"the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons….In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following." ~ 1 Timothy 4:1, 6
"...for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness"? (2 Corinthians 6:14)
In chapter 12 of When Heaven Invades Earth: A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles, Bill Johnson, Senior Pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California writes:
I have seen the small gems that suddenly appeared in the people's hands as they worshipped God. Since early in 1998, we have had feathers fall in our meetings. At first I thought birds were getting into our air conditioning ducts, but then they started falling in other rooms of the church not connected with the same ductwork. They now fall most anywhere we go - airports, homes, restaurants, offices and the like...He [God] wants to take us farther, and we can only get there by following signs. Our present understanding of scripture can only take us so far. (Page 204,205)
Johnson convinces people that these signs are from God and the Holy Spirit and our present understanding of scripture cannot take us far enough. On the same pages, he says that laughter, gold dust, oil and a cloud (appearing in the church building) are also signs of God's presence. He further explains in the same chapter that these signs and manifestations "are simple indicators of God's presence and purpose". He calls these signs God's "personal notes" to us. He clearly links these signs to our holy God and the Holy Spirit.
But are they? In scripture, believers are commanded to be scrutinizing (not blindly accepting) by putting what they see and hear to the test instead of accepting a teaching, sign or wonder right away, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1).
Are all signs from God? Clearly scripture teaches that the apostles did signs and wonders. God is still powerful just like He was back then: "And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders done among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch" (Acts 5:12).
However, scripture also contains warnings about following signs and wonders: "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him" (Deuteronomy 13:1-4).
Johnson preaches this about Jesus: "He laid his divinity aside" (When Heaven Invades Earth; chapter 7; page 110). Johnson also preaches that Jesus did His miracles as a man and not as God. Remember in John 10:30 when Jesus said, "I and the Father are one"? What about the immaculate conception and the virgin birth? That was divine, so Jesus had to be divine since conception, even before that - and forever for that matter! In an article from Charisma Magazine dated February 23, 2012, Johnson writes: "While Jesus is eternally God, He emptied Himself of His divinity and became a man...it’s vital to note that He did all His miracles as a man, not as God. If He did them as God, I would still be impressed. But because He did them as a man yielded to God, I am now unsatisfied with my life, being compelled to follow the example He has given us. Jesus is the only model for us to follow". The proof text he gives is Philippians 2:7 (which does not state that Christ's divine nature ceased, but basically that Jesus humbly became a servant despite His divinity).
Is this the same Jesus of the Bible that is preached here - a Jesus who was a non-divine man? I personally believe that Jesus was and is always divine in nature and never ceased to be divine in nature and one with God (because God is divine) for a split second. If someone is divine, it is in their nature and cannot be changed. Divinity cannot be laid aside or stopped. I am human in nature, and I cannot lay that aside. Jesus was and always will be divine in nature, so how could He lay His divine nature aside as He has always been divine, Godhead and deity forever?
Interestingly, there are no records of feathers falling on the apostles in the Bible, though this is an occurence happening in occultic religions and practices. According to a new age ministry calledKrysalis Training Academy, which supports the Dalai Lama, psychic practices, reiki, new age spiritual healing, hypnotherapy, eastern meditation, shamanism, wicca, mysticism and more - feathers are indeed a sign.
Angels often send us little reminders of their presence as angel feathers, which are small white feathers. These seem to appear from nowhere when we are down and in need of comfort. I remember sitting in a café, watching the rain falling on the pavement outside and feeling blue. Suddenly, a small white feather floated down in front of me and landed on my table. I smiled, knowing the angels were around me, with their comforting presence.
Feathers falling - from God or not? As we see here, feathers do appear as signs from other spirits of the occult.
The Apostle Paul spoke in 2 Corinthians 11:4 on "another Jesus" and "another spirit". Could this be?
Another peculiar manifestation in professed Christian circles these days are uncontrolled animal sounds, laughing and drunkenness. Bill Johnson endorses John and Carol Arnott (Catch the Fire Ministries and Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship) on his own website's friend list. In fact, Johnson and the Arnott's are together having an upcoming conference in the UK in August 2012 called theRevival Alliance Conference. The Arnott's promote jungle and barnyard animal sounds as a manifestation from the Holy Spirit on their official website. Interestingly, we do not see any apostles being "overcome" by a lack of self-control with animals sounds in the entire history of Christianity nor from our plumbline, the Word of God (remember, self-control is the fruit of the Spirit, not a loss of self-control; see Galatians 5:22).
According to the same occultic ministry mentioned above, animal sounds are characteristic of spirits of shamanism.
The Arnott's, friends of Johnson, explain:
The Toronto Blessing is a transferable anointing. In its most visible form itovercomes worshippers with outbreaks of laughter, weeping, groaning, shaking, falling, 'drunkenness,' and even behaviours that have been described as a 'cross between a jungle and a farmyard.' Of greater significance, however, are the changed lives.
Bill Johnson attributes these manifestations to the Holy Spirit when he states:
Our new list includes falling, shaking, laughing, etc...we must learn to recognize his move by recognizing his presence. (When Heaven Invades Earth; chapter 12; page 205)
The Apostle Paul said that if all spoke in tongues and an unbeliever walked in, they would think everyone was crazy (and turn around and walk right out!). "So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?" (1 Corinthians 14:23; NIV). Are these manifestations from God? If you walked into a church and one or more people were barking uncontrollably like a dog, hissing like a snake, moo-ing like a cow, or jumping around like a monkey, would you stay to hear the message? What would God say about this? What about the Apostle Paul? Some things to ponder.
The Apostle Paul said, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:12-17).
Have you ever looked up the Greek meaning for seducers ('imposters')? This word is translated from the Greek word "góēs". Here is how the HELPS Word-studies defines the word 'imposter':
Originally, a sorcerer (in ancient Greek literature); in New Testament times, 1114 (góēs) is a swindler – a shameless cheat pretending to use supernatural power; an actor (cheap imposter), looking for self-gain, i.e. posing to be someone he isn't. "A charlatan", used only in 2 Tim 3:13, refers to a seducer (properly, a wailer) – a fraud who "sounds off" like a whining enchanter. This person uses their verbal spells and incantations to give the (false) impression they can do miracles.
Are these signs and wonders from the real Jesus and the real Holy Spirit? Or is this another Jesus and another spirit bringing "lying signs and wonders" as prophesied? What do you think? I know what I think, and that is based upon the scriptures.