2. How Should You Differentiate Between the Work of the Holy Spirit and of Evil Spirits?
Relevant Words of God:
The work of the Holy Spirit is all about enabling people to obtain benefits; it is all about edifying people; there is no work that does not benefit people. No matter whether the truth is deep or shallow, and no matter what the caliber of those who accept the truth is like, whatever the Holy Spirit does, it is all beneficial to people.
from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The work of the Holy Spirit is a form of proactive guidance and positive enlightenment. It does not allow people to be passive. It brings them solace, gives them faith and resolve and it enables them to pursue being made perfect by God. When the Holy Spirit works, people are able to actively enter; they are not passive or forced, but are proactive. When the Holy Spirit works, people are glad and willing, and they are willing to obey, and happy to humble themselves, and even though they are pained and fragile inside, they have the resolve to cooperate, they suffer gladly, they are able to obey, and they are untainted by human will, untainted by the thinking of man, and are certainly untainted by human desires and motivations. When people experience the work of the Holy Spirit, they are especially holy inside. Those who are possessed of the work of the Holy Spirit live out the love of God, the love of their brothers and sisters, and delight in the things that delight God, and loathe the things that God loathes.
People who are touched by the work of the Holy Spirit have normal humanity, and they are possessed of humanity and constantly pursue the truth. When the Holy Spirit works within people, their conditions become better and better, and their humanity becomes more and more normal, and though some of their cooperation may be foolish, their motivations are right, their entry is positive, they do not try to interrupt, and there is no malevolence within them. The work of the Holy Spirit is normal and real, the Holy Spirit works in man according to the rules of the normal life of man, and He enlightens and guides in people according to the actual pursuit of normal people. When the Holy Spirit works in people, He guides and enlightens them according to the needs of normal people, He provides for them based on their needs, and He positively guides and enlightens them based upon what they lack, and upon their deficiencies; when the Holy Spirit works, this work is in consonance with the rules of the normal life of man, and it is only in real life that people are able to see the work of the Holy Spirit. If, in their everyday lives, people are in a positive state and have a normal spiritual life, then they are possessed of the work of the Holy Spirit. In such a state, when they eat and drink the words of God they have faith, when they pray they are inspired, when something happens to them they aren’t passive, and as it is happening to them they are able to see the lessons that God requires them to learn, and they are not passive, or weak, and although they have real difficulties, they are willing to obey all the arrangements of God.
What work comes from Satan? In the work that comes from Satan, the visions in people are vague and abstract, and they are without normal humanity, the motivations behind their actions are wrong, and although they wish to love God, there are always accusations within them, and these accusations and thoughts are always interfering within them, constraining the growth of their life, and stopping them from having normal conditions before God. Which is to say, as soon as there is the work of Satan within people, their hearts can’t be at peace before God, they don’t know what to do with themselves, the sight of an assembly makes them want to run away, and they are unable to close their eyes when others pray. The work of evil spirits wrecks the normal relationship between man and God, and upsets people’s previous visions and the path that their life has entered upon, in their hearts they can never draw close to God, things always happen that cause disruption to them and enshackle them, and their hearts cannot find peace, leaving no strength to their love of God, and making their spirits sink downward. Such are the manifestations of the work of Satan. The work of Satan is manifested in the following: being unable to stand your ground and stand witness, causing you to become someone who is at fault before God, and who has no faithfulness toward God. At the interference from Satan, you lose the love and loyalty toward God within you, you are stripped of a normal relationship with God, you do not pursue the truth, or the improvement of yourself, you regress, and become passive, you indulge yourself, you give free rein to the spread of sin, and are not hateful of sin; furthermore, the interference of Satan makes you dissolute, it causes God’s touch to disappear within you, and makes you complain about God and oppose Him, leading you to question God, and there is even the risk of you leaving God. All this is of the work of Satan.
