New Wine Articles
God's Manifest Presence

II. Biblical Precedents for the Manifestations

  1. The Bible does not record all the possible legitimate supernatural experiences. Rather it records examples of legitimate supernatural experiences that fall into broader categories that are typical of how the Holy Spirit works. This concept is taught in Jn. 21:25 in which John states that if all the works that Jesus did had been recorded, all the books in the world could not contain them! God is always and forever free to do unprecedented things that are consistent with His character and the principles of Scripture.

  2. Sometimes people stretch Scripture to try to prove the validity of some manifestation that is not explicitly referred to in the Bible. (ex. trying to find proof texts for uncontrollable laughing, yet, it is not specifically mentioned in Scripture. However, "joy unspeakable and full of glory" is!)

  3. To test the validity of a manifestation we should look at: the overall beliefs and life-styles (and changes in them!) of those affected, the overall beliefs and life-styles of those being used to impart the experience, the short and long term "fruit" of the experience, and the overall glory given to Jesus Christ in the general context in which the manifestations are occurring. Jonathan Edwards referred to five tests to determine if a manifestation is a true work of the Holy Spirit. He states that Satan cannot and would not, if he could, generate these kinds of things in people. If we can answer "yes" to one or more of these questions, then it is to be regarded as genuine despite any "little objections, as many (people) make from oddities, irregularities, errors in conduct, and the delusions and scandals of some professors (people who claim to be believers)" (i.e. some "human mixture" does not invalidate a general work of true revival, in fact, some should be expected).
    1. Does it bring honor to the person of Jesus Christ?

    2. Does it produce a greater hatred of sin and a greater love for righteousness?

    3. Does it produce a greater regard for Scripture?

    4. Does it lead people into truth?

    5. Does it produce a greater love for God and man?

  4. The basis for the occurrence of physical manifestations is rooted in the Biblical doctrine of the "manifest presence" of God.
    1. Contrasted with the "omnipresence" of God -- i.e. God is everywhere, but He also reveals His powerful presence at specific times, in particular places, and for various reasons.

    2. God "comes down" and interfaces with the natural realm.

    3. When the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, infinite, holy, just, and loving God condescends to "come down" and touch weak and finite humans, what would you expect or predict might happen to the natural and normal order of things?

  5. A few Biblical examples of the "manifest presence" of God:

    Jn. 18:6 -- Unbelieving guards thrown to the ground

    Acts 9:4 -- Saul of Tarsus saw brilliant light, thrown from his horse, heard Jesus audibly, was temporarily struck blind

    Rev. 1:17 -- John fell as dead, had no bodily strength, and saw and heard into the spirit world

    Dan. 8:17; 7-10, 15-19 -- Daniel fell, had no strength, terrified by Gods presence

    1 Kg. 8:10,11 -- The priest couldn't stand because of Gods glory

    2 Chr. 7:1-3 -- Solomon and priest couldn't stand because of Gods glory

    Acts 10:10, 21:1 -- Peter and Paul fall into trances and see and hear into the spirit world

    1 Sam. 19:18-24 -- King Saul and his antagonistic men are overcome by the Holy Spirit and prophesy as they near the camp of the prophets

    Ex. 19:16(f.) -- Thunder, smoke, shaking of the ground, sounds of trumpets and voices upon Mt. Sinai

    Ex. 34:30(f.) -- Moses' face supernaturally shines

    Mt. 17:2-8 -- Jesus and his garment supernaturally made brilliant, supernatural cloud and visited by Moses and Elijah

    Ex. 3:2 -- Bush is burning but not consumed

    Jn. 1:32 - The Holy Spirit descends in bodily form as a dove

    Lev. 9:24; 1 Kg. 18:38; 1 Chr. 21:26 -- Fire from heaven consumes sacrifices

    2 Cor. 5:12, 13 -- Paul describes being "beside himself" as opposed to being "sober"

    Luke 2:35 - A virgin conceives the Son of God

Revised: October 19, 1995