The modern form of, "Falling over backwards", began and was confined largely in the pentecostal movement some time ago. But in recent times it has become much more common in many denominations and independent congregations. I subscribe to Sky Angel Network television and it is very difficult to avoid this phenomenon if you watch any amount of worship services at all. Virtually every channel has someone who demonstrates the ability to make people fall over backwards,claiming it to be some great manifestation of the power, and anointing of the spirit. This sign is usually accompanied with any number of other signs including, tongues, healings, words of knowledge, angel visitations, and others, all represented as being gifts of the spirit. This paper will limit itself to the subject of falling over backwards.
First of all, I think it is safe to say, there is much being faked in these meetings where this activity takes place. People are always curious, and sometimes desperate to avoid missing any blessing that may be available from God. And there are always those who are willing to take advantage of both their desperation and curiousity to their own profit. But these are not the ones we are dealing with in this paper, because I also believe there is in some cases, a genuine supernatural activity taking place. Where there is a real spiritual power at work taking control of people, both physically and spiritually. The question is, what is its source? It must come from either of two directions. From God or the devil. This paper is an effort to determine the source.
What does the bible say about falling or going backward.
The bible uses the term "backwards" in a particular way. And we must remember that the bible is its own dictionary and therefore, defines its own terms. The use of this term is predominatly negative. And is usually associated with Gods judgement. Here are some examples.
Isa 44:25 That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish.
Jer7:24 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward.
Jer 15:6 Thou hast forsaken me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward; therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting.
1Sa 4:18 and it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy, And he had judged Isreal forty years.
Psa40:14 Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.
Isa 1:4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Isreal unto anger, they are gone away backward.
Isa 28:13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little, that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
It is difficult in any of these verses to see anything positive in the way God uses this term. It is used to describe a sinful people full of rebellion against God who are going completely opposite the direction He commands them to go. You would wonder why God fearing people would want to participate in an activity which mirrors such negativity in the bible. But there is more than just a negative thread running through the bible concerning this term, backwards. There is evidence that satan will use this, "falling backwards" as a substitute for calling down fire from heaven.
Fire From Heaven, Satans Substitute.
In Revelation 13 we read about the dragon who was given great power in the earth. He is given power to make war with the saints and overcome them. He blasphemes God with apparent immunity. All the world wonders after him and worships him. All whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. And in Rev 13:13 we read, " And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men."
Now, can satan cause fire to literally come down from heaven? Or does God deny him the use of this important sign of Gods wrath and judgement and provide him with a substitute sign that is the equivilant. Lets see.
In 1Kings 18 we read the account of Elijahs contest on Mount Carmel. In this story the test was about who had the power to call down fire from heaven. Whether it would be the prophets of baal all four hundred and fifty of them or if the prophet of God, Elijah all by himself. The contest was not really between the prophets but between the gods they served. Would the God of Elijah be able to demonstrate his power, or would the god of the prophets of baal triumph. We know that in this story the prophets of baal went first. They prepared their altar and sacrifice and proceeded to call upon their god to call down fire. They danced, they cried out to him, they cut themselves with knives, and noone answered. All day they tried and their god could not respond. Then Elijah said unto the people, "come near unto me". And he repaired the altar of God that was broken down, put wood on the altar, dug a ditch around the base and filled it with water. Poured water all over everything to prove beyond all doubt that this was entirely the act of God. Then at the time of the evening sacrifice 1Kings 18:36-39 records, " Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. In this record we see that God alone has the ability to call down fire from heaven. Satan is unable to match Gods power in this way. Lets look at another example.
In 2 Kings I, we read how king Ahaziah sent for Elijah with a captain of fifty with his fifty soldiors. The captain marched up the hill where Elijah sat and said to Elijah, "Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down." To which Elijah answered, "If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume thee and thy fifty." And fire came down from heaven and destroyed them all.
So Ahaziah sent another captain with his fifty men and the scene repeated itself. The captain said, "O man of God, thus saith the king, Come down quickly." And Elijah said, "If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty." Again utter destruction. A third captain and his fifty was sent, but this time with a difference. He came humbly to Elijah, because he knew that God was with Elijah as evidenced by the awful judgement upon his predecessors by fire from heaven.
Instead of ordering Elijah down from the mountain, he pleaded with him, "O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight. Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight." This captain and his men were spared.
