There are times a person's spirit is stirred as Paul's was when he saw the city of Athens completely given over to idolatry*, and that is my condition today concerning the newest fad coming out of Bethel Church in Redding, California and churches like it, called 'grave sucking'. *Acts 17:16
For the most part I hold my peace about the shaking and convulsing, though I will address that in this series - to lay out what is God, what is the devil, and what is the flesh - but today I am talking about the fad of 'grave sucking' or 'anointing grabbing'.
What is 'grave sucking'?
Grave sucking is the practice of believers going to the graves of dead saints to make physical contact with the grave to get the anointing of the dead saint by transference, during contemplative prayer. They often will sit, lay down on, or lay hands on the grave or tombstone to accomplish this.
The premise is that people feel they can swiftly advance in spiritual power or jump-start their spiritual lives or destiny by going to the graves of dead saints and suck or 'grab' that person's anointing to themselves. It has been explained as receiving a sort of spiritual inheritance, and as a sudden large cash inheritance can change a life, so too they say, can a sudden spiritual inheritance received by grave sucking move their spiritual life quickly forward.
It is an error that twists an Old Testament event, using the case of 2 men burying another when they saw some Moabite raiders coming*, and wanting to get out of there, quickly lowered the dead man into Elisha's nearby grave. To their surprise he sprang back to life upon touching Elisha's bones. *II Kings 13:20-21
Grave sucking as it is taught, it doing the same thing spiritually - grabbing the dead saint's lingering anointing. When I first heard of grave sucking I thought it was a joke, but the more I checked into it the more I realized it was a sad truth, and since I just spent 3 days in Redding and learned much more than I ever wanted to about it, I just can't shake my grievance and sadness for the self-deceived souls practicing this.
Readers can easily do a web search about this practice and even see publicly posted pictures of Bill Johnson's wife, Beni, lying on C. S. Lewis' gravestone 'grave sucking' and Bethel students 'grave sucking' at Evan Roberts grave in Wales, among others.
Years ago there was a TV show that would start out with say, the Space Shuttle blasting off, and then trace backwards through the centuries the various little discoveries that led to the technology enabling us to build such a vehicle today.
That's what I am doing in this series - not focusing on the error, but to go back in time to this truth and that truth which when compiled together will provide us a means to rightly discern what is happening and why.
A little history, and what the Lord told me
It may surprise some to learn that in the 1700's a wave of revival swept through Europe, Britain, and the soon to be United States, including among the Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and Disciples of Christ (Congregational). Trembling, shaking, groaning, falling to the ground - all were signs they said that the power of God had come on a person.
In the US we had the 'Shakers' who were known for this, though now they are mostly known for the Shaker style of furniture. And of course many know of the Quakers who evidently quaked but refused to shake :)
John Wesley considered these body movements to be the body's natural reaction to God's Spirit and love, rather than an outright supernatural event. In the 1800's people like Finney reported these happening in his meetings, and by the time I came to the Lord in the 1970's Pentecostals were called 'Holy Rollers'.
Barb and I were born again and Spirit-filled as teenagers and attended Charismatic home based groups 2-3 nights each week, which her mother didn't understand, having only her own German Lutheran early 20th century culture to understand us by.
So when Barb and I were to be married in her family's Congregational church, her mother asked us with all sincerity if there was going to be swinging from chandeliers or rolling on the floor as part of the wedding, as that just won't do among the Congregationalists - she was visibly relieved when we assured her there wouldn't be any of that (though I desperately wanted to tell her we might cast out a demon or two to see how she would react, but decided not to tease her like that).
Most attribute the phrase 'slain in the spirit' to Kathryn Kuhlman to describe a person 'slain' by God's power and becoming therefore as if dead, though it is also known by other names.
What the Lord told me
Learning now that for at least 3 centuries shaking, quaking, and falling have been part of charismatic life, we need to look at scripture to see if it is in there, which will provide a baseline of truth to be able to understand if today's manifestations are God, the devil, or the flesh.
During a time with the Lord I asked Him to teach me about what was Him and what wasn't in being slain in the spirit. I had wanted Him to go point by point in straight, never changing, doctrinal statements that x is from Me, and y isn't from Me, but that's not what He did. It went like this:
"Lord, on the subject of being slain in the spirit, what is the earliest time in scripture where that happened and what should a person expect from the experience?"
Him: "When I caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam* so I could do surgery on him to form Eve's body. And you'll note that while that was physical surgery, it was also of the soul for I took from his being to make her, so that together they two were one in Me**. Today when it (slain in the spirit) is of Me, like with Adam, I will often do what you might think of as surgery on their soul for healing and sometimes physical healing as well." *Genesis 2:21, **Genesis 5:2
(In Genesis 5:2 it says: "Male and female He created them, and called their name Adam in the day in which they were created." Eve did not receive her name until later after their sin, in 3:20-21 when the Lord made a covering for their sin, clothing made from the shed blood of an animal, thus clothes are a shadow and type of God's covering for man.)
"The next time was with Abraham when we were making covenant* and a deep sleep came upon him, allowing Me to assure him of our relationship and tell him of his future and the future of his descendants. Today, when it is of Me, I will often do something similar with people, assuring them and giving them peace about the present and showing them some of their future, and they also often renew themselves in Me in response, as Abram did then." (*Genesis 15 covers the whole event, but v12 says a 'deep sleep' came upon Abram in the same terminology as with Adam)
What I took from that teaching was that when a person is 'knocked out' or 'asleep in the Lord', it is for a purpose, not a show - not a sign that endorses some man or woman as the anointed prophet and God certainly doesn't want any 'courtesy drops' from anyone.
I've seen 'downloads' in people we might say today, of new things and healing of old things when they've been 'asleep in the Spirit' - a peace replaces emotional fear, turmoil - that sort of 'surgery'. The other thing with Abram was covenant things, deep things in a person's heart about their walk with the Lord and the settling of their destiny, and similarly I've seen people awaken with a new sense of destiny and purpose.
I will close with that for today - more next week, until then, blessings!
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