by George Sidney Hurd
“What meaneth this?” This was the question asked by those who heard and saw what was taking place on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the hundred and twenty disciples who were in one accord in the upper room, awaiting the promise of the Father. What occurred provoking this question from the multitudes? Acts 2 describes what took place:
“And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. 5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 They were amazed and astonished, saying, "Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 ‘And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? 9 ‘Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs — we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.’ 12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’” (Acts 2:2-12 NASU).
For them, just as with any other generation that has witnessed a visitation of God upon His people, they were bewildered, amazed and marveled saying: “What does this mean?” For them it was something new that they had never seen or experienced before, nor had they read about anything similar in the Bible. It was something totally new.
In these last days, once more we are seeing manifestations of the presence of God that are new to us; the majority of mankind have lived their entire lives without having witnessed the things which take place in a visitation from God. What bewilders people more than anything else are the effects that the presence of God has on the bodies of those who are being touched by the Spirit of God; things like falling prostrate, weeping, laughing, trembling and becoming drunk in the Spirit.
The Bible speaks of the “latter rain” of the Spirit (Zec 10:1). It speaks of the “latter glory” (Hagai 2:9) which will become manifest in such a way that “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Hab 2:14). It speaks of an outpouring of the Spirit such as has never been seen before:
“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. 29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. 30 "And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke.” (Joel 2:28-30)
Many who have believed in these promises and desired to see and experience this great visitation of God are in danger of not entering into it, as was the case with Jews in the time of Christ, as well as many others in subsequent visitations.
Some don’t enter in because they don’t have a true hunger for God. They are like the mockers in Acts 2:13 that observed those who were affected by the presence of God and said: “They’ve had too much wine.” Others don’t enter in because it didn’t begin with them. Many of the religious leaders among the Jews of Jesus’ time fell into this category. When God visits His people “the proud He knows from afar” (Psa 138:6). The Lord says: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isa 57:15).
Still others fail to enter in because the Holy Spirit doesn’t move within the limitations they have set. They have set mental barriers which they will not allow the Holy Spirit to penetrate. When the Spirit moves as He wills and not as they will, they reject the move of God, calling it carnal emotionalism, or worse yet they attribute it to demons, just as the Pharisees did with Jesus (Matt 12:24). The fact that there are often evidences of carnal exhibitionism or manifestations of demons does not negate the reality of the visitation. When the Holy Spirit was upon Jesus and the Apostles there were also manifestations of demons, but in every instance the presence of the Holy Spirit set the captives free.
Many think that it isn’t of God if they feel frightened by it. However, we see in the Bible that when God appeared in the Bible, He often had to say to them “fear not.” When He appeared on Sinai it says that “they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, "You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die” (Ex 20:18-19).
The manifestations we are observing in this present visitation are not new. In every true revival throughout history some or all these manifestations have been present. We all accept those revivals as genuine because of the transformation which resulted in individual, churches, cities and entire nations. All the leaders in those revivals, while recognizing and correcting abuses and carnal excess, defended the manifestations, even in the face of great opposition. The following testimonies of manifestations in revivals throughout history a just a few examples.
TESTIMONIES OF REVIVALS THROUGHOUT HISTORY
18th Century Revivals
“Many have experienced an increase in their religious affections way beyond anything they had previously experienced; there have been instances where people remained prostrate in a sort of trance, at times continuing twenty-four hours without moving, and with their senses deactivated while they were in ecstasy, being taken to heaven and seeing visions of wonderous and delightful things. It was common to see people shouting, fainting, convulsing and other similar manifestations, at times in anguish and other times with great admiration and joy. Here it wasn’t the custom to have meetings which lasted all night, nor was it common to continue late into the night; but often that is what took place; some were so affected and their bodies so overwhelmed, that they couldn’t go home, but were obliged to remain where they were all night.” (The Great Awakening, p.550)
“Many of those I personally know have in our day experienced tremendous and extraordinary raptures. But in the most sublime raptures I have had knowledge of, where the emotions of admiration, love and joy, have been most highly elevated, the following things have together been evident: Often remaining in meetings for long periods of time, contemplating the glory of the divine perfections y the excellencies of Christ, to such a degree that the soul continues as it were perfectly caught up and surrounded in light and love, a sweet and inexpressible consolation and rest and joy of soul, at times for five or six hours without interruption. Extraordinary revelations of divine things, and the religious affections were so often accompanied with tremendous effects upon the body… The person would by deprived of all ability to remain standing or speak…sometimes the soul has been so enraptured with a sort of almighty joy, that the person couldn’t keep from leaping with all their strength, with great joy and rejoicing.” (Thoughts concerning the Present Revival by Jonathan Edwards)
