We have seen that the period in the believer's life wherein he receives the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the special time of danger from the evil supernatural world, and the Baptism of the Spirit is THE ESSENCE OF REVIVAL. Revival dawn, is, therefore, the great moment for deceiving spirits to find entrance into the believer by deception through counterfeits, resulting sometimes in the possession dealt with in preceding pages.
The hour of Revival is a time of crisis and possible catastrophe. A crisis in the history of every individual, as well as in the history of a country, a church, or a district. A crisis for the unregenerate man, wherein he settles his eternal destiny, as he accepts, or rejects conversion to God; a crisis to those who receive the fulness of the Holy Spirit, and to those who reject Him; for to the believer who bends and receives the Holy Spirit, it is the day of the visitation of the Most High, but to others it means the decision whether they will become spiritual men or remain carnal (1 Cor. 3: 1); whether they will elect to remain in defeat in the personal life, or determine to press on as overcomers.
Few go through the crisis without deception by the enemy in more or less degree, and only those who cling to the use of their reasoning faculties at this time, can hope to be saved from the catastrophe of becoming a victim to the subtle workings of evil supernatural powers. If the believer does become deceived by evil spirits at the time that he is baptized with the Spirit, almost immediately after the highest point of his experience, he begins through deception to descend into a pit which ultimately means depth of darkness, bondage and misery, until he is undeceived and returns to the normal path. Those who do not discover the deceptions, sink into deeper deception, and become practically useless to God and to the Church.
Revival is the hour and power of God, and of the devil, for the descent of the Divine power brings the accompanying onslaught of evil supernatural powers. It means MOVEMENT IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM. Revival itself is the hour of God, when heaven is opened, and the power of God works among men, but when the Divine power appears to pass away, and evil supernatural powers manifest their workings in a man, or a church, or a country, then men marvel that the devil's work should be where God had been so manifest, not knowing that the devil was planting his seeds, and DOING HIS WORK, FROM THE DAWN OF REVIVAL. Revival ebb began with its flow, but all unseen.
In the hour and power of God in Revival, the "Tempter" appears to be absent, but he is present as the Counterfeiter. Men say there is "no devil," and yet it is his greatest harvest time. He is netting his victims, mixing his workings with the workings of God, and beguiling the saints more effectively than he was ever able to do with his temptations to sin. As a counterfeiter, and deceiver, the ever watchful foe uses his old methods of deception and guile on new converts, who, having victory over known sin, think the Tempter has left them, not knowing his new ways. His absence is only apparent, and not real. Satan was never more active among the sons of God.
The Devil's great purpose is to stop the Revival power of God, and every Revival that has been given of God to awaken His people, has ceased after a time, more or less short, because of (1) the Church's ignorance of the laws of the spirit for co-working with God;note 1 and (2) the insidious creeping on of the powers of darkness, unrecognized, and yielded to by the people of God through ignorance. Those who are born of the Spirit at such a period of the manifested power of the Holy Spirit emerge into a spiritual world, where they come into contact with spirit-beings of evil, OF WHOSE EXISTENCE THEY HAVE NO EXPERIMENTAL KNOWLEDGE. They become conscious of spiritual forces and things which they think must be of God, and they do not know of the possibility of workings mingled by wicked spirits with the things of God. This is the reason why Revival, which quickens the Church, and for a period manifests to the world the regenerating, uplifting power of God, produces as an aftermath a number of genuine Spirit-born believers who are said to have "religious mania," or are called "cranks." And this is why "Revival" is sooner or later checked and discredited, the testimony to the world destroyed, the sober section of the Church dismayed, and made fearful of its effects..
