I have been hearing about the power of the Spirit in regards to prophecy and healing frequently, and not only from professing Charismatics and Pentecostals. Is this healing and prophesying done in the power of God, or is this Satan masquerading as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14)? While Scripture is our first and highest authority, I’ve noticed that the healing and prophesying being performed in the modern church have more in common with the occult than it does with the Bible. I will discuss healing and prophesying as done in the occult, the apostate church, and the Bible.
Although I am questioning the methods and practices of man, I do believe that God still heals today.
When Moses prayed for the people, God instructed him to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole so the people could be healed (Numbers 21:5-7). However, the serpent became an object of worship (2 Kings 18:4). source.
Healing in the Occult
May the Force Be With You
In the occult, energy and vibrations are manipulated for emotional, physical, and spiritual ‘healing’. Those in occult circles claim that this energy is an impersonal force that is in all creation. It is referred to as consciousness, energy, vibrations, spirit, or force. The goal of occult ‘energy work’ is to ‘enlighten’ the individual and to raise one’s frequency to attain a higher consciousness. In The Kingdom of the Occult, Walter Martin writes,
Energy can be defined in countless ways: creative life forces, moving power, or ley lines (energy lines said to crisscross the earth). Reiki (the energy associated with Reiki massage), Prana, polarity, chi – there are many names for occult energy–but generally it refers to the creative life forces within human beings and/or outside of them. This energy is the power that can be controlled by human beings through various means –crystals, cards, ceremonies, meditation, the correct diet, and yoga. This is the power source worshipped by the kingdom of the occult. God has revealed that this power source does not originate with Him, and that leaves only one other source: the prince of darkness–the devil (p. 324).”
Initiations and Spiritual Teachers
The occult world offers many different techniques and training in spiritual healing. Sometimes, there is an initiation or ceremony which involves a ‘transfer’ of the power or an activation of the supposed ability. Spiritual healers are channelers of energy and they impart this energy to the initiate.
Experiencing the Supernatural
A spiritual healer reports the following regarding the experiences of his client:
I have had people tell me they have experienced temperature changes, heat and coolness, tingling feelings, a feeling of weightlessness, sometimes a feeling of heaviness, feelings of their bodies moving even though they are on their back, sharp pains for a short time, which then disappear, feelings of some kind of manipulation, and have seen emotional releases (crying).”
That was also my experience as a former Reiki practitioner. During my involvement in that occult practice, there was a strong presence of energy coursing through me and my clients; there were also vibrations, heat, and emotional releases. Counterfeit feelings of ‘love and peace’ were also present. There is a definite psychic component to this type of healing, which is not surprising since holistic healing encompasses mind, body, and soul. Please not that there is also a strong connection between prophesying and healing in many apostate church ministries.
Healing in the Apostate Church
Please read the following and ask yourself if it appears biblical:
Throughout the history of the Church, Christians have been listening to the call of the Spirit, being anointed by God, and providing healing and life-saving prophetic information for others. In the church, a man or woman may be called to the gift of healing by God Himself. This call may come through a dream, or while in the wilderness, a vision. Sometimes, a serious illness may be used by God and lead to this anointing. When the call is answered and the person begins receiving impartations with an elder, the illness is often healed altogether. There are three big stages in the initiatory process: suffering, death, and resurrection.
As a discerning Christian, you’re most likely feeling uncomfortable about what you’ve just read–as you should. That statement is from a website* which promotes the occult practice of shamanism; all I did was edit the words so it appears biblical. Here is the original text (note that I did not alter the last sentence!):
“Since time immemorial, shamans have been listening to the calling of the spirits, being initiated by them and bringing back healing and life-saving oracular information for others. In indigenous cultures, a man or woman may be called to the path of the shaman by the spirits themselves. This call may come through a dream, or while in the wilderness, a vision. Sometimes, a serious illness may foreshadow the path toward shamanism. When the call is answered and the person begins training with an older shaman, the illness is often healed altogether. There are three big stages in the initiatory process: suffering, death, and resurrection.”
This exercise shows how easily the undiscerning Christian can be deceived when statements appear biblically sound. Many movements take advantage of this weakness, and they also redefine words such as ‘faith’ and ‘power’.
God is an Electric Force
In the Word of Faith movement, faith is a ‘force’ to be manipulated. This movement’s false teachers claim you have a ‘miracle in your mouth’ because words have power, and through these words, you are able to create your destiny. Likewise, faith healers speak of the anointing power that is required for healing. This power causes people to fall backwards, stumble, and/or shake uncontrollably. The faith healers claim you are ‘slain in the Spirit‘ because the power of the Spirit has come upon you.
About 40 years ago, Benny Hinn says he met this counterfeit ‘power’ at a healing crusade of the late faith healer Kathryn Kuhlman. He recalls:
As I stood in line, I suddenly began to shake. Nothing like that had ever happened before. It didn’t stop. I was too embarrassed to tell Jim or anyone around me. Even when we got to our seats on the third row of the auditorium, the shaking continued. The longer it continued, the more beautiful it became.”
