God among the Zulus
WE HAVE SEEN HIS GLORY
Kurt E. Koch Th.D.
Bibel- und Schriftenmission
Dr. Kurt E. Koch e.V.
D-73527 Schwäb. Gmünd-Lindach
English translation of the German book,
Gott unter den Zulus, published by Bibel- und
ISBN 3-924 293-62-7
All rights reserved
Copyright Erlo Stegen
Printed BY ……… 2011
This story is so important because it has meaning for the future. The church of Jesus remains alive through revivals.
China is a good example for our times. Although the congregations of Christ have passed through the fiercest persecution, they have not been blotted out as in previous history. One reason for this is the revival experienced at the beginning of the last century. Dr Jonathan Goforth writes on God's working in his book By My Spirit.
All revivals have similar trademarks: conviction and confession of sin, freedom from sin, the preaching and singing of the victory of Jesus through the Blood of the Lamb and the confirmation from heaven through signs and wonders. Prayer precedes all this.
We print this new book on revival that you may know that South Africa needs prayer. Not only do the Europeans in Africa need revival. If one looks around, one realises that each church needs revival. God's solution for Africa is also a solution for the whole church. Apartheid is not worse than homosexuality, adultery, the murder of innocent unborn children, hypocrisy, and so on.
On April 9th 1976 I sat together with my organizer in Pretoria planning our South African lecture tour. He mentioned, "We have to get into the universities so that the students can hear this special message.”
That evening I was on board a Lufthansa flight back to Germany. This was going to be a tiring 13 hour flight. Feet tend to get swollen. After leaving Nairobi, the last of 365 seats was occupied by homebound students of German officials, and business people going home for the Easter holidays.
One thing on that flight helped me to forget my inconvenience. As I took my seat I prayed to the Lord,"Lord Jesus, please allow me to have someone in the seat next to me with whom I can speak about You. Please grant me that opportunity.”
Barely ten minutes after take-off, my neighbour pulled out his Bible and started reading the Book of Esther. I couldn’t believe my eyes that my prayer was answered so swiftly.
I expressed my joy to him and said,"Just a few minutes ago I asked the Lord, ‘Please grant me a neighbour with whom I can share the Gospel.’ And here is His answer.”
My joy was even greater when this disciple of Jesus said,"I prayed that way as well.”
This wonderful experience was just the beginning. As we exchanged our addresses, my neighbour responded almost unbelievingly,"You’re not Dr Koch the author?” I told him I was.
“I have read both Revival in Indonesia and Between Christ and Satan. Are you going to return to South Africa? I am a lecturer at Pretoria University. I would like you to speak to the students.”
This was a further miracle: Just a few hours previously my promoter had explained his intentions to take me to the universities, and here was the first opening.
I passed on the address of my promoter and organizer. Then the lecturer continued reading in the book of Esther, as I did in Chronicles.
The tiring flight that night turned out to be far more pleasant as we shared the wonderful guidance the Lord had granted us. Among the 365 passengers, two disciples of Jesus, a German and a South African, were seated together. This was indeed God's providence, and it became even more obvious as we continued our conversation. The forefathers of my new friend, the Röttchers, were German immigrants; two of the three generations lived in Muden in KwaZulu-Natal, which I had just passed through some days before. We even found out that he is distantly related to Erlo Stegen, who is a powerful tool in God's hand.
When the Living God does something, He does it thoroughly, and we are left to marvel.
In 1963, Pastor Albert Brandt from Pretoria organized a lecture tour for me through South Africa. On this tour I received an invitation from Dr Peter Beyerhaus, now Professor at Tübingen University in Germany, to speak at the Theological Seminary in Mapumulo. I remember my last lecture on the theme"The Reality of the Holy Spirit in our Lives” very well. I myself was deeply moved. As I prayed in closing, I pleaded to God for a revival among the Zulus. Afterwards several Zulus came forward for counselling, saying that the message had touched both heart and conscience.
Among the listeners there was also a young white man whom I didn’t know at that time. He also remembered the last message about the reality of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Twelve years later he wrote,"The Lord has answered your closing prayer. We are experiencing revival among the Zulus.”
On his tour through Germany in 1975, this brother, Erlo Stegen, invited me to visit the revival in South Africa. I also heard of some further incidents among the Zulus. Our common friend, Karl Stöckmann, said to me,"Similar things are happening to those taking place in Indonesia.”
It has been my habit to visit the different revivals granted by the Lord. So I left to visit the Zulus in March 1976. There was no exaggeration in the things I had heard. After several weeks with the Zulus, I had to say with the Queen of Sheba,"…the half was not told to me...” After my report on Indonesia, I was heavily attacked by the new rationalists, the super-orthodox and others who were envious. Because of this I made certain I had witnesses of integrity and well-documented photographs.
On top of all this, I want to say that none of the testimonies or reports have been invented or exaggerated - they were well-researched, as in the Indonesian report. It is a tragic thing that, whilst serving the Lord, I have received the most violent opposition from Christians. Erlo confirmed the same thing to me in one of our quieter moments.
In the past ten years many similar miracles have occurred in both Indonesia and among the Zulus. In all these revivals it is the same Lord at work.
Here is a short overview of Zulu history for those who are interested. The following books can be of help:
The Washing of the Spears by Donald R. Morris
Shaka Zulu by R. Ritter
40 Years among the Zulus by the missionary Tyler
500 Jahre Geschichte Südafrikas by Dr Müller
The tribal area of the Zulus reaches from the Pongola River in the north to Pondoland in the south, and from the Blood River to the coast. Those unfamiliar with these geographical details will find Durban on the East Coast. From there northwards to the borders of Swaziland is the domain of the Zulus.
We need to take a closer look at the origin of the Zulus. Around 1680, a sub-chief of the Nguni clan wandered towards the Indian Ocean. There were just a small number of about 100 people with him. When Mandalela, the sub-chief, died, his son Zulu became the chief of this clan. They proudly named themselves "Ama Zulu”, meaning,"People of the Heavens”. This is indeed a wonderful name, if one thinks of the great spiritual movement taking place among the Zulus.
One hundred years later this tribe had increased in number to about 15,000. In the 1780's, Senzangakona was the tribal chief. When he received news that a son by the name of Shaka was born to Nandi, a girl from a neighbouring tribe, he brought them into his royal kraal. Nandi was Senzangakona's third wife.
Six years later the tribe was hit by a terrible famine. Senzangakona expelled Nandi and her son, in order to reduce the number of people who ate in his kraal. This was the beginning of a time of terrible hardship for the two refugees. They did, however, find some shelter among their own tribe, the Elangeni, but they were despised. Shaka grew up without any accommodation or fatherly protection. He was ridiculed by those of his own age. Hatred against the tribe of his father and the clan of his mother began to consume him. He swore to himself to take vengeance when the occasion presented itself.
Things became intolerable for the two refugees, and Nandi decided to make a second attempt at being received in the clan of her uncle, Dingiswayo, of the Mthethwa. Here they were welcomed warmly. Now Shaka was a herdsman like all those of his age, but he towered above them with his skill and courage. Dingiswayo, the clan chief, discovered this as well. There were none like Shaka - he was especially skilled with the spear. At one time he killed a leopard in a tree with his spear. On another occasion he speared a black mamba, a snake well-known for its split second attacks and reactions. It hadn’t previously been known that someone had hit and killed a mamba with a spear.
Shaka wasn’t only a warrior, he often meditated, separating himself from the others and dreaming big dreams. These were not fruitless dreams. At the age of 23 he was recruited by the troops of Dingiswayo. In his six years of training, Shaka not only developed into an invincible warrior, he changed many things tactically and strategically, and developed and improved the weapons. Some of the changes that he introduced were: warriors had usually been equipped with three or four light spears to throw, now they would use a heftier spear to stab the enemy. Shaka explained,"One doesn’t throw away one's weapons…” Also, the shields were bent forward at the upper edge. The aggressors were trained to push the enemy's shield to the left with the bent shield, at the same time stabbing him in the heart with the right hand. This was a new method of hand-to-hand combat. Shaka also discarded his sandals, so he demanded that the other warriors go barefoot as well. This was a further improvement to get the warriors to be more agile. Because of the thorn bushes the soles of their feet got very tough.
Dingiswayo recognised Shaka's talent for leadership, and sent him back to the Zulu tribe at the age of 29. He hadn’t seen his tribe for 23 years, and his father had died in the meantime. Dingiswayo wanted him to become the leader of the Zulu tribe. But this was not an unselfish move. He wanted him to lead the Zulu tribe because he expected them to become a military force, and therefore a buffer zone between himself and the attacks from the north.
Shaka wasn’t welcomed in his home tribe because they hardly knew him. In the meantime, his half-brother had taken over the throne of his deceased father. As he arrived with a small escort, his half-brother was bathing in the river. Without regard to the icy countenances of the tribal leaders, he went and sat on the throne of his father. All opposition was avenged with the death penalty. No one considered opposing him. This was the beginning of a great Zulu era. In the twelve years from 1816 to 1828, Shaka built a monumental kingdom. He was called the Napoleon of the Zulus, and his soldiers the"black Spartans”.
At the beginning of his rule, the Zulu tribe only had about 350 badly trained soldiers. A year later, Shaka had 2,000 disciplined men, scaring every neighbouring tribe. When he first banned sandals, there were complaints and murmuring, but he punished them by getting the reluctant soldiers to dance to music on a spot with many thorns. Men who were not able to keep in time to the music were killed without further ado. Now, every tribal chief was allowed to do this, but Shaka made use of this right too freely. The slightest offence could invoke the death penalty. Morris reports in his book that every barber that pulled his hair while cutting was executed. Everyone who sneezed during a meal would also be put to death.
In a span of three years he had expanded his troops to 20,000 of the best. This number was possible because many neighbouring clans joined the Zulus voluntarily. The training was so hard, that the troops could manage a march of 80 km a day on rough ground. The English troops and the settlers only managed 24 km. But Shaka didn’t require anything that he himself wasn’t able to fulfil or do. When his mother Nandi fell seriously ill, he was 128 km away from his mother's kraal. After receiving the news from a messenger, he covered the distance in 20 hours without a break.
Shaka had ample opportunities to prove his superior tactical skill. The tribe of Ndwandwe attacked him with 18,000 men. It was the largest army that he had had to battle against. They had invaded his area. How did he manage his defence? On the first day he didn’t attack. At night he sent many small interfering contingents to keep the enemy from sleeping, and removed all cattle and food stock from the threatened area. The next day he encountered a tired and hungry army. The Ndwandwe were badly defeated. With his strategy he even conquered the king's kraal. During the second night he sent his soldiers to the kraal of the king, singing the victory anthem of the Ndwandwe. Zwide, the king of the Ndwandwe, thought that his men were returning victorious. Before he realised his mistake, it was too late.
Now it is not the objective of this book to report on all the great tribal wars and conquests of the Zulus. At the age of 29, Shaka controlled 16 square kilometres. In the end he reigned over an area half the size of Switzerland, just to get a European comparison. Many clans and tribes voluntarily joined, calling themselves Zulus, enjoying the fame of this invincible king. But Shaka's victories went to his head. The experiences of his youth had caused such hatred that more and more he became a despot and a tyrant.
After the death of Nandi, his mother, it seemed that he had lost all sanity. During the funeral ceremony, he had the arms and legs of ten of his helpers broken and buried them alive with his deceased mother. During the following year, every woman who fell pregnant was killed together with her husband. He ordered the bodies of a hundred pregnant women to be opened, so that he could see the unborn child. These gruesome things are recorded on pages 98–107 of Morris’ book.
Shaka's end was like that of many tyrants. He was ambushed and killed by his half-brother and two accomplices. This happened in 1828, after Shaka had turned 41. He had reigned 12 years, during which time he had led his people to become a great nation. But kingdoms founded by tyrants never last long. 50 years after Shaka's assassination, the English and other European settlers conquered the Zulus.
There is not much that can be said about the religious condition of the Zulus. From birth Zulus are bound by heathen witchcraft. Shaka and all his clans made offerings to the spirits of the forefathers. After Nandi had passed away, Shaka killed 40 oxen to pacify the ancestors so that they would give her a dignified reception.
It would be fitting now to give some history of missionary activity in this area. A number of books have been written on this subject. About 50 different larger and smaller groups of missionaries have laboured in South Africa over a period of 150 years. But it isn’t the aim of this book to publish an account of their work.
There have been many pioneers in the Zululand area, such as the European missionary Merensky from the Berliner Mission in 1858. In the same year there were missionaries of the Hermannsburg Mission in the Transvaal and later in KwaZulu-Natal. In a place near Pietermaritzburg they founded a mission station and a school, which today still has over 300 schoolchildren. Mostly they were children of German settlers.
Many towns in KwaZulu-Natal have German city names, such as Hermannsburg, New Hanover, Harburg, Lüneburg, Uelzen, Wittenberg, Wartburg and others. One can understand why it wasn’t hard for the Lutheran Mission from their homeland to get a foothold among the settlers who needed spiritual care. Erlo Stegen and his brothers also attended the Hermannsburg School. The Stegen family, which is still involved today in active mission work, has its roots in the Lilienthal Lutheran Church.
This book is a report of the spiritual happenings among the Zulus in the present time. Our eyes need to be fixed on the exalted Lord and not onto man. It is idolatry and a mockery of God to glorify man.
In mentioning the names of those used by the Lord, it is for the sake of clarity and simplicity. Although it would seem that honour is sometimes given to man, it is the Lord who is honoured by humble men.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 4:7:"What do you have that you did not receive?” The things that have happened and still do happen among the Zulus are done by the exalted Lord. For this reason our eyes need to be fixed on the originator of this movement, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Where man is glorified in a cult-like manner, revival will end abruptly. For this reason a God-given revival does not come easily, but it can easily be lost. The Bible says:
Deuteronomy 32:3:"For I proclaim the name of the LORD: ascribe greatness to our God.”
Psalm 16:8:"I have set the LORD always before me…”
Psalm 115:1:"Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but to Your Name give glory...”
Isaiah 42:8:"I am the LORD, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another…”
Matthew 17:8:"When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.”
Revelation 4:11:"You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power.”
Just a brief example which highlights the meaning of the above portions of Scripture: Many years ago I conducted a Christian meeting high up in the Black Forest region in Germany. After the meeting, a Christian brother accompanied me down the steep slopes to the valley. It was so dark we could barely see our hands before our faces. So we held each other by the hand so as not to topple down a gorge. To find our way we would look heavenwards. There between the tree tops one could make out the slightly brighter sky, which helped us to keep course on the pitch black track.
This minor experience has become a great parable to me. The times in which we live are getting darker and darker. Therefore we need the help of a companion, and we need landmarks, which we receive by looking to the Lord.
Regarding the revival among the Zulus, a truth has become clear. As Jesus sent his disciples two by two, the Zulus do the same. In addition, we need guidance by looking unto the Lord. Erlo Stegen has a number of co-workers, and each one looks to the Lord for direction and not to one another. In this book it will be noticed how that guidance brings unity and glory to God in all that has happened.
Philippians 2:9:"Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name…”
In Judges 7 we read about the battle against the Midianites. As the war cry sounded,"The sword of the LORD and of Gideon,” the army of the Midianites staggered and fled in disarray and bewilderment. We read in Judges 7:22:"…the LORD set every man's sword against his companion, even throughout the whole camp…”
It was God's judgment that they were thrown into confusion, killing each other.
In Isaiah 37:37-38, we read again about the judgment of God. Sennacherib was before Jerusalem, mocking the living God. The Lord slew his army of 185,000 men in one night, so that he withdrew to his country. But he didn’t escape his own judgment. As he was worshipping in the temple of his idols, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, slew their father.
With the Midianites, it was the swords of the members of their own tribe against each other.
With Sennacherib, it was the swords of his own family members against each other.
Amongst the heathen, warring Zulu clans, one gets the impression that all this happens because of God's, judgment when they are not prepared to open up for the Gospel. Let us consider tribal warfare at the present time.
I personally know of three incidents.
1. The Murder of a Prince
In March 1976 I was travelling with Erlo and the team to Mahambeni in the Transkei. On the way, while passing a kraal, Erlo told of how a man was murdered by his wife.
A tribal chief had invited Erlo and the team to preach among his tribe. This was of such significance because this tribal chief had 30 chiefs who served under his rule. This was a large area to be reached with the Gospel.
After a journey of some hours they were passing a kraal in which men were busy digging a grave. A co-worker said to Erlo,"I have the impression that the Lord wants us here.” Other co-workers supported the idea. Erlo replied,"We are late, the tribal chief is expecting us, there is no time.”
When they arrived at his place, the tribal chief apologized over and over again, saying that it was impossible to organize a meeting. He said,"I don’t have any time for you because government officials have arrived.” Erlo said, "This is no problem at all; we know where the Lord wants us to be.”
The team rushed back to the kraal and a police car was already there. Erlo asked,"What has happened here?” The police said,"A man has been murdered.”
“Do you have someone taking the funeral?”
“Can we take it?”
Some of the co-workers helped to complete the digging of the grave, while the police went to get the murdered man out of the police car. Erlo asked to see the deceased. The sheets that covered him were taken away. Here was a man with a badly fractured skull and a lacerated face. Erlo was told what had happened.
The son of the king had fallen in love with a girl from the enemy tribe. He agreed to meet her."Tonight I will come to you,” he said.
That evening he knocked on the door of her round hut. Every member has their own hut, except the small children. The desired girl opened and left immediately. She said,"I’ll be back in a moment.”
The girl hurried into the neighbouring huts and said,"The king's son is here - come with your bush knives!” This was the moment of vengeance against the king's family, which they hated. Years before, a relative of the king's family had murdered a man from this tribal enemy. They took their long bush knives and entered the girl's hut. The prince, as was the tradition, had left his weapons outside the hut. The women massacred the young man, splitting his skull so badly that his brains fell out. Then they dragged the corpse out of the hut and left him near his kraal.
It was an easy thing for the police to solve the case. They just had to follow the blood trails. They found parts of his body, some skull, some bone and parts of the brain. A few of the women were arrested.
No woman was allowed to attend this funeral, because it was a disgrace to be murdered by a woman. Erlo preached the Gospel and a great miracle occurred. The wife and mother of the reigning king were converted, as well as many others. The co-workers had gone into the huts to bring the Gospel, because the women hadn’t been allowed to attend.
This makes it very clear that this was the leading of the Holy Spirit, as the co-worker had said,"I have the impression that the Lord wants us here.”
In the revival among the Zulus, the guidance and leading by the exalted Lord often occurs, even predominates.
2. 24 Years of Tribal Feud
On this same mission trip with the co-workers during March 1976, we went to the farm of Hogart Joosten, a farmer of Dutch lineage. The farm is called Mount Elias and is 256 hectares in size.
Eight kilometres away, two clans, which were previously one, were at war. The smaller tribe, Ntanzi, was surrounded by the larger tribe, Ngubane.
This smaller tribe had hardly any freedom to move around, which is the reason why the killing had been going on since 1952. It was said that they had had peace in the past year, but hatred had broken out again in 1975. This meant that men were unable to rest at night, continually expecting clashes.
Men working in faraway cities such as Johannesburg or Durban would continue their fighting there. If a worker returned to his home, he had to stay wide-awake to avoid being killed.
Hogart Joosten reported that a worker coming home from Durban was warned. He had, however, neglected the warnings, was ambushed and killed. As we were on Mount Elias in March 1976, we were told that another three people had been killed in the first half of the current month. One case seemed to be especially tragic:
A young man fled with many women and children when he was hit by a bullet. He was still alive as his mother threw herself over him to protect him, begging for his life. The adversaries pushed her aside and stabbed him to death. Women and children were not killed, only men.
The murdering comes to the farms at times. Hogart told me that one day seven Zulus appeared on the farm, searching for the tractor driver who belonged to the enemy tribe. They forced themselves into the house and fired ten shots. Only four went off, the other six bullets falling to the ground. The firing device had failed to work properly. The victim, a father of five children, was shot through the hand, and has had to hide since. Some white people offered to give him a job on another farm, although they also risked being killed for hiding a wanted man.
After these series of murders, the chief of the Ngubane was questioned by the chief of police. He was reproached for all these murders, upon which he laughed and said,"This has happened since 1952, and there's not much that can be done.” But from that day on he increased his personal security.
Many tribal chiefs have seen the power of the Gospel. They realise that only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can end these tribal conflicts. Various chiefs have asked Erlo Stegen,"Please come to us, so that the Gospel will end all this strife and warfare.”
3. The Hundred Year War
We know about the 30 year war from 1618 to 1648 in Europe, and all the harm that was caused. The older generation will also remember World War One and Two and the horror that accompanied them.
The Zulus know the hundred year war from 1872 to 1972. This war didn’t end with an atomic bomb, but through the conversion of a king. Because of its uniqueness, this story must be recorded.
I am grateful that, through the merciful leading of the Lord, I have been able to experience the revival among the Zulus, and especially that I have been able to get to know this Christian king.
Here is some background to the war. The Tembu were a tribe with 13,000 people, south of the Tugela River. The Mabaso were about 6,000 strong, and live to the north of the Tugela River.
In 1872 the Tembu wanted to have more living area because of their large population. They approached Sir Theophilus Shepstone, the government official, and asked to have the area of Jozini that belonged to the Mabaso. Their request was granted. This forced a change of land ownership and led to many future clashes. From that day on these two tribes were deadly enemies.
In 1898, the government official responsible wanted to settle the matter. He gave the Mabaso their land back again, which in turn angered the Tembu. They now continually entered into the Jozini and Mabaso area, killing people and burning their houses.
This would happen as follows: around midnight the aggressors would knock on the door. The inhabitants would come out, knowing that the houses would be set on fire. Women and children were let free whilst the men would be shot or stabbed. Sometimes even boys of eleven were killed.
During these raids, some men would clothe themselves as women. Because of this, everybody was forced to undress. Women with infants had to show the gender of their children. At times all males were killed.
Amongst these terrible tribal clashes certain occurrences stand out. In 1922 the Tembu attacked the Mabaso. They managed to get right through to the kraal of King Cikazi. Because he was out hunting, they went after him. Cikazi was alone with his horse. With his gun he killed 12 Tembu and then rode over the cliff edge and plunged into a gorge, just to avoid being captured by the Tembu.
The death of the king caused another series of murders. About 120 died on both sides in the clashes that followed. Every two or three years, new waves of murdering, violence and arson rocked the area. The land of the Tembu and the Mabaso were the areas of the greatest unrest in South Africa.
Every attempt was made by the South African government to end these bloody vendettas. On one occasion the police came with 4 helicopters, and 70 policemen searched houses. Guns and rifles were confiscated and owners taken into custody.
One of the largest police actions had about 200 policemen - an all-out attempt to stop the murdering. This was in the area of Xobonayawo, where 21 men from the enemy clan were chased over a precipice.
It is officially stated that from February to June 1972, 921 houses were burnt and 16 men killed. The actual death toll among the tribes is not known.
The ongoing eruptions caused great uncertainty among the Zulus. Often the men and their families would seek protection at the white people's houses or buildings. During the night they would sleep in hospital corridors, police stations, courthouses or the gardens of whites. This caused sanitary problems, and the need to get vaccinated against typhus. The people were told to use the toilets. The excrement in the gardens not only fouled the air but also attracted vermin, especially rats. The shops sold food and nothing else. People would say,"Everything will be destroyed or burnt during the next raid.”
Not only did the Zulus suffer under these insecure circumstances. The whites were also affected. Government officials would try to resist to the utmost being moved into the violent areas. If they were forced, they would demand to be replaced after three months. Public life and commerce seemed to come to a complete standstill. It was also very dangerous to move around in the villages. A regular job was virtually an impossible thing.
