(All Bible Quotations, Except Otherwise Stated, Are From The New International Version)
Many in pentecostal and charismatic circles are used to witnessing chaotic scenes during anointing services. The sights of people falling and tumbling under the anointing, getting violent and hurting themselves and others in the process, are all too familiar. All these are usually attributed to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and of believers being filled with the Spirit. Are these normal manifestations of the anointing with the Holy Spirit? Does the Holy Spirit make people violent and destructive when he fills them, or are there other forces at work here? We shall examine the Scriptures to understand how the Holy Spirit manifests, as well as the spirits that make people violent and destructive.
To begin with, we must understand that the human spirit, which is the seat of emotions and passions, can be influenced by many different spirits- the Holy Spirit, angelic spirits, demonic spirits and spirits of other human beings. Holy angels operate in obedience and subservience to the Holy Spirit, whose messengers they are. Their influence on the human spirit is therefore the same as that of the Holy Spirit. Demonic spirits are spirits of fallen angels who align with satan, God’s chief adversary, and work in tandem with the devil to oppose and resist God and his works. Their main purpose is to deceive, to kill, to steal and to destroy God’s creations. The human spirit can be influenced and controlled by either the Holy Spirit (directly or through holy angels), or by evil or demonic spirits. The manifestations displayed by an individual will reveal which spirit is influencing the person. The Holy Spirit will manifest his gifts and fruits when he comes upon an individual, while evil or impure spirits will display evil and destructive tendencies through the vessel they possess or anoint. We will now examine a few instances in the Scriptures when various spirits came upon people and the manifestations they displayed.
1 Samuel 18:5 Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul’s officers as well.
1 Samuel 18:6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres.
1 Samuel 18:7 As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”
1 Samuel 18:8 Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?”
1 Samuel 18:9 And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.
1 Samuel 18:10 The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand
1 Samuel 18:11 and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.
1 Samuel 18:12 Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with David but had departed from Saul.
1 Samuel 19:8 Once more war broke out, and David went out and fought the Philistines. He struck them with such force that they fled before him.
1 Samuel 19:9 But an evil spirit from the LORD came on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the lyre,
1 Samuel 19:10 Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David made good his escape.
In the accounts above, we see an evil spirit coming upon King Saul and the impact it had on his behaviour. Though the anointing of the evil spirit made Saul to prophesy, it also made him mad, furious, intensely jealous and hateful. It induced a murderous rage towards David and provoked Saul’s many attempts on David’s life. We learn from these encounters that the anointing of evil spirits comes with destructive tendencies, confirming the Scriptures that the devil has only come to kill, to steal and to destroy, and that he’s a murderer.
St. John 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
St. John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Other instances where violent and destructive behaviours were displayed in the Scriptures also involved demon-possessed people. When demons take hold of people, they not only manipulate their minds (leading to insane behaviour), they also induce violent and destructive tendencies. Demons are supernatural spirits that possess supernatural strength. Those they inhabit may display such supernatural strength, causing harm and destruction both to themselves and to others around them. We see a clear example of that with the demoniac in the region of the Gerasenes. Possessed with a host of impure and violent demons who twisted his mind and imbued him with supernatural strength, the demoniac lived a tormented and destructive life. However, upon deliverance from the influence of those demons, he came to his right senses and was calm and well behaved. When the same vile spirits that had possessed him earlier entered into a herd of swine, they drove the enraged pigs down a steep slope and into a lake, where they all drowned. Such is the destructive effect of evil spirits!
St. Mark 5:1 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.
St. Mark 5:2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him.
St. Mark 5:3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain.
St. Mark 5:4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him.
St. Mark 5:5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
St. Mark 5:6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him.
St. Mark 5:7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!”
St. Mark 5:8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”
St. Mark 5:9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.”
St. Mark 5:10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
St. Mark 5:11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside.
St. Mark 5:12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.”
St. Mark 5:13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
St. Mark 5:14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened.
