Question: Is There A Counterfeit Holy Spirit?

Answered: The Bible says there is such a person as the devil. He is a counterfeiter and a liar. Thus, whatever things that God does we find the devil attempting to counterfeit. This is certainly the case when it comes to the work of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is God, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. He is the member of the Godhead who does the God’s work on earth today. Consequently, we should expect His work to be counterfeited. Scripture tells us that it is. We can make the following observations.

1. There Is A Counterfeit Spirit

The Bible speaks of not only the genuine Spirit of God but also of a counterfeit spirit. The Apostle Paul warned the church at Corinth about such false spirits. He wrote them with the following warnings.

But now I fear that you will be tricked, just as Eve was tricked by that lying snake. I am afraid that you might stop thinking about Christ in an honest and sincere way. We told you about Jesus, and you received the Holy Spirit and accepted our message. But you let some people tell you about another Jesus. Now you are ready to receive another spirit and accept a different message . . . Anyway, they are no more than false apostles and dishonest workers. They only pretend to be apostles of Christ. And it is no wonder. Even Satan tries to make himself look like an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:3,4,13,14 CEV).
From this passage we find that there are counterfeits to the person of Jesus, Christ, the gospel message of Christ, as well as the Holy Spirit. They are all counterfeited by the devil. Therefore, we should be aware that not everyone who uses the words “Christ” “gospel” or “Holy Spirit” are actually presenting the truth of God. Indeed, oftentimes they are counterfeiting God’s truth.

Furthermore, the devil appears as an “angel of light.” This means that his counterfeiting of God’s work is not always obvious. Thus, we need to be discerning when we hear the terms Christ, gospel, and Holy Spirit.

2. We Must Test The Spirits

This brings us to our next point. We are warned about a counterfeit Holy Spirit. A thing that is counterfeit always is made to look as close as possible to the genuine article. This lets us know that everything that claims to proceed from the Holy Spirit is not necessarily from the Holy Spirit. We must test the spirits. John wrote.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1 NASB).

Believers must test all claims which supposedly come from the Holy Spirit since there are many false prophets in our world.

The Final Antichrist Will Produce Lying Wonders

The Apostle Paul warned about a future antichrist that would do “lying wonders.” He explained what will happen in this manner.

This evil man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of wicked deception to fool those who are on their way to destruction because they refuse to believe the truth that would save them (2 Thessalonians 2:9.10 NLT).

Notice that this individual will produce counterfeit “power” as well as counterfeit “signs.” Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to “test the spirits.”

Paul wrote elsewhere about this need to test everything. He said.

But test all things. Hold on to what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21 HCSB).
Believers are to test all things. How do we do this? We do it by comparing everything to the written Word of God. If someone claims to be speaking for God, yet his teaching contradicts God’s Word, then that teaching must be rejected. It does not matter if “signs and wonders” are given.

In sum, we must always be aware of the counterfeiting that the devil is constantly doing. The only way we can know what is genuine, and what is not, is by knowing God’s Word. It will always be our faithful guide.

Summary To Question 21 Is There A Counterfeit Holy Spirit?

From the Bible we find that there is such a person as the devil. He is a liar and a deceiver. We also find that he counterfeits the truth of God.

Scripture warns believers that the Person and work of the Holy Spirit can be counterfeited. In fact, this was already happening at the beginning of the Christian era. Indeed, the Apostle Paul warned that false spirits were already are in the world deceiving people. The Apostle John gave the same warning. He said that we should not believe every spirit because many false prophets were already out in the world.

We are also told that a final antichrist will come on the scene will deceptive miracles. He will lead many people away from the truth of God.

Consequently we should not necessarily believe someone when they ascribe some work, or teaching, to the Holy Spirit. Even if signs and wonders are given we still should not believe them unless their teaching conforms to God’s written Word. It is His Word which must test all things.

This question is from my forthcoming book “The Identity Of The Holy Spirit”


Don Stewart is an internationally recognized Christian apologist and speaker. He graduated cum laude from Talbot Theological Seminary and the International Seminar in Theology and Law in Strasbourg, France, as well as from Biola University. Don is also a best-selling and award-winning author/co-author of over seventy books. [ read more ]


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