Are Revelations and Speaking from the Holy Spirit Real Today?
A reader of this blog emailed the following question to me:
“Do you have any resources, articles, etc., on how to address women at my church who believe God gives them “revelations” and the Holy Spirit “speaks” to them? There are only a few of them, and while they seem to be sincere Christians, they also appear to be way out there on these topics!”
Years ago, during the 1970s, I was involved in the Charismatic Movement. As I look back, I realize that there were many excesses in gatherings and times of worship. People spoke in tongues of unknown origin or language, some would stand up during a service and provide a “word” from the Lord, which was usually little more than a mishmash of Bible verses with the encouragement that He “is doing a new work” in the world or in America or in the neighborhood, etc.
At the same time, people would often go to another person with a personal word. Often, this word was very general like, “God has something new He wants to do through you,” or “God is going to lift you up out of the desert and give you victory.”
But what about this question of whether or not God actually (and sometimes audibly) speaks to His children? Is it possible? Can it even be routine?
To hear some folks tell it today, God talks to them all the time! Yes, they’ve had to train themselves to “hear” His still, small voice, but nonetheless, He still speaks. How can we ever really know whether or not God is the One speaking to us? If God can do it (and He certainly has the ability to), certainly Satan and his demons can. Moreover, some people have vivid imaginations as well. That “conversation” they’re having in their minds may be nothing more than “vain imaginings” that they believe stem from a non-existent conversation they are having with God. He gets blamed for a lot of things.
Let me provide two examples from my own life and in truth, before I share them, I will readily admit that I cannot prove beyond all doubt that in both examples, God was the One speaking to me. Both examples occurred during my time in the Charismatic Movement, a movement that I long ago fully rejected as unbiblical.
One day, I had gone shopping for clothes and had put a good amount of clothing on lay-away (remember that option?). Weeks started to go by and I had no real money to buy the items. So I began to complain to God about it daily. Several months passed and still I had not been able to save up enough money to purchase the items.
One day, I was home and was in the bathroom. There I was, sitting on the throne, taking care of business and I remember complaining again about the fact that these clothes were still in lay away and He had not provided enough money for me to purchase them. Yes, I know how arrogant the whole thing was, believe me.
As I continued to rant, all of a sudden, everything got completely quiet, including me. I abruptly stopped. After a second or two, I heard a “voice” that I then believed was of God. The voice simply asked me (without indignation or blame), “Did I tell you to buy them?” The voice had been so real, yet so small, that I started to look behind me. Of course, the only thing that was there was the wall.
I thought about that one question and I realized immediately that I had purchased the clothing without the funds on hand to actually buy them. It was not God’s fault. It was mine. That was the end of my complaining and even though it was several more months before I had saved enough money, I never again complained about that. Was that God? I would certainly like to think so but I cannot prove it one way or another, can I? I have to go by what I felt at the time and that, unfortunately, leads me into the realm of emotional virtue, not absolute truth. That voice had the power to shut me up completely even before it spoke. Was it God? I do not know.
The second occasion happened months later. I had opted to send money to an organization that said for every dollar I donated, they would send a Bible to a person in a foreign country. Well, that sounded good to me! I filled out the card and wrote a check, but I couldn’t mail it. Something kept me from mailing it so I left it on the table.
After several days, as I was still struggling with this whole thing, a thought came to me in the form of a voice, but not mine. The voice said, “They do not do what they say they do.” AHA! Okay, so I went to the table, grabbed the card, ripped up everything including the check and threw it all away! Problem solved.
Okay, but I still don’t know if that was God talking to me or some demon imitating God, trying to get me used to relying on this supernatural voice. I have no way to know. By the way, the organization was not a well-known organization that everyone had heard of. It was another one.
Did I hear God on either or both of these occasions? I really do not know. I cannot swear to it.
These two events seem fairly innocuous don’t they? We know that Satan can transform himself into an angel of light in order to deceive. He’s done this to many people and continues the practice today. Once we begin relying on hearing God’s “voice” or believing that God “speaks” to us audibly, it becomes extremely easy to put the Bible down and walk away from it. That’s my biggest concern.
If God has revealed Himself to us through His Word, why does He need to reveal Himself directly to us through some “voice” or “revelation”? I often wonder if the entities behind these things are doing what they can to appear godly (or at least innocuous at first) only to draw us away from the truth later on after we’ve gotten used to relying on that “voice” or “revelations” we believe are from God?
We’ll be back next time with some resources that you might wish to peruse in order to enlighten yourself and others.
Entry filed under: christianity, Emotional virtue, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: charismatic movement, revelations from god.