Why God uses strange phenomena to usher in revival

Marko Joensuu         No comments

I believe that we are at the brink of a new move of God in Europe, and that as always, He will usher the revival in with strange signs and phenomena that many Christians will find objectionable and others even label demonic. And yet they will be accompanied with a strong presence of God, so theologians and Christian leaders will struggle to explain it all, whether they will be for or against.

In recent years, there have been many moves attributed to God that have got Christians shaking, laughing, slain, speaking in tongues, oil appearing on hands and foreheads, gold teeth appearing miraculously, and so on.

I have read long treatises written by Christians about how God could never ever work that way. Yes, some of the alleged phenomena, such as diamonds raining from heaven sound like fairy tales, especially as usually no one seems able to provide any physical evidence afterwards. Yes, some Christians have been carried away, and chosen to believe in their 'spiritual' fantasies, against all hard evidence.

If you begin to look for signs you will suddenly find them everywhere, reading meaning into absurdities and everyday occurrences. Even dust that permeates the air can look like the 'glory of God' in the right lighting!

When I was a child I used to stare at the moonlit white door leading to the closet that I could see from my bed, fully convinced that it must be a ghost. My rational mind told me that it was a door but my fear told me it was a ghost!

But here I am not talking about figments of imagination that can't be seen by anyone else but you. No, I'm talking about physical, visible manifestations that demand an explanation.

Oftentimes, the critics of revival movements look at these phenomena, and reject the whole move of God on the basis that these phenomena can't be found in the Bible. But just because someone says they aren't there, it doesn't mean that they aren't there!

In fact, the Bible is full of occurrences that are even weirder than the weirdest manifestation of God's Spirit today.  According to the Bible, the Prophet Samuel, or his spirit appeared to King Saul when he looked for guidance through divination. Figure that out! It's not something that fits neatly in my theology, but there it is, in the Bible! Many explain this by saying that this must have been a demon rather than Samuel, but the Bible says that it was in fact Samuel himself. Should I believe the Bible's testimony about the event, or a much later interpretation by a modern man?

I once heard a demon-possessed woman speak perfect Hebrew, as she mocked my gift of speaking in tongues - until we cast the demon out of her. But that doesn't mean that the gift of speaking in tongues would have a demonic origin. It is precisely because it is a gift of the Spirit that the devil wants to counterfeit it!

Today, many Christians reject whole moves of God because some Christians behave like drunkards in the meetings. According to them, God could never cause that. But that's exactly what happened at the Pentecost!

How does a drunkard behave? He falls, mumbles, stutters, laughs out loud, and all his bodily moves all seem exaggerated. Perhaps some of these critics have lived such isolated lives in a convent that they have never seen an actual drunkard!

Yes, I have seen group hysteria that's part of the behavior of groups. I have seen people fall in prayer line because they want to fall and not because of the Spirit. Yes, I have seen ministers push someone when he or she doesn't fall by the Spirit. But the fake doesn't take away the importance and the value of the genuine. After all, a fake Rolex has value only because the real one is so expensive.

But why does God uses these strange phenomena and manifestations?

I believe that the answer lies in children and their ability to learn.

Nowadays, when I want to find a technical solution fast, I go to YouTube, and without fail, some 8-year-old kid has produced a flashy video that explains how to solve my problem in two minutes. And he has probably never even looked at the manual!

Kids learn fast, a lot faster than us adults, as they don't fear failure. For them, life is all play, and there is no failure in play. There is no failure when you don't have to be in control, and you don't have to know everything. Thereby kids are free to experiment and learn fast.

And this is perfectly applicable to the Kingdom of God where you can enter only as children.

As adults, we always try to come up with a set of rules that helps us to control the universe. But this isn't Christian thinking but Enlightenment humanist thinking, where man, in delusion, believes that he can fully understand the universe. And we behave as if we had fully figured out how the universe works when in truth we don't have a clue. We transfer this Enlightenment understanding to our faith, where there shouldn't be any mysteries, but where even miracles should follow our 7-step plan.

Our fear of failure combined with 'I know it all' attitude obstructs us from learning new things. It obstructs us from learning the ways of the Spirit. You can only learn if you confess there is something you don't know yet.

I have never seen anyone who learned to walk or cycle without falling at least once. You only learn a new skill through experimentation and failure.

The ridiculous-looking phenomena are God's way of showing that we don't know it all, and thereby we should approach Him and the gifts of the Spirit with humility and curiosity, desiring to learn new things. And it's only through confessing that we don't know it all that we can begin to learn the ways of the Spirit, and allow ourselves to lose control so that the Holy Spirit can take control.

1 Corinthians 2:11:14 says,

"For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit."

There will always be those who will react the wrong way, but God rarely removes the weed early, as He wants to protect the harvest.

In 1 Samuel 19, Saul chases David to kill him. To stop him, God comes over him with the Holy Spirit, and he ends up prophesying all night. His reaction of stripping naked was no more acceptable then than it is today, but still, it was caused by the Holy Spirit coming over him. Not every reaction to the presence of God is godly, but that doesn't mean that God isn't moving.

God really doesn't need to explain Himself. He doesn't need to limit His ways to the ways we can handle. In fact, He wants to remove our understanding, so that His understanding can flow in.

I believe that strange phenomena are a side product of the shock treatment that God gives to the body of Christ that has lost the connection to the head.

Today's church is possessed by idolatry of man and man's ability to organize things into structures God never gave in the first place but man has built to control His Church. And rightfully, God is reclaiming the possession over His body. If a little bit of shaking takes place when that happens, I'm all happy with that!

Published by Marko Joensuu

Marko Joensuu has worked for over sixteen years in the publishing and media ministries of Kensington Temple. He is an author, publisher and screenwriter.
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