Again we see How the awsome power of God is demonstrated by this sign of fire falling from heaven. I could give other examples, but for my purpose I think this is sufficient.
So what does fire from heaven have to do with the subject at hand, falling over backwards. We will see.
Jesus Arrested in the Garden
In John 18 we read the account of Jesus arrest. After Jesus and his disciples had eaten supper, they went to the garden of Gethsemane. After the disciples slept and Jesus prayed, Judas knowing the place where Jesus was, came with his band of men to find him. So we read in verse three, "Judas then, having recieved a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also which betrayed him, stood with them." Now, from what we just read about in 1 kings, what should have happened here? Jesus should have called down fire from heaven and destroyed them all. It was perfectly within his ability. I'm sure the disciples would have expected it. In Luke 9 51-56, Jesus and his disciples are traveling toward Jerusalem. Messangers are sent ahead to make ready for him but the villagers would not recieve him. So, how did James and John respond? V54 they said, "Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them even as Elijah did?" But Jesus responded, V55-56, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy mens lives, but to save." So in Luke Jesus would not call down fire from heaven as expected, and neither could he do that in John 18. Because he had to go to the cross to save his people, that was why he had come, and that he was determined to do.
So, no fire from heaven, but Jesus did something else that just as clearly demonstrated his total and complete control of the situation in the garden. Jesus said in John 10:17-18, Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." Jesus made it perfectly clear that He was voluntarily laying down his life and was not being taken by force. He reminded his disciples in Matt 26:53, Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? There were no heavenly resources unavailable to Jesus in the garden, he simply chose not to use them, so that he might do the will of his Father in Heaven.
Falling Over Backwards instead of Fire From Heaven
So what did Jesus do in the Garden to demonstrate his authority as the Son of God. We read in John 18:6, "As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground." Did you hear that? They went backward and fell to the ground. The judgement of God should have fallen as fire from heaven, but instead God substituted another sign just as surely demonstrating his power in judgement. He caused them to fall over backwards. And where was Satan in all this. He was one of those falling. Remember, he had entered into Judas, and Judas stood with those arresting Jesus. So when we read in Rev. 13:13, that satan " doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men." We are not surprised that in our day, he uses this sign of falling over backwards, all over the world as a remarkable demonstration of his power, for the purpose of " deceiving them that dwell on the earth by means of those miracles which he hath the power to do." Rev 13:14
Why this sign now?
2Thess 2 is critically important in understanding that question. It speaks of Christs return in the future. And verse three says that day will not come, "except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." Then verse four, " Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God."
Prior to Christs return there will be a "falling away" and satan as the antichrist will be revealed and take his seat in the temple to be worshipped as if he were God himself. In V 7 we see that already, in the first century, satan was active but he was restrained by the presence of the Holy Spirit in the churches, But the time will come when the Holy Spirit will be withdrawn, and then V8 the wicked one will be revealed. And even though Christ will destroy him when He returns there will be a time characterized in verses 9-12, of deception, unrighteousness, strong delusion, and lying signs and wonders. This is what we are seeing in our day in churches and congregations all over the world. No longer in just some obscure corner, but all over the world. Mattew 24:24 says," For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." The true believers will not be deceived, but for the rest these are very dangerous times. And many are falling for satans deceptions.
So what are we to do in the face of this evidence? Perhaps Hebrews 10:35-39 has the answer. "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise; For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: But if any man draw back my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul."
It is perhaps significant to note, that in scripture, falling over backwards is never a method used to demonstrate an act of worship to God. Rather, in every case when anyones worship of God is described they always without exception fall on their faces before him. On the other hand falling over backwards is being described as an ultimate act of worship with no biblical precedence. This phenomenon is often called being "slain in the spirit". What a strange concept that being killed spiritually could be considered a good thing. But when we remember what it represents, that is, to come under the judgement of God, It is really an accurate description of what is taking place. It is only because of the participants strong delusion that they take it as a good thing rather than what it is, judgement. This is so, because their worship is not actually being directed at the God of heaven, but rather the one who sets himself up as God, satan himself.
What an awful situation we find our world in today. What a terrible tribulation. May God have mercy on his people.
Well I don't know if I've helped you any with this but I hope you have time to read it and consider its merits.
May God bless with all his heavenly riches.