Falling Under The Power Of God—Scriptural Or Not?

It is not uncommon to find persons fall down suddenly in Charismatic gatherings. This falling is usually accompanied by jerking motions, crying or shouting in some cases. This has been dubbed “falling under the power of God.” Others use the term “slain in the spirit.” We would advocate that the latter term (“slain in the spirit“) be dropped completely, since it is based on a misinterpretation of Isaiah 66:16, which says, “For by FIRE and by His SWORD the Lord will JUDGE all flesh; and THE SLAIN OF THE LORD shall be many.” The “slain” here are the dead adversaries of the Lord. “Fire” and “sword” show that they will be completely destroyed in their judgment. Therefore the terminology “slain in the spirit” would be inaccurate. A better way to characterize this phenomenon would be “falling under the power of God,” which is what this article seeks to address.

Why this phenomenon? Why do people fall under the power of God, when hands are laid on them? Or sometimes, they just fall under the power in the services. Is it scriptural to do so?

It is key to find out, as our every experience in the Christian faith must be authenticated by God’s Word. We must be careful not to practice anything not found in or grounded upon Scripture. As touching the scriptural accuracy of “falling under the power of God,” the answer would be found in understanding Who exactly God is.

To begin with, the Bible speaks of God as being “glorious” and “having glory.”

Deuteronomy 5:24 (NKJV)

24 And you said: ‘Surely the Lord our God has shown us His GLORY and HIS GREATNESS, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire. We have seen this day that God speaks with man; yet he still lives.

1 Chronicles 29:13 (NKJV)

13 “Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your GLORIOUS name.

Psalm 19:1 (NKJV)

1 The heavens declare the GLORY of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. 

Psalm 145:10-12 (NKJV)

10 All Your works shall praise You, O Lord, and Your saints shall bless You. 11 They shall speak of the GLORY of Your kingdom, and talk of Your power, 12 To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, and the GLORIOUS majesty of His kingdom.

The word “glory” translates the Hebrew word “kabowd” (כָּבוֹד). This word is derived from another root word “kabad” (כָּבַד), which means “to be heavy or weighty.” It describes what makes another to droop.

So when God is called “glorious,” He is described as one who is essentially “weighty.” He has SO MUCH power, so much so that He can be described as “HEAVY.” He is FULL of much strength and might!

Observe how His power is described throughout the Scriptures.

His voice is SO POWERFUL that it shakes the Earth:

Psalm 29:3-8 (NKJV)

3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters; THE GOD OF GLORY THUNDERS; the Lord is over many waters. 4 The voice of the Lord is POWERFUL; the voice of the Lord is FULL OF MAJESTY. 5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars, yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon. 6 He makes them also skip like a calf, Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox. 7 The voice of the Lord divides the flames of fire. 8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh.

His presence is described as bright rays of light:

Habakkuk 3:3-4 (NKJV)

3 God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise. 4 His brightness was like the light; He had rays flashing from His hand, and there His power was hidden.

The Earth trembles before Him:

Psalm 18:7-15 (NKJV)

7 Then the earth SHOOK and TREMBLED; the foundations of the hills also QUAKED and WERE SHAKEN, because He was angry. 8 Smoke went up from His nostrils, and devouring fire from His mouth; coals were kindled by it. 9 He bowed the heavens also, and came down with darkness under His feet. 10 And He rode upon a cherub, and flew; He flew upon the wings of the wind. 11 He made darkness His secret place; His canopy around Him was dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. 12 From the brightness before Him, His thick clouds passed with hailstones and coals of fire. 13 The Lord THUNDERED from heaven, and the Most High uttered His voice, HAILSTONES and COALS OF FIRE. 14 He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe, lightnings in abundance, and He vanquished them. 15 Then the channels of the sea were seen, the foundations of the world were UNCOVERED at Your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.

His appearance is that of splendor:

Ezekiel 1:26-28 (NKJV)

26 And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. 27 Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with THE APPEARANCE OF FIRE all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. THIS WAS THE APPEARANCE OF THE LIKENESS OF THE GLORY OF THE LORD.

