Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
June 29, 1998
Last Updated :
May 2, 2018
Incident In The Garden Of Gethsemane, Danger Of Basing Any Doctrine On One Solitary Verse, Diligently Compare Scripture With Scripture, King Solomon The Temple And The Cloud Of Glory, The Prophet Daniel's Otherworldly Encounters, John's Encounter With Jesus In The Book Of Revelation, Interactions Between Flesh And Spirit, Peter James And John And Jesus' Transfiguration, Deceptive Dreams And Visions Of "Jesus", The False Angel Of Light And Satan's Deceptions, Trust Only In God's Holy Word, Be Fully Persuaded In Your Own Mind
Continuing our discussion from part five, it is right after this, that Jesus again asks them "Whom seek ye?"; and they again reply "Jesus of Nazareth". Now why did Jesus have to ask them a second time when He already knew the answer, and they already knew who He was? After this, the Lord says to them "I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way." I think the real spirit of what is being said here is "Well, you came for me, so why don't you arrest me now? Just take me and leave these others alone."
In other words, I think He was telling them, "Look, I am not going to do anything to harm you. I am not the big bad devil that you think I am. Just arrest me and let's get this over with." They needed some assurance that this man, whom they had been told was a powerful sorcerer, wasn't going to hurt them. It is right after this, that Peter cuts off the ear of the servant of the High Priest, and Jesus heals him with His admonition to not take up the sword. After this, they arrest and bind the Lord. I discuss this incident in more detail in some of my other articles.
If these people were "slain in the spirit" as some people would have us to believe, then they certainly made a quick recovery, don't you think? One minute they are flat on the ground supposedly worshipping the Lord; and the very next minute they are ruthless criminals again tying Jesus' hands in order to take Him to the High Priest. Are these people schizophrenic or what? Doesn't something seem a bit wrong with this picture?
To add to this odd interpretation which is proposed by the supporters of the "slain in the spirit" doctrine, here is another point which I think you need to consider. If this crowd of people was suddenly overpowered by the Spirit of God so that they were prostrated on the ground worshipping Jesus -- instead of arresting Him as they had come to do -- doesn't it also seem strange that Peter would suddenly pull out his sword and cut off the servant's ear? It just doesn't fit the picture, does it? Therefore, the word "prostrate" cannot be the proper interpretation of the Koine Greek word "pipto" for this verse. So again, I believe they may have suddenly retreated in fear for their lives upon realizing that Jesus was the one whom they sought.
Of course, I cannot prove any of these things conclusively. All I can do is provide you with the definitions of the original Koine Greek words, and show you the inconsistencies which I personally see which make this idea of being "slain in the spirit" utterly false. If you do not wish to accept any of these possibilities, then I suppose you will just have to accept that this "great multitude" which was armed with swords and with staves was indeed "slain in the spirit".
It is interesting to note that Matthew, Mark and Luke all basically describe the same scenario of Judas arriving with the great multitude, then kissing Jesus, and then the Lord's arrest. John is the only one who describes these men falling down in this way. The fact that these "slain in the spirit" supporters base their whole belief primarily upon this one verse should cast doubt in anyone's mind. Don't you agree? It is very dangerous to base a doctrine on a single verse alone, because that one verse can be interpreted in so many ways by so many different people.
On a final note regarding this group of verses, what I also find rather odd is the fact that, according to what I have read and been told, this act of being "slain in the spirit" is supposed to be something which only falls upon devout Believers in the Lord. Yet, strange enough, here we see a large group of ungodly men -- nonbelievers in the Lord -- experiencing the very same thing. Does this make any sense to you?
After sharing the previous verse from the Gospel of John, the person who wrote to me then explained that in order to properly establish any doctrine, there must be a minimum of two or three verses of Scripture to support it. As many of my regular readers will know, I also follow this technique, and I frequently encourage you to compare Scripture with Scripture in order to hopefully arrive at a proper Biblical understanding regarding any given matter. Thus, I can most certainly agree with this man in this regard. However, when it comes to the practice of being "slain in the spirit", the problem that I see, is that because this man has already misinterpreted the previous verse from the Gospel of John, his attempt to confirm the event in John with the following verses falls flat on its face:
"And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD."
1 Kings 8:10-11, KJV
"It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God."
2 Chronicles 5:13-14, KJV
In my view, the previous verses describe something completely different. To provide you with some background, after King Solomon had completed building the Temple, it was necessary to bring the Tabernacle -- or tent -- the Ark of the Covenant and the various other holy objects into the Temple. It was right after the priests had placed the Ark of the Covenant containing the Tablets of Moses inside the Holy of Holies -- which was the most sacred place inside the Temple -- that the previous event occurred. Please note that those two groups of verses are not describing two separate events. They are the very same event being described by different writers in the first Book of the Kings, and in the second Book of the Chronicles of the Kings.
