Most of you have seen this phenomena occur in the charismatic churches. This is where you see pastors or ministers laying hands on people, usually on their foreheads, and then they fall backwards.
The charismatics have named this phenomena as being “Slain in the Spirit.” Some people call it “Falling in the Spirit” or “Resting in the Spirit.”
Is this a real phenomenon? If it is – is it really God operating through the power of the Holy Spirit, or is it demonic spirits trying to masquerade as the power of Holy Spirit coming onto someone? There are many Christians and Christian groups who are really attacking this phenomena.
I will go ahead and give you the main Scripture verses where this phenomena is coming from. I will then give you some of the main arguments of those Christians who are against this phenomena, and I will then end this article with my own personal opinion as to why I think this phenomena is a true manifestation from the Lord.
The Scripture Verses
Here are the main verses from Scripture showing people falling to the ground whenever God would manifest His presence to different people. The first verse is from the Original King James Version of the Bible, the rest are from the New King James Version.
- “… 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 5:14)
- Jesus said to them, “I am He.” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Then when He said to them. “I am He,” – they drew back and fell to the ground.” (John 18:6)
- “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.” (Revelation 1:17)
- “And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.” But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” (Matthew 17:6)
- “And as he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:3-4)
- “So I arose and went out into the plain, and behold, the glory of the Lord stood there, like the glory which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face.” (Ezekiel 3:23)
- “Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face.” (Numbers 22:31)
- “And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. It was like the appearance of the vision which I saw – like the vision which I saw when I came to destroy the city. The visions were like the vision which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face.” (Ezekiel 43:2-3)
- “Then He brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple; so I looked, and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord; and I fell on my face.” (Ezekiel 44:4)
Now I will give you some of the arguments being made by those who are against this phenomena, and then some of my own arguments as to why I believe this a real manifestation from the Lord.
Arguments Against Being Slain in the Spirit
The Christians who argue against this phenomena really being from the Lord base their arguments on the following reasons:
- Every time people fell when the presence of God would manifest, they would always fall on their faces, not fall backward.
- Nowhere in the Bible do the prophets, the apostles, or Jesus Himself ever lay hands on someone and then the power of God comes through their hands to knock them backward.
- The only time people fell in the presence of God was when God was rendering some type of judgment.
Now to some arguments that will counter some of the above arguments if you should ever need them in any kind of debate.
Arguments For Being Slain in the Spirit
I will take each one of the above arguments and see if I can give you an opposing point of view in order to try and defend this phenomena as being from the Lord.
1. The First Argument – people always falling face down rather than falling backwards. Granted, 5 of the above 9 verses specifically state that these people had fallen on their faces rather than falling backward.
However, the other 4 verses say they simply “fell to the ground,” or that they “could not stand” when the presence of God would manifest.
Who is to say that when these people fell to the ground, they could not have been falling backwards. These verses do not say if they fell forward or backward, so I believe this means they could have fallen either way – thus showing that there was the possibility of falling backwards when the presence of God would manifest.
The first verse says that the priests “could not stand” when the manifest presence of God would enter into the temple. Again, they could have easily as been falling backwards as well as falling forward.
Since Scripture does not specifically say in which direction they were falling, I believe we are on safe ground making the assumption that these 4 other verses give us the possibility of people falling backwards whenever the presence of God would manifest.
2. The Second Argument – stating that at no time did Jesus or the apostles ever lay hands on people causing them fall backwards.
Though I could not find any actual Scripture verses that did show this phenomena occurring as it does today by the laying on of hands, I feel the key argument for the possibility of this phenomena occurring is the following argument:
Sometimes when the presence of God would manifest like described in the above verses, people did fall to the ground. No question about it. However, there were other times God would manifest His presence and people would not fall to the ground.
This thus was a manifestation that was completely controlled by God. He, and He alone, would decide when people would get knocked to the ground and when they would not whenever He would manifest His presence.
I think the key point to really grab a hold of is that this phenomena can occur when God does decide to manifest His presence in this particular way. And sometimes God will manifest His presence through the hands of a pastor or minister.
And if He does decide to manifest His presence through the hands of a minister, then I believe it is only logical to conclude that God can knock people down to the ground like He did back in the Bible days if He should choose to do so.
There is no question that the manifest presence of God is coming through a pastor or minister when hands are being laid on someone for a healing. The manifest presence and power of God will literally flow through the hands of the pastor or minister and flow right into the person’s body, and then the Holy Spirit Himself will do the healing once inside the person’s body.