from “The Work of the Holy Spirit and the Work of Satan” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If it is the work of the Holy Spirit, man becomes ever more normal, and his humanity becomes ever more normal. Man has an increasing knowledge of his disposition, which has been corrupted by Satan, and of the essence of man, and he has an ever greater longing for the truth. That is to say, the life of man grows and grows, and the corrupt disposition of man becomes capable of more and more changes — all of which is the meaning of God becoming the life of man. If a way is incapable of revealing those things that are the essence of man, is incapable of changing the disposition of man, and, moreover, is incapable of bringing him before God or giving him a true understanding of God, and even causes his humanity to become ever more lowly and his sense ever more abnormal, then this way must not be the true way, and it may be the work of an evil spirit, or the old way. In short, it cannot be the present work of the Holy Spirit.
from “Only Those Who Know God and His Work Can Satisfy God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The things that arise from God cause you to become ever clearer about visions, and they cause you to get closer and closer to God, earnestly sharing love with brothers and sisters; you are capable of showing consideration toward God’s burden, and your God-loving heart does not abate; there is a road ahead for you to walk. The things that arise from Satan cause you to lose visions and all you had before is gone; you become estranged from God, you have no love for brothers and sisters and you have a hateful heart. You become desperate, you no longer wish to live the church life, and your God-loving heart is no more. This is Satan’s work and is also the consequence brought about by the work of evil spirits.
from “The Twenty-second Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When the Holy Spirit works to enlighten people, He generally gives them a knowledge of God’s work, and of their true entry and true state, and He also gives them resolve, allows them to understand God’s eager intention and His requirements for man today, He gives them the resolve to open up every way. Even when people undergo bloodshed and sacrifice they must act for God, and even when they meet with persecution and adversity, they must still love God, and have no regrets, and must stand testimony for God. Such resolve is the stirrings of the Holy Spirit, and the work of the Holy Spirit — but know that you are not possessed of such stirrings at every passing moment.
from “Practice (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Some people say that the Holy Spirit is working in them at all times. This is impossible. If they were to say that the Holy Spirit is always with them, that would be realistic. If they were to say that their thinking and sense are normal at all times, that would also be realistic, and would show that the Holy Spirit is with them. If you say the Holy Spirit is always working within you, that you are enlightened by God and touched by the Holy Spirit at every moment, and gain new knowledge all the time, then this is not normal. It is extremely supernatural! Without a shadow of a doubt, such people are evil spirits! Even when the Spirit of God comes into the flesh, there are times when He must rest, and must eat — to say nothing of you. Those who have been possessed by evil spirits seem to be without the weakness of the flesh. They are able to forsake and give up everything, they are dispassionate, capable of enduring torment, they do not feel the slightest fatigue, as if they have transcended the flesh. Is this not extremely supernatural? The work of the evil spirit is supernatural, and these things are unattainable by man. Those who cannot differentiate are envious when they see such people, and say that their belief in God is so strong, and so good, and that they are never weak. In fact, this is the manifestation of the work of the evil spirit. That is because people of a normal state inevitably have human weaknesses; this is the normal state of those who have the presence of the Holy Spirit.
from “Practice (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Evil spirits are opportunists. They can speak from within you or into your ear, or else they can throw your thoughts and mind into disarray, they push back the moving of the Holy Spirit so that you can’t feel it, after which they begin to interfere with you, making your thinking confused and your brain addled, and leaving you restless and unhinged. Such is the work of evil spirits.
from “The Meaning of God’s Experiencing the Pain of the World” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Are you able to feel your soul? Are you able to touch your soul? Are you able to sense what your soul is doing? You don’t know, do you? If you are able to feel and touch some such thing, then it is another spirit inside you forcefully doing something — controlling your actions and words. It is something extraneous to you, not of yourself. Those with an evil spirit have deep experience with this.
from “How to Understand the Oneness of God’s Flesh and Spirit” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Today there are some evil spirits who work through supernatural things to deceive man; that is nothing but imitation on their part, to deceive man through work that is not presently done by the Holy Spirit. Many evil spirits imitate the working of miracles and healing of sickness; these are nothing but the work of the evil spirits, for the Holy Spirit no longer does such work in the present day, and all those who imitated the work of the Holy Spirit from that time onward — they are evil spirits indeed.
