Spiritual Gifts

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).


Jesus Bestowed  ‘Certain Gifts’  On the Apostles only.

Matthew 10:1 “And having summoned His twelve disciples, Christ gave them authority over unclean spirits [demons], to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.” The twelve disciples thus went forth as messianic heralds to the house of Israel. Jesus warned them that they would be subject to political and religious opposition and even persecution. (Matthew 10:17-18; 23-26). Jesus encouraged them to persevere regardless of adversity (Matthew 10:19-31). These same exhortations apply to us today.

These gifts were temporary because they were designed to affirm Messiah. The Lord warned them not to become side tracked by the miracles, but to remain focused on their objective: “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Salvation was more important than any of the gifts.


Demon possession and influence was extremely active during the Age of Israel. It was still very active during the incarnation of Christ and immediately thereafter during the infancy of the Church. As stated in the intro & background section above, Satan was causing tremendous problems for new believers and the disciples everywhere they went to proclaim the Gospel – he still causes problems for the Church and believers today and he always will until Christ defeats him at the appointed time in the future.

Demons know who Christ is (Luke 4:41).

Unique to the apostolic era, the “casting out of demons” was characteristic of the authority and power of Jesus Christ over demons. This gift terminated by the end of the first century. No one since the first century has had the gift of casting out demons!

Here is a very important point to remember: there is no verse of scripture in the Epistles containing mandates or examples for casting out demons. This occurred only in the four Gospels, and is no longer an active gift.

The best solution for casting out demon possession in the unbeliever is faith in Jesus Christ for salvation! At the moment of salvation, the possessed person is instantly freed from any demon, simultaneously baptized by the Holy Spirit into union with Christ, and indwelt by all three members of the Trinity. Satan and the Trinity do not occupy the same person. Therefore the demon is cast out permanently at salvation.

Baptism of the Spirit is not a separate function from salvation because we are all baptized into one body (Christ’s) and sealed the split second we believe. The Holy Spirit, apart from any so-called second blessing, accomplishes this. Baptism of the Spirit is the sealing ministry of the Holy Spirit whereby He places the new believer in union with Jesus Christ forever (Ephesians 1:12-13; 4:30).

There are only three bonafide means for removal of demons:

1). Satan’s personal intervention or trickery (Matthew 12:24).
2). Divine intervention (Mark 5:8).
3). When a person believes the Gospel message and is indwelt by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).

Please note: The Disciple’s ability to cast out demons was never available to every believer. It was just that – gifts from our Lord to the apostles and the seventy other disciples at that time for that particular period in history. So, when you hear or see pastors or evangelists or anyone casting out demons, they are counterfeit in their actions and their claims. They are not of the original disciples and are therefore false teachers and anti-Christ. They are “pawns of demons” and they think they are Disciples of Christ with special gifts from the Holy Spirit. They are well meaning but dead wrong.


NO! Absolutely NOT! Only unbelievers are vulnerable. In every case of demon possession in the Bible, without exception, the possessed are unbelievers. Christians need never fear being possessed or controlled by a malicious spirit. If you have ever been exposed to a person who claimed to be a believer and at the same time claimed they were possessed by a demon, there is only one possible answer: Impossible! Either the person was not a believer or not possessed! If the person foamed at the mouth and did horrible things, they were psychotic or possessed, but they were not saved. If they were saved, then they are psychotic and should seek psychiatric help.

What is a spiritual gift?

A spiritual gift is defined by two words. The first is in 1 Corinthians 12:1 where Paul tells the Corinthians of his desire to dispel their ignorance concerning “spiritual gifts.” Note the word gifts is in italics, which means it has no counterpart in the original manuscript. The word spiritual is plural and translates pneumatikon. This emphasizes the source of the gift as the Holy Spirit. We may therefore conclude that a spiritual gift is from the source of God, not man. A spiritual gift is a God-given ability to function in harmony as individuals in the body of Christ. Spirituality and spiritual gifts are not the same.

One of the temporary gifts bestowed by our Lord was the gift of Apostleship, which included with it the ability to perform miracles, as in Ephesians 4:11a (See also 2 Corinthians 12:12.) “The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles.”

When the last apostle (John) died in A.D. 96 the gifts given to the apostles ceased.

