The Manifestations of the Spirit in the Scripture

Falling under the influence of the Spirit: This is often referred to as being “slain in the Spirit,” or resting in the Spirit, or being overcome in the Spirit. This is the most common manifestation. People feel lightness, often with a sense of joy. Some just lie down to receive more from God, such as emotional or physical healing, deliverance, or impartation of power for ministry.

Christians from every tradition have written of this manifestation through history, especially in times of revival. Some fell under conviction of sin, while others experienced an inner work of healing of their heart or received an impartation for ministry.

In the Bible there are many examples of people who fell as they encountered God’s presence. John fell down in the presence of Jesus’ glory (Rev. 1:17), as did the disciples (Mt. 17:6). The soldiers who arrested Jesus fell to the ground (Jn. 18:6). Saul fell on the road to Damascus when he encountered Jesus’ glory at his conversion (Acts 9:4-8).

Ezekiel fell down before the glory of the Lord (Ezek. 1:28; 3:23; 43:4; 44:4).

Daniel fell, had no strength, and even passed out, going into a deep sleep (Dan. 8:7-10, 17-18; 10:8-9). He was overwhelmed by God’s presence, having no strength to get up (Dan. 10:9, 17). Daniel could hear and was aware of His condition and surroundings.

Large numbers may be “incapacitated” by the power of the Spirit as occurred at the dedication of Solomon’s temple when the people saw the “glory cloud” (2 Chr. 5:13-14).
13The house of the Lord was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house… (2 Chr. 5:13-14)

God’s glory was manifest in such power that the priests could not function or enter the temple because of God’s glory (2 Chr. 7:1-2). At times the presence of God is “heavy” and can be felt as weight. People fall under it or gradually bend over until they eventually fall. The Hebrew word for glory is kavod, which means the “weight or heaviness” of God.

1The glory of the Lord filled the temple. 2 The priests could not enter the house…because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house. (2 Chr. 7:1-2)

Drunk in the Spirit”: those who were filled with the Holy Spirit appeared as drunk to people who did not understand (Acts 2:15). Many have reportedly been “drunk in the Spirit” as they appeared inebriated, staggered, laughed uncontrollably, spoke with slurred speech, and had a dizzy look in their eyes. Some have continued with these manifestations for days at a time! Paul spoke of being beside himself for God in contrast to being of sound mind (2 Cor. 5:13).

15These are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. (Acts 2:15)

13If we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if…of sound mind, it is for you. (2 Cor. 5:13)

Laughter: laughter that is sometimes “uncontrollable” and lasts for hours is the manifestation of the joy of the Lord. This is not dependent on personality type as even depressed persons may break out with spontaneous laughter. The kingdom is joy in the Spirit (Rom. 14:17). One fruit of a spirit-filled life is joy (Gal. 5:22). Joy is a deep state of contentment, yet it is not limited to that. It can have a physical expression. Some believe it is wrong for joy to be expressed with laughter in a church setting. The manifestation of many laughing at the same time seems irreverent to some. Joy, gladness, and laughter are sometimes connected in Scripture (Ps. 126:2-3)

2Our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing…3 The LORD has done great things for us, and we are glad. (Ps. 126:2-3)

Trembling: the fear of God fell on the people near Daniel as he received a vision (Dan. 10:7). Daniel trembled in the fear of God (Dan. 8:17-18; 10:7-11), as did the disciples (Mt. 17:6). The guards around Jesus’ tomb shook for fear when encountering an angel (Mt. 28:4).

7The men who were with me did not see the vision; but a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled… 8 No strength remained in me; for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength…9 I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground…11 While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling. (Dan. 10:7-11)

Shaking: some shake, slightly or violently. Quakers were known for this and, thus, received their name. There are many examples in Scripture of those who shook or trembled in the fear of God. When Moses received the Ten Commandments, the people shook, along with the mountain (Ex. 19:16-18). Sometimes even buildings shook in God’s presence (Acts 4:31; Isa. 6:4).

Speechless: Daniel was speechless because of his encounter with God (Dan. 10:15-19). Some have an inability to talk because of losing the physical ability or mental concentration to speak. They may be conscious but cannot talk for a period of time (Ezek. 3:26; Lk 1:22).

26I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth so you shall be mute… (Ezek. 3:26)

Weeping: many have tears of joy, or the tenderness of feeling loved by God, or love for God, or weep in repentance or mourning over sin or spiritual dullness (2 Chr. 34:27; Hos. 12:4; Mt. 26:75; Lk. 19:41; Rom. 2:4; 2 Cor. 7:10; Rev. 5:4). Some weep as the result of an inner healing and others because of a burden in intercession (Heb 5:7). Sometimes weeping suddenly turns to laughter.

Trances: Peter and Paul fell into trances, allowing them to see and hear into the spirit world (Acts 10:10, 22:17). Balaam fell into a trance, or received an open vision (Num. 24:3-4).

Pockets of power”: the report of small “pockets” of heightened activity of the Spirit is common in times of revival. When people walk into a specific area like this, they experience the Spirit’s presence in an intensified way. They may fall, laugh, shake, cry, or receive a healing. An example of this dynamic occurred when Saul and his men went near a group of prophets (1 Sam. 19). When they came near the prophets, the Spirit came on Saul’s men and they also prophesied. When Saul sent more men, they prophesied. Saul sent a third group who also prophesied (19:20-21). Finally Saul went and the Spirit came on him, and he prophesied (19:22-24).

Traveling by the Spirit: some like Philip have been physically taken by the Spirit to another place (Acts 8:39-40). Others, like Ezekiel, go to another place in a vision (Ezek. 3:14; 8:3; 11:24). Some are taken on a journey after falling down by the Spirit’s power. They might be out of body or in a vision or dream-like state. Some have the sense of God taking them to heaven or to various places on earth. Paul and John went to heaven (2 Cor. 12:1-4; Rev. 4:1)

39The Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away…40  Philip was found at Azotus. (Acts 8:39-40)

Fire: The believers in the upper room saw fire resting on each person (Acts 2:3). God’s fire fell from the sky in the Old Testament (Lev. 9:24; 1 Kgs. 18:38; 1 Chr. 21:26). In the end times there will be signs of blood, fire, and smoke (Joel 2:30-31). Fire will come from the sky in the first, second, third, and sixth trumpets and fourth bowl (Rev. 8:5-10; 9:17-18; 16:8). The two witnesses and the False Prophet will call fire from heaven (Rev. 11:5; 13:13).

19I will show…signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke… (Acts 2:19)

Many manifestations could be listed, such as a talking animal (Num. 22:28), walking on water (Mt. 14:29), wrestling or traveling with angels (Gen. 32:28; 2 Kgs. 2:11), bones that raise the dead (2 Kgs. 13:21), shining faces (Ex. 34:30), visiting heaven (2 Cor. 12:2-3) and much more.

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