Word of Knowledge, Word of Wisdom, and Discerning of Spirits *

Daniel J. Haas

*Originally posted in the broken link:


Part 1

The title and subject of this study comes from three of nine things listed under the category "the manifestation of the spirit" in 1Corinthians 12:

1 Corinthians 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these {manifestations} worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

This is a singularly remarkable section of Scripture, the depths of which cannot be plumbed with a cursory look.  Our short overview of three of the manifestations of the spirit will hardly answer many of the questions that may arise in your mind, particularly if this whole subject is new to you. Our limited purpose in this study is to demonstrate -- by internal evidence from the scriptures -- what the "revelation" manifestations are, and how they have been provided by God for our benefit (verse 7, "profit"), and for service to others.

You may note that in verse seven that the manifestation of the spirit is given to every man...  That is, it is given to believers (see the first few verses of this Epistle for "to whom" this is addressed), and it is for profit, or benefit. Therefore every born-from-above Christian, having the spirit of God, can "manifest" that spirit. There are nine ways of doing that, and three of those ways (with their three corresponding benefits) are:  word of knowledge, word of wisdom, and discerning of spirits.

Churches that teach and practice the manifestation of the spirit are often labeled "charismatic," from the Greek word charis, which is in it's simplest form "grace" and therefore an undeserved "gift."  This terminology in Christian circles is in reference to the so-called "gifts of the spirit," which is what some call these nine manifestations of the spirit. This is a misnomer, for they are not gifts; they are manifestations of the one gift of holy spirit, given to "every man" for benefit. 

When the manifestation of the spirit is understood in light of God's Word, rightly-divided, it is wonderful, and powerful, and it brings peace to the soul -- not confusion and doubt. Let's revissit our starting verses, this time paying closer attention to the words we have colored to indicate the structure:

1 Corinthians 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these {manifestations} worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

In verses 4-6, the words "diversities" (twice) and "differences" are all the same Greek word. 

4 NOW, there are differences... BUT the same...
5 AND, there are differences... BUT the same...
6 AND, there are differences... BUT the same...
7 BUT the manifestation of the spirit is given to EVERY...
8-10 (then the nine are listed)
11 BUT ALL THESE (the manifestations) worketh that ONE AND THE SELFSAME...

The "but" which begins verse seven sets the manifestation of the spirit in contrast with the "gifts," "ways of serving," (administrations) and "operations" (or energizings) of the previous verses.  All these have differences, BUT the manifestation does not. The only differences revealed regarding the maninfestations are of the "profit" or benefit. The benefit of a word of knowledge is different from the benefit of a word of wisdom. But again, they all work by that "one and the selfsame* spirit." They are manifestations of the spirit of God, which is "the gift of God."

*a beautifully redundant phrase, a figure of speech for emphasis

These manifestations are not "gifts" (but the ministries of apostles, prophets, teachers, etc. are gifts, as it says in Ephesians 4). In regard to the manifestation of the spirit, there is one gift: the spirit which EVERY man receives when he is born again. It is "the gift of holy spirit.*" But it has nine ways of being manifested by the believer.

*Acts 2:38

The Setting of 1Corinthians

The context of the whole epistle of 1Corinthians must be held in mind to appreciate what the desired "benefit" is, according to what God has revealed. The Corinthians are reproved throughout this epistle for being "puffed up" -- self-promoting and self-satisfied and boastful -- rather than being focused on serving others in the Church. The first chapter gets right into the divisions the Corinthians were manifesting. They should have been manifesting the spirit, and the love of God!

Chapter two speaks of how the "natural man" cannot receive the things of the spirit of God, "for they are spiritually discerned" (and he, being not born from above, has no spirit of God within to discern spiritual matters).  

Chapter three speaks of the carnal Christian, who, though he has the spirit of God (and therefore the ability to understand and walk spiritually) nevertheless walks by his carnal senses instead of by the spirit. He is therefore acting in the same way that a "natural man" would. 

Paul, by revelation writes many things to bring light to bear on this serious fault of being self-serving and "puffed up" -- a walk of envy and strife -- a walk by the flesh and not the spirit.

It's not until the TWELFTH chapter that he finally gets around to returning to the subject of spiritual matters (from chapters 2 and 3), saying, "NOW, concerning SPIRITUAL matters, I would not have you to be ignorant..."

Likewise, the thirteenth chapter, the great chapter on agape love, continues in this vein, saying that if a person believes so greatly that he could remove mountains, or has all knowledge, etc., but has not the love of God, then there is no (and here is that key word again) "profit."  What good is it if I burn myself out in service, even, if I do it without love?

Let's keep these things in mind as we proceed, because we certainly do not want to gain a little knowledge of these three manifestations, and then live in opposition to the purposes for which God revealed it! He said that they are for our profit, and without a proper understanding and application of His revelation throughout the epistle, we will not realize that profit.

Revelation Manifestations of the Spirit

Reading and considering these verses, you will see that there are three "speaking" manifestations, three "knowing" manifestations, and three "power" manifestations. The three we are considering in this study are the three in the "knowing" category, and that is why we've chosen to consider them together. There are other very vital ways of understanding all nine as a whole, and how they relate to each other, and we may consider some of these things in another study.

In the Old Testament, God put His spirit upon some believers for service, while in the New Testament, He has given us "the gift of holy spirit," which (as we read) has nine manifestations. Seven of those nine manifestations of the spirit are evidenced in the Old Testament. Only speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues are unique to the New Testament. Therefore, or, in other words, the only "speaking" manifestation of the spirit in the Old Testament is the manifestation of prophecy. The following record speaks of the spirit of God being upon seventy of the elders of Israel, and the manifestation of the spirit called prophesy is the evidence of that spirit upon them.

Numbers 11:24 And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the LORD, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle.
25 And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.
26 But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp.
27 And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.
28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.
29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!

Isn't that a precious peek into the heart of Moses, the man of God? They had come to him, telling him to forbid others to prophesy (to bring forth a message from the LORD) and Moses said in essence, "What? Are you envious for my sake? I wish to God that all of God's people could speak words of prophesy, and that He would put his spirit upon them all!"  How this desire of Moses was fulfilled in the new birth after the accomplishments of Jesus Christ on our behalf is astounding, and (true to form for God) exceeded what Moses could ask or think!

This spirit is not simply upon us, but born within. It is called God's "unspeakable gift." It's called "the comforter," which abides with us forever. It's called "being born again of incorruptible seed." This differs from how the spirit was simply upon certain believers before the accomplishments of Christ. We never need say, as David once did, "...take not Thy holy spirit from me*," for when we are born from above, that spirit abides in us. It is everlasting, incorruptible, and a gift and calling of God which is "without repentance." 

*Psalm 51:11

1 John 2:27a   But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you...

Now, after the accomplishments of Jesus Christ on our behalf, we are permanently "connected" to Him who is THE Holy Spirit -- the Almighty, Jehovah, the Creator and now Heavenly Father to all those who have come to Him by Jesus Christ. This sonship and familial association is as eternal as our Father Himself as a result of His gift, which is also holy, and which is His gift, His spirit within.

There are nine ways whereby, even now, in this present world, His spirit within us is "shown forth" or manifested -- these are given to every one of us as His sons for profit. Our focus is on the three that have to do with God revealing "information" to us by His spirit, the "revelation manifestations."


The Bible has many wonderful examples of word of knowledge, word of wisdom, and discerning of spirits -- in both the Old and New Testaments. We will consider some of these records under each heading. But collectively, all three fall under the heading of "revelation." They are the result of God revealing something to a man or a woman. 

This is exactly how the Word of God, the Bible, came to be in the first place. It is perfectly proper to say that the entire Bible is "revelation" from God. (Not just the last Book!)

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Well, "all" would certainly cover everything from Genesis to Revelation, wouldn't it? It's all "given by inspiration of God." That is, it is all given by the spirit of God. And notice that it's all profitable, just as we read about all nine manifestations of the spirit. The writings of Moses, the writings of David and of Solomon, the writings of Isaiah and Amos, of Mark and John and of Paul, are all given by the spirit of God, and are all profitable. They are all God's Word, and they are all profitable.

2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private {one's own} interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost {the holy spirit}.

This "more sure" word is the Scriptures, as we can see in the 20th verse. And all the scriptures came by the will of God to reveal, not "by the will of man." Now, of course, these "holy men of God" were willing to receive, but it was not from their hearts or wills. This is important. Revelation is never something that comes from our own hearts. That would be fundamentally opposed to the scriptural definition of revelation. (God does define His own terms. Otherwise, we are left to guess and argue.) Revelation is something that we cannot know or "arrive at" by our intellect or reason or mental acumen. It is, in every case, by God Himself, the Holy Spirit, choosing to reveal something.

