Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
June 29, 1998
Last Updated :
May 2, 2018
Slain In The Spirit, Satan Is A Copycat And Imitator, Spirit Of God Or A Seducing Spirit, Demonic Possession, My Friend's Concerns, My Personal Experience, Persecuted By The Dragon, Defining "Slay", God's Word Or Man's Word?, Overcome By The Spirit Or A Demonic Attack?, Is It Power From Above Or Power From Below?, Logical Explanations, Test The Spirits, Similar Hebrew And English Words, Defining "Fall", Nephilim, Defining Overwhelm And Overcome, Look To God's Word, Led By The Spirit
Some time ago, after reading my article entitled "Are the Gifts of the Spirit for Today?", one of my readers wrote to me regarding the remarks I had made concerning a modern-day occurrence within some churches which is commonly referred to as being "slain in the spirit". As those of you who have read the aforementioned article will know, I personally have some rather serious reservations regarding this so-called "manifestation of the Spirit". For those of you who haven't read the article yet, allow me to share a few quotes with you from it:
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This leads us to another important topic concerning the various Gifts of the Spirit which I touched on earlier. One dangerous pitfall into which some churches have fallen, such as some of the Roman Catholic charismatics, as well as the Pentecostals, is that of being taken over, or possessed, by a false spirit which attempts to imitate God's true Holy Spirit. Don't ever forget that Satan is a copycat. He is an imitator. He is a usurper who unrightfully tries to take that which is not his. This deceptive spirit tries to convince its deluded victims that it is the true Light of God, and that its manifestations are of a Divine Nature, when in fact they are not. Remember again the Apostle Paul's admonition:
"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."
2 Corinthians 11:14, KJV
Maybe some people are being "slain" by the spirit in their churches, but it certainly isn't the Holy Spirit with which I am familiar. It is a deceptive demonic spirit of which we are warned to beware! It is what Paul also referred to as a "seducing spirit". If you have any doubts whatsoever about these people who foam at the mouth and fall all over the place, and writhe and tremble and shake in what they call "spiritual ecstasy", then I seriously advise you to consider the following verses:
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;"
1 Timothy 4:1, KJV
"And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not."
Mark 9:18, KJV
"And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him hardly departeth from him."
Luke 9:39, KJV
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While some of my readers will no doubt take offense at my comparing being "slain in the spirit" to the aforementioned group of verses, I am sorry, but that is exactly what I see when I view certain online videos where people are engaging in these activities. I don't see God's Spirit moving. I see demonic contortions, if not outright demonic possession. I see people being controlled by something which is clearly not of God in the least. How in the world does that kind of strange behavior glorify God? Quite simply, it doesn't.
Being one who seriously considers my opinions, after reading the above comments, this dear person was quite alarmed due to the fact that being "slain in the spirit" is a regular occurrence within their church. According to this person's description, their congregation actively practices the Gifts of the Spirit, and prayerfully looks to God's Word in order to confirm His Will. This person also stated that sometimes during prayer time, when the Spirit of God is believed to be present, certain people will "fall in the spirit" when hands are laid upon them. In fact, this person states that this has also occurred to them on a number of occasions as well.
In addressing this person's concerns, allow me to first say that I personally have never actually witnessed firsthand anyone being "slain in the spirit". As such, I want you to understand that any views that I may express here concerning these strange things which are occurring in some modern-day churches, are based primarily on testimonies I have read, as well as on observations made by others who have described these events to me. In addition, as I mentioned earlier, I have also watched a number of online videos, and seen a few things on some American television shows in the past which have not impressed me in a very positive spiritual manner.
Because of these facts, the only thing that I know how to do, as has always been my practice, is to look to the Word of God in order to hopefully provide a Spirit-led answer to this question concerning being "slain in the spirit".
Having said all of the above, while this will surely offend a few people, allow me to first state that just the term alone, "slain in the spirit", bothers me. I honestly do not know where the phrase originated, but it simply does not strike me as being a very godly term. As I began to ponder this issue, the very first thing which came to my mind was a picture of the red dragon persecuting and attempting to slay the Lord's children. I am reminded of such verses as the following:
"And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born . . . And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child . . . And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."