During these terrible times, Erlo came to Tugela. This was in 1966. An attorney who recognised him as he was travelling by stopped him. He said to Erlo,"Come with me - in this building there are many corpses. Can’t you men of the Gospel do something to end this carnage?” Erlo had suspected something was wrong as he passed the many smoking kraals. He answered that he would bring his co-workers and start a crusade in Tugela. A tent was brought for the evangelistic meetings and stayed there for the next two months.
This was the beginning of a visitation of God. Hours before the meeting, members of the team checked the tent. On previous occasions the heathen had plotted attacks on the tent. Although the meeting was to begin hours later, many had already gathered, waiting for the message. Had the hardships made them ready and receptive to the Gospel?
A woman in traditional dress asked,"Is this the spot where we can unload our sins? I have found no other help - will I receive help here?” Although this heathen lady couldn’t read or write, she bought herself a Bible. She took the Bible to someone who could read and said,"Read this for me! The Lord has said that I should hear this.” She did the same in church meetings, bringing her Bible to the preacher and asking him to read a certain passage. Amazingly, these passages always matched the sermon. This was the sign that the Holy Spirit had inspired them. From 1964 to 1966 only women were converted in the Tugela area. Only after the beginning of the revival were men also gripped by the Gospel.
In 1967 there was a meeting 40 km away from Tugela. After the meeting, which lasted till midnight, the preacher went around the house to pray. As he was praying he felt an invisible hand lifting his arms, turning them in the direction of Tugela. Then he heard a voice saying,"Where you are pointing, I will work mightily. The men will now come and accept salvation.”
4. The Conversion of Gabajana Mabaso
The following report was given to me personally by Gabajano, as I was visiting the team in Tugela.
Gabajano comes from a royal background. In 1967 Erlo came back to preach the Gospel among the Mabaso tribe. When Gabajana heard the message he realised, "This is what I need.” And he accepted Jesus.
Before he was converted, he would go from one sorcerer to another. He acquired so many idols and witchcraft fetishes they could have filled a room. He practised ancestral worship and offered cows and goats to the spirits of the ancestors. Nothing would help, and he became more and more restless.
Shortly before he got converted he had two dreams. In the first one he saw two Bibles come down, and a voice saying,"Read this! Go to the Christians!” Some time later he saw a second dream in which he was told,"Don’t go to the Christians. Stay faithful to the ancestors!”
Gabajana decided to follow the first dream and tried to get connected to a church. However, he was disgusted that during the church meetings they would beg for money. So he stopped going there.
Then Erlo came to Tugela for a crusade. In his services they never take a collection. The Zulus often refer to the Gospel that churches which take collections preach as being"dead”; but they call it a living Gospel that Erlo and his team preach. But to clarify things, the decision not to collect offerings came from the Zulus, and not from the whites.
This reminds me of an example back home. 20 kilometres away from my birthplace, in a village called Spöck, a revival occurred through a Reformed Pastor. People would come near and far to Spöck. This was told to me by my grandmother. The surrounding ministers and pastors accused Spöck's Pastor Henhöfer:"He's taking all the members away from us.” At that time the Archduke of Baden was also the Bishop of the Reformed Church. Henhöfer and his accusers had to go to the castle for interrogation. As the main charge was read, Henhöfer defended himself by saying,"Feed your chickens, and they will stay with you. They will recognise if their food is sand or wheat.” That was the end of the matter. The revival couldn’t be stifled.
The Zulus also know what sand or wheat is, or to express this in biblical terms, what chaff or wheat is. That is why they go where they receive bread and not stones. These are biblical truths:
Matthew 3:12:"…and…He will…gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Matthew 7:9:"Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will he give him a stone?”
There was tremendous change in the life of Gabajana when he accepted the Gospel. He destroyed all his idols in obedience to the Lord, and professed his faith in Christ. In 1972 when he became king, his influence spread.
His predecessor was a drunkard and remained a heathen. One day this drinker went to a witchdoctor, but he couldn’t be helped. He died in his kraal. The witchdoctor begged those who carried the king:"Please take him to hospital immediately and say that he died on the way, otherwise this will mean jail for me.” The South African government at that time did not allow any witchcraft. So the bearers granted the witchdoctor his request.
All the regiments came to the funeral to bury the king according to the heathen rituals. But Gabajana, who was now the legal successor to the deceased king, refused to have a heathen ceremony. He raised his hands and said to all the people, including the soldiers,"In future we will not bury our descendants according to heathen traditions, but with the Gospel and prayer and singing.”
Some soldiers murmured, but the generals ordered them to be quiet. After this courageous proclamation, no heathen funerals were held again. God granted authority to this king, and the army and the people complied.
The king also got rid of all other evil traditions. At weddings, because of the alcohol consumed, there would usually be fighting, even knifing. Since Gabajana became king, these clashes have come to an end in his tribe.
King Gabajana also ended the 100-year-old war. This is no small matter that the murdering, the plundering and the burning of houses have come to an end. How did this all happen? One evening the king heard that a group of young men intended to attack the Tembu the next morning. He sought them out and pointed out to them how much grief this hundred year feud had caused, and he strictly forbade them to attack.
The Tembu got news about this and sent messengers to the king, thanking him. They said,"Never before have we experienced that a king was sober-minded and willing to stop all this murdering. We respect this, and we will also not attack again.” This brought about peace between the traditional tribal enemies.
This all happened in mid-1972, not long after Gabajana had become king.
These marvellous things were not the result of diplomatic negotiations, or the success of military action, but the grace of the Lord to His faithful witness. It reminds one of Zechariah 4:6:"…not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.”
These tribal feuds reveal the folly of many globetrotters, ethnologists and adversaries of Christian missions. How often don’t we hear it said,"Let the heathen live happily amongst their primitive races, and don’t force western culture and religion on them. Two things are wrong with this: none of the heathen are forced to believe in Jesus; secondly, we recognise how"happy” these primitive races are without the Gospel. It was the Gospel that ended all the murdering. Many would point to the terrible wars in the"Christian” countries and say that they were not able to prevent them. It is easy to contradict such arguments. Name a Christian country! There are none! There are Christians but no Christian countries. Presidents are seldom Christians. There are very few, such as South Korea's first president, Syngman Rhee, and King Gabajana Mabaso.
It should be emphasized again that this book was written looking up to the exalted Lord. All ministries in the church derive from the Lord Jesus Christ.
This chapter heading speaks about planning. God's planning in the Bible, in the church and in mission work is predominant. If a book were written about all the blessed planning of the Lord, it would make marvellous reading. We would come to the same conclusion as John, who says:"…I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.” (John 21:25)
A few examples of God's planning: In Genesis 15:18, God promises Abraham -"…to your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates.” Because of God's planning there are still great things in store for Israel - a country that will extend from the Nile to the Euphrates according to God's promise, and no Arab or Russian will prevent this.
Let us consider some planning from the New Testament. Jesus promised His disciples in Matthew 10:19-20:"But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak: for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”
On many occasions since then, in persecution, witnesses of Jesus have experienced being the mouthpieces of God.
Erlo Stegen has often been mentioned because he has been the chief instrument that God has used in the revival among the Zulus. Therefore we need to describe his spiritual development. I have said to Erlo, if he or any of the co-workers should become proud because of the many blessings of God, this would mean the death of the revival.
1. Youth and Conversion of Erlo Stegen (FOR A MORE DETAILED BIOGRAPHY, ENTER WWW.WEBREVIVAL.NET UNDER BIOGRAPHIES OR WWW.KWASIZABANTU.COM)
Through the Lutheran mission work, churches such as the congregation in Lilienthal, about 55 km from Pietermaritzburg, came into being.
In the vicinity of the church of Lilienthal there was a farm called Paardefontein, the home of Karl Stegen and his family. His forefathers had immigrated from the Lüneburger Heide in Germany. They were strict Lutherans and were attached to the Hermannsburg Mission. Karl Stegen's five sons (including Erlo) and one daughter attended the Hermannsburg School, where they were given a German education.
One day, at the age of four, Erlo had a terrible fall. He became unconscious with a serious concussion and paralysis which lasted for eight days. It was several days before he regained consciousness, and from that time on he suffered ongoing severe headaches. The accident also left him somewhat uncertain whenever he fell or bumped his head. It also clouded his whole school career so that he had to quit after his ninth school year, although he would have loved to go further.
This congregation at Lilienthal had, in 1949 and 1950, a deeply-believing minister, and the whole area was touched by his message. Through this Christian pastor Erlo was converted, as a fifteen-year-old, in 1950. In the following years he worked on his father's farm. One day his mother gave him a book by W. Heukelbach, Vom Gottesleugner zum Evangelisten (From an Atheist to an Evangelist) as a present, and it was a great blessing to him. Erlo at this time began to feel the calling to serve the Lord. He shared this thought with his minister, who took him shortly afterwards to a Christian conference in the Transvaal.
During this conference a great struggle went on in Erlo's heart. He asked himself,"Should I really become a preacher, or rather earn money as a farmer and support the Lord's work financially?” At a quiet spot on the conference grounds, he laid out his plans before the Lord. He asked,"Lord, please put Your seal on this. I would like to convey this plan of mine to my pastor and my parents as my final decision. Please give me a verse from Scripture confirming that this is the right way for me.” He randomly opened the Bible, and before him was Matthew 4:19:"Then He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’”
After reading these words, Erlo became defiant. He told me as he related this incident,"It was only the mercy of God that I didn’t throw the Bible away. I was so annoyed that I thought: I will show You that I’m not going to obey - I’m going my own way without You.” Shortly afterwards, he went to the minister and said,"I am going home.” The minister asked,"Are you absolutely sure that this is God's way for you?” He answered,"Yes.”
So Erlo went home. After he had arrived, his mother asked him,"Are you sure that this is the correct way for you?” He got so irritated that he replied brusquely,"Don’t you want me here any more?” Then he went to his room and slammed the door.
From 1950 to 1952 Erlo went through terrible torment. He had deliberately gone against God's call. If he heard any unusual sound anywhere, he would imagine that the day of final reckoning had arrived.
As he was kneeling one day in his bedroom, Erlo was reading a text about the love of God. The resistance in his heart crumbled at the realisation that God still loved him, in spite of his disobedience and rebellion. He burst into tears, overwhelmed by the love of God. Shortly afterwards, he withdrew into his room and asked the Lord for guidance. He opened the Bible at John 21:15-17 and read,"Feed my sheep!” He stood up, went to his parents and said,"God has called me.” There was no doubt after this. He was enrolled at the Bible House in Pretoria and was trained as a pastor and evangelist. However, his inward development was by no means completed.
2. Disappointments in the Ministry
Erlo's first evangelical activities took place over a period of about twelve years, from 1954 to 1966. In 1955 the Bible School was moved to Claridge near Pietermaritzburg. This lovely place became familiar to me during my two South African visits - KwaZulu-Natal is, of course, known as the garden of the country.
Erlo's first depressing discovery was that the preaching of the Word today and its results do not correspond with what the Scriptures say. Erlo compared the Acts of the Apostles with Christian life today and had to admit that we have sunk far below the standards of the New Testament. As he studied the Bible he would stop at certain promises, asking himself why they are no longer fulfilled today, especially three verses in the Gospel of John:
John 15:7:"If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, you shall ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”
John 7:38:"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
John 14:12:"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”
Erlo sought the key to the life of the first Christians. He read every book on revival he could get. In biographies of great men of God he searched for the secret of their authority and power. He practised intensive prayer and used every opportunity to proclaim the Gospel.
Some believers had donated money for a tent. With this he began his tent crusades, always with the yearning for revival. He extended the crusades to ten, twelve and even fourteen months, thinking he could force a spiritual awakening.
Perhaps it was not quite right to stretch these Gospel missions to fifty-two or even sixty weeks, with services twice daily. Elias Schrenk preached six weeks at the most. It is easily possible to preach people"to death”, as it were. In any case it worried Erlo very much that less people would come to the meetings as time went by.
On a mission tour through South West Africa (now Namibia) he learned a very important lesson from a farmer there. He showed him a bore-hole from which the farm had its water supply. He said,"This water is so rich with minerals and chemicals that plants die if they are continually watered with it.” Erlo thought,"That is just as it is with my ministry. The longer I preach, the less people are attracted by the Gospel.”
The thing most lacking, the young preacher realised, was power in ministry and counselling. One day a mother came to Erlo after a service and asked,"Is it true that Jesus is still the same today and still answers prayer.” Erlo confirmed the truth of this. The mother rejoiced and said, "Please heal my daughter.” The Zulus are childlike in their faith, and they accept the Bible just as it is written.
Erlo accompanied the woman to her home. There he saw her daughter tied to a pole with wire. The wire had cut deep into her flesh, because the demented girl was tearing on the wire to get loose. Erlo asked the mother,"Why do you bind the girl with wire?” The mother explained,"My daughter (about 20 years old) runs around naked in the schools, breaks into houses and pulls out vegetables in the neighbouring gardens, and she becomes violent.” But Erlo persisted,"But can’t you use a rope, which won’t cut into her flesh like this?” The mother answered,"She breaks whatever else we tie her with.” Erlo decided to take the girl to his parents’ home in order to pray for her continually. Her mother was very grateful.
At his parents’ home Erlo and three of his co-workers prayed. As she wasn’t tied up, things quickly became chaotic. The demented girl smashed furniture, tables, chairs and windows - even the bed and bedding. Eventually they locked her in an empty room to prevent everything in the house from being destroyed.
Four people prayed almost day and night for three weeks. Eventually, Erlo was virtually a wreck, and at the end of his physical strength. Spiritually, too, he was exhausted. Nobody was able to answer the questions and the cries of his heart,"O Lord, why are we today so utterly powerless?”
That was the situation after twelve years of service."I’m on this side,” he thought to himself,"and on the other side is the early church, which lived in the fullness of Jesus and in the Spirit. ‘O Lord, if there is no access to the events of the early church, if there is no bridge from the twentieth to the first century, would it not be better to just give up?’” Erlo began to doubt as he had done fourteen years before. Were the Bible critics and the modernists right after all to claim that all these miracles were nothing but mythological humbug, with no basis in reality?
Nevertheless, this spiritual bankruptcy was in Gods’ plan. As long as we persist in doing things our way, even if we work with the best intentions, fulfilling our duty to the utmost, the power of the glorified Lord cannot be revealed in our ministry. The moment we come to a dead end, to the end of ourselves, where self-reliance is shattered, then and only then can the Lord begin. Erlo was to experience this. The Lord did not abandon him in his doubt and distress.
There are men in the Bible who fought hard for the blessing of God. We would like to mention two of them.
In 1 Chronicles 4:10 we read,"And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your Hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ So God granted him what he requested.”
This striving for the blessing of God is even clearer in Genesis 32:26, where Jacob wrestled in Peniel. Jacob cried out:"…I will not let You go unless You bless me”, and his prayer has been an encouragement to believers throughout the ages.
1. The Struggle for God's Blessing
Erlo was driven into this battle for God's blessing. As he travelled around with his tent seeking for the believers he had previously counselled, he would usually find them in a deplorable spiritual state. Often they had quarrelled and were at enmity with one another. Sometimes it would take a fortnight to straighten things out again. Those who did not belong to a church he would organize into Bible groups. Often during later visits the same corrections had to be applied. Often the troubled preacher would ask the Lord, "Must things continue in this powerless and lifeless way? A continual life of falling and rising? Not one victory after another, but usually one defeat after the next?”
But the time of a divine new beginning had arrived.
In the fall of 1966 Erlo was in Mapumulo. After all the bitter experiences of the past years, he began a Bible study with the Christians, so that they might examine their lives in the light of the Holy Scriptures. They began to read the Acts of the Apostles. The place that they were gathering in was an old cowshed, and they had cleaned out the dung and whitewashed the walls.
In the third chapter they read about the healing of the man lame from birth. Erlo related an incident he had heard about. A well-known padre held a mass in a cathedral, and the people had given generously in their offerings. In the vestry there was a table with a huge pile of banknotes ready to be counted. The padre said to the young priest,"Peter can no longer say, ‘Silver and gold have I none...’”, to which the young priest responded,"Neither can he say, ‘Rise up and walk!’”
Those times of Bible study became hours of self-examination for all that were present, and for Erlo as well. The shed in which they were gathering had a window facing the tennis courts, where the more well-to-do of the town would often play. As their prayers and pleadings could easily be heard outside, Erlo wanted to close the windows. The Lord reprimanded him and said,"Then I’ll remain outside, as it seems to be embarrassing to you for those outside to hear. You worry about what others think.” On another occasion Erlo was walking past when they had already gathered to pray. He wanted to quickly shave and change his clothes before going in. Again he was reproached in his heart, "There is still pride in you. You are ashamed to come before the people unshaven!”
The exalted Lord had begun to purify His children. The hours of prayer became more and more hours of repentance and weeping over their uncleanness. Things became so intense that everything else was forgotten. They often forgot to eat, drink and sleep, and even Christmas was forgotten in these times of prayer. Here were twenty to thirty people who were gripped by a spirit of repentance and prayer.
2. The Heavens Open
A few weeks before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit a woman in the prayer circle stood up and said,"I can no longer stand this condition of powerlessness. Can’t I pray?” They willingly granted her request. Then this woman, who had come to the Lord only three months before, tearfully pleaded that the Lord would reveal Himself again as He had in the Bible. Erlo was gripped by this prayer. Later he said to his brother,"My heart burned in me, like it did in the disciples on the road to Emmaus when Jesus spoke to them. I believe that this prayer was from the Holy Spirit, and if it was, then we will soon experience what the early church experienced.”
Erlo's impression was confirmed. A few weeks after the prayer of that woman, those gathered together in prayer experienced something beyond description. The Spirit of God came over them, and they sensed a strong wind and heard a sound. A tremendous conviction of sin came over them and at the same time an inexpressible assurance of the presence of God. All the trials and anguish they had gone through were swept aside by the power of the Holy Spirit. A new era in Erlo's and his co-workers’ ministry had been ushered in.
When the expression"the outpouring of the Holy Spirit” is used, often there is criticism from conservatives and the orthodox, who maintain that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit occurred only thirty-three years after the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ - never to be repeated. They say that the Holy Spirit is alive in His Word and in His church. I do not disagree with this theology, but I would like to say a few things in this regard.
Why is it that things that occur during great revivals remind us of the happenings in Jerusalem? For instance, in a meeting on the Solomon Islands in August 1971, the Holy Spirit came down upon a gathering of 3,000 people like a gale. People were lying on the ground weeping over their sins. American theologians who were exponents of dispensation theology declared this to be an untrue report. To me it is inconceivable that spiritual experiences which have been a reality in the lives of many thousands of people can simply be discounted by a few men who are caught up in their fruitless theologies.
The great event in Jerusalem does not have to be repeated. The point at issue is that the Holy Spirit comes to dead congregations, to nominal Christians and to the heathen. No orthodox theologian can prescribe to the Holy Spirit how to act. We often forget the lesson that Nicodemus received from the Lord in John 3:8:"The wind blows where it wishes…” (the wind being likened to the Holy Spirit). We could just as well add,"…when and where He wishes”. I have the impression that certain theologians want to hide their spiritual barrenness behind their theology.
Not only the orthodox, but some other spiritual enthusiasts will have questions concerning the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Mapumulo. They will want to know,"Were there any spiritual gifts manifested?” This can be answered in the affirmative. Many examples will be referred to.
The great happenings in Mapumulo in the beginning of 1967 have been repeated on a smaller scale in other places. This can be fully supported by the Bible. In Acts 2, we read of the outpouring in Jerusalem. Then in chapter 4:31 we read,"And when they had prayed, the place where they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word of God with boldness.” This was a repetition of the occurrences in Acts 2, in a smaller measure.
So those who hold that the occurrences in Acts 2 may not be repeated find themselves corrected by the book of Acts itself. Those who haven’t experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in their lives can and may experience it. This is repeated in Acts 8:17. 10:44 and 19:6. Paul writes to the Ephesians, who had received the Holy Spirit as recorded in Acts 19, and, in Ephesians 5:18, urges them again,"… be filled with the Spirit.” All the theological problems concerning receiving the Holy Spirit are not dealt with here. (But I have dealt with them in my book"Charismatic Gifts”.)
3. Results of the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit
The great spiritual experience in Mapumulo immediately began to yield a rich harvest of blessing. Such fruit can be compared with Luke 9:1-2. Authority and power became apparent in a threefold manner: in preaching, healing and deliverance.
The power of the Gospel was so apparent that people from far and near streamed in to hear the Word. At times, when Erlo came out of his house, two hundred people were already waiting, without any invitation - simply out of an inward compulsion to come and hear the Gospel. After the preaching, many would stay behind for counselling, confessing their sins and making their lives right with God. This repentance and confession continues up to the present. As I travelled with Erlo and the team I witnessed personally that hundreds, even thousands, found the Lord. One of the co-workers, previously a storekeeper, counted 3,900 people who remained behind for counselling in a period of nine days. It is not a matter of focusing on numbers. The angels in heaven rejoice over one sinner who repents. The numbers just reveal how mightily the Lord is at work in this revival.
Once I was at a place called Nyanisweni in the Transkei. A white South African travelled from far away to meet me. He had read my books and wanted to see me personally. When hundreds of people stayed behind for counselling at the end of the meeting, he said to me,"Only God can do that - such a thing only occurs in times of revival.”
I experienced the same in one of the meetings. On Saturday, March 27th 1976, Erlo asked me to speak at KwaSizabantu. I spoke on witchcraft, because all heathen Zulus are affected by this from childhood. After the sermon, Erlo addressed the crowd of about a thousand,"All who haven’t confessed their sins of witchcraft can stay behind for counselling.” In Germany perhaps four or five might stay behind, but at this meeting, between four and five hundred remained behind. Now this was definitely not the result of my preaching, but the presence of the Spirit of God and the atmosphere of revival which was experienced by Erlo and his team. Erlo travels with a large team of co-workers because of the many people seeking to be counselled.
In Nqutu Maposwane two sick women lived next door to one another. One of them suffered severe internal pain. She needed to be picked up and brought back after the service by car. As she heard the Gospel, she opened her heart to the Lord Jesus. At a later stage Martin Stegen took this lady to a service in Tugela Ferry. Erlo prayed with her and immediately this woman was free of her pain.
This instantaneous healing encouraged her neighbour to ask for prayer as well. She was completely paralyzed and unable to provide for her six small children. She asked if someone from the team would come and pray for her. Erlo was busy with a service in the Kranskop area, so Martin Stegen offered to take her there. They carried the lame woman on skins to a truck which took her to Kranskop. As they were travelling, she lost her scarf when the wind blew it away. They drove back, picked it up, and just made it for the beginning of the service, which was held in the open. They carried her to a place among the people. She listened to the message and remained for counselling. One of the female co-workers spoke with her, and afterwards the whole team prayed for her healing. After the prayer, she stood up and walked back to the truck. They arrived back at her home late that night, and her relatives came out to carry her back into the house. She climbed down from the truck without any help, and walked back and forth in front of the headlights of the truck. Nobody uttered a word at first, and then eventually somebody said,"Do you see? God really does exist!” There will be more examples in later chapters.
Erlo had no previous counselling experience with demon-possessed people. After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Mapumulo, a witch came for spiritual help. She had a school for training young witches, and she possessed strong mediumistic power. When she requested help, Erlo called five of his co-workers into the room. They sat down in a circle and prayed and sang the song,"My Jesus lives, why should I be afraid?” As they sang, the witch stood up and moved into the centre of the circle. Then she went down on hands and knees, and the expression on her face became like that of a ferocious animal. This is what spiritists would call a transfiguration, a change of appearance. There are examples of this in my book Occult ABC (Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI, USA, www.kregel.com).
