YES, HOLY LAUGHTER"He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision." [Ps 2:4]
Yes, God does laugh. Psalm 37:13; 52:6; and 59:8 also bears this out.
We are created in His image, and likewise have the capacity to laugh.
The Bible in Ecclesiastes 3:4 says that there is a time to weep and a time to laugh.
Ecc. 7:2-6 cautions us to place a proper balance between laughter and sorrow.
Especially in this last decade many churches have been experiencing the phenomenon
of "holy laughter", which is usually accompanied by "drunkenness in the Spirit," and
other peculiar actions.
Some say this is a move of God, and others say it is of the devil. Many of the critics
and supporters have essentially the same foundational doctrines. However, the two
camps disagree when trying to discern what is Spirit, and what is fleshly or demonic.
Some have said, "there is not a SHRED of evidence in the Bible to support holy laughter."
To that statement, I disagree.
We have already established that God laughs, and that there is a time to laugh, and a
time not to laugh.
The Lord says regarding the laughter of the saints---
"Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing." [Job 8:21]
That word, "till," confirms the thought that we can look forward to the time to laugh.
It has been argued that laughter in the Bible is most often exhibited by the enemies of the saints who are mocking the saints. This ratio is understandable, since most human beings are unsaved. But there is coming a time and now is for the saints to laugh as in days past:
"Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the
heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them. The Lord hath done great things for us;
whereof we are glad. 5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy." [Ps 126:2,3,5]
What is our cause for laughter?
"At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh: neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the
earth." [Job 5:22] Pestilence, famine, and ferocious beasts are some of the elements that will
threaten UNbelievers during the great tribulation. (See Revelation chapter 6.) This agrees with the
epistles, which say that we should rejoice in tribulation.
God laughs at His defeated foes, the devil and the kings of this world. God, the Holy Spirit,
within us laughs at the devil's lies, for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the
Spirit knows--likewise, we know not in the inner man why we laugh, but the joy of the salvation
of the Lord bubbles forth in the form of holy laughter.
Some critics have said that these people are laughing at NOTHING. But I say, those that only
laugh at what they see, hear, and feel are walking by sight, not by faith.
Some have also said that they SEE no salvations at the laughing revivals. But isn't salvation an
INVISIBLE work? but yet we can SEE and HEAR the joy of salvation exhibited in laughter.
Some objectors demand to see FRUIT from this laughing experience. There are always those that
cannot see the forest for the trees----the Bible says that JOY is one of the FRUIT of the Spirit.
But there have also been great healing miracles that have accompanied the signs of holy laughter
and the sign of slain-in-the-Spirit, God's "laughing gas" and God's "anaesthesia" throughout the
operation of the Spirit.
FRUIT AND "CONFUSION"
Critics say that the laughing revival is a mass of confusion.
It is written that God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. Peace is another fruit of the Spirit. Those who have been blessed by the laughing revival and those who have been slain-in-the-Spirit claim to have experienced great peace during and after the manifestations. Manifestations of the Holy Spirit may seem confusing to those not familiar with the workings of God. It should be considered that the confusion may be largely within the mind of certain critics wherein envy and strife, and every evil work abounds. [James 3:16]. Confusion is accompanied by envy and strife. Pontius Pilate knew that the priests because of their envy had delivered up Jesus, calling Him a blasphemer. Because the servant is not greater than his Master, the servants of revival are persecuted by those who presume to be doing "God" a favor.
Today who is striving?--those who are crying, "I want more of You, Jesus!", or those who are
screaming, "False revival!"
Are those who experience holy laughter simply pleasure seekers being guided by emotion without any scriptural basis for their actions?
As to emotion: God is LOVE, and He gives JOY. The two are both emotions, as well as spiritual
substance. God is our Father, and when He gives gifts to His children, He does not say, "Kids,
you're getting entirely too emotional about all this, I guess I'll have to take my gifts back until you
grow up some more." No. As a matter of fact, God is omnipotent and infinite, and when his love
and joy get into a finite human vessel, such supernatural love and joy can't be confined--it has to
spill over the river banks and get everybody wet. Did you ever notice some spectators get angry
when they get splashed? Likewise, the river of revival can't please those who want to stay dry as
There are many, many scriptures that speak of the joy of the Lord, and our NEED for rejoicing.
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine ..." [Prov 17:22] In fact, we are commanded to rejoice in numerous Bible verses. Laughter is JOY OVERFLOWING, like new wine seeking to vent itself. The Bible says that we rejoice with "JOY UNSPEAKABLE" [1 Pet. 1:8]
Just as our prayers which sometimes cannot be uttered are manifested as "groanings," likewise
this unspeakable joy is manifested in overflowing laughter. Joy in itself is a quality that cannot be
measured in the laboratory, but just as we can see the tree limbs swayed by the invisible wind, we
can also hear the "joyful sound" [Ps. 89:15] in the laughter of the saints.