“Many of the youth and children appeared to be overwhelmed by a revelation of the majesty and glory of divine things…while many more at the same time were overcome with anguish over their sinful miserable condition, with the result that the whole meeting hall was completely full of shouts, faintings and similar things…many were so affected that they remained prostrated for hours.” (The Great Awakening, p.546)
19th Century Revivals
The Kentucky Cane Ridge Revival in 1801 – “The sound was like the roaring of Niagara Falls. The vast sea of humanity appeared to be agitated as in a storm… Some were singing, others praying, others crying out asking for mercy with the most pitiful cries, while others shouted loudly. Observing the scene before me, a very strange sensation such as I have never felt came over me. My heart began to beat fiercely, my knees and lips began to tremble and I felt that I wasn’t going to be able to remain standing. A strange and supernatural power went over the entire collective mind of the multitudes gathered there. In a moment I saw at least five-hundred slain in an instant as if a line of a thousand cannons had opened fire on them, followed by screams and shouts that rent the very heavens…” (James B. Finley)
Peter Cartwright, Tent Evangelist – “No matter if they were saints or sinners, they were moved by a song or anointed sermon and overcome by a convulsive trembling in their whole body, something that they couldn’t by any means avoid, and the more they resisted, the more they shook… As soon as one began to shake one could see how their elegant hats, caps and hair pins when flying, and the shaking of the head would be so strong and rapid that their hair sounded much like the whip of a carriage conductor.” (Cartwright, Autobiography by Peter Cartwright, pp.17,18)
Charles Finney – “I hadn’t spoken on the subject for more than fifteen minutes when suddenly an astounding solemnity seemed to descend upon them; the congregation began to fall from their seats in every direction and cried out for mercy. If I had had a sword in each hand, I wouldn’t have been able to cut them down as rapidly as they fell. Nearly the whole congregation was either on their knees or prostrate.” (Revival, por Winkle Pratney, p.24)
1870 Holiness Conferences in Sacramento, Santa Clara andy San Francisco – John Inskip the president of the National Holiness Association reported that he saw many prominent leaders of the California Conference “slain to the ground by the power of God and lay prostrate for hours full of glory.” (A Survey of 20th Century Revival Movements in North America, p.21)
1889 Revival Meeting of Mary Woodworth Etter – “The power of God was upon the entire congregation and all around the city of Oakland. The Holy Spirit fell upon the people while we preached. They would remain frozen as if facing death. Many of the most educated and best dressed men fell backwards in their seats with their hands raised to God, remaining under the power of God Almighty. Men and women everywhere fell like trees in a great storm. Some had visions of God. Almost all of them came out of their visions shouting praises to God.” (A Survey of 20th Century Revival Movements in North America, p.24)
20th Century Revivals
The Welch Revival, 1904 – “Two women were filled with the Holy Spirit and unable to contain themselves, began to shout loudly. Everyone gathered around Evan Roberts, who smiled as if to reassure them, although he himself was overcome with wonder. People began to shout: “No more Jesus, or I will die! Some cried out for mercy, others wept, sang or praised God. All this, together with many fainting or falling prostrate on the floor under the agony of conviction was, as the historian Eifion Roberts said, ‘as incredible as without precedent.’” (A Survey of 20th Century Revival Movements in North America, p.35)
The Azuza Street Revival, 1906 – “The meetings were nearly continuous. Thirsty souls found themselves under the power of God in almost every moment, day or night… The presence of God became more than wonderful. In this old building with bare floors and low ceiling, God tore strong men and women apart and reformed them for His glory. It was a marvelous reconstruction process. Pride and self-imposition, self-importance and self-esteem could not survive there.” (A Survey of 20th Century Revival Movements in North America, p.56)
Primative Pentecostal Revival: Meeting with Mary Woodworth Etter – “In every service for nearly three months, the power that was so common in the days of Finney, Johnathan Edwards, etc., that knocked people down, has been manifested… Many have seen balls of fire and lights in and around the tent… Jesus has appeared to many in the meetings and many on different occasions saw a great multitude of angels right above the audience.” (Woodworth Etter, p.168)
Campmeeting, 1913 – “Thousands have gathered from all over the state, some have come from other countries and we believe that it is the biggest meeting in these past days. The president, brother Scout, said that two hundred ministers were on the platform, seated together in communion and brotherly love. The Lord was present demonstrating His approval of the Word, with powerful signs and miracles, especially with healings and baptisms in the Holy Spirit and fire. The prostrating power was manifested and many were laid prostrate with power.” (Woodworth Etter, p.250)
Evangelist Dr. Charles Price, 1920 – “The power fell. Hundreds were saved and hundreds healed. The first person I prayed for for their physical healing fell under the power of God. Y was astonished. I prayed for the second and the same thing happened. I trembled in the presence of God but both of them, getting up and proclaiming that they had been healed, gave me strength and I continued praying. Afterwards, dozens and dozens were slain under the power of God at the same time. The multitudes came in such great numbers that we had to rent a bigger building.” (The Story of my Life, Charles S. Price, p.29)
The Latter Rain Movement, 1948 – “At the close of the ‘40s it seemed that the wind of the Spirit of God was blowing with a greater force. God was moving in revival power. It began through the minister Reverend Hawtin and the Biblical Institute Sharon in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. There was such an infusion of divine power in healings, miracles and speaking gifts that it drew much attention. Thousands congregated from every part of the continent and around the whole world to the Camp meeting Conventions.”