If “healing power” can come through a minister’s hands, then why not “knockdown power?”
God can either knock someone over with a direct hit Himself, or through the hands of someone who is operating under His anointing at any given moment. I believe God can and does go either way with this particular manifestation.
3. The Third Argument – God only knocked people down when rendering some type of judgment on them. Look closely at the above 9 verses.
It was only on the apostle Paul that God was rendering judgment on when He knocked him to the ground. The others were priests of the temple, prophets like Ezekiel and John the Revelator, or the apostles themselves. None of them were under any kind of direct judgment when this phenomena was occurring.
Conclusion To Why I Believe Being Slain In the Spirit Is From The Lord
1. Being slain in the Spirit is simply when the presence and power of God comes directly at you causing you to either fall forward or backward.
This power can either come directly through the hands of someone operating under the Lord’s anointing at any given moment, or directly at you by God Himself, such as when you see people falling to the ground while just sitting in their seats with no one laying a hand on them.
This manifestation of God’s power can either come directly at you very lightly where you just start to lose your balance and then proceed to fall.
Or it can come at you very strongly to the point where you cannot resist it and you are literally blown to the ground.
When this happens, it looks like a cannonball is hitting someone right in the stomach and they fall backwards with a fair amount of force.
God decides how strong He will manifest this kind of power when He does decide to manifest it on someone.
Granted, there will always be some people in a church service who will be falling backwards out of their own flesh. The power of God is not causing them to fall backward.
They just want to be part of the crowd and they will fall backwards all on their own.
However, you cannot throw out the baby with the bathwater on this manifestation just because some people will always choose to act out of their flesh.
2. So what happens when people are slain in the Spirit? Sometimes just a nice, restful, peaceful, relaxed feeling will come over the person. Sometimes people can receive inner and/or outer healings while resting in the Spirit.
Some people can receive visions, instructions, or advice from the Lord on a situation that He may want to deal with them on. People can rest anywhere in the Spirit from 1-2 minutes or as long as 4-6 hours if God would choose to go that long with a particular individual.
For those of you who would like additional information on this phenomenon – there is a book titled “Overcome by the Spirit” by Francis MacNutt.
Francis MacNutt is an ex-Catholic priest who received a very powerful healing ministry from the Lord. He noticed that this phenomenon would occur quite often whenever he would lay hands on people for their healings.
He interviewed many people after they had fallen in the Spirit to find out what their reactions were, and exactly what had happened to them while they were resting in the Spirit. There are many direct quotes from the people he interviewed and it was all very positive.
He came to the conclusion that being slain in the Spirit was a very real manifestation of God that was occurring because of all the good fruit it produced in the people who had experienced this phenomena.
He said some of the actual healings that came through his ministry occurred when people were resting in the Spirit after he had initially laid hands on them.
This man, in my opinion, is a true servant of God. He explored this phenomenon with complete objectivity back in the 1970’s. He covers, in this most informative book, all of the things that he saw happen when this manifestation would occur.
I will leave you with a short story on this manifestation occurring to someone I used to work with. I will never forget this testimony as long as I live. It was very touching and I felt like God allowed this story to come my way when it did to help confirm that this particular manifestation was really coming from Him.
About 20 years ago, I worked with a man who was a very devout Catholic. He was married with 2 girls, ages 8 and 11. There was a priest from Chicago who had come down for the Sunday service.
I cannot recall the name of the priest, but he had a healing ministry and he did a lot of traveling with the healing gift that God had given him. He too found that people would fall backwards whenever he would lay hands on them.
On the Sunday this event occurred, this man, his wife and his two girls all went to see this priest. When this priest then made the call for anyone to come up and have hands laid on them, all four of them went up just to see if God would do anything with any of them.
My friend said that absolutely nothing happened to either him, his wife, or his older 11-year-old daughter. They felt no power come against them and none of them fell backwards in the Spirit.
However, his youngest daughter, who was 8 years of age, was hit hard! He said she went down like a ton of bricks. He said it looked like a cannonball or bowling ball hit her right in the stomach blowing her backwards with great force. There obviously was a catcher behind her when she fell backward.
He said the minute she hit the ground, she started bawling profusely. He said she was crying as hard as she could. My friend initially thought there was something wrong with her because she was crying so hard. He then started to go over to see what was wrong with her, but he received an immediate check from the Holy Spirit that he was not to go near her, that God was doing something very special with her.
He said that she laid on the ground crying as hard as she could for a good 10-15 minutes.
