Does Acts 2 justify “drunk manifestations”?

Posted: December 29, 2009 in Contemplative Prayer, False doctrines, IHOP, Theology, Transcendental meditation, Truth

This is a follow-up post to “Are Manifestations Really From God?” (10/09). The below question was added as a comment and I believe it is worth addressing as I have had this question posed to me more than once.

Joy wrote:
“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!”

My response:
I’m glad you brought that up. That is an argument I have heard others make also. What I see and hear often in groups like IHOP is the idea of building whole theologies around one verse or one isolated event and “canning it” as a justification for whatever they are wanting to defend in their words or actions. There are many reasons that the argument about why “behaving in a drunken manner is a manifestation of God’s Spirit” is a completely invalid one. I will address a few them.

First, remember that there are two specific groups of people who give a response in Acts 2 and for accuracy in reporting, both are mentioned. Group A, scripture tells us, is comprised of believing Jews from every nation (Acts 2:5). So these were observant, religious Jews who fully kept Torah. Group A takes note that each of them is hearing the apostles speaking in his own language (the languages of those present from each region). They marveled and asked how it was possible (vs. 7 & 8). Here’s the part that is often missed: Group B is made up of “others” who are there observing. [vs. 13: But others made fun of them and said, “They’ve just had too much wine!”]. Who makes up this group of “others” is un-told but they are clearly addressed as being a group other than and separate from the earlier mentioned group of Jews. So this is a group of mockers and naysayers standing on the sidelines. We could make many speculations but since there is no further mention of who were part of this group, assumptions would be adding to scripture what is not told to us. But we can clearly draw the fact from the passage that they were the group that was joking and mocking–not the group who was marveling and in awe that they were hearing their own native tongues being spoken by local men from the area of the Galil. (Galilee as it has been translated today)

Then Kefa (Peter in Hebrew) stands up with the eleven and quickly addresses the mocking by explaining that no one is drunk and he quiets their joking. He quickly brings a serious tone to the situation and explains what is happening. Now let me back up and address the drunkenness issue. Consider what these others (who clearly don’t know the languages being spoken) are observing: men speaking earnestly in a language they have never heard which would have made no sense to them who are full of joy and celebration. The fact that they weren’t understanding what they were hearing but saw these men testifying joyfully to what God had done is enough to have made them judge that the men had been drinking.

Now having said that, read again the paragraph below from Mike Bickle’s book “Growing in the Prophetic” and you tell me if these behaviors can be put in the same category of what the apostles were doing when the Ruach (spirit) of God came upon them:

“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)

Do you see the difference?

When the spirit of God came upon people they shared the good news of the gospel, were healed of illnesses and physical handicaps and were made completely whole. Over and over there are accounts which clearly illustrate what is of the spirit of God and what is from the evil one (Satan). Violent shaking, falling into fire, foaming at the mouth, barking, gnashing, etc. were the effects of demonic manifestation when the Lord (or his followers) cast demons out.

As a disclaimer I want to mention that I am not saying that every time someone dances before the Lord or feels the love of God envelop them that they are experiencing a manifestation of the demonic. Keep in mind that when the Lord healed someone it was not to draw attention to himself–it was to bring praise and glory to the Father. He discouraged people from telling others and often asked them to keep it quiet and tell no one when they received a healing. Is this the same attitude and approach that accompany barking, shrieking and rolling on the floor? What does this activity communicate? Is it drawing attention to self or does it glorify and give praise and honor to the Father? What does this behavior produce in the life of the one who participates in it? Is a sign of healing and freedom to shake and convulse or see gold dust on your hands? Think about it and ask the spirit to lead you into what is true–not what you’ve been to conditioned to accept as truth simply because a ministry endorses it.

