For those who have followed us for any length of time, you know that we discuss both spiritual and physical prepping—both of which are important. However, we always emphasize that the spiritual threats we face far exceed the physical ones in importance and impact. As such, we wanted to take a moment to discuss why it is absolutely critical that you become like a Berean and test everything against Scripture!
We are all being bombarded with spiritual influences like never before. The media—especially social media—is chocked full of folks sharing spiritual visions, dreams, warnings, and guidance. The recent Dana Coverstone dream video that went viral on YouTube is a perfect example.
This raises a critical question: How do we know what to trust?
After all, not all of these influences are from the Spirit of God—many (and one could make a convincing case that most) are demonic in nature. Even well-intentioned folks can promote errant information—not to mention those who intentionally do so for self-serving reasons.
Therefore, in these last days, it is more critical than ever that—if we are going to be effectively prepared for spiritual threats—we properly identify (1) the threats and (2) the correct solutions or tools. We are navigating a virtual minefield of spiritual influences and messaging—one false step can lead us to pain, disappointment, and, ultimately, destruction.
In this article, we are going to discuss why it is so important that you become like a Berean and learn to test everything against Scripture—rightly discerning truth.
Spiritual Prepping 101: The Absolute Authority of Scripture
First, it is essential that you understand that Scripture is the absolute authority when it comes to determining truth.
The New Testament begins with the Apostle John declaring, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
The Word of God (referring both to His Son Jesus Christ and to Scripture) embodies the very nature and character of God. In other words, God has revealed Himself—His true essence—to us through both Christ and Scripture.
Remember, God cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13) nor lie (Hebrews 6:17-19). If He has spoken through Scripture, then that is “Himself” and it represents absolute truth. If He is the absolute standard by which all is measured, then the ruler we use to discern (measure) truth in our lives is His Word.
If Scripture declares it, you can take that to the proverbial bank—it is inerrant, infallible, and immutable truth. Again, it is the ruler that God has provided each of us with to measure our world and discern truth from error.
Jesus Christ Himself declared: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).
Finally, Jude makes it clear that God is done revealing new truths to us. We have everything we need in His Word. Christ was the final Revelation from God the Father. There are no new revelations coming. Any move of the Spirit will only serve to confirm and illuminate what has already been declared in Scripture—the faith once and for all delivered.
“I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
The Scriptures are complete. God’s message has been fully communicated to the world!
Become Like a Berean—Test Everything Against Scripture
How do we determine what to trust and who to believe? We take out God’s measuring stick and test everything against Scripture—His divinely revealed, inerrant, infallible, and immutable truth.
In Acts, Luke writes:
“Now the Berean Jews were of more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11).
We find that the Bereans are presented by God as an example of how you go about discerning truth. These folks tested everything against Scripture—even the words of the Apostle Paul!
Note that they received the message with great eagerness—they wanted to learn and discover what God had to tell them. We should all be in that mindset. We should be eager and hungry to hear what God has to say to us—especially given the crazy times we find ourselves living in.
However, that eagerness can leave us vulnerable to becoming easily deceived and manipulated by false information. The Bereans understood this. They also understood that Scripture—not their hearts (emotion) or their minds (reason)—was the only viable measure by which to determine truth.
Furthermore, they did this consistently—every day. They didn’t trust their memory or gut to guide them. They didn’t just whip out their Bible when they were really stumped or desperate. No, they studied the Scripture every day and tested everything against it.
I hear people say concerning things to me every day regarding the messages they hear, such as:
- But he’s a pastor…
- But he says he’s a “Christian”…
- But his website says he believes X, Y and/or Z…
- But he’s so knowledgeable and has advanced degrees…
- But he seems so sincere…
- But he’s so popular and has so many followers…
- But he’s so passionate…
- But it seems so believable…
- But it seems so wonderful…
- But his message stirs my soul and moves me…
- But what if it’s true…
Understand, none of these represent the ruler by which we—servants of Christ—measure (discern) truth. I don’t care how good something sounds, how many credentials someone has next to their name, or how many followers (or views) they have on social media—it does not matter.
Even Paul—Christ’s apostle of grace to His church—was to be tested against the golden ruler of God’s Word.
God has told us how to discern truth; how to avoid being deceived. We are to follow the model of the Bereans and test everything—every stroke of the pen; every image, vision and dream received; and every syllable uttered (cf. Matthew 5:18)—against the Word of God.
Applying the Berean Principle to Today’s World
As is always the case with Scripture, it is important to consider the context of a passage—especially what appears/occurs immediately before and/or after. In the case of Luke’s recording of the Berean’s approach to discernment, it is interesting to note what occurred immediately before it:
“But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city… shouting: ‘These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here… They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.’ When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil.” (Acts 17:5-8)
We find that, just prior to preaching in Berea, Paul and his companions had ministered in Thessalonica. The response they encountered there stands in stark contrast to that of the Bereans. In fact, it is eerily similar to what we see going on in our own streets of America today—boisterous mobs and riots formed by those who follow the religion of “wokeness” (e.g., BLM and antifa groups).