Galatians 1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 3:1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

Note that revelation is not a misty, "if-y" type of knowledge. It is precise. Read the first three chapters of Ephesians, and marvel at this. This is not some kind of "maybe" understanding or teaching. It is certain. 

That Gentiles would be fellowheirs, and of the same body with Israel, and fellow-partakers of God's promise in Christ was an astounding revelation. This did not come from Paul's heart or intellect; it was revealed to him by God. And that is the same way Moses received the Law of God, and how Solomon wrote the Proverbs, and how John received the prophecy of the Scriptures written in the Book of Revelation. When we read this (it says) we may understand Paul's understanding of the Mystery. Once a mystery is revealed, it's not a mystery any longer. And this great mystery or secret, hid in God from before the disruption of the age is now "out of the bag." We can know it with the same certainty that Paul knew it by revelation -- simply by reading it.

Exact, dependable knowledge

These writings, the Scriptures, may be misunderstood by some readers; the Scriptures may have metaphors and other figures of speech (like parables, and metonomy) that are "too hard" for some to understand, while enhancing and deepening the understanding of others, but one thing can never be said about the revelation in the Scriptures, and that is that they are vague and if-y! And this is also true in regard to whatever revelation may be received by "every man," that is, any believer today. If God reveals a thing to you, it is not some vague "feeling" or wishy-washy, shadowy, doubtful information!

Luke opens his history of "all that Jesus began both to do and teach" with these words:

Luke 1:1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

Luke was not present at the birth of Jesus, but he recorded it in this gospel. He was not there when Jesus read from Isaiah in his hometown synagogue, etc. But Luke has a claim that makes him quite a special historian. He had "perfect understanding of all things from the very first."  

The words "from the very first" are an unfortunate translation in the KJV of the Greek word anothen, which becomes much clearer to us if it is translated as it should be -- "from above." Luke had perfect understanding... from above. Just as Paul's preaching and writing of the Word of God was not "of man," but "by revelation," so Luke's gospel is not "by the will of man," or from man, but "from above." It is perfect understanding -- perfect history. All the history of the Word is perfect history, because it is from the perfect understanding of "what was" -- from the mind of God. They are His thoughts, His "memory" that are revealed "to His holy apostles and prophets by the spirit." Likewise, the "present truth" of the one Body of Christ, etc. Is perfectly true, because it is the revelation of God's perfect understanding of what is. And finally, that which is foretold in God's Word, which is commonly known as "prophecy" (though, strictly speaking, all spoken or written revelation, including "history" and "what is" can be properly called "prophecy") is perfect, being the revelation of God's perfect understanding of the future.

Because Luke had perfect understanding from above, we (his readers) can therefore "know the certainty of those things wherein" we have been instructed (verse 4). His writings are not "of man," but are the Word of God. They are revelation.

Psalms 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

That's perfectly pure.

Psalms 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

All the words of God are "given by inspiration of God;" all given to "holy men of God, who spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."

8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

It is God's Word, a faithful Word, a sure Word, and any revelation which God may give today by way of the manifestations of word of knowledge, word of wisdom, or discerning of spirits, will likewise be sure and faithful and pure.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us {Paul, et al}, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

Which brings us to another point. In sixty-six Books of the Bible, spanning thousands of years, spoken by diverse men and women -- from herdsmen to doctors -- God has not contradicted Himself oncce. Surely, any revelation given in our present day will not contradict the Scriptures! That would be an unsure word, would it not?

And that is one of the greatest reasons we have to treasure the Scriptures, for they are the very Word of God, and are that by which we can judge any "revelation" that comes "down the pike." It is by the scriptures that we can know the certainty of those things wherein we have been instructed.

This is a great key, and it will put some steel in your spine if you get it. Read God's Word. Immerse yourself in it. Do you want to receive revelation? Read God's Word! As Paul wrote, "whereby when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ..." Not only will you have the "certainty in the things wherein" you have been instructed, you will learn to recognize God's voice. His Word will speak to the meek of heart, and the hungry of soul. Receive the revelation already given in His Word. If you study the genuine article in detail, it will be easy to spot a counterfeit, should one come along.

Paul had been against the preaching of Christ, until a certain day when he got a little revelation on the road to Damascus. Then he started going about "preaching the faith which he once destroyed." He had been jailing those who preached Christ -- and even sentencing them to death. But then he went preaching the same Lord and Christ as they had been doing, once he'd  (literally!) "seen the light." And he went right into the synagogues of the Jews, where he had before been so strongly opposed to the way of Jesus Christ, and preached from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ!

Acts 17:1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:
2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
4 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.
5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.

These things had been in the Scriptures all along, but Paul had missed them* and resisted them until his conversion, until he "saw the light." Then it all became clear. Some of those in the Thessalonian synagogue also resisted the truth, but some believed.

*see 2Corinthians 3:14-16

The Scriptures are The Standard, and Christ the Key

From Thessalonica (continuing in Acts 17) they went to Berea, and of course, they preached the same thing. The reaction there was not quite as mixed as it had been in Thessalonica:

Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

A noble bunch indeed! Do you see what they did? They searched the Old Testament Scriptures, to test what Paul was preaching, which was that Jesus is the Christ. And the next verse continues, "therefore many of them believed..." The Scriptures testified of the coming Christ, and when they searched them, they found Paul's preaching to be true, and believed on Jesus Christ.

Many of the Judean religion rejected their Messiah even when he was in their midst -- especially those who were "in power" in the house of Israel (he came to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel"). As it is written, he "came unto his own, and his own received him not." To these religious leaders, he said:

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

We, like the Bereans did, should have the good sense and meekness of heart to receive the Word with all readiness of mind, and to search the Scriptures daily whether those things are so. The Word of God was given that we might know the certainty of those things wherein we are instructed. By the Scriptures, we measure any "revelation," any teaching, any propounding of "the truth."

I have sat through "teachings" that bore not one speck of relevance to Christ. And yet he the point of the whole Book. By him, God "framed the ages." All of history turns on the cross of Christ. These "teachings" sought to cause people to follow an organization or a particular preacher. They were (often) sincere in what they said, but to anyone who sought Christ, these meetings were without profit, for he was not preached at all!

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
9 For in him {in Christ} dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
10a And ye are complete in him...

Any preaching of "the Word" that is not upon the foundation of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ is vain.  In Acts 20, Paul met with leaders in the Church at Ephesus and told them that even among them, the leaders, some would arise to draw people "after themselves," which of course is not "after Christ." 

Philippians 2:19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state.
20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.
21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.
22 But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.

Now, that's a man of God! Timothy (and Paul, who was "likeminded") did not  seek "his own," but the things which were Jesus Christ's. Paul wrote by revelation that he preached not himself, but Christ Jesus the Lord. That's who he preached! It's all about Christ, and without Christ, there is no preaching of the Word!

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves {Church leaders at Ephesus}, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

These "perverse things" come in the form of preaching and teaching, and of the setting forth of "revelation" that misses the point of Christ. Such "knowledge" will be exposed for the perversion it is, by doing as the Bereans did. Do not be deceived. It will sound good and religious and sincere (and very well may be sincere) but sincerity is not our standard; God's Word is our standard!

Likewise in anything which we may "feel" that God has revealed to us. If it doesn't line up with His Word, it certainly cannot be from God, for He cannot lie! He cannot contradict Himself.  And how can we know if it lines up, if we don't know the Scriptures?

The purposes of revelation 

One thing we have seen already is that revelation is "for profit." Now, that is not to say that the receivers of such will be made rich in worldly goods, using their so-called "gift" to advise the lovelorn or the gullible, who cannot search the Scriptures! As Paul introduced this section if 1Corinthians 12... "now, concerning spiritual {matters}... I would not have you to be ignorant." The profit of the spirit is spiritual. It may have effects which are quite concrete, but we're not talking about making money here, we're talking about the profit which results from the manifestation of the spirit.

You talk about perversion! Such fortune telling is an abomination and a direct affront to the Scriptures. It is a counterfeit, always directing glory to the fortuneteller and their so-called "gift," and not to the true God (though they sometimes give Him lip-service).

The profit that comes by revelation is the good that God intends. He gives revelation to inform and to warn and to make aware. He takes care of His people, as He always has, and those who walk with Him will not stumble nor fall, because they will be "of the light." Revelation is light to illuminate our paths.

1 Thessalonians 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober {literally, "think sound thoughts"}.

1 John 2:7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.
8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.
9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

It's rather unwise to stumble around in the darkness when a flashlight is available. God has told us to love. It's in both the first and the second great commandments. If we choose to walk outside of love, we walk in darkness. It is that simple. If we walk contrary to the Word of God, we walk in darkness. Do you see the importance of the Scriptures if we are to walk with God? 