These are just a few examples demonstrating how God moves with supernatural manifestations in times of Revival. For a concise description of many similar moves of God during the past several centuries I recommend the website, Beautiful Feet.
THE TESTIMONY OF SCRIPTURE
God tells us in His Word that in the last days He is going to do new things that He hasn’t done in the past: “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isa 43:18,19). We need to be prepared and open to receive new things from the Lord in these last days. If the Apostles and the hundred and twenty had not been willing to receive new things from the Lord they wouldn’t have accepted speaking in tongues, since it was something new that God hadn’t done before. For something to be of God it isn’t necessary that there should be examples in the Bible because God is free to do new things. We only know that He will not do anything new which contradicts His character as it is revealed to us in His Word. Nevertheless, we see indications in the Scriptures that all the manifestations we are seeing in our day were characteristic of distinct manifestations in biblical times.
The most common phenomenon that we are seeing in the present revival is people falling prostrate under God’s power. His presence overcomes our physical strength, often leaving us weak and unable to walk without assistance or much effort. Some have visions, hear His voice, feel His anointing or simply feel a joy and deep peace as they rest under His influence.
Examples in Scripture:
Revelation 1:17 “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.” When John saw Jesus Christ glorified in vision, he lost all strength and fell as a dead man at His feet.
John 18:6 “Now when He said to them, "I am He," they drew back and fell to the ground.” When Christ said “I AM” the company of soldiers who came to arrest Him fell to the ground. Often even the unrepentant fall as slain in the manifest presence of the great I AM.
Daniel 10:8-9 “Therefore I was left alone when I saw this great vision, and no strength remained in me; for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength. Yet I heard the sound of his words; and while I heard the sound of his words I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground.” When Daniel had this vision, his companions were frightened and ran away. He lost the ability to remain standing and fell under the weight of glory with his face to the ground.
Also, people who are touched by God often begin to tremble with varying intensity. For some only their mouth or hands tremble, while others have strong contortions and convulsions. Whenever, the spiritual voltage is increased, things begin to happen with our fragile bodies. This manifestation often indicates “spiritual surgery” o that one is receiving a fresh anointing.
Examples in Scripture:
Jeremiah 23:9 “My heart within me is broken because of the prophets; All my bones shake. I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine has overcome, because of the Lord, and because of His holy words.
Habakkuk 3:16 “When I heard, my body trembled; my lips quivered at the voice; Rottenness entered my bones; and I trembled in myself...”
Psalm 99:1 “The Lord reigns! The nations tremble...”
Drunk in the Spirit
In Ephesians 5:18 it says: “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.” Being filled with the Spirit can produce an effect similar to being drunk on wine. The person feels the presence of God so strongly that his normal abilities to walk, think and speak are affected. In contrast to wine, being drunk in the Holy Spirit never produces the sins of the flesh. To the contrary, it produces greater holiness and passion for Jesus.
Examples in Scripture:
Jeremiah 23:9 Jeremiah said: “...I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine has overcome, because of the Lord, and because of His holy words.”
Zachariah 10:7 With reference to the “latter rain” (v.1) Zechariah said: “Those of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as if with wine. Yes, their children shall see it and be glad; Their heart shall rejoice in the Lord.”
Acts 2:13 “Others mocking said, ‘They are full of new wine.’” The fact that the mockers said that they were drunk when they were full of the Holy Spirit implies that they had the appearance of being drunk.
Laughter experienced as a manifestation of the presence of God is a laughter resulting from joy unspeakable and full of glory. Psalm 16:11 says: “In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Fullness of joy is expressed in laughter. God gives His people joy and laughter to deliver us from stress, dead religion, fatigue, legalism and dead formalism. The anointing brings “the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” (Isa 61:3)
Examples in Scripture:
Psalm 126:1-2 “When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing.”
Isaias 51:11 “So the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
Proverbs 17:22 “A merry heart does good, like medicine.”
Dancing, Leaping and Running
At times the joy unspeakable and full of glory produced by the Holy Spirit is so glorious that it produces spontaneous dancing. Others, overwhelmed with joy leap or run to give expression to what they are experiencing.
Examples in Scripture:
2Samuel 6:14 “Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod.”
Jeremiah 31:4 “You shall again be adorned with your tambourines, and shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice.”
Malachi 4:2 “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.”