As was the case then, we see many (both citizens and leaders) being “thrown into turmoil.” Who do you believe and what is the truth???
Again, God provides the answer for us today when He then immediately presents the Berean model of testing everything against Scripture—against the very character, nature, and essence of the Great “I Am.”
Don’t be deceived and manipulated by the mobs or the multitude of false prophets masquerading as angels of light. Test everything against Scripture and you will be able to discern truth!
Can God Speak to Us Today in Dreams & Visions through the Spirit?
Are all the dreams and visions we are hearing about false?
Or, stated differently, can God speak to us today—both saved and unsaved—in dreams and visions through the Spirit of God?
Again, God—through His Word—has provided us with the answer:
“I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” (Joel 2:28-29)
Joel was prophesizing about the coming Day of the Lord—the Tribulation period (culminating with the physical return of Christ). Furthermore, Peter confirmed this applies to the church age when quoted this very prophecy on the day of Pentecost—the birth of the church (Acts 2:17-21).
God makes it clear—through His Word—that He will pour out His Spirit upon people in these last days. He will do so (1) on all people and (2) through dreams and visions.
As we are clearly in the last days and on the precipice of the Day of the Lord, we should accept that He is currently pouring out His Spirit at this time—including through visions and dreams.
However, there are two very important points that need to be made regarding this.
First, these spiritual messages will NEVER contradict His Word—they will ALWAYS serve only as a confirmation of it. Thus, we should always test such messages against the ruler of Scripture.
Second, Satan is capable of and will do the same.
We are witnessing the start of one of the greatest moves of God and fulfillments of prophetic Scripture the world has ever seen—including such pivotal events as the Rapture, the pouring out of God’s wrath and judgements during the Tribulation period, the return (Second Coming) of Christ, and the establishment of His earthly kingdom.
But Satan knows this all too well. He knows Scripture better than any human pastor or theologian. He, as the father of lies, is uniquely adept at twisting it to deceive and manipulate the world for his own prideful self-interest. He knows his time is short and he will throw out all the stops in one last desperate attempt to deceive as many as possible.
In fact, Jesus himself—in speaking about this same period of time—warned that:
“False messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Mark 13:22; cf. Matthew 24:24)
Jesus warned us that Satan’s outpouring of demonic influence (counterfeiting God as always) will be so intense that it will even deceive many believers—those that are trusting their memory and guts rather than His Word.
Again, the ONLY way to discern between the two—to determine truth from lies; fact from fiction—is to test everything against Scripture… to become like the Bereans!
While it is important to be physically prepared for emergencies and crises, it is even more important to be spiritually prepared for what is coming—the apocalyptic storm looming on our collective horizon.
As the storm continues to approach, the spiritual battle raging behind the scene will only continue to escalate. We will be bombarded by all kinds of spiritual messages—some godly and many demonic.
It is critical that we are able to discern the good from the bad, the truth from the lies, and the godly from the ungodly.
How do we do that?
We do so by following the Berean model of testing everything against Scripture.
Failing to do so—or trusting in any other means of discernment (e.g., your memory, your guts, or your emotions)—will inevitably lead to you being deceived and led down the wrong path. And all the physical preps in the world won’t help you if you’re on the wrong path.
There are two additional takeaways that are critical.
First, a Bible should be the absolute first item on your prepping list!
Second, you need to trust Christ with your life—not your preps.
We don’t have to fear the coming apocalypse. He will rescue those who have accepted His gift of forgiveness and trusted in Him—they will not go through God’s wrath.
Furthermore, when you trust in Him, the Spirit of God resides in you and provides you will illumination regarding His Word—something that is essential for effectively using it as a measuring stick and tool of discernment.
The great move of the Spirit of God has not only begun… it is in full swing. We are on the doorstep of the Tribulation. The leading edge of the apocalyptic storm is already buffeting our world. Time is extremely short to prepare. It could commence at any moment.
Please take this opportunity to place your trust in Christ—to be absolutely spiritually prepared. Salvation is simple; however, it only comes one way—through faith alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone.
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:4-9)
Take a moment to pray to God and accept His loving and free gift of forgiveness. Let Him know you are placing your faith in His Son Jesus Christ and ask Him to faithfully guide you as you seek to navigate these dangerous times and discern the truth from the lies.
If you have placed your faith in Christ, then you have been sealed by the power of God:
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)
There is nothing you can ever do to break that seal of salvation—God has guaranteed it and He cannot deny Himself: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).
You can now lay aside fear and rest in the peace of knowing that there is nothing that will ever separate you from the love of God:
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)