After Kuhlman talks about what she perceives to be the Holy Spirit, Benny Hinn says,
At that moment, I cried and said, “I’ve got to have this!”
Then, within moments, the service was over. I was shaken to the core. God had used that service and His mighty evangelist to reveal His power that day.
All the way back to Toronto, I kept thinking, “What did she mean? What was she saying when she talked about the Holy Spirit?”
I was totally exhausted when I arrived home, but I could not sleep. As I lay on my bed, I felt as if someone were pulling me off the mattress and onto my knees. It was a strange sensation, but I didn’t resist.
I had never spoken to the Holy Spirit before. I didn’t know He could be addressed that way.
Finally, I prayed, “Holy Spirit, Kathryn Kuhlman says You are her Friend. I don’t think I know You. Before today, I thought I did. But after that meeting, I realize I really don’t. I don’t think I know You.”
Then, like a child with my hands raised, I asked, “Can I meet You? Can I really meet You?”
A few brief moments passed, then like a jolt of electricity my body began to vibrate all over again, exactly like at the church in Pittsburgh.
I was afraid to open my eyes. I felt like a warm blanket of God’s power was wrapped all over me. That continued until I finally dropped off to sleep that night. Even then, I still didn’t realize all that had happened to me.”
This interaction with the ‘Holy Spirit’ is not biblical, but it’s interesting that Benny Hinn says, “I’ve got to have this!” What is this? It sounds more like the impersonal force of the occult than the personal being of the Holy Spirit. Benny Hinn should be seeking a who, which is Jesus; not a what.
Todd Bentley is another faith healer who speaks about this force: “When people visited me at my home, they’d get zapped by an invisible electric force field in whatever room I was in, and then they’d bounce back.” Extra-biblical healing practices have a strong appeal to the senses and may cause tingling, heat, and seeing light.
Teachers and Initiations (Impartations)
As with the occult, the so-called ‘Christian’ community also has many leaders who impart power and who teach how to perform healings. This is from Bethel’s Healing School website:
At the Bethel Healing School, you will be inspired, trained, and activated in a lifestyle of healing & miracles. The school is more than just a seminar of teaching. It is a quick immersion into a culture of joy, freedom, and understanding of everything that Jesus paid for! During the school, you will increase in understanding how to carry the anointing as well as learn ways to cultivate and maintain an atmosphere conducive to healing in your churches and ministries.”
There is much nonsense in that paragraph; for instance, how is power from God ‘activated’ and where in the Bible does it teach us how to ‘carry the anointing’? Additionally, does it make sense that the Holy Spirit would give us this gift (1 Corinthians 12:11) but then require man to activate it?
Another alarming occult practice is grave sucking – the transferring of supposed energy from the dead. Many professing Christians do this bizarre ritual. Benny Hinn admits to frequenting the tomb of Kathryn Kuhlman to receive anointing from her dead and decomposed body. Well, this is nothing but necromancy. Todd Bentley claims to have received his anointing from false teacher William Branham, even though Branham had died nine years before the birth of Bentley.
Putting aside anointings from the dead, consider what this article from LetUsReason.org says about anointings in general:
Many today are taught to get an impartation from the anointed preacher. There is no need when Scripture states we all have the same standing before God; all believers have the same Holy Spirit and Christ as our mediator. We can all receive from Jesus, who is the one we should all be seeking. Going to a certain person or meeting to seek an anointing by impartation is unbiblical. No other person is to be our mediator to receive the Holy Spirit. Whenever men become mediators, Christ’s teachings diminish and men’s teachings increase. We are then giving them, not the Lord control over our lives.
Laying hands on the sick to pray is not the same as imparting the spirit and watching them buckle.
A ‘transferable anointing’ is not seen nor practiced anywhere in Scripture. We also find that the Apostles did not rush around laying hands on people to impart an experience of ‘fire’ or power. They did not chant words over and over and expect a immediate response. The impartations done today that come through certain men are not the true anointing, who is the Spirit of God. Only God can give the Spirit; Jesus is the baptizer of the Holy Spirit, not man. Man cannot control God- there is no teaching on how to obtain or release the anointing to another.”
John MacArthur also warns, “Dear ones, Jesus is the only mediator between God and man, right? Demons are mediators between hell and man. They make captives out of man”.
As explained above, the healings of the apostate church provide sensations of electricity, shaking, and vibrating. When I was still spiritually immature and lost, I experienced similar sensations with two different faith healers, and these abnormal feelings were uncannily similar to the electric sensations I had experienced as a Reiki practitioner.
Healing itself is not proof that it came from God; also, it’s worth knowing that falling to the ground (or lying prostrate, e.g.) in repentance and grief over one’s sin is very different to falling backwards and shaking uncontrollably.
Healing In the New Testament
We are commanded to test all things (1Thessalonians 5:21), including the spirits (1John4:1), and when we examine the healings in the New Testament, we see that they were instantaneous and permanent. Since they were obvious and public, they went unchallenged. The apostles were given authority to heal every disease and every affliction–unlike what we see at healing crusades, where those in wheelchairs are pushed to the sidelines.
