Discernment Between Truth and False
How do you know a dollar bill is a counterfeit? There are many
websites now, including the Secret Service's website, with that
information. And, with the advancement in technology the creation of
paper money, is more complicated and difficult for others to
duplicate. In the past, technology was not as advanced as it is today
in both areas of spreading information and making paper money. Those
who made money counterfeits had an easier time creating counterfeits.
And, most of the public was not informed as to what does counterfeit
money looked like.
After the American Civil War, money counterfeit increased. This
forced the government to devise a way to make sure counterfeit money
was not used. An agency was created to enforce the Laws that
prohibited counterfeiting money: the Secret Service. Now they are
better known for protecting the president and dignitaries, but they
still keep track of paper money.
How do these agents train to distinguish - or discern between - false
money from real money? They spend most of their training studying how
real money looks. If they see something out of place, they will know.
Just a cursory look would alert them that certain currency is not
real. Again, they do not focus on studying counterfeit currency.
Their focus is on real currency.
How can we discern between true revival and a counterfeit revival?
The answer to that is to study the true revival. Learn it so well
that anything out of place is glaringly evident. Now, revivals are
spiritual, and spiritual things are spiritually discerned (1
Corinthians 2: 14). False revivals will look real, except to those
who are truly spiritual. Our enemy is a clever foe. His schemes are
so subtle and sophisticated, that even the very elect would be
deceived if it were possible (Matthew 24: 24). So, it is only the
Holy Spirit that keeps us from being deceived.
One of the gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to converted people is
discernment, which in simple language means the ability to recognize
the truth in difficult situations. A detective can recognize an
incriminating clue in a murder case. That's discernment, something
most of us don't have.
The apostle John gives us a clue to recognize the difference between a
false prophet and a true one, between a false christ and the true
Christ: He says, "test the spirits, whether they are of God; because
many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). In
other words, don't let yourself get fooled! You don't want to end up
taking the mark of the beast! John's clue? "Every spirit that does
not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God. And
this is the spirit of the Antichrist" (vs. 3).
Two Christs are clearly distinguished in Revelation 13:8—the power
behind the Beast, and the Lamb. The latter is the term Inspiration
uses to designate Christ as the Crucified One, "the Lamb slain." Thus
the true Christ is the Christ of the cross; the christ of Babylon the
one who spurned the cross. It follows that the true Christ is the One
who will draw men if He is lifted up as the Crucified One (John 34,
33; Gal. 3:1). The false christ is the "radiant," winsome, lovable,
kindly one who draws all men literally (except those written in the
Lamb's Book of Life) when he is lifted up, but not signifying what
death he should die. In other words, the power of this "christ" to
appeal is in his winsome lovable ways to make people happy, relaxed,
integrated, and to give them an "abundant life," apart from the appeal
of the cross. The false christ will have absolutely everything the
true Christ has, power to heal the sick, cast out demons, cleanse
lepers, set people free from anxieties, worries, etc., feed thousands,
smile (constantly), a radiant personality, everything absolutely
except the nail prints of the cross.
In the Epistle to the Philippians, Paul describes how low Christ went
in order to save us.
Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him
the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled
himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Paul states this not only to uplift Christ, but to encourage us to be
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Phillipians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery
to be equal with God:
Paul says in verse 3 how this would look like, "…in lowliness of mind
let each esteem other better than themselves." John agrees with Paul.
He states in 1 John 3: 16,
1John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down
his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Christ said He came not to be served, but to serve others. A revival
in which men glorify themselves is not a true revival. This echoes
Ellen White's thought on this subject. She says,
"In many of the revivals which have occurred during the last half
century, the same influences have been at work, to a greater or less
degree, that will be manifest in the more extensive movements of the
future. There is an emotional excitement, a mingling of the true with
the false, that is well adapted to mislead. Yet none need be deceived.
In the light of God's word it is not difficult to determine the nature
of these movements. Wherever men neglect the testimony of the Bible,
turning away from those plain, soul-testing truths which require
self-denial and renunciation of the world, there we may be sure that
God's blessing is not bestowed."—Ellen G. White, The Great
Controversy, p. 464.
The key is "self-denial and renunciation of the world." When asked,
"What is justification by faith," Ellen White answered, "What is
justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of
man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power
to do for himself" (TM 456.3). In true revival man will uplift
Christ, abhor himself and repent in dust in ashes (Job 42: 6).