ORIGINAL WEBSITE INQUIRY – I did not see anything in the statement of faith about the Holy Spirit concerning the validity of the gifts for today as referenced in the listed scripture. What is the teaching of the ministry in this area. Mark 16:17-18; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

QUICK ACKNOWLEDGEMENT — Dear _____…thank you so much for writing. Your observation is well taken and will spur me into action to insert our belief in this area into the ministry’s Statement of Faith. And for your message and the caring and concern on your part that it reveals, I am grateful to you.

Let me say briefly that I fully believe, accept and endorse everything the Holy Spirit says in the two texts you cited in your message. There is never an idle word or thought in anything our awesome God reveals to us (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:3-4). So He requires us to take every word He says very seriously (Isaiah 66:1-2). And those two texts say it very plainly and clearly. There can be no doubt that there are gifts of the Holy Spirit that God gives to New Covenant believers. So we’re fully in favor of them and we depend on God to release them to us…at all times.

But because you took the trouble to care and to write, I am going to amplify and try to explain and clarify the statements I just made. I will do that in a separate document. When I finish writing it I will email it to you for your consideration. I hope the answer I send will inform and satisfy your mind.

Thanks again for caring dear brother…and for letting me know that at least somebody in our local area is looking at our website. May Father fill you and all your loved ones to overflowing with His Peace, Joy and Well Being… John

COMPREHENSIVE RESPONSE — Dear _____…here is my attempt to amplify and, hopefully, clarify the short reply I sent earlier. I’ll begin by quoting the texts you cited. I underlined portions in those texts to which I believe we need to pay very close attention. I believe those underlined sections are important and it’s necessary that we do the best we can to understand them because that will help us to properly interpret the texts. (I’m using the New American Standard translation)

Your texts:

Mark 16:17-18These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

1 Corinthians 12:1-11: Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus is accursed’; and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,  and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.”

It will help to frame our in depth study to break down some background or foundational thoughts/concepts:

1.      Scripture warns us that there are Serpent-induced counterfeit ‘gifts,’ ‘signs’ and ‘abilities.’ For example:

  • The false worship of Cain in Genesis 4.
  • King Saul & the ‘spiritual connection’ he established and the wisdom he tried to receive through reliance on the ‘medium’ or witch of Endor in 1 Samuel 28.
  • The false Spirit-less religiosity that God detests and rejects as listed in Isaiah 58
  • The seven sons of Sceva in Acts 19
  • The false ‘gift of giving’ of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5
  • The false ‘gifts’ that are condemned by the Lord in Matthew 7:21-23

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness (Torah-lessness).’”  (Matthew 7:22-24)

Apparently, these very religious people were manifesting amazing things or ‘fruits’ and ‘giftings.’ They claimed to be doing what they were doing ‘in the Name of Jesus.’ But the Lord made it known that such was not really the case. And, because they were violating God’s Torah commandments in one way or another, He wasn’t having anything to do with them.

This text reinforces and amplifies the warning the Lord gave His disciples earlier in Matthew 5:17-20:

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law (Torah) or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

This indicates to me that authentic, Spirit-empowered gifts of the Holy Spirit will only come through those whose lives obey, embody and line up with all the other revelations and requirements that God gives in His written Word.

And we know from the vast scope of the Scriptures, that fallen human flesh is utterly incapable of a level of obedience, faith and worship that will meet God’s perfectly perfect standards, perfectly. Only One Man can do that. And He did it! And that’s why, by the Power of the Holy Spirit, He must become our New Life. And when He really is our New Life ‘these signs will accompany’ the people in whom, and from whom, He is free to live and reveal Himself and His Perfect Righteousness. The faith or belief of such disciples is accounted by God to be genuine and authentic and approved. And so He testifies to their authenticity with Spirit-empowered ‘signs and wonders’ and ‘gifts.’

2.      Let’s look closer at what I underlined in your texts:

Mark 16:17-18“These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

“These signs will accompany those who have believed.” Believed what? Well, the context starting with vs. 9 tells us very specifically and plainly what they are to believe in. The text isn’t talking about believing in Christian doctrine or theology in general. It isn’t talking about belief in Judaism or Christianity or belief that the ‘gifts of the Holy Spirit are for today.’ This text has a much more specific, specialized focus of belief in mind.

It is referring to belief in the living truth and reality of our Lord’s Resurrection Presence abiding within us and operating in our midst.

Apparently, the text promises that the risen Lord will continue to perform the ‘Messiah-proving and validating signs’ God had told Israel to look for before His incarnation took place. There were signs that would accompany the true, God-sent Messiah when He arrived (eg. Deuteronomy 18:15-22; Isaiah 58; 61; Luke 7:18-23). They were the many supernatural Spirit-empowered signs He performed before His death and Resurrection…when He still walked the earth as ‘Rabbi Yeshua of Nazareth.’