This must have been one truly amazing event! As soon as the priests had come out of the Holy of Holies, the Cloud of the Lord's Glory began to fill the Temple. Some Believers have referred to this Cloud as the Shekinah Glory. However, please note that this term is not specifically used in the KJV Bible itself. But the point is, this was a very real, visible event. Whatever this Cloud was, the people actually saw it; just as their ancestors had seen it before -- or something similar to it -- during their forty long years of wandering through the wilderness, and during the times that the Lord appeared to Moses in the Tabernacle.
On a side note, I discuss all of these related verses in the series entitled "Under the Cloud: UFOs and the Holy Bible". Personally, I tend to believe that this Cloud might possibly be the very same bright, luminescent Cloud that is mentioned in the Gospels when Peter, James and John witness the Lord's Transfiguration. I will discuss that event in just a moment.
As can readily be seen, there are some very big differences between what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane, and what occurred here in the Temple. In the former, we have a group of ungodly men coming to arrest Jesus. But in the latter we have devout servants of the Lord giving glory and praise to the Lord, after placing the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies.
While the ungodly men went back and fell to the ground in what I believe was an act of retreat and terror, here we are told that these servants of the Lord were unable to stand because of the presence of the Lord's Cloud of Glory. Exactly what do these verses mean? Do they mean that the priests were knocked down, or that they were forcibly pushed down to the ground, or that they suddenly lost consciousness and fainted? The answer is definitely not; and I can prove it to you right from the Scriptures.
Unlike the misguided people who believe that the priests were "slain in the spirit" and fell to the ground like feathers, what really happened is that they simply walked out of the Temple as the Cloud continued to fill it. Once the priests had entered the courtyard where the sacrificial altar was located, the very next chapter -- that is, 2 Chronicles 6 -- begins with King Solomon giving a long exhortation to the congregation of Israel who are assembled there. Everyone was perfectly conscious and knew exactly what they were doing. No one had been "slain in the spirit".
About a third of the way through the chapter, kneeled before the altar, Solomon offers a prayer to the Lord. Once he has finished, the Lord sends a fire from Heaven to consume the burnt offering. These devout people are so humbled, and so awed by the wonderful appearance of this Cloud which has now filled the Temple, as well as by the fire which has consumed the altar sacrifice, that we are told that they voluntarily prostrate themselves on the ground in reverence to the Lord as they praise His Name. To prove that this is so, instead of just reading a few verses which can give us a distorted view of what happened here, let's read a few more of them so that we can fill in the rest of the picture:
"And he stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands: For Solomon had made a brasen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven . . . Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD'S house. And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the LORD."
2 Chronicles 6:12-13, 7:1-4, KJV
Please notice that in the very first verses that we looked at, the priests were inside the Temple, and were placing the Ark of the Covenant inside the Holy of Holies. It was right after that, that the Cloud of Glory began to appear. However, in the verses you just read, not only are they now outside in the courtyard, but they are unable to re-enter the Temple due to the presence of the Cloud of Glory. As can easily be seen, no one was "slain in the spirit" inside the Temple, or even outside in the courtyard. They were fully conscious of their every act.
So both the priests and the congregation listened attentively while King Solomon gave his exhortation, and likewise when he followed it with his sincere prayer to the Lord. After this, they all followed Solomon's lead and bowed themselves to the ground as they worshipped the Lord. After they praised God for a while, they offered their sacrifices to the Lord. If you still doubt that this is precisely what happened, then I encourage you to read chapters five through seven of Second Chronicles, so that you will be convinced of these things for yourself.
With this event, we have now looked at the main verses which are used by some Christians to supposedly support their false belief of being "slain in the spirit". Now, if you accept my explanations, then you too will agree that being "slain in the spirit" cannot possibly be based upon these verses. There is only one way to believe otherwise; and that is by purposely twisting and distorting the meaning of the previous verses. I don't advise anyone to do that.
In addition to the previous verses, the very next verses that this man used to try to convince me of the validity of being "slain in the spirit", are the following ones which are found in the eighth chapter of the Book of Daniel. Similar to John the Revelator and the Prophet Ezekiel, Daniel witnessed some rather amazing things during his lifetime. He was a man truly loved by God. Thus the Lord blessed him with some of the most powerful visions and prophecies which are found in the entire Bible. I discuss the interpretation of his dreams and visions more in depth in some of my other articles. In addition to the verses which are found in the eighth chapter, I am also including some verses from chapter ten in order to give you a complete picture of some of Daniel's encounters with these Beings, as well as his reactions to them:
"And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision. Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright . . . And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it."
