What is it? Slain in the Spirit

Jn. 18:6 “As soon then as he had said unto them, I am He, they went backward, and fell to the ground.”

I have had hundreds, maybe thousands fall as I prayed for them, all a little bit different   Some were healed.  Some were delivered, some I believe, were the work of demons trying to prevent the person from receiving ministry.  Terms such as “slain in the Spirit” and “falling under the power” are not found in the Bible.  We are not aware of any Scriptures that specifically describe this experience which occurs in some church services, where believers are prayed for and in the process fall to the floor and remain unconscious for a time

The phenomenon is real but knowing what each person experiences is not possible to know.  I believe it is best to not seek such an experience and best not question the reality of one that has experienced it. The term is generally recognized in Christian circles but is not found in the Bible.

For sure that would be a human response at being in the revealed Glory of God.  How could you not fall at His feet?  This is not being slain in the Spirit or falling under the power.  How could you not fall at His Majestic Presence?  I don’t believe these verses lend evidence to the phenomenon although there is no doubt that the experience takes place, especially in Pentecostal and Charismatic churches.

Some call attention to Rev. 1:10-17 which tells how the apostle John fell at the feet of Jesus when he was “in the spirit on the Lord’s Day,” and saw the glorious revelation of Christ. There was also the transfiguration of Christ, when Peter, James, and John “fell on their face” at the revelation of Christ’s glory (Mt. 17:1-8).  However, these verses seem to indicate a voluntarily act of Worship and awe.  There are Old Testament verses that some use to explain this.

There are a number of passages that are usually cited as examples of being slain in the Spirit.  They include the following.  The Bible says that the prophet Ezekiel fell over when confronted by the vision of a moving object.  Scripture reports it as follows. “Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.  This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.  When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking “(Ezek. 1:28 NIV).

“…the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.” (2Chron. 5:13,14 NASB)  It is not clear whether this was voluntarily falling, but they fell forward.  However, when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, they fell backwards.

“Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.”  Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.  When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.” (Jn. 18:4-6 ESV). When Jesus spoke ‘I AM’ the soldiers were overwhelmed.  He is the great I AM.

The Apostle Paul ‘fell to the ground’’.  “Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.  And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Act. 9:3-4 ESV).

John, as he recorded the revelation of Jesus Christ, could not stand, he fell at His feet as though dead!  “His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword.  His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.  When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.  Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last” (Rev. 1:15-17 NIV).  So, without question there is scriptural support for this being a genuine experience for some.

Now bear in mind, I am a Southern Baptist, and these experiences were new to me.  I have never sought to be anything but genuine with God.  Phony preachers, and there are some, make me cringe.  Part of my prayer life has always been “God I want everything you want me to have, but always give me clear discernment.  I want only to represent you well.”

I will give you a brief testimony about the so called “slain in the Spirit” phenomenon.  When these things started happening in my services, I knew I wasn’t doing anything to make it happen but it happened in virtually every service.  I would just extend my hand sometimes toward people and they would fall.

I recall one night in my bed at home before going to a Texas prison the next day for services, wondering and asking God what the people were experiencing.  I honestly did not know.  I felt I heard in my spirit “tomorrow night you will know for you will experience it.”   I’m thinking how can that be, I’ll be preaching.

When I got to the prison chapel (Wynne Unit in Huntsville, TX) I was on the platform as inmates were singing and about to introduce me.  As I got to the pulpit I could not speak.  Now I have, preached in that chapel probably a 100 times.   I stood there and expected words to come as always.  Often, I would greet the men with a joke, like “I’m like the lightning bug that backed into a fan, I am delighted to be here.”  I stood there and could not speak.

As I stood there an inmate on the second row said, “Brother Don the Holy Spirit is telling me to come pray for you, may I?”  I nodded yes and he came, 3 or four others came with him.  They were Hispanic believers.  They gather around me and began praying scripture over me quoting scripture from Is. 61 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon YOU; because the Lord hath anointed YOU to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent YOU to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”

While they were praying, I fell backwards into their arms.  I felt an overwhelming peace.  I got up after a minute or so and preached.  I felt in my spirit the Lord say, “Now you know.”

Just for Jesus,

Don

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