To put it in bluntest language, the Revival hour is the occasion for evil spirits to obtain "possession" of spiritual believers, and REVIVAL CEASES BECAUSE OF SUCH POSSESSION. The most spiritual believers, baptized with the Holy Spirit, and most fitted to be used of God in Revival service, may become deceived and possessed by evil spirits in their outer being THROUGH ACCEPTING THE COUNTERFEITS OF SATAN. Believers who are not so abandoned to the Spirit escape the acute "possession, " but in their contact with hitherto unknown workings from the spiritual realm, are equally open to deception which is manifested in a less recognizable way.note 2
What is called the "fanatical"note 3 spirit, which in some degree, follows Revival, is purely the work of evil spirits. At Revival dawn the ignorant are teachable, but through their "spiritual experiences," later on they become unteachable. Pre-Revival simplicity gives place to Satanic "infallibility," or an unteachable spirit. Dogged, stubborn obstinacy in a believer after Revival is not from the source of the man himself, but from evil spirits deceiving his mind, holding his spirit in their grip, and making him unbending and unreasonable.note 4
The scheme of the powers of darkness in Revival dawn, is to drive, or push to extreme, what is true. Their "push" is very slight and imperceptible at the beginning, in suggesting thoughts, or impelling to actions a very little contrary to reason, but as the "push" is yielded to, and the use of the reason is silenced,note 5 those who are thus deceived in due course become fanatical. The judgment of those believers impelled to unreasonable actions, may be against, and even resisting the things they are supernaturally urged to do,note 6 yet they are unable to stand against the supernatural power driving them, which they think and believe is from God.
All this, and much else already dealt with in preceding pages, together with the after history of all Revivals of the past, shows that REVIVAL MINUS WAR ON SATAN AND HIS WICKED SPIRITS, must always appear to end in partial failure through the mixed results, consequent upon Satanic counterfeits of the working of the Holy Spirit. The Church, therefore, sorely needs believers equipped with knowledge and discernment, to meet the Satanic counterfeits which invariably follow the advent of Revival, knowing the symptoms of Satanic deception and possession, and able to resist the powers of darkness, and teach the children of God the way of victory over them, as well as the aggressive warfare upon them.note 7 War upon the attacking spirits of evil is indispensable for maintaining the health, sanity and spiritual power of those who are revived.
A PURE REVIVAL--free from the usual aftermath--IS POSSIBLE if the Church understood the truth about the powers of darkness, as well as the way of co- operation with the Holy Spirit. Apart from this same knowledge of the workings of Satan and his wicked spirits, so as to be able to recognize their presence under any guise, no one can with safety accept all the supernatural manifestations which accompany Revival, or believe all seeming "Pentecostal power" to be of God. A PURE Revival is Divine power in full operation, minus sin and Satan. It is not cold "belief," but life, and it has to do with the spirit, not the intellect.
Apart from this same knowledge, those who pray for Revival do not clearly understand what they pray for, nor how to act when their prayers are answered; for they are not prepared to meet the Satanic opposition to their prayers; nor even the dangers attendant upon prayer for Revival.note 8
Why is there not yet world-wide Revival in answer to world-wide prayer? For the same reason that Revival subsides when it has begun, and that prayer meetings for Revival may end in catastrophe, or powerlessness. The check to Revival, both when it has begun, and in the prayer preceding its advent, is caused by the spirits of evil deceiving or hindering the praying ones.
The hindrance to Revival, at the present time lies, not only in this opposition of the powers of darkness, but in the PRESENT CONDITION OF THE MOST SPIRITUAL SECTION OF THE CHURCH, through whom alone God can work in Revival power. These are the believers who know the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and were liberated in spirit in the Revivals of the last decade, but who are now driven back into themselves by the pressure of the enemy in the atmosphere, or else are in captivity to the foe through his counterfeits.
Let these quenched or deceived believers be liberated once more, and THOSE WHO ARE NOW USELESS WILL BE PRICELESS IN VALUE for teaching and strengthening others when Revival is once more given.
The Holy Spirit is still in those who were baptized with the Spirit, during the last Revivals. The mistake at the time of the Revival in Wales in 1904 was to become occupied with the effects of Revival, and not to watch and pray in protecting and guarding the cause of Revival. The Spirit baptized souls, at present locked up in spirit, or side-tracked through Satanic deceptions, are still those who would be the instruments through whom God could work, were they but set free. Useless now, but priceless in maturity, and experience and knowledge for the guiding and guarding of a Revived Church, when they are once more liberated for true co-working with the Holy Spirit of God.
How, then, should the Lord's praying ones pray at the present time? They should pray
(1) Against evil spirits now blocking and hindering Revival.
(2) For the cleansing and delivering of those who became possessed through deception during the time of later Revivals.
(3) That when Revival is once more given it may be kept pure, and
(4) For the preparation of instruments for Revival, trained and taught of God to guard against further inroads of the powers of darkness.