from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Man’s Fellowship:
The work of the Holy Spirit allows people to understand the truth, it allows them to know the corrupt substance of Satan, and it gives them a true knowledge of what God has and is. Its effects are entirely positive. Today, we know what the truth is, that the truth comes from God, that positive things come from God, what should be possessed by people of normal humanity, what the will of God is, and what the true life is. These are all positive things, and the reality of positive things is the truth. Such is the effect of God’s work, and we only understand it thanks to the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit. The work of evil spirits cannot give people a knowledge of positive things. You should be clear that people in whom evil spirits work don’t understand or comprehend any truths. The work of evil spirits can only make people more and more wicked, it can only bring ever more darkness within their hearts, make their disposition ever more corrupt, and their state worse and worse, finally ending in perdition and destruction. The work of the Holy Spirit makes people more and more normal, it gives them an ever greater understanding of the truth and ever greater faith in God, and they are more and more able to obey God. Ultimately, it allows them to completely know God and worship God. This is the effect of the work of the Holy Spirit, and it is the complete opposite of the work of evil spirits.
from “Knowing the Work of the Holy Spirit Is of the Utmost Importance to Man’s Salvation” in Classic Selections From Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life
Below, let us look at some other clear differences between the various work of evil spirits and the work of the Holy Spirit, and at how they are specifically manifested. The Holy Spirit chooses people who pursue the truth, who have conscience and sense, and who are possessed of integrity. These are the kind of people He works in. Evil spirits choose people who are crafty and absurd, who have no love for the truth, and who are without conscience or sense. Such are the people that evil spirits work in. What do we see when we compare those who are chosen for the work of the Holy Spirit, and those who are chosen for that of evil spirits? We can see that God is holy, and righteous, that those who are chosen by God pursue the truth, and are possessed of conscience and sense, that they have integrity, and love that which is just. Those who are chosen by evil spirits are crafty, they are selfish and contemptible, they have no love for the truth, they are without conscience and sense, and they do not pursue the truth. Evil spirits only choose negative things and those who are not true people, from which we see that evil spirits love wickedness and darkness, that they run a mile from those who pursue the truth, and are quick to possess those who are twisted and crafty, who are enamored of unrighteousness, and easily bewitched. Those in whom evil spirits choose to work cannot be saved, and are eliminated by God. When, and against what background, do evil spirits work? They work when people have strayed far from God and rebelled against God. The work of evil spirits bewitches people, and it does so by taking advantage of when they sin. When people are at their weakest, especially when they are in great pain in their hearts, when they are feeling bewildered and confused, the evil spirit takes this opportunity to slip in to bewitch and corrupt them, to sow discord between them and God. There is a time for the work of the Holy Spirit: When people call upon God, when their hearts turn to God, when they need God, when they repent to God, and when they seek the truth, then the Holy Spirit begins to work in them. See how every aspect of the Holy Spirit’s work is in order to save man, how He looks for opportunities to save man, whereas evil spirits look for chances to corrupt and beguile people. Evil spirits are contemptible and wicked, they are insidious and sinister, everything they do is meant to corrupt man, and harm man, and devour him. When people are in need, when they make urgent calls to God, when they require God’s salvation, and when they wish to draw near to God in their hearts, the Holy Spirit appears to them and does the work of salvation. God is love, and evil spirits are hate — this is clear to you, yes? All that evil spirits do is in order to devour and corrupt man, and all that the Holy Spirit does is for the love and salvation of man. The effects of the work of the Holy Spirit are to purify people, to save them from their corruption, to allow them to know themselves and to know Satan, to be able to rebel against Satan, to be able to pursue the truth, and to ultimately live out the likeness of man. Evil spirits corrupt, defile, and bind people, they plunge them ever deeper into sin, and bring ever greater pain to their lives, and so when evil spirits work in people, they’re finished; ultimately, they are devoured by Satan, which is the outcome of the work of evil spirits. The effect of the work of the Holy Spirit is