When these six believing men and women saw this devilish appearance on her face, fear clutched their hearts, so that one of the co-workers jumped up to leave. However, Erlo called out,"The Lord is victor! Don’t leave!”
The witch came from an area where no English is spoken, so she was unable to speak any English. While they carried on praying for her, she suddenly began to speak in excellent English. Then the sounds of many animals were heard coming from her. At first it was dogs barking, and afterwards pigs grunting. Erlo then commanded the evil powers to leave her, in the name of Jesus. A mocking voice said,"We will not leave; no power can drive us away!”
As they continued praying, Erlo repeated the command to leave in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The spirits then said,"God the Father we know and God the Son we know, but we have not encountered the Holy Spirit until now, and because He has come, and because of the Triune God, we are in the fire. We have to leave the battleground.”
The witch's appearance changed immediately. Her face beamed and she cried out,"How wonderful! I am completely free!”
The evil spirits never came back again, and after this many witches who had heard about Jesus’ victory came to be delivered.
Salvation - healing - deliverance. This was the threefold message and authority of the first disciples of Jesus. Theologians often say that this is no longer applicable in the 20th century. But they can keep their theology. It is better to have the living Lord -"Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
We experience the blessing Lord as a fulfilment of God's Word in Malachi 3:10,"’And try Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’” Blessing in fullness is here indeed in the revival among the Zulus.
d) The Extensive Blessing of the Gospel of Christ
The Apostle Paul speaks (in Romans 15:29) about the fullness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ. As we have noticed, this blessing has a threefold impact. It is a great gift of God in the Zulu revival that this threefold stream of blessing has been manifested in very real experiences. Here is an example of it:
A fourteen-year-old heathen girl by the name of Mjuda had lain ill for three years. Witchdoctors, fortune-tellers, Zionists and doctors were consulted, but to no avail. The witchdoctors said the reason for her sickness was that she hadn’t brought a sacrifice for her deceased mother. If she didn’t perform this duty quickly, the spirits of her ancestors would demand her life as a sacrifice. This illness, they declared, was the beginning of that process.
Mjuda had the same symptoms as her deceased mother and grandmother. Her sister had also been ill for a long time. The witchdoctor said that the spirits wanted her sister to become a witch. It is an amazing thing that sick Zulus often recover quickly when they surrender themselves to the spirits. However, Mjuda's sister strongly resisted that suggestion. Things became worse with Mjuda's sister, and she walked about stooped and twisted like an aged woman. Her skin colour darkened, almost turning black. Then a Christian woman told her about KwaSizabantu. She came to KwaSizabantu and experienced a sound conversion, and was also healed and set free from the attacks of the evil one.
Here again is clear evidence of the threefold nature of divine help: Salvation - Healing - Deliverance.
The healed girl immediately hurried back to Mjuda to tell her about Jesus, that He is the only Saviour. Mjuda was at this time under the care of a Zionist. In order to avoid any misunderstanding, I must point out that the Zionists in South Africa have nothing to do with the Zionist movement in Israel. The South African Zionists are a sect, mixing the biblical with the occult. For example, they practise fortune-telling and call it prophecy, believing it to be a gift of the Holy Spirit. This is a grotesque distortion of the truth!
Mjuda was brought by her sister to KwaSizabantu. As she was being prayed for by the team, it was revealed that she was possessed. When the demons were commanded to leave her, they asked:"Allow us to take Mjuda with us, because she has been our dwelling and our home. We are her rightful owners and have lived in her since childhood.” They then laughed scornfully. The expression "Take her with us” meant that the demons planned to kill her as they were driven out.
With great determination, the team commanded the demons to leave Mjuda. Then the demons pleaded:"Let us sleep in her for another day, for we are now burning - it is extremely hot here. We also fear this place KwaSizabantu and all who live here.” Again the team commanded them to leave. This time the demons asked,"But couldn’t we at least return to her parents’ home? There it is nice and cool - not burning hot like here. There we will be able to rest.”
After this battle with the demons, Erlo asked Mjuda if she was still clinging onto any hidden sins. Then she brought two more things to light. After she was prayed for, the Lord Jesus set her completely free and healed her at the same time.
The conversion and deliverance of Mjuda also had a sequel. Her father, also a heathen, had forbidden his daughters to attend school, with the result that they were illiterate. The heathen believe that schooling simply makes their children proud, so that they no longer honour their parents. The father was also convinced that the heathen belief was better than Christian teaching. Mjuda really suffered under this conviction of her father's. She had already tried to get friends to teach her how to read and write before she became a Christian, but without success. She was just unable to grasp it. When she surrendered her life to Jesus, a miracle occurred; she found that she was able to read, write and count money.
This account shows that Mjuda and her sister had experienced a threefold miracle - the threefold blessing of the Gospel: salvation from the power of sin, the healing of a long illness and deliverance from the power of demons.
THE SAVING LORD
The sign of a genuine revival is that thousands of people repent, recognising and acknowledging their sin, and in faith accepting Jesus as their Lord.
A person's salvation takes priority over his healing. We dare not reverse the biblical order.
Artificial and emotional stimulation of spiritual power is a sign of a fake revival. Outward tumult with a lot of noise often covers inward poverty and need. I have encountered more fake revivals than genuine ones.
In the great biblical theme of salvation, it is not compromising the truth of John 3:16 (“…whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life”) by also including 1 John 1:9:"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It is the same apostle who brings both truths.
I have become acquainted with all the revivals of the present day. In God's undeserved mercy He has allowed me to visit them all, on every continent. As a result I am able to compare them and notice their different characteristics. The revival among the Zulus is especially sober and free from sentimentality. The fundamentals have remained, namely that we must acknowledge that we are lost, and that we must accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, and allow Him to rule in our lives.
I am deeply grateful that through the years this revival among the Zulus has not waned. Many revivals, especially in the western world, have cooled off after a short period of time!
The next chapter will be looking at this central theme - salvation for the lost, in this life and for eternity.
1. Dubulile Zuma
Dubulile was a cook in the Scottish hospital at Tugela Ferry. Over the years she stole a lot of groceries. All in all it amounted to fifteen full sacks. At night her mother would come to the fence and pick them up. This simple system proved to be very effective. As time passed this larcenous cook stole two dozen cups and plates, also four to five dozen knives, forks and spoons. She even managed to steal six steel-tube chairs.
In 1974 her mother passed away. The daughter was twenty years old at the time. The evangelist Barney, whose testimony we shall hear later, conducted the funeral. Among other things, he mentioned that one should put one's life in order before one died, even stolen things. This wouldn’t be possible afterwards, in hell. He knew nothing about the daughter's thefts. He was obviously preaching under the guidance of the Spirit.
After the funeral service, Dubulile could find no rest. For six months she endured the torments of an aroused conscience, then finally she went to see Bill Larkan. He is one of the leading Christians in Tugela Ferry, and he was a witness of these happenings.
Dubulile confessed all that she had done. She then asked Bill, who speaks both Zulu and English, to accompany her to the hospital. (The hospital supervisor only spoke English.) Bill had to take his pick-up to load all the stolen things. The cook knew that this could land her in jail if the police got to know what she had done. Nevertheless, she wanted to confess everything.
The matron who had been summoned wept for joy and forgave her everything. However, the supervisor looked at her sternly. Bill couldn’t make out his reaction as he listened to the confession, but he, too, forgave the girl. He took back all the stolen articles - chairs, plates, knives and forks. Then Dubulile sought to pay for the stolen groceries, but the supervisor was happy to write off the whole amount.
Afterwards, the supervisor called the whole staff together, including the servants, and told them what had happened. He said,"This is the first time that a black thief has ever come and confessed everything.” To Bill he said,"Every year we have things worth thousands of rand stolen. We don’t know how to stop all the thievery.”
During this public confession the supervisor showed himself to be a spiritually- minded person. In front of all who were present, he took a stone and placed it on his desk and said,"I have put this stone on my desk to remind me continually of what Jesus said, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.’”
This Bible passage has great meaning for me, too. I wish that many of our fellow ministers had a similar attitude, and would also have such stones on their desks. Less harm would be done.
Back to the cook Dubulile. Her confession and putting things right had three consequences. From that time on, she was given a position of responsibility in the hospital, with the matron putting a lot of trust in her. Other thieves in the hospital, however, troubled her, simply because they were unable to steal as before, the supervision having been tightened.
In addition, Dubulile's confession encouraged other employees to confess their thefts and begin a new life with Jesus.
The hospital was blessed by this cook's conversion. Bill Larkan visited a village 300 km away, where he was asked whether Dubulile was still following the Lord Jesus, so far had the news spread. Bill was able to affirm this. Later, when Erlo's crusade tent came to this village, there was a great haul of souls. Many came to faith in Christ. This, too, was the fruit of Dubulile's conversion.
The cook worked in the hospital for another year and then was called into full-time ministry. She has been in the Lord's service ever since.
2. Barney Casuyise
Barney is a member of Erlo's team, and I had the privilege of being with him daily. He was the man who conducted the funeral of Dubulile Zuma's mother.
Barney told me that his father was a leader in ancestral worship. As a heathen he wore heathen clothing. He even forced his children to wear heathen skins instead of the usual clothing. When Barney came from school he had to change immediately. When he was sent to the neighbouring village he also had to wear these skins. On the way he would undress behind a tree, having taken his trousers with him secretly. On his way back he would change again. During one of these walks to the neighbouring village he met another youngster with whom he began to quarrel. This is quite common among the proud, aggressive and heathen Zulus. His opponent hit him over the head with a bush knife, causing a deep wound. He still has the scars.
One day Erlo's tent came to his village. Barney opened his heart to the Gospel, but was terribly afraid to become a Christian. His father, who worked in Johannesburg, had threatened to stab any of his children who abandoned ancestral worship.
Then the tent arrived a second time. This time Barney decided to follow Jesus, forgetting all fear for his father. When his father came home, he asked for forgiveness for all his wrongdoings and confessed everything. The father was so impressed he forgot about his threat.
This was the first son of the family who turned to Christ, and he became a living example to the others. By and by, all seven brothers and sisters came to the Lord. Eventually he went into the ministry of the Gospel full-time, working with Erlo in their different evangelistic campaigns. His father is also a believer now.
Thembani visited me with her son, and Erlo was the interpreter. Her husband was an alcoholic, and the family suffered extreme poverty because of it, not even having blankets to sleep under. They weren’t able to buy themselves food or clothing. Their first three children died of hunger - there was nothing to eat. Before they died, a doctor had been consulted, and had diagnosed malnutrition.
When the husband came home he would often beat his wife and children, and they would flee into the forest. After the three children had passed away, the tent came to their village. Thembani attended the meetings and was spiritually stirred, eventually going for counselling to Erlo. The Lord's servant said to her:"Don’t look at your husband. Trust fully in the Lord, and God will take care of him and lead him.” The woman got converted.
The second change in the family came about when she asked her husband for forgiveness, having often been ill-tempered with him. Her husband then became restless, following this confession.
He went to Erlo and said,"I am sick.” However, he wasn’t sick at all, but half drunk. In his jacket he still had a half bottle of liquor. Erlo knew nothing about this, but learnt about it later.
The counsellor then said to him,"If you are sick, then let us pray and ask Jesus to touch you.” They then knelt and prayed together.
When the alcoholic went back to his hut, he gave the left-over liquor to his neighbour, who was amazed and asked him,"Why do you give me this liquor?” He answered,"A man prayed with me, and I cannot drink alcohol any more.” The liberated drunkard then went to the tent and gave his life to Jesus.
Thembani had another three children. She prayed,"Lord, give me a sign and grant that at least one of my children gets saved, in order to kindle a fire among the others.” Her prayer was answered. The oldest son came to the Lord, and soon the others followed. The fire kept going further. A grandchild, the son of her oldest boy, is a four-year-old boy who is already working for Jesus.
I also came to know Thembani's husband, the one-time drunkard. After quitting his drinking, he began working diligently. Today he is a wealthy man.
This is a family finding salvation through three generations. This reminds us of 2 Timothy 1:5 where Paul, writing to his co-worker Timothy, refers to Timothy's believing mother Eunice, and his believing grandmother Lois.
4. The Testimony of an Illiterate
A young man frequently attended Erlo's services, but he was impenitent. He opposed this way of preaching the Gospel. One day, on the farm where he worked, he had a unique experience, in bright sunlight. Suddenly it became dark around him, and he saw a slate on which all his sins were listed. He is illiterate, so he cannot read, yet at this moment he was able to recognise all his wrongdoings. Deep conviction of sin came over him and his whole body trembled. Then it became bright around him again.
That very moment he determined to get his life in order. Immediately he wanted to go and see a Christian nearby, but then he remembered that he was to be a faithful servant and complete the assigned work given to him by the employer. After work, he rushed to see this Christian, who was able to write, and explained to him this experience."Please write all my sins down on paper. I want to send it to Erlo.” This was done. The next step was, as far as possible, to set about putting right all the wrong things he had done. To reconcile with his family and relatives he had to walk 172 km.
The enemies of revival say that Erlo compels people to confess. This is nothing but slander. Often such enemies opposing confession are nominal Christians, not prepared to bring their sins to the light as mentioned in 1 John 1:9.
5. The Conversion of a Minister
In a place called Nxamalala there was a pastor serving in a church, with his wife also helping with counselling. One day the pastor had a stroke and was paralyzed down one side.
A Christian lady recounted this to Barney, and he and Bill set off to visit and to conduct a Bible study at this man's house. There were about ten to twelve people present. Suddenly the pastor broke out in tears and confessed,"I haven’t understood and grasped the Gospel up to now. For the first time it is becoming clear to me.”
He brought many sins to light, after which he said,"I cannot preach until my life is sorted out completely.” After this confession, the pastor received forgiveness and salvation. His paralysis disappeared as well. Since then, he is a transformed man, his life witnessing that the Lord is with him.
6. Schools Experience the Gospel
During one of my travels with Erlo, we stayed with his brother Heino near Mtunzini. From there visits were made to different schools.
One afternoon the team was scheduled to be at Impande High School. As the Gospel was presented, the students and some teachers were overcome by the Spirit of God and began to confess their sins. There was such sorrow for sin and weeping that Erlo had to comfort them. All the students confessed their sins. The team, consisting of forty co-workers, had been brought by Friedel Stegen (Erlo's brother) in a bus. They helped with all the counselling, which took about three and a half hours. One person could never have coped alone. Among the counsellors were Erlo, Friedel, Joe, Horst, and Trevor. The others were Zulu co-workers.
Friedel observed how a girl, after putting her life right, went to her boyfriend from the same school, and said,"Now it is finished.”
The students were between the ages of 14 and 20. Erlo and his team were asked to return soon by the principal of the school.
That same evening, the team was at Kwa Dlangezwa High School. This too was an all-Zulu school.
The principal, with whom I was able to speak, was a respected man among the students, No student had ever seen him agitated. The whole school had exemplary discipline. I asked him how many students were gathered, and he responded,"Six hundred and forty - the entire school is present.”
After the preaching, Erlo, as he usually did, announced,"Those who want to surrender their lives to Jesus may stay behind.”
Only about thirty students left the hall. For forty to counsel so many in one evening is not an easy thing. So Erlo said,"Because so many have stayed behind, I propose that some of you write out your confessions. It isn’t possible to counsel so many in one evening. The ones that really need a counsellor can stay behind.” About seventy remained and were counselled by various co-workers. Because I do not speak Zulu, I waited nearby. Immediately some students came for counselling, and began to put their lives right in English. All the students in this high school speak English.
The experience we had at a third school needs to be reported. The principal of this school wasn’t prepared to have the team come, but because of the persistence of the vice-principal, the team was allowed to speak to the students for fifteen minutes, but without any counselling.
Thoko, a 22 year old co-worker, took the message. In closing she said, "All who want to make their lives right with God may write to the team.” She then gave the students the address of the mission.
What happened? The team received 611 letters, all containing confessions, seeking to straighten out their lives. Because it was impossible to answer all of them, the students received a general letter.
Never had I heard of such happenings in revivals, where after just one meeting, hundreds of young people at such a critical age turned to the Lord.
Only our exalted Lord, only the Holy Spirit, could work in such might and power to humble young people. Any human praise has no room here whatsoever. Anyone who claims even a smattering of credit insults the Lord.
I ask all readers to pray that no human honour creeps in. Such a thing would bring a quick end to revival.
The exalted Lord is the Saviour, and not one successful missionary.
So often, healing through faith has developed into a false doctrine. Extremists reject doctors altogether, although God has given us understanding to use. Others make healing by faith a criterion upon which to decide whether a church is alive or not. Some go so far as to say that illness is a result of specific sin.
Erlo and his co-workers, and I include myself, reject such extremes. Many healings through faith do occur in revivals, especially among the illiterate. These parallels have been noticed in Timor, Indonesia, and among the Zulus.
The Bible often refers to extraordinary healings - there are 125 recorded in the New Testament alone. We shall mention just two from the Scriptures:
The healing of Naaman's leprosy (2 Kings 5)
The healing of the two blind men (Matthew 9:27-31)
It is not possible to mention all the healings performed by the Living Lord among the Zulus. Just as an introduction, I would like to mention two that I was privileged to witness myself.
On 29th March 1976, I accompanied the team to Mahambeni in the Transkei. After the service, the tribal chief, Sibizani, Erlo and I sat in a small tent. Then a young man, 22 years of age, came and reported as follows:"Five weeks ago you were here. During the message, I realised that something was happening to me. I had been an epileptic, and from that moment on I have been healed.” Then he added,"I have come to thank you.” Erlo responded,"You have to thank the Lord. It was He who healed you - follow Jesus from now on.”
The second example in Mahambeni stirred me even more. A man arrived on horseback. He stopped in front of Erlo and me and said,"When you were here five weeks ago, I received my sight during the service. I have come to thank you. I want to follow Jesus.” He then put his life right, being counselled by a co-worker because Erlo was busy.
Many Christians in Europe and America do not believe such accounts. Erlo and his co-workers and I are not liars. There is a judgment on those who do not believe the truth. Because of their unbelief they do not experience the full blessing of the Lord's salvation.
I would like to report on the following different kinds of healings:
1. The Healing of Leprosy
In one of the meetings at Kranskop, the following incident took place. The gathering place was crowded to capacity. Martin Stegen stood at the door to allow the seriously ill to gain entrance. As he was standing there, a leper came, his whole body full of ulcers (as the Bible says, full of sores). Martin considered warning the other people not to touch the man lest they become infected, but it was too late. The throng just pushed the man forward. Martin prayed:"Lord please grant that nobody becomes infected.”
When the man with leprosy left the meeting, he was healed and beaming with joy. The scars were everywhere, but his skin shone like that of a small child.
Jesus said in Matthew 10:8,"…cleanse the lepers…” Why do so many Christians, especially those who hold to dispensation theology, believe that this only applies to the first century? Does the Bible need to be divided into the time of the early Christians and our modern age? The devil is full of guile and he is wily. He well understands how to use apparently biblical theology to undermine the Bible. This robs Christ's’ church of much fundamental truth.
Those Christians and theologians should unconditionally read Revelation 22: 19, where it says,"And if anyone shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things that have been written in this book.”
2. The Healing of Kidney Disease
Martin Stegen is my reporter, not a relative of Erlo's, but a blessed co-worker.
The Gospel spread in the Mfolozi valley as people heard of the miracles that were happening in the revival. A sick man returned from Johannesburg, having been discharged from hospital. The doctors were unable to help him any more. He was so weak that he was unable to walk, and he had blood in his urine. His relatives had heard about the tent campaign and planned to bring the sick man to Erlo.
Transporting him was exceedingly difficult. On the first part of the journey there were no roads, and he had to go to the main road by sled pulled by an ox over rough terrain. This was a distance of 18 kilometres and it took hours. After some time along this bumpy trail, the man lost consciousness. "Shall we return or continue?” his relatives asked themselves. Opinions differed until the majority decided to continue."If he dies,” they said,"then let him die where the Word of God is preached.”
At last they made it to the main road. From there it was another 260 km to KwaSizabantu, the centre of the revival. Amazingly, the desperately ill man survived the perilous journey.
At KwaSizabantu he heard God's Word. The following day he was counselled spiritually. After twenty-four hours he could feel life in his feet. He swung his legs out of bed, stretched them and sensed that he had strength to walk. He got up, dressed himself, and walked. He was healed.
After hearing of this miracle, many people from the Mfolozi valley, including those that were sick, were drawn to hear God's Word and experienced the power of the Lord.
There was a family named Sibiya who brought their 15-year-old son, who was mentally deranged. Martin picked him up from his home village and took him to his home to stay for the night.
Before going to sleep, Martin suddenly thought,"What would happen if this young boy died without hearing the Gospel?” So he got up again and spoke to him about his salvation. The youngster was prepared to make his life right with God, but didn’t confess everything. Nevertheless, the following morning, when he went to the toilet, a cluster of worms came away.
Martin brought the boy to KwaSizabantu, where he confessed everything. His mind became completely clear, and he went home healed.
3. The Healing of Dropsy and of a Cripple
A man who grew up in a Christian home rejected his parents’ faith and went back to witchcraft. He used his black magic on blacks and whites, but said that it was especially difficult to treat whites with it, because with them he needed especially strong medicines. When asked what type of medicines these were, he answered,"Flesh, fat and hair from white people.”
“Where do you get these things from?” one of the team asked,"Surely you can’t murder a white person just to get some flesh.”
He explained it this way,"I bribe a black helper in an operating theatre to provide the necessary body parts. The second procedure is less difficult. From these parts I create a ‘medicine’ which is put into the white person's food - this really works.”
The quality of the ‘medicine’, however, is shown by the fact that he himself could not cure his own illness. His dropsy became worse and worse, and his body was so badly swollen that it was impossible to find suitable trousers for him. In the end he wore a large coat. This condition caused him to seek Christian counselling. After his confession and his declaration to part unconditionally with witchcraft, things became better. Within a day he lost a great deal of water.
After having dealt with the main problem, his faith began to cool, and immediately the dropsy began to return. He now realised that he was dealing with a holy God, so he once again confessed and made his life right, becoming serious about his discipleship. This brought relief and complete healing.
He now ceased all witchcraft activities. When people came to him seeking help, he would point to Jesus and recommend that they go to KwaSizabantu. This is how he helped a woman who had been ill for 23 years. He testified to her of his healing by Jesus, and she was encouraged to seek help from Him as well.
This then is her story:
This woman comes from Busisiwe, a village 20 kilometres from Tugela Ferry. She suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, and was so crippled that in order to move from one room to another she had to be supported on either side. If there was no one to help, she would crawl around in terrible pain. Her husband was a well-known witchdoctor, earning a great deal of money from his craft. He used to spend about R30 a month on medicine for his wife, but without success.
In the 23rd year of her illness, she had a dream. She saw a huge tent in which a white man was preaching the Word of God. There were one or two whites, but otherwise the tent was packed with Zulus. Among them were many women with sicolos. (Sicolos are beautiful but uncomfortable hairstyles, often worn by married Zulu women. The hair gets woven together with coloured fibres to create a hat-like form; this is worn for life, and they even have to sleep with them. They also carry burdens by placing the burdens in empty cans balanced on the front part of their heads. I have been able to take many photos of women with sicolos).
In her dream, she heard a voice saying,"Find this man - he will show you the way of salvation.” This rather worried her because she had no idea how to go about the matter. Then this former witchdoctor explained the dream to her, and spoke to her about the Gospel. He promised to inform her when the tent came back to Tugela Ferry. It was to be another two years before that happened.
