Are Manifestations Really from God?

Posted: October 12, 2009 in False doctrines, Mystics/Mysticism, New Age, Truth, Uncategorized

If you’ve spent much time at all in charismatic circles, you’ve no doubt encountered various forms of manifestations in a service, seminar or big conference. Most involved in this movement have come to a place of comfort where manifestations are concerned and they have simply been explained as being “manifestations of God’s presence when He comes upon or moves on a person.”

Mike Bickle himself makes reference to these manifestations in the Appendix of his book on God’s Manifest Presence: Growing in the Prophetic, (op. cit., pg. 196. 227) In this section, Bickle presents a list of phenomena from contemporary experience such as:

“Shaking, jerking, loss of bodily strength, heavy breathing, eyes fluttering, lips trembling, oil on the body, changes in skin color, weeping, laughing, ‘drunkenness,’ staggering, travailing, dancing, falling, visions, hearing audibly into the spirit realm, inspired utterances (that is, prophecy), tongues, interpretation; angelic visitations and manifestations; jumping, violent rolling, screaming, wind, heat, electricity, coldness, nausea as discernment of evil, smelling or tasting good or evil presences, tingling, pain in the body as discernment of illnesses, feeling heavy weight or lightness, trances (altered physical state while seeing and hearing into the spirit world), inability to speak normally and disruption of the natural realm (for example, electrical circuits blown).” (Growing in the Prophetic, op. cit., pg. 209)

I have attended countless conferences in previous years hosted by IHOP (and by Metro Vineyard Fellowship/Metro Christian Fellowship prior to IHOP’s launch) and have witnessed first hand all of the above. At the time, I also was convinced these were things that happened to people when God’s presence came upon them…and I had been conditioned and told to believe such by leaders. But after leaving IHOP and the entanglements of being there, I spent the following few years researching and delving into IHOP’s teachings, processing what I had come out of, and really questioning what was a fruit of the Spirit of God and what was a manifestation of another kind of spirit altogether.

Since the inspired words of God in scripture are the plumb line and measuring stick that all teachings, manifestations, doctrines and actions should be held up against as a standard, let’s go there to determine whether the many manifestations Bickle lists above are really as they say “movements of God’s spirit”.

In everything I have read, studied and researched in scripture on this subject, I came to the conclusion that the ONLY time I saw anything resembling the above manifestations in scripture was when a demonized person was manifesting demons and when our Lord and Messiah or one of His disciples was casting them out. There was never mention of this bizarre activity or behavior occurring amongst spirit-filled believers including Peter, the apostle Paul and others.

Demonic manifestations in scripture:

Violence, screaming (Matt 8:28-34; Luke 8:29))
Blindness and/or muteness (Matt 9:32, 33; Matt 12:22)
Shaking/seizures, falling into fire & water (Matt 17:14-18)
Demon throws a man down on the ground and then comes out of him at the Lord’s rebuke (Luke 4:35)

Those who manifested demonic activity were loud, drew attention to themselves, were violent, shaking, etc. Those that the Lord touched, ministered to or healed were instantly made whole, put into their right mind and at peace. He even discouraged those who received miracles from telling the people of certain regions who He was. He gave praise and glory only to the Father…never drawing it to himself.

So, knowing what we know to be true about the character and nature of God as mentioned above, what glory does the Lord receive from barking, shaking, drunk staggering, screaming, etc? Clearly, this is not fruit of the Spirit but manifestations of the activity of the evil one. Satan MUST draw attention to self. He must make loud displays. God is clear about the activity He involves Himself in and what is truly of Him. He says to test the spirits and the outrageous fanfare mentioned above is not the character or nature of the God we serve. Period.

A good rule of thumb to consider: when you see something in a church, a meeting, a conference, a worship service, a prayer time, etc. that there is not a standard set for in scripture, be very cautious about attributing it as being a “movement of God”. More than likely in those cases, it’s just man-concocted doctrines and teachings that have evolved out of deceptions and mis-interpretations of the word of God.

For further info on these said “manifestations” do a Google search on a Buddhist yoga practice called “Kundalini”. Click here for a YouTube video which compares the ancient “serpent force” called Kundalini with what is seen in most charismatic churches today and called “manifestations of God’s presence”. Also visit this blog for more info and videos on the subject.

Click “here” for my follow-up post to this one titled “Does Acts 2 Justify ‘Manifestations’?”

  1. Pastor Dave says:

    Having said all this, I would like to address Peter’s question about tongues.
    There are two facets to the scriptural use of tongues and a close study of 1 Corin 14 reveals that. There is the public manifestation of unknown n and unlearned tongues which Paul says is only proper when unbelievers are present. “It is to be a sign to the unbeliever and is to be followed by an interpretation. Paul plainly discourages in most public and corporate meetings. What is commonly referred to as “prayer language” is our private communication with God. At those times when we do not know how to pray. (our knowledge is limited and our language ability is inadequate) the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us with unlimited verbal ability and divine understanding. Romans 8:27

  2. Pastor Dave says:

    I would like to respond to Peter’s inquiry. I have been a Pentecostal preacher for over 30 years. I was raised in a Pentecostal church. Over the years the Holy Spirit has led me into many truths as Jesus said he would. I have become fully persuaded that many things in the pentecostal realm are
    just as Paul said in 1 Cor. 12 done out of gross ignorance. Chapter 14 is a guide to the operation of the gifts and the Spirit but so many ignore it. The Charismatic movement is more than ignorance. As has been stated in previous posts the devil has taken over many pulpits and leading scripturally unsound emotionalists on a spiritual self gratification trip. I have heard it called “spiritual masterbation” and as crude as this sounds, I can’t think of a better discription.