Often when someone is touched by the Lord it manifests with weeping. It can vary in intensity from a few tears to intense weeping with sobbing. It often indicates that one is being emotionally healed or freed from bondages. At times a season of weeping is followed by great joy and spiritual renewal.
Examples in Scripture:
Nehemiah 8:9 “all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.” The revelation of the Word brought deep emotions of repentance and joy.
2Chronicles 34:27 “because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and you humbled yourself before Me, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you," says the Lord.”
Inability to Speak
At times one can become so effected under the power of God that they are unable to utter words. When their tongue is finally loosed and they are able to speak, they often prophesy.
Examples in Scripture:
Daniel 10:15-16 “When he had spoken such words to me, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless. 16 And suddenly, one having the likeness of the sons of men touched my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke.”
Ezekiel 3:26-27 “I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be mute and not be one to rebuke them, for they are a rebellious house. 27 But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God.'”
Visions, Dreams and Prophetic Revelations
A characteristic of this visitation is that the presence of God is accompanied with revelations from God en visions, dreams and prophetic revelations. This is a fulfillment of the prophesy of Joel 2:28: “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.”
Examples in Scripture:
Numbers 11:29 When the Holy Spirit fell upon some of the elders of Israel and they began to prophesy, Joshua complained to Moses. Moses responded saying: “Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the Lord's people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!”
1Samuel 19:20 “the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. Here we see that even the messengers of Saul who were in rebellion against God couldn’t avoid prophesying when the Spirit came upon them. Afterwards the same thing happened to Saul in verse 24 when he came to arrest David.
During the ministry of Jesus upon the earth and afterwards in the book of Acts, there were many manifestations of demons (Matt 9:32-34; Mark 1:23-26; 5:2-11; 9:14-29; Luke 4:33-37; 6:17-19; Acts 5:16; 8:6-8; 16:16-18; 19:11-12). Wherever the Holy Spirit is manifesting with power, the demons that have bound the people are exposed and there are demonic manifestations. Revivals are a time of deliverance for the captives.
Every believer is seated with Christ in heavenly places and for that reason we have authority over all the power of the enemy. For that reason, in the Great Commission Jesus said that those who believe will cast out demons (Mark 16:17).
Testing the Spirits
It is true that our adversary is an imitator, and he can imitate the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, just as Pharoah’s magicians imitated the signs God performed through Moses. Also, there are always those who will try to produce the manifestations of the Spirit in the flesh. The enemy will do everything in his power to shut down the ministry of the Spirit, and the way he often does so is by getting us to resist the true manifestations of the Spirit for fear of the false.
Some would rather be “safe and dry” than take the risk and get into the river of God, without realizing that, by despising the manifestations of the Spirit they are quenching the Spirit, instead of testing all things and holding fast to that which is good (1Thess 5:19-22). Rather than quenching the Spirit we are to test the spirits to see whether they are of God (1Jn 4:1). One of the main ways to test the manifestations is to look at their fruit. Do they result in true repentance, a renewed passion for Jesus and a transformed life? The work of Satan does not produce such fruit and neither do fleshly manifestations.
Do Not Resist the Holy Spirit
Seeing the abundance of examples in the Scriptures and in history, we should embrace this move as a revival sent by God. Now is the time to enter into this move of God. Those who resist it now will find it difficult to enter afterwards. Fernando Sosa, a pastor of revival in Mexico said: “Today a fresh wind of the Spirit is blowing. Those who enter into it will easily enter into the next wind that will blow upon the earth, that will be even greater than at the beginning. Many will want to enter it but won’t be able to because its power will push them away.”
Jonathan Edwards gave this warning back in 1730: “Therefore, let us all be warned so as not to in any manner oppose or do the least thing to hinder or oppose the work. On the contrary, let us do everything possible to promote it. Christ has now come from heaven in a notable and marvelous manifestation of His Spirit and it is the responsibility of all His disciples to recognize it and honor it.
Those who remain on the margin questioning this strange action, without knowing what to do with it, refusing to receive it and always ready to speak prematurely against it, as did the Jews of old, would do well to tremble at the words of saint Paul: ‘Behold, you despisers, marvel and perish! For I work a work in your days a work which you will by no means believe though one were to declare it to you.’
May all those who consider this work as a cloud and as darkness, as was the pillar of the cloud and fire for the Egyptians, take heed that it not be for their destruction, as it illumines the Israel of God.”
The Inerrency of Scripture
The Love of God
The Fear of the Lord
The Question of Evil
Understanding the Atonement
Homosexuality and the Bible
Answers to Objections:
Has God Rejected Israel:
God's Glorious Plan for the Ages
The Manifest Sons of God
The Trinity and the Deity of Christ
Eternal Preexistence of Christ
Preterism vs. Futurism
The Two-Gospel Doctrine Examined