Last week I shared 2 examples of God’s presence causing (Adam & Abraham) to fall into a ‘deep sleep’. What I’ll do today is compare more scriptural examples of how a person reacts to the presence of God against how a demon treats a person. Once we see the differences we can rightly discern when someone near us in a service acts a certain way.
Foundation – God always leaves you in control.
God will never make you be out of control of your body. When Paul is writing to the Corinthians he provides social advice on how to act in mixed company as a guest in someone’s house. You may recall that the founding of the Corinthian church consisted of Jews, Greeks, and Romans all meeting in the Roman man Justus’ house. Acts 18:7-8
So Paul writes them in I Corinthians 14:26-32 about such things as taking turns, and if you have a word from God but there is no opportunity to share it, just keep it to yourself (you have not sinned). He also said that if you have a word to share and the person next to you also has a word, let them go first – in other words, manners and politeness are required in home based gatherings of the church.
He also says anything you say will be judged, meaning just because you claim you have a word from God doesn’t mean it has to be 100% accepted by everyone else that it is from God – if you speak out it may be challenged, accepted, or rejected. No one has the right to violate personal space and all retain the right to refuse any ‘word from God’ for them anyone thinks they have. Love and politeness are guidelines.
And then Paul sums it up with this: “For the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.” (v32)
In other words – anything you have from God will always leave you in control. In these verses he is emphasizing things being done decently, in order, in politeness, and with an awareness you are a guest in someone’s home – therefore your spirit is subject to you – whatever you think you have from God, it can wait for its turn, or not at all. What you have from God is still subject to you!
God will never cause you to be out of control, but by contrast look at the demonic:
“And a man from the group cried out, saying, ‘Master, I beg you to look at my son, my only child. A spirit takes him and he suddenly screams, and throws him into a convulsion…And when the boy was coming it threw him to the ground in a convulsion, but Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed him, and gave him back to his father.” Luke 9:39-42
“And there was in the synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out…And Jesus rebuked him saying, ‘Hold your peace and come out of him.’ And the unclean spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.” Mark 1:23-26
God will always have a person be in control of themselves as scripture says, yet the devil is just the opposite. The sad fact is, many leaders today don’t know a demon manifesting when they see it. They don’t know to tell their people the difference between the flesh (many love the attention they get when they shake and convulse), the devil, or God.
Casting it out from across the platform
I was on staff at a large church and was required to host a team of revivalists who wanted to do a series of meetings to bring their ‘revival’ to Tulsa, complete with all the shaking and convulsing and yelling and screaming that the Toronto, Brownsville, and Smithton revivals were known for – and I won’t ID where this team came from other than it was one of those.
As I stood on the platform, some 30 feet away (9.5m) a young lady who was a student at the school where I was the Director, came down front for the altar call and started shaking violently. I immediately knew it was a demon, but the ‘revivalist’ guest speaker approached the woman and told her God was all over her, and to just yell out to Him.
I kept thinking they were going to cast the thing out, but they only kept urging her to yell to God all the more, mistaking a demon manifesting for the Spirit of God on her to ‘bless her’ or something – never realizing the poor lady had a spirit that needed cast out.
As I was the host I knew the lines of authority in the Spirit, that I was in charge of the meeting over and above the guest ministers, but so as to not embarrass the guest speaker nor the young lady, I spoke up barely above a whisper as I looked at the woman now convulsing violently: “I take authority over that spirit and command you out of her right now in the name of Jesus!” No one else heard me but the demon.
Immediately she fell limp to the floor, seemingly passed out or asleep for a few moments. I made my way across the platform and off to that side while the guest speakers continued paying for others at the front, and when she was awake, offered to pray for the young lady, which she readily accepted.
She described the torment she had undergone while the minister kept urging her to cry out to God, a war of voices inside her that was tearing her apart. On the one hand she heard hatred for God and screaming while she argued back she loved the Lord and wanted free – and this is what struck me – she kept wanting the minister to set her free, but they did not.
Then suddenly the thing left her she didn’t know how, and she was at peace once again but feeling rather empty. I told her how I had cast the thing out of her and to forgive the ignorance of the speaker because they didn’t know better, and then laid hands on her for a fresh in-filling of the Holy Spirit – and immediately the Spirit of God was all over her; her hands went up, tears of joy ran down her face, and she said she felt such peace she hadn’t known, but had come to the front for exactly that.
The particular demon and how it got into her years earlier before she had known the Lord are not important here, but she had just been born again that summer and decided to go to Bible school to learn more.
Again – look at scripture and how our bodies and the Spirit of God
In John 18:5-6 the authorities come upon Jesus in the Garden of Gethsamane and the text says this: “Jesus said to them, ‘Who are you looking for?’ And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” And He said to them: “I AM” and when He had said to them ‘I AM’ they moved backward and fell to the ground.”
That is a case of being ‘slain in the spirit’, where the power of God is so strong the human body loses its strength and simply falls to the ground, for ‘I AM’ is the one who appeared to Moses in the burning bush. Jesus stated at His arrest that He is the I AM with power to cause His captors to fall backwards to the ground because He wanted to make the statement He was going voluntarily to His fate, as He casually waited for them to recover themselves, dust themselves off, and arrest Him.
Jesus claimed to be I AM in Matthew 14:27-28 for as He came walking on the water to the boat He said: “Take courage, I AM, now stop being afraid.” To which Peter replied; “Lord, if you are (the I AM), command me to come to you on the water.” Immediately Jesus said, ‘Come’.”
He also claimed to be I AM in John 8:58: “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
And John would later report in Revelation 1:17 that he was ‘in the Spirit’ and saw the Lord in glory, with His voice as a trumpet and face and hair pure white light and eyes as flames, and he says “I fell at His feet as a dead man.” And the Lord touched him and told him not to be afraid.
That would appear to be a case of being ‘slain in the spirit’ as being afraid was separate from the act of becoming as a dead man upon seeing Him.
A whole lot of shaking going on
In scripture as seen above, the body’s reaction to the presence of God is to lose strength, described through the centuries as fainting, or as scripture so bluntly states, becoming like a dead man. But there is no example in scripture where a person lost control of themselves in convulsions, only demons take over a person’s body so that they lose control.
Next week, what the Argentinean’s asked me…until then, blessings.