The Work of the Holy Spirit & the Work of Evil Spirits
The Protestant churches regard healing illnesses or speaking in tongues as the proof of receiving the Holy Spirit. Not only the Protestant churches but also the Catholic Church say that the shedding of tears from the Virgin Mary statue or curing the sick is the work of the Holy Spirit and they evaluate the performance of miracles when they select a saint.
Are all miracles and wonders the work of the Holy Spirit? How can we distinguish the work of the Holy Spirit from the work of evil spirits? Let’s find the Biblical answers about this.
Jesus asked us not to be deluded by miracles
Those who insist that miracles are the work of the Holy Spirit give their reasons from the fact that Jesus too performed many miracles with His disciples.
However, not once did Jesus testify that he was the Christ, by performing a miracle. When the Jews asked for miraculous signs, He only told them about the “sign of the prophet Jonah” (Mt 12:39), and He testified to Himself through the words of prophecy in the Bible, saying, “The Scriptures testify about Me” (Jn 5:39). That’s why the 5,000 people, who ate to the full through the miracle of the five barley loaves and two small fish and expected Jesus to do more miracles, eventually left Him and only the twelve disciples followed Him, seeking the words of eternal life rather than miracles (John 6).
Jesus warned that many false Christs and false prophets would deceive people by performing great signs and miracles in the future.
“For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.” Mt 24:24–25
Even false Christs and false prophets can perform great signs and miracles. This shows that a miracle cannot always be the work of the Holy Spirit. In the time of the early Church, the apostles testified about Christ through the Bible, not through miracles or signs. Christians who follow the teachings of Christ must be interested in the words of eternal life rather than in miracles, by engraving the words of Christ on their hearts.
The work of evil spirits through signs and miracles
The Bible says that Satan and evil spirits mislead the whole world by performing all kinds of miracles.
The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. 2 Th 2:9–12
Signs and miracles, which are performed where there is no truth, is the work of Satan, namely, the work of evil spirits. As a spiritual being, Satan is also able to perform miracles, signs and wonders, and through which he deceives souls. The closer the Judgment Day comes, the more miracles and wonders Satan will perform to deceive people.
And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from Heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. Rev 13:13
Jesus told people, who prophesied in the name of Christ and performed many miracles, that they could not enter the Kingdom of Heaven because they did “evil [lawlessness].”
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ ” Mt 7:21–23
At the Judgment Day, many people will confidently say in front of Jesus that they are qualified to enter Heaven because they believed in Jesus as the Lord, carried out the role of the prophet [church leaders] in the name of Jesus, drove out demons in the name of Jesus, and performed many miracles in the name of Jesus. However, false prophets who deceive many people with signs and miracles will be miserable without being acknowledged by Christ in the end.
They’ve concluded that God is with them as great signs and wonders appeared around them though they did not keep the laws of God but the rules of men (Mk 7:6–9).
The Bible says that false prophets, who do not follow the truth but lead many people astray by performing miracles, will be destroyed eventually.
But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Rev 19:20
The place that the false prophets, who delude people with miraculous signs will enter, is hell the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Then, can the people, who follow the false prophets by seeing miracles, enter Heaven? Those who follow false prophets cannot go to Heaven, either. It is because Jesus said that if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.
The work of the Holy Spirit in the truth of the New Covenant
As we’ve studied above, a miracle is not always the work of the Holy Spirit. Then, let’s find out how the Holy Spirit works.
In the Old Testament times, the throne of God was the temple. The Holy Spirit of God did not dwell in an unclean place. Therefore, the temple [sanctuary] which was cleansed through the blood of various sacrificed animals, specifically speaking, the atonement cover on top of the ark of the covenant which was placed in the Most Holy Place was the throne of God. The reason the temple is holy is that the Holy Spirit of God dwells there.
In the New Testament times as well, the place where the Holy Spirit of God dwells is the temple. What is different from the Old Testament times is that God does not dwell in the temple built with men’s hands, but among the saved saints who have become the temple.
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him . . . 1 Co 3:16–17
What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. 2 Co 6:16
The reason the apostles or the saints of the earth Church could receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit was that they themselves were the temple. How could they become the temple of God? The secret lies in the Passover of the New Covenant.
In fact, Jesus is God who is the Holy Spirit, and the body of Jesus is the temple (Rev 21:22; Jn 2:18–22). Therefore, we should become one body with Jesus in order to make sure that the Holy Spirit of God dwells in us. In regard to this mysterious secret, Jesus said, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life . . . remains in me, and I in him . . .” (Jn 6:53–58). The words which the Jews had difficulty in understanding at that time were explained by Jesus as the New Covenant at the Passover Supper, one day before His crucifixion.
So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover . . . Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Mt 26:19–28
Just as God dwelt in the temple which was cleansed through the blood of sacrificed animals, people who are chained to death because of their sins must be cleansed [receive the forgiveness of sins] through the blood of Christ, who was sacrificed as the Passover lamb, in order to become the temple of the Holy Spirit. The only way for sinners to receive the forgiveness of sins and eternal life by becoming one body with Christ is to eat the flesh of Jesus and drink His blood. That is why Jesus gave His flesh and blood to His disciples through the Passover.
Through these words, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer,” we can realize the infinite love of Jesus who wanted to give life to His children. By giving us the Passover bread, Jesus told us to remember His sacrifice; and by giving us the Passover wine, He said that it is the New Covenant in His blood (Lk 22:14–15, 19–22).
The New Covenant is the covenant of life, which Jesus established by giving His own flesh and blood on the Passover; it is the promise through which we receive eternal life by becoming one body with Jesus Christ who is life, and the precious promise through which we become the temple of the Holy Spirit where God dwells by becoming one body with Jesus Christ who is the temple. The Holy Spirit works in the believers who keep the Passover of the New Covenant because the Holy Spirit of God dwells in them. They boldly testify about Christ by the Spirit of truth (Acts 2), do the work of evangelists by receiving various kinds of gifts of the Holy Spirit, and are filled with Christ’s love the greatest gift from the Spirit (1 Co 12–13).
As we’ve studied so far, the apostles and the saints of the early Church had the correct knowledge about the Holy Spirit. They thought that the Holy Spirit dwells in the holy temple, and that the believers who are cleansed through the Passover of the New Covenant are referred to as the temple where the Holy Spirit dwells. They also believed that Jesus who came to this earth and established the New Covenant to give them eternal life was God who appeared according to the prophecy, and that God’s people who received the New Covenant were the temple.
Based on the truth of the early Church and the faith of the apostles, it is certain that the Holy Spirit cannot dwell among the people who do not have the blood of the Passover lamb, and that there cannot be the work of the Holy Spirit, either. Therefore, the signs and miracles performed by people who do not have the truth of the Passover are not the work of the Holy Spirit. It is a lie to say that they have received the gifts of the Holy Spirit while they do not keep the Passover. They try to deceive many souls by the power of other gods and hinder the gospel of God, but their destination is destruction.