Four Moves of the Holy
by Rich Murphy
When revival comes, we can identify the move of the Holy Spirit as coming in four stages. One of the easiest mistakes we can make is to try and skip over one of these stages. All four of these stages are necessary parts of revival, and the ones you might most want to ignore could be the most important.
Each of these stages describes a different part of the character of the Holy Spirit, and what He is doing in our lives through revival. So, let's take a look at what they are.
When people talk about the move of the Holy Spirit, there are four different nouns that are used to describe what is happening. They are fire, wind, rain and oil. All of these are found in the Bible.
The first move that comes is the fire of God. Fire in the Bible always represents the presence and power of God. In Deuteronomy 4:24 it says that "For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God." As early as Genesis, and as late as Revelations, we see God represented as fire.
In the Old Testament, we find fire used for several things, all of them as holy things representing God's character. First of all, as I've already mentioned, fire shows God's power and presence. Whenever we see God pictured, He is shown as being on fire. That's the glory of God which the prophets saw. His glory is so bright and overpowering that it appears as a fire that is brighter than the sun.
My favorite example of God's power being shown through fire is when Elijah took on the 400 prophets of Baal in a contest to see which God was truly God (1 Kings 18:18-40). Since fire is God's demonstration of power, Satan has no power over fire, and no ability to make fire. God showed forth his power by consuming the sacrifice, after Elijah offered a simple prayer.
Since fire is a representation of God's power, it is also used in purification, and making offerings unto God. All the offerings made to God in the tabernacle, except the wave offering, were offerings made by fire. Even in the fellowship offering, where the person making the offering ate part of the animal, the part that was given to God was destroyed by fire.
When something is given to God in fire, there is no way that the person giving it can use it for anything afterwards. This becomes something that is literally totally dedicated to God.
Many times when God directed the nation of Israel to attack another people, and take their lands, He also directed them to destroy everything in the city with fire. In these cases, the fire was both being used in judgement, and as a way of dedicating everything they had captured unto God.
We find one example of this in Joshua. When the nation of Israel crossed over the Jordan river, the first city they came to was Jericho. God directed Joshua to destroy everything with fire, except for the precious metals, which were to go into the treasury of the Lord (Joshua 6:24).
Again we see this in 1 Samuel where God told Saul
(through Samuel) to smite the Amalekites, and destroy all they had (1
Samuel 15:3). God was so serious about it being destroyed by fire,
that he rejected Saul as king, when Saul failed to do what God had directed
him to do (1 Samuel 15:9-23). Saul's excuse that he wanted
to give these things as an offering to God wasn't enough. God had decreed
destruction by fire, and Saul hadn't obeyed.
Before we can expect God to bring people into our churches, we must become a vessel that is made ready for receiving those people. The purging will remove those things from us that have been keeping us from drawing near to God. We cannot expect God to work through us to impact the world until He works in us to make us more Christlike.
As the fire purifies us, the dross that is burned out becomes an offering unto the Lord. He accepts those things in our lives that don't glorify Him as a pleasant gift when they are given to Him. The fire turns them into sweet smelling incense in His nostrils.
After going through the fire, we then become what God needs us to be. No longer are we common vessels, made of the things of the world, but now we are precious vessels, vessels that have been made only for the use of the master. We become something that is able to hold the glory of His presence, without marring His perfection. As the world looks at us, they will only see us as something that beautifully holds what God puts inside.
Jesus knew the need for this fire to come. In Luke 12:49 He said: "I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!" Why did He want this fire? Because He knew the results that it would bring.
We need to be looking forward to the fire also. Although this is the part that hurts, it is also the part that brings healing. God cannot bring the other moves of revival until we make it through the fire. Yet, most of the time, we look at the fire as a bad thing, because we are afraid of what we'll lose. That's the wrong attitude, we won't lose, we'll gain. Those things that God will remove through the fire are only things that are harming us. Afterwards, we'll have gained a zeal and a passion for God that is so great, it overcomes anything else that is put in our way.
John the Baptist talked of Jesus bringing a baptism with fire. He said: "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire" (Matt 3:11). This was fulfilled in the book of Acts, on the day of Pentecost.
What do you see when you think of this? If you're like most Christians, what you see are little tongues of fire about the size of a hand sitting upon each person's head. That isn't what God sees though. Just as the burning bush in Exodus 3:3 was consumed with fire, but not consumed by the fire, so it was then; they were enveloped by the fire of the Holy Spirit.