Word of Knowledge, Word of Wisdom, and Discerning of Spirits

Part 2

Word of Knowledge

Upon this foundation, we are ready to begin considering how these three revelation manifestations are given for benefit to the Church, and "every man."

"Word of knowledge" and "word of wisdom" are similar in terminology, and similar in essence. They are both revelation. That is, they are exact information received from God by way of the spirit. But, of course, there is a difference between them, and that difference is between knowledge and wisdom. The knowledge of God is truth, and the wisdom of God is truth. That's their similarity.

Fundamentally, "knowledge" (or gnosis) is that which informs. The nuance of the word "wisdom" (or sophia) relates to practice, or "doing." It's accurate to speak of the learning of facts or truths as acquiring knowledge, whereas to gain wisdom indicates that we know what to do. We're not simply informed, but wise. Wisdom has to do with practical application of knowledge.

The difference between word of knowledge and word of wisdom is apparent from the content of the information. In word of knowledge, God reveals something by the spirit that would be impossible to know otherwise, but the information may be about a very "earthly" thing or situation. (In fact, it is this distinction that separates word of knowledge, for example, from discerning of spirits, as we shall see.)

Let's look at a few examples of "word of knowledge" from the Scriptures:

2 Kings 4:38 And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.
39 And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not.
40 So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof.
41 But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot.

How did they know that there was "death (poison) in the pot"? By revelation -- word of knowledge. They didn't taste "death" with their carnal senses, with their taste buds, but by revelation from God.

Elisha fixed the stew with a little "meal." How did he know what to put in the pot? -- word of wisdom -- revelation (exact information) from God, about a very physical thing.

2 Kings 6:8 Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp.

The king of Syria had a little strategy meeting with his counselors and staff, to plan an attack on the children of Israel.

9 And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down.
10 And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice.

"...not once nor twice" is a figure of speech meaning that they did this again and again. Syria would set up an ambush in a certain place, and the God would tell the man of God Elisha, who would get the information to the king, who then was able to avoid the ambush. This was of great benefit to the king of Israel, was it not? It was "for profit." It preserved the lives of God's people. This is word of knowledge.

Now, the king of Syria naturally thought that there was a spy among his staff, who was telling the king of Israel his plans. He's determined to flush out the mole:

11 Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel?
12 And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.

If you fight against God's people, you fight against God, and let me tell you, that's a losing battle! The king of Syria could whisper a thing in his bedchamber, and it would be no secret to God!

13 And he said, Go and spy where he {the man of God} is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan.
14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.*
15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots... 

* As you can see, perhaps "fetch" is a bit of a weak translation!  Or at least, the king was understating his intentions. He was going to take the prophet by overwhelming force.

This may be more than you need to know, but when the "servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth..." refers to him "going to the bathroom." This is how it was done. You got up, and you "went forth" (outside, in a designated place). Anyway, early that morning, the servant noticed that the place was a little more populated than normal. There was an army circling the city, sent by the king of Syria to capture the man of God who had been telling his secrets to his enemy. The servant was pretty "freaked out" by this, apparently.

15b  ...And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
16 And he {Elisha} answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

Now, this was a slightly different kind of information. He told his servant not to be afraid, because there was a bigger "army" on their side than the king of Syria could muster. Elisha saw this bigger force, but his servant only saw with his natural eyes.

17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

This was not a physical army, but an army of angels. Therefore, this revelation is discerning of spirits, for angels are spirits. How did Elisha know of their presence? By revelation. And how did his servant then see them? God "opened the eyes of the young man." He revealed this information to him. These are spiritual eyes. The content of the information that is revealed is what makes the difference between word of knowledge, word of wisdom, and discerning of spirits. But it's all revelation, and all by way of that same spirit of God.

The first chapters of Genesis are a good example of word of knowledge. God revealed to Moses how He had created the heavens and the earth, how man and woman came to be, and how they fell by disobedience. This is exact information by revelation. It has stood through the centuries (though it's been forcefully attacked) as a model of perfect precision and accuracy. Even today, more and more is being discovered of its profundity and veracity, not only from the theological standpoint, but from the scientific.

A bit of perfect knowledge

But I'd like to consider a distinction between the revelation which is word of knowledge in those chapters in Genesis, and the revelation (which was also word of knowledge) when God revealed to Elisha where the Syrians were setting up their ambushes. There is a distinction in the "profit" as well.

The revelation in Genesis was knowledge given for all time, but in the Elisha case, it was for a specific instance. The former was the Scriptures, the written Word of God, whereas the warning to Elisha, also God's Word, was specifically for the benefit of the people of Israel in that situation. This is important as we consider the manifestation of word of knowledge as it relates to us today. 

In the case of revelation today, we have this "light" for the specific purposes of specific circumstances or conditions.

Did you know that the words of the Bible are "sealed up"? The end of the Book of Revelation speaks of not daring to add to the words of God's Book. There will be no more Scripture being produced. None is necessary, since it is complete.

2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these {promises} ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Nevertheless, the written Word does not inform me as to how to avoid getting on a certain plane that is going to crash. It does not tell me if the car salesman has tampered with the odometer. It does not tell me what specifically I can do to minister to the specific needs of a person, whose heart is known only to them and to God (and perhaps they are even themselves unaware of their own heart, and therefore cannot inform me of it if they wanted to!).

Revelation is for profit "withal," as we read in 1Corinthians. It is for benefit, all things considered. It doesn't just appear to benefit, as the counterfeit sometimes does (but which end is worse than the beginning.) It genuinely benefits in the "long haul." 

The benefit may be to me personally. For example, if I'm informed by word of knowledge that a certain car is a lemon, or that the keys I'm looking for are between the cushions of the couch, or that I need to quit stewing about a thing, or get busy on fixing it (and how). And the benefit may be (and often is) for service -- that is, for the benefit of another. 

But the manifestation of the spirit -- whether it is word of knowledge, word of wisdom, or discerning of spirits -- is not going to set  forth a new gospel! The gospel is recorded and sealed for all time. Revelation today is for specific benefit in specific situations.

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

We don't need another gospel! The Good News of Jesus Christ is quite good enough, thank you!  But we may need revelation to minister, or to avoid a nasty situation, or to open our eyes to a deception.  

Acts 8:18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost {the gift of holy spirit} was given, he offered them {apostles} money,
19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.

Simon saw God's people manifesting the gift of God after they were ministered to by the apostles. He offered money to the apostles for the same ability. That's preposterous, of course. It doesn't take any on-the-spot revelation to see that, but Peter "perceived" more than that. Simon was in "the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity" and the revelation to Peter was in regard to the thought of Simon's heart, and where Simon's heart would lead him if he didn't change.

When Jesus ministered, he didn't do it by looking on the outward appearances, but ministered to the hearts of men. He did this by revelation from the Father.

Luke 18:18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.
21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

Some would take this advice to this ruler and pass it on to every person with any material abundance. That's just plain wrong. This was specifically what this man needed to disentangle himself from that which held him back.  There was a man who was "sick of the palsy" whom Jesus ministered to, and unlike other records where he ministered healing to the sick, to this man he said, "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee." Shall we say that to every one who has a similar illness? Of course not, because that was exactly what that man needed to hear and believe and receive deliverance.

Luke 7:36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.
37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?
50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

Jesus answered the unspoken thoughts of this Pharisee! 

Matthew 9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.
4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

This is not "mind reading" -- that's the counterfeit. This is revelation. This is the same kind of thing you see in the record of Peter with Ananias and Saphira in the Book of Acts.  Look for the word "heart."

Some have said that God does not speak or reveal anything to His people any more, now that the Bible is complete. The Scriptures can certainly be twisted to support that position. But what a sad and sorry condition it must be for them, to do without the benefit of God's specific counsel and personal attention and fellowship! They speak to God many prayers, but never hear back from Him! What a far-off God they have!

Psalms 115:1 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.
2 Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God?
3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.
4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.
5 They {the idols} have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:
6 They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:
7 They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.
8 They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.
9 O Israel, trust thou in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.
10 O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.
11 Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.

If God has quit speaking to His people, we cannot do what Jesus prophesied of those who would believe on him:

John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

The "works" that he did are healing, ministering, preaching with power, etc. Paul did this; Peter did this. Stephen did this. We are to do this. But the power manifestations of healing, and working of miracles, for example, cannot be done without revelation. Shall our religion be just a form of godliness, but which denies the power thereof?

Jesus had said, "...he that believeth upon me..." will do those works, and greater works.  Do you believe on him?  You're going to need to walk with God. You're going to need revelation.

There are preachers who are dead-set against speaking in tongues, which is another of the manifestations of the spirit. They don't understand it, don't know what to do with it, and therefore they say it "died with the apostles."  But in the same breath, they imply that they receive revelation all the time, i.e. "the Lord led me to..." and "God showed me..." So these unfortunate preachers are in the unenviable position to pick and choose among the manifestations of the spirit, throwing out some, but keeping others!

