ELIJAH, WHERE ARE YOU?
When Israel first entered Canaan, there were stunning military victories and Israel controlled all the land except for certain Mediterranean coastal areas. Jehovah, their covenanted God, had delivered them by His display of power, from slavery in Egypt!!
Jehovah was God alone!! He had commanded Israel to have no other gods before them. Jehovah was the sovereign creator of all things! On the other hand, the Canaanites had many gods and goddesses and they were usually the depiction's of the forces of nature. Jehovah was God alone and he was not a depiction of nature but rather, He was the creator of all things. Jehovah was one and had no consorts surrounding Him! (The Hebrew language did not even have a word for 'goddess'). Jehovah not only controlled nature and history, but He revealed His righteous will and summoned all men to obey Him. Jehovah brooked no rivals or assistants and it was He who had humbled the pride of the mighty Pharaoh and engulfed his army in the sea.
With such a faith, in such a unique God, one would think that Israel would have been impervious to anything the Canaanite religions had to offer. The fact of OT history however, is that Israel came very close to being swallowed up by the Baals of Canaan. How could this be? 'Me process was ever so subtle. Israelites rarely converted 'wholesale' to Baalism and they were never tempted to find a consort wife for Jehovah. In fact they never converted to the entity of Baal or even the Asherah's (Baal's consort). Rather, Israel selected certain parts of Canaanite thinking and practice and then attributed these to Jehovah. Because these thoughts and practices were not attributed directly to Baal, but rather borrowed and attributed to Jehovah, they felt that they were still loyal followers of Jehovah their God.
Certain things made this accommodation manageable. First, many
Canaanites outwardly converted to Jehovah, but brought with them Canaanite
baggage. The term "Baal" could be borrowed, for it meant "Lord" and
"Mighty One." Even the head of their pantheon of gods was EL which was
also Israel's generic name for God. Theyhad their 'high places'
which were ancient
Canaanite worship sites located on hills and it was here that their offerings and rituals were made to Baal. At these sites, the gods of Canaan were invoked to give fertility to the land, the people and their herds. In Canaanite thinking, these gods could be manipulated and coerced, to do their bidding, by a practice called 'imitative magic.' It was there that they practiced a form of imitative magic called 4 ritual prostitution.' By acting out the fertility of the sex act they felt they could induce the gods to give them fertility. Every indication is that Israel became involved in this ritual as well. Often it was attributed to Jehovah and thus became 'in bounds' for them. Could not their God be called into action in this way, granting them fertile crops and herds? What worked with Baal, could it not be pragmatically employed to influence Jehovah as well? No wonder the prophets called for the cleansing of the "high places" in Israel!!
I have said all this to suggest that today, in some circles, there appears to be a mind set that God can also be coaxed into sending revival. Imitative acts are being used to induce God to send revival glory. Physical acts are being employed to make the "glory" happen.
George Byron Kock, himself an Evangelical who believes in all the gifts of the Spirit, has expressed his concern regarding certain practices in the 'River of Revival' movement:
"A minister stands in front of a man seeking prayer. As he prays, his left hand rests on the man as his right hand scoops the air in a sideways motion, palm toward the one being prayed for, as if pulling something out of the air and scooping it into the man's body...
Other ministers, as they pray, blow on those being prayed for with a series of quick breaths.
Members of the congregation, both standing and lying on the floor, scoop their own hands toward themselves, pleading, "More! Give me more of the Holy Spirit." Ministers near them oblige and scoop the air, directing "something" toward those who plead...
These techniques have clearly been learned and copied, and they have spread worldwide with apparently little serious questioning as to what they signify.. In the Hindu worldview (the source of the New Age cosmology), impersonal spiritual power, called "shakti," is transmissible from those who have it to those who don't. Gurus and their top disciples can give this away. The more "holy" you are, the more of this you have and can transmit to others. The power of shakti is impersonal, like electricity and it can be controlled and manipulated by those who have it...
In recent years, Swami Muktananda, until his death several years ago, used to hold great meetings in which thousands of followers from around the world came to receive his touch. They would fall unconscious or shake uncontrollably. Da Free John (nee Franklin Jones), an American guru, would sit with large crowds of his devotees and wave his hand toward groups of them, who would then collapse in ecstatic laughter. Rajneesh, the infamous Indian guru, also touched his followers, who would then convulse in uncontrollable shaking, or laughter, or simply pass out...
However, the fact that the phenomena some people experience with the Toronto Blessing is the same as that experienced with these gurus is not the crucial point ... It does prove the obverse, however: the Toronto phenomena are not themselves proof that it is the Holy Spirit at work, even if the affects are profound or leave people feeling peaceful or joyful. Even shaktipat does this...
There are others involved in the "Blessing" who are unfortunately caught up in a grave error: they believe they are able to transmit the Holy Spirit into other people as they choose. They think this is a power, ... that they can pump, scoop, blow and press into others, and there may even be such a power present. But it is not the Holy Spirit, and it should be rebuked ... "
Another example in some revival circles, of using imitative action to activate the Spirit is called, "birthing." It is based on a teaching from the Latter Rain of the 40's and 50's called the "Manchild Teaching." 'Me woman of Revelation 12 is taught to be the endtime church that births the manchild of an endtime global revival with accompanying dramatic physical manifestation of the supposed returned glory of God. In order to encourage these physical manifestations, people are seen using imitative actions.
A person who attended the Seattle 'Reign of Fire' Conference in 1995 summed up what she saw in these words:
"Last night Wes Campbell had the people break into small groups of around seven or so... Each group was to be as it were, "a nest". They were to put one in the middle and pray for the "fire". When they saw any evidence of the fire beginning to "manifest", they were to "fan" the flames ... As you would fan a small fire...
Some would be suddenly knocked backwards as they started to receive "it", buckling over eventually and falling backward ... Later as they started to convulse, they would scream and jerk and shriek. The 'midwives' kept blowing and 'fanning' - they hover to "birth the baby" as it is born...
Others would progress to the "birthing" stages, where they grabbed their middles and rolled around as if they were truly in labor or had a sudden case of appendicitis, rocking back and forth ... as they were gripped with spasmodic "labor pains".
One woman, ...testified ... that she believed the Lord had called her to be a 'midwife' of the church.
From what I saw and heard, I believe they are being taught that the Church is the woman in Rev. 12, and that the baby is the second coming Christ in His body, the Church...
Does not this smack more of ritual shamanistic magic, having more in common with the new Canaanites of the New Age? Is not this an attempt to use methods that seem to work and attribute them to the Holy Spirit? Is not this transference of an apparent force borrowed from somewhere other than Jehovah, the God of Israel? Is it not time for real prophets to come forth and call for the cleansing of the "high places' out of the church? The pseudo prophets both prophesy and encourage people to pursue these practices. We need some authentic prophets to challenge the prophets of Baal.
Elijah, where are you?