to eventually save people, to make them live out a real life, be completely free and liberated, and receive God’s blessings. Look: Evil spirits bring man to darkness, they take him to the abyss; the Holy Spirit takes man from darkness, into the light, and into freedom. The work of the Holy Spirit enlightens and guides people, He gives them opportunities, and when they are weak and have transgressions He brings them solace. He allows people to know themselves, allows them to pursue the truth, and He does not force people to do things, but lets them choose their path themselves, and ultimately takes them into the light. Evil spirits force people to do things and order them about. Everything they say is false and bewitches people, deceives them, and binds them; evil spirits do not give people freedom, they do not allow them to choose, they force them on the road to ruin, and ultimately plunge them deeper and deeper into sin, leading them to death. Look at those evil people, those wicked types of people: They drag others into the gutter, they pull them into crimes, and wrench them into gambling dens. Ultimately, after they have ravaged the people’s families and taken their lives, they are happy, their work is done, and they have achieved their aim. Are they not demons? Whereas those who are truly good and fear God lead people closer to God, and lead them to the belief in God, to the understanding of the truth, to the pursuit of a real life, and ultimately make them live out the likeness of man. How clear the contrast between these positive and negative things! In comparing the principles, means, and ultimate effect of the work of the Holy Spirit with those of evil spirits, we see that God saves man, loves man, and gives man the truth, that He takes man into the light, and ultimately allows man to be blessed and become a real person and live out the true life. Satan corrupts mankind, it binds mankind, it tries to devour mankind, and ultimately leads mankind to perdition and destruction. Through knowing the work of the Holy Spirit, we are able to identify the work of evil spirits and know the truth of Satan’s corruption of mankind. Today, in our belief in God we are aware what we should pursue, that God is lovely, and that we should know God, worship God, and obey God. We have objectives in our lives, and we have the hope of salvation. These are the effects of the work of the Holy Spirit. Today, if you were asked to say what Satan is, would you be able to? In what ways is the corrupt disposition of Satan manifested? Satan’s disposition is wicked, insidious, vicious, ugly, contemptible, beholden to all evil, and wholly venomous. What is all that God has and is? It is righteousness, holiness, honor, omnipotence, wisdom, and mercy and love. The feeling that Satan gives people is detestable and accursed. The feeling that God gives people is approachable, lovely, and venerable.
from “Knowing the Work of the Holy Spirit Is of the Utmost Importance to Man’s Salvation” in Classic Selections From Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life
What is the effect of the Holy Spirit’s work in man? It allows man to understand the words of God, and the truth, and allows man to know God, and to know himself. The truth has a dual effect. In one regard, understanding the truth gives people the knowledge of God, for the truth is the substance of the life of God, it is what God has and is, it is the reality of positive things, and it represents the disposition and the life of God — and so it is totally accurate to say that, by understanding the truth, we gain some understanding of God. At the same time, the truth also lays bare our corruption, and so all those who understand the truth have a true knowledge of themselves, and have clearly seen their true face and the true face of Satan. Everything is laid bare by the truth. What is the effect of understanding of the truth through the work of the Holy Spirit? In one regard, we come to know our corrupt substance, we see that man is poor, pitiable, blind, naked, corrupt, wicked, selfish and contemptible, that he is not the slightest likeness of a true man, that he is no different from Satan, that his nature and substance are the same as Satan’s. Is this not the effect of understanding the truth? There is nothing incorrect about this. What’s more, in this regard we are completely clear about the effects of the work of the Holy Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit also has many other effects. The work of the Holy Spirit can give people true faith: Every one of our prayers to God makes us feel that our faith in God has increased, and that it is more true. … It is not the slightest bit incorrect to say there are many facets to the work of the Holy Spirit, and many aspects to its effects. … The work of the Holy Spirit gives us a true knowledge of the disposition of God, of the omnipotence and wisdom of God, of His scrutiny of the depths of our hearts, and it gives us a knowledge of the wondrous deeds and unfathomability of God. So, too, does it allow us to know and behold God’s omnipotence and dominion over all things.