In 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, these gifts were wisdom, knowledge, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues and interpretation of tongues. In 1 Corinthians 12:29-30 they were gifts of healing, miracles, prophesy, discerning of spirits, tongues, apostles, teachers, helps and administration. In Romans 12:6-8 these gifts were prophesy, teaching, leadership, and ministry; encouraging, giving, and showing mercy. In Ephesians 4:11 they were apostles and prophets; evangelists and pastor/teachers.

In Hebrews 2:4 we read, “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders and with diverse miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.” God always answers prayer according to His will! In this verse we read that God gave these spectacular gifts to authenticate the Disciples. (See also Mark 16:20; Acts 2:22; Acts 2:43; 2 Corinthians 12:2). There was always a specific reason for the granting of these types of spiritual gifts, and when that reason was fulfilled, the gifts’ purpose(s) were served. All of these gifts absolutely ceased in A.D. 96, as their purpose had been fulfilled.

Please Note: It is extremely important to keep in mind that Jesus Christ Himself was the revelation of Grace because He fulfilled the law (John 1:17). Jesus Christ as Deity is the personification of Grace. The Holy Spirit gave spectacular gifts for the growth of the Church and to authenticate the disciples. In 1 Corinthians Chapters 12-14, these gifts are “spiritual enablements” for specific service by believers for the Church and evangelism of unbelievers. In Ephesians 4:11 these gifts are “men” enabled by the Holy Spirit for service. So, the Holy Spirit bestows “gifts” for service to men, while Christ gives “gifted men” to the Church.

In Hebrews 2:4 the revelation of Grace is in contrast to law, which is something totally new to the Jew (Israel) who had always lived under the law because no one had ever fulfilled the obligations of the law – but our wonderful Savior did and that is why mankind can now be saved. The Holy Spirit during this transitional time confirmed the authority of the disciples by “signs and wonders.” Prophesy and miracles; healing and tongues; and casting out demons, were temporary (1 Corinthians 13:8-10; 14:21-22).


The apostles and disciples, in order to witness to others about the Gospel of Christ, had to be able to speak the diverse gentile languages of the Jews who were gathered from many countries to celebrate the feasts of “Passover,” “Unleavened Bread” and “First Fruits.” “Pentecost” was the Jewish name for “The Feast of Weeks” which celebrated harvest time each year (Exodus 3:16). Thousands of Jews came to worship. So, the Holy Spirit empowered the disciples to speak in foreign tongues (human languages), which they did not know. The Holy Spirit also gave the gift of interpretation so that those who did not speak a particular language could understand what was spoken (1 Corinthians 14). An interpreter, who interpreted so everyone could understand, regulated tongues.

Tongues in Acts are human languages, whereas in 1 Corinthians tongues are either heavenly or angelic languages. In either case “tongues” were languages. In Acts 2:4 the Greek word translated tongues is dialectos, which is the word for language – known language. It is our word dialect.

Tongues in Scripture is always a foreign, human language, never ecstatic speech.

Paul stressed again in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, as he did in 1 Corinthians chapters 12 & 14, that there were amongst the believers in the church at Corinth “deceitful workers” imitating the apostles, appearing as angels of light when in reality they were Satan’s ministers in counterfeit. We have exactly this same false practice occurring today just as in the first century – “deceitful workers” imitating the disciples. Unfortunately well-meaning believers are involved in demon influence or psychotic suggestion. Some are religious unbelievers “possessed” by demons.

Please note: The gift of Tongues in 1 Corinthians 12 was also a sign of God’s impending judgment on the Jews at Jerusalem (Leviticus 26:14-29; Acts 2:14-41).


1). Prophecy of tongues is found in Isaiah (28:8-11).
     A). A warning to the Jews of pending judgment of God unless they repent from idolatry and immorality (Leviticus 26:14-39; Acts 2:14-41.

     B). Purpose of the warning: to turn the coming judgment from God into blessing if the Jews would turn from idolatry, apostasy and hypocrisy. Note: Sin was paid for by the Messiah on the Cross, and regeneration was available to both Jew and Gentile. The Jews had rejected their Messiah and now they were rejecting His Truth as presented by the Apostles. Therefore, God would bring judgment (destruction) in 70 A.D.

2). The initial fulfillment of the prophecy of Tongues is found in (Acts 2:11).