St. Mark 5:15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.
Further examples of the violent and destructive effects of evil spirits in the Scriptures are seen in palsies caused by these spirits in those they possess. These vile spirits can induce convulsions in people, throw them into water or fire (with the intent to kill them), and make their lives miserable. Such demons cause much sufferings and pains to both the people they possess and their carers. And even on their way out of those they possess (during exorcism), they inflict so much injuries that they leave their victims almost dead.
St. Mark 9:14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them.
St. Mark 9:15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.
St. Mark 9:16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.
St. Mark 9:17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.
St. Mark 9:18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
St. Mark 9:19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
St. Mark 9:20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
St. Mark 9:21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered.
St. Mark 9:22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
St. Mark 9:23 “’If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
St. Mark 9:24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
St. Mark 9:25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
St. Mark 9:26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.”
St. Mark 9:27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
In contrast, when the Holy Spirit comes upon people, he anoints them with gifts of the Spirit and does not bring about violence or destruction. People do not shake and convulse, even if the buildings they are inside are shaken by the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. He may come down in the form of a fire or a whirlwind, but he does no violence to the people he fills and possesses, neither does he induce violent and disorderly behaviours in them. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of gentleness and meekness, not of violence and destruction. He doesn’t torment the people he possesses, rather he brings peace to them. He brings healing and deliverance, not bondage and sufferings. Even when he came upon the people for the first time on the day of Pentecost and made them speak in foreign languages they had not previously learnt, they were not disorderly. When he refilled these same people later and granted them more boldness to preach the gospel, though the building they were inside shook, he did not induce convulsions in the people! What a contrast to scenes we observe today in a lot of pentecostal and charismatic churches! Nowadays, it’s the people that do the shaking and convulsions under the anointing, rather than the building!
The Acts 2:1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
The Acts 2:2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
The Acts 2:3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
The Acts 2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
The Acts 2:5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.
The Acts 2:6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.
The Acts 2:7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans?
The Acts 2:8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?
The Acts 4:23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them.
The Acts 4:24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.
The Acts 4:25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: “’Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?
The Acts 4:26 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one. ’
The Acts 4:27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.
The Acts 4:28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.
The Acts 4:29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.
The Acts 4:30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
The Acts 4:31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Isaiah 42:1 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.
Isaiah 42:2 He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.
Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
Isaiah 42:4 he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”
Finally, we’re told in the Scriptures that God is not an author of confusion or disorder. We’re admonished to do things decently and in order in our Christian assemblies. Even while under the influence of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of a prophet is still under the control of the prophet. Disorderliness in Christian assemblies will only send the wrong message to unbelievers- that we’re mad and have lost our minds. The Holy Spirit does not make people act mad or out of control. He is the spirit of divine order! Let us then beware of the frenzy in our anointing services. We must not roll on the ground and foam at the mouth, scattering benches and chairs, and injuring ourselves and others in the process, to prove that the anointing of the Holy Spirit has come upon us. Such manifestations are not evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit, but of possession with impure spirits.
1 Corinthians 14:26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.
1 Corinthians 14:27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two —or at the most three —should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret.
1 Corinthians 14:28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.
1 Corinthians 14:29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.
1 Corinthians 14:30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop.
1 Corinthians 14:31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.
1 Corinthians 14:32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.
1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace —as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.
In conclusion, only evil spirits induce violent and destructive behaviours when they possess people. The same violent manifestations are seen when evil spirits are being cast out of people, through the power of the Holy Spirit. In contrast, the Holy Spirit is a spirit of calmness and gentleness, and he does not cause rowdiness when he comes upon people. Thus, it is okay to see violent and destructive manifestations during deliverance services, when evil spirits are being cast out of demon-possessed people. However, violence and rowdiness cannot and should not be attributed to the infilling or outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon God’s people, simply because the Holy Spirit is not a spirit of violence, but of calm, gentleness and orderliness.