Again and again, we must face that as long as God endures, His Spirit will work and continue to work. We cannot say that all manifestations are coming from Satan. We cannot say that all manifestations are coming from God either. Jonathan Edwards gave us a list of the marks of True Manifestations coming from the Holy Spirit. Every time all manifestations are said to be of Satan, we must understand that we are dealing with ignorance or jealousy.
Many years ago Augustine, dealing with the miraculous in his midst and its variety, wrote:
Some things are done in one way, others in another, and so that man cannot at all comprehend them—nevertheless, these miracles attest this faith which preaches the resurrection of the flesh to eternal life.1
Jonathan Edwards, Marks of a Work of the True Spirit, wrote about the manifestations of the Spirit in the Great Awakening. He writes:
He has brought to pass new things, strange works; and has wrought in such a manner as to surmise both men and angels. And as God has done thus in times past, so we have no reason to think but that he will do so still. The prophecies of Scripture give us reason to think that God has things to accomplish, which have never yet been seen. No deviation from what has hitherto been usual, let it be never so great, is an argument that a work is not from the Spirit of God, if it be no deviation from his prescribed rule. The Holy Spirit is sovereign in his operation; and we know that he uses a great variety; and we cannot tell how great a variety he may use, within the compass of the rules he himself has fixed. We ought not to limit God where he has not limited himsel.2
If anyone, Jonathan Edwards beheld the strange and unusual works of Almighty God. He saw firsthand such manifestations that were outside of what the established church called the norm. Because of the powerful moving of the Holy Spirit, many denounced this move of the Holy Spirit as coming from Satan. Edwards refuted this, and began developing tests to determine what the true marks of a manifestation of the Holy Spirit are. These tests are as follows:
1. When an activity is such as to raise the very esteem of Jesus Christ who was born of the Virgin and was crucified (1 John 4:1-3; 4:15; Matthew 10:32; Romans 15:9; Philippians 2:11; 1 Corinthians 12:3).
2. When such operation is used to shine a light upon the Gospel of Christ.
3. When such operation seems more to confirm and establish in the minds of people the truth of what the Gospel declares to all of Christ being the Son of God and the Savior of men than anything else.
4. When a spirit operates against the interests of Satan’s kingdom (1 John 4:4-5; 3:8).
5. When a spirit operates in such a manner as to cause in men a greater reward to the Holy Scriptures, and establishes these men more in their truth and divinity (1 John 4:6; Ephesians 2:20).
6. When a spirit operates in such a manner as to lead people into the full truth of the fundamentals (1 John 4:1-6).
7. When a spirit operates in such a manner as to promote a spirit of love to God and man (1 John 4:6-7).
8. When a spirit operates in such a manner as to promote agreement with the Holy Scriptures (1 John 5:5-10).
9. When a spirit operates in such a manner as to promote the holiness, greatness, and majesty of God (1 John 5:5-10; 4:1-7; Ephesians 4:24; Luke 1:75; Romans 6:19; 6:22; Hebrews 12:14; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 1 Timothy 2:15; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 14:16; Hebrews 12:10; Galatians 5:14; 6:2; 1 Corinthians 7:19; Romans 8:4; 12:2; 13:8-10; Philippians 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 4:3-7; 5:23; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 7:34; 2 Corinthians 7:1).
10. When a spirit causes unusual and extraordinary events and effects upon the lives, minds, and bodies of persons that emphasize the holiness of God, His greatness, and His majesty (1 John 5:5-10; 4:1-7; Ephesians 4:24; Luke 1:75; Romans 6:19; 6:22; Hebrews 12:14; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 4:7; 1 Timothy 2:15; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 14:16; Hebrews 12:10; Galatians 5:14; 6:2; 1 Corinthians 7:19; Romans 8:4; 12:2; 13:8-10; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 4:3-7; 5:23; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 7:34). In such cases as these manifestations, persons will have an extraordinary conviction of the dreadful nature of sin, a very uncommon sense of the Christian life, extraordinary views of the certainty and glory of divine things, will be proportionally moved with very extraordinary affections of fear and sorrow, desire, love, or joy, and will be changed very suddenly with no infringing upon Scripture. This further includes tears, trembling, groans, loud outcries, agonies of body, the failing of bodily strength, and what has been known as being “slain in the Spirit.” All of this will always be in the realm of God’s holiness, His greatness and His majesty.3
1. Augustine, The City of God, Book 22, 10.
2. Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2:261.
3. Ibid., 2:261.