Now, Mark’s Gospel announces that the risen Lord will continue to perform those Messiah-validating and Resurrection-proving signs – in and through disciples who really and truly believe and act upon His promise to be with them and in them as promised in John 14, 15 & 16 and Matthew 28:18-20. This must be a living, interactive belief in His Resurrection Presence as a living Reality in our personal lives.

So ‘these signs’ are not a validation of an intellectual, soulish mental agreement in the doctrine of the Resurrection. The signs will only accompany those in whom the Lord is really and truly living and working…the way a vine truly lives and works from within its branches. Only the Vine can produce the fruit…the branches merely bear the fruit for the vine. And the appearances of that fruit in their lives is what we have come to know as the ‘gifts of the Holy Spirit.’

So to me, the ‘gifts of the Holy Spirit’ are God-given testimony and validation given only to His beloved Son. Those signs endorsing Him appear only in the lives and circumstances of those crucified, Spirit-filled disciples in whom He is truly free to live and operate…without any opposition, competition or interference from their now-crucified fallen flesh.

Colossians 3:1-4: “Therefore if (since) you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”

In other words, when these disciples are truly crucified to ‘self-life,’ they will truly embody the Lord’s Resurrection Life. That will let us know for sure that the risen Lord is truly their one and only Life. And then He is free to live His Life from within these disciples, clearly, truly, in an authentic, New Covenant sense.

When Father sees His risen Son free to be their Eternal Life and Perfect Righteousness, He will respond and testify to this authentic supernatural Reality. His testimony will not include anything from this fallen world; all of it will come through to us from the Resurrection side of the Cross…from God in eternity. It will come into our space and time dimension to affirm and validate the fact that the living Word of God who became flesh and died was truly raised from the dead and is now truly present in and among these disciples. It will affirm that it is the risen Lord, truly operating through their obedient faith and crucified flesh…in supernatural ways.

3.      It’s always about Yeshua.

It’s never about any of the Head’s members. It’s always about The Head. Wherever He truly lives and presides, Father blesses Him…and that blessing manifests itself in a variety of ways, depending on the needs Father chooses to address at any given time. This is what I understand ‘the gifts of the Holy Spirit’ to be. The blessings Father gives to His Son overflow – from the Head to His members and so His whole Body is blessed through those yielded members who are connected to the Vine Himself.

Ephesians 5:23: “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the Head of the Church, He Himself being the Savior of the Body.”

Colossians 1:18: “He is also Head of the Body, the Church; and He is the Beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in Everything.”

So the ‘gifts’ or ‘signs’ of the Holy Spirit will never be given to those that only claim to believe in the Resurrection as a doctrine or theological dogma. They are never given ‘on demand,’ simply because ‘signs and wonders’ are part of the tenets of a denominational theology or because they have been scheduled into the agenda of some sort of organized religious event. Any ‘fruit’ produced by such soulish, man-controlled, manipulative ways may produce some sort of result…but as we saw in the Biblical examples given above, it will be counterfeit, alien fruit produced by the unholy manipulations of unclean spirits. And it will not survive and pass through the fire of God’s Judgment (1 Corinthians 3:11-13).

In the New Covenant era, the true gifts of the Holy Spirit are only given in testimony to and validation of, our risen Lord’s Resurrection Presence. That is why the Gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit was given in the first place:

John 16:13-15: “But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the Truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.

Acts 1:8: but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be MY witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

The Spirit’s commission is to render God’s resurrected Word real and actively present and supernaturally fruitful within and among His crucified New Covenant disciples. When He truly lives in them and is free to obey His Father through their yielded, crucified flesh, Father’s Spirit testifies to His beloved Son. And then, His true disciples…disciples who really believe that He is truly present within them and is circulating in their midst, are authorized and qualified by God’s Spirit and given the right to act, pray and speak…IN HIS NAME! They can legitimately speak in His Name when He actually serves as their indwelling Life.

The gifts will never be revealed through people for their personal comfort, religious titillation or self-enhancement. The Serpent loves to deceive people into believing and expecting that such travesties are possible. But the truth is that the Holy Spirit’s gifts are actually for testifying to and validating God’s living Word alone. They are never given to satisfy the Sin-corrupted, soulish aspirations of those that desire to possess them for alien purposes that serve to by-pass and overshadow the risen Lord. They are only given to testify to the Resurrection Presence of our Messiah, as God chooses to reveal Him on this fallen Earth.

And as an overflowing by-product of His Son’s awesome revelation, Father blesses the people who received and submitted to and embody His risen Son. Through them, His Word’s healing, liberation, strengthening and revivification are allowed to be displayed as proof that His Messianic and Resurrection claims are absolutely true.