3). Fulfillment interpreted (1 Corinthians 14:21, 22).

4). Tongues were to be temporary (1 Corinthians 13:8-10).

5). The regulation of tongues (1 Corinthians 14; especially verse 33).

6). Tongues were being abused. This is one of the reasons why Paul wrote First Corinthians (1 Corinthians 1:1-18 and Chapter 12). The same apostasy exists today which is why this study is being written. History definitely repeats itself because human nature is the same in every generation.

7). The Jewish Age was ending and would end with the destruction (judgment of the Jews) of Jerusalem by the forces of Titus in A. D. 70. Therefore, tongues were discontinued after the fall of Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 13:8-10).


Our Lord warned that during the period, while the Church is being formed and all through the Church Age, many would reject His Gospel. Many others would pretend to believe (without true conversion) and would become a source of corruption and hindrance. (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-40, 47-49). See Paul’s exhortations in 2 Thessalonians 2:5-8; 1 Timothy 4:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:1; 4:3-4. See also: 2 Peter 2:1-2; 1 John 2:18-20.

More and more believers today are becoming disoriented to Truth because they are not being taught Truth from God’s Word. Scriptural Truth gives the believer Divine Viewpoint by which un-truth is exposed! When God’s Truths are not consistently proclaimed from the pulpit and metabolized by the believer, apostasy and doctrines of demons inevitably fill the void!

Many believe we are now living in the “last days” and they cite the increase of false doctrine, the resurgence of tongues, false healing, slain in the spirit, demon possession, immorality and apostasy as their reasons. In 2 Timothy 3:1-13, Paul describes the people we find in our generation today. Be sure to read these verses and think about the present generation of young people – teenagers in particular. How many do you know personally, today, that are self-centered, lazy, high minded (bound and determined to do things their way), proud, lovers of pleasure, disobedient, trucebreakers (liars), corrupt minded (con-artists, deceiving and being deceived), having a form of godliness but denying the power of God by refusing to submit. “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul,” Mark 8:36.

We all tend to think we have plenty of time before we die, especially young people. But, think about this: every day the average person inhales about 25,000 times. The average heart beats about 100,000 times. There is no guarantee of the next breath or the next heart beat. If you are ever going to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, maybe you better do it now. Trust His suffering death in your place and be saved (John 3:36).

In Ephesians 4:27 Paul tells us not to “give place to the devil.” The devil is real! His messengers are real! False prophets and false healers are real! From such stay away!

Paul then exhorts us as believers to learn Truth in Ephesians 4:15-6:20. In fact all of Paul’s teaching centers around instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17).


People who live by their emotions are especially susceptible to demonic influence and psychotic suggestion. These same emotional, well-meaning people want a sign (proof) that they are saved or spiritual. They want it so much that they become either their own victim by self-induced hypnotic suggestion or the victim of satanic deceit or both. Psychotic suggestion is a very strong urge that causes the mind to trick or deceive itself. It opens the door to demon-influenced activity of believers and demonic possession in religious unbelievers.

Both immature believers and unbelievers become prime candidates for ecstatic experiences. For example: Those who practice or have experienced the laying on of hands and praying with the anointing of holy oil may have been involved in an ecstatic experience that went something like this: “The Holy Spirit came upon me;” “The Holy Spirit gave me peace that went through my whole body;” “I was zapped and when I realized what happened I was lying on the floor unable to speak;” “The Holy Spirit was there, I know He was there, I could feel Him.” Sound familiar? No matter how real it was; or how good you felt; or how much peace filled you; or how horrifying it was; the experience was psychotic or demonic or both!

Here is why:

1). God does not operate by emotion or ecstatic no matter how many people prayed over you.
2). Emotional ecstatics are counterfeit to the Gospel of Christ and especially the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Demons can be very tricky and very misleading because they are masters of deceit and delusion. Satan hooks the well-meaning and unsuspecting by the bait of deceit. The tragedy is that from these experiences people become totally convinced that the Holy Spirit came upon them and no one will ever change their mind. Listen, the Holy Spirit doesn’t come upon you! The Holy Spirit is in you, full-time, if you are a believer. If you are not a believer, then it is demonic influence or even possession that has come upon you. The Holy Spirit will never leave you and He doesn’t zap you or prove Himself to you. You do not need proof of the Holy Spirit – you need faith!