Revelation 12:4, 13, 16-17, KJV
As I explain in many other articles, such as "Leviathan: An Ancient Dragon of the Sea?", this red dragon who seeks to slay the Lord's children is none other than Satan himself, who has been permanently banished from the Halls of Heaven. While he still possesses limited powers, this old demon is nevertheless under God's control. This is quite evident from reading the Book of Job where we see Satan slaying Job's family, possessions, and then even poor old Job himself.
It might interest you to know that the word "slay" is used exactly seven times in the King James Version of the New Testament. In every single instance, it means to kill, or to be killed in some way. Four different Greek words are used in these seven verses. They are "apokteino"; which means to kill in any way whatever; "katasphatto"; which means to kill off or to slaughter; "thuo"; which means to sacrifice, immolate, slay, or kill; and finally, "anaireo"; which means to kill or slay a man among other things. Following are the seven verses where these four Greek words are translated as "slay" in the KJV New Testament:
"Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:"
Luke 11:49, KJV
"But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me."
Luke 19:27, KJV
"And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day."
John 5:16, KJV
"When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them."
Acts 5:33, KJV
"And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him."
"And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat."
Acts 11:7, KJV
"And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men."
Revelation 9:15, KJV
In addition to the previous verses, there are others in the New Testament where the word "slain" is used. In most cases, this word is derived from the same four Greek words I described previously. However, there are two others as well. These are "sphazo"; which means to slay, slaughter, butcher or to put to death by violence; and "apothnesko", which means to die of a natural or violent death. What we see then is that, according to the way it is used throughout God's Word, "slay", or "slain", only means one thing, and nothing else; and that is to kill man or beast.
Now, I don't doubt that some of those people who support this practice of being "slain in the spirit", and who have probably been "slain in the spirit" themselves, are going to object, and accuse me of being a legalist. They are probably going to suggest that I come out of the "dark ages" and look at a modern dictionary. Of course, I have already consulted a dictionary, so I am already aware of what their argument is going to be. In the 1981 edition of the American Heritage Desk Dictionary, the second meaning for the word "slay" is "to overwhelm, as with laughter or love".
In other words, those people who indulge in this practice of being "slain in the spirit" would have us believe that they are actually being overwhelmed by God's Spirit, and not by some demonic force of darkness. As I have said on many other occasions, we must each operate according to our own faith, and according to our personal understanding of God's Word, and how we each feel led of His Spirit. As the Apostle Paul wrote in his discourse concerning the eating of meat:
"One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind."
Romans 14:5, KJV
If you wish to accept modern man's definition of the word "slay", that is entirely up to you. Personally, I prefer to look directly to the Word of God, and at the original Koine Greek words, in order to see how the Lord Himself, and His First Disciples, used these different words. As I have already clearly pointed out, in the New Testament, "slay" and "slain" mean only one thing, and that is to kill. If I am being a bit too technical for some of you, I am sorry, but this is just how I feel about this issue.
Some of these testimonies I have read simply disturb me. When some of my readers write in and inform me that either they, or else someone that they know, has been pushed down or knocked down to the ground by some invisible force in some of these churches, it worries me. It causes me to be spiritually on the alert. I recall the testimony of one troubled person some time ago who described one of these events. This person stated that as the congregation began their praise session, this person began to feel a warm tingling sensation first in their feet, and then moving up slowly through their legs. This person was totally horrified by this experience because, while they had expected God's Spirit to descend from above, this feeling was originating from the ground below. For good reason then, this person began to rebuke the sensation in Jesus' name, and then it immediately stopped. I am reminded of several verses from the Epistle of James where he is discussing divisive spirits within the church:
"But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish."
James 3:14-15, KJV
Is it possible that this experience of being "slain in the spirit" or "falling in the spirit" is by no means what some sincere God-fearing people have been led to believe? If I were to ignore the witness of the Spirit, and look at these experiences with my natural reasoning, I might think that perhaps this falling over, or fainting, or whatever it is that is actually happening to these people, might simply be due to the room being too hot, or perhaps due to not enough oxygen being in the immediate air around the person being prayed over, or perhaps due to extreme emotionalism, or maybe even simply due to the weight of all of the hands being placed upon a certain person. I could even contribute it to the power of mass hypnosis or suggestion, and the fact that these people want it to happen to them. Thus, it does happen to them, because they invite it to happen through their willingness and auto-suggestion.
