On October 19th, at our Wednesday night class at the School of Supernatural ministry we watched a video of a sign God did at Bethel church in Redding the Friday before. Apparently while the community was gathered late at night a cloud of gold dust appeared out of no where in the middle of the congregation and floated around the congregation for a time, leaving many covered in specks of gold dust.
Two videos of it are here.
(CAUTION: This first one is loud as the people are cheering uncontrollably.)
Now before moving on I feel I really should comment on this.
My initial reaction was to dismiss this or wonder if it was fabricated in someway. I still battle my Western Worldview a lot which denies the spiritual realm completely. My default reaction to things like this are almost always, “Where is this in the Bible?” and to wonder if this was faked somehow. When this initial reaction receded I was able to think more clearly about both of these points.
First, it would be impossible to fake this. It is hard to see in the video but it was reported to me that the glory cloud moved and swirled, going up and down over the congregation. While someone, with bad or good motives, might have thrown gold dust in the air or had some more elaborate scheme to release gold dust into the ventilation system, it would be impossible to make the glory cloud move in such an unorthodox way and disappear and reappear. Either someone at Bethel has access to nanite cloud technology or this was really from God.
Second, such signs and wonders happen all the time in the Bible. One example that came to mind is the pillar of fire and smoke that led the Israelites through the desert. If God can do this, certainly He can make a little gold dust cloud in a church in Redding.
[Update: This happened again last Sunday right before Bill Johnson was about to preach. For two hours they just rejoiced in God’s presence and kids tried to eat the gold dust like snowflakes.]
Many people commented that such a sign was further confirmation that we are in the end times. I would disagree. While it might be just that, I think that such supernatural signs and wonders are to be relatively normal for followers of Jesus. It is because the Western Culture is so deeply steeped in rationalism and naturalism that we do not see these things. What happened at Bethel I would suggest then would be more of a return to normal than something incredibly unique.
Then later that night I was able to witness, first hand, another sign from God.
After class I was talking with a fellow student while many others were staying late to pray in our classroom. Suddenly one visitor and another student ran into where I was from the classroom. She was crying, scared, excited and happy. They started just exclaiming “Fresh oil! Fresh oil!”
Apparently, while praying this woman’s hands suddenly became wet with a thin sheen of oil.
Us being us, she began annointing people with it. As we took pictures, watched, and prayed over the whole situation. We found we could wipe her hands dry, only to have the oil come back just out of her hands. It also was scentless when it was left on her hands but as soon as she annointed people they could smell it.
These are just two pictures from that night.
If there is one thing i have learnt in the many years of seeing and hearing about so called miraculous events, is that it is not impossible to fake anything. Over emotionality can lead to hysteria, which on its own can allow manifestations galore, but when combined with a touch of the theatrical and the possibilities at endless. Glitter can be purchased at the 99 cent store, a pillar of fire is a bit harder to reproduce.
I appreciate your skepticism. Trust me, I approach everything I see or hear within my experiences of God and the supernatural with a similar attitude. I want to know if things are real. I honestly do not believe the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth, is offended by my desire to not get caught up in emotionalism or get fooled by humans.
While it is not my goal to defend or certify the “glory clouds” that have been happening at Bethel (as my faith does not rest on them) I really do not think you can say hysteria and glitter dust can account for this. The clouds have been showing up on a regular basis now and a friend of mine was at Bethel church when the last one happened. He said as the glory cloud manifested within the congregation you could watch it come through the walls, go back into the wall, and come back out again. This was lateral movement through a solid surface. The “glory cloud” is behaving in ways that defy how glitter dust would work if thrown into the air, even if a complex system of hidden fans that no one could feel or hear were being used to keep it afloat for longer than normally possible.
It is interesting how nobody talks about “testing these spirits” but everybody assumes it is God’s “glory” and gold when it could be demons and glitter. Why do these things only happen in certain types of churches and not across all Christianity?
@James: Im not a part of Bethel, but I know that the foundation of the church has been worship. Many churches in the states center around the message or sermon. I think this is the reason why things are happening at Bethel and not in many churches. God inhabits the praise of His people and I really think that the people at Bethel are in one accord. God is just wanting to get closer.
More greater signs and wounders shall be performed by the hand of the Almighty God than this. The word says the latter glory shall be greater than the former.
Be expecting to see more,more and more. God is awesome.