Because the Word says that "the joy of the Lord is your strength," it therefore follows that the
enemy of our souls wants to steal, destroy, and downright kill your joy. The devil does not want
joy in the Church. He wants WEAK saints. He wants you to go out into the world to get a
worldly form of joy to meet the unfulfilled need for joy, if the Church cannot supply it. The devil
is miserable, and he wants you to be miserable in Church too.
In recent decades the Church has rediscovered the multiplicity of musical instruments that were in
evidence in the Tabernacle of David. Amos said that this tabernacle is to be restored in the New
Testament era. In this progression, we have also realized that the Lord wants us to glorify Him in
the dance in our worship. As the house of God is increasingly being built according to His pattern,
the Spirit of Prophecy and the joy of the Lord is being released into His temple, and we are that
They used to tell us, "You can't play that guitar in church. You can't shake that tambourine." They
said, "Dancing belongs in nightclubs." --And now they are telling us that we ought not to laugh in
church, unless there's a really good joke (and maybe not even then.) We can laugh during the
dinner fellowship AFTER church---But can't we also laugh IN church when the Lord frees us
from the yoke of the bondage of sin, worry, fear, legalism, depression, and oppression?
Look at the parable of the prodigal son [Lk 15]. When he repented there was music, dancing, and
MAKING MERRY. Do you think that they made MERRY without laughter? The Lord says, "It
is meet [proper; expected] that we should MAKE MERRY, and be glad: for this thy brother was
dead, and is ALIVE again ..." We laugh and make merry, because death has been defeated. For
this reason Abraham and Sarah's son was named Isaac, because out of the deadness of her womb
came life from death, a type of the resurrection of Christ. We can laugh at death, because the sting
of death is o'er, and where is the grave's victory? The name, Isaac, means, "Laughter." Each time
Abraham or Sarah called Isaac, they were saying, "Laughter, come forth!--Blessings of God,
come here!" It is proper that we laugh in the house of the Lord, because of the marvelous works
of God, not basing our humor or lack thereof on the doctor's prognosis, world news, or current
CONTRIVED BY MEN?
Some criticize the holy laughter movement saying it is not sovereignly of God, because certain men seem to be able to initiate the phenomenon as they minister from church to church, as if the occurrence depends on man. But we see in Acts chapter eight, that after Philip did evangelistic work in Samaria, Jerusalem SENT apostles to Samaria to lay hands on saved persons that the Holy Spirit might fall upon them [verse 16]. So God sovereignly chooses to use men as VESSELS. The laying on of hands is a doctrine listed in Hebrews 6:2, although 90% of the church, contrary to the Word of God, do not practice it.
God sovereignly gives you the volitional will to accept or reject what He is doing. It is possible
for the leadership of the local church to quench the Spirit and to despise prophesying---and the
Glory will depart. Those who seek the Lord with all their heart will find Him. It is sometimes
needful to put your desire into action, rather than waiting for the outpouring to come to you. Go
where the flow of the Spirit is, and divert the Spiritual watercourse into your personal
"Jerusalem". Go to the well, get filled up, and bring the water back into town.
OUT OF CONTROL?
The critics say that this "holy laughter" cannot be of God, because it is supposedly out of control, and everyone knows that the spirit of the prophet is subject to the PROPHET.
Here the critics are a bit confused, because the people being ministered TO are NOT at that
moment operating in the position of the PROPHET or fivefold minister; the people receiving holy
laughter are not ministerING, but being ministered TO. When a doctor operates, the patient is
anaesthetized. The patient only has control to the extent that he gives initial permission to the
surgeon for the operation.
Secondly, this "drunkenness of the Spirit" wears off over time, so it is therefore not out of
control, but controlled by the element of time, which is why the Lord continually exhorts us to be
filled with the Spirit. If salvation was the only "filling", the Lord would not make an additional
admonition to us that we should be filled again and again.
Thirdly, the ministers of holy laughter are not usually drunk in the Spirit, because they are more
accustomed to the power of the Glory of God's presence. As one matures in the things of the
Spirit, he learns to function while being saturated with the Lord's presence, crudely analogous to
the manner in which an alcoholic does not behave like the "weekend" party-goer. Although the
minister might like to be slain-in-the-Spirit himself, it is not always expedient for the rest of the
brethren being ministered to; this is another reason why God has temporarily chosen certain
regional "watering holes" to refresh thirsty vacationing ministers sitting in the congregation;
sometimes the minister needs to be ministered to.