from “Knowing the Work of the Holy Spirit Is of the Utmost Importance to Man’s Salvation” in Classic Selections From Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life
Those in whom evil spirits work are particularly flagrant and domineering when they speak and tell people what to do. Some even violate the morals and ethics of normal humanity. Their words and actions bewitch and interfere with people, the nature of those words and actions is ugly and fiendish, and they corrupt people, and harm people, and are of no benefit to them. As soon as an evil spirit appears in someone, they feel fearful and anxious, and there is a great urgency to their actions, as if they are bursting with impatience. Its appearance makes people feel particularly abnormal, and has not the slightest benefit to others. Primary manifestations of the work of evil spirits: The first is instructing people to do this or that, telling them to do things, or instructing them to speak false prophecy. The second is speaking in so-called “tongues” that no one understands; even the speakers themselves can’t understand what they’re saying, and some are able to “translate” it. The third is when people always receive revelation, which happens with particular frequency. One moment they’ll be instructed to do one thing, another they’ll be told to do something else, and they live in constant panic. The fourth: people in whom an evil spirit is working are eager to do this or that, and can’t bear to wait — regardless of whether it is permitted in their environment. They even go out in the depths of night; their conduct is highly abnormal. The fifth: people in whom an evil spirit is working are especially conceited and arrogant, everything they say is condescending and imperious, they are incapable of speaking any truths, it leaves people bewildered, and forces people into trouble like a demon. The sixth: people in whom an evil spirit is working have not the slightest understanding of the arrangements from the above, much less do they understand the principles of work; they sneer at God, they try to pull the wool over people’s eyes, and their wrongdoings upset the normal order of the church. The seventh: people in whom an evil spirit is working often impersonate certain figures for no reason, or else have been sent by someone, to make people listen to their words, and no one can figure out how they came to this. The eighth: people in whom an evil spirit is working are often irrational, and don’t understand the truth; ordinarily, they lack the faculties for comprehension, and are without the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. People discover that what they understand is especially absurd, and completely incorrect. The ninth: people in whom an evil spirit is working are highly pompous and irrational, they never exalt God or bear witness to God, are incapable of speaking any truths, and all that they do and say attacks people, binds them, and limits them, until their hearts have been pounded, and they have been beaten into negativity and unable to rouse themselves, when they are secretly happy — which is the main aim of the work of evil spirits. The tenth: people who have been possessed by evil spirits — their lives are completely aberrant, their glare fierce, and their words particularly cold, as if they are a demon that has entered this world. There is no discipline in their daily lives, they are extremely unstable, they are as unpredictable as an untamed, wild animal, and people find them extremely objectionable. Such are the manifestations of people bound by demons. People who have been possessed by evil spirits are often especially hateful and aloof toward those in whom the Holy Spirit works and who are able to speak the truth. It is often the case that the better people are, the more they want to attack and condemn them, whereas the more muddled and confused people are, the more they do their utmost to inveigle and flatter, and are especially willing to engage with them. The work of evil spirits twists black into white, and makes positive into negative and negative into positive. Such are the deeds of evil spirits.
from the fellowship from the above
Any spirit whose work is manifestly supernatural is an evil spirit, and the work and utterances of any spirit that carries out supernatural work in people is the work of an evil spirit; all of the means by which evil spirits work are abnormal and supernatural, and are primarily manifested in the six following ways:
1. Direct control of people’s speech, which clearly shows that the evil spirit is talking, not the people themselves are talking normally;
2. The feeling that the evil spirit is instructing people and ordering them to do this and that;
3. People who, when they are in a room, can tell when someone is about to come in;
4. People who often hear voices talking to them that others can’t hear;
5. People who are able to see and hear things that others can’t;
6. People who are always agitated, and talking to themselves, and are incapable of normal conversation or interaction with people.