When He rests on Mount Sinai, the entire mountain is engulfed in flames!

Exodus 19:18 (NKJV)

18 Now Mount Sinai was COMPLETELY IN SMOKE, BECAUSE the Lord DESCENDED upon it IN FIRE. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the WHOLE MOUNTAIN QUAKED GREATLY.  

So God’s presence is HEAVY, weighty, tremendously powerful, and formidable. Now, it is because of this weight that people fall. You cannot be in the presence of Someone like this, and be able to stand. It’s impossible! Just like it would be impossible to remain standing if a truck were dropped on you.

God’s glory is weighty/heavy, literally. It should be NO SURPRISE therefore, that people fall in God’s presence. Actually, it should be expected. What makes people fall? It is the power of God coming upon them in a strong, manifest way! This happens THROUGHOUT the Scriptures:

Genesis 17:1-3 (NKJV)

1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, THE LORD APPEARED TO ABRAM and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. 2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” 3 Then ABRAM FELL ON HIS FACE, and God talked with him, saying.

Leviticus 9:23-24 (NKJV)

23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of meeting, and came out and blessed the people. Then THE GLORY OF THE LORD APPEARED to all the people, 24 and FIRE CAME OUT FROM BEFORE THE LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and FELL ON THEIR FACES.

1 Kings 18:38-39 (NKJV)

38 Then THE FIRE OF THE LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 Now when all the people saw it, they FELL ON THEIR FACES; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!”

1 Kings 8:10-11 (NKJV)

10 And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that THE CLOUD FILLED THE HOUSE OF THE LORD (this “cloud” is the Shekinah or “glory cloud,” a picture of Yahweh’s presence) 11 so that the priests COULD NOT CONTINUE MINISTERING because of the cloud; FOR THE GLORY OF THE LORD FILLED THE HOUSE OF THE LORD.

2 Chronicles 5 records the same incident in 1 Kings 8:10-11.

2 Chronicles 5:13-14 (NKJV)

13 indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying: “For He is good, for His mercy endures forever,” that the house, the house of the Lord, WAS FILLED WITH A CLOUD, 14 so that the priests COULD NOT CONTINUE MINISTERING because of the cloud; FOR THE GLORY OF THE LORD FILLED THE HOUSE OF GOD.

The Hebrew literally says “the priests could not STAND to minister” (vs. 14). The weighty power of God had knocked them off their feet!

Ezekiel 1:28 (NKJV)

28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. So when I saw it, I FELL ON MY FACE, and I heard a voice of One speaking.

This phenomenon continues into the New Testament.

Matthew 17:5-6 (NKJV)

5 While he was still speaking, behold, A BRIGHT CLOUD (the Shekinah) OVERSHADOWED THEM; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” 6 And when the disciples heard it, they FELL ON THEIR FACES and were greatly afraid. 

John 18:4-6 (NKJV)

4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” 5 They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am He.” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. 6 Now when He said to them, “I am He,” THEY DREW BACK AND FELL TO THE GROUND.

Acts 9:3-4 (NKJV)

3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly A LIGHT SHONE AROUND HIM FROM HEAVEN. 4 Then he FELL TO THE GROUND, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”

1 Corinthians 14:24-25 (NKJV)

24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, FALLING DOWN ON HIS FACE, he will worship God and report that GOD IS TRULY AMONG YOU.

Revelation 4:10-11 (NKJV)

10 the twenty-four elders FALL DOWN BEFORE HIM who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 11 “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.”

Revelation 7:11 (NKJV)

11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and FELL ON THEIR FACES before the throne and worshiped God.

It is CLEAR from Scripture that in the fullness of God’s manifest presence, His people cannot stand. There is such a thing as the glory of God knocking people off their feet! This is NOT a Charismatic concoction. It is Bible truth. “Falling under the power of God” is therefore a Biblical phenomenon, and should be expected and welcomed, in the gatherings of the saints.


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2022.



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