"DRUNK IN THE SPIRIT" and OTHER MANIFESTATIONS
After the Lord gave a vision to Daniel, Daniel writes, "And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business ..." [Dan 8:27]
Daniel was "sick" after the visitation of the Lord, and could not do his secular job for some days.
The prophet wasn't made ILL as if he had been disobedient (like Miriam [Num 12:10] or Gehazi
[2 Kgs 5:27]), but his "sickness" came from a close encounter with the Holy Spirit. God knew the
crucial message required an intense anointing which in the long term was more important than the
temporary side effects manifested in Daniel's flesh. God is not in the business of making His
children "sick", but dynamic encounters with the Living God cause dynamic demonstrations to be
displayed by our frail bodies.
Drunks stagger, babble, shake, and laugh, and see "visions."
Acts 2:13 "Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine." Note that they said, NEW wine, not old. Why new wine? --New wine is NOT more intoxicating than the old--the difference is in the carbonation. Old wine has lost its carbonation through the procedure of being opened and poured (filtered) from vessel to vessel. New wine is the product of fermented grape juice and is characterized by carbonation, the bubbling forth. It may be that the 120 tongue-talkers in Acts Two were doing some laughing and staggering, hence, the false accusation regarding new wine.
We don't know for sure, but that particular scripture coupled with--
Eph 5:18 "... Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."
--tells us that the Lord purposely associated wine with FULNESS of the Holy Spirit. Some have argued unsuccessfully that Paul was merely choosing a sin (such as drunkenness) at random in Ephesians 5:18, as if to say, "Don't sin, but be in the Spirit," but when God repeats Himself He is establishing a doctrinal point [Gen 41:32]. The Lord creates an analogy using wine and the Spirit.
There is ungodly biological drunkenness on the one hand, and godly Spiritual drunkenness on the
Ezek 47:1-5 In Ezekiel, at first, the waters issuing from under the threshold of the House of God were ankle-deep. The waters could be walked in. Finally the waters became a river, "for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over." And verse nine: "... Everything shall LIVE whither the river cometh."
In the above passage we see that when the Spirit arrives with inundating power, man's walking ability is hindered. He has to instead "swim" in the river of God. Everything that is touched by the river is invigorated and revived.
During various encounters in the Book of Daniel, the prophet felt exceedingly weak in the
presence of God.
"... Rejoice with trembling." [Ps 2:11]
"Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones SHAKE; I am like a
DRUNKEN man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the Lord, and because of
the words of his holiness." [Jeremiah 23:9]
BEING SLAIN-IN-THE-SPIRIT (a.k.a. FALLING OUT)
One dissident commented that in the Bible people only fall down on their faces, but in the laughing revival "they ALL fall backwards."
First of all, those of you that have been in Pentecost for a while know that people do not always "fall out" backwards. However, our body structure, such as the tautness of the Achilles tendon behind the heel is conducive towards a backward fall. It really depends on the stance and posture of the person at the time and also the fact that the minister's hand may be on the person's head preventing a forward fall. Additionally, many people "fall out" without even being touched.
God put men deeply to sleep in Genesis 2:21, 15:12 and 1 Sam 26:12, to name a few scriptures. The Word doesn't say which direction they fell.
In 2 Chron 5:14 we see that there is a time when even the ministers cannot stand in the cloud of
the glory of God. This time is returning, as the House of God is being built on apostolic and
prophetic foundational doctrine according to God's pattern. The glory of the latter house shall be
greater than that of the former. What flesh can stand before the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ?
In John 18:6, When Jesus said, "I Am," which is the name of God revealed to Moses in Ex 3:14,
His captors went backward, and fell to the ground. A person told me that those men fell back in
sudden fear because they thought Jesus was a sorcerer, and now they knew that Jesus was there.
No--they already were fairly sure who and where He was even before He spoke: they were
expecting Him to be in the garden. Mark 14:45 says that Judas, who knew that it was the custom
of Jesus to visit the garden, went "straightway" [immediately] to Jesus and identified Him with a
kiss. When they then asked Jesus to confirm His name, expecting Him to say "Jesus", He said, "I
Am." It was the anointing on that Name, "I Am," which caused the captors to fall backward onto
Some people attribute the sign of slain-in-the-Spirit entirely to the devil. If it is possible for a
created being such as the devil to counterfeit the sign, then God the Creator Himself can certainly
do better in quality and quantity, when it comes to Spirit-slain. God kills and makes alive. If He
can kill 'em He knows how to just "stun" people a little bit for better or worse when necessary.
THE BEST WINE LAST
Wine, as a type of the Holy Spirit, is associated with the final revival. Thanks to Jesus, the best
wine was served last at the wedding in Cana. In Joel 2:23,24 the Lord promises to cause the
former and the latter revival rain to come down in the same month, and the vats shall overflow
with wine and oil. Jesus promises to drink wine with us anew in Heaven. The new wine we are
experiencing now is but a token of the future glory of the Kingdom.
