page contents

1 John 4:18 Test the Spirits in Dreams Visions or Abductions

1 John 4“Test the Spirits” when they appear in dreams visions or abductions lest malevolent beings deceive you into becoming one of their false prophets (1 John 4:1).

Some interpret John speaks only of the human spirits of the prophets, to learn if these are led by the Holy Spirit or a demonic spirit. “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world and the world heareth them” (1 Jn. 4:5) certainly requires human spirits be included. But human spirits do not inspire false prophets go into the world in a contrast to the Holy Spirit sending true prophets (1 Jn. 4:1-2). The antithesis requires this is a supernatural “spirit of error” in opposition to the Spirit of truth (1 Jn. 4:6; Jn. 14:17; 15:26; 16:13). Therefore, John’s command to test is best understood as applying to BOTH human and the demonic spirits inspiring them 1 Jn. 4:6). This parallels 1 Cor. 12:2-3 where it is clear demonic spirits that once led the Corinthians astray are the target. While men can lie and say Jesus is Lord, demonic spirits cannot and therefore neither can a prophet while he is under their direct influence.

As testing human prophets is a subject thoroughly discussed elsewhere, this article’s focus is on testing demonic spirits when they appear, however disguised.

God commands “Test the Spirits“(1 John 4:1) giving us three objective tests that are guaranteed to stop any abduction or nightmare in its tracks. Its not optional, God commanded us to “test the spirits” regardless who they pretend to be. They may appear in in dream, vision, or just a voice by itself or through a medium. They might be disguised as an Extraterrestrial there to abduct you, Jesus, God, a saint, Mary, departed loved one, anything or anyone they believe will deceive you. They can appear as an angel of light causing everyone experience a “holy presence” so thick it could be cut with a knife while flooding your mind with warnings it would be “blasphemy to test the spirits”. Ignore that, they cannot be the Holy Spirit and testing in obedience to God is not blasphemy, it will save your life.

Overcome all thoughts flooding your mind “do not test”, and test the spirits in obedience to God lest you become one of the many false prophets who have gone out into the world.

The Three Tests

1) Spirits cannot confess Jesus Christ came in the flesh:

1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,
3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God.
And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. (1 Jn. 4:1-3) NKJ

When asked if they confess “Jesus Christ came in the flesh” their disguise will vanish and their demonic identity will be revealed.

2) The Holy Spirit of God cannot say Jesus is accursed

Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:3) NKJ

God the Holy Spirit cannot speak of the LORD JESUS in anything but loving, admiring, honoring terms. Anything negative about the Person or character of Christ or His Work or Sacrifice, its not the “Spirit of God” who is speaking.

3) Demon spirits cannot say Jesus is (their) LORD.

Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:3) NKJ

Regardless whether the evil spirit is speaking through a medium (prophet, necromancer, etc) or directly in a vision or dream, when asked to confess Jesus is their LORD, its disguise will vanish and its evil identity will be revealed.

These three objective tests work when faithfully done (John 17:17).

These tests only work on spirits, directly or while they are speaking through a human medium. If the medium is lying about being under the influence of a spirit, then the tests do not apply as humans can lie and say anything they want. Only when the spirit is speaking through them, will they apply.

I know by experience, I don’t come behind any Pentecostal in experiencing the spectacular. I’ve been to “third heaven”, glorious ones commanded me to drink black liquid from their golden cup, then I would prophesy to the nations. A sacred scroll with cryptic symbols would be unsealed before my eyes. It was very seducing.

While these things were happening, the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance God’s command in 1 John 4:1 to “test the spirits”, to ask it if Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.

Immediately a thought impression/feeling almost stopped me, “if you ask you are blaspheming the spirit!” It was so powerful “I could cut it with a knife” figuratively speaking.

However, deciding I “must obey God rather than a feeling” I asked “can you confess Jesus Christ is come in the flesh?” Immediately its disguise vanished and before me was a dark threatening being which appearance fully revealed it was an antichrist spirit (1 Jn. 4:3; 2 Cor. 11:14). There was no delay at all. Immediately after asking, its disguise vanished.


Let him who has ears, let them hear:

I almost failed to Obey God. The feeling I dared not test was powerful, I almost heeded it rather than the command of God in Holy Scripture. Therefore, it was a test of me also (1 Jn. 4:6) whether I truly was of God (Dt. 8:2; Ps. 17:3; 66:10; Job 23:10-12).

Don’t fail the test.

After the demon’s identity was revealed, it felt like God snatched me out of there and I woke up still in my room, the “virtual reality being downloaded telepathically” was stopped.

Its not optional, we are commanded to test.


Failure to test is not loving the truth, and then one falls under the “energy of Satan” (2 Thess. 2:9) the “energy creating the delusion” (2 Thess. 2:11) that supernatural experiences can modify, change or overrule the Holy Scripture, God’s Word of Truth.

