Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Christianity, Answered Honestly!

What Does Being 'in the
Spirit' Refer To?

-by Tony Warren

    A question which comes up frequently is in reference to Revelation chapter 1:10 where John says, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day...". Many are puzzled about what being 'in the Spirit' refers to?

Being "in the Spirit" is a biblical phrase which means that a person has the Spirit of God. It is a illustration that God is working within this person via His Holy Spirit to will and to do of His own purposes. When God therefore would reveal things to his prophets in visions, dreams, etc., He would inspire it to be written that they were "in the Spirit". This signifies that the Holy Spirit of God was inside them moving them to have these visions. These Visions were not literal things that were happening, but spiritual pictures via God of what would happen.

Before the scriptures were completed, God would sometimes come upon His prophets and give them information in allegorical or symbolic visions that became part of the scriptures. Being 'in the Spirit' is a signification that the Spirit of God was the one revealing this vision to the prophets. Just as in the apocalypse of John he is giving the Revelation of Christ and says he was in the Spirit. Or again:

Numbers 11:25

  • "And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease".

God gave them His Holy Spirit, and they begin to prophesy or declare the Word of God for the future.

1st Samuel 19:23

  • "And he went thither to Naioth in Ramah: and the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on, and prophesied, until he came to Naioth in Ramah".

This is God's working in man via His Spirit to bring a divine message or revelation for the people. The spirit of God comes upon them, and they receive "direct" revelation from God.

Ezekiel 8:3

  • "And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy".

In the visions the Spirit lifted him up. It wasn't a literal trip, but a Vision where he was taken and shown marvelous things of God in the spirit. Not literally. The verse shows that God has come down to this man and is dealing with Him in a supernatural way in order to show him visions or prophesy of the future, and God's salvation plan. And this episode of Ezekiel mirrors also Revelation perfectly because John had some of these same visions that Ezekiel had, and some of the book of Revelation is intimately tied to both Ezekiel's visions and Daniel's Visions. In fact, you can see the identical language of being "in the Spirit" in:

Ezekiel 37:1

  • "The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,"

You see, this is not an actual trip, it is a Spiritual trip. A vision that God is showing him (and us, through his testimony) of things, and God speaks of him as being carried "in the Spirit" to witness this vision. Just as John in revelation was "in the Spirit" to have the visions which he wrote of.

Revelation 1:10

  • "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,"

Revelation 4:2

  • "And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne."

Revelation 17:3

  • "So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns."

Revelation 21:10

  • "And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,"

Being in the Spirit is simply God illustrating that they are being given divine revelation directly via God (the Spirit) in a vision. i.e., carried away in the Spirit, not literally carried into the sky, or mountain, or heaven, but spiritually he saw these things and occurrences.

This was typical of God interacting miraculously with His prophets in the Old Testament and prior to the completion of the New. But when the Bible was completed, this type miraculous prophecy ceased, and God pronounced a curse upon anyone who would dare claim to add to His Prophesies (rev 22:18-19). The Word of God is now a complete book, not a book in the making or an incomplete book. Today Christians prophesy by eating this book (spiritually) and prophesying again of what is written therein.


Copyright ©2000 Tony Warren
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Created 8/3/00 / Last Modified 8/3/00
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