The River of God
by David Hogan
Pastor David Hogan is the founding leader of Freedom Ministries, a pioneering mission among remote Mexican mountain tribes. This article is edited from a message he gave at Christian Outreach Centre in Brisbane, Australia.
Between 150 and 500 people a month are being saved
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A new move of the Holy Spirit has started. It’s been all over the place. It’s got a whole lot of different names, depending on what part of the world you’re from. Some people call it ‘The River’, some people call it ‘The Refreshing’, some people call it the ‘Fire of Heaven’, others just call it plain ‘Revival of God’. I don’t particularly care what we call it as long as we’re in it!
Our work is now so large that I have to take care of it, which means I have to protect it in the way of not allowing any false doctrine to get into it. Westerners are real ‘faddish’ people and tend to jump into the latest thing for a little while, until it subsides and then people go back into their normal way of life. Well I don’t agree with that.
I agree with Jesus and going and staying in the flow and allowing it to change you and be completely radical in the Holy Spirit. You have to do things by faith. Everything has to be done by faith or it’s sin.
I am responsible to the Holy Spirit for what happens to the people he’s given me. And I’m not going to jump in just because America jumps in, or just because Australia jumps in, or New Zealand, or England or anybody else. I’m going to jump in when the Holy Spirit jumps in our work. Now that’s not to say I’m fighting it, I never was fighting, please understand. I was not against the Refreshing, the River, the flow, the wind, the fire. I never was against all that. Every time I’d come out, or go around the world somewhere, I’d mix with everybody but I was being cautious.
So I went after God. I told the Lord: “This is what we’re going to do God, and if I’m wrong you can do whatever you want to. I am not going to preach this Refreshing, this Revival, in our work. I will not teach one message on it. I won’t allow anyone that comes from around the world to speak about it in our work till I see you divinely touch us as you have in the past.”
You may say, “You shouldn’t be that strict. You shouldn’t be that serious.”
Yes I should! If you knew how hard it is for me to dig those Indians out of those hills, to get them born again, to get churches started, to get it established, then you’d understand why I’m so serious about how I undertake what I do in my ministry.
And it really happened, it really, really happened.
We’ve had over 400 people raised from the dead in our work. God can raise anybody from the dead. It’s awesome to watch.
We had a lady the other day, just before I came over here, a 70-year-old grandma, who was dead for about 14-16 hours. The Holy Spirit touched her and raised her up, but it was after the whole family was brought in. They washed her for burial. They set her up on the altar in the house, and the whole town came through and acknowledged her death and gave respects to the people. Then God raised her from the dead! Hallelujah!
It’s wonderful. God can raise people from the dead, whoever he wants to. And it doesn’t make me any different whether you believe it or not. It matters that I believe. It matters that our work believes. It matters that Jesus is King.
We see the dead raised, the blinded eyes opened, the lame walking, and all sorts of tumours fall off people and every kind of miracle – tuberculosis is healed. Yes, we get that, we do get that and let me tell you something, that’s the very reason I was so cautious about going into this revival with the rest of the world; because I don’t want our work tainted at all.
Our work has got high integrity. It’s new. It’s fresh. It’s just 20 years old and I want the thing to carry over into the next millennium with glory and honour and victory! And we will, in Jesus’ name, if Jesus doesn’t come back.
So, I blocked it. I wouldn’t allow people to talk about this new revival that’s taking place in the world.
People say, “You can’t tell people what to preach.”
I wasn’t telling them what to preach, I was telling them what not to preach. They could preach on anything but this thing that was going on. We are stuck up in the mountains. It’s off the trail. It’s not a beaten path. It’s hard to get to. It’s not an easy thing to accomplish, and so people never would come to see us.
But now we’re a thousand strong and we’ve got every kind of miracle known, so now everyone wants to come! That’s fine, you can come, but there are certain things you’re not going to talk about.
The work must be protected. It’s a worthy thing that God’s doing. But God can do it because God wants to. God can quicken the dead if he wants to. I watched him do it, I’ve personally been in on 19 dead raisings and I know. I have watched people. We had a couple of girls that were dead for 3 days that were lying, covered in lime and the Holy Spirit brought them back from the dead. It’s wonderful. A couple of teenage girls. They loved it when they got up, spitting that lime out of their mouths.
Remember Romans 4:20: Abraham ‘staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.’
So, about the new wine. I was blocking people, not God. I wanted something that would last.