When Erlo returned to Tugela Ferry this former witchdoctor asked one of the co-workers to get this lady. At first this brother hesitated to drive such a distance for one person, but in the end agreed.
So the woman was brought in the co-worker's car and carried into the tent. Here this woman recognised that which she had seen two years before in her dream. Without anybody in particular praying for her, the power of God came over her, and she was able to walk without any help. She was a bit disappointed, though, when it was said that there was to be no special prayer for the sick at the end of that service. But Bill carefully explained to her,"Don’t worry; your time will still come. Ask God to reveal the sins in your life, and then put them right.” Bill visited her several times, and she confessed her sins, her health improving after each occasion. Three weeks later there was a meeting in Kranskop to which she was brought. As they were travelling there, the Lord touched her and she was fully healed without anyone praying for her.
This completely changed her life. She needed no further medicine, and she opened her home to the evangelists. Six months after her healing she testified in front of a large congregation and brought all her witchcraft articles to be burned.
Her husband was overjoyed at his wife's healing and that the Gospel was preached in his house. However, he wasn’t prepared to make a decision himself yet. The woman was unperturbed at the resistance of her husband and wholeheartedly followed the Lord. It helped that her husband seldom came home, because he worked in Johannesburg.
Martin Stegen told me of another man with dropsy. When the revival reached the area around the Usinga Mountain, there were three sick men in the vicinity. One was blind, another lame and the third had dropsy, and was already bed-ridden. The first two had help from their families - the blind man had someone to lead him about, and the lame man had someone to care for him. The condition of the man with dropsy was so serious he was not expected to live much longer.
The three men heard that a preacher was holding services in their area and that he refused to accept offerings, but advised the people rather to spend their money on Bibles and songbooks. The three sick men said to each other,"If such a man doesn’t love money, then we have to hear him.”
All three came to the service. It was a real challenge for the man with dropsy, because he could scarcely breathe, let alone walk.
All three asked for prayer. Naturally they were told that spiritual matters were to be dealt with first. The first session of prayer for the man with dropsy had no immediate effect. After some time he came again, went for counselling and was prayed for - this time, within a day, he recovered completely from his illness. A huge amount of water came away.
However, there was yet another, a third experience. After his recovery, he slackened in following the Lord and his abdomen became swollen again. This caused him great fear, and he travelled back to KwaSizabantu for the third time. He remained there for several weeks, while the Holy Spirit revealed many sins and omissions. Under a great sense of guilt, he put things right with God, and made a complete recovery - since then he has faithfully followed Jesus and attends the services regularly. He was also able to work and was employed as a shop assistant.
His wife also received help from the Lord. From time to time she was gripped by a compulsion to be destructive, smashing furniture and other things. After her husband finally decided to follow Jesus, she too was touched by the Holy Spirit, was converted and healed. Both of them come faithfully to KwaSizabantu, and two of their children are full-time missionaries.
We haven’t yet heard the end of the stories regarding the lame and the blind men. The lame one was eventually able to walk and to work again. The blind man was only partially helped. His sight was not restored, but the terrible pain which he had endured disappeared. There isn’t always complete healing, but no one leaves without a measure of the Lord's blessing. When Jesus is sought with all one's heart, something happens, even if not all desires are fulfilled.
4. The Healing of Heart Disease
In Kwahlati Elenge a family came to believe in Christ. The man had a heart disease and desired to be taken to KwaSizabantu. His condition, however, was very serious. At KwaSizabantu he was prayed for after confessing his sins, but then he asked to be taken home, as he preferred to die there.
Some days later Martin Stegen visited him. Again he confessed things that had come to his mind. Martin thought that he would soon pass away, and therefore planned to visit him two days later. However, because of pressure at work, he only managed to see him two weeks later. He was astounded to see the man, who had had such swollen knees, completely normal and walking around. This old man lived for some time after that, and died at the age of seventy-six - and his death was not caused by his previous heart condition.
Two of his children are also in full-time ministry.
5. The Healing of Deaf-Mutes
At KwaSizabantu many different forms of healing take place. Some get healed after confessing their sins and being prayed for with the laying on of hands. Others are healed during the service, often without the preacher even knowing of it. Usually these people would ask to be counselled after the service, and they would then put their lives right with God.
A third form of healing occurs on the way to KwaSizabantu.
Yet another form of healing takes place later. Often the sick, having been converted at KwaSizabantu, would travel home and receive their healing on arrival. However, we shouldn’t forget that it also happened that the sick were not healed. Healing does not depend upon the will of the counsellor or the desire of the patient, but on the will of God alone.
Here are some examples of how some deaf-mutes were healed:
a) A deaf mute girl was taken by car to KwaSizabantu. As she got out of the car, her mouth was opened and her ears were healed.
There had been no counselling as yet, but she then went for counselling, confessed her sins and gave her life to Christ.
b) A mother came to KwaSizabantu with her three children, all deaf-mutes. She opened her heart to the Gospel, was counselled and accepted Jesus as her personal Saviour. The co-workers then prayed for her and her children. One of the children spoke immediately, but the other two still had to wait. The mother and her children then came a second time. As they were crossing the river, one of the two deaf-mutes said,"This is wrong, we have to cross over there.” The third child was also healed. So it can be seen that things never go according to a set pattern.
c) A wonderful healing occurred just weeks before these reports were written.
A man, blind, mute and lame, was brought to KwaSizabantu on February 29th 1976. A Christian brother brought him by car. In the middle of a sermon he looked around in astonishment. His eyes and mouth had been opened. Everyone rejoiced with him, and when he went home, he got out of the car without any help. While I was staying at KwaSizabantu he attended a service again. A daily reading for the 29th February read as follows,"…O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?” (2 Chron.20:6) Hasn’t this been fulfilled in this man's life?
These healings were spoken of in ever-widening circles, even though there were no modern means of communication in some of these areas.
Martin Stegen was asked to take people to a service. He went there with his small truck, which can take about fifteen people at a time. But when he arrived, there were a hundred waiting. A man said to him,"Don’t disappoint these people - please help them.” So Martin held a short service for them. Then he had planned to take fifteen of them to the service. However, this was human planning. After the message, a spirit of repentance came upon them, and they all wanted to confess their sins. So Martin had to stay from morning till evening, counselling the people. The name of the place is Maposwane.
The conversion of these hundred people became another cornerstone in the revival. More and more people desired salvation. The healings were not the main thing, but the drawing of people by the Holy Spirit to get things in order with God.
Once there was a tent campaign at Efaye in KwaZulu-Natal. Martin had transported many people from far away. Through his experience at Maposwane he decided to use a larger vehicle. However, the truck he used was so full that the mothers had to hold their children up to prevent them from being crushed.
I want to mention something I observed personally. At Mahambeni, a truck arrived for a service with about 200 people on it. Some of the young people who had no room clung onto the railings. Martin drove this truck and its many people 250 kilometres to the service. Some of them arrived with swollen feet. Erlo preached the message, after which hundreds responded and accepted Jesus, and many were healed, even those with heart problems.
One of the most difficult journeys bears mentioning. After the service, at about 4:30 pm, Martin drove them all back home. The last one to arrive at home was an old man, who arrived at 6:45 the next morning. Nobody complained - they sang songs and were full of joy. Some of them had travelled fourteen hours. This is what happens when God's breeze blows through the land.
We have often mentioned Martin and his truck. Martin is a farmer on 680 hectares of hilly land, with mainly plantations and pasture land. He is the owner of the pick-up and the truck mentioned. One of the fruits of the revival is that farmers and businessmen are available for the Lord's work at all times. In the evangelistic campaigns in KwaZulu-Natal and the Transkei, businessmen Horst Witthöft, Trevor Dahl and Friedel Stegen were with us together with farmer Joe Newlands. Some brethren would take their wives along to help with the cooking for the team. Their priorities were not their own businesses, but the matters of the Lord. Men who owned pick-ups or trucks made them available to be used by the Lord. The Zulus were transported in them without having to pay. Nobody asks about the costs, but the Lord knows.
The Lord Jesus asked his disciples once,"Did you lack anything?” They replied,"Nothing!” All that we own is entrusted to us, that we might use it in the Lord's service. Blessed is the one that does so joyfully. He is blessed here on earth, and will be greatly rewarded in heaven, although we do not labour for the sake of a reward.
6. The Healing of Barrenness
It is considered a disgrace for Zulu women to be barren. So when a barren woman finds the Lord, she usually prays earnestly for children, and God has often answered before being asked. It has often occurred that when women have been converted, their barrenness has been healed.
I got to know one such woman from Tugela, and heard her testimony.
She had been married for several years, but was unable to have children. In a service conducted by the team, she found the Lord. Since then she has had a child every year, and they now have five.
Her husband was still an unbeliever, and his friends constantly urged him to stop his wife following the"religion of the whites”, but he answered,"What can I say against Christ after experiencing these miracles.”
Among the Mabaso, there was still a faction fight going on in 1971, but these were ended by Gabajana in 1972, as we reported. It took the police two years to get the names of all the participants. In 1973, eighty men were arrested, among them the husband of this woman who was so fruitfully blessed.
When he was in jail with his comrades, he told them about the faith and the experiences of his wife. He added,"There are people who worship a Living God.” Then he wrote a letter to his wife, giving her the names of all his comrades, and asking if she would take their jackets to KwaSizabantu to be prayed over. According to his heathen view of things, he hoped to receive help for himself and the other seventy-nine.
The woman passed on this request to Erlo. His response was,"We do not pray for jackets, only people.” However, the team came together to pray for the eighty imprisoned men and the miracle happened - they were all released.
This made a great impression on these eighty heathen men, especially on the husband of the Christian woman, who was filled with gratitude. He went back to his work in Johannesburg, bought a second hand vehicle and gave it to the preacher at Tugela Ferry. Although he was a heathen, he gave it a biblical name:"Noah's Ark”. His explanation was,"Noah's ark carried the people of God - this vehicle shall carry the soldiers of Christ.”
In May 1975, Barney picked the vehicle up in Johannesburg. Barney is a preacher at Tugela Ferry, one of Erlo's co-workers. He used the vehicle until December 1975, when the owner needed it for himself.
This vehicle was the means of teaching many lessons to its heathen owner. Barney said to him once,"You should give your life into God's hands, just as you have given this car for His ministry, and quit your ancestral worship. Do not thank the ancestors for your release from jail, but God. Nor should you hang a gall bladder in your vehicle for protection against evil spirits, but trust the Lord Jesus.”
Now the vehicle owner had a driver, a heathen, because he didn’t have a driver's licence. Before they started the car the first time, the owner asked the spirits of the ancestors to protect them. The driver turned the ignition, but the engine wouldn’t start. Then the owner remembered what Barney had said, "This vehicle belongs to the Lord and is holy.” So he said to his driver,"This vehicle was always started with prayer, so come on, pray to the God of the Christians!” The heathen driver answered,"I can’t.” The owner then forced him by saying,"We have to get moving. I’ve hired you to drive this vehicle!” The driver then prayed, under protest, but nothing happened. The owner complained, "You aren’t praying properly. We’ll get my wife to do it.” His wife came and prayed and the vehicle started. The owner, again impressed by the prayer of his wife, said to the driver,"You see, this vehicle only starts by prayer to the God of the Christians.” From that day on the heathen driver had to pray to the God of the Christians before they got going!
To the European Christians who have been overcome by rationalism, this would all seem to be either childish or beyond belief. But it is the nature of the Zulus to be simple and childlike in their faith, especially when they have seen and experienced what God can do.
The team is still praying that the owner of this vehicle will become a Christian. He is not far from the Kingdom of God, and his wife is a living example to him.
7. The Healing of Cripples
There are many sick people among the Zulus. They are accustomed from childhood to go to witchdoctors, where they receive no real medical help, but in fact get more and more bound by witchcraft.
Because we have a merciful God, this situation is taken into account. As it was in Timor, Indonesia, many were healed at the same time as they were converted. On the island of Timor, approximately 30,000 were healed in a period of two and a half years from the beginning of the revival. This number was given to me by two servants of God, Daniel of Timor and Petrus Oktavianus from Batu.
Let us hear some more reports from among the Zulus:
a) A fifty-year-old woman was paralyzed on one side of her body. She was pushed in a wheelbarrow (with a steel wheel) for about thirty kilometres by several men, on a rough trail over mountains and through valleys. When she arrived at Mapumulo her body was sore and aching. After spiritual counselling and prayer, she stood up, but still slightly dragged her leg behind her. All the same, she was overjoyed and thanked the Lord for what had happened. The partial healing wasn’t the end of the story.
The day hadn’t yet come to an end when the blood circulation in her lame arm and leg began to take effect. Eventually she was able to move her fingers and toes, and before leaving Mapumulo to go home she was completely healed. The clear evidence of her healing was that she was able to walk all the way back home, over the same tortuous trail with its mountains and valleys. When she was two kilometres away from her home, her husband recognised her coming down from the mountain. He called out,"It's my wife - she's healed!”
Her husband was also ill with malfunctioning glands, was so fat that he could barely walk, and his knees were swollen and painful. After seeing the miracle his wife had experienced, he asked her to show him the place where she had been helped.
On a Monday morning they set out, but this was a very difficult journey. It was Wednesday by the time they arrived at the place where they could get a car to take them further.
On arrival, the man asked to be shown the way to Jesus. After being shown the way, the co-workers prayed for him with laying on of hands. They heard his knees cracking, and he said it was as if someone was cutting his knees with a knife. Then he got up, moved his legs in all directions with ease and flexibility, and he felt as if his body had become light.
In the revival among the Zulus it has often been seen that one healing succeeds another, and often a husband follows his wife to conversion or vice versa.
b) A practically helpless woman was brought to KwaSizabantu while youth services were taking place. A white teacher who had heard about the miracles taking place at KwaSizabantu came to visit his son, who was attending the meetings. This teacher happened to be passing by as this woman came from counselling, joyfully telling everybody that she had just been healed, so he was able to witness the power of the Lord first-hand.
c) Two siblings from Efaye were ill. The brother was lame and helpless and his sister needed to be fed like a baby. Both of them were brought to KwaSizabantu. Erlo first spoke to the brother, who confessed his sins. There was a slight improvement when he was prayed for, and his paralysis partially disappeared.
Then Erlo spoke to the sister, who seemed to be totally blind spiritually. When she was asked by a counsellor,"Have you ever given your life to Jesus?” She said,"No. I don’t have any sin.” Shortly afterwards she became very ill, and asked Erlo to pray for her, but there was no breakthrough. The following day she lay on the floor vomiting, feeling as if she were about to die. Then she began to realise her sins, and went to Erlo a third time. This time she confessed all her sins, and also went immediately to her brother and put some matters right. From that moment on, all her health problems disappeared and she was healed.
Her brother then confessed a second time as he brought further things that he had remembered to the light. This time he was completely healed, after prayer.
The thought may arise that it is easy to convert the Zulus and for them to experience healing, but we need to remember that the Zulus are a proud nation, their national pride dating back to the time of their forefather Shaka. Missionaries have found it hard to reach the heart and conscience of the Zulu people.
No, these wonders and miracles among the Zulus reveal that a time of God's grace, such as never before in their history, is being experienced.
A similar, but smaller, happening has occurred just recently, while I have been writing, in another revival among the Bushmen in an area where the Dorothea Mission is active. God willing, I will be travelling there on my next journey to South Africa. I have previously reported on the Dorothea Mission in the book Jesus auf allen Kontinenten (Jesus on all Continents) (Bibel- und Schriftenmission Dr Kurt E. Koch, www.schriftenmission.de).
d) The healing of eighteen-year-old Anna Greta Khumalo was an amazing occurrence. Bill Larkan, a recruiting officer for a mining company in Johannesburg at the time, gave me this account, and Erlo filled in the rest of the details.
Anna Greta was completely paralyzed. She lay in bed, unable even to swat flies. From her childhood she had had to be carried to the toilet as well. Christians that knew about her visited her from time to time, and it was through them that Bill Larkan heard about her, and then visited her. Counselling her seemed almost impossible, because she could only whisper; sometimes she was not even able to speak at all. Later, one of Erlo's co-workers counselled her, asking only questions to which she could answer "Yes” or"No” by blinking her eyes.
Her parents had tried almost everything to help Anna Greta. Over a period of three months she was treated at the Baragwanath Hospital, the doctors assuming that she was insane. Then she was transferred to Dundee, but again there was no improvement. Eventually she was taken to specialists at the Edendale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg. But nothing changed - there seemed to be no improvement. Now and again her parents also tried witchdoctors, not realising that through this they were only worsening her condition.
One of the witchdoctors used an original but totally absurd therapy. He shaved some hair off the head of the paralyzed girl, then cooked a frog and tied the hot frog onto her head. It is not necessary to comment on such terrible healing methods, which bring no relief or help at all.
Bill visited her again and said that Erlo was coming to Tugela Ferry again for a tent campaign. She agreed to be taken there.
She was carried on a mattress to Bill's car, and from there likewise into the tent. After the service Erlo spoke to her while the team was interceding in prayer. As he was speaking to her, he was urged to say,"In the name of Jesus, stand up!” She hesitated, but then Erlo repeated the order and she stood up. Bill told me that he and others literally ran to the room where the miracle happened.
The same night her sister, a teacher in Dwaleni, was notified that she should come, but not told about the healing. She thought that the men had come to report the passing away of her sister Anna Greta. As she came to the room where Anna was, her healed sister appeared in the doorway. The teacher thought it was a spirit, and she lifted up her hands and retreated in shock - and small wonder, for she hadn’t seen her sister walking for three years, and for the last six months she had been totally helpless!
The next day some co-workers went with Anna Greta to see her father, who was working as a prison warden in the village of Pomeroy, about 25 kilometres from Tugela Ferry. On arriving at the prison courtyard they asked a man to call her father. When he opened the door, the co-workers and Anna Greta went to meet him. He stood as if turned to stone or as if he had seen a ghost. Then he understood that this really was his daughter."What has happened?” he asked as they fell weeping into each other's arms."Jesus has healed me,” she answered. "Come into my room,” he said,"and tell me all that has happened.” In all the excitement he forgot to lock the gates of the prison.
This healing had a terrific impact on everybody. First, three court officials came to examine the case and cross-question the girl. There were, of course, certificates from the hospitals as ample evidence of her previous condition. The men were impressed by the healing, even though they were not believers, and they said to the girl,"Do you know who healed you? It is the One who can kill people or raise them from the dead!” They encouraged her, and said to her,"Cling to the God who has done this.”
The spiritual effects were far greater than just the fact that three doubters came under conviction of the truth. Many people came running to see Anna Greta, and there was a great openness to the Gospel. Hundreds lined up for counselling, and about two hundred asked for prayer. Naturally only a small number of all those people were able to be prayed for by the laying on of hands, as in James 5:14. The others were prayed for collectively, and the laying on of hands was used only for the seriously ill and the blind. Some of the many healings will be recorded in the following sub-chapters.
These occurrences bear witness to Psalm 68:20:"Our God is the God of salvation; and to the Lord are the issues of death.”
8. The Healing of the Blind
This account closely follows the previous one. After the healing of Anna Greta, many sick people streamed in from distant places, and from totally heathen areas messengers were sent with the request,"Send us men who have the living Gospel. We have heard what has happened among you.”
Naturally, such times of great excitement are dangerous for disciples of Jesus. We remember the feeding of the 5,000 in Matthew 14:21,"And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, apart from women and children.” The disciples were in danger of becoming too absorbed in their feelings, so Jesus "constrained…” them, compelled them to get into the boat and commanded them to go across the Sea of Galilee before him. He knew what awaited them - a fierce storm would rage, bringing fear and desperation to them. This was to be a beneficial lesson, providing inner correction to their souls.
Erlo knows the danger of great miracles. This is one of the reasons why he often takes the team aside for a time of quietness, where they thank the Lord for all that they have experienced, and prepare themselves in prayer for whatever lies ahead. I was able to see the old house near Kranskop in which the team gathers for prayer.
Here are some instances of what the Lord did for the blind:
a) The Healing of Eleven Blind People
On the second day after Anna Greta was healed, eleven blind people were brought. The power of God was so mightily present, that as soon as they entered the room, they called out,"I can see.” Every one of the blind recovered his or her sight.
That same day Martin Stegen drove from Elandskraal with a group of people, a distance of forty kilometres from Tugela Ferry. The vehicle was already overcrowded, and as they were travelling, they saw a blind mother and her child standing beside the road. They waved down the vehicle and pleaded earnestly with Martin to take them along to the meetings at Tugela. Martin said that he really hated to leave them behind, but there was no space, and nobody was willing to get off either. So the woman had to be left behind, in tears.
On Sunday they heard that the blind woman who was left behind had been healed. When they investigated, to find out what time this had happened, they determined that it was at the same moment as when the eleven other blind people had been healed.
b) Grandmother Ntjali
An old, blind woman from Elenge was brought to KwaSizabantu. She stayed for some time and then went back home without receiving her sight. She came a second time to be at this blessed place, but still wasn’t ready for God to work. During her stay, she neither went for counselling, nor did she surrender her life to Jesus. Again she went back home disappointed. One day some Zulus came and sought help. They were asked,"How do you know that the Lord has revealed Himself here in this place?” They answered,"Grandmother Ntjali has told us about it; she has received her sight.” Soon after, Ntjali came to one of Erlo's co-workers, and after counselling, she surrendered her life to Jesus.
Healings occur not only when Erlo prays for the sick - his co-workers have similar experiences.
At one stage, Erlo wasn’t present at KwaSizabantu. A blind woman wanted to be prayed for by Erlo. However, because of his absence, a co-worker offered to help. She made a thorough confession, and while she was still busy dealing with her life, she suddenly said,"I can see the wall.” As she looked around, she realised that she had received her sight and was fully healed. This was a special blessing from God, as she had been totally blind and her eyes had never been fully developed.
A similar example can be mentioned here. Martin was on a visit to KwaSizabantu. While he was there he took over the counselling of two blind men who were lying side by side in the mission hospital. First he spoke to one of them in a separate room. When that one came back, his neighbour asked him,"Can you see?” The first man answered,"I can see spiritually, and that is the most important thing - that our lives are put right with God.” The second man rejoiced at this, but didn’t realise that he was to experience something even greater. As this second blind man was spoken to and prayed with, his eyes were opened, and his lameness disappeared. This man had found Jesus, received his sight, and been healed of his lameness. He told all the visitors at KwaSizabantu,"I have been blind since 1941 and lame since 1942. Now the Lord has touched me in this threefold way.” Everybody rejoiced with him, and he became an impressive witness to both heathen and believers alike.
c) The Healing of Blindness during Counselling
A blind man was brought to KwaSizabantu. He wanted Erlo to speak to him, but Erlo at first declined, because he was busy with a matter concerning a co-worker. Eventually Erlo gave in, and the blind man asked him,"Please open my eyes.”
“How can you ask me such a thing?” said Erlo,"I cannot heal anybody. Only Jesus can do that.” The blind man said,"But I have heard of blind people who have received their sight here at KwaSizabantu.” Erlo replied,"No, it doesn’t happen that way. First your spiritual eyes need to be opened. Have you ever seen and understood what Jesus has done for you?” But the blind man couldn’t grasp it. Then Erlo explained the Gospel to him,"God is holy. We are all sinners, which is why God in His love sent His Son to die for us.” Before Erlo could finish speaking, the blind man called out,"Now I understand what you mean!” and he immediately began confessing his sins. While he was doing this, he suddenly leapt up and cried out,"I can see! Thanks be to the Lord - He has opened my eyes.”
The psalmists sing much of the wonders of God. Let him who glories, glory in the Lord.