God is looking to envelop us with His fire today too. We need the fire to cover us, and permeate every part of our lives. Not just a little fire to show His light, but a blazing bonfire to dispel the darkness around us.
This fire that God sends will totally cover us and make us into a flame of fire for him. As this happens, we will become that "living sacrifice" that Paul urges us to become. Our lives will no longer shine with our own glory, but with the glory of God the Father.
Oh Lord, send your fire soon, for that is what we truly need. We may act as if we don't like it. We may cry and complain a little. But Lord, if we are going to have true revival, we know we need your fire. We are willing Lord, to be burned up and burned through with your fire, so that we can become a blazing torch for you in this dark world.
The wind of the Holy Spirit is the move that brings change. Every time we see the Holy Spirit moving upon the face of the earth, we see the wind as the agent bringing about some change. On the day of Pentecost, in the beginning of the book of Acts, it is the "mighty rushing wind" (Acts 2:2) that brings the fire of the Holy Spirit onto the 120 gathered in the upper room (Acts 2:3).
There is a work that happens through the combination of the fire and the wind. Fire reduces everything it consumes to ash. However, without the wind, those ashes will remain in place. When the wind comes, it blows away the ash, leaving a clean fresh surface.
We cannot truly have revival without the wind of the Holy Spirit. In this book, we've already talked about the power of our traditions. When we enter into revival, God will need to remove some of the ways we do things, and replace them with the way He wants them done.
What things is the wind going to remove and change? I don't know, only God does. You can be sure however, that the wind of the Spirit will begin to blow through the house, removing those things that need to be removed, and changing those that need to be changed. Don't be afraid of the wind, it is moving for your benefit. Don't fight it, or your will delay the work that God is trying to bring.
When the wind of the Spirit starts blowing into our lives, it brings with it life. Remember, revival is about bringing people back to life who were alive once before.
In chapter one, I mentioned the valley of dry bones that Ezekiel saw. When he prophesied to those bones the first time, flesh came upon the bones, but there was no "breath" (life) in them. It wasn't until he prophesied the second time that life came into the dry bones.
The first time that God told Ezekiel to prophesy, he prophesied to the bones. The second time, he prophesied to the wind. It wasn't until the wind of the Spirit blew into the bones, now covered with flesh, that life came into them.
We have flesh in our churches. In fact, in many cases we have way too much flesh. We gain an appearance of being alive by having the flesh upon our bones. We have our programs, and our services, and our planning meetings, and our various ministries to meet the needs of different groups, but without the wind of the Spirit, there is no life, just an appearance of life.
Looking back in Ezekiel, it says, "Come from the four winds" (Ezekiel 37:9). There are four winds, because the wind comes from four different directions, each of them bringing its own type of change.
When the wind comes from the east, it is hot and withering. In Pharaoh's dream, he saw the east wind being what dried up the ears of grain (Genesis 41:23). There are things in our lives that need to be dried up. Although they may seem good on the outside, they are full of puss from an internal infection. When the east wind comes, it will cause these things to dry up, so that they die out from our lives.
As the east wind dies down, and is replaced by the south wind, we feel warmth coming in (Job 37:17). This warmth quiets our souls, and brings the "peace that surpasses all understanding" (Phil 4:7).
We need this peace because our natural tendency is to resist change. We tend to become afraid when change is happening, preferring the familiar, no matter how bad it might be. We might even know how much we need the change, but resist it still. Yet, when God is moving, the surest sign to our spirits is the peace that He gives us.
After this, we feel the wind coming out of the north. This is a cool, cleansing wind. Although there are some things that are inside us and need to be dried up by the east wind, there are others that are just on the surface and need to be blown away. This wind is the one that will take care of those.
Jesus has supplied His blood to cleanse us, and the wind acts as the arm of the Holy Spirit applying Jesus' blood to us. When we come out the other side, we are washed "white as snow" (Rev 7:14).
Last of all we receive the west wind. This is the wind that ushers in the rain.
After the fire and the wind, the rain feels just wonderful. Many people today are praying for the rain, but they haven't bothered to pray for the fire and the wind. They are missing the preparation process that is necessary in order to have the rain.
If we are going to have revival, we need all that God wants to pour out on us. If a farmer doesn't plow the field, and break up the ground, all that the rain is going to do is wash across the surface, then end up in the ditch. No matter how much rain God sends, it won't do that farmer much good. All it will do is help the weeds to grow.
But, when the farmer has worked to break up the earth, that rain is able to penetrate deep into the soil. His ground will receive the maximum benefit from every drop of the rain.