I visited an outlying village. It took 4 hours in a 4 wheel drive and then 2 hours on foot, uphill. It’s very remote. There’s no radio, no T.V., and no outside influences. I was sitting up there in this little hut on a piece of wood against the bamboo wall on the dirt floor. Chickens were walking around in there.
The pastor walked up to me. He’s a little guy, and he was trembling.
He said, “Brother David, I’m really afraid I’ve made a mistake.”
I hadn’t heard of any mistakes. I was wondering what had happened in the last few days. He’s got four little churches in his area.
He said, “It’s not my fault. I apologize. I’ve done everything right, like you taught me. I pray every day. I read the Bible. I’m doing it right. What happened is not my fault.”
I said, “What happened? Come on, tell me what happened.”
He was trembling. Tears were running out of his eyes. He said, “Brother David, I got up in our little church. I opened my Bible and I started preaching and the people started falling down. The people started crying. The people started laughing. And it scared me. I ran out of the church.”
That’s what I was looking for. That’s what I was waiting for, when God came in our work, not because somebody came and preached it, not because I said it was okay or not okay, because I was neutral about it. I knew it was all right, but I wanted to see it in our work not because I ushered it in, but because the Holy Spirit ushered it in. And he did.
I got together with my pastors and we made a covenant to do a month’s fast in September 1995. This was as well as the 3 days on and 3 days off fast that we had been doing that year anyway, so we were ready for whatever God wanted to do. That year every day at least 365 people were fasting.
God hit me on the third day of that month of fasting, but I continued the fast and on the seventh day he hit me again greater than I’ve ever been hit in my life up to that point. But we continued fasting for the whole month.
The River of God
Psalm 47:4-5 says, ‘There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God. God is in the midst of her…’
I found the river. It’s real. The Shekinah presence of God has come into our work. There is a river of God wider and deeper than we know.
The minute you think you are accomplishing something is the minute you should repent. Find ways to keep yourself humble. Look for ways to not be a ‘big shot’ and to stay in the river. We are the habitation of God, Zion, God’s people. He wants us flowing in the river.
It doesn’t matter what’s around us – bullets, knives, disease, the state of the economy. It matters that our eyes are fixed on Jesus. When the Holy Spirit fell on us there was war around us. Bullets were being fired. People were dying.
I don’t have words to describe what happened to us when the Holy Spirit fell on us on Friday 27 October 1995. If you had been there, you wouldn’t have words to describe it either.
It’s an awesome thing I’ve been able to witness.
The river of God is here, and it’s full. There’s plenty for all.
We were in an awesome time. I didn’t know how deep we were in the river of God. I’d been fasting for a month, and I didn’t know what was happening. So I decided to get my pastors together in each section. We had groups of about 30-75 pastors in each section. I went into the most conservative area of our mission first, because I wanted to see what would happen.
At the first meeting, with about 75 of my pastors I got up, I opened my Bible, and I shared one or two verses. Suddenly I felt, that’s enough. They’re used to me preaching two hours sometimes, but it hadn’t been ten minutes.
I said, “Stand up.” And they stood up.
I said, “Receive the River of Life.”
You should have seen it! It looked like someone was hitting them with bats in the stomach and the head. But nobody was touching them. People were lying over benches, forward, backward, all over the place. I was trying to help, but I couldn’t help. People were just flying everywhere. And these were ministers.
So I went through all the sections like that. I got into one section, and they were glad to see me. They hadn’t seen me in a few months. I stood up. I opened my Bible. I read one verse about the fire of God, and the people started shaking.
I thought, “Oh God, this is way out.”
So I said, “Stand up.” They tried to stand up. Some of them couldn’t stand up. I just said the word “Fire.” And the whole place fell.
It was getting more and more scary to me. But people were getting healed without anybody touching them.
A man in that meeting had been deaf for 27 years. I didn’t know the man. He fell over and hit his head on a bench, and fell underneath the bench. He got up from there after a few minutes and he took off running out of the room. His ears had unstopped and he was running from the noise!
After I had been through all the sections, introducing this softly, it finally came time to call all the pastors together from the whole work. A couple of hundred of our pastors came. I wish you had been there to see what we saw! It was amazing.
On the first day there were about 200 pastors there, and the whole church that was hosting us. That made about 450 people.
The first day was awesome. God hit us powerfully. There were healings. I was happy. The people were encouraged.
The second day was even better. It was stronger. I thought we were peaking out on the second day. I got there at 8 o’clock in the morning and left at 10 o’clock at night, and there was ministry all day. We were fixing problems, and God was working through the ministry. It was wonderful.