Daniel 8:15-18, 27, KJV
"Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling . . . And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb. And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength. For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me. Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me."
Daniel 10:5-11, 15-19, KJV
As can be seen, the Prophet Daniel's encounters with these Celestial Beings were extremely powerful, and very dramatic. In the first set of verses, the Angelic Messenger is clearly identified as being Gabriel. If we compare the second set of verses above with similar verses which are found in the Book of Revelation, it seems quite possible that Daniel's second encounter may have been with none other than Jesus Christ Himself. It is hard to ignore the similarities between what Daniel describes, and what John the Revelator writes below:
"And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:"
Revelation 1:13-17, KJV
While we may sometimes imagine how great it would be to see the Lord, or to be visited by one of His Angelic Agents, in all honesty, I sometimes think that we are foolish for even thinking such things. Our human flesh is simply not made to directly interact with Beings from the Spirit World. Our weak, human flesh simply cannot endure such encounters very well. Perhaps this is one reason why the Apostle Paul wrote the following. As Jesus Himself said to Nicodemus, flesh is flesh, and Spirit is Spirit:
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption."
1 Corinthians 15:50, KJV
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
John 3:6, KJV
When a body of human flesh meets a body made of the Spirit, it is a tremendous clash. Consider carefully the words that Daniel used to describe his awesome encounters. We are told that he was afraid and that he fell upon his face. We are told that he was in a deep sleep on his face toward the ground. We are told that there remained no strength in him. We are told that his breath left him. We are told that he stood trembling. We are told that he became dumb. And we are even told that when these experiences were over, that Daniel fainted and was sick certain days.
The question we each need to ask ourselves is why this was happening to Daniel. Was it because he was being "slain in the spirit"? Was he being knocked down by an invisible force? Clearly, that is not what Daniel tells us whatsoever. He says quite plainly "I was afraid". Even though what was happening to him was truly wonderful, his poor flesh just was not able to cope with it; so he kept fainting. He fell flat on his face and was unconscious. When it says that he was in a deep sleep, that is precisely what it means. He fainted and was unconscious. It is derived from the Hebrew word "radam".
It seems that fainting is a mechanism that the Lord has built into our bodies to protect us from trauma. Poor Daniel could only look at those wonderful Beings and listen to their words for a few minutes before his flesh collapsed under him again. That is why they had to keep helping him up off the ground. That is why he was told "fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong". If he was purposely being "slain in the spirit", why would he be told this? Daniel was trying to be strong, but he just wasn't able to do it on his own. If you look at the previous verses from the Book of Revelation, you will see that, as with Daniel, the Angelic Agent also had to touch John -- who fell down as one dead -- and tell him not to be afraid. Clearly, these men were merely fainting due to the strain on their bodies brought about by their own fear.
One point I would like to emphasize again, is that while those people who support the "slain in the spirit" doctrine would like us to believe that these various incidents are all closely related, as a closer study of them has now revealed, this is not the case whatsoever. They are all very different from each other and involve different elements. The first was an act of quick retreat out of fear of what Jesus might do to them. The second event was a matter of leaving the Temple as the Cloud of Glory filled it so that they could not return. The third and fourth events are cases of fainting, due to a natural fear of things not commonly experienced by mortal men.
As I mentioned earlier, I suspect that the Cloud of Glory which filled Solomon's Temple, may possibly have been the very same Cloud -- or at least something similar to -- what was experienced by the Apostles Peter, James and John during the Transfiguration of our Lord. While I can only theorize here, I wonder if this amazing Cloud might possibly be some kind of side effect resulting from the Lord opening a vortex in the time/space continuum between our physical world, and the world of the Spirit. As you read the following account, you will notice the exact same elements which are found in Daniel's encounter, and in John's encounter in the Book of Revelation as well:
"And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only."
Matthew 17:1-8, KJV
Notice again that the Disciples fell on there faces out of fear of the unknown, and not because they were "slain in the spirit". As with Daniel and John, the Lord had to physically touch them with His hand in order to revive them; and then He says "Arise, and be not afraid". In other words, He knows that they have fainted out of fear, and for no other reason. In this incident, the word "fell" is derived from the very same Greek word, "pipto", we saw earlier in the incident in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is a fall which results from natural terror or astonishment. It has absolutely nothing to do with being overpowered by the Spirit of God so that one is "slain in the spirit". It was simply their body's natural reaction to protect itself from trauma.