In brief, let all who pray for Revival, pray for light to reach those who HAVE BEEN ENSNARED INTO BONDAGE TO THE DECEIVING POWERS OF DARKNESS, that they may be set free, and once more become usable in Revival service; then will the forces of evil be beaten back from the ground they have regained, which still belongs to God.
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the essence of Revival, for Revival comes from a knowledge of the Holy Spirit, and the way of co-working with Him which enables Him to work in Revival power. The primary condition for Revival is, therefore, that believers should individually know the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. This term being used as a convenient expression for describing a definite influx of the Holy Spirit which thousands of believers throughout the Church of Christ have received as a definite experience. Such an infilling of the Spirit was the cause not only of the Revival in Wales in 1904-5, but of all other Revivals in the history of the world.
The fact that the counterfeiting work of Satan follows Revival through such an opening of the spiritual world as enables the evil spirit-beings to find access to believers under the guise of the Divine Spirit, must not hold back the children of God from seeking the true flood tide of the Spirit, for the bringing about of pure Revival, and the emancipation of the Church of Christ from the bonds of sin and Satan.
It is of primary importance to understand what is a true Baptism of the Spirit, the conditions for its reception, and the effects of obtaining it. Previous chapters will have thrown much light upon what it is not, and the dangers to be avoided in seeking it. It is not an influence coming upon the body, nor, according to the records in the Acts of the Apostles, does it result in physical manifestations, such as convulsions, twitchings and writhings of the human
frame; nor does it rob a man of the full intelligent action of the mind, or ever make him irresponsible for his speech and actions.
In brief, the place of the indwelling of the Spirit of God in man, gives the key to all the true manifestations connected with the Baptism of the Spirit, as well as the conditions for receiving it, and the results in personal experience and service. THAT PLACE IS THE HUMAN SPIRIT. Once let the believer understand that his SPIRIT is the organ through which the Holy Spirit carries out all His operations in and through him, he will be able to discern the true meaning of being filled with the Holy Ghost, and how to detect the counterfeit workings of Satan in the realm of the senses.
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit may be described as an influx, sudden or gradual, of the Spirit of God into a man's spirit, which liberates it from the vessel of the soul, and raises it into a place of dominance over soul and body. The freed spirit then becomes an open channel for the Spirit of God to pour through it an outflow of Divine power. The mind receives, at the same time, a clarifying quickening, and the "eye of the understanding" is filled with light (Eph. 1: 18). The body becomes entirely under the man's complete control, as the result of the dominance of the spirit, and often receives a quickening in strength for endurance in the warfare service he finds he has emerged into.
That the Spirit of God OPERATES THROUGH THE ORGAN OF A MAN'S SPIRIT, as shown in the epistles of Paul, needs to be kept in mind in reading the records of the working of the Holy Spirit in the Acts of the Apostles.
On the day of Pentecost, the 120 disciples--men and women--were filled in the spirit, as the Spirit of God filled the atmosphere, and their tongues were liberated, so that THEY THEMSELVES as intelligent personalities, could speak of the mighty works of God as the Spirit gave utterance, i.e., gave them power to speak. The record gives no hint that they became automatons, or that the Spirit spoke HIMSELF through them, or INSTEAD of them. From a spirit under the clothing of, and the afflatus of the Spirit of God, they themselves were given intelligent insight into, and utterance about, the wonderful things of God, as they were "moved" in spirit by Him.
This influx of the Divine Spirit into their spirits, not only left their mental powers in full action, but clarified them, and increased their keenness of discernment and power of thought, as seen in the action and the words of Peter, who spoke with such convincing power that through his words--inspired by the Spirit, but spoken by him in intelligent clearness of mind--three thousand were convicted and saved, the true influence of God the Holy Spirit being manifested through him, not in "control" of those who heard him, but in a deep conviction in their consciences which turned them to God, not conquered by terror of God, but by a godly awe, which led them to godly sorrow and repentance.
The "falling upon" of the Spirit (Acts 2: 15), is therefore upon the spirit, clothing it with Divine light and power, and raising it into union of spirit with the glorified Lord in heaven; at the same time, baptizing the believer into one spirit with every other member of the mystical Body of Christ, joined to the Head in heaven.
All who are thus liberated and clothed in spirit are "made to drink of one Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:13)--the Holy Spirit--Who then, through the spirit capacity of each member of the Body, is able to distribute to each the gifts of the Spirit, for effective witness to the Risen Head, "dividing to each one severally even as He will." (See 1 Cor. 12: 4-11).