Jesus told a parable of seed being sown into four different soils.
Those soils refer to our hearts, not just the hearts of unbelievers who are being told the gospel for the first time. If the fire and the wind do not prepare our hearts, then when the rain comes, it will not penetrate deep into us, and accomplish the work that God has sent it to do.
Don't just pray for the rain. Pray for the fire, pray for the wind. Let them come and prepare you. Receive all that God wants to give you. Accept the baptism of fire, so that you can become that "good ground" for the rain to fall on.
We like the rain because of the refreshing it brings. After the scorching of the fire, and the upheaval that the wind brings, the cool rain feels wonderful to us.
But, that's not all the rain does. The purpose of the rain is to bring growth. The reason we need revival is that we aren't growing fast enough. The Lord is returning for a bride without spot, wrinkle, or blemish. Although we are heading toward that goal through our Christian growth, we aren't moving fast enough. At the rate of our current growth, we won't reach that point in our lives.
Each move of the Holy Spirit builds upon the last one. In the early 1900's there was the Pentecostal outpouring. In that revival, people became baptized in the Holy Spirit. Then came the Charismatic revival. God added the gifts of the Spirit to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is the type of building that revival brings.
The move that is coming today is one of purity, commitment, and sanctification. This is the next stage of growth that the Body of Christ, as a whole, must go through.
There are two types of growth the rain brings. First of all, it brings internal growth. The maturing process of revival happens through the rain. This is where we see the Holy Spirit bring the new manifestations to us that are part of that particular revival.
Our second growth that comes through the rain is external growth. This is where the Lord starts bringing new people into the church. We must go through the fire and the wind before they come. Why? Let's be honest, there isn't much reason for people to come in now. When the world looks at Christians, all they see is a bunch of losers. There needs to be something different about us, to draw them. Not only different, but powerfully, miraculously different.
Once the fire and wind have come through, the world will see something they've never seen before. They will see people who are totally sold-out to the Lord, who take a stand in their faith, and can back it up through the power of the Holy Spirit. That's what they're waiting for.
When we reach that point, we will begin to see the world flock to our doors seeking answers. It won't be because of evangelism either, it will be because they're hurting and seeking an answer that the world can't give them. They won't be drawn by our efforts, but by our lives. The Holy Spirit will move on their hearts, showing them their needs, and letting them see how God has met His people's needs.
This is the part that people think about when they talk about revival. We talk about "holding a revival meeting" and getting some evangelist in for a week so that we can hopefully get a few people saved.
God's idea of revival is to bring His people back to life. Then the "evangelism" comes about naturally, or maybe I should say supernaturally.
In the great Welch revival, almost the entire country flocked into the church. There was such incredible growth that they were building a church on almost every corner. You can still see those churches standing today. Many of them are almost empty, but they are standing as a tribute to what the Holy Spirit did in a few short months.
The Welch revival only lasted nine months. It impacted the country so much, that by the end of that time, the police were almost out of work. Not because of street preachers, or handing out tracts. It was because God worked in the hearts of His people, and then showed the people of the world that His people had something they needed. Only nine months to change an entire nation.
The oil of the Holy Spirit represents the anointing power that is flowing in and through our lives. Once we have been purified by the fire, have had things set in order by the wind, and have been brought to maturity by the rain, the oil can flow in our lives.
God has already provided every bit of His anointing power that is necessary in your life and ministry. The fact that you are called as a Christian, dictates that you are anointed by God for ministry. God doesn't call you and then let you flounder out there on your own. No, when He calls he equips, anoints, and provides for. The anointing is there for you right now.
How much of that anointing oil comes forth out of you depends upon how fully submitted to the will of God you are. That's why we need the other moves first. Revival will bring us to a place where we are totally submitted to God's will. Then we become a pure vessel that the oil can flow through easily. God does not increase the anointing in our life at this point. Rather, as we are purified, we appropriate more and more of that available anointing.
In a sense, we come to a place where God can trust us with His anointing. For the Holy Spirit to move in power through an impure vessel could have several negative effects. First of all, the anointing could be used for the wrong motive, such as to build self up in pride, instead of giving the glory to God. Secondly, the anointing could become "tainted" by passing through an impure vessel. Instead of coming out and accomplishing that for which it is sent, it could come out and cause harm, whether the vessel intended it to or not. Then there is the effect it would have on the vessel. For someone to look upon the face of God without being purified would bring death. Not because God would kill him, but because the glory of God would cause the man to die of his own sins.