I’ve heard criticisms such as “to say that these things are not of the spirit of G-d is blaspheming the spirit so you’d better be careful in making that claim.” Knowing what I know to be true of the G-d I serve…the G-d who looks at the heart and knows the thoughts & intentions of all men…I know that He knows my heart and what I intend by what I say. I would caution that the real danger is to attribute to G-d such things as loss of bodily control, meditative trances, contemplative transcendental meditation, etc. A true blasphemy of the spirit of G-d is to insult the L-rd by attributing actions and manifestations to Him that are not of Him at all. Would that not be a far more grieving action than to avoid what does not bear the fruit or characteristics of being from Him? If the Lord knows your heart and knows that your desire is to serve Him in truth and purity of heart and so you withdraw from and stay away from that which you do not believe glorifies Him, is that not what guarding your heart is also about? We are called as believers to walk blameless and holy (set apart) lives before G-d which do not look like the pagan and self-gratifying practices of the world around us. So then, being entangled in things that are clearly part of the occult, spirit-ism, pantheism, new age, humanism, etc. that have infiltrated our culture (including religious cultures) is the very thing we are to guard against.

Let us choose to live lives that are set apart from the practices of the world so that we may glorify the Father with our words, actions and the thoughts of our heart.

Blessings to you!

  1. Shlomiah says:

    I don’t think they couldn’t understand the sign. I would liken it to modern day as when I had been street preaching and a mocker would say something to the tune of; “dude you’re high” or “are you mental or something?” ie. “hey dude, you’re drunk”
    The problem is where it is interpeted as the Apostles actually appearing to be drunk and not just being mocked for the message’s sake. By this they can twist scripture to biblically validate their drunken behavior. I have seen quite a lot of this during my 3 years with IHOP-Atlanta.

  2. redeemedhippiesplace says:

    It is refreshing to see for a change, that someone can see that it was the mockers accusing the disciples of being drunk. So like the devil to bring an accusation against the truth. When I see Kenneth Hagin and the likes of such men, stumbling around like old drunks, creating their very own “jesus” for the rest of us to follow, I could vomit. I pray that many will see the truth you have here and be set free!

    • DoubleGrace says:

      Hi, Hippie! I totally agree. So good to see this all written out. I have had the same thoughts as Ariel about this topic and found the same results when I actually started searching the scriptures for myself. I know you have too, from reading your blog. 😉

  3. Kay Miller says:

    I so appreciate this blog but find it difficult to read due to the black background…it is really hard on the eyes. Just my humble opinion.

    • Ariel says:

      Thank you Kay. I appreciate your feedback. I agree…the black background can be a tad harsh on the eyes but WordPress has a limited selection of templates to choose from and this is one of the better looking ones (format wise) that allows me to use my custom header. I will take your comment into consideration when I start “shopping” for a new template. Best Regards! –A

  4. Ryan says:

    It is amazing to me also that scripture can be so twisted to have other meanings. My best friend attends the I HOP school and many of my friends are very into the ONE THING conferences and ihop teachings. I at first was also pulled into these false teachings and thankfully the Lord had given my parents and those around me knowledge enough to pull me out of a foundation that would have begun to crumble beneath my feet. I feel that my friends have been brought into all this “emotion” that IHOP seems to bring upon its young followers and they all get into such a comfort level, yet are blindly being led astray by being led to believe that these gifts of “tongues” and manifestations are bringing them to a closer level with the Holy Spirit. I am constantly being told when i try to shed truthful light on the subject that i should not focus on these things in which i dont believe and they always seem to try to in an essence “put away the differences”. But scripture says that as believers we should not be still with these issues but discern the truth from the fiction. Ive quoted scripture and ive gotten into the original Greek form of the Word in order to explain tongues (glossia) and yet their hearts remained hardened against something that is so SIMPLY seen. Its all in the Bible. It just shows how strong an effect this IHOP organization is having on believers and unbelievers everywhere. Its so important because we must build our foundation on solid rock. I can only pray the Lord sends light

    • Ariel says:

      Ryan, well said. I couldn’t agree with you more. I too am thankful to have had parental input regarding what scripture says. I was taught how to interpret it without adding to it or twisting it and that saved me from a lot and allowed me to see things sooner than I would had that foundation not been laid in my life. Thank you for your comment Ryan. May you continue to be a lighthouse of truth to those around you. Continue to direct them away from the rocks in the water.

  5. Me says:

    Good points, I think I will definitely subscribe! I’ll go and read some more! What do you see the future of this being?

  6. Hadar says:

    Thank you Ariel and everyone else who contributes here. It is truly a heart ache to see so many ‘falling’ for this phony spirituality. We must stick to our anchor, the Word of YHVH, in the chaos of the stormy waters of these doctrins of demons.

