SLAIN BY THE SPIRIT OR LIVING IN IT
by KEN ALEXANDER
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Christians today use the term “slain by the spirit” to describe an encounter they may have experienced with God. The real issue is, however, not whether you have been “slain” in an experience with the spirit of God but whether you can actually permanently abide in His spirit. Abiding with God is an experience but it is a permanent eternal experience that we can have every minute of every day.
Romans Chapter 8 is basic teaching for those who desire to walk with God in His Spirit. That chapter will be fully explored below. However we must first realize that the only way we can know or experience God is through His spirit. "God is a spirit and those who worship must worship in SPIRIT and in truth” (John 4:24). It makes sense that if God is a Spirit, the only way to truly relate to Him is through the realm where He lives-the realm of the Spirit. All humans have a spirit as well as a soul and body but it is through the dominance of our spirits in Christ over the soul and body that we truly experience all of God.
Before we get explore this further consider the following. At the time of the completion of Solomon’s temple the spirit of the Lord so filled His temple that the ministers could not even stand to minister. 2 Chronicles 5:14 says: “…the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God”.
Daniel the prophet asked the Lord what was to become of Israel as it was captive in the land of Persia at that time following their captivity by Babylon. Daniel sought God to receive an answer as to how long it would be until Israel again possessed their promised land where they had dwelled since the time of Joshua.To that end Daniel fasted until he received an answer to his question. He records the experience as follows:
“On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, while I was by the bank of the great river, that is, the Tigris, I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult [or roaring]. Now I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, while the men who were with me did not see the vision; nevertheless, a great dread fell on them, and they ran away to hide themselves. So I was left alone and saw this great vision; yet no strength was left in me, for my natural color turned to a deathly pallor, and I retained no strength. But I heard the sound of his words; and as soon as I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground (Daniel 10:4-9).
Thus Daniel records the experience of seeing God or His angel as being so overwhelming an experience that he became filled with dread, lost his strength and fell on his face into a deep sleep. An angel had to lift him to his feet in order to tell him the answer to his question.
Similar experiences are recorded in the scriptures. For instance, in Revelation John fell at the feet of a heavenly being that wasn’t even God but one of his slain brothers who was in heaven (the spirit realm). John said: “Then he [the heavenly being] said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ ” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:9-10).
Isaiah saw the Lord and became “undone”. He said: “In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple… Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined![another translation “undone”] Because I am man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:1, 5).
The term “slain in the spirit” is found nowhere in the Bible or in any noteworthy commentaries or other supporting literature. It was probably coined by the Pentecostal and/or Charismatic movements to describe an experience with God. There have been instances where men were actually slain (killed by an encounter with God. For example in Leviticus 10:1-2 scripture says: “Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before them” (see also Numbers 26:61; Numbers 3:4).
However individual experiences with God have had a lasting and devastating effect. “slain by the spirit” could be used to describe this and other experiences by men with God. Certainly Paul had a life changing, devastating experience on the road to Damascus. He was never the same after that. But he didn’t stop at that one experience-he continued to walk on with God from experience to experience as he walked in the spirit, as he describes in Romans 8.
The scriptures say that no man, that is flesh, can see God and live. The only way to see Him is through the Spirit (John 4:24 above). There yet remains the promise of seeing God and living. Jacob saw Him. “Then Jacob asked, “Please tell me your name.”“Why do you ask my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. So Jacob named the place Peniel, explaining, “Certainly I have seen God face to face and have survived.” (Genesis 32:29). Moses saw God but only His back (Exodus 33:23). Christ said: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” Matthew 5:8).
The Christian world today tends to unduly exalt experiences with the spirit of God and to use those types of experiences as the identifying mark of their movement. The Quakers were so named because they quaked when the spirit came upon them. The Pentecostals were called “holy rollers” because they supposedly rolled on the floor when moved by the “spirit’. The Pentecostals also fell backward when so moved. Christian history is filled with so called “outpourings of the spirit” where believers experienced miracles and healings and other wondrous experiences. However most of these movements either died out or became just another religion.
There has not been a sustained movement that actually walked with God on a 24/7 basis. The so called Charismatic (or new age) movements are the closest thing we have today to an experience with God. But it seems as if these movements morphed turn into performances or shows fashioned to cater to certain segments of the population, making religion palatable to the public. For instance the Christian rock music craze makes religion palatable to the young people who are tired of the staunch religious morality teaching of most fundamental churches.
There is yet something more that God has for His people. And it is not a church or a movement, although a true move of God may be temporarily housed in such as a means to an end. The church age can be likened to Noah’s ark. The ark carried Noah’s family through the storms but when the storms receded, Noah and his family left the ark and populated the earth. The ark is a type of church that has carried us to the ultimate goal-the Kingdom of God. Hebrews is clear that in the Kingdom Age there will be no need for churches: “AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN, AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, ‘KNOW THE LORD,’ FOR ALL WILL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST (HEBREWS 8:11).