But I tell you, I was not ready for the third day.
We were coming in from different areas. The Indians were all there. I didn’t know they had been in an all-night prayer meeting. I didn’t know that the Holy Spirit had fallen on them and they couldn’t get up. I didn’t know that they had been pinned down by the Holy Spirit all night long, all over the place, stuck to the ground. Some of them had fallen on ant beds, but not one ant bit them.
I was staying about 45 minutes away. I got in my 4 wheel drive and as I drove there I began listening on the two-way radio. Some of our missionaries were already there, and were talking on the two-way radio saying, ‘What’s happening here. I can’t walk.’
As I listened to them on the radio I felt power come on me. And the closer I came, the more heat I felt settling on me. I could feel heat, and I had my air conditioner going!
When I got to the little church, I opened the door of the truck and instantly became hot. Sweat poured off me. I was about 300 yards from the church. The closer I got, the more intense was the heat. I could hardly walk through it, it was so thick. I’m talking about the presence of God. That was 7.30 in the morning!
I walked around the corner of the building. People were all over the place. Some were knocked out. Some were on the ground. Some were moaning and wailing. It was very unusual, and I could hardly walk. By the time I got to the front of the church where the elders were I could hardly walk. I was holding on to things to get there. I could hardly breathe.
The heat of the presence of God was amazing.
The people had been singing for two hours before I got there. At 8.15 on the morning of October 27th, 1995, I walked up there and lay my Bible down on that little wobbly Indian table. Hundreds were looking at me. Some were knocked out, lying on the ground. I could hardly talk.
I called the nine elders to the front and told them the Holy Spirit was there and we needed to make a covenant together, even to martyrdom. We made a covenant there that the entire country of Mexico would be saved. They asked me to join them in that pact.
When we lifted our hands in agreement all nine fell at once. I was hurled backward and fell under the table. When I got up the people in front fell over. In less than a minute every pastor there was knocked out.
We were ringed with unbelievers, coming to see what was going on. The anointing presence of God came and knocked them all out, dozens of them. Every unbeliever outside and everyone on the fence was knocked out and fell to the ground. There were dozens of them.
From the church at the top of the hill we could see people in the village below running out screaming from their huts and falling out under the Holy Spirit. It was amazing.
We always have a section for the sick and afflicted. They bring them in from miles around, some on stretchers. There were 25-30 of them there. Every sick person at the meeting was healed: the blind, the cancerous, lupus, tumours, epilepsy, demon possession. Nobody touched them but Jesus.
There was instant reconciliation between people who had been against each other. They were laying on top of each other, sobbing and repenting.
I was afraid when I saw all of that going on. I looked up to heaven and said, “God what are you … ?” and that was the end of it. He didn’t want to hear any questions. Bang!
I was about three or four metres from the table. When I woke up some hours later, I was under the table.
When I finally woke up my legs wouldn’t work. I scooted myself around looking at what was going on. It was pandemonium! When some people tried to get up, they would go flying. It was awesome.
We had five open-eyed visions.
One small pastor was hanging onto a pole to hold himself up. He was there, but he wasn’t there. He said to me, ‘Brother David, look at him. Look at him, Brother David! Who is it? Look how big he is! Oh, he’s got his white robe on. He’s got a golden girdle.’ It was Jesus.
He said, “Brother David, how did we get into this big palace?”
I looked around. I was still on the dirt floor. I still had a grass roof over me, but he was in a marble palace, pure white.
I crawled over to look at him. He was seeing things we could not see. Another of the elders, a prophet from America, who had been working with me for thirteen years, crawled over and we were watching this pastor who was in a trance. It was amazing.
The three of us were inside something like a force field of energy. Anybody who tried to come into it was knocked out. It was scary.
The pastor said, ‘He’s got a list, Brother David.’ And he started reading out aloud from the list.
I was looking around, and as he was reading from the list people went flying through the air, getting healed and delivered. It was phenomenal, what God was doing. And he’s done it in every service in our work that I’ve been in since then. It’s been over a year. It’s amazing. Wonderful.
Rev 22:1 says, “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.”
I saw that river. I actually saw the river, its pure water of life from God’s throne. If I could see it again I would know it. I saw it. I experienced it. I tasted it.
God came because we waited, and listened. We didn’t jump in at the first sprinkle. We will keep it through prayer and fasting.
Between 150 and 500 people per month are being saved because of it, just through what the North American missionaries are doing.
Do you really want it?
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