The word"alone” occurs many times in the Bible, and emphasizes that we should never rob the Lord of His honour.
Psalm 72:18:"Blessed is the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does wonderful things.”
Psalm 136:3-4:"Oh give thanks to the Lord of lords; for His mercy endures forever. To Him who alone does great wonders; for His Mercy endures forever.”
Deuteronomy 32:3:"Because I will proclaim the name of the Lord, ascribe greatness to our God.”
Nehemiah 9:6:"…You are Lord alone…”
One more jewel in closing off this section concerning blind people: A blind woman who was on her way to KwaSizabantu said,"I do not want to receive my sight. The first thing I want to be able to see is the Lord Jesus in His Kingdom.”
9. The Healing of a Tumour
Shortly after the beginning of the revival the co-workers were gathered for prayer. Suddenly they heard a loud bang outside. They ran out and saw that the windscreen of one of the mission trucks had shattered. It was obvious that no external impact had damaged the glass, and there was nobody around, nor was there an obvious explanation of why this had happened. They returned to prayer and asked the Lord what this meant. The Lord answered that they should expect something unusual.
Soon afterwards, a man of forty-four was carried by several women to Mapumulo. He was ill and unable to walk because of a huge malignant tumour in his abdomen, and both his legs were paralyzed.
On that day, so many had come that the meeting place was too small, and many had to sit on the lawn outside. They heard the Gospel and the call to make their lives right with God. After the message, one after the other came for counselling. However, the lame man stayed seated because he couldn’t walk. Then one of the co-workers went to him and began to counsel him. The man confessed all his sins and revealed that he wanted to follow Jesus. The co-worker then prayed with him, and had hardly said"Amen” when the tumour burst open. It caused a dreadful stench, which permeated the whole area, causing those who were near to move rapidly away.
Many were flabbergasted as they noticed the healed man standing in the room for prayer unassisted. None of his lameness remained - his healing was complete! The people glorified and praised the name of the Lord, singing,"The Lord is mighty, there is none like Him.”
10. The Healing of Toothache
In a letter to me, Erlo wrote,"Some years ago I was called to visit an elderly lady. I was told that she was sick and wanted to be prayed for. When I arrived I saw that one side of her face was swollen, and I asked her what I could do for her. She responded that she had terrible toothache. I advised her to go to the dentist and get the tooth removed. It was a small matter. She didn’t appreciate my comment, and answered rather sharply, ‘I haven’t called you to send me to the dentist, but so that you pray for me!’ I took this in good humour and found it quite difficult to remain earnest. So I prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, You see this woman. She would like You to heal her tooth, Amen.’ That was certainly a very brief prayer, and yet the Lord answered. The toothache and the swelling vanished completely. Since that time many years have passed and this woman hasn’t had toothache since.”
11. The Healing of the Intestines
A fifty-five-year-old woman by the name of Xobisile had suffered for a long time from stubborn diarrhoea. Her condition deteriorated because no doctor was able to help her. Finally she became bed-ridden, and on top of that she developed phlebitis. Her leg became swollen and began turning blue, causing her terrible pain. Her neighbours would hear her loud groans. It seemed as if she was losing her mind.
On a certain Tuesday she received a visit from someone who told her that there was a white man who prayed for the sick. She was asked if she would like to be taken there.
Erlo used to take a service every second Wednesday in a neighbouring village, so she was taken there, although the journey was a difficult one. First she had to be carried up a steep hill and then to a road from where she could be picked up.
Many sick people had already gathered when she arrived. Before the Gospel was preached, Erlo told the sick people that they needed to cleanse their lives in the presence of the Lord and to mean business with Him. Then a song was sung. A young co-worker led the singing.
During the singing, the woman suddenly felt her swollen leg burst open, and a huge amount of pus streamed out. She said that it flowed out in four different colours, and the swelling disappeared immediately. Her intestinal problem was also healed. In addition, the skin on her healed leg started to peel off, and a new skin began to appear. This occurred in 1967.
Nine years later this healed woman had another experience. Because she is illiterate she cannot read the Bible. This is why the Lord sometimes spoke to her in dreams. On one occasion she was told that before she did anything, she should start with prayer. One day she forgot this lesson. She wanted a lift on a truck, and while she was running after it, as it was pulling away, she sprained the foot that had been healed nine years previously. Her foot became swollen and very painful. Then she prayed and asked herself what the Lord wanted to tell her through this. It was revealed to her that she had started on that journey without prayer. She repented and asked the Lord for forgiveness, and the Lord had mercy on her - the swelling and the pain disappeared immediately.
12. The Healing of Internal Bleeding
Sister Helga had worked for several years in South Africa and was part of the revival. After returning to Germany she felt sudden strong pains in both her legs, and at the same time she started running a high temperature. Holes began to form under both her feet, and she started haemorrhaging in her intestines. She was then taken to hospital. After a week both her legs were paralyzed from the knees downward, and she couldn’t even move her toes. The doctors were unable to make a precise diagnosis or treat the obscure symptoms. They were faced with a medical conundrum. All attempts at therapy and medication seemed to fail, and Sister Helga was transferred from one hospital to another, without significant results.
In this seemingly hopeless situation, Helga informed Erlo Stegen. Erlo prayed intensely for her, and intended to visit her while on a planned trip to Germany. One of the co-workers telephoned the Tübingen Hospital, and was quite amazed that Helga herself came on the phone. She reported joyfully that she was able to walk again, and that the internal bleeding had ceased. She told the co-worker,"On a certain day I felt that the Lord had touched me. A feeling of warmth flooded my whole body. From that day on my healing began, and I improved rapidly. The professor who was treating me as well as the doctors and nurses were greatly impressed by the healing. They said, ‘You have experienced a miracle!’” They had ruled out all possibility of recovery and had expected her to die.
13. The Slipper
The following story will no doubt anger many Christians. Erlo gave me a written account of it. If I myself did not agree with it, I wouldn’t have recorded it here. But for those who constantly criticize, I will mention another example beforehand.
In Acts 19:12 we are told how the apostles used handkerchiefs, which were laid on the blind and the sick, and they were healed.
This passage rightfully remains in the Bible. I have no criticism of it at all, but in the history of the church it has often been misused, which is to be rejected categorically. Instead of many examples from the five different continents, let me mention only one from the USA.
A well-known healer from an extremist group said after a meeting,"We are going to raise a collection now. But I do not want any money, just your handkerchiefs, no matter if they are dirty or clean. After I have prayed over them, you can have them back.” The ushers collected all the handkerchiefs, and they were prayed over. Then this shrewd businessman said,"Now, you can buy the handkerchiefs back for 25 cents. Put them on the sick part of your body and you will be healed, according to Acts 19:12.” There weren’t enough handkerchiefs to go around, because those who were first in line bought several.
This is not only mischief, but also a misuse of the Bible - one might even classify it as white magic.
From this negative story we come to a positive one. In Madras, a Christian leader, Father Daniel, spoke to me about his friendship with Sadhu Sundar Singh. In his younger years, Brother Daniel acquired this friendship with this well-known man of God. Before the Sadhu disappeared in the Himalayan Mountains, he gave a blanket to his young friend Daniel, which the Sadhu had used to sleep on and which had given him protection against rain and cold. It is a story similar to that of Elijah and his successor Elisha. One day Brother Daniel was called to a seriously ill person. He prayed for the man, laying the Sadhu's blanket on him, and the man recovered. Since this story seemed a bit strange to me, notwithstanding Acts 19:12, I asked Brother Daniel,"How often have you done this?” He replied,"Only once - I never repeated it.” I was satisfied with that.
Because Brother Daniel is a sober man of God, I will leave the story as it is without criticism. Brother Daniel, who died several years ago, experienced many miracles in his ministry. I have written his biography in the previously mentioned book, Jesus auf allen Kontinenten (Jesus on all Continents).
There are many Christians who criticize Sadhu Sundar Singh. One can ask what man of God man doesn’t experience this. I need to add that many things occur in the life of this saint which I cannot always understand or follow. But I am not his critic or judge. Every person is accountable to the Lord.
Now to Erlo's account, which I firmly believe to be true, otherwise, as I said previously, I would not publish it.
Erlo was on a journey while a very sick person was in hospital at KwaSizabantu. Although many prayed for him, his condition worsened, and it became clear that he was dying. They carried him into another room, because he could not stay with the other patients. Some co-workers knelt down in the room and cried to the Lord. One of the co-workers saw a slipper under the bed. She remembered Acts 19:12 and prayed,"Lord if your servant was here, he would have prayed using the gift that you have given him.” She took one of the slippers and held it over the sick man, and prayed again,"Lord Jesus, You worked through the handkerchiefs of your servant Paul - please work through what I am doing now.” From that moment on, the patient improved. The co-workers rejoiced with inexpressible joy. They praised the Lord for being still the same today. It has to be emphasized that this matter was not handled lightly, but came from deep distress, and was never repeated again. Extremists misusing Acts 19:12 have no right to use this example to justify their actions. Although two people may do the same thing, it does not follow that it is really the same. Let those who are wise in their own eyes, and who scoff in arrogance at these things, remember the words of Jesus,"Truly I say to you, whoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter into it.” (Mark 10:15)
Many healings have been reported in this book, but we have to keep in mind that the most important issue is the salvation of a person. The renewal of the soul is a thousand times more important than the renewal of the body. And yet the gracious Lord helps His children. Matthew 9:36 says,"But seeing the crowds, He was moved with compassion…” The Lord's ministry was full of compassion.
There are many forms of healing, but they all have one thing in common. Often when those who are healed do not fully surrender their lives to Christ, the malady returns. And not all of the sick are healed. At times the Lord lays burdens on us, and doesn’t take them away, but He helps us to bear them. There are many blessed"burden-bearers”. Such burdens which the Lord does not take away have the purpose of preparing us for eternity.
We should not overlook the fact that in revival times great things occur - things that we spiritually stiff Western Christians only know from hearsay.
Perhaps the reader will grasp what it has meant to me to experience all these events in the different revivals.
Following the Lord Jesus, I have often experienced how the Lord has led me to countries in which I found open doors. On one occasion, I waited four hours in Djakarta (Indonesia) for a connecting flight. Next to me was a passenger waiting for the same flight. We introduced ourselves. When he heard my name, he said that I must have a namesake in Germany who had written the book Christian Counseling and Occultism, and another one, Between Christ and Satan. He was astounded to have the author sitting next to him. He invited me then and there to lecture in his church in Melbourne (Australia) for eight days. On my second Australian tour I was able to comply. I have often experienced this type of guidance.
I have had similar experiences from time to time as I have followed Jesus. I have an absolute abhorrence of writing books. There are so many desperately tedious books written - please excuse the expression - that I rebelled when asked to write down my experiences. A Christian in a high position urged me to get all this down on paper. Often he would say,"Just write as you speak.” Two years later I gave up my resistance, and wrote the book Höhenflug (Soaring High), which was printed in 11 or 12 editions. I was always pushed into writing - it was never on my own initiative.
A third experience fills me with great gratitude. When I started writing, the Lord would send me the material that I needed. People who were unknown to me would send me reports from many continents, for which I hadn’t even asked, and the material would often fit in exactly with the topic on which I was working. Such an experience was the reason for my adding to this chapter on healings.
14 Appendix: Healings in Indonesia
While I was reporting in the previous chapter on the healing of lame and blind people, a letter from Rote (Indonesia) reached me, with reports that fit in perfectly with this topic. This is how the Lord works with me - not that I deserve it, but the manner in which He supplies me with material confirms that He wants me to write.
Now to the letter itself: the writer is Pastor Mus Zacharias from Baa Rote, NTT. Rote is an island about sixty kilometres away from the island of Timor. These two islands have been experiencing a great revival since 1965. I have written on the history of Pastor Zacharias and the revival in Rote in my book, Uns, Herr, wirst Du Frieden Schaffen (To us, Lord, You will give peace) ( Bibel- und Schriftenmission Dr Kurt E. Koch, www.schriftenmission.de).
The letter is dated 12th April 1976, and it reached me on 28th April 1976. In the first two parts of the letter Pastor Zacharias reports on how the revival is continuing. He is very exact about this, dividing the letter into different sections, A, B and C, with numerical subsections, in turn divided alphabetically. This is from part C, 1-9, and I have neither added nor taken anything away from what is written.
(1) A woman from the village Oehandi was eight months pregnant. From the sixth month on, she had felt no movement from her child. It seemed as if her developing child had been dead for three months. The team visited her and prayed for her, and the dead baby was born. Nothing happened to the mother, and she is quite well.
(2) A church member in the village of Oehandi was demon-possessed. He would often fall writhing to the ground and become unconscious. The team prayed for him and drove out the demons in the name of Jesus. He was set free.
(3) Chris Mooy, an 18-year-old, had been lame from childhood. He lived in the village of Oeseli, about 16 kilometres from the village of Lidamanu. The team was called to come and help this lame boy. So they set out to walk to Oeseli. After praying for this young man, he was healed instantly.
(4) Oci Modok, a woman from Dengka, also about 16 kilometres from Lidamanu, was mentally deranged. She would tear off her clothes and wallow naked in the miry clay, screaming out loudly without any cause. She was healed after seven days of prayer.
(5) Saa Henuk in Dengka was also mentally deranged. With unkempt hair, she would scream without reason and frighten people by running after them. Sometimes she too would wallow in the dirt on the ground. She was emaciated. The team persisted - they prayed for her for three months, and then she was healed. Now the woman works and goes to church like many others. She has also put on some weight.
(6) Pelipus Merukh in the village of Oedai had been lame for four years. The team prayed for him when they came to his village. One week later they received the news that he was able to walk again. He was healed.
(7) A two-year-old boy from the village of Oehe was lame. When they prayed for him he was healed.
(8) The team left for Della, about 24 kilometres from Lidamanu. They preached the Gospel and showed a drama. Many people recognised their sinfulness, wept over their sins, and repented. A witchdoctor asked the team for spiritual help. All his fetishes and occult materials, such as amulets and red clothing, were burned. The team also visited a pastor, spoke uncompromisingly to him about the Word of God, and helped him to be set free from the powers of darkness.
(9) On the way back to Lidamanu, the team came through the village of Oeseli, about 16 kilometres from Lidamanu. They visited the pastor and his church members and preached the Gospel. The pastor and eight families repented.
This is the third part of Pastor Zacharias’ letter. We should actually be astounded that the same things happen on the island of Rote as those that happen among the Zulus. Rote is about 600 kilometres from the Australian coast, and 10,000 kilometres from the Zulus. The people of Rote know nothing about the revival among the Zulus, and the Zulus do not know where the small island of Rote is. How wonderful it is that often the same miracles occur in totally different places on the globe!
The only explanation is that the Holy Spirit works in similar ways in His church. Erlo once said:"We live in the same time of grace as the early Christians. Why should we not experience the same?”
Why is it that so many nominal Christians, professors of theology, lecturers at theological seminaries, as well as some believing Christians, deny what is happening in revival areas? There are many reasons:
(1) The devil is interested in making out everything which happens in God's Kingdom to be a lie.
(2) Many Christians in the west try to justify their unbelief, because they live in a frightful state of poverty as regards their faith.
(3) Our professors and lecturers are by and large unconsciously contaminated by rationalism, which robs them of their childlike faith, and they are unable to grasp biblical occurrences.
(4) Many create their own theology, which makes it impossible to believe in miracles. The previously mentioned dispensation theology in the U.S.A. claims that wonders and miracles were for the first century alone. Robert Sumner, writing in the magazine, Biblical Evangelist, says,"We know what the Holy Spirit can do, but He doesn’t do it!” I have this specific journal with the article concerned. So Sumner knows what the Holy Spirit does or does not do.
(5) The manner in which the events of the revivals are investigated is disastrous. I have experienced this with a lecturer from Dallas, and with a believing professor in Europe. They visit the revival areas to ascertain the truth of my reports. Firstly, they visit the President of the Church, or the Bishop. These are often unbelieving, nominal Christians, who are in opposition to revivals. We also have mission directors and leaders of Bible schools who are nearer to nominal Christianity than to being born again through the Holy Spirit. These visitors from overseas believe that their views are confirmed by these men, their unbelief is strengthened and they return home and spread untrue accounts of the revival. In this manner Satan has attained his goal. And whom has he used as instruments? Not people of this world, but those,"…having a form of godliness, but denying the power of it; from such turn away.” (2 Tim. 3:5)
It was a great gift from God to me that at the time of this writing about the Zulu revival we received the report from Rote. As mentioned on the first pages of this book, I repeat - this is how God organizes.
THE LORD WHO HELPS
In the blessings of Moses (Deuteronomy 33:26) we read,"…who rides on the heaven for your help…” And King David testifies,"Salvation belongs to the Lord. Your blessing is upon Your people.” (Psalm 3:8) One of the great prayers of the people of God we find in Psalm 121:1-2,"I will lift up my eyes to the hills. Where shall my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
KwaSizabantu is mainly concerned with being instrumental in bringing God's help to those in need. The meaning of the name KwaSizabantu is "the place where people are helped”. As a matter of fact, this area, between Mapumulo and Kranskop, about 145 kilometres north of Durban, had this name before the mission moved there in 1971.
KwaSizabantu has become a spiritual centre in the past years with a local influence diameter of some 650 kilometres. Some geographical observations might be useful in defining the rough borders of the revival area. On the southern side there is Port Shepstone, Harding and Riverside; to the west, Pietermaritzburg, and on to the Drakensberg; to the northwest and to the north the mission outreaches extend as far as Ladysmith, Newcastle, Paulpietersburg and Vryheid; and to the northeast as far as Eshowe and Mtunzini. The revival area lies between the 27th and 31st degree of latitude, from the Transkei to the southern border of Swaziland.
Larger cities, such as Durban, haven’t at the time of writing been affected by the revival as yet. This was the same in the Indonesian revival. The national Churches were originally against the revival. These rigid fronts have loosened to the extent that Erlo has often been invited to speak. I myself had the opportunity to speak in the Dutch Reformed Church in Greytown, although it was known that I was in full agreement with the revival at KwaSizabantu. Indeed, at the end of that service an elder spoke to me, saying that he also hoped that the Spirit of the revival would flow in power in his Church.
After this general introduction, I would like to mention six areas in which God's help has been experienced, either passively or actively.
1. God's Help in Hospital
When I was visiting the revival area of the Zulus I stayed at Erlo's place. On the second day I was told of a hospital. Immediately, I thought of doctors, nurses, an operating theatre, medicine and so forth. However, while I was visiting the hospital, I was quickly enlightened.
There is no medical help in that hospital, only counselling and prayer. Those who wish to see a doctor are free to do so. There is a Christian doctor in Kranskop who can be consulted, although this happens very seldom.
The building, the provision and caring for the patients is a long chain of miracles. There will be a separate chapter on provision. First, a few words about the patients:
Many things have been mentioned about the healings, so I will just record what I personally experienced during my visit.
The healing of an abscess. A woman was introduced to me who had had a large abscess on her hip. On account of this, she had been hardly able to move - she had been in this condition for about a year. After she had been prayed for, hard pus balls the size of hens’ eggs poured out of the wound, which then healed very quickly. The woman was soon able to walk, as she showed me.
The drinker. A senior schoolmaster lost everything because of his addiction to alcohol - his job, his possessions and his family. His wife was living in Cape Town with their five children, and wanted to put him into an institution for treatment. Käthe Vick, a German missionary from Gödenstorf (Lüneburger Heide) works among the Indian people, and he came to KwaSizabantu through her. At first the teacher was determined to leave, but somehow he began to feel a great sense of peace at this revival centre. He used to sit next to me at the table. He was cured of his alcohol addiction and now studies the Bible, which he knew nothing about before.
The arsonist. A young man had set fire to a factory. The police were unable to solve the case. The young man was brought to KwaSizabantu, where I also met him daily at the table. He was a heavily addicted smoker. When Erlo discovered this, he said to him,"You cannot do this here. Either you give your life to Jesus and quit smoking, or you cannot remain here.” The young man packed his things and left immediately. He was only a few kilometres down the road when he was attacked by some Zulus. They said to him,"Either you give us everything or we’ll stab you.” So he lost everything he had and stood on the road with nothing. After some days he phoned Erlo, asking if he could come back."I don’t smoke any more,” he said,"I’ve learned my lesson.” He went back, was accepted, and started a new life with Jesus.
2. A New Garment
A converted witch went back to her old life. Erlo visited her more than once. She was dirty, and the odour was terrible. Her neighbours used cruder expressions to describe her; they called her a revolting, stinking hag. She walked around in rags and she never washed.
A Christian lady had mercy on her and got a new dress for her, which she gave to Erlo for her. She smiled ecstatically and was so grateful that she came to the next service wearing her new dress. But what did the other people see? The rags showed both above and beneath her dress. Another church-goer said to her,"You have to take off the rags before wearing the new dress!” to which the witch replied,"This is none of your business, they belong to me.” When she was asked to at least wash herself, she responded,"My skin cannot stand any water.”
Erlo had wanted to help this woman, both spiritually and materially, but she wouldn’t accept it.
In his preaching he would often use this example."God offers us the garment of salvation and a robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10), but many refuse to take off their old rags.”
3. Car Trouble
A heathen man wrote from Johannesburg to his Christian wife, to let her know that he was bringing a witchdoctor to cast a protective spell over his house and family. He wrote that he would need blood from his wife and from all the children, which was to be mixed with witchcraft medicine and painted on the walls. The woman shared these intentions with her pastor. They laid the matter before the Lord and asked for His help. And help did indeed arrive. While the husband was on his way from Johannesburg to Tugela in a taxi, together with the witchdoctor, the vehicle broke down and wouldn’t start again. To this day, the witchdoctor has never turned up. Her husband arrived alone, never mentioning anything about their breakdown. He knew that his wife rejected having anything to do with witchdoctors and their devilish practices, and he recognised that the breakdown was a judgment from God.
4. Marital Problems
Women often come for counselling to Erlo or to his co-workers, sharing their difficulties. Often it happens that married men stay away in cities for five or six years, neither corresponding with their wives, nor supporting them with any money. Usually the wives are advised to first make their lives right with God, and that He would then take care of the rest. There is also the experience of sons and daughters who have left their homes, seeking the world and its pleasures. Here are two examples from Erlo's counselling:
A man had been away from home for six full years. His wife came and brought her complaint, but she was pointed to Jesus. She was told,"It is not the sin of others which hinders God's help, but your own sins that are not forgiven.” She understood the lesson, confessed her sins and found peace with God. Then three miracles occurred one after another. First her husband wrote her a letter, then he sent her money, which he had never done before, and then he came home. This was how the Lord overcame that problem when the woman fully surrendered her life to Him.
The next example is somewhat more complicated. A husband had not come home for years. When his wife needed money, she had to travel to the city to find him, and then he would often treat her badly. So this troubled woman went for counselling. She was told that her husband's sins wouldn’t cause her to perish, but her own."Surrender your life, your distress and your disappointments to the Lord. He will never fail.” She obeyed this advice and surrendered herself to Jesus.
This didn’t solve all her problems. She told her counsellor that her husband was living with another woman, with whom he had three children. Her concern was what attitude to have towards this woman. She was told,"Love her! God's Word says, ‘Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you.’”
Here too, some amazing things occurred. A few days later, her husband came home and asked if she had got converted and was now walking with God."Why do you ask me such a question?” she asked in amazement. He replied,"I fully intended never to come back to you, and I was convinced that nothing could force me to. But there was One who drove me back. It is God! From a certain day on I had no peace because of our separation. The voice of my conscience kept saying, ‘You have to go back to your wife and children.’” On enquiry, it was found that his lack of peace had begun on the day that she had surrendered her life to Christ.