After the 10-15 minutes, she all of a sudden quit crying and stood up. He immediately went over to her and started to walk with her outside. When they got outside, he turned to her and asked her why she had been crying so hard after she had been slain in the Spirit.
I will never forget these words as long as I live. This little 8-year-old girl turned to her daddy and said with a real big smile on her face:
“Daddy, Daddy, He felt so good, He felt so good!”
God was obviously manifesting His loving presence all over this little girl for the 10-15 minutes that she was “resting in the Spirit” to the point that she was crying as hard as she could. She obviously was in the manifest presence of God and He was allowing her to literally feel His love for her.
As I was driving home from work that day after hearing the above story, I then tapped in and asked God what had happened and was that really Him that did all of that.
These three words immediately came up out of my spirit and again, I will never forget these three words. The three words were – “I touched her” – with an emphasis on the word “touch.”
I then immediately started to laugh. He touched her, but she went down like a ton of bricks! I really felt like God was telling me two things with these three specific words:
- That it was His manifest presence that blew her backwards causing her to fall like she did, and that it was His manifest presence stirring on the inside of her causing her to cry as hard as she did.
- The fact that she told her dad that “He felt so good” – showed that God had to be literally manifesting His love to her where she could physically feel it all over her body.
You will each have to come to your own conclusions as to whether or not you feel this is a true manifestation from God.
For those of you who do believe that this is a real manifestation from the Lord, the above Scripture verses, and arguments off those Scripture verses, can give you some ammunition should you ever find yourself in a heated debate with another Christian over this topic.
As for myself, I really do believe this phenomenon is a true and powerful manifestation from the Lord when it really is Him doing it. But as with all of the other manifestations from God, there are always demons out there who will try and counterfeit some of His manifestations, along with other people just acting out and pretending God is manifesting on them when He is really not doing so.
These people are either operating under the power of suggestion, or they simply want to be part of the crowd if they see other people truly falling under the power of God.
But do not let counterfeit activity from the dark side, or some people acting out of their flesh prejudice you against what I feel is a very powerful and wonderful manifestation from the Lord when He does decide to do it on someone.
For those of you who have been truly slain in the Spirit, you know exactly what I am talking about since you have had this real experience. For those of you who have not – I challenge you to go direct to God the Father in prayer and ask Him to personally show you if this manifestation is something that is really coming from Him or not.
God loves it when you start to press in and ask Him specific questions on anything you may really want an answer on.
Ask, and you may just receive His direct answer on this topic!
Testimony on Being Slain in the Spirit
Since we have put up this article, we have received quite a few emails from people who have received this experience from the Lord. One in particular has really caught our attention. This one came in just a few weeks after publishing the article and this person has given us permission to release his testimony on our site.
This person is 55 years old right now and he personally had this experience with the Lord when he was a sophomore in high school. As you will see when reading his testimony, he initially went up there to see if he could possibly disprove that this manifestation was really coming from the Lord.
Here is this man’s word-for-word testimony on exactly what had occurred to him that day when he went up there to see if this experience was really from the Lord or not. I will then point out a few key things that had occurred to him both during and after he had this experience with the Lord.
I am two months away from age 56 and have been a Christian since a very young age. My relationship with God has at times, been rocky and rebellious.
Yet, He has always been there. I was Slain in the Spirit in high school and want to relate my experience. It is much like the little 8 year old girl you cited as an example.
I was about a Sophomore and going through a very rebellious period. I was doubting the very existence of God. I was attending Monte Vista Christian High School in Watsonville, CA and had gone with many from the school to a revival meeting at a local church. I do not recall the name of the traveling pastor but it was a healing service.
While sitting there in church, listening to the preacher describe those in the congregation that God wanted to heal if they simply had faith enough to come forward, I was undergoing a spiritual battle.
My explanation of what was going on is crude but it is the only way I know in which to describe same. It was as if I had a small little satan on one shoulder and a small Jesus or Angel on the other shoulder.
One was speaking to me telling me that what I was witnessing (Slain in the Spirit, healings) was BS and a fake. The other was telling me that God wanted me to come forward, that He wanted to bless me and let me know He was real. This spiritual battle continued for quite some time. Finally I decided to call out God.
I said to myself something to the effect of – ‘Ok, I will go up there and if I learn You (God) are not real, that this is all fake, and if I conclude you do not exist, this is all fake, I will immediately stand up after being knocked down and I will shout out that what is going on (Slain in the Spirit) is fake. I will expose this as being phony and You (God) do not exist.’