The Pythia, commonly known as the Oracle of Delphi, was the name of any priestess throughout the history of Temple of Apollo. The Pythia was widely credited for her prophecies inspired by Apollo. source
Prophecy (fortune-telling) in the Occult
Merriam-Webster defines a fortune-teller as “a person who claims to use special powers to tell what will happen to someone in the future.”** Fortune-tellers work with energy as well and claim to be sensitive to vibrations from the spirit world. Since Satan and demons are not omnipresent or omniscient, fortune-tellers’ predictions are often wrong. However, they know that if they get some things right or are able to manipulate circumstances in favor of their predictions, that their victims will be held captive. Divination practices such as astrology, palmistry, and tarot reading are never entirely accurate; however, millions of people are in bondage to these enchantments. God forbids fortune-telling (Deuteronomy 18:10-13).
Prophecy In the Apostate Church
If we believe that the office of prophet is still active today, then we have a duty to test and investigate the practices and prophecies being made against Scripture.
Prophecy – The Greek word translated “prophesying” or “prophecy” in both passages properly means to “speak forth” or declare the divine will, to interpret the purposes of God, or to make known in any way the truth of God which is designed to influence people. The idea of telling the future was added sometime in the Middle Ages and is in direct contradiction to other scriptural passages that condemn such fortune-telling or predicting the future (Acts 16:16-18).”
The kind of prophesying we see in the apostate church is one of fortune-telling. God has already revealed in Scripture all that He desires us to know. As Jude says, we have the faith once delivered (Jude 1:3). However, many people are dissatisfied and seek personal revelations, despite the command not to go beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6). Not only are the vast predictions of modern-day prophets incorrect, but their collective theology is among the worst in the church. If the Holy Spirit, who is truth (John 16:13), is actually the one giving these revelations to these fraudsters, why would He not first correct their doctrine?
Prophecy In the Bible
In the New Testament era, the early believers did not have the completed Bible, so prophets (or apostles) proclaimed messages from the Lord. Prophets were foundational to the church (Ephesians 2:20), and they were 100% accurate.
Furthermore, GotQuestions.org says:
Note the transition from prophet to teacher in 2 Peter 2:1: “There were false prophets among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you” (emphasis added). Peter indicates that the Old Testament age had prophets, whereas the church will have teachers. The spiritual gift of prophecy, in the sense of receiving new revelations from God to be proclaimed to others, ceased with the completion of the Bible. During the time that prophecy was a revelatory gift, it was to be used for the edification, exhortation, and comfort of men (1 Corinthians 14:3). The modern gift of prophecy, which is really more akin to teaching, still declares the truth of God. What has changed is that the truth of God today has already been fully revealed in His Word, while, in the early church, it had not yet been fully revealed.”
Examining the Fruit
Mysticism and the occult seduce the flesh because they provide subjective experiences and promise to reveal secret knowledge. This is the opposite of how Christians are commanded to live. We walk by faith in God, trusting that He will direct our steps (Proverbs 16:9). Much of what is occurring in the apostate church is divination and speaking to spirits – forms of sorcery that mark the lives of unbelievers (Galatians 5:19-21). Sorcerers are given power by Satan to lead people away from God (Matthew 24:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9) and since there will always be sorcerers, even in the end times (Revelation 18:23), we must always be vigilant (1Peter 5:8).
One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control (Galatians 5:23), not falling down and shaking uncontrollably or speaking false prophecies – these practices are the work of Satan. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit does not allow Himself to be the focus; He does not seek the spotlight.This is in direct contrast to the blasphemous way that these unbiblical ministries so falsely portray the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus, not Himself (John 16:14); the Holy Spirit also testifies about Jesus (John 15:26), not about Himself.
Our enemy always promises something that we think will benefit us, and it’s important to remember that our minds can be corrupted (2 Corinthians 11:3). To think that we cannot be deceived simply because we are Christians is contrary to the many New Testament warnings about deceptions. To assume we can dabble in the occult because of a response to an altar call is as much a lie as the belief that the occultists can surround themselves with ‘white light’ to protect themselves from evil spirits. If we claim to follow Jesus, then we should truly follow Him. We should have nothing to do with pagan and occult practices. Do not be deceived – God performs miracles; Satan performs magic.
Friends, do not subject yourself to anything that ‘awakens’ you, that encourages you to open your heart, or that manipulates energy. Do not seek ‘fresh fire’, new revelations, or impartations. If God desires for you to be healed, trust that He will providentially provide for the healing. Do not believe everything you hear, but test the spirits (1 John 4:1). Let’s leave signs and wonders alone; instead, let’s strive to be holy and righteous, and living a life that’s pleasing to God.
Soli Deo Gloria,
** “Fortune-teller.” Merriam-Webster.com, n.d Web.24 May. 2015. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fortune-teller
A Call For Discernment Part 1, 2, 3
Kundalini Warning Part 1, 2, 3
Is the anointing tangible and transferable; can we impart it?
The Lord Told Me – I Think!