When he went back to the city, God intervened a second time. The mother of his three children, the one who was living with him in the city, died. The man took the three children home, and asked his wife if she was willing to take care of them. With a good heart, she received the children of the deceased woman as if they were her own. The couple, now reunited, live a happy family life.
Bruno Engelbrecht, living in Ladysmith at the time, gave me a remarkable account of God's help.
A family who previously lived in Tugela Ferry now live about 30 kilometres from Ladysmith. The wife, Meti, attended the services. Her great distress was that her husband had disappeared ten years previously, and she didn’t know where he was.
Meti found the Lord Jesus through the preaching of the Gospel. She repented of everything that the Holy Spirit revealed to her as sin and guilt. But there was one thing that troubled her. She hadn’t registered her move from Tugela to Ladysmith with the authorities. She wanted to work in Ladysmith, but used the identity documents of her son, who was already working there. On top of this, she had stated that her husband was dead. In her heart she knew that this had to be sorted out, but she was afraid. Bruno and the other brethren prayed that the Lord would help her, and that her husband would return. She then went to the authorities and confessed everything. After listening to her, the official said:"Woman, may God bless you.” Meti was amazed how things had turned out.
Her amazement was even greater when she heard some days later that her husband had returned to Tugela, not knowing that his family had moved to Ladysmith. The eldest son then went to get his father."Where is the strong medicine man that has given you the ‘muti’ to charm me back?” he immediately asked after his arrival. Meti said to him that God was her ‘medicine man’, testifying of the power of the Gospel to her husband.
He told her how he had laboured in the mines until he had fallen ill. When he was in hospital, he had a dream in which he saw his wife, beautiful and pure. A voice said to him,"What would you say to God concerning your family if you were to die?” From that moment on he had the strong urge to return to his family. As soon as he made the decision to return, his illness improved rapidly.
Now that he was reunited with his family, he accompanied his wife to the services, where his conscience was touched. One day he went to see Bruno, and with genuine remorse he repented of his sins and accepted Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. His wife saw and rejoiced in the total change in his life, and he was set free of drinking and smoking. He gave her all his pipes, telling her to hide them and never to give them back, even if he asked for them."The Lord has shown me that I have to forsake these things.” Later the pipes were burned, and the addiction to smoking and drinking had come to an end.
Shortly after his conversion, Eliphas - that was his name - fell ill. Although his illness became progressively worse, he would never complain. When asked how he was, he would say,"I am fine.” Eventually they had to take him to hospital. When his wife and another Christian friend visited him, he said,"I am well, because my life is in order with God, so I do not fear death.” He told his wife not to wear any mourning clothes when he died."It won’t help anyway,” he said,"I’m going home to be with the Lord.” He explicitly forbade his son to allow heathen ceremonies and sacrifices. He died the next day.
5. Aid after Snakebite
One day Erlo drove me to Kranskop Mountain. It is in the shape of a sphere, with steep sides rising above a wonderful countryside. He informed me about the numerous baboons that hide in the crags of the mountain, causing a lot of damage to farmers. They plunder the fruit trees and take whatever they want, causing havoc. Farmers have to have guards to protect their fields and trees.
I asked Erlo about the feared and venomous snake called the mamba. In South Africa they have green and black mambas.
Joe Newlands from Erlo's team told me about a farmer who lost eight cows that were killed by a black mamba. This snake hid in a tree, from which it would strike the cows from above. I asked Joe when a mamba would attack. He mentioned two possibilities: when it has young ones or when someone or some animal comes between it and its lair.
But Erlo's answer to my question was:"Forget the snakes, they are scared of people, and we are under His protection. At KwaSizabantu we do not even have a serum against snake bites.” One may call this recklessness, but it is not so. Those who experience God's guidance and help so intimately have a relationship of trust with the Lord often different from many believers. On the other hand, the serum is of no use in the case of the black mamba, because when somebody is bitten, the venom acts so quickly it's almost impossible to inject the serum on time. Nobody has ever died from a snake bite at KwaSizabantu. Erlo tells of two incidents where people have been bitten by snakes.
An unbelieving woman came to the service at Mtunzini. On her way she was bitten by a snake. When she arrived, her foot was so swollen and painful that she wasn’t able to set it on the ground. It felt like needles were jabbing her. After she had confessed her sins and was prayed for, the pain was gone and she was able to walk. She had found the Lord and received help through this incident. It has to be mentioned that she wasn’t bitten by a mamba, but by another poisonous snake - however, that in no way alters the fact that it was God who helped her.
The other incident was far more dangerous. A believing woman was bitten by a snake. She was to be brought to KwaSizabantu, but it was impossible because the road had become impassable - torrential rainfall had caused a bridge to be washed away. They had applied a tourniquet to her leg to hinder the poison from going further up her body. The bite was on her foot, and the leg had become very swollen and inflamed. The tissue had already started to decay and a hole of about 5 cm had formed, exposing the tendons and the nerves. After she was prayed for, there was immediate improvement. A few days later, the wound had closed and healed completely. Now there is just a small scar.
6. Help against Theft
KwaSizabantu has about ten hectares of land on which they farm potatoes and vegetables for the hospital. One day it was noticed that a large number of potatoes had been dug out. Erlo was called. He got together with his co-workers on the land and prayed,"Lord, this is Your property. The potatoes belong to You. Please stop the thieves, but not in anger. It is enough if the stealing stops.”
That very night their prayer was answered. There were men outside knocking at Erlo's door. He asked,"What is it?” They replied,"We have the thief. You will have your potatoes back.”
What had happened? A young man visited his fiancée one night. He saw the potatoes in her house and asked where she had got them from. She told him that she had dug them from the white man's garden. He excused himself and said that he would be back soon. He hurried to his father, who was an aide to the chief, and said,"Come quickly, I have caught a thief!”
His father took a spear and went with his son, who led him to his fiancée. The father took the thief to the police, and she was taken into custody. The potatoes had to remain there as evidence, awaiting the trial.
The young man broke off the engagement, saying to his prospective bride, "I do not want to have a thief as my wife.” When Erlo received the potatoes back, he gave them to the chief's aide as a present.
Many amazing things happened in relation to this incident. The Lord answered Erlo's and the co-workers’ prayers swiftly. Stealing from whites is not regarded as wrong by the Zulus, and yet this theft was immediately reported by a Zulu. The chief's aide is openly a heathen, yet he acted correctly and in the interests of the whites. The young man cancelled his engagement. Honesty meant more to him than his love for his fiancée. Would a nominal Christian have acted in the same way?
David teaches us a lesson here:
Psalm 62:1:"Truly my soul waits upon God; from Him comes my Salvation.”
Psalm 33:20:"Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.”
Psalm 25:5:"… for Thou art the God of my salvation; …”
7. Help in a Thunderstorm
The team was in a certain region to find out if a tent campaign was feasible. The tribal chief of the area urgently advised against it, as the whole region was hostile to the Gospel. By early morning men and women were already drunk, and stealing was very common, even the theft of cattle. Because of these things, the chief warned strongly against such an undertaking.
None of these negative considerations hindered the team. They were sure that it was the Lord's will for them to be there.
One morning they set out to reach this tribe, three hundred kilometres away. It seemed as if all hell had broken loose against the team. Before the evangelistic campaign could begin, it hailed so heavily that the people weren’t able to come. Discouraged, they took the tent down and went home. It often happens that the Lord converts the evil attacks of the devil into fruitful blessings for His Kingdom, and this is what happened here.
After several weeks the team met some Christians from that area. They related that after the apparently fruitless campaign great things had happened. They said,"Such a hailstorm in our area is something very unusual, especially in winter. The hail fell along a narrow strip, leaving the place untouched where the tent was pitched. Although there were large hailstones everywhere on the ground, there was virtually no damage anywhere.” This unusual hailstorm was a sign from heaven to these superstitious heathen, and many were converted.
A similar miracle occurred later. The tent was already pitched when a strong and persistent rain fell over the whole region, except where the team had begun the campaign. Rain in these regions often means impassable roads and paths. Cars sink up to their axles and people are not able to go through the mud and slush.
Similar things have been reported in the Indonesian revival. We have a God who is also Lord over the weather. One remembers what the disciples called out in Mathew 8:27,"… what kind of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him!”
THE LORD WHO DELIVERS
The New Testament has a message of deliverance. We hear it again and again:
Luke 4:18:"The Spirit of the Lord is on me; because He has anointed Me to … proclaim deliverance to the captives …”
John 8:36:"Therefore if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”
Colossians 2:15:"Having stripped rulers and authorities, He made a show of them publicly, triumphing over them in it.”
Freedom for the captives! That is the biblical message of joy that we hear about in this chapter.
1. Deliverance for Drunkards!
A woman from Efaye had a unique son. He lived a life of abstinence, was frugal, and didn’t drink or smoke. His mother, on the other hand, was a smoker and a drunkard. Her son often said to her,"If only you wouldn’t drink and smoke.”
One day his mother bought him a pair of shoes, but he gave them back and said,"I don’t need them any more.”
“Why not?” she asked him.
“I’m going somewhere to work.”
“Where is that?”
“I’m not allowed to tell you.”
“What is it like there?” she enquired.
“Wonderful - it is always green there.”
“When are you leaving?”
“I’m leaving on Saturday and coming back on Monday for the last time.”
On Friday he went to work and asked his sister to accompany him. At a shop he bought groceries and tobacco for his mother, but he told his sister, "Tell mother that I have only bought tobacco because she wants it, but I abhor smoking.”
His sister went home and did what she was told. The next day a message came that he had disappeared. In the late afternoon they found his body. He had either been attacked or had had an accident. It seems that he had had a premonition that he was going to die.
The mother was absolutely shattered by his death. The conversation she had had with her son before his passing away had burned deeply into her conscience - so much so that she sought a counsellor before whom she could confess her sins. The pastor to whom she went rejected her, saying that they didn’t confess sins in his church. The disappointed mother left and said,"I never want to attend his church again.”
However, her conscience troubled her increasingly, and her physical condition deteriorated as well. She suffered from a shortage of breath and was unable to sleep properly. Because her feet were crooked, she slept on her knees.
Then one day she heard about KwaSizabantu. There it was possible for her to confess her sins and be prayed for. So she went there, confessed her sins and found that her shortage of breath was gone.
A week later her previous difficulties returned, and she wondered what this could mean. Then she remembered a bottle of witchcraft medicine that she had kept. She confessed this immediately and promised to destroy the bottle. All her ailments stopped completely, she gave up smoking and drinking alcohol, and began a new life following Jesus.
An alcoholic from Lusikisiki was brought by his family to KwaSizabantu in a drunken condition. This had been his condition for the past 18 months - a constant state of delirium. It was a miracle that he was still alive. Now at KwaSizabantu, he received no alcohol, and the symptoms of withdrawal were terrible. His mind was so confused, and he was so rebellious, that three men had to guard and subdue him. He was counselled and prayed for by the team, and by God's grace a complete victory was granted and he was delivered. After two years Erlo heard that he had never touched alcohol again. The Lord used him as a witness to alcoholics, and many who were bound found their way to Jesus through him.
Some drunkards say,"We want to see if this God really does save and set free.” They drink alcohol and get very ill, and often they realise,"Yes, it is true. We cannot continue with alcohol. It's better to leave it altogether.”
An old woman did the same thing. After being counselled and shown the way to Christ, she wanted to test if she really was free. After being prayed for, she went to the first bar she could find and drank a lot of beer. The normal beer that the blacks brew is called"Tshwala”. The real drunkards, however, drink a strong beer called"Gavien”. This is really strong. After drinking this, this old woman left the bar and was violently ill. She then realised and admitted that the Gospel creates new men and women. Needless to say, delivered alcoholics are never advised to test their drinking capabilities.
A man who had started drinking in 1945 had remained addicted until 1972. He was jobless and was unable to support his family. His children were looked after by relatives, but his wife had to work to support herself and her husband. This was martyrdom for this woman. If she gave him food, he would spit it back into her face. Because he wouldn’t wash himself, she would try to do this as well, but he would just throw the water over her.
This heathen woman then asked the Christians to pray for her husband. They visited them and invited them to attend the services. The woman agreed but her husband at first refused. Eventually, they managed to bring the drinker to the services. Under the message he became aware of what a sinner he was.
Some Christians at KwaSizabantu invited him to come to the mission. They said to him,"Just try for once this man called Jesus, who saves and delivers those who have been down in the gutter.” He agreed to it and came on December 16th. He said that he wanted to be saved and delivered. He was prayed for, and the Lord did a mighty thing. Twelve days later this slave of alcohol was free.
But he had another problem; he was also addicted to smoking. As he sat outside the mission hospital, he tried to smoke. He lit a cigarette, but he couldn’t stand the taste. He was determined to smoke it to the end, but it was so distasteful that he threw it away. He went back to his room and threw the pack away. A deep change had taken place in him. He went outside, and jumped and skipped for joy. He had been so stiff before, he could hardly walk, but now he romped and skipped with the children.
Other patients thought that he was out of his mind and crazy, but he replied,"No, I’m not crazy. I have found Jesus.” His life had become new. Shortly afterwards his wife was also saved, and they started a new marriage together. He found a good job, and earned himself a living. With a loan from a bank, he built a house with two flats. He was then able to rent them out and pay off his loan.
This man had had the reputation of being the worst drunkard in Eshowe. Today he is respected by his fellow citizens. He has six children, three boys and three girls. His moral conduct and testimony has become a clear beacon leading others to Jesus. By God's grace he still is a delivered man from his addictions to alcohol and smoking.
2. Deliverance of the Possessed
A European family once asked Erlo to help them. They were having problems with their three-year-old son. While playing, he would often injure himself unnaturally, even breaking his bones. The parents had to constantly watch him. There was seldom peace at night - he would cry and scream, saying that he saw a red ball. It often seemed as if he was insane. Even his parents weren’t able to hold him when Erlo tried to lift him onto his knee. Then Erlo prayed in the name of the Triune God, and at that moment seven demons spoke out of the boy's mouth, showing respect and reverence for the name of Jesus. They left the boy and he was delivered and transformed, becoming polite and well-behaved and thankful in all things.
Erlo told me that shortly after the beginning of the revival, for several months, demon-possessed people and witchdoctors would come. The co-workers and Erlo never became weary of seeing to all that came, often labouring without sleep and food. But they received power from above, as mentioned in Isaiah 40:29: "He gives power to the faint; and to him who has no might, He increases strength.”
“…He increases strength.” - This was also given to the Korean believers who prayed through many nights.
“…He increases strength.” - This was the experience among the Timor teams, often without food for 36 hours, walking through the jungle and preaching long in remote areas.
“…He increases strength.” - This was also their experience at KwaSizabantu when the Holy Spirit came down and God's power was evident in the work of the mission.
Here is the account of an experience with a one-year-old Zulu child:
The mother put this small child on the bed so that she could clean the house. Then it was as if somebody said to her,"Look at your child's arm!” When she looked, she saw the arm hanging down limply. She took the arm in her hand - it had no strength and just seemed to swing like a pendulum. This had never happened before.
While the mother considered what this could mean, she heard God's voice saying,"Take your child to the service, and you will experience the power of God.” They stayed behind after the service and asked Erlo to pray with the child. Erlo laid his hand on the child's head and prayed. The child began to scream terribly, and its head swivelled around under Erlo's hand. He prayed until the child eventually calmed down. Then the child was at ease and even began to laugh, and the arm was normal again."…He increases strength” when God starts to work.
One time a sturdy woman came for counselling. She claimed to be haunted by evil spirits. As she was prayed for, a fierce battle raged, and the team was called to support with prayer. After several hours of wrestling in prayer, the demons revealed themselves,"We are many, and we will not leave without shedding blood.” They were commanded to keep silent, while the woman began to vomit a tremendous amount of blood. She was free!
Erlo told me some of the things that happen when demon-possessed people are delivered. He confirmed what I had already written in my previous books.
Some fall to the ground as if dead.
The tongues of some move like that of a serpent.
Others stiffen, but when they are delivered their bodies relax.
Some froth at the mouth like epileptics.
Some who are delivered have said that it felt as if the bark of a tree was loosened from their chest.
Some leave a foul odour of sulphur or decaying flesh behind when they are set free.
These symptoms were reported to me by Erlo, and I have mentioned even more in some of my books. One thing is very obvious and clear - demon-possession in South Africa has the same characteristics as in other countries and on other continents. The opinions of psychiatrists, that demon-possession does not exist, but that it is only hysteria and mental disorder, is not supported by the evidence at all. There are symptoms of demon-possession that are not found among those with a mental disorder. I have dealt with these matters in my book Occult ABC (Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI, USA, www.kregel.com). In addition, my book Demonology Past and Present gives further information.
3. Liberation of Witches and Witchdoctors
The heathen among the Zulus have been involved with witchcraft for many generations. What they call ancestral worship is nothing but spiritism, because they bring sacrifices to their ancestors. They contact their forefathers, ask for advice and pray to them. Expectant mothers dedicate their unborn children to the ancestors, and ask for protection and help. Even when a heathen Zulu becomes a Christian, he has to be delivered from the occult bonds of his forefathers.
The same is true of witchcraft. Usually it is associated with homoeopathy. There is nothing wrong with the use of herbs and roots into which God has placed natural healing power. But the blending of homoeopathy with witchcraft certainly contaminates spiritually every patient that makes use of it.
I spoke to Dr Beyerhaus about 14 years ago - who was lecturing at that time in Mapumulo - on the entanglement of the Zulus in witchcraft. He told me that as many as 99 per cent still practised witchcraft. I cannot say anything about percentages.
With regard to witchcraft, the following is an example of thousands of similar cases in Germany, England, the Balkans, Switzerland and elsewhere.
A crippled girl was brought to a"prophetess”, through whom this girl was healed with witchcraft. The name used here - prophetess - is nothing but a disguise for someone working as a witch. Shortly afterwards she was able to work again. Erlo met this girl and tried to counsel her, but she was spiritually dead and as hard as a rock.
This happens in thousands of instances. In principle they are physically healed but spiritually they are closed. But when a witch or a witchdoctor is delivered by Jesus, or the patient of a witch or a witchdoctor comes to Jesus, this is often a powerful testimony in the surrounding areas, and many are led to the Lord. We see this in the following example.
4. The Former Witch Magakanye
When I was at KwaSizabantu, Magakanye visited me. Heino Stegen was her translator. This woman works for him on the farm as a supervisor, and is a great blessing to the working women. Here is her story:
Magakanye was a fortune-teller and a healer. She used witchcraft and herbs. As she was herself ill and barren, she would offer sacrifices to her forefathers and ancestors. This was what she was told to do by her witches. Subsequently, she had three children. Now, to become a witch oneself, you have to sacrifice and bring blood offerings. Magakanye started to dress with skins because she began to develop magic capabilities, and was esteemed by those around her. This heightened her feeling of self-importance.
Then the Lord's hand struck her. A bolt of lightning destroyed her home and everything that she had. With all her possessions gone, she became a pauper. It was at this time that she met Erlo, who said to her,"Perhaps the lightning will strike you the next time, if you don’t abandon your witchcraft.” Indeed, she had already become afraid that this could happen.
At about that time Erlo was holding a tent campaign at Kingscliff. Hundreds came for counselling, but when Magakanye heard of this, she said scornfully,"What, me confess my sins to a white man? That will never happen!”
But her curiosity brought her to the tent, where she was struck by the message of the Gospel. Going for counselling, she confessed all her sins before Erlo. Then she made matters right as far as was possible, returning stolen goods, etc.
I know all the objections arising from Europeans concerning doctrinal matters, especially the Germans who say that this is violation of the confidential nature of confession. This is not the case. When Zulus come to the Lord, they publicly testify in detail, and it can certainly be repeated in a book. This ongoing spirit of criticism is one of the reasons why God cannot reveal himself to many white people and grant them revival. Erlo has confirmed to me that it is very difficult to win white people for the Lord. When Zulus are saved, they will accept these biblical truths in a simple and childlike manner, and trustfully, without destructively relying on their reasoning. For them, spiritual truth is a matter of the heart, not something to be reasoned through, as whites often do.
While Erlo was counselling her, it became evident that the witch was demon-possessed. As Erlo began to pray, the demons began to speak:"We cannot stand it any longer - we are going back to where we came from.”
After her deliverance, Magakanye returned to her husband, full of joy, confessing Jesus Christ. Surprisingly, her husband was sympathetic towards her, and encouraged her to walk with God, having received such a blessing. Not long after, her husband also made his life right with the Lord.
Since her deliverance, Magakanye has a heart burning to lead others to Jesus. Her former heathen friends, especially witches and witchdoctors with whom she mixed, say that she has been bewitched by the whites. They are, however, amazed about her new life and her courage to testify.
Magakanye is illiterate and not able to read the Scriptures. Yet when she sins, she senses it in her heart and makes it right with God. As with many illiterate Christians, she also has visions and dreams now and then. One day she said to her son, who is able to read,"I had a vision of a man called ‘The Word of God’. Is there such a thing in the Bible?” The son said,"Yes, in Revelation 19:13 it is written ‘… and His name is called The Word of God.’” Her husband and her three children are followers of Jesus. Because the children have gone to school, they are able to read Bible passages to her.
Every day Magakanye experiences new things with God. As a supervisor in Heino Stegen's sugar cane plantation, she has many opportunities to speak to the workers about their salvation. Not a day passes without her speaking to someone about Jesus and praying with them.
Once she had a vision out in the sugar cane plantation. She saw a man who was made to be sin for mankind. In the evening she asked her son about such a Bible passage. He read it to her,"For He has made Him to become sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
At the end of our interview, there was to be a surprise for me. Magakanye explained that she was blessed by my ministry, and she wanted to give me a thanks-offering. At first I rejected it, saying that I greatly respected her goodwill. I do not accept any money on the mission fields, but rather bring offerings to where the work is done. But she insisted that I accept her thanks-offering. She gave me fifteen rand, a handsome amount for a Zulu. Her companion added another ten rand. I was touched by this offering, which remained in South Africa, and thanked them both heartily:"After eight or nine African tours, this is the first time that I have received a missionary gift from black Africans. It means far more to me than its mere monetary value.”
5. The Anglican Priest
A priest had become ill, and his wife had for years suffered from a serious internal complaint. In one of the services at Kranskop she accepted Christ, and after being prayed for, was completely healed.
She then asked Martin Stegen to speak to her husband. Martin, a layman, explained the way of salvation to the priest, and advised him to make his life right with God. This Anglican was honest, confessed his sins and accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour. Soon after this his health improved.
A chain reaction followed among the members of his family. The priest's daughter, who lived in Durban, had been a witch before she got converted. She was now a living Christian example to her heathen husband. Even the children turned to the Lord because of her exemplary life as a mother and through the ministry of the team.
If the judgment of God goes down to the third and fourth generations, how much more will His compassion and mercy reach many more generations?
6. The Witchdoctor in the Mortuary
In 1974, a witchdoctor was taken to the King Edward Hospital in Durban. His medical condition deteriorated and he died. The doctors, according to their medical assessment, also believed that he had died, and he was then taken to the mortuary.
Later, as a nurse came by, she noticed that the deceased moved. She hurried to the doctor and reported the incident.
The witchdoctor, now having regained consciousness, asked to be discharged from hospital in order to settle important things at home. Seriously ill, he went home to his loved ones, where he reported what he had experienced between life and death. He said,"God has spoken to me and revealed all my sins. He showed me that I am eternally lost if I die in my sins. The Lord told me to make my life right, and He also showed me a man who could point out the way of salvation to me." This confession had a great impact on his family. The question now was: how was he to find the man whom the Lord had revealed to him.
When the Lord plans a man's salvation, He will not miss out on anything, however impossible it may seem.