Paul reminds the Corinthians they were once led astray by this “energy of error”, when they experienced the effects of evil spirits that led them into idolatry:

1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:
2 You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. (ὡς ἂν ἤγεσθε ἀπαγόμενοι) (1 Cor. 12:1-2) NKJ

In saying that they had been “led astray to dumb idols,” Paul implies that the Corinthians had experienced the effects of evil spirits in their former pagan worship.-Mare, W. H. (1976). 1 Corinthians. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans through Galatians (Vol. 10, p. 261). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

The effects of evil spirits dulled their ability to discern truth so completely they even believed voiceless idols could speak (cp. Ps. 135:16-18):

QUESTION—What is the function of the clause ὠς ἂν ἤγεσθε ‘however you were led’ appended to ἀπαγόμενοι ‘being led away’?

It functions to emphasize the notion that the act of following was rather senseless and almost unconscious [ICC]. It carries the idea that they are being controlled by something that they could neither understand nor resist [Ho]. The idea of being helplessly led by others at any time is expressed [Lns].”-Trail, R. (2008). An Exegetical Summary of 1 Corinthians 10–16 (2nd ed., pp. 117–118). Dallas, TX: SIL International.

The “energy of error” “led them” however the evil spirits wanted them to go. The precise experience they mistook for “God’s leading” wasn’t revealed, likely because its different for different people. A survey of the occult reveals a variety of “fleshly experiences” ranging from heat or coldness or electrical shock to euphoria, a feeling of well-being or of a spiritual presence. It can mimic a person’s own “inner voice” and convince them the lie is true (Mt. 13:19; 2 Cor. 11:3-4). It follows from human individuality Satan would employ different strokes for different folks.

9 Whose, presence, [shall be] according to an inworking of Satan, with all manner of mighty work and signs and wonders of falsehood,
10 And with all manner of deceit of unrighteousness, in them who are destroying themselves, because, the love of the truth, they did not welcome, that they might be saved;–
11 And, for this cause, God sendeth them an inworking of error, to the end they should believe in the falsehood,–
12 In order that should be judged who would not believe in the truth, but were well-pleased with the unrighteousness. (2 Thess. 2:9-12 ROT)

“Signs and wonders of falsehood” meaning “signs and wonders that serve the lie” (2 Th. 2:9 NIV). Its a deluding influence that subverts critical discernment.

Telepathically streaming words and images (Mat. 4:3; Luke 8:12; 2 Cor. 4:4; 1 Thess. 3:5; 1 Tim. 4:1; 1 John 4:1-3) incites bodily lusts and desires (James 1:13-15):

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. (Gen. 3:6 KJV)

Satan slandered God and His Word (Gen. 3:1-5) enticing Eve to look away toward an alternate reality incorporating truth and lie. This construct subverted Eve’s focus on God and His Command not to eat, acting like an “inworking of Satan” an “energy of error” (2 Thess. 2:11) “authenticating” falsehood as truth, a external “deluding influence” some mistake as being from God (James 1:13-15). Just as visions and dreams can seem real, Satan can immerse his victims in a virtual reality besting anything technologically feasible to day, as he does when creating the false memory of an alien abduction for example. This deceiving energy of error is the mystery inspiring lawlessness the antithesis of the mystery inspiring godliness (2 Th. 2:7, 13; 1 Ti. 3:16-4:1).

This phenomena appears in Isaiah:

19 And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?
20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
21 They will pass through it hard pressed and hungry; and it shall happen, when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse their king and their God, and look upward.
22 Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness.(Isa. 8:19-22) NKJ

Having disregarded God’s warnings not to dabble in the occult, they fall under its power and wander in error. Their journey becomes hard and they are impoverished. Enraged they curse the King of that land and then looking up, God.

Then God gives them their first vision from Him, they are compelled to look down into the earth to see their future, thick darkness and gloom of anguish; then He drives them into it.



*These tests work whether the Tester believes in Jesus or not.

However, Satan & crew react badly when discovered, unbelievers have no protection against them, unlike Believers:

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 Jn. 4:4) NKJ (See also 1 John 5:18 “wicked one does not touch him” NKJ)

When I first learned spirits appear in dreams to seduce to sin, I shared that with an unbeliever. In his dream he tested, asking if they could confess Jesus, and their evil identity was revealed.

They did not react well to being discovered, they attacked him terribly. He asked me what to do next, apart from repenting of his sin and believing in Jesus as LORD.

There is no salvation apart from Christ (Acts 4:12).

What followed was not pretty. I regret sharing this test with this unbeliever, nothing good came of it.

Those not having God’s Spirit are defenseless, unlike all born again children of God.

If testing the spirits results in a fierce attack, fear not.

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. (1 Jn. 4:4) KJV

They lie, their threats are a bluff. Keeping eyes focused on the author and finisher of our faith Jesus Christ and the Word of God the Bible quenches their darts (Eph. 6:13-18).

This “test” is NOT a tool for evangelism, Christ our LORD does NOT want their testimony:

33 Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice,
34 saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are– the Holy One of God!”
35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him. (Lk. 4:33-35) NKJ