All those in whom an evil spirit is working inevitably have these six manifestations. They are irrational, on tenterhooks, incapable of normal interaction with people, it is as if they are unamenable to reason, and there is something detached and otherworldly about them. Such people have been possessed by an evil spirit or have an evil spirit working in them, and all of the work of evil spirits is manifest and supernatural. This is the most easily distinguishable work of evil spirits. When an evil spirit possesses someone, it toys with them so that they are completely messed up. They become irrational, like a zombie, which proves that in substance, evil spirits are wicked spirits that corrupt and devour people. The utterances of evil spirits are easy to distinguish: Their utterances fully epitomize their wicked substance, they are stagnant, turbid and stinking, they exude the stench of death. To people who are of good caliber, the words of evil spirits feel hollow and uninteresting, unedifying, like nothing but lies and empty talk, they feel muddled and convoluted, like a load of nonsense. This is some of the most easily-distinguishable of the evil spirits’ nonsense. To bewitch people, some of the more “high grade” evil spirits pretend to be God or Christ when they speak, while others pretend to be angels or famous figures. When they speak, these evil spirits are adept at imitating certain words or phrases of God, or the tone of God, and people who don’t understand the truth are easily taken in by such “high grade” evil spirits. The chosen people of God must be clear that, in substance, evil spirits are wicked and shameless, and that even if they are “high grade” evil spirits, they are utterly bereft of the truth. Evil spirits, after all, are evil spirits, the substance of evil spirits is wicked, and of a kind with Satan.
from “How to Discern the Demonic Speech and Fallacies of Evil Spirits, False Christs and Antichrists” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of The Church of Almighty God
Everything that evil spirits do is highly supernatural, they directly instruct people to do this or that, they directly order them about, directly force them to do things — this is the manifestation of the work of evil spirits. The work of the Holy Spirit has never forced people to do this or that, it has never ordered people around, it has never been supernatural, has never used supernatural means to instruct people to do things, it is always hidden deep down in people, and touches them through their conscience to make them understand the truth and the words of God, after which it uses conscience to make them put the truth into practice. This is the means by which the Holy Spirit works. The Holy Spirit has never forced or coerced people, He has never done anything supernatural or manifest, and He does not openly direct people. What do we know from this? We know that the work of the Holy Spirit is humble and hidden, it is especially hidden, and none of it is disclosed. God is omnipotent and holds dominion over all things, but the Holy Spirit does not directly say to man “Hey, you should do this or that.” The Holy Spirit has never acted in this way; He touches you, using love to touch you, and He is very tender, such that you don’t feel as if anyone is touching you — but in the depths of your heart you sense that you should act in a certain way, and that it is right and proper to do so. See how lovely God is! Look again at the ugliness and pitiable appearance of those who are possessed by evil spirits, behold how, as soon as they meet people, they say, “Today the spirit instructed me to say this, it told me to do that, it made me do such as such,” see how they sometimes get up in the dead of night to spread the gospel, or to pray, or to say how they have been touched and must fulfill their duty. Look at how, as soon as people are bound by an evil spirit, it causes them terrible suffering, and rushes them off their feet, see how they don’t know when to eat or do things, how their lives are turned upside down. When evil spirits work in people, they wrest them back and forth, leaving them exhausted and weary. Ultimately, they gain nothing: There is no change in their life disposition, they are still just as corrupt as they used to be, those who used to be conceited and pompous are still conceited and pompous, and those who used to be crafty and conniving are still crafty and conniving. The work of evil spirits corrupts people, and leaves them mentally abnormal. From the modus operandi of evil spirits, we see just how contemptible, wicked, ignoble, and stupid they are. They do nothing but harass and corrupt people, and because of this they are loathed and cursed by people, who say they are vile. Thus, the work of evil spirits represents Satan — there is no error in this. Anyone who has seen people in whom evil spirits work, or who have been possessed by a demon, knows just how detestable, ignoble, wicked, and depraved evil spirits are. Do you see this? You see some of it, yes? Have you seen that evil spirits possess the truth? Do evil spirits have any love for man? From the work of evil spirits, it can be seen that they are without the slightest truth, and that their nature is truly wicked. Having seen how evil spirits corrupt people, you have seen how Satan corrupts people — this is completely correct. Because all evil spirits are in cahoots with Satan, because they all pursue Satan, and are the accomplices, friends, and associates of Satan, they have been with Satan since time immemorial. Satan led all these evil spirits in rebelling against God and it was struck down to earth. Could an evil spirit — an evil spirit which is without truth and utterly rebellious to God by nature — bring any truth to a person when it possesses them? Could it bring about changes in their disposition? Absolutely not.