In another sense, God is waiting until we reach a point where we'll do whatever it takes to have the anointing. Read some accounts of Smith Wigglesworth's ministry sometime. Or, take a look at Katheryn Kuhlman's life. God had them doing all sorts of things that seemed crazy in the natural. Yet, God moved through all those crazy activities.
So many times, we pray for God to move yet aren't willing to do something that seems foolish in order to allow God to move. We won't even say we're healed if we don't see the manifestation, so how are we going to do something really bold, if we can't even do that? Real anointing requires real obedience.
Therefore, how anointed a Christian is at any particular time isn't up to God, it's up to the individual. The "anointing level" can fluctuate up and down, depending upon where the individual is in his or her walk with the Lord.
When we are in this stage of revival, we see an increase of the miraculous. We will hear many more mysteries of God revealed through prophecy. Spontaneous healings will break out, without the laying on of hands, or prayer. Burdens will fall off of people. Demons will flee at a command.
The purpose of the anointing is to break yokes, and remove burdens. That's what we'll see at this stage of revival. People will walk in off the street, burdened down with sin, addictions, hurts, demons, and bondage. Once they enter into the presence of God that will be there, all of this will be removed.
Jesus "…went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil…" Why? Because "…God was with him." (Acts 10:38) When we reach this point in our walk with the Lord, then we too will be at the place where God is with us. It is His presence in our midst that will break these yokes and remove these burdens, not anything of us.
Actually, for God's presence to be with us this strong, we need to be out of the way. Quite literally, we need to die to self, so that all people see when they look at us is the Lord.
Jesus said that He only did the things that He saw His Father doing (John 5:19). He was so close to God the Father that he could see what the Father was about to do, and became a part of that action. The Father directs, the Holy Spirit empowers, and the Son spoke forth that which the Father and the Spirit were doing.
The Lord has no less desire to move upon the earth today than He did 2,000 years ago. The difference is that back then He was here in bodily form, and today He needs to work through our bodies. All He needs is a pure vessel.
We must never misuse the anointing. In Leviticus chapter ten, Moses directed Aaron that he "shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: for the anointing oil of the LORD is upon you…" (Leviticus 10:7). This was at a time when Aaron's sons had misused the anointing. Their error cost their lives, yet Aaron could not even go out of God's presence to mourn his own sons. God's anointing is sacred; we must not let anything get in its way.
To anoint means to rub in, smear on, or pour over. In other words, it means to totally cover and permeate with the oil. Remember when we were talking about the fire, and I said that it totally covered them? When we spend enough time in the fire, we come out totally covered with oil.
If you are covered with oil, and someone touches you, you're going to get oil on them. You won't have to try, it'll just happen. In fact, you won't be able to avoid getting oil on them, whether you want to or nor.
Peter was so covered with oil that sick people were brought into the streets so that his shadow would fall on them (Acts 5:15). His shadow had nothing to do with it. The Holy Spirit was on him in such a strong way, that just getting close to him meant that those people got some of the oil on them. That's the place God wants to bring us to today.
When you've got the oil, you've got everything you need. In second Kings, chapter four, there was woman who was the widow. She was in debt, and came to Elisha looking for an answer. He responded:
All this woman had was some oil, yet it ended up being enough to meet her every need. Not only did she pour enough oil out of that one pot to pay off her debts, but she had enough to "live off the rest" (2 Kings 4:7).
God desires to provide all our needs according to His riches in glory (Phil 4:19). Yet to do this requires us to get in that place where we've got the oil. God doesn't work long distance, He only works in the here and now. If we want His best we must be where He is. True revival will bring us to that place.
The oil brings joy into our lives (Ps 45:7 & Is 61:3). It also brings healing (Lk 10:34 & Jms:5:14). This is part of the provision that we receive when we reach this fourth move of the Holy Spirit.
Finally, I must say that the oil is essential for the Christian walk. Jesus told a parable of ten virgins. In this parable, the key point for determining whether the virgins were foolish or wise was based on their stock of oil. I've paraphrased this parable here, only making common acceptable substitutions.
Which of the groups are you part of, the foolish, or the wise? We must earnestly seek after all four moves of the Spirit, so that we will be found wise, by having the oil.
Since it takes time for these four moves to happen, we must not wait, but start praying for the fire now. That way, we will be in the place where we have the oil when we need it.
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Copyright © 2003 by Richard A. Murphy, Maranatha Life. All rights reserved.