People are afraid of what they don't understand. And it's no secret that there have been plenty of examples of foolishness in practice regarding both the revelation manifestations and the speaking manifestations, like speaking in tongues and prophecy. (Well, for that matter, healings and so forth are also similarly perverted -- it's all "fair game" to the uninstructed.) But that does not reflect on the simplicity and veracity of God's Word; it reflects only on their lack of understanding of it!

Jesus walked by revelation from the Father. If we are to do the works that he did (not to mention "greater works," as he said!) and we are to do this without God's guidance, then I'm at a loss how that can be! If Jesus needed it, surely we do!

John 8:28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

John 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

A very specific "commandment" to a very specific person! How did he get this information? By revelation from God, his Father.

John 14:19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

John 14:25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost {the (gift of) holy spirit}, whom the Father will send in my name, he {it} shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

It should be mentioned that revelation is God's prerogative. He may reveal whatever it pleases Him to reveal, and to whomever He pleases. Many times, I have asked God to know certain things, and have received nothing. We will consider this more fully a little later in this study, but the point is that we can only ask of God, not demand of Him revelation. He's not in a position to be told what to do! We are! (And that would be word of wisdom.) He is God!

Matthew 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it {that Jesus was the Christ} unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Revelation may be thought of as the spiritual eyes and ears of believers. It's very handy, as we've seen, to have a connection with the Almighty. Very handy indeed. But of all the things that God can reveal to our hearts, the ultimate thing is that Jesus is the Christ, and all the things that we have and are in him!

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye {that is, the natural eye} hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

Understanding this is vital if we are to appreciate the purposes of revelation. There is no more likely time for God to give you revelation than when reading His Word. 

Revelation can come at any time: when you ask for it, or "out of the blue." It's more likely when you ask, as we shall see when we get to word of wisdom. But when reading the Scriptures, you're already reading revelation, right? And He sent His Word to be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. The Scriptures are not Shakespeare or mathematics. They are the spiritual, life-giving words of God, that testify of Christ -- God's redemption of man. That Word opens the eyes.

It's no secret that "experts" in the Word have missed even the simplest truths in it. This spiritual lack of sight was evident in Jesus' time among learned religious leaders, during the Crusades, and it cannot be missed in our day and hour! We need the light of God to shine into our hearts, to show us "the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him... the deep things of God."

So again, it comes back to the Scriptures. And let this warning be received, for there will come a day of reckoning: do not handle His Word deceitfully or lightly. Preachers and teachers of various oddball theories and theologies which they purport to be revelations which they have had from God, but which are instead "another gospel" are to be what (?) according to what we read in Galatians? Accursed. 

The foundation is Jesus Christ, and let every man take heed how he builds upon that foundation. (1Corinthians 3)

We need the light of God to see His Word, and Jesus the Christ. Therefore it is good to ask of God to teach you, to reveal Christ to you as you read His Word (all the great believers of all time did so). And when He does shine in your heart, remember it. Keep it in the midst of your heart.

Be on guard against foolish, so-called revelations of those who pervert the very scriptures themselves.

2 Corinthians 4:1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;
2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

Remember the Bereans? They didn't take Paul's word for it. They went back to the Scriptures themselves, "whether those things were so." And what had Paul been preaching to them?  that Jesus was the Christ. "Therefore (because they checked him out with the Word) many of them believed," for indeed, the scriptures do testify of Christ, and Jesus was that Christ.

3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost {perishing}:
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

God opens the eyes. In these verses we see Satan, who is called the "god of this world." And we see what he does. He blinds the eyes.

5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

There it is. We preach not ourselves. We preach Christ Jesus, the Lord. Can't get any plainer than that.

6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness... (when was that?  It was in Genesis, remember? He said "Let there be light" and there was light!).  This same God, the Almighty Creator of the heavens and the earth has shined where? In our hearts. To give what? The light of the knowledge of His glory in the face of Jesus Christ.

Man alive!!!  Ask God to show you that one! Friend, if you see the Word here as God gave it, you're going to be on a sure road, for His Word is a sure word, a pure word.

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

God does this for us. He teaches us His Word personally -- not to the hard-hearted and self-important -- not to those who would promote themselves -- but to those with a meek heart and a genuine desire to know. This is the attitude of reception. And God will not refuse to shine His knowledge upon those who seek Him with their whole hearts.

Psalms 25:9 The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Now, it is written in 1Corinthians 13 that we know only "in part." Even with all the greatness of the written Word, God has not revealed all to us. But it is enough to satisfy the hungriest soul! 

And a word of knowledge is just that, "a word." It is a specific bit of information that God chooses to reveal to you. It is not misty or uncertain. It will not cause you to doubt or wonder. Rather, it will cause you to know, and to be satisfied. It is just that bit of knowledge that you specifically need to know in a specific context.

Word of Knowledge, Word of Wisdom, and Discerning of Spirits

Part 3

The Word of Wisdom

Far too often, even very learned and sincere believers are without a rudder. They are "driven with the winds and tossed." They are doubtful and double-minded. Their walk with God is shaky and uncertain. They guess at what God may have revealed. This is not the way God works -- it never has been, and never will be.

This is not to say that at times we will be without an answer to a question we may have, nor that we will not make mistakes, or that everything in our lives will be perfectly as we would have it to be. 

Look at Paul's life in Acts. He was imprisoned; he was beaten, he was pursued and tracked down. Stephen died at the hands of unbelievers for his stand upon the good news of Jesus Christ. Don't confuse the presence of troubles with some lack of communication with God, for these believers were connected! On the other hand, do not assume that the presence of troubles is any indication you are doing what is right, either!

Hebrews 11 is sort of a "hall of fame" of Old Testament believers. The summary at the end of the chapter is a fantastic, exciting, and profound declaration indicating the vast number of others who have believed God throughout the Old Testament (and are examples to us today.) God lists believer after believer --  Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham. By faith they did this, by faith they did that. And He concludes with a question in a figure which indicates the multitude of those who believed -- all examples to us, their faith "yet speaking."

Hebrews 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again: 

Now, this is tremendous, is it not? What fabulous results for those who believe! But preachers and teachers all too often stop right here, right in the middle of the verse, and go on about how wonderful life can be and how we'll do all these things if we too believe. I was at a teaching session recently where the minister did exactly that -- stopped right in the middle of this verse, and continued his point elsewhere in the Word. But let's not:

...and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Was God displeased with those in "the second category"? Were these -- in verses 35B through 38 -- not beliieving? No, on both counts. They "obtained a good report" and it was "through faith." They were all examples of believing. If everything being "hunky dory" is the authentication of a good minister, than Paul must have been a pretty lousy servant of the Lord! And if immediate or apparent "success" is what marks those who believe and receive a "good report" of God, than we'd better throw out the last few verses of this chapter! (But let's not.  Let's profit from them. All scripture is profitable.)

Let's talk about "profit" for a moment. These have obtained "a better resurrection." Earlier in the chapter, Moses refused to be called the son of pharaoh's daughter, and preferred to suffer with the children of Israel rather than to "enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." Friends, it happens both ways today as well. You can turn from God and lose everything, or you can believe God and obtain. Believing appropriates; it obtains. 

It's foolish to choose to suffer, but it's never foolish to walk in truth. If suffering comes because you do what is right, then so be it. That's what our Lord taught us. That's what we learned from Paul earlier in this study. That's what all these Hebrews 11 believers teach us.  We don't choose to suffer, we choose to believe! Take it sentence by sentence. Very few are teaching this, and it's absolutely essential to understand if we are to have genuine success, durable success, "profit."

Far too many ministries are preaching what people want to hear, and that's because of fear and unbelief on the part of the preachers, for they don't trust God's Word to be true -- they feel they need to "make" it acceptable to the masses so they can fill their churches. The end result of such timidity and unsound teaching is that people are unprepared for adversity, and they get defeated in their minds, even those who are faithful and true, because they are taught to look at the results of the flesh to "tell" their condition in the spirit. 

When are we gonna get some steel in our spines? When are we going to have the courage to believe God, and be more than conquerors despite the fiery darts of the wicked?

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content {"without need," for I am complete in Christ}.
12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

We need to know both, as Paul did, to be able to do all things through Christ who strengthens us. How do we know these things?  Let's read it again, focusing on another part of it:

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

We're not equipping God's people very well as ministers if we're not instructing them in both categories. Read the end of Romans 8, paying particular attention to the reason given of why Paul was "more than a conqueror" and why we also can be more than conquerors.  FOR, (he said) "I am persuaded..." We need to know how to live in abundance, and on a shoestring. (Both can equally be a temptation to deny God, as well as to praise Him!) We need to be instructed as to how to live in peace, and in adversity -- in abundance and in need. We need that instruction from the Word, so that we may "do all things" through Christ who strengthens us.