The Kingdom of God is not just an experience-it is a dwelling place. Although most believers miss it, Christ’s entire teaching concerned the coming Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is not of this world as Christ told Pilate prior to His crucifixion. “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” (John 18:36).
However, although His Kingdom is not of this present world, it is to come on the earth. Christ’s only instructions on how to pray included the prayer: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven;” (Matthew 6:10; Luke 11:2). The Kingdom is thus a conjunction of the two realms, being the joining of the spirit realm with that of the earthly. Christ second coming is to the earth where he will set up His Kingdom and rule. He will bring with Him the dead in Christ with Him “to the earth”.
Christianity still clings to the fallacy of dying and going to heaven where everything becomes perfect. Nowhere in the scriptures is this concept confirmed. Actually it is clearly rebuffed. In Hebrews 11 the writer goes through a litany of the men of God who walked in faith but died without having received the promise including Moses, Abraham and other prophets. Hebrews is clear that by dying they did not receive the entire promise. Actually it is left to us, here on earth, to obtain perfection for them. Hebrews 11:39-40 says: “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect”.
Scripture says that Christ will not return until all His enemies have been made a footstool for His feet here on earth. As stated: “ …but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. (Hebrews 10:12-13; see also Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:13; Luke 20:43).
Therefore Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father, in “heaven” (the spirit realm) waiting for us here to defeat his enemies. The enemies we must defeat are described in Ephesians 6:12: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places”.
Actually religion is one of our worst enemies. Paul said, while speaking of the false teachers infiltrating the true Christian church: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. “Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). The false apostles of whom Paul speaks were those who advocated a religion that governed such things as what you should eat, how you should act, what laws you should obey etc. all abrogating the freedom in Christ Paul was preaching.
As to religion, remember that Satan’s true angelic name is Lucifer which means “light bearer” or “enlightened one”. Satan was the brightest angel in “heaven” before his fall. He is also described as the “bright star of the morning” or “bright morning star”. As Paul said, he turned his light into darkness which manifested in various areas of evil including the deception of God as a religion dictating morality and codes of conduct or exalting “secret knowledge” over knowledge of God such as the Gnostics.
In any event our goal should not be seeking an isolated experience with God but an abiding experience which becomes our dwelling place. Elijah the prophet had apparently reached a similar abiding. He was referred to as he who “stood in the presence of the lord” (1 Kings 17:1). Notice he stood; he was not slain and was not off his feet. We too must learn to “stand” in the presence of the Lord.
In Romans 8 Paul tells us how to do this. In order to see and experience God we must live where He lives, that is, in the spirit realm. As humans we are composed of spirit, soul and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). We have, as part of our being, a spirit that is capable of communicating with and walking with God, who is Himself a spirit. The soul and body, collectively referred to as “the flesh” by Pau, will not allow us to walk with God or experience or see Him. Our soul and body can communicate with God but only in subjection to our spirit.
Paul said: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death...so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you…If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness… But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” Romans 8:2-14).
Breaking down these passages we find that only through the spirit can we walk with and be led by God. The true Sons of God are those who know Him through the Spirit and are led by Him through the Spirit. If we have this spirit from God within us, it can even give life to our mortal bodies, which abrogates the idea that we have to die first to receive this.
Some exalt the intellect and the emotions in their daily walk. Man understands the intellect to be supreme as he struggles with His mind to understand his existence. Man, through his intellect, can see to the furthest reaches of the universe, but cannot find God. He doesn’t realize that God exists in a place, called the spirit realm, beyond human understanding. That realm is more real than the one we purportedly live in now-it lies beyond our human sight-we have eyes but we don’t see, ears but we don’t hear.
Neither is God found through our emotions. The reason for this article was originally intended to understand the experience of being “slain by the Lord”. Most of these experiences are of the emotional variety. The idea is not to be slain by him but to “live” in Him permanently.
We cannot be those who just carry Christ around with us as we go about our everyday lives. Our everyday lives become Him. We are, as Paul said, citizens of the Kingdom of God (Philippians 3:20). That is our true address. And as citizens we become ambassadors of that realm to the world (2 Corinthians 5:20). This ambassadorship goes far beyond just convincing people to accept Christ and be saved or passing out literature. We become those who transform the lives of those around us, by the power of Christ, which is far greater than any earthly power. As citizens of the Kingdom we transform the earth and bring His enemies down so that they become His footstool. The sweet bye and bye becomes the here and now.
Creation is under divinely imposed futility and has been since the Garden of Eden. Paul said: “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:20-23).
We are not just Christians who have been saved and know we will go to heaven when we die. We are not waiting passively for some kind of rapture. We are liberators of ourselves and of the entire creation, if what Paul is saying is true. We are aggressively pursuing our complete adoption as Sons and the redemption of our bodies here and now. We are preparing the place for Christ’s return. The coming Kingdom must occupy our entire being.
John saw what we are to experience in a vision. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.“He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son” Revelation 21:1-7).
We are the new heaven and earth coming down from heaven. This is because we walk in the kingdom age of the spirit and bring it down to earth where is replaces everything else. In our lives and in creation itself.
©Kenneth B. Alexander
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