1 Peter 2:6-10: “For this is contained in Scripture: ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.’

“This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, This became the very cornerstone,’

“And, ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense’; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the Word, and to this doom they were also appointed.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

Can you see the consistency of what God is saying in all of these texts concerning the preeminence of His beloved Son and the obedience we owe to His living and written Word?

4. Now on to 1 Corinthians 12…

Perhaps what I’ve said above will help you understand how I would interpret your second text. Notice that the two texts you selected are both post Ascension, New Covenant apostolic texts. I believe it will help us to look into that a little more deeply. We already saw in Matthew 5:17-20 that our Messiah came to show us the proper way to interpret, understand, obey and fulfill everything God revealed and commanded in the Hebrew Tanach (Old Testament) of Israel. And the Tanach is forever based upon the Torah (Pentateuch) of Moses. Torah is the Bedrock or Foundation of our Faith! So ask yourself this question: wouldn’t God expect Israel’s true Messiah to honor, obey and fulfill everything God said about Him in the Torah and the prophets of Israel? Wouldn’t such fulfillment be the essential proof of His authenticity?

And isn’t the same true for the writings of the Wisdom Writers? Didn’t God send His living Word to be and reveal, embody, impart and fulfill all that God promised and entrusted to Israel’s care in the Scriptures? Doesn’t that revelation of Him serve as the ‘Light to the Gentiles’ that Israel and her Messiah were ordained by God to be to the rest of the world? (See Deuteronomy 13; Psalm 1; 119; John 5:39-47; Luke 24:25-27; 36-49.)

So 1 Corinthians 12 tells us that in all these things, including the ‘gifts’…the same Holy Spirit is the one revealing and doing everything for all of humanity. Regardless of whether we consider the ‘Old’ or the ‘Renewed’ Covenant God made with Israel, it’s the same God, the same Word and the same Spirit doing – everything! And God never changes!

In other words, God is perfectly consistent with Himself. He never corrects or contradicts Himself because in His Perfection, He gets everything right the first time, starting with Genesis 1 and all the way through Revelation. God was the same in eternity past and throughout all of time and space, and He’ll be the same in eternity present and future, God and His Word and His Spirit will always be the same…consistent…and ever reliable because He is changeless. And that’s why the Scriptures, regardless of the era they cover…coincide and mesh and fit together perfectly, as one, like a seamless garment.

So let’s see what the Holy Spirit’s ‘job description’ is, as revealed through some of Israel’s ‘Old Testament’ prophets and wisdom writers. What the Spirit said He would be doing in the Tanach…is what He will be fulfilling in the New Covenant era. That’s why I think these considerations are so important to Last Days disciples-in-training. The fulfillment of all those texts directly concerns the disciples that live in that era. So I ask you to ponder and pray over the following texts:  Deuteronomy 4:1-14; 6:4-9; 30; Psalm 51:10-17; 73; 119; Isaiah 56; Jeremiah 31:31-37; Ezekiel 36:22-28; 37; Malachi 4.

Since Abraham’s day, God only makes His Covenants with Israel…including the New Covenant. (Jeremiah 31:31-33; Romans 9-11; Ephesians 2). God is in Covenant with Israel…and, also with those that allow themselves to be grafted into Israel’s Root of obedient Faith. When you become one with Israel’s Root…you’re one with the Word of Israel’s God…for His living Word is The Root!

And we know that throughout her history, Israel’s poor fallen flesh has always been incapable of fulfilling God’s Perfectly Perfect commandments at a level that would satisfy His Perfectly Perfect Standards of Righteousness…Perfectly. And the same can be said of what we call, ‘Christendom’ or ‘The Church.’ So the purpose of the original Covenant as revealed in the written Torah was to drive all flesh, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, to despair of itself…and be forced to rely upon Another – on The Living Torah…Messiah Yeshua…the living Word of God made flesh. He is to serve as their Eternal Covenant Representative. God’s Perfect Living Word is commissioned to obey and fulfill every jot and tittle of God’s will, as recorded in His written Word…to Perfection. He is to do it in the name of His faithful, obedient Blood Covenant ‘friends’ (See John 15). And so He did. It is Finished! (John 19:28-30) But in order to really be able to apply the fruit of all of that to us, He really has to be living and operating IN us…and that’s what I believe the New Covenant is supposed to be all about.