If you've been condemning yourself because there are problems and challenges in your life, you are going to be very set-free when you understand what so many others seem to miss: We're in a battle, folks! This place where we presently abide is called "this present evil world." It's called a "crooked and perverse nation {kingdom}" in the midst of whom we shine as lights in this world, holding forth the Word of Life. Our day is called "the evil day" in Ephesians six, but we can stand in this day, putting on the whole armor of God.

Let's get off our own "case" and put the blame where it belongs: on the "god" of this world -- Satan!  And that is exactly why we have the manifestation of the spirit, because we "wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world." He has "blinded the minds of them that believe not." Get your eyes open to the revelation God has laid out in His Word, and walk with the power of God in this life, right now, today. 

Christians can be such wimps, if they follow a superficial "gospel." Let's be able to give thanks in all things. (Not FOR all things, but IN all situations and conditions.)  God gives us the victory.

Let others judge what they will about you. This is "man's day." But there's coming a day, called "the Lord's Day," when the Lord will do the judging! We are to stand approved before God, not men. Let men have their day. God ordained it. But He ordained the Lord Jesus Christ to have his day, too. That's the day when we shall "have praise of God." That's when judgment will be true and righteous altogether.

God does indeed deliver us out of troubles and afflictions. He does indeed always cause us to triumph in Christ. He surely caused His Son to triumph over death, but it was a long, hard road, and we are to run the race that is set before us looking unto Jesus, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross! Believers, this is addressed to you! And He has given us the enablements to do it perfectly, and the power to walk in victory, without fear and without condemnation.

The "instruction" is in God's Word. (Hebrews 11 is a good example.)  Remember, "all scripture is given... by... God, and is profitable... for instruction in righteousness." And if we need anything more specific than what is in the written Word of God, we have that, too.

Philippians 3:14   I {Paul} press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect {mature}, be thus minded {to think the same way}: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule {God's Word}, let us mind the same thing {God's Word}.

The word of wisdom is what to do. The content of this information from God is what to do in a given situation. Word of knowledge informs us. It informed the prophets that there was "death in the pot." Word of wisdom was revelation which told Elisha what to do about it. 

Now, I was taught that if I receive word of knowledge, I ought to wait for word of wisdom, and that is very good advice, so I'd like to pass that on. If God tells us something by word of knowledge, should we then rush in without His guidance to correct the problem by what we feel is the best solution? This is a sore temptation for those just learning to receive revelation (and it can indeed be learned -- that is what we're doing!) but we must recognize that the knowledge may be for our information only

Keep your mouth shut, and your car in park, so to speak. He told you something for a reason, but unless He tells you why, or what to do with it, you wait until you know. I speak as an authority, for I've been a big offender in this category! Don't take my word for it. If you must, learn it for yourself as you walk. You'll surely learn it well if you make as many mistakes as I have, rushing around without wisdom. But it's not how long a thing takes to learn, but how well we learn it. You can go the easy way or the hard way. God won't upbraid you for either path. But do learn this. Learn to listen, and learn to be patient.

On the other hand, I was also taught that we could not receive word of wisdom until AFTER we had received word of knowledge. Now, I'm not sure that's what my teachers intended to teach me, but I labored under that misunderstanding for some time, and it was a significant gap in my armor. 

That would seem to limit God, wouldn't it? Can He not simply tell you to make a left-hand turn without telling you why? After all, "son, turn left" is what to do, isn't it? Where's word of knowledge?   Look at this record:

Acts 8:26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.

Nothing is said about being informed by word of knowledge beforehand what this was all about. There is no reason to assume that there was any. God just said "go" and he went. That's word of wisdom. And this is fairly common in the Scriptures.

27 And he arose and went: {now, that's a believer!} and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.

Again, this is word of wisdom. It's what Philip should do. He's walking by the spirit (by the manifestation of word of wisdom.)

30 And Philip ran thither {very good!} to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

What a wonderful record of a man walking with the Father! And look at the benefit, the "profit." The man received the good news of Jesus Christ. Philip showed up just at the right time, didn't he? By word of what? Wisdom.

Regarding wisdom, we have a precious promise in the revelation of James:

James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

James 1 is all about faith, or "believing," as was Hebrews 11, which also says that he who comes to God "must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Look at the unambiguous promise here in James: if we ask of God, He gives to all men liberally, and upbraideth not. 

God is the giver of wisdom, and He gives liberally. The words, "...and upbraideth not" indicate His patience when we may be asking for the umpteenth time, or even for those things that He has already told us again and again! He gives wisdom liberally. That means He's not stingy with it. Well, then, there must be another reason why it seems to be so rare! And the reason for that is also in these verses: either we don't ask, or we don't ask in faith.

This is another great key to walking by the spirit. Ask of God. If you don't know, ask. If you need information, ask. If you need to know what to do, ask. He's not called "God" for nothing! He knows whatever it is you may need to know, whether it's knowledge or wisdom. It's asking in faith, or "in believing" that may be a challenge. But one thing is certain, you cannot ask "in faith" if you don't ask at all! So get that habit started. Your faith will grow as you walk, for you will see that God never fails to fulfill His promises. 

Luke 1:80 And the child {referring to John} grew, and waxed {became} strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.

Luke 2:40 And the child {referring to Jesus} grew, and waxed {became} strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

Look at it. John grew. Even the only begotten Son of God grew, and became strong, spiritually, "filled with wisdom." And the grace of God was upon him. God's grace is upon you, too, believer. It's upon all His sons. 

Growth is a progression. It takes time. God knows this, of course, and so should we. If you've had any mis-starts, then start again. Get your foundation set, and start walking. Your heavenly Father will be with you every step of the way, and His grace shall be upon you as well. If you will do this, you too will grow, and become strong spiritually -- strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might -- strengthened with might by his spirit in the inner man. You will be instructed and know both how to be abased and how to abound. You will be able to do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Receiving Revelation

One of the greatest things anyone has ever taught me about receiving revelation is simply to ask of God. At first, I asked with little faith. I was unconvinced that God would answer, and indeed at times, He does not. It's His prerogative. But part of believing God is trusting Him, and it's become clearer to me that at times I may not need to know what I think I need to know! He does. Today I'm a little more trusting that if I need to know, He'll be there. He's never been late when I needed Him.

Getting into the nuts-and-bolts of receiving revelation is not nearly as "spooky" as some might imagine. You ask of God, and you receive. That's it. There's no "method" or prescription which will ensure a better result, other than to say what James wrote: ask believing, nothing wavering.

The confusion (and also grave danger) comes when people imagine that they're receiving revelation, when they are not. The answer to this too is very simple and straightforward. 

Don't guess. 

God does not have a weak transmitter. Yes, I know it says that He spoke in a "still, small voice" to someone in the Old Testament, but He's quite capable of getting through to you. That record has much to teach us about the times of storms and winds -- that we ought to have the peace on the inside to receive the quiet revelation of God regardless of what may be raging about us (which is often a time when we need guidance the most!). But do not adopt the methods of "sensitives" or "mediums" which derive their hit-and-miss "revelations" from evil spirits -- the "empty your mind" type of "meditation" or any of that junk. Ask of God, believing, and if He speaks, listen.

At the risk of being redundant, but with a firm conviction that it cannot be stressed too strongly, we must go to the Scriptures if we desire to be taught of God. There you will acquaint yourself to His "voice." You'll learn of Him, and of His Son, and of yourself, too -- who you are in the grand plan. (The recipient of the exceeding riches of His grace and glory, "the apple of His eye.") You'll learn of your eternal destiny and durable inheritance. You'll see into the depths of God's majestic plan of redemption and salvation. God's Word is our refuge and our standard. It is our anchor. Ask of God to teach you His Word.

A toddler walks perfectly the first time he tries it, right? Of course not. Do we parents spank a child for falling down after his first steps? Well, if you're like I was when Rachel began walking, you just about jump out of your skin for joy to see those first few steps! God "upbraideth not" when we ask Him for wisdom. He won't "hold it against us" if we learn gradually. He knows what we're made of. He knows our challenges, and He knows how to impart knowledge and wisdom -- how to communicate with His children.

You know, it's not as if we need to know the whole Word, either, before we receive any personal revelation. That would surely put a majority of us out of business if that were true!  God has given revelation to children, to unbelievers, and to fools. He designed our minds (not just our brains!). He knows how to get through to us. Leave the "technique" up to him.

I'm reminded of when God called Moses out, and told him that he was going to be His prophet. Moses made an excuse about not being a very good speaker, and God's reply was precious. He said to him, "Who hath made man's mouth?" (Note also: where do you think we got our sense of humor from?)  Even then, He gave Moses Aaron, his brother, to speak for him at times. What a loving and caring heavenly Father we have! And understanding!