  7. ester says:

    Yes, IHOP and Redding are two rivers that flow together. They just did a service with IHOP, Redding and Toronto joining forces. About 2 weeks ago. It was a sad day in the Body of Christ.

    • Alan says:

      thank you Ester I appreciate the info. I did start to look into the Jesus culture sight and found Johnson was pastor…it is a sad day for the Body of Christ. A worship pastor friend of mine moved up here from Texas and i think they might be heading in the direction of IHOP..I am putting together info for him to study..thanks again..

  8. Alan says:

    Is the Jesus Culture Conference event that happened in Redding CA part of IHOP?

    • Ariel says:

      I’m not familiar with that conference so I’m not sure. It might be affiliated. I’d research it to see who hosts the conference and whether they are affiliated with IHOP. The affiliation might be an indirect one.

  9. mkayla says:

    Hi. There is so much confusion on this scripture. Not long ago I had a friend say the same thing – I know they were drunk in the spirit because the word says so. I told her Paul’s response to their assumption. I wonder how can they be so off about a scripture that is really very simple to read and understand. It is so said that so many are caught up listening to others and not what the word says. They have forgotten that it is the Holy Spirit who is their teacher, not the elitist and famous teacher, evangelist, apostle, prophet selling their wares. So many are striving for the latest experience or prophetic word that that have turned their back on the only One who can make a difference in their lives. Sadly, in so doing they follow after other gods and this drunkenness is its fruit.

    You brought a lot of good information into this topic that I haven’t read anywhere else. It’s very interesting. I do like your writing style.

    Blessings. See you around the blogs! 🙂

    • Ariel says:

      Thank you Mkayla! I appreciate your comment and I agree that this “drunkenness” in the name of striving after the next big wave of spiritual “experiences” is just fruit of a much deeper issue. Sad to see how far from truth many are wandering. Thanks for visiting my blog and for your insightful feedback.

    • Alan says:

      Just wanted to thank you all for your posts. I am just starting to do research on this IHOP movment and Bickel. I to was found to be in a cult years ago. It was a bible college in the Northwest and it started out great. We learned the word of God and the teaching was exceptional. However we started to get more “Revelation” so called about the bride of Christ and intimacy with Jesus. End result we were dancing with others of the opposite sex, married or unmarried having spiritual connections and “experiencing Jesus ” thru another person. i did get caught up in it. At first it seemed very innocent and very spiritual. I had some major experiences but now feel they were not of God. There was also major emphasis on not questioning anything being taught on this as it would be considered “causing division ” and you could be disfellowshiped.
      any way there is nothing new under the sun as I am seeing in the IHOP mess. take care and God Bless …

      • Ariel says:

        You bring to light some great points Alan. Questioning (aka: testing what you see/hear) brings heresies to the light so that’s why questioning is always discouraged in dangerous religious groups like IHOP. They may say from the microphone to test what they say and search it out for yourself but behind closed doors when those errors are lovingly confronted they will reprimand you and say that you are the problem, not IHOP, therefore you should leave. I’ve heard a number of stories of those who have been kicked out in this manner. Praise God that He opened your eyes to what was happening and that He showed you the truth and led you out. Thank you for posting.

      • mkayla says:

        I read a story from another much like Alan’s. I can’t remember where it was because it was at least a year ago, and back when I was reading nearly constantly. I want to say it was “The River” but I can’t be sure. The story did speak of people dancing together and the deep manipulation/rejection that put them into bondage. The “don’t question” is something we hear over and over in these testimonies, beginning with Toronto (??) and going forward.

        I’m glad you are out Alan. 🙂

  10. […] Masquerade – Does Acts 2 justify “drunk manifestations”? – interesting […]

  11. ester says:

    Is spiritual drunkenness really a sign of God’s favor? Or is it in reality a clear sign of
    God’s judgment? In looking at the scriptural references to drunkenness one can only
    conclude the latter. In Jeremiah chapter 51, in a prophecy of judgment upon Babylon, we

    “Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, That made all the earth drunk. The
    nations drank her wine; Therefore the nations are deranged…In their excitement I will
    prepare their feasts; I will make them drunk, That they may rejoice, And sleep a
    perpetual sleep And not awake, says the LORD… And I will make drunk Her princes
    and wise men, Her governors, her deputies, and her mighty men. And they shall sleep a
    perpetual sleep And not awake, says the King, Whose name is the LORD of hosts.”
    (Jer 51:7;39;57 NKJV)

    Here we clearly see that drunkenness is a direct judgment from God. Is it possible that
    God is judging His apostate Church (Mystery Babylon) with spiritual drunkenness even
    now? It is my belief that is exactly what is happening through these Latter Rain revivals”
    In Isaiah 63:6, a prophecy of the last days, we read “I have trodden down the peoples in
    my anger, made them drunk in my fury, and brought down their strength to the earth.”

