New Wine   by David Wong  

The past 18 months of perpetual manifestations of the Holy Spirit started from a desperate prayer for revival while I was driving a 34 km journey returning from USJ to Wangsa Maju. I seriously told God that He could do anything He wanted that night in the prayer meeting, even if He gave me no chance at all to say or do anything. True enough, He showed up in a great way ever since. Christ is the Head of the Church. It is His prerogative to do anything He deems best to do, even if what happen was unusual and unfamiliar to us. 

As the fire of the Holy Spirit kept burning week after week since the night of April the 7th of 2011, God has taken us into various types of spiritual experiences. Much of these happenings are ecstatic and mystical. The following ecstatic and mystical manifestations of the Holy Spirit recorded in the Bible are happening here. 

  • Drunkeness (see Jeremiah 23:9; Acts 2:13, 15). When the new wine of the Holy Spirit is pouring out here, those who drink from it become ‘high' and even get hammered drunk. 
  • Laughing (see Genesis 17:17; Psalm 126;2; John 15:11; Isaiah 35:10). The joy of the Lord wells up with involuntary and uncontrollable laughter. It is therapeutic! Bondages of sadness and bitterness are broken off these people. 
  • Shaking (see Habakkuk 3:16; Matthew 28:4). Involuntary and uncontrollable, but their lives changed for the better. 
  • Shouting (see Joshua 6:20; Isaiah 42:13). Shouting and crying (see Ezra 3:12). Seems hysteric but such happening did not damage the individuals. Rather, some undesirable aspects in their lives have left them. 
  • Falling down (see John 18:6). Some rolled after falling down under the power of the Holy Spirit. They are back to their normal not so long after that.  
  • Slain (see Daniel 8:18, 10:8-10). Down under the power of the Holy Spirit and they are deep in the Spirit for a long time. Some were slain for many hours. One was down for six hours. Prophet Daniel in the Old Testament was slain for days (see Daniel 8:27). 
  • Running (see 1 Kings 18:46). One person ran (walked very fast) backward! 
  • Dancing in the spirit (see 2 Samuel 6:14-16). Most of them danced with their eyes closed . They do not collide with one another. 
  • Prophesying (see 1 Samuel 19:24). Involuntary! Some of them were newly born again and had never seen anyone prophesying. Their prophecies conformed to biblical requirements and were accurate. Foretelling fulfilled.  
  • Singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (see Ephesians 5:18-19). One sang song after song while slain under the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Speaking in tongues (see Acts 2:4). One intended to say a testimony but spoke in tongues involuntarily. Some could not return to speak in their own languages for hours or days. 
  • In my ministry since 1979, in which 25 years were in itinerary preaching, I was bewildered by how often the unusual outpouring of the Holy Spirit in church camps, seminars, and conferences did not continue after those events. Why? Some blamed that there was not enough unity, holiness, and commitment around. Can virtues alone keep a revival? I had even tried nine times of 40-day fasting in three years, was frequently in all-night prayer, and had willingly joined prolonged singing in church services. Can church activities produce a revival? The Holy Spirit is the Source of revival!

    The Holy Spirit wants to give His Church all five areas of experiences: Word, virtue, power, ecstasy, and glory. Many of us welcome only experiences of the Word convicting the heart to produce virtues in the life of members. Many Charismatics and Pentecostals welcome the manifestation of the power of Holy Spirit to give healing of sicknesses and restoration of broken life. Some are open to deliverances happen in their meetings. Are we comfortable with manifestation of ecstasy in our meetings? The tendency of discouraging ecstasy to repeat, fearing disorderliness and confusion, had quenched many revival fires from burning on and on. 

    Ecstatic and mystical experiences are manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Peter and Paul went into prayers and ecstasy took over at times. ‘Trance' as used in Acts 10:9-11; 11:4-5; 22:17-18 is unlike the demonic trance that many Asians are familiar with. The Greek word is ekstasis. It is also translated as ‘amazement‘ in Acts 3:10 and Mark 5:42, and as ‘astonishment' in Mark 16:8, and Luke 5:26. An equivalent in the English is ‘ecstasy' which the Webster's Dictionary says it is ‘a trance-like state of overwhelming joy with euphoric effect'. 

    The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again. ... While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word (Acts 10:9–16 NKJV). 

    The noonday heat and his hunger were not the cause for an ekstasis . Rather, the prayer of Peter had entered into a stage of ekstasis which was amazing or ecstatic. His visual and hearing senses were operating normal. His mind could comprehend and reason. The word ‘trance' in the translation is quite misleading. 

    I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came to me. When I observed it intently and considered, I saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.' But I said, ‘Not so, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth.' But the voice answered me again from heaven, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common (Acts 11:5–9 NKJV).

    His ekstasis was a heavenly vision of interacting with God, in which Peter could determine to observe intently and to consider the meaning of those unclean animals which he saw in the vision. 

    Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance and saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me (Acts 22:17–18 NKJV). 

    Paul also experienced going into a stage of ekstasis during his prayer, in which he saw God and heard Him giving an instruction which was crucial to his safety. 

    Ekstasis is a normal spiritual experience when you are immersed in, soaked in, or filled with the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 5:18-19). Though some people mocked at the 120 on Pentecost that they were drunk, the Church was born with ecstatic and mystical phenomena (see Acts 2:13, 15). Ever since, ecstasy and glory-encounter are part of revival which is solely the work of the Holy Spirit (see Zechariah 4:6-7). 

    23 October, 2012

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