Here's a record of a young man learning to receive revelation. It needs no commentary.

1 Samuel 3:1 And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.
2 And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see;
3 And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep;
4 That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.
5 And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.
6 And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again.
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.
8 And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child.

9 Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.
11 And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.
12 In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end.
13 For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.
14 And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.
15 And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision.
16 Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I.
17 And he said, What is the thing that the LORD hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee.
18 And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.
19 And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.

You can leave just about everything to God. You just ask in faith. Today's a new day. Have you failed before? Get back up (like that toddler, maybe) and go at it again. Get growing!

Discerning of Spirits

What word of knowledge and word of wisdom are in regard to things in the natural world, discerning of spirits is to the spiritual world. We've already seen that we are in a battle, and it's not with "flesh and blood" but with "principalities and powers" and against the "rulers of the darkness of this world." The spiritual kingdom is the realm of God Himself, and of Lucifer (the Devil, also called Satan and a host of other names), of angels and fallen angels (evil spirits) and of Jesus Christ, now that he is no longer "after the flesh," that is, after he died in the flesh, and was raised incorruptible. As it is written, the first Adam was made a living soul, but the second Adam was made a life-giving spirit.

We have the spirit of God in us when we are born of God by believing on Jesus Christ.* We are no longer "natural men" of only body and soul, but have body, soul, and eternal-life spirit. It's "the gift of God" and "the gift of holy spirit."

*Romans 10:9; Acts 2:38

Spiritual Enablements for a Spiritual Struggle

It's not our job to convince anyone of these forces. If you don't believe, you're not ready to even begin to contend in this battle, and you will surely be beaten without a fight. But "armed" with the revelation manifestations, and in particular, discerning of spirits, we can be equipped to "pull down strongholds."

2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

We cannot fight spiritual forces with machine guns, nor defend ourselves with radar. The "weapons of our warfare are not carnal," but they are "mighty through God." Discerning of spirits is one of those "weapons," as is working of miracles.

As with word of knowledge and word of wisdom, we are not left without guidance from the Father in regard to spiritual forces. Discerning of spirits may include spiritual knowledge as to the presence or absence of spirits, the identity of spirits which are present, and it may also have a "wisdom" aspect as to what may be done with that information. (For example, whether and how an evil spirit may be cast out.) This, again, is no misty guessing-game. It is precise, reliable information which may be known with absolute certainty. 

It makes little sense to deny the existence of evil spirits (as some do) when obviously they were identified and cast out of people by our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet many "ministers" do just that. And the "natural man" will naturally not have any basis upon which to apprehend any of these things, not having the spirit of God by which they are discerned.

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

This is specifically in the context of discerning "spiritual things," and in particular, the things that God has prepared for them that love him. But the natural man, being without the very faculty of discernment, will therefore also consider the things of evil spirits to be "foolishness."  

Likewise, the carnal Christian (who does not walk by the spirit, but by the flesh) will not know any of these things. He can know (unlike the natural man, he has the ability) but he will not know. Even though he has the spirit, he does not walk by the spirit. He doesn't think spiritually, but carnally. His focus is on the flesh, on earthly things. 

A carpenter may have a fine set of tools, but if he doesn't use them, the house will never get built. (We all have a fine set... the very best! ...but most of us don't even know whether there BE any holy spirit -- or manifestations thereof!)

Mark 1:23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,
24 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.
25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.
26 And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.
27 And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.

The Greek word for "spirit," pneuma, and its corresponding word in the Old Testament Hebrew, ruach, are used of any unseen force -- even wind. This "unclean" spirit was unrecognized by the people, including the religious leaders. No one could offer this man any help. They were not equipped to deal with the possession and occupation of this poor man. Jesus not only knew of the spirit's presence (and apparently it knew of his presence as well!) but also what to do about it. He cast it out of the man. He commanded it out.

Acts 16:16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:

Here a woman had a spirit called a "spirit of divination." Her employers made a lot of money off of this woman.

17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

It's remarkable how pious her words were, isn't it? What the spirit possessed her to say was absolutely true! And she followed them around for "many days" doing this in a loud voice. Why did Paul not command it out sooner than this? Was he simply "being nice" until she got on his nerves? No, he must have had revelation -- that is, discerning of spirits, with the "OK" to cast it out. That is discerning of spirits and working of miracles.

Now, stop and consider... 

If God opens your eyes spiritually to a specific spiritual condition, an evil spirit or the presence of angels, then what should you do? Well, I would pray that by now you'd answer "receive the information, and wait further instruction." That's wisdom. You see, people read the record of Jesus commanding the spirit out, and the one of Paul commanding the spirit out, and then they are confronted with a spirit, and they immediately assume that God has shown it to them that they might cast it out. Now, that is certainly possible... even probable. But shall we not wait on the Lord to make that determination, and tell us? If He made us aware of a presence, will He not then be able to tell us what, if anything, should be done about it?

It is never God's will for anyone to be possessed of an evil spirit. Neither is it God's will that any be blind or lame or stupid or poor. But there are plenty of blind and stupid and lame and poor people in the world, are there not? (And such were some of us, but we got healed.) Some are that way by the decisions they've made, and some through no fault of their own. All such are oppressed of the devil, and of course, as a person of compassion, you want them to be delivered, just as God does. But it is God that knows how and when such a thing can and should be done. The man that was healed by Peter and John at the "beautiful gate" of the Temple -- he was laid there "daily" to ask a blessing of them that went in. Jesus must have walked past him, entering into that gate. Why then was he still lame?

Matthew 13:54 And when he {Jesus} was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?
55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?
57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

This is just one reason why Jesus may have not done works in a particular area. The essential truth is that he always did those things that were pleasing in God's sight.* Certainly, it is always God's will to heal, but it is not always a person's will to be healed. Jesus asked a man just such a thing in John 5:6... "wilt thou be made whole?"

*John 8:29

It will be a rare day when you will find a homosexual that is willing in his or her heart to be delivered and made whole. But what of the blind or the cancerous or the poor? It's certainly not something that they overtly want, but will they believe to be made whole, and to retain their healing? Jesus did not "many mighty works" in his hometown -- why? -- "because of their unbelief."

This is not to cast a stone at any who are infirm or hurting in any way. I've got a "glass house," and I know it. There are many things for which I would like deliverance, things I know are God's will as well, but I'm still in the same condition.  It may be because I have not risen up in my believing of the promises of God to receive the deliverance I seek. It may be because being in such a condition will somehow cause my eventual victory (if even only at the return of Christ) to be all the more glorious. (For I am assured of that complete victory at the time of my gathering unto Christ.)

The study of human suffering is not perfected by casually looking at a few verses, nor explained with a few glib statements. The book of Job is a good place to start. As you continue in God's Word, honestly open to the light of it, you will begin to understand some of these things, for His Word is light.

Psalms 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

God shows you things by revelation for a reason, and the bottom-line reason is because He wants you to know. It's foolish to assume anything more.

Now, if you'd like to try an experiment to test my theology, go right ahead... just lay your hands on every paraplegic you run across, and then yank them out of their wheelchair, and tell them to walk. You're going to get in trouble, my friend! Likewise with those who are possessed with spirits. Just because they have a condition, and even knowing God's will is for them to be free, does NOT mean that you should be casting them out presumptuously. You do it by the wisdom given to you by way of discerning of spirits, a manifestation of the spirit. Get wise before you get moving. Look at this record in Acts. It should serve as a warning to you.

Acts 19:11 And God wrought special* miracles by the hands of Paul:
12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.
14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

*these were "no ordinary" miracles!

Don't "take it upon yourself" to act without wisdom, spiritually, or you may suffer the same fate, or worse! Likewise those you minister to:

Luke 11:24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.
25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.
26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

Do you know what we need to prevent such a thing from happening? You guessed it: spiritual wisdom. If we do as God says, we'll be fine. And where does wisdom come from? Right again, from God. And if we have it, we have it, but if we don't, we don't. Right? You've got it.

Word of Knowledge, Word of Wisdom, and Discerning of Spirits

Part 4

An evil kingdom

Spirits come in different "flavors" and different sizes. The Greek word sometimes translated "a devil" (or in some translations, "a demon") is daimon. There is also another word, similarly translated, which is daimonion. The ending -ion makes a word diminutive in Greek. For example, teknon is properly translated "a child" whereas the word teknion should be translated "a LITTLE child." The Devil is over all of the daimon and the daimonion, and there is apparently a hierarchy amongst the lower devil spirits.

The awesome language and powerful images of the Book of Revelation shed revealing light on how these spirits wound up as troublers of mankind in the first place.

