”. They misuse John 10: “My sheep hear my voice“ (Example: Shawn Bolz (1) (2) who claims he can see deceased people in heaven and pass down messages from them, Shannon Johnson who calls God “Mr. Chatterbox” & jokes He is a Beatles fan, or mystic Mark Virkler, etc.)
Please read John 10. Jesus is using an analogy of the sheep (something they knew & understood) to explain spiritual things (Jesus is the Good Shepherd). On vs 6 says : ‘Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them’. There are also other voices of strangers vs. 5, the difference is that Jesus’ sheep follow Him & not the strangers.
Don’t you think if it was so important to hear God’s audible voice (or in that way these teachers want to teach) in order to be His sheep, wouldn’t Jesus himself left the instructions on how to hear Him? Doesn’t God provides all of our needs? including recognizing His voice? What do you think it’s more important ?
1/ To expend time & money to get the books (CD, etc) of men’s interpretations on how to hear God’s voice? teachings that are not found in the Bible, that can deceive & contaminate you (that may come from an stranger/different spirit), or
2/ To make sure God’s Word abides in you to keep it? which will cause Jesus to know you! (He said: We will come to him–John 14:21,23).
Remember also that He said: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me“ Jn.10:27
“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?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” Matthew 7:22-23
If you first learn God’s Word very well then you will be able to recognize much easier when something comes from Him. To find out what is the spirit behind a teaching, we only need to check some of the doctrines/fruits of these ‘teachers’ to know if they are really listening to God’s voice or the voice of strangers. For example some false doctrines are:
Dominion theology, Contemplative prayer, recommending Catholic Mystics or mysticism, promoting grave sucking, spiritual drunkenness, prosperity gospel, emphasis on signs & wonders, on words of prophecy & dreams, teachings that man is a god in the making, that we need the rhema word to walk in the Spirit or to have a relationship with God, teachings that Jesus needed to be born again! (See Video). Promoting Gnostic teachings or doctrines found in Talmud & kabbalah, e.g. That Adam was hermaphrodite or bisexual (& that God is androgynous- both male & female), etc. Please check video- This is Kris Vallotton, the Sr. assoc. pastor (apostle & prophet) of Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church, who also wants the mantle of William Branham (video-min 6:40).