That’s why the Original Covenants were meant to get our attention off of ourselves or anything else that is created…and aim our focus toward and direct all attention to our Master, the Messiah (Romans 10:4). He is to be Salvation and Eternal Life and Perfect Righteousness for all the rest of us. And the Holy Spirit is given to make Him and His Perfect Obedience and Activity and Fulfillment of the Scriptures…real, alive and active within us. And that’s what Israel’s prophets were inspired to announce:

Jereremiah 31: 33-34: “But this is the (New) covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My Law (Living Torah) within them and on their heart I will write it (Him); and (then, finally) I will be their God, and they (finally) shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me (in and from their insides, with no go-betweens), from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

Ezekiel 36:25-37: “Then (in the New Covenant fulfillment era) I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and (My Living Torah will) CAUSE you to WALK IN MY STATUTES, and you will be careful to observe My (written Torah) ordinances.”

So apparently…in His eternal consistency and reliability, God will not only send His living Word and His absolute Authority to fulfill Israel’s Covenants and Scriptures…but He will also send His Holy Spirit and His omnipotent Power to make sure that the Fulfillment of the New Covenant takes place within us. So this is always between God and Israel…and those non-Jewish believers that will be willing to ‘leave Egypt’ and allow the Word and Spirit of God to engraft them into His peoples’ midst…so they too can partake of Israel’s Eternal Covenant with God and be supported by the Root of her God-given Spiritual Commonwealth and Kingdom. So the same God pulls the same message that began in Genesis, all the way forward, up to and throughout the book of Revelation. Ponder these words:

Revelation 12:15-17: “And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman (Israel), so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her (Jewish and non-Jewish Messianic) children, who keep the (Torah) commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”

Do you see how consistent God is? And how inconsistent the understanding of even most modern day Jewish and Christian people tends to be? I do not believe that the true authentic gifts of the Holy Spirit will be seen among people whose lives are not consistent with the entire revelation and requirements that God has taken such pains to make known to us. If God validated that, He would be betraying His own living and written Word!

But disciples who do allow the indwelling risen Lord to bring them into perfect alignment with God’s perfect standards will see the gifts of the Holy Spirit being given…to their Head who truly does occupy His rightful place upon their ‘spiritual shoulders.’ And in the Last Days era, those awesome gifts are going to be what it will take to help those disciples persevere through gut-wrenching trouble-filled times…and overcome in the midst of them:

‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed (See Gen. 3:21); and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He, who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

So in the giving of all ‘gifts of the Spirit’ as listed in the New Covenant apostolic texts…those legitimately being given by the Spirit of God will be given to those who are in line with everything else that the Word and Holy Spirit of the Father are sent to do. Nothing can be omitted; everything must be included. It must be PERFECT…just as our Heavenly Father is PERFECT.

And it will be PERFECT when the PERFECT ONE Himself truly does live and operate from within us…on His never-changing terms. Then, for His sake, Father will release cascading showers of gifts and blessings that His Holy Spirit will deliver in our midst, for Yeshua’s sake…just as He promised.


1 Corinthians 12:1-11: Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus is accursed’; and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.

[I don’t believe Paul is talking about ‘mouthing words’. It’s not about saying ‘Jesus is Lord’ the way religious robots follow religious magical formulas and intone parrot-like prayers. Just mouthing words is not a true indication that you’re being led and empowered by the Holy Spirit. In light of what I said above, I believe Paul is saying that you give proof that the Holy Spirit is with you when you demonstrate by your life, that you really and truly are obeying God’s living and written Word…that is, when the Living Word really and truly is your Head and actually lives and obeys Father’s written Word perfectly…from within your extremely imperfect but crucified flesh.]

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

Paul’s continual referral to ‘the same Spirit’ and ‘the same Lord’ that ‘works all these things’ ‘just as He wills’…requires any manifestation of the true gifts of the Holy Spirit to be bestowed on people who are aligned and consistent with all the other ‘signs’ or ‘ingredients’ or revelations given in the other Scriptures that God gave us. Then we’ll know that our Lord is truly our Life and our Perfection. And people will be able to recognize His Perfection being validated by those supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit that are really from God. There will be no validation or endorsement from God for decapitated fallen flesh that does not truly embody God’s Word, regardless of how religious and spiritual it may seem. It will only appear in and among those true disciples of His living and written Word who obey His commandments and actually do His will. This is why the living Word of God said these words about His true, Spirit-led and empowered disciples:

Matthew 12:46-50: “While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. Someone said to Him, ‘Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.’ But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, ‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers?’ And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, ‘Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in Heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

I cannot envision God imparting and revealing the gifts of His Holy Spirit to people or gatherings where the above texts are not really being fulfilled in accord with what ALL of the other texts to which I’ve drawn to your attention, are saying. This is a brief rundown of what I believe I see in Scripture, in connection to your comments and excellent and pertinent question. So thanks for bringing my attention to the gap in our statement of belief. I sincerely hope this helps to satisfy your mind concerning the Follow Me Ministry’s statement of faith and the spirit that underlies all of its offerings.

God bless and keep you always,