However, I tend to believe that there is more to it than that. This whole idea of falling over just does not strike me as being a part of real godly manifestations. I simply don't believe that God operates in this way. While these people are being overwhelmed by something, I simply have a difficult time accepting that it is something good. As I have warned my readers many times before, we must try -- that is, test -- the spirits, in order to determine if they are truly of the Lord. We must choose the good and eschew the evil. Consider the following two verses:
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
1 John 4:1, KJV
"Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it."
1 Peter 3:11, KJV
At this point, I should mention that while the Bible does not use the word "slay" in the context of meaning to be overwhelmed by something, as in being "slain in the spirit", it does contain the words overwhelm, overwhelmed, overcome and overcame. The word "overwhelm" is only used in the Old Testament, while "overcome" is used in both Testaments. I must admit that I was quite surprised when I discovered the Hebrew word for "overwhelm", which is only used one time in the Old Testament. One thing which I have noticed since I first began writing articles for the Lord, is that there are quite a number of English words which are very similar in pronunciation to Hebrew words. For example, in the Old Testament, the word "cord" is derived from the Hebrew word "chebel", which is pronounced khay'-bel; just like our English word "cable". Following is an example from the story of the harlot Rahab and the two spies sent by Joshua to spy on Jericho:
"Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall."
Joshua 2:15, KJV
Another clear example is our English word "money". While conducting research for the article "Mondex and the Mark of the Beast", I discovered that there is -- or at least was at one time -- a Jewish coin called the "maneh". This word is derived from the Hebrew "manah", which means to count, reckon or number. This coin is equal to sixty shekels, or two pounds six ounces in English troy-weight. This word "maneh" is very similar to our English word "money" in that it is pronounced "maw neh". While today we are told that our word "money" is derived from the Latin word "moneta", I tend to believe that this Hebrew word "maneh" helps to emphasize for all of us who is really in charge of the worldwide commercial system; as if we didn't already know. Following is an example where we find this word "maneh" used in the Old Testament:
"And the shekel shall be twenty gerahs: twenty shekels, five and twenty shekels, fifteen shekels, shall be your maneh."
Ezekiel 45:12, KJV
According to some information I came across at one time, if it is to believed, approximately ninety-five percent of all English words can be traced to a Hebrew word. It was because of personal discoveries like the above, that I was a bit surprised when, while studying this issue of being "slain in the spirit", or "falling in the spirit" as some people refer to it, I learned that in the single instance in which the word "overwhelm" is used in the Bible, it is used in a rather negative context. More importantly, I discovered that it is derived from the Hebrew word "naphal". Pronounced naw-fal', this word means to fall, or to be cast down. Here is the one verse from the Book of Job where we find the word "overwhelm" being used:
"Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend."
Job 6:27, KJV
No doubt you can see the obvious similarities in meaning and pronunciation between our English word "fall" and the Hebrew word "naphal". However, what you may not know if you haven't read my series regarding this same subject, is that it is likewise from this very same Hebrew word that we derive the word "Nephilim". As you will learn in the series "Nephilim: The Giants of Genesis", the Nephilim were the evil spawn of giants which were born as a result of the ungodly union of the rebellious Fallen Angels, and the beautiful women of Earth. This is why they are also sometimes referred to as "the fallen ones".
Perhaps it is just a matter of coincidence, or perhaps I am simply imagining things, but could it be that when these people are being "slain in the spirit", or "falling in the spirit", that the invisible presence which is overwhelming them, and causing them to be knocked unconscious, or to be pushed over, or to fall to the floor is not the true Spirit of God whatsoever? The simple fact that the word "overwhelm" in the previous verse from the Book of Job is derived from "naphal", is something worthy of consideration in my view.
To add a degree of balance to my previous statements, as is only appropriate, allow me to also mention that in the case of the word "overwhelmed" as it is used in the Old Testament, it is derived from a variety of Hebrew words. One of these is the word "kacah", which is pronounced kaw-saw'. Of the one hundred and fifty-two times that it is found in the Old Testament, one hundred and thirty-five of those times, it is translated as "covered". So this is apparently its primary meaning. Only two times is it translated as "overwhelmed". Here are a few examples where it is used:
"Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me."
Psalms 55:5, KJV
"And he led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies."