  3. DKEN says:

    John 1:1 says, “Test the spirits”. When you compare the Bible doctrine of the New Testament against what you see in the various “movements” spoken of here, God is not a God of confusion but a God of peace. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it is a…………
    So if a “reported” or “aledged” “revival” looks like a rock concert where people look like the Biblical concept of “The World” act like the world and have the music and dress of the world, then what do you think is behind it? God or the flesh? If there are people behaving just as the demoniacs (demon controlled people) in Scripture do, who controls them? When supposed “Christian Music” makes your flesh move and not just your heart and spirit, could it be your flesh and not the Spirit of Truth?

    Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD God Almighty. Holy means to be separated. In God’s case, there is no one like Him. Be thou holy, as I am holy, saith the Lord. What separtated Christianity does not look like is the present cosmos (gr. look of the world) of the present world order. God is the enemy of this world. He does not use this world’s ideas and actions to get His plan across. Love not the world neither the things in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. God is Love, yet He is not Love, Love, Love. He is mercy, yet He is not Mercy, Mercy, Mercy. The one distinguishing over riding distintive of God is His Holiness. _His call to the “called out ones” (holy, called out, seperated), which are none other but born again believers, is to not be conformed (made to look like and to be formed) to the image of this world. For the lust of the flesh (satisfaction of wrong desires in mode of dress in that of immodesty and sloppiness, which is the world’s “look”), lust of the eyes (looking at or desiring to be looked at), and the pride of life (wanting attention. Not giving Jesus His proper due) is not of the Father, but is of the world.
    James 4:4 says, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever, therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” Strong language right in the middle of the New Testament revival verse.
    I don’t want this post to be a negative screed, only. We are to rebuke the works of darkness, true. But our call to brothers and sisters in Christ, is to come out of false, demon led religion. Paul says in Galations 5:16,17 “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth (fights against) the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other.”
    There is much in God’s word to show us how to “walk” in the Spirit. We need to seek Him in Purity of Holiness. Holiness is to be separated from something, as in this case, the world. Yet, there is another side of meaning to the word holiness, which is to be devoted or dedicated to something. This is our glorious truth, that we as born again, Bible believing Christians need to be a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto
    God, and this is our resonable service. We need to be all on the alter. Jesus died on the cross, a cruel death, for me. What would be a too great a sacrifice for me to give to Him?
    Please, find a good Bible believing church that worships God in Spirit and Truth, for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. Go there, not to be lifted up and to get something for or for your needs to be met, but to worship the Lamb that was slain. For He is Worthy.
    This is why the picture of the church is marraige. In marraige, the man and the woman are to be seperated from all others and dedicated to each other for ever. No other intemates are allowed. All other women are off limits to the husband and all other men are forbidden for the wife. Just so is our relationship to Christ. In Him we are to find all of our satisfaction. Not in the world. There are to be not other gods before Him. Not money, nor this world’s pleasure and satisfactions, not friends or even family should stop our life long commitment or consecration to Him. Jesus is all the world to me. I want no better friend.
    I know this is kind of long, but it is the number one issue facing the church of God today. The church is just like a ship. If the ship is in the water, there is no problem. If the water is in the ship, there is a problem. How much water determines how big a problem. If the world is in the church, we have a problem. Some of the world in our church is good. New believers and those needing salvation should be in our church. They will still look lilke the world. But if everyone in our church (or revival service) looks like the world, there is big trouble. This is what’s happening today to the church of Christ in the USA. There is not much difference in the look, music, and activities from the world. Let’s all turn from our own worship, to God’s excepted form of worship. Not like Cain, but like Able.

  4. Joy says:

    Thank you so much for posting on this. I have been feeling red flags towards things I once just accepted as from God. But more recently, God has been teaching me what it means to measure everything by His Word. Manifestations (in the physical sense) have been one of the things that I have always blindly accepted as normal, and yet I can’t seem to find examples of these kinds of physical manifestations anywhere in the God’s Word! When I’ve questioned why I don’t see Jesus or his disciples practicing this kind of behavior, I am told that I am limiting God and putting Him in a box. One of the things that I keep hearing about lately is how physical manifestations are biblical, since the disciples behaved in a drunken manner when God’s Spirit came upon them in the book of Acts. I would love to hear what your take on this scripture is!

  5. Peter says:

    You mentioned the louder things, but what do you think of the doctrine of the “prayer language.” I have prayed in tongues, but it is a doctrine that has always conflicted me. What do you think?