Revelation 12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

This speaks of the birth of Christ, the "woman" being Mary, of course. The birth of Christ was written in the stars before we ever had a Bible or the scrolls. This scene actually played out in the heavens when Christ was born, and got the "wise men" packing, for they saw that the King of the Jews had been born -- the stars had "told them" so. This knowledge had been passed down to these Gentile astronomers (not astrologers!!) since the time of Daniel, when the children of Israel were led into captivity.

3 (continuing) And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

The tail of this dragon (which is the Devil, fallen Lucifer -- see verse 9, below) "drew the third part of the stars of heaven." These are the spirits under Lucifer, by a figure, referring to them as "stars of heaven." 

There are three named angels which figure prominently in the Word of God: Lucifer is one, who was "the bright and morning star," (or "son of the morning," referring to Venus, a "traveling star" often seen about sunrise on the eastern horizon). He had been this star, but he wanted to be "like the Most High (God)" and was cast down from heaven. 

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.                           Isaiah 14:12-14

The other prominent, named angels are Gabriel and Michael. Gabriel appears to be sent as a messenger, whereas Michael is a warrior. This is not specifically stated in the Word, but is inferred by what they do.

5 And she {the "woman"} brought forth a man child {Jesus Christ}, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

"His angels" (in verses 7b and 9) are these evil spirits.

It may be calculated that since when Satan fell, and a third of these spirits "were cast out with him," that a third are also under Gabriel, and a third under Michael. Perhaps not, but we do know that a third were Lucifer's. They were "his angels." That leaves two-thirds who remained as "angels of God."

You may remember that when Jesus was crucified, he was challenged to get off the cross. (They didn't understand that no one took his life from him, but that he laid it down willingly.) He replied that if he were to ask of his Father, he could have "twelve legion" of angels to assist him. That's seventy-two thousand angels. 

If these, which Jesus referred to, are a third which are under Michael (which seems reasonable, but is nowhere stated, as it is with Lucifer) the warrior angel (you can see "Michael and his angels" fighting the dragon in verse 7, above), then there are at least seventy-two thousand evil spirits as well. Now, if Michael has reserves that exceed the twelve legion that were available for the rescue at Calvary, then there could be more. Lucifer had a third of all the angels fall with him, and they remain to this day "his angels," though some are "in chains." (see 2Peter 2:4ff)

It is not necessary to learn all that God's Word reveals about evil spirits in order to operate the manifestation of discerning of spirits. In fact, it is a common spiritual pitfall to ascribe certain particular scriptural references to present circumstances by using one's "imagination" or "reason" instead of discerning of spirits! This is not "the manifestation of deductive reasoning;" it's the manifestation of the spirit. Certainly, God's Word is available for our learning, and we've been stressing the importance of the written Word to determine the genuine from the counterfeit. But the essential thing to keep in mind to avoid this common pitfall is that all the revelation manifestations have the purposes of specific benefit in specific circumstances. That's one of the nine benefits corresponding to the nine manifestations of the spirit.

God's Word records perfectly accurate information which we should take advantage of (and we are!).  Just be careful not to read a past circumstance into the present. You have the spirit of God, and the purpose of this study is to encourage you to walk by that spirit of God. As you grow in His Word, you'll grow in fellowship with Him, and you'll become strong spiritually in Christ. But if your understanding of God's Word is based on bad theology, you do not have the Word of Truth to begin with.

If you're really called of God, you don't need some man to tell you that God loves you -- you know it. Neither do you need me or anyone else to teach you how to walk with Him, or to have "your eyes opened." Study God's Word. Be a workman yourself, but be warned: even great "study-ers" of the Word have made assumptions causes them to believe -- not the Word of God -- but thhe assumptions of men.

There are classes and books that purport to make one "spiritual warriors" when in fact, they tout a kind of mystical witchcraft that bears no resemblance to the simple truth of God's Word. We really ought to walk and believe more and more, and when God really speaks to us, we'll have the spiritual light to defeat whatever forces we encounter. Instead of focusing on the ins and outs of the evil kingdom, perhaps we should focus more on the heavenly.

We have seen in this study that there is a "spirit of divination," and such a thing as an "unclean spirit," because we've looked at some records about them. Some study this field in great detail, and seem to be no better for it. As a matter of fact, some become so immersed in the Devil's kingdom that they are spotting devil spirits under every mushroom and in every stuffed animal they see. (And missing them where they are!)

They do come in different "flavors" and in different "sizes" (there not really being such a thing as "size" with spirit, or "flavor" -- but they function differently, and there is a chain of command in their realm -- some more diminutive than others.) 

But the strength of believer's lives comes from being IN Christ.  If you will fill your head with who you are in him, you'll have what you need to be able to stand and withstand in the "the evil day," which is today. The power of evil is real, and it is pervasive and ubiquitous in the world. But child of God has nothing to fear from it.

A greater power

What shall we then say to these things? 
If God be for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:31

Remember that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but MIGHTY through God to the pulling down of strongholds. How did we acquire these "weapons"? We got them by virtue of Jesus Christ's victory over all principality and power and might and dominion. He took our place in humiliation and death. God raised him from the dead. The redemptive work of Jesus Christ freed us from the lordship that Satan exercises over the world, for we are no longer "of this world." We are no longer his subjects, but his adversaries. Let's be informed and committed ones, and wise with the wisdom which comes from God, and refuse to obey Satan's commands, nor yield to his suggestions any longer.

Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet {adequate, qualified} to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of {or, "by"} his dear Son:

Colossians 2:9 For in him {Christ Jesus} dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
13  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

This is what occurred when God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. He triumphed over death and the dominion and influence of the adversary, the Devil, and all "principalities and powers." He "spoiled" them and "made a shew of them openly." That is, he marched them in defeat, as a conquered army. He vanquished them. All of them.

Ephesians 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his {God's} power to us-ward {toward us} who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23 Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.

Well, that pretty much covers it, doesn't it? And we are the Body of Christ. We cannot be lower in the Body than the "feet," right? Then all things are what? Under us. This is not an isolated text which might be misconstrued, but is clear and simple and is confirmed and delineated and expounded upon in many places in God's Word. This is vital to know, but we have more to cover regarding the spiritual kingdoms before we're though, so we will just touch on a few more that add to our understanding of this victory of Christ (and therefore our victory, in him), then we'll move on. But let's set this in our souls:

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 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
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.

We should make note of three things, here: false prophets, spirits, and the "spirit of antichrist." Notice that the "spirit of antichrist" is "already...in the world" at the time this was written, in the First Century A.D.

4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Who has overcome them? Those who are "of God," who belong to God. Why? Because greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world -- greater than false prophets, greater than any evil spirit -- greater than antichrist. We are to "try the spirits" whether they be "of God." 

5 They {false prophets, evil spirits, antichrist} are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

This heavenly or spiritual kingdom, populated as it is, has been made known in various ways by God's "holy apostles and prophets by the spirit." And yet this is not something that one can "master" as a result of a class on spirits or angels. Surely there are more records than we will discuss here which speak of such things, and reading them and studying them will result in the profit that God intended by revealing them in the first place. But I would be careful not to take the word of so-called experts in the field, who sometimes think they know a thing, when they know nothing. 

Remember the prophet's servant, whose eyes were opened to see the heavenly power at their disposal against the earthly forces of the enemy? This is the same manner in which we come to have what knowledge we have in the Word about this kingdom. God revealed, He opened the eyes of men to such things from time to time. This is "discerning of spirits." And there is precious little of it in the Word of God (though it is enough.) Perhaps that is why this field of study is so rife with speculation and fancy. But in our consideration of these things, let us not say more than what God has revealed, and let us be satisfied that God in His wisdom has given us what we need, and not add to His words.

Hebrews 9:3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;
4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;
5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.

This is what God's Word declares, and yet, I have heard people speak quite "particularly" of them. These cherubims are mentioned in Revelation as part of the creation that praises God for His justice and mercy and His goodness. John was permitted by God in the book of Revelation to make some particular things known of them, but "the secret things belong unto the Lord our God."

Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

In regard to angels of God, it may be seen that they have visited and assisted believers throughout the ages, both those who looked forward to Christ's accomplishments upon the cross, and to those who looked back on them and were born of God's spirit. Lot had a visit from two angels. The shepherds saw and heard a heavenly host, praising God and announcing the birth of His Son. Mary had a visit from Gabriel. We also saw the assistance rendered to the man of God and his servant (though we didn't finish reading that wonderful record). We spoke of what Jesus had said upon the cross, of having at his disposal seventy-two thousand angels. Peter was "sprung" from prison by an angel.

Hebrews 1:13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? {as God did say to His Son}
14 Are they {the angels} not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

They minister to the heirs of salvation (that includes us) by delivering a message, and by performing acts of force on our behalf. In Revelation, we saw that Michael and "his angels" shall fight against the dragon and "his angels." And Michael shall prevail. 

The Greek word for "angels" is nothing more than "ones who are sent." God's angels do the bidding of God, and are ministering spirits sent to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation.  The Devil's spirits do his bidding.