Another aspect of the true Baptism of the Spirit, having an important bearing upon the experiences of believers to-day, is to be found in the words of Peter on the Day of Pentecost, showing that the revelation of Christ given by the Holy Spirit at such a time, was of Christ as the glorified Man in heaven (Acts 2: 33, 34), and not in any vision or manifestation as a Person within.note 9 The same attitude to Christ as seated on the right hand of God, is uniformly to be seen in all the later records of the work of the Spirit in the Acts of the Apostles.note 10 The martyr Stephen sees the "Son of Man, standing on the right hand of God" (Acts 7: 56), and Paul on the road to Damascus is arrested by a light from heaven (Acts 9: 3; 22: 6; 26: 13), out of which clothing of light the Ascended Lord spoke to him, saying, "I am Jesus . . . "
The Holy Spirit fills the human spirit of the believer, and communicates to him the very Spirit of Jesus, joining him in one spirit to the Spirit of the glorified Lord, imparting to him the life and nature of Christ for the building up of a new creation in His likeness (Rom. 8: 29; Heb. 2: 2-13). Instead of being turned inward to a self-centred apprehension of Christ, he is, by the influx of the Spirit of God into his spirit, lifted, so to speak, out of the narrow limit of himself,note 11 into a spiritual sphere where he finds himself one spirit with others who are joined to the Living Head forming one Body--or spirit organism--for the influx and outflow of the Spirit of the Lord.note 12
This aspect of the true meaning of the Baptism of the Spirit and its spiritual effect, has an important bearing upon Revival, and the reason why Revival does not come. Revival is an OUTFLOW OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD THROUGH THE ORGAN OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT LIBERATED FOR HIS USE. When the influx of the Spirit takes place into the spirits of many believers, and finds outlet through all, the unity which was so marked in the early Church is seen, and the united power becomes strong enough to overflow through all these liberated ones to others.
But if the believer turns INWARD, either (1) through the pressure of opposition, (2) powers of darkness in the atmosphere, or (3) to worship and pray in a self-centred way; or is occupied in any degree with an inward experience, THE OUTFLOW OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS HINDERED; the unity with other liberated believers is checked by an invisible barrier, which has come between, and the released spirit, which was kept dominant over soul and body so long as the man turned outward as a channel for the inflow and outflow of the Holy Spirit, sinks down into the soul-vessel, a "spirit in prison," so to speak, once more.note 13
"Revival" is then checked at its very birth, because believers who seek, and obtain a Baptism of the Spirit, do not clearly understand the conditions upon which the inflow was given, nor how to co-operate with the Holy Spirit in the purpose of His coming; which is to make them channels for the OUTFLOW of rivers of living water.
The influx of the Spirit of God to a man's spirit, means love, joy, and liberty, buoyancy, light and power. It means a revelation of Christ as the Risen and Ascended Lord, which brings joy unspeakable and full of glory; and an intimate sense of His nearness in fellowship and communion, which makes the "I in you" a living power. It is at this time that ignorance is dangerous. If the believer does not understand that all this is an EFFECT WHICH IS INWARD AS A RESULT OF THE UNION WITH CHRIST IN HEAVEN, and an effect which will continue only so long as he abides in the right attitude toward the glorified Christ in heaven, he will turn into and sink down into the soul, i.e., into himself; and then the deceiving spirits will counterfeit in the sense-sphere the true experiences which he had IN SPIRIT through the incoming of the Holy Ghost.
These "experiences" then have little result beyond the circumference of the believer. When the true influx of the Holy Spirit to the spirit took place, there was (1) unity with others in the same spirit, (2) joy, (3) liberty of utterance, (4) power to witness to Christ, (5) effective and permanent results in the lives of others, and a heavenly "fire" from God in a burning, consuming white heat intensity of SPIRIT (Rom. 12: 11) in service to God. But when the sense counterfeit takes place,note 14 supernatural "experiences" frequently occur at the very same time that a wrong spirit is discernible, such as harshness, bitterness, pride, presumption, disunion, etc., showing either (1) that the "experiences" are not from the spirit, or (2) that the spirit is out of co-working with the Holy Spirit, and (3) the Holy Spirit is no longer able to bring forth the pure fruit of the Spirit through the believer's spirit and life.note 15