In the witchdoctor's neighbourhood there was a shop. The owner had been a drunkard. He had wasted his money, which he had inherited from his wealthy father, in less than two years, on alcohol and prostitutes. The business he ran was bankrupt, his health was ruined, and his kidneys failed. His legs were so swollen that they actually burst. This was the end of the line, both for his health and his business. After this, he was brought to KwaSizabantu, where he confessed his sins, repented and was healed, by God's grace. He restarted his business and was successful, with the blessing of the Lord.
God used this shopkeeper to help this desperately ill witchdoctor. When he heard of the witchdoctor's vision, and that he was hovering between life and death, he said to him,"I will take you to the man you have seen in your vision - he lives at KwaSizabantu.” The Christian shopkeeper then drove the witchdoctor the 144 kilometres to KwaSizabantu. Seeing Erlo, the witchdoctor cried out,"This is the man that I saw in my vision - he will show me God's salvation.” He confessed all his more serious sins, and accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
That night the witchdoctor slept soundly. The next morning he again came to Erlo and asked,"Can I confess again? More sins have been revealed to me.” He then confessed everything that he had overlooked the previous day. He said, rejoicing,"Now I can return home and die in peace. I have experienced the One that died on the cross for me.” The saved witchdoctor went back to his family. Shortly afterwards, news came that he had passed away peacefully. Before he died, he had requested that his funeral be held by the man who had led him to Jesus Christ. And that is what happened. Many former friends and witchdoctors came to the graveside, and although many were drunk, some of them got converted.
7. The Blood of Jesus Christ
A leading witch, who had many other witches under her influence, brought sacrifices to her ancestral spirits. In return, the spirits would, it seems, give them extraordinary talents. They told this witch,"Go down to the river to get water, there we will equip you accordingly,” which she did. Down at the river she received supernatural abilities. She had the ability of clairvoyance, to see and hear over large distances. When, for instance, people had lost a goat, they would receive exact information as to where to find their animal. Before a question was asked, she already knew the answer.
This witch was so successful that she didn’t need any magic formula - it was as if she had direct contact to the demons. She declared openly that she had contact with three different demons.
One of them was Dlosi, the spirit of her deceased father; another demon was Ndegi, which spoke out of her chest; and the third was the spirit Ndawo. Mostly she received crucial information from the spirit Dlosi, which ruled over the other spirits. There was also the spirit Izizwe, also known as the spirit of the people, who would enable possessed people to speak in different languages.
But God was after this heavily possessed woman. In her old age she had a dream in which she was told,"Go to a place where a tent is pitched. There you will be told what to do.”
She found the tent, and the evangelist Erlo was inside. She went to him and asked, "What must I do?"
Erlo's answer was, "You have to separate yourself from these spirits. You must come to Jesus and accept Him as your Saviour." The moment she heard this advice she began to scream hysterically. A fierce struggle followed.
Finally, the witch said,"I cannot separate myself from these spirits - I will be killed instantly.” Erlo replied,"As long as you don’t separate yourself from these spirits, I cannot pray for you.”
The disappointed woman left the tent, but the Lord didn’t let her go. Wherever she went, she saw blood. She couldn’t understand and asked others,"Do you also see blood?” They said they didn’t. But she was unable to get rid of this vision that she saw day and night - everywhere there was blood!
She became so frightened that she went to Erlo and said,"I’m ready to let the spirits go, and to become a Christian.”
The pastor said to her,"The blood that you see everywhere is the blood of Christ, shed for all our sins.” She then confessed all her terrible sins, and all her witchcraft articles were burned. The Lord Jesus Christ was victor over all the evil powers.
1 John 1:7 says,"The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin.”
8. A Pastor and yet a Witchdoctor
There are many nominal Christians who are spiritually blind, and who expose themselves to evil spirits. This was the case with an Anglican priest, who was at the same time a witchdoctor. Although his father had also been a minister of the Anglican Church, he had absolutely no spiritual insight.
His daughter continued with ancestral traditions, getting rid of her normal clothing and wearing heathen attire. She also became a witch as well as a spiritistic medium. The spirits of the ancestors and Shaka's spirit spoke to her: "Give us access, allow us to enter, and we shall heal you.” She had been ill for many years.
She accepted this offer and brought sacrifices to the spirits. In turn, these spirits also troubled her sexually - this is the phenomenon of the "incubi" and the "succubae", which are discussed in my book Christian Counseling and Occultism (Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI, USA, www.kregel.com). For eight long years she was terribly tormented by these spirits, who failed to keep their word about healing her.
This witch had neither a marital nor an intimate relationship with her husband, which is not unusual among Zulu witches. Such witches often allow their husbands to have concubines, unless the spirits permit them to live in a normal marital relationship. In this case, however, the husband refused to have a concubine.
One day she heard of another witch who had obtained deliverance at KwaSizabantu through Erlo's mission work. This lady then arranged a meeting with Erlo in Johannesburg, and he showed her the way of salvation. She then confessed everything and destroyed all her witchcraft utensils. From that day on she was free, and her married life changed completely as a result of her conversion. Afterwards, they were blessed with five children.
9. A Night-Club Dancer and a Witch
At the night club where this dancer performed, the patrons were sophisticated. Because of her attractive and well-trained body, she performed excellently. Her husband was a highly respected government official.
Soon after her marriage she became physically and mentally ill. For a period of three years she would dream of serpents and rivers, bathing with unknown children and snakes. In her desperate situation she sought help from people who could pray. She visited different congregations, but found no help. For a short period of time she joined a group which practises ancestral worship, but she received no help there either! She then sought out various witchdoctors, but without success. Last of all she got involved with the spiritists.
While among the spiritists, her snake dreams were interpreted. She was told that this was a precious gift from her grandmother, and that she was predestined to be a fortune-teller. Then she was encouraged to develop these abilities and to attend the Umlasi school for witches.
The young woman accepted this advice. When she was admitted to the school for witches, she was initiated by having a spear laid on her head and then she was clothed in a leopard skin. These were symbols of the gifts she had received from the ancestral spirits. During her studies she made little progress. Other classmates quickly finished in one or two years, developing their mediumistic capabilities and then leaving the school as fully-trained fortune-tellers. She needed seven years of study.
During her training she made an interesting discovery - her eight-year-old daughter seemed to have occult capabilities. For a period of three days this child was in a spiritistic trance. When she came to herself, she spoke in foreign tongues which nobody understood. Apart from these extraordinary happenings, she had the ability of a clairvoyant and a fortune-teller. She was able to reveal hidden things, and had knowledge that a child her age could never have.
During this period, as the child developed to be a successful clairvoyant and fortune-teller, her brother lost the ability to speak. The sister's explanation was that a great spirit had taken hold of him. According to Christian insight, both children had been possessed by evil spirits - the girl by an unclean spirit of fortune-telling (see Acts 16:16-18), and the boy by a spirit of deafness and muteness (see Mark 9:25).
The school of witches attended by this young woman had a combination of ancestral worship and spiritism. Some Old Testament customs were even practised in this occult community. Sacrifices were offered and confession of sins required. If the pupil was able to offer a cow, great power from the spirits was poured into him. The more blood was shed, the more occult authority obtained.
In other schools of witches, no sins were confessed, but items of witchcraft were used. Here at the Umlasi school, beer was brewed and incense burnt. While burning incense they would speak to the spirits of the dead.
The senior teacher of the Umlasi school for witches died after seven years. After his death he appeared to the young woman in a dream, telling her,"The reason for your not making progress is because you have not confessed everything. You are hiding a sin.” Convicted, this unsuccessful pupil went to her husband and confessed that he wasn’t the father of her first child. He hadn’t known this. Nevertheless, he forgave her, but demanded that she didn’t inform the child that he had a different father.
With this, the spirits’ demands were fulfilled, and the hidden sin revealed. Nevertheless, as it so often happens, the spirits didn’t keep their promise. The young woman found no peace. Again she called on the spirits, which in turn demanded another cow as an offering to purify her and her family. This happened over and over again, until she didn’t have any more cows. The spirits, however, let her know that she was still to become a witch.
Now and then the miserable woman would go to a church, seeking to attain rest and peace. But she could not sit through any services, because she would fall unconscious as soon as she heard Christian songs or prayers.
I have often encountered such situations, where people under spiritistic influences fall unconscious or into a trance as soon as they encounter godly, spiritual things.
But God had a plan to help this woman, who had no peace. On one of these occasions, after a service in which she lost consciousness, she met some people who knew and told her about KwaSizabantu. She went there, met Erlo, confessed her sins and then publicly burned her witchcraft items. She then found peace and deliverance through Jesus Christ. Later she went to many people, putting right many things that were wrong.
Further miracles took place. Her daughter was delivered from her slavery to the occult, and her son began to speak again. In this way, Christ brought a great victory to this afflicted family.
10. The Symbol of the Snake
Throughout history, for thousands of years, witchcraft has always been connected to the symbol of the snake. Yet the Rod of Aesculapius has nothing to do with witchcraft or sorcery. A thousand years before Christ, a famous physician in Greece called Aesculapius used methods of treatment rediscovered in the 19th century. He used bee and snake poison to treat rheumatism. For this he kept snakes in stone pits and used their venom. Many pharmaceutical discoveries were made by him, and this was a reason why he was regarded as a god of medical science at that time. His trademark, the snake on a rod, is still used in Europe as a sign for medicine outside of pharmacies and doctors’ consulting rooms.
We find the symbol of the snake in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were seduced by Satan in the form of a serpent. It is also known that the Egyptians performed magic using the snake (Ex. 7:10-12). In the Bible (2 Kings 18:4), we find the Israelites burning incense to the copper snake called Nehustan. Moses had used this snake as a sign of deliverance (Num. 21:8), but 600 years later the people of Israel were using it as an idol in witchcraft. Snake rituals are found in every century. One of the most influential was the Ophite sect, which combined heathen philosophy with Christianity. Snake rituals are still known among many heathen tribes, such as in Liberia, where I met a group known as the Cobra cult.
Witches often have dreams and visions of snakes.
After a long time of illness and losing weight, a Zulu lady was eventually unable to get up any more. This, to the Zulus, meant that she had to become a witch. During the second stage of their preparation such women dream of snakes and water, as has already been mentioned. This woman dreamed of deep water from which she emerged with a snake in her hand. After this, she dreamt that a white man came towards her, laid his hand upon her and warned her, "These are the powers of darkness. They cannot help you - you must seek help from Jesus.” The next day she received a visit from someone who was a complete stranger to her. The stranger told her,"There is a place where people receive help. You can also find help there.” The distressed woman had never heard of such a place before, but somehow she got in touch with one of Erlo's co-workers, who arranged for her to be brought to Claridge, where a service was to be held on the following Sunday. She knew and spoke no English. Erlo conducted the service that morning in English.
She then declared,"This is the man I saw in my dream. I also heard his sermon in my dream.” After the service she came to Erlo for counselling. Now Erlo speaks four languages fluently: English, Afrikaans, German and Zulu. It was the first time she had attended a Christian meeting. She confessed her sins and surrendered her life to Jesus Christ, and was healed. Up to this day, she is a living testimony to the Lord.
11. Examples out of a Witchdoctor's Workshop
A certain witchdoctor had fourteen wives. His son, who had been ill, had got converted and had recovered. With Martin Stegen, this son visited his father. They met a partially paralyzed man on the premises, who was seeking help from the witchdoctor. Martin spoke to this man about the Lord's work at KwaSizabantu. The lame man responded joyfully,"That's where I want to go.” At KwaSizabantu he received partial help. Now the previously-mentioned witchdoctor was a mighty man, having power even over some forces of nature. He was able, for instance, to even kindle a fire by witchcraft. However, these things did not profit him. He died a poor man.
One often sees this. Witches, magicians and witchdoctors make a lot of money and become wealthy. But it is easy come, easy go! What the devil brings in for them, he just as easily takes it away again. At the end of his life, a witchdoctor is a cheated and disillusioned person.
A certain witchdoctor was assigned to eliminate a woman by means of magic. Indeed, the woman became very ill. But because she had heard of KwaSizabantu, a place for spiritual help, she went there. She was prayed for and the Lord healed her. After she had returned home, the witchdoctor became ill, and admitted,"I wanted to kill this woman, but the people who have prayed for her are stronger than I am.” Before he died, he said,"Burn all my witchcraft items. I would love to go to KwaSizabantu to receive help as well.’ Sadly, death overtook him before he got so far.
When a magical attack by a witchdoctor is warded off by prayer, it often happens that the attack strikes back at the witchdoctor. I have more examples of this nature.
The dreaded evil of witchcraft among the black people of Africa is practically out of control. They are born with it and it is part of their lives. The ones choosing active witchcraft often turn out to develop strong occult capabilities and powers. They can even murder over long distances with black magic, and find hidden things.
A lot of skulduggery, deceit and meaningless superstition exist. For instance, whenever someone falls ill, the witchdoctor insists that this is caused by some other person. Innocent people come under suspicion and endless disputes and conflicts follow. Blood feuds and vengeance then occur, dragging on from generation to generation, mostly beginning with groundless suspicion. One can understand why Erlo sometimes says to believers, "Suspicion is sin." Because of such false accusations, many witchdoctors have blood on their hands.
Here is an example of suspicion: A man's house had caught fire and burnt down. The aggrieved man then enquired of the witchdoctor,"Who has done this?” The answer was,"Your neighbour.” He was then given witchcraft medicine to expel his neighbour. The person under suspicion was eventually not able to stay any longer, and sought a new place to live.
After five or six years, Erlo held an evangelistic campaign at that location. The daughter of the man whose house had been burnt down confessed that she had set fire to the house in order to take revenge on her father. The witchdoctor had brought an innocent man under suspicion, thereby chasing him away from house and home.
The Christians call suspicion the gospel of the devil.
A witchdoctor from Nqutu was very handicapped by partial paralysis and blindness. These handicaps made him receptive to the Gospel. As Martin Stegen preached the Gospel, his heart was warmed, so that he gradually became ready to destroy all fetishes and charms. He filled two sacks with his witchcraft paraphernalia, and had them brought to the river. He threw one of the sacks into the river, but was suddenly struck by the thought,"These items ought to be burned.” So he enquired at KwaSizabantu if the second sack could be taken there. After receiving permission, he arranged a trip for himself and his sack. At KwaSizabantu, the place where God continues to work, he went for spiritual counselling. After being prayed for, he was healed, so that he was able to walk and see again.
His second sack was burned on April 4th 1976 at KwaSizabantu. I was there personally and took some photos.
12. Demonic Attacks
A believer who lived an exemplary life came to KwaSizabantu. He seemed to be in a state of depression and confusion, as if strange powers had taken hold of him. Just by the way, this brings up the question as to whether believers can be possessed by an evil spirit. However, let us hear the whole story.
In the first week at KwaSizabantu he was often prayed for, though without any significant change. During the second week, the attacks seemed to move to his face, so that the muscles in his face tensed and distorted his expression. His face became so swollen it looked as if it had been beaten by fists. But with this change his mind became clear again.
The next thing was that his mouth seemed to be forced open. This third attack was so painful that he couldn’t hold back the tears. He couldn’t close his mouth at all, even with external help. His jaw was as if it was tightly held in a vice. When it was possible on one occasion to press his mouth shut using extra force, then he couldn’t open it and had atrocious pain. There was the risk of injuring him, causing him to bite his tongue, or his lips or the inside of his cheeks. Once his mouth was closed, it wouldn’t open, so there was no way for him to eat. As soon as he was prayed for, however, this terrible spasm relaxed.
After a few days, this spasm moved downwards towards his throat. His voice box was affected, so that he was unable to speak. He lost his voice. It was even hard to understand or to make out what he was whispering. His neck and veins started to swell.
After a couple of days the attack moved from his neck to his heart. The heart started beating irregularly, as if it would stop altogether. Then he started beating his chest as if to reactivate his heart.
After the heart his lungs were affected, so that he almost choked. All doors and windows had to be opened to get enough air. He seemed to be suffocating.
Then his spine seemed to be bent backwards, as if it would break. He would fall backwards onto his head and it was impossible to bend his spine back again. After several minutes the situation normalized again.
Now the attacks were so severe and dangerous that it wasn’t possible to allow this man to be alone - there were always two people with him.
The believer who had to undergo all this was a great help in this battle. He would examine his life for unconfessed sin as the cause, and there was a great desire that all works of darkness came to the light. He would guard his heart with prayer and supplication, and take care that nothing came between him and the Lord. There was always good co-operation with Erlo. This battle lasted for three weeks, until he was completely free.
It is clear that the Lord's blessing is upon this brother. He is a man known for his walk with the Lord.
This account is exactly as I received it from Erlo, although there may be some differences due to translation. Now because of my considerable experience in such matters, I would like to comment on this case.
If a psychiatrist got hold of such a report, he would probably consider these symptoms to be some involuntarily, psychologically caused manifestations of hysteria. This is completely wrong. Anyone who lacks experience in occult oppressions cannot judge this situation correctly.
This wasn’t a mental disorder, but an oppression, or, as mentioned in the heading, a demonic attack.
These attacks occur in families where parents or grandparents have lived in active ancestral worship, or where they have passed on occult powers to their children. However, these attacks only occur when the recipients of such successive powers denounce them and follow Christ.
We find almost all of these points in the case of this brother who had suffered such frightful attacks. His grandfather was an active witchdoctor who had committed a great deal of evil. The grandson was a believing Christian who had rejected these inherited magical powers. There are many more matters along these lines which could be mentioned.
13. The Death Spell
This chapter partially explains the demonic attacks seen in the previous chapter. The witchdoctor in the following account was the grandfather of the believer about whom we read in the previous chapter.
This witchdoctor had four wives. One day there was a family quarrel - two on each side - about a deceased twenty-two-year-old daughter. Now among the heathen there is no such thing as a natural death. In every case there is somebody to blame. This also relates to what we previously mentioned regarding suspicion.
After her death a witch was asked,"Who is to blame? Who has caused this death?”
The witch answered,"I suspect a mthakathi ‘on the other side’.” A mthakathi is someone who murders through witchcraft.
This was an unfounded suspicion with devilish motives. Among the women under suspicion ‘on the other side’ was a Christian. Many witches and witchdoctors are inclined to make a scapegoat of Christians.
The man then called for a very famous witchdoctor from another African tribe to come. This man was so powerful that he had power over natural forces. In Tibet he would have been regarded as a Llama who had reached the third degree. Yogis who have become masters of the third degree also gain certain control over natural forces.
This powerful witchdoctor now had to determine who the person was who had caused the death spell. First of all, he staged a fearful storm with thunderclouds, lightning and hail - a storm that caused great damage, even uprooting trees.
The Christian woman among those under suspicion knelt in her hut with her daughter beside her. She wept and called to God, "If this must be my last hour - if this is Your will that I die, then I’m ready. Just one thing I pray, Lord - please spare my small child. She's all I have.”
At the same moment, a woman on the opposing side, the side which had called the witchdoctor, was putting wood onto the fire. Suddenly a bolt of lightning struck her. It was as if someone had hit her head with a hammer. She screamed, "Stop all this, otherwise we ourselves will perish.”
Here we have a case of something already mentioned in this book, that a magical attack, spiritually deflected, strikes back at those who have initiated it.
After the storm the father went to the mother of the child to see if they were both still alive. He was surprised that the spell hadn’t worked. Nevertheless, he separated himself from both of the women and their children. He said,"I don’t want to have anything more to do with you. I will neither care for you, nor will I put my foot into your huts again. Go away!”
He removed every piece of furniture and sent them away empty-handed, although the daughter's mother pleaded with him,"Please forgive me for all the things I’ve done wrong. Can’t we be reconciled?” He rejected it, and remained as hard as a rock,"No, my decision is made!”
Two years later, this man became seriously ill and had to be brought to hospital. As he was lying awake on his bed, he had a vision. He saw the two women with their children whom he had sent away. Then a voice said to him, "These people are innocent. You have done great wrong in driving them away. Because of this you have no place in heaven.”
As he lay in hospital, his future appeared bleak and fearful to him. He related this incident to one of the relatives who visited him, and asked him to slaughter a beast for a large reconciliation meal. Those expelled were to be brought back. He pleaded earnestly,"Please be reconciled with me and with one another.”
In all these fearful circumstances, the Lord had kept His hands over the mother and small child, and the child is an adult today, in full-time service with Erlo's team. Again, it wasn’t the devil, but God who had the final say.
14. Liberated from a Poltergeist
Poltergeists or ghosts are seen on many continents, but such sightings are often judged differently. Rationalists, with their limited field of vision, ridicule such happenings as being unreal. Others regard it all as a joke. Non-Christian psychiatrists see the source of such occurrences as only being in the mind of mentally disturbed people, having no real existence in the world. All these explanations have little to do with such phenomena. There is no doubt that such spirits actually do exist objectively, and are bound to persons and places, as well as in the deluded ideas of paranoid people.
Here is an example from Erlo's experience. A Zulu woman by the name of Nontshaka arrived in a miserable and confused state at Mapumulo, and told the following story:
Her neighbour had died.
From that time on, she continually reappeared, declaring herself to be the Holy Spirit. Nontshaka was terrified, and brought her children into her room, so that they wouldn’t be alone. Along with this one, other ghosts appeared, and as a result Nontshaka even lost her speech. A glowing coal, which was also seen by the children, floated all around in the rooms of the house. Nontshaka became so haunted she couldn’t sleep in her house any more. So she stayed overnight at friends’ and relatives’, but the ghost followed her there. Even the hosts of the houses where she stayed at night observed the same things.
There was no doubt, this was a ghost that was personal and real. In the end, no one dared to have Nontshaka in their homes because, as they would say, "You bring us bad luck and death. Because of you we cannot sleep any more.”
So she had to return to her own house again. At night the ghost would not allow her any rest. It would enter her room through locked doors, open cupboards and even remove articles that Nontshaka had previously bought from her deceased neighbour. These articles were in some way a bridge of contact between the ghost and the haunted lady. Articles sold by witchdoctors and demon-possessed people cause this type of"communication”, and are a basis of contact or bond between purchaser and vendor, in this case a poltergeist or ghost. [The word poltergeist is taken from German and means ‘a spirit that knocks’].
In her dilemma, Nontshaka was advised to go to see Erlo at Mapumulo. In Mapumulo, a Zulu believer had offered his house to be used for accommodation. Nontshaka stayed overnight in this house with many others. The next morning, all those that had been in the house said,"All night there was a terrible noise in this house. On top of that, there were glowing coals floating around in all the rooms. We couldn’t sleep!”
The next day Erlo asked his team who would be prepared to sleep the next night with this woman. Two Zulu women co-workers volunteered. The next night they put the haunted woman between themselves and prayed earnestly for God's protection. Nothing happened! This burdened woman explained that this was the first night that she could sleep right through the night without being haunted by the poltergeist. The glowing coal didn’t appear either. She went for spiritual counselling, was prayed for and is totally liberated. Never again was she haunted.
This is a fulfilment of God's Word in 1 John 3:8,"…For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”
15. The Cleansing of a Haunted House
One day a believing Christian woman sent for Erlo. The house where she and her family lived was haunted by ghosts. Many families that had lived in this house previously had experienced that, very soon after moving in, a family member would die. The deceased person was then seen in a ghostly appearance by all the residents. Erlo was then told of many baffling and frightening events that had occurred.
The Christian woman reported the following: As the housemaid was cleaning the corridor, behind her, where everything had already been cleaned, a brown piece of paper was lying on the floor. Her mistress initially wanted to reprimand her, but bent down to pick the paper up. Before she got to it, the paper flew up, without any gust of wind, and vanished in the balcony. Another time this lady also saw a monster in the house.