As to devils, or evil spirits, we could read of how King Saul was troubled by one, and look at the other accounts of deliverance from such in the Gospel records and in Acts. All these things are worthy of study, and I encourage you to do so, but it is all too easy to allow speculation and false teaching to "add" to what God says simply in His Word. Shall we not be satisfied with the wisdom of God to reveal what we need, and simply live in the light of it? Don't let your dogs out of the kennel. Be patient, and ask God to teach you, and do not assume anything, nor guess, nor conclude what the Word of God itself does not conclude. And please, do not ascribe conditions and directives of a particular circumstance from the past to a present particular circumstance. Remember those sons of Sceva, running out of the house, naked and wounded!

More than many of these other details to be gleaned from God's Word, it is far more important to fully appreciate that greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world (including evil spirits) -- that God has raised us up together with Christ, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and that He has given us his "unspeakable gift," the gift of holy spirit, that we might be complete in Christ, that we might have the "token of our inheritance" and testimony that we are the children of God -- heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ! At least, knowing these things will be a powerful step in the right direction when it comes to understanding the manifestation of discerning of spirits.

Very few ministries are teaching and preaching the living and powerful Word of God. But this Word is available, and when it is taught accurately, it empowers the people who hear and believe. We ought to be less concerned about classes on angels and spiritual supposition, and teach and preach more about Jesus Christ. (Not that the preaching of Christ has not been subject to supposition and false teaching!) It is the teaching and preaching of Jesus Christ that makes men free.

1 Corinthians 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Christ is "the power of God, and the wisdom of God." And we are "complete in him."  Our lives are "hid with Christ in God." That's where we'll find our lives! Do you see that "the devil is in the details"? We need to teach God's people the big picture. Then perhaps we can go back and have some of these other things in perspective. 

We leave this study perhaps too soon for some (and have perhaps gone on too long for others, no doubt!) There is certainly more to share, and more to discover in the Word about these things, but it's important that the point is not lost, that we have been given the manifestation of the spirit for profit, and that the three manifestations we have been considering, namely, the "knowing" or revelation manifestations, are given "to every man." That means you, if you are a believer. You are born from above, and have the ability to manifest that spirit, which is a gift to you.

You can speak in tongues, interpret speaking in tongues, and prophesy. You can receive word of knowledge, word of wisdom, and discerning of spirits. You can bring to pass the impossible at your command in the Name of Jesus Christ by way of the manifestation of faith, and you can bring miracles to pass, and healing, according to the revelation which God may, at His prerogative, give to you as you minister.  All of these things are for "profit," spiritually. They do not glorify the one ministering, any more than when Jesus Christ walked this way. 

Angels are powerful and awesome beings, but you may know what the angel said to John in the book of Revelation:

Revelation 22:8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant*, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.

*sundoulos, for you Greek fans

When Jesus walked this earth and did mighty works, God received the glory, "who had given such power unto men {i.e. Jesus Christ.}"  Paul and others, though people sought to make them gods and worship them, refused the "honors" and instead directed the glory to the living God, whereas Simon the sorcerer was using evil spirit power (or more accurately, being used by it) and was "giving out that himself was some great one." Glorify God and worship God. Do not be puffed up in your own conceits or in whatever you may have by the grace of God. Do not accept the glory of men. That is the road down, and it is wide and well traveled. Walk circumspectly, looking not to the left hand nor to the right. Start this walk anew, if you must. There is no shame in that, but honor. If you are reading these words, it is not too late to begin anew.

In 1Corinthians 12, the Corinthians were not spiritually-minded, but "puffed up" in regard to many things, one of which was the abilities of God by way of the manifestation of the spirit. Hence the reproof and correction of the scriptures.

As it is written, "God is not mocked." If you wish to walk with God, and have your eyes opened, and demonstrate the spirit and power of God which you have received as a gift, then a good place to start is to let go of your fancy and speculation, and quit guessing, and quit seeking after signs, and instead seek Christ, who is the power of God and the wisdom of God. Don't allow yourself to be led in another direction, which is idolatry, and there are many who are leading that way.

Have the integrity to shut up when you don't know a thing. Let your "yea" be yea, and your "nay" be nay. If you have your eyes opened to see a thing, thank God for it. And don't be too hasty to draw a conclusion about it by your senses mind. Don't rush out and "fix" a problem you see by way of the spirit, without the spiritual wisdom that might be yours if you ask of God, and wait upon His wisdom.  The precious verses in 1Corinthians 12 that we have been considering hold great promises, and result in great profit to those who hear them and believe. But if we go the way of the spiritists and mediums and "sensitives" and fortunetellers, we'll be far worse-off than if we never got into spiritual matters in the first place!

Trust God. He knows how to communicate. He knows how to shed light. If you're in doubt about something which may be "revelation," then you haven't got it. Move on, keep walking and keep trusting, and when you have it, you'll KNOW. That's what it is. It's perfect, accurate, trustworthy: 



or discernment in the spiritual realm. 

These are the "knowing" manifestations. They are not the guessing manifestations. The spirit of God is not in that realm which is riddled by doubts and darkness and confusion. Light is peaceable and sure. It is evident and wholesome and lovely and virtuous. We are said to be "children of light," and we are walk in that light.

You know, we tend to think of wisdom as the realm of the aged, and certainly time and faithfulness can yield that reward in great measure. But if you get your eyes opened by God, the Giver of wisdom, then you have it (it may be in a very narrow, specific circumstance or condition, but the wisdom of God is always perfect!). I've seen this in children and even in foolish people. 

"... out of the mouth of babes."

Wisdom is not an achievement which we attain to, but a thing to be received from the Giver of all good things. It's not something to be puffed up about if we have it, any more than that we should be puffed up about anything which we have received by the mercy and grace of God.

Study His Word. It's the genuine article, and is that standard against which all "revelation" is to be measured. Ask of God to protect you, to inform you, to teach you and lead you. If you read His Word with a meek heart, you'll receive revelation, for that is exactly what His Word is. And if God reveals a thing to you regarding a specific circumstance or condition by word of knowledge, word of wisdom, or discerning of spirits, then you have the perfect truth on the subject. 

But if you guess and you puff and if you think you know a thing when you know nothing, you deceive yourself. What He tells you, you know, and what He does not tell you, you do not know. How unbecoming and pitiful it is when a man is spouting about something that God told him, when it is obvious that God told him nothing of the sort, for God is not in the habit of contradicting Himself. (It is in fact, impossible.)

The Devil has his prophets, and doers of his works and his will. He has his murderers and agents of envy and messengers of deception and confusion. And make no mistake, they're in the church as well as politics and the entertainment "industry" and "the media." But there is a light that ever waits to dawn, until the day star arise in our hearts at the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We have seen such a light in the Reformation, and there have been times when we have seen individuals and ministries flourish because of that pure and perfect knowledge and wisdom of God. It comes to the meek of heart -- to those who know they shall not have it if God is not the giver of it. To those who are not full of themselves, but of the spirit in manifestation. That light waits to dawn today. It is a bright promise and sure, and it needs only faith to come fully into your heart. 

Those who hear and walk in that light are His messengers, His "sent ones." As God's angels go where He directs, and do His will, so His faithful ministers, His believers, go and do His will. 

Isaiah 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

In your quest to walk ever closer with our heavenly Father, if He tells you what to do to fix your life, or to minister to others, then follow through and do it. Don't be afraid to put away the sin you've carried for many years. Don't be afraid to become a new creation in your walk, to put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. And don't be afraid to minister His Word and His goodness, of which you've received. Speak and minister boldly, for it's not your word, and you preach not yourself, but Christ Jesus the Lord.

That's the light that makes manifest darkness, and allows us to walk without stumbling and hurting ourselves. It's the means whereby we can be healed, and to recover ourselves out of the snare of the Devil, who desires to possess and control, and live in liberty and power as sons of the one true God, and it empowers us to minister the same to those who desperately need it.

As Paul wrote to young Timothy:

1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Let us not choose to suffer, but to do what is right. Our aim is simple: to know what is right, and to do it. God has never denied a man that privilege.

Tasters of the Word (YouTube), videos recientes: "Astronomía y Nacimiento de Jesucristo: Once de Septiembre Año Tres A.C.", "Estudio sobre Sanidades" (en 20 episodios), "Jesus Christ, Son or God?" and "We've the Power to Heal":http://www.youtube.com/1fertra

Tasters of the Word (the blog, with: "Astronomy and the Birth of Jesus Christ"):http://fertra1.blogspot.com


And a commercial before we go:

Window Cleaning of Ronnie Petree, where my wife works (smile): Good Looking Glass of Houston (serving also at: Katy, Surgarland, Conroe, Kingwood, Woodlands, Galveston).