Psalms 78:53, KJV
Another Hebrew word which is translated as "overwhelmed" in the Old Testament, is the word "ataph", which is pronounced aw-taf'. As will be seen by the following verses, it means to envelop oneself, or to be faint or feeble; to grow weak:
"From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I."
Psalms 61:2, KJV
"I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah."
Psalms 77:3, KJV
"Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate."
Psalms 143:4, KJV
One more word which is translated as "overwhelmed" in the Old Testament, is the Hebrew word "shataph", which is pronounced shaw-taf'. This word means to wash, rinse, overflow, engulf, rinse or wash off. It is used in the following verse:
"If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us: Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul: Then the proud waters had gone over our soul."
Psalms 124:2-5, KJV
What I personally find rather interesting is the fact that in all of these verses, no matter which Hebrew word is used, the English word "overwhelm" is used in a negative context, and not in a positive one. It is used to describe either the oppression or the destruction of the innocent by the wicked, or else the destruction of evildoers. Nowhere do we see this word "overwhelm" being used in a positive manner. This again shows how some words in our modern English language have meanings which differ from their original definitions and intentions as used in the KJV Bible.
Another word worth studying is the word "overcome". This word is found in both the Old and the New Testaments; and it is used in both a positive and a negative manner. In the New Testament, it is derived from three different Greek words. These words are "nikao"; which means to overcome, to conquer or to be victorious over another; "hettao"; which means to be overcome, or to be conquered, or to be made inferior; and "katakurieuo"; which means to bring under one's power, to subject one's self, to subdue or to master. In a general sense then, all of these words mean to overpower another, whether for good or for evil. We see these words being used in a negative context in such verses as the following:
"But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils."
Luke 11:22, KJV
"And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded."
Acts 19:16, KJV
"While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning."
2 Peter 2:19-20, KJV
"And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them."
Revelation 11:7, KJV
"And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations."
Revelation 13:7, KJV
On the other hand, we also find a number of very positive verses which demonstrate the Lord and His saved children overcoming the evil of the world. Consider the following for your personal inspiration:
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
John 16:33, KJV
"I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one."
1 John 2:13-14, KJV
"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."
1 John 4:4, KJV
"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."
Revelation 3:21, KJV
"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."
Revelation 12:11, KJV
"These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful."
Revelation 17:14, KJV
Being as Hebrew is such a precise language, in the Old Testament, there are seven different words which are all translated into English as the word "overcome". These seven words are the following: "guwd"; which means to invade or to attack; "chaluwshah"; which signifies weakness, defeat or prostration; "yakol"; which means to prevail, to overcome, to endure, to have power or to be able; "lacham"; which means to fight, to do battle or to make war against; "rahab"; which means to behave proudly, to act stormily, boisterously or in an arrogant manner; "halam"; which means to smite, to strike, to hammer or to strike down; and "abar"; which means to pass over or by or through, to alienate, to bring, to carry, to do away, to take, to take away or to transgress.
For the sake of brevity, and because the New Testament words already provide us with a clear understanding of how the word "overcome" is used in the KJV Bible, I'm not going to provide examples from the Old Testament for these seven Hebrew words. Please feel free to conduct your own research. Of course, as Christians, our main concern should be, as the Apostle Paul wrote, to fight against evil, and not to be overcome by it, as we see by the following verse:
"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
Romans 12:21, KJV
This is really the key issue here. Are these people being overcome by God's true Holy Spirit, or is it something else? As I have stated on a few other occasions, when my readers ask me certain questions, sometimes I simply and honestly do not know how to answer them. I might have an inkling of an idea, but not much. All I know how to do is to go straight to the Word of God. I just have to trust fully in Him, and believe that He will show me what I need to see in order to answer the person's question.
I will simply sit here in my desk chair, with my hands on my keyboard, and the Lord's Spirit will just begin to bring different verses to mind which I have read or memorized over the years. God answers me through His Word. As I begin to type what I receive, things just start coming together from all over the Bible. As I type what I believe He has given me to share, He continues to give me more. While some people may find this hard to believe, I just cannot deny the way these things happen. All I can say is that Jesus promised to bring all things to our remembrance by way of His Holy Spirit, and I believe that this is exactly what happens with me, and not with me alone. Some of you will know exactly what I am talking about. Consider this verse:
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
John 14:26, KJV
Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.
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