When experience contradicts the Bible, then the Word of God must take precedence. Personal feeling or experience never countermands what the Bible says about the subject. It is human arrogance to say different. It contradicts the Bible when people say “The Bible is wrong because I’ve seen it and heard it for myself.”


Acts 19:11-16 God exposes the pagan ritual of exorcism by an itinerant band of unbelieving Jewish exorcists who were using oaths to adjure or implore demons. Religious incantations are not only pagan they are demon trickery. Jesus and His followers never exorcised a demon! Jesus “cast out” demons by His command and so did the disciples. The original Koiné of the New Testament uses two different words to describe “exorcism” and “to cast out” and the Greek word for exorcism is never used when referring to Christ or the disciples.

False teachers using the name of Christ were performing counterfeit exorcisms based on pagan rituals of incantation in the first century of the early Church. False teachers have been around since that time deceiving and being deceived, but their deceit caught up with them in Acts 19:11-19. “And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” Demons know who Christ is – do you? Demons know who the true Disciples of Christ are such as Paul – do you? If you are looking for proof of your faith – there is none because you have none (faith)! If you are looking for signs that you are saved or spiritual, stop looking and believe! Be warned if you need a sign – you are looking for proof! Satan has an army of false prophets and demons with counterfeit proof. You need to get away from these ecstatic experiences before something really bad happens to you and those involved in these ludicrous activities.


The illegitimate practice of exorcism by both believers and religious unbelievers is Satanic. Believers caught in this trap by their own seemingly “very real experience” become pawns of demon influence and they are either afraid to tell anyone what happened or they become witnesses for the devil – “Devils Witnesses.” If you witnessed a demon leaving another person, it was not the work or power of the Holy Spirit! It was counterfeit demonic trickery or psychotic suggestion. If a person who claims salvation by faith in Christ performs one of these so called Holy Spirit miracles, or is involved in any way with so-called exorcism they are out of line with Scripture. From such stay away! Get away! Stay away! You are involving yourself with demons.

Sometimes well-meaning people, after they have experienced one of these ecstatic phenomena, come down from the high of being ecstatic and become so depressed that they just want to take their own life. Other people have had mental problems and some have lost their minds because of the traumatic effects and the roller coaster emotional ecstatic of demon influence. When you mess with phenomena beyond your knowledge of Scripture you are headed for serious trouble. Demonism is real! No matter how well intended people are, they can end up dead wrong!

Every believer is commanded to remain on the defensive against Satan and his demon army. However, nowhere in scripture are we told to go on the offensive and get involved in false anointing, exorcism or zapping (slain) by the Spirit.


Anointing in the Bible, or pouring of oil on a person’s head, was a common practice in Bible Times among Jewish people. A person was sometimes anointed to set him apart for a particular service. King Saul was anointed as King (1 Samuel 8:4-22; 10:1). Samuel anointed David as King (1 Samuel 16:1-13). Solomon was anointed as David’s successor (1 Kings 1:39). Prophets acting on God’s behalf anointed these kings, called “anointed ones.” During anointing, the person usually knelt as oil was poured on the head. The oil was usually olive oil, myrrh, or sweet cinnamon.

Jesus was God’s “anointed one” which meant “Messiah.” Jesus was the one foretold by Prophets in the Old Testament (Psalms 45:7; Isaiah 61:1). Mary of Bethany anointed Jesus with perfume on His head before He went to the Cross (Mark 14:3-19). This was a sign that Jesus had fulfilled His purpose as God’s special messenger to Israel and the world and now He would give His life for the people He loves so much – you and me.

In the New Testament anointing was frequently used in connection with healing (Mark 6:13; James 5:13-16). Prayers for healing, with or with out the anointing of oil, are answered (in a positive or negative way) by God. God always answers our prayers, but not necessarily when we want, the way we want, nor at the time we want, or with the answer we want. All prayer must be in the will of God (1 John 5:14). God does not always think that it is best to be healed (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:8; 2 Timothy 4:20). Here the healing is dependent on confession of sin. Anointing for the believer since the first century is not necessary because the believer is anointed at salvation, by the Holy Spirit – spiritual anointing.

Thank you Father for your marvelous Word of Truth.

Happy Studying!

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