What does the Bible say about manifestations of the Holy Spirit?
Are manifestations of the holy Spirit biblical? When you look around on the internet you can find many different opinions on this topic and everyone claims to be ‘biblical’ and telling the ‘truth’. But what is REALLY the truth and what does the Bible say about it?
Manifestations of the holy Spirit are occurring in tens of thousands of churches worldwide. It’s definitely not tied to a certain ministry, church or movement. It’s a phenomenon which has been seen throughout the church history. Many great revivals were marked with manifestations like laughing, crying, shaking, shouting, falling etc. Because of the odd appearances many people ask themselves the question: is this really of the holy Spirit? Is God doing this? Or is this an eveil spirit and is it pure deception by satan? Can you find manifestations of the holy Spirit in the Bible?
Jesus Christ warned us that there would be many false prophets and heretics. The apostle Paul specifically invokes the Christians not to trust any spirit, but to test the spirits.
So it is important to be vigilant and to examine from the source.
Thankfully Jesus Christ as well as the apostles and prophets have left clear advice on how to discern the spirits. The Bible contains various keys to help us intercept deception. Furthermore the Bible shows us that the holy Spirit wants to give us the gift of discernment. (1 Cor 12:10) God wants to protect us against every form of deception and wants to perfect us in spiritual discernment.
The question we ask ourselves is: how do you discern whether a manifestation is from the Spirit of God or from a demon?
What’s important to understand is that nowhere in the Bible it says that a manifestation is from a demon, just because it looks weird. Yes, manifestations can be perceived as weird, like someone suddenly falling backwards, bursting into laughter without visible obvious reason, starting to shake severely or start to cry intensely. But biblically seen we cannot label something as demonic just because it looks unusual. An important message in the Bible is rather that God judges things in a very different way than we do. Man is inclined to judge a verdict purely on the basis of what we superficially hear or see. But God sees much deeper.
God rebukes his own prophet Samuel because he judged on the basis of his human perception.
Samuel saw the sons of Isai and found that they physically met the criteria to become the next king of Israel. But God reproached Samuel and said:
‘You look at the outward appearance, but I LOOK AT THE HEART.’ (See 1 Samuel 16)
This is a distinguishing mark of us people: we are not used to look deeper than the superficial, visible and audible. What we tend to do too quickly is think: ‘It looks like this, so I am convinced that is such and such.’ This is however not a valid way to determine if a manifestation is from God or not. God’s word says:
‘For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.’ (Ephesians 6:12)
We live in a supernatural, invisible world which you cannot always identify with your human senses.
A demon can make a person sit down very pious, rigid, neatly and good, while the Spirit of God can liberate somebody from bonds and allows the person to freely laugh, cry, sheer and dance of joy. The man that is demonically bound can look very pious, fitting and smooth but his heart can be a source of bitter poison, judgement and slander. The person that laughs or cries loudly and starts to tremble with his whole body can be deeply filled with the love, truth and freedom of Jesus Christ. So you cannot know at first sight what is truly happening inside somebody’s heart.
You have to learn to look deeper than the outward. Otherwise you will be deceived by your own wrong judgement.
God says in the Bible that He functions on a very different level than our human way of thinking and making judgement:
‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’ (Isaiah 55:9)
The danger of misinterpretation is clearly seen with the scribes, the ‘bible experts’ in the days of Jesus. They that taught the people about God and his word. They didn’t recognise Jesus Christ and accused Him to be a servant of the devil. They misjudged and became enemies of what God was doing in their midst. The same thing is happening today. People who have a lot of theoretical knowledge about the bible, name manifestations as demonic, just because it doesn’t fit in their thinking boxes. But that is not a biblical way of checking. This way you can severely mis…