EYE HATH NOT SEEN
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." [1 Cor 2:9]
The miracles of Jesus then and now project glimmers of the greatness of His Kingdom---a
foretaste of that Kingdom of which we can hardly begin to imagine or comprehend.
Although I have offered many scriptures supporting this present wave of revival, the Lord Jesus
Himself did many things that were not recorded. Secondly, many of the things He did were
precedent setting events---there was no Old Testament scripture to support some miracles, e. g.,
"Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born
blind." [Jn 9:32] And again we read, "If I had not done among them the works which none other
man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both Me and My Father."
[Jn 15:24] During Jesus' earthly ministry there was only the Old Testament. There were no
scriptures to prove each new manifestation---the observers had to discern through the Spirit the
source and validity of the miracles. The "experts" concluded that Jesus' power source was the
devil, but the common people believed rightly that Jesus Christ was sent from God.
"NEITHER WILL THEY BE PERSUADED, THOUGH ONE ROSE FROM THE DEAD"
I am afraid that some critics will not believe the current revival is from God, even if the risen
Christ were to appear to them and confirm the revival in their ears. They would call the vision of
Jesus a demonic manifestation, because His speech did not match their theology.
FUTURE REVIVAL AND ANTICHRIST
Those opposed to the present revival have dubbed it, "the False Revival."
None of us are satisfied with the present revival---we want more. We want to see the world turned upside down for Jesus: "These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also." [Ac 17:6] If that is what the critics mean, then well and good. If by the term, "false," they mean DEMONIC, then they need to produce more than opinion and circular reasoning. They say holy laughter is of the devil, therefore the entire revival is of the devil. If they have the "gift of discerning of spirits" on the issue, why haven't they also the power and authority to cast out these demons that are supposedly manifesting?
The real reason is because the critics have made a judgment error. But let me tell you the reason they give, as we draw this topic to a close: the critics of the laughing revival say that the revival is the apostate church of Antichrist, and God has not given them the authority to caste out Antichrist because it is prophesied that Antichrist will come.
In response to the above accusation, I will only add the thought that perhaps the revivalists are the
True Church, and the accusers are the Antichrist system that is rearing its ugly head. Typically,
those who cast out demons are in favor of the laughing revival, and a house divided cannot stand.
I started this essay with the thought that there is balance in all this--there is a time to laugh and a
time not to laugh. There may be some excesses in the laughing revival. Imperfections do not
invalidate the ministry, because we always minister only in part. Perhaps there are some who
laugh due to peer pressure, manipulation, power of suggestion, faddishness, contagiousness, or
even demonic influence; this does not cancel out the real experiences. One can laugh for the sake
of evil or for the sake of good; It is human nature to laugh, whether in church or out of church.
We have presently only seen a thread of the canopy of revival Glory that God wants to spread
over us. On a serious note, let us enjoy this holy laughter while we can, because after the Great
Revival will come the Great Persecution. This laughter is preparatory so that we can manifest joy
in tribulation. Paul and Silas sang in prison. Those of us who can't carry a tune, may be laughing
in jail someday making a joyful noise.
Gamaliel said in Acts 5:38,39 "... If this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God."
One critic of this present revival asked, "How about the cult, Jehovah's Witnesses?--They haven't come to naught yet after a hundred years!"
My response to that is:
The Bible says that IN THE LAST DAYS there will be an increase in false prophets and an
increase in men who have a form of godliness, but no power thereof. The Jehovah's Witnesses fit
both categories, and the critics of revival fit in the second category. If God judged the J.W.'s
prematurely, the revival critics would be in jeopardy too, since they deny the power of God as we
know it to be. Of course, from the critics' point of view, the revivalists are end time "false
prophets." It can become an endless circular argument. Praise God that He is Judge, and not us!!
If laughing is a part of revival, then as revival increases, we "... will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine [our] own sight ..." [2 Sam 6:22]
--And if holy laughter is integral with the next Tsunami wave of revival, there are some men who have already purposed in their heart to miss that revival:
"Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you." [Hab 1:5]
"Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk,
O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance. In Thy name shall they
rejoice all the day." [Psalm 89:15,16]
The Lord Jesus Christ is building His tabernacle of David. He has stretched out his plumb-line. He is revealing that which is straight and that which is crooked in His House. Soon the secrets of the hearts shall be made manifest by the Light. There will be darkness in Egypt and Light in Goshen Land. What side will you be on? ........(click here to go to Part 2: "Uncontrollable Laughter?") | (click here to go to library) | (click here to go to revival page)
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