of the Holy Spirit 7
The Discerning of Spirits
by Pastor John Hamel
We have come to the
third and final Revelation Gift.
Remember, Revelation Gifts always
immediately point out that this Gift is not called the “Gift of
Discernment.” Some use this erroneous name. We should call this
Gift what the Bible calls it. The Bible calls it the “Discerning of
Also, this is not
the “Gift of Criticism.” Some meddling individuals are always
sticking their noses into the business of others, claiming, “I have the
Gift of Discernment. I just want to help.” These folks actually
have a critical spirit. Fortunately, having a critical spirit is not the unforgivable sin.
The Discerning of Spirits
is a Supernatural revelation from the Spirit of God, which opens one’s eyes
to the activities of the Spirit realm.
Through the operation of this
Gift one can see Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the similitude of God, angels,
Satan, demons and any other spirit beings, objects or spiritual
Greek word used for "discernment" is "diakrisis."
This word also describes the ability to distinguish, discern, judge or
appraise a person, intentions, statements, situations or environment. It is
the supernatural ability to judge between good and evil, including good
spirits and evil spirits. (Hebrews 5:14)
It must also be
noted that this Gift has nothing to do with the delusions of the mentally
ill. It has nothing to do with the delirium of the drug or
alcohol-induced or addicted. The Discerning of Spirits is unrelated to
psychic phenomena or mind-reading. This Gift has nothing at all to do with
the natural mind, sober or inebriated.
This Gift is Supernatural as
are all of the other Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
individual experiences a Holy Spirit induced inward vision, open vision, trance or dream in which the Spirit realm is
looked into, the Discerning of Spirits is in operation.
An Old Testament
Example of Discerning of Spirits
King of Syria sent his army to capture the Prophet Elisha. Elisha was
supernaturally revealing to Israel whenever and from wherever Syria planned
King of Syria planned to put an end to this supernatural sabotaging of his
plans by capturing Elisha.
one morning Elisha's servant stepped outside to discover the Syrian army
encompassed round about the city with horses and chariots.
panicked and said to Elisha, "Now what do we do?"
answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with
them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray Thee, open his eyes, that he
may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and,
behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about
Elisha." (2 Kings 6:16-17)
servant was allowed to see into the Spirit realm through an operation of the
Discerning of Spirits. What he saw was the mountain full of horses and
chariots of fire surrounding and protecting Elisha the Prophet.
man who attended our services for a number of years once reported having
seen no less than thirty angels
surrounding me in a half-circle one Sunday morning as I stood in the pulpit
and Joseph Were Visited by Angels
“…the angel Gabriel
was sent from God … to a virgin … the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel
came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured,
the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. … And the angel
said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour
with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy
womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his
name Jesus.” (Luke 1:26-31)
Here the Virgin
Mary’s eyes were opened to the presence of the angel Gabriel. This
was the Discerning of Spirits in operation.
Gabriel informed Mary
that she had (past and present tense) found favor with God. This was the
Word of Knowledge.
Gabriel also informed Mary, “Thou shalt conceive …” (future tense). This was the
Word of Wisdom.
Here we find all three Revelation Gifts operating
together; the Word of Knowledge, the Word of Wisdom and the Discerning of
The Gifts of the Spirit frequently operate together.
An angel later
appeared to Mary’s fiancé, Joseph, in a
The angel told him
that Mary’s conceived and soon to be born child was from God and that he
should not reject her. (Matthew 1:19-21)
This was also the Discerning
of Spirits operating together with a Word of Wisdom and a Word of Knowledge.
Have Experienced the Discerning of Spirits
I have experienced
the Discerning of Spirits frequently operating with the other Revelation
Gifts on many occasions.
I have had visitations of Jesus
and angels through open
One evening God’s
angel appeared to me in a dream, even
as he did to Joseph. He said to me, “You will place your feet on the
soil of no fewer than 35 nations of the world and preach the Gospel of the
Lord Jesus Christ.” This was the Discerning of Spirits operating in
conjunction with the Word of Wisdom and/or Prophecy.
have seen multiple dramatic
demonstrations in the spirit realm through the operation of this
Holy Spirit Supernaturally Bears Witness with the Spirit of Men
The Discerning of
Spirits also enables the possessor to discern the
power, good or evil, which prompts certain behaviors in other living
beings. It is the supernatural ability to discern the source of
spiritual manifestations. It is an operation of the Holy Spirit,
bearing witness with the human spirit, to inform whether or not something or
someone is coming from the Spirit of God or by influence of Satan, the world
and the flesh.
discerned that Peter was yielding to Satan when Peter rebuked Jesus for
saying He would die and raise again in three days. (Mark 8:31-33)
discerned Nathaniel's spirit of honor and integrity and told him so. (John
discerned that Judas was yielded to Satan and demon powers. (John 6:70-71)
Apostle Peter discerned that the man crippled since birth had faith to be
supernaturally healed. (Acts 3:1-16)
Apostle Peter discerned that Ananias and Sapphira had conspired to lie to
him in order to deceive him. (Acts 5:1-11)
Apostle Peter discerned that Simon the Sorcerer was in the gall of
bitterness and bound in iniquity. (Acts 8:9-24)
Apostle Peter discerned that three men who came looking to take him to
Caesarea to preach to the Gentiles were sent to him by the Holy Spirit.
Apostle Paul discerned that a certain damsel who followed him to prayer had
a spirit of divination and cast it out of her. (Acts 16:16-18)
The Discerning of
Spirits in operation gives supernatural insight whereby the Holy Spirit
reveals the plans and purposes of Godly or Satanic forces, to guard and to
protect the Believer in Jesus Christ. When in operation this Gift provides
the supernatural ability to discern the source of all spiritual
manifestations, operations and demonstrations.
The Discerning of
Spirits is a tremendous Gift indeed. Through its operation comes protection, direction, correction, connection,
revelation, emancipation and provision.
is fascinating to realize that when the Holy Spirit wills it to be, even an
animal can supernaturally see into the spirit realm. Not only did the
false Prophet Balaam see into the spirit realm, but Balaam's donkey saw the
Angel of the Lord standing before him, three times, with His drawn sword in
Holy Spirit not only opened the eyes of Balaam's donkey to see into the
spirit realm, He also opened the donkey's mouth to rebuke Balaam for wrongly
smiting him. (Numbers 22:22-34)
enables one to see the minutest atoms and molecules of our world.
A telescope enables
one to see into the mysteries of other worlds.
However, only the
Discerning of Spirits can enable one to see directly into the spirit
This Gift brings
great Glory to God, advancing His Kingdom in the Earth.
our next lesson we will study the first of the three Utterance Gifts, the Gift
Be Blessed … John and Barbara Hamel
to Be Born Again (Receive Christ as Your Savior)
to Receive The Holy Spirit & Power