    The Bible nowhere contains a suggestion that to be drunk, spiritually or otherwise, is a
    good thing for God’s people. In fact, in the Word of God, we are constantly exhorted to
    sobriety and self-control.

    “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit…”
    (Eph 5:18)

    Having seen videotape examples and attended conferences of people who are supposedly
    “drunk in the spirit”; staggering around, struggling to talk (or preach), talking with
    slurred speech, and falling down, as well as behavior that is unseemly or immodest, I am
    totally convinced that this is not God’s Spirit at work. This kind of behavior is identical to
    the type of behavior exhibited by literal drunks – drunk on alcohol. There is absolutely
    no reason to infer from the book of Acts (Chapter 2) that the disciples of our Lord were
    exhibiting even one of these “symptoms” of drunkenness. If you read Acts, chapter 2 you
    realize that what the populace was responding to was the supernatural sign that was in
    evidence – they were speaking in tongues.
    Unable to explain this sign in any other way, some mocked and accused them of being
    drunk. That this charge was spurious and not even considered by the majority can be
    seen in the fact that 3,000 listened and responded to Peter’s (coherent) presentation of
    the gospel, repented of their sins, and were added to the Church that day.

    There is a “party spirit” loose in the Church today. Thousands are dying and slipping into
    an eternity in hell every day. Occultism and New Age beliefs, not to mention secular
    humanism and the myriad of new cults arising daily are leading millions down the wide
    road that leads to destruction. Yet I’m supposed to believe that God would have me sit
    back, relax, and enjoy some “Holy Ghost drinking party”? This is just the very thing that
    our Lord warned us about:

    “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing,
    drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.”
    (Luke 21:34 NKJV)

    A conference in San Jose had Che Ahn, Stacy Campbell, Jim Goll and many others who
    were so drunk they could not stand up for hours. They had imaginary big bowls that they
    were drinking the “new wine” from and teaching that it was a blessing from the Lord that
    he was so happy with us that he wanted to pour out this bliss on us.
    Also present there were “fire tunnels” which upon going through the tunnels, the people
    came out significantly more messed up!

    While researching spiritual drunkenness, I ran across this web site.

    Our first church plant is officially launched and will start at 7pm Friday May 22nd.
    For several months I’ve gotten several calls a week for people wanting to come get
    drunk and receive drunk teaching and revelatory drunk theology and now the needs
    will be met with great intoxication at “Joel’s Bar.” A first of its kind prototype of
    churches to come. The wine is not a weird side dish, it is the main course in salvation
    history. The intoxication is not a means to an end, IT IS THE END THING IN
    ITSELF. It is the bridal wine of intimacy with the person Jesus Christ. The
    intoxication of God’s Spirit brings refreshment to the entire person, spirit, soul, and
    body. I heard a prophet say lately that drunkenness is one of the highest levels of
    wisdom in the Kingdom. So come out to this glory revolutionary church plant and
    drink your fill o’ lovers!

    Come in costumes ready to drink or just come as you are! This is the craziest
    drunkiest messiest revival of all time. Come get pickled in the wine cellar of heaven
    with some of Minnesota’s wildest mystics! Caution: extreme drinking in progress.
    Believers appear to be intoxicated on alcohol and high on drugs, but “WE ARE NOT
    DRUNK AS YOU SUPPOSE!!!” Just show up empty headed and heart hungry for

    Jim Goll and John Crowder teach “Tokin the Holy Ghost” from national platforms. I
    believe these two men are promoting this teaching and it is polluting the Body of
    Christ and people are becoming demonized. See the link at the end of this paper for
    Red Letter Ministries and I am sure you will be convinced of this.