In Luke's account of this same incident, it appears that this event may have occurred very late at night, because the Disciples were fast asleep. It is upon waking up that they see Jesus accompanied by Moses and Elijah. The Apostle Peter is so shocked by their presence, that he begins to babble like an idiot. Notice how Luke describes it. Their fear only heightens as they actually enter the Cloud and hear the very Voice of God the Father. The true nature of this Cloud has always puzzled me. If it was the Shekinah Glory, we can only wonder why they weren't "slain in the spirit" as one would expect according to this false doctrine. Luke writes as follows:
"But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him."
Luke 9:32-35, KJV
With all of these examples that I have now given you, I hope that you can honestly see that this doctrine of being "slain in the spirit" is false. While this man provided a few more Scriptures to support his claims, I feel that they are even less convincing than the verses which I have already shared with you. In my opinion, short of experiencing a powerful encounter with a Spiritual Being like that of the Prophet Daniel, or like that of Peter, James and John, there is no reason for anyone to be fainting and falling to the floor, as is reported in some of these testimonies I have read. And let us not forget all of the strange jerking and twitching that some of these people do while under that influence, as if they are possessed by something evil.
Let me remind you again that even when the Cloud of Glory filled the Temple -- which must have truly been a much more powerful Presence than what these churches are claiming to experience -- no one fainted or fell or were pushed to the ground as if they were "slain by the spirit". The Presence in the Temple was real. It was visual; just like the Cloud that was seen and entered by Peter, James and John. It wasn't some invisible force knocking people to the floor. This fact alone should worry any sincere Christian who witnesses such things happening in their church or fellowship. As I stated earlier, when God's Spirit is present, it lifts up and inspires us. It doesn't throw us to the floor and then not allow us to get up as some of these people have reported.
On a related note, there are some people today who actually believe that they have seen Jesus in dreams or visions. They will tell you all about their visions and the things that the Lord has supposedly said to them. Some of these people have even claimed to have been lifted up to Heaven, similar to the Apostle John, where they have met the Lord. Frankly, while I honestly do not wish to offend anyone, based upon all of the information we have covered in this series, which describes what it is like to encounter a Spiritual Being, I must really question those Christians who make such claims. While they are no doubt sincere in their beliefs, I must truly wonder if perhaps they haven't been deceived, and have actually been visited by the false "angel of light"; that is, by the Devil himself, or else by one of his spiritual partners in crime who have tried to impersonate an Angel of the Lord. Let us not forget the following warning that was written by Paul:
"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."
2 Corinthians 11:14, KJV
When Daniel, Peter, James, and John saw the real Jesus in His true Spiritual Body, He had white hair, eyes of flame, a face which shone like the Sun, shiny luminescent skin like brass, a golden girdle around his breast, and His voice was totally out of this world! As we have already seen, when they saw Him this way, their flesh was just not able to cope with it. As a result, they fainted on the spot. Despite these facts, I have read testimonies of people who say that Jesus has appeared to them dressed in white with a smile on His face. Sometimes He never speaks a word to them. They say that they are overcome by a feeling of love and warmth, and an assurance that all is well.
Based on the Word of God, if you are one who has had such an experience, don't you think that it is time for you to really question these visions of yours? Be honest with yourself. Are you really seeing what the Bible tells you that you should be seeing; that is, assuming that it is actually the real Jesus? Furthermore, is your flesh reacting in the same manner as the people who have really seen Jesus in the pages of the Bible?
Don't fall under the misguided notion that just because you are a Christian, you cannot be deceived, because you most certainly can be. Satan has been around a lot longer than all of us. He has had a long time to perfect his tricks. Don't be so foolish as to overestimate your own wisdom and spiritual discernment, or your strength. As this series clearly reveals with the issue of being "slain in the spirit", there are many Christians in the world today who are sincerely deceived, and they don't even know it. The only way to avoid these things is by staying close to the Lord, as well as by carefully and prayerfully studying His Word. If you do this, then you will not be ignorant of Satan's devices. Consider this verse:
"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices."
2 Corinthians 2:11, KJV
Don't just trust in the words of a man; whether he is your priest, pastor, minister or Sunday school teacher. In fact, don't even trust in me. Trust only in God and in His Word. If you have doubts about something that I teach, then pray over the Scriptures I share. Ask God if I am revealing the Scriptural truth to you. Be led by His Holy Spirit. If you honestly believe that the Lord has shown you something different, well then believe it. After all, you cannot and should not operate according to my faith. You must operate according to your own faith, and be persuaded in your own mind regarding this, and any other issue. As the Apostle Paul wrote:
"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
Please go to part seven for the conclusion of this series.
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