I went up front and stood in a line with others. The Pastor was approaching from my right (moving right to left). The air about me was palable, as if you could touch the air, or chew the air. It was as if the air had a physical substance.
I began to cry and was not sure why. The Pastor was two people right of me and had simply been saying, “In the name of Jesus” as he touched their foreheads.
I knew the Pastor had uttered such words and moved to his right, thus approaching me. I heard him utter the same words to the person second from me on my right. I began to cry harder. The Pastor then stepped in front of the person to my immediate right and uttered the same words. I began crying profusely. At this time, I simply do not recall if I had any thought at all.
I do not recall the Pastor stepping in front of me. I do not recall the Pastor saying anything to me or touching me. After he uttered the words “In the name of Jesus” to the person on my immediate right, my next recollection was a voice in my head while I laid on my back crying. The voice said something to the effect of ‘you thought this was fake, go ahead and get up’. At first I did not know if I had heard anything or what to think. I realized I was on my back, crying profusely.
The voice uttered the same message to me a second time. I think I had the conscience thought that I had been sitting in the audience, undergoing a spiritual battle and I had decided to call out God. I had decided to ascertain if this Slain in the Spirit thing was real or fake and it was my intention to expose the fake… if it was fake.
With that realization, I knew I had to get up so as to expose the lie…… I could not move. I was paralyzed!
As soon as I realized I could not move, literally, I could not move anything other than my mouth, the voice said to me, “I am God, I love you. Do not ever doubt me.” (As I am typing this to you, I am fighting tears. 40 years later, this is powerful).
With the above comments being made to me, by whom I believe from God, the floodgates opened. I thought I had been crying profusely before, but I was now crying more and harder than I had ever before or since cried. I began praising Jesus and thanking Jesus. I was speaking out loud and praising Jesus and thanking Him.
I do not have any idea how long I was on the ground in this state but I continued to cry and praise the Lord until I again heard God speak to me. He said something to the effect of, ‘It’s ok, you can get up now.’
Again, I was lost in emotion and praise and initially was not sure I had heard anything but was aware that I may have heard something. The voice spoke again and gave me the same message…. it was ok, I could get up now.
Realizing I was being told to get up, I tried to move and to my amazement, I simply stopped crying and got up. I remember saying something like thank you and again being told never to doubt God.
I walked back to my seat, emotionally spent. I was tired, but very much at peace and very much happy. (While I have no idea how long I was on the floor, those with me at the time said I was on the floor 2-3 times longer than anyone else. The average amount of time I recall those who were Slain in the Spirit lying on the floor was from a minimun of about 3-5 minutes to a maximum of about 10-15 minutes.)
I have no doubt God was trying to give me a message that He is real, does exist, created me and has power and authority over me. While my relationship over the years has at times been rebellious, I have never doubted I am saved by and through the blood of Jesus. Since being Slain in the Spirit, I have never doubted the existence of God and I have never doubted His love for me.
To this day, about 40 (+) years later, I still get chills and tears well up in my eyes as I recall those events. I was Slain in the Spirit only the one time… but that was God.
God bless. Let me know how it goes.
Notice several key things on this man’s testimony:
1. He initially went up to try and disprove this experience. I know a lot of people think that some Christians are under the power of suggestion when they go up to receive this kind of supernatural experience from the Lord. But this man had just the opposite attitude. He was going to try and disprove it if nothing would have happened to him.
2. Then notice what happens next. Before he actually receives this manifestation from the Lord, he starts to profusely cry. He had no reason to all of a sudden start crying. I believe the intense crying he was experiencing was coming direct from the Holy Spirit. I believe the Holy Spirit was moving on this man to help prepare him to receive this holy experience from the Lord.
3. Then notice what God does next after he actually gets slain by the Holy Spirit. He literally could not move an inch as he was lying under the power of the Holy Spirit, once more proving to him that he was really having this supernatural experience from the Lord.
4. And last but not least, notice the fruit it ended up producing in this man. He has never forgotten this incredible experience many years later and even to this day, he still wells up in tears just recalling everything that had occurred to him that day. This supernatural experience also help prove to him that our God really does exist and that He does truly love all of us.
As we had said in the testimony of the 8 year old girl in our article on this topic, this man was also truly “touched” by the Lord in a most powerful and intimate way that day.
In my opinion, I believe this man had a true, holy, supernatural experience with the Lord that day by the fruit it ended up producing in him, and the fact that he was not under any type of suggestion when he initially went up there to see if this experience was the real thing or not.