However, the actual reason why Erlo was called was because something strange had occurred the night before. Before the son went to bed, he drank out of a water jug. He placed the jug back on the table which was covered by a white tablecloth. When the family got up the next morning, the remaining water in the jug had turned to blood. The edge of the jug also had bloodstains. On the tablecloth there were three drops of blood, which couldn’t have dripped from the jug. One was to the right, one to the left and one in front of the jug.
All the doors and windows were checked to make sure that nobody had entered that way. Everything was still securely locked. The police were also unable to discover from where this blood had originated.
This written report was given to me by Erlo. There he mentioned, quoting Colossians 2:15,"We prayed to the One who disarmed powers and authorities and made a public show of them, and triumphed over them.’ He won the battle over them by dying on the cross.” The Lord revealed His victory here, too. From that very moment, as Jesus Christ took over protection of that home, no ghostly appearances were ever seen again.
Paul writes to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 15:57,"But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
16. The Deliverance of a Minister's Daughter
The following written account was given to me by Bill Larkan, in whose house I stayed. The incident he recounts occurred while I was travelling with Erlo in KwaZulu-Natal.
Pastor H. from the town of L. in KwaZulu-Natal had a daughter who was in her tenth year at school, and she was demon-possessed. When she had an attack, no one could hold her, and she was so violent that she would bite her lips and her tongue to shreds. Her father had already called many men of faith to pray for her, but without any improvement.
At this time there was a tent campaign at Hammersdale. The pastor, who was in that mission, took his daughter along to the meetings and once again prayer was offered for this possessed girl. However, her condition did not improve. Nevertheless, the evangelist conducting the tent campaign did not give up. He said, "Leave your daughter with us! She can go to school from here and we'll pray for her daily." Her father agreed and so the girl stayed at Hammersdale.
After some time, the pastor received a phone call from Hammersdale. The evangelist reported,"Your daughter had many demons, of which many have left through prayer. There is, however, one remaining, adamantly refusing to leave. Because the crusade tent is to be moved to another city, we cannot leave your daughter behind alone. Please do come and pick her up.”
The disappointed pastor mentioned to his wife,"I have heard so much about KwaSizabantu - let me take her there.” When the girl's father arrived in Hammersdale to pick her up, things seemed to go well. She said,"I feel so well, let me attend school today.” Her father agreed and waited in the neighbourhood, reading the Bible. Suddenly he heard a car stopping nearby. A teacher had brought the screaming and violent girl; it seemed as if all the demons had repossessed this girl. She was bleeding, her tongue and lips bitten again. A strong fellow student had come with the teacher to restrain the struggling girl.
Pastor H. now decided that he would not take his daughter back to L. but would drive her straight to KwaSizabantu. He asked the young student to accompany him because he would not have been able to safely steer the car and restrain the uncontrollable girl at the same time. At KwaSizabantu they were told that Erlo was down at Tugela Ferry. Impulsively, he decided to leave his daughter at KwaSizabantu and returned to L.
After several weeks, the pastor received news that he could take his daughter back home. He said to his wife, "I want to go myself to see how she is doing!" At KwaSizabantu he met Erlo, who he asked how his daughter was doing. Erlo replied with a smile, "Ask your daughter yourself!"
It was an unforgettable experience for this pastor to see his daughter again. She said, "Oh, father, I have got rid of all my burdens and sins. I have confessed them and put in order as much as possible." Both father and daughter returned home. She returned to school, and never again did she relapse.
Back at home this girl continued her confession, making many things right with her parents. It seemed impossible to the parents that a child was able to sin so grievously.
Pastor H. handed this account to Bill Larkan at a funeral and added, "There's such a wonderful change in my daughter. She has never been so obedient or as good as she is now. What a wonderful and glorious God we have - He has led us in a wonderful way."
Ever since, this minister and his wife are close friends of Erlo's. They pray that the Lord continues to equip him in the ministry in God's Kingdom.
The following chapter is highly controversial. Are people still raised from the dead in this day and age? Let us always remind ourselves - spiritual resurrections are definitely more important than physical ones. In the Gospel of Luke, 15:24, we read"For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found...” The reality of conversion, a person being born again, the spiritual resurrection and the new creation, are so much more important today than the resurrection of the body.
Nevertheless, the question isn’t answered yet - do resurrections still occur today or not? In the Gospel of John, 14:12, it is written,"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” This Word remains firm as a rock, regardless how critics reinterpret the matter.
In church and mission history there are examples of people who have passed away and come back to life, after being prayed for. This only applies to people that haven’t been buried. On the other hand, there are incidents where there is no medical evidence. An ordinary layman cannot distinguish between one who is apparently dead in a so-called cataleptic fit, and one who is dead indeed. Nevertheless, there are a few examples:
We learn this about John Knox, the Scottish reformer (1505-1572): Knox had a friend, a young aristocrat, who actively supported the evangelical cause. This young man died and left an empty place which could not be filled. Knox was very distraught over this loss; for thirty-six hours he knelt beside the corpse lying in state, and begged the Lord to give him back again. After this long prayerful vigil, life came back into the corpse. For most theological university lecturers this is an embarrassing matter, because they simply cannot believe it. Is then anything impossible for the Lord? Can the Creator of all life not restore life back to the dead?
Years ago, I had the opportunity of visiting Father Daniel in Madras, mentioned in the German book Jesus auf allen Kontinenten (Jesus on all Continents). During the course of the spiritual work done by Father Daniel and his son, Joe, a dead girl was revived. When Joshua Daniel reported this during a retreat in Hoechst (Germany), he was regarded as a Pentecostal fanatic. But the question is, do you label someone as a Pentecostal fanatic because he trusts God in all things, and takes Him at His Word? In that case, it is not a title of shame, but of honour. I might mention, by the way, that in my long life of following Jesus, He has taught me not to give credence to religious labels.
There are Pentecostals inspired by the Holy Spirit and others who are inspired by the devil. The same applies to Lutherans, Methodists, Calvinists, Anglicans, Presbyterians and any other Church denominations. At the gates of eternity, no Church membership counts, but the state of our hearts before God. Neither baptism nor financial contributions to the Church or any social certificate procures entrance into the Kingdom of God, but only rebirth through the Holy Spirit. (John 3:3)
Now let us consider another mission field. Some years ago I visited the "Mission Biblique” at the Ivory Coast. The missionary, Sahli, told me of his experiences among the Gueré tribe. Some of these are recorded in my book, Name uber alle Namen, Jesus (Name above all Names, Jesus) (Bibel- und Schriftenmission Dr Kurt E. Koch, www.schriftenmission.de). Among the Gueré tribe, Christians were persecuted and killed. A Christian who had died there was revived after being prayed for by the believers.
Reference may also be made to the island of Timor, where there has been a deep and far-reaching revival since 1965. In my book, The Wine of God, I have also reported on the issue of the raising of the dead, as well as in the book Uns, Herr, wirst du Frieden schaffen (To us, Lord, You will give peace). A two-year-old girl died in a hospital and was returned to her parents for burial. The parents searched and sent for a woman from the revival area, who came at last - but two days late. The little corpse was already beginning to show signs of decomposition in the tropical heat. Nevertheless, the Lord answered the prayer of the messenger and raised the child. This report is from a European missionary, who has never made this public before for fear of criticism.
The following are three examples which indicate a condition between life and death.
The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4,"I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know - God knows. And I know that this man - whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows - was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.”
Here is an example that will again elicit much criticism among nominal Christians and rationalists.
When I was evangelizing in Chicago, I heard of Dr Otto Hunt, a solicitor in this cosmopolitan city. He is a believer and serves as treasurer of the Pacific Garden Mission, which works among the destitute, alcoholics and drug addicts of the city. Here I refer to Lee Bryant's book, Come fill the Cup.
At the age of sixty-three, Dr Hunt ended up in hospital with an incurable disease. He had already lost so much blood that the doctors were not even taking the trouble to help him. Eventually, he was simply covered with a white sheet and sent to the mortuary.
Hunt himself had a remarkable experience. It was as if his spirit or soul had withdrawn from his body and ascended. He then heard the wonderful singing of angels, and it was clear to him that he was in fact departing from this world. He prayed to the Lord Jesus and said,"Lord, I have found no successor. What will happen to my practice?” The Lord answered:"All right, I consent. I will send you back.”
The nurse who at that moment was passing through the room saw the presumably dead person moving under the sheet. He was then re-examined. After regaining full consciousness, he soon recovered.
The positive re-entry of Dr Hunt into life is clear as stated in the following: He married for the first time, to a thirty-five-year-old German lady, and at the age of seventy became a father! The Lord thus granted this man a completely new life. During my time in Chicago, Dr Hunt was still involved in his work for the mission.
After this introduction and spiritual preparation, we may consider the history of Lydia Thofozi, whom I know well - in fact, her photo appears in this book.
Lydia is one of Erlo's co-workers. She found Jesus in 1968. Since that time her spiritual life has been marked by steady spiritual progress. When I met her in 1974, she had turned twenty-four. A year previously, in 1973, she had become seriously ill.
The first doctors who were consulted treated her for a type of hepatitis infection. Her condition, however, noticeably deteriorated. A second reputable physician was then consulted, who diagnosed a form of bilharzia. A third doctor, however, diagnosed a cardiac failure and hospitalized her.
Lydia herself, however, asked to be taken back to the"faith and prayer hospital” at KwaSizabantu. She was taken back to Kranskop, where prayer meetings were being held. Her condition worsened, so that she could only receive food in liquid form. Shortly before she died, she vomited everything she had drunk, even milk. Many prayers were said for her, and her friends took turns at night to watch at her side, using the night for prayer.
During the day, the team members got together in prayer fellowship. But they couldn’t arrest the course of her illness. Lydia's fingernails turned blue and a deathly pallor crept across her face. When they felt her pulse, there was nothing. Her face and hands were cold. Lydia had passed away.
The co-workers gathered in the room of the now deceased, in deep sorrow and prayer,"Lord, she was such a help to us. How are things to continue now?”
What did Lydia experience? She saw the Lord Jesus with arms outstretched towards her; she was in a very wonderful place. Was it paradise? Many believers were present there, all arrayed in white, and in complete harmony and wonderful unity with the Lord. Nothing hidden, no questions, everything was plainly revealed. Jesus was the Light penetrating and illuminating everything.
Jesus then said to Lydia,"I will send you back to earth.” Lydia had no feeling of objection, although she would have preferred to stay with the Lord. She only requested,"Lord, may nothing ever come between You and me.”
In the meantime, Erlo and his co-workers withdrew after hours of prayer and weeping. Just one friend remained.
After their time of prayer, the co-workers returned to the room where Lydia lay. As they were praying, Lydia woke up. None of the team had prayed for her resurrection, nor even thought about it. They had simply bowed to His will.
Lydia now was able to get up, which was not previously possible. She related all that had happened, and then asked to eat and drink something. She was able to keep the food down. Quickly she regained strength, and ever since has been a testimony for the Lord Jesus. Especially her tribal people, the Zulus, recognise her testimony. They say,"Now we know that heaven and paradise are not only something to do with the white man's religion, but it is the truth which applies to us as well, for Lydia is one of us.”
How many unbelieving critics miss out on this glory? They are wise in their own eyes, sitting beside the streams of living water, but unable to drink.
In the Bible we find many who were called: Abraham (Genesis 12), Moses (Exodus 3), Gideon (Judges 6), Samuel (1 Samuel 3), Amos (Amos 7), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1), the disciples of Jesus (Matthew 10), and many others. We cannot mention them all here.
The Lord's calling is still heard today. All the well-known men of God have similarly experienced God's calling. Many missionaries, evangelists and believing ministers, at certain times and places, became aware of this call.
This wasn’t different in my life. During my high school years, I planned to study forestry. I love the Black Forest (Germany) with its fir trees. People that have visited me know that I have many conifers in my garden. I have collected up to 150 different species from all over the world. This collection marked the culmination of my career plans.
My youthful ambitions, combined with a deep love for nature, plants and animal life, came to an abrupt end.
On the eve of my seventeenth birthday, 15th November, 1930, the Lord cut across my career plans with a threefold experience.
My first discovery was that I was a lost sinner, justly deserving the condemnation of hell. I trembled before God, realising that I would come to a horrible end if He didn’t have mercy on me.
The second discovery was that Jesus Christ Himself had died on the cross for me, a miserable sinner. It was an amazing experience to realise that Jesus had taken away my guilt and atoned for my sin. The terror of judgment gave way to inner peace. It was a great blessing to know my sins were forgiven, to have assurance of salvation and to be accepted as a child of God.
Thirdly, I discovered that the Lord wanted me in His service. In a flash it was completely clear to me that my commission was to proclaim the Gospel. Whoever enters my study today is unavoidably confronted by a five-metre wide banner which bears the text,"Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every living creature!” (Mark 16:15)
As a seventeen-year-old at that time, I did not realise to what extent the Lord would fulfil His Word. During my twenty-two years of ministry, I waited impatiently and had no clue what the Lord would do. Then suddenly the doors opened worldwide. When the first of my books to be translated into English, Between Christ and Satan, was published in the USA (new title: The Lure of the Occult, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI, USA, www.kregel.com), I received many invitations to share the Gospel and to lecture. About 90 churches In California, as well as others in Australia, Eastern Asia, Africa, South America and the South Sea Islands sent invitations. Today I look back to travel schedules in about 135 countries. Hundreds of mission fields have been visited, where I could serve with the Gospel. I can but marvel at what the Lord does.
How often I was unfaithful and dishonoured His name, yet He remained faithful. I have disappointed many people, not deserving all His goodness towards me. And yet, He has not neglected to pour out His blessings on me. How incomprehensible is His compassion, and how steadfast His ongoing faithfulness, as mentioned in the German song Ich bete an die Macht der Liebe (I worship the Power of Love). For years a text has been before me,"…and they came up and took hold of His feet and worshipped Him.” (Matthew 28:9, RSV). In many times of severe temptation and affliction I have clung to the Lord's feet, finding peace and rest. A book was born out of this experience called Bei Ihm (With Him) (Bibel- und Schriftenmission Dr Kurt E. Koch, www.schriftenmission.de). I had it published under the pseudonym of Peter Distel.
I experienced what God had promised Israel, His gifts and the calling are irrevocable. The Lord didn’t revoke my calling, although many believers did.
God's calling to labour in His Kingdom is something experienced by many Zulus. I have already depicted other examples in this book. Here is one more:
A fifteen-year-old girl, who had made the decision to follow the Lord, received God's calling to the mission. Her mother said that she wouldn’t allow it, after her daughter spoke to her about it. She said she wanted her daughter to continue her studies because of her good marks at school. But the daughter had no peace and was unable to sleep at night. The Lord continually made it clear that He had need of her. She shared this again with her mother, explaining her situation. But her mother's response was,"These are only childish dreams. You are just too lazy to finish your school studies. I will not agree to let you go.”
There is a song which expresses,"What the Lord has in mind, what He has willed and planned, will come to pass for His council and purpose.”
After this dispute with her mother, the young girl had a car accident. During a journey, the car door suddenly flew open, and she was hurled out, but she was not injured. Her mother did not understand that God was speaking. Again the Lord spoke. The young girl became seriously ill. Neither prayer nor medical aid brought any sign of improvement. On the contrary, things grew worse. At times she lost consciousness. Her parents began to fear for her life.
Erlo's team called on the Lord, asking what He meant by this. Then the Lord revealed Himself to them, saying that it was the mother's fault for not allowing her daughter to obey God's calling. The mother responded to the Lord's answer and repented in"sackcloth and ashes”. She came to Erlo, fell on her knees, and cried out three times,"Lord, I’m willing to give You my daughter. I’m prepared that Your will be done.”
At that very moment the desperately ill child regained consciousness, and was immediately healed. Not the slightest sign of her illness remained. To this day the girl is a blessed instrument of the Lord. Her mother rejoices that the Lord is using her daughter.
The purification of Christians is very important in the Bible. Here are some instances:
In Ezekiel 36:25, the Lord says, "I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your filthiness, and from all your idols."
Many Christians have certain areas of their lives which are kept from the Lord. Whoever has a prohibition sign, such as"No admittance”, loses all the blessings prepared for him.
There are even Christians who not only post prohibition signs in their own lives, but also in the lives of fellow Christians. They do not acknowledge God's forgiveness in the lives of other people who have repented, and it is as if they demand that God should ask such legalistic Christians for permission to forgive others their sin. Let me take David as an example. God had forgiven David, and later even said,"He is a man after My own heart.” But Shimei cursed and said;"Get out, get out, you man of blood, you scoundrel!” God said to Peter in Acts 10:15:"Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” Legalistic Christians, however, are hard to convince, knowing everything far better, overlooking biblical truths and explaining them away, thus making them invalid. This they do to appear to be better off than common sinners in their own eyes. James 2:13 says,"…because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!”
Purification is a precondition for fruitful service in the Kingdom of God. Jesus said in John 15:2,"…every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” There is a similar message in Hebrews 9:14,"How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” Our purification is often the precondition to the Lord revealing Himself and answering our prayers. Here are some examples:
1. Cleansing Leads to the Cure of Enteritis
I received this report from Bruno Engelbrecht. When his youngest child was three months old, she became seriously ill. The doctors diagnosed enteritis (inflammation of the small intestine). She received treatment, but without success. Again her father went to the doctor to get more effective medicine. However, Bruno hadn’t asked if this was God's will. (NB: One of the attributes of the revival among the Zulus is that the Lord should be consulted in all decisions.)
The stronger treatment just made things worse, so the parents feared for their daughter's life. They pleaded with the Lord, asking Him to point out if they had sinned. The illness lasted a whole month. When the child was four months old, her weight was just 28 grams more than when she was born.
Through prayer it dawned upon the parents that they hadn’t sought the will of God. They humbled themselves and repented. Immediately, the Lord intervened, and snatched the little one from the brink of death. From that moment on, they had to feed the child every two hours, because of her appetite. Within three days she put on 400 grams, and recovered completely. She is her parent's sunshine and loves the Lord Jesus.
2. Cleansing Leads to the Cure of Nephritis (Kidney Inflammation)
This report is from Bruno Engelbrecht again. Let him relate it himself. "Our second son fell ill with nephritis, and was taken to hospital. Things improved slightly, but the high blood pressure wouldn’t normalize.
A nurse explained that they were worried about his recovery. I started to re-examine my life carefully in the Light of God. I sorted out all the things that the Lord revealed to me, and shared it all with my counsellor, who was Erlo. After that we prayed together. The time was 3:45 pm. After returning home, I visited my son to find that things had improved. The next morning I enquired again at the hospital regarding my son's condition. The nurse let me know that she had checked his blood pressure at about 5:00 pm, finding that everything had normalized. A few days later he was able to leave hospital. The remaining tests showed a complete recovery, as the doctor said,"The youngster is completely healthy, without any lasting kidney damage.”
“At about the same time, another child in our region had the same illness in the kidneys. Months later this child was still ill. We are so grateful towards our Lord. We praise Him for His faithfulness and love.”
3. Forgiveness Causes Change in Condition
Bruno was called to visit a sick lady in hospital. She had been ill for quite some time. The invalid knew the Gospel - she had been to the services. She desired to be counselled spiritually, and she confessed her sins. After some days, Bruno received a message that she had been doing better since his pastoral visit. She mentioned to a visitor,"I didn’t know what a hindrance sins can be in a life. Now I have seen it, after confessing my sins and having been forgiven. A great change has taken place in my life.”
4. Complications after Surgery
A nurse from Grey's Hospital in Pietermaritzburg called Erlo and asked him to pay a visit. A European woman had had to undergo surgery, and one of her breasts had been removed. Complications then arose - the doctors said there was no hope of the patient surviving.
The lady didn’t know Erlo, and it wasn’t even possible for Erlo to come immediately because of his tight work schedule.
In the meantime, a co-worker had a vision that Erlo was to visit a European lady in hospital. In this vision Erlo had come to visit the patient, and, as he sat beside her, she stretched her dirty leg towards Erlo's face. This repulsive vision kept Erlo from visiting her. To him it was as if the patient was against the Gospel. After some time the nurse called again, asking when Erlo would finally be able to come. He shared the thought with the co-workers, who urged him to go as quickly as possible. With mixed feelings he then drove to Pietermaritzburg to visit the patient.
The ill lady apologized for calling him. She believed that prayer for her health wouldn’t help. Erlo asked her,"Why not? Why do you doubt?” She related what she had experienced with her small daughter. After two sons, she had received a very pretty daughter, who had become seriously ill after birth. Now this mother was a believing Christian, and she had pleaded with the Lord to preserve her child. Her prayer wasn’t answered, and the child passed away.
From that day on, the mother had doubted whether God answers prayer. Now and then she would speak to counsellors and ask why her daughter had had to die. The answers she received didn’t satisfy her. One counsellor had said,"You need to accept the passing away of your daughter as God's will.”
During Erlo's visit, she asked him the same question,"Why did the Lord not answer my prayer? Will it be of any use to pray for me now? Won’t it just be a repeat of my previous experience?”
The patient was still clinging to life. She wasn’t ready yet to part from her husband, her children and her friends. She said,"It is too hard to part. I love them so much.”
At first, Erlo didn’t know how to answer. If others couldn’t help, how could he? Quietly he prayed in his heart, asking God how he was to respond. Suddenly the words of Isaiah 59:12 came to his mind."Lord,” he said,"how can I tell her that sin is the reason?” He couldn’t forget that vision of the outstretched dirty leg. He expected to be thrown out of the room if he mentioned this verse. But with much trepidation, he recited the verse,"For our transgressions are multiplied before Thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them; …”
The ill lady listened and then reacted immediately."That is the answer to my questions. I even know what is between me and the Lord. Now I understand why my prayers haven’t been answered.” Without being asked, she started to confess her sins. With this experience the vision was proved true. The patient added that she would make restitution by letter at once.
Erlo mentioned in his report that this was actually a small matter. But God has different measures. In the eyes of this Holy God, small things have great importance.
Erlo prayed with the sick lady. She received forgiveness and immediate healing. From that moment onward, things improved. The radiation treatment was enough to destroy the cancer in her body. The personnel in the hospital were amazed to see such changes. Not long afterwards, she was able to go home.
Six years later she arrived at KwaSizabantu with her husband, and full of joy. She asked Erlo if it was a sin to ask the Lord to take her home. She longed so much to be with the Lord. Erlo read the following passage to her in Philippians 1:21-23, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, it will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; …” She said,"That is my desire.”
Six months after this visit to KwaSizabantu, the Lord called her home.
Jesus said in John 15:6,"If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” This very truth is found in the following example of a young man. In a certain place, M.L., God's Spirit kindled a fire. There was a young man among those attending the services. Very soon, discerning Christians sensed that something was wrong. Somehow, there was a lack of determination to leave the secular world behind. He would meet girls in secret, and he ended up completely attracted to the worldly life. At times, seeing others getting to grips with the Lord, he would say,"One doesn’t need to be too radical about things. We need to be a bit more open to the world - there's no need to give up everything.” The pastor in charge often challenged this young man, but without success. More and more he became a tool in the devil's hands, until he was confronted and told either to choose repentance and follow Christ, or to stay away from the congregation. The young man was bored with all the admonitions, and left. Some time later, he was on a truck with three others. As they were travelling, the truck turned over, and landed on him, squashing him to death. The other three passengers were uninjured.
6. Ralph Witthöft
In the previous report we saw how a young man did not accept that he needed to be purified, and he was discarded!
The following story tells us of a young man who allowed himself to be purified, and he was accepted!
Ralph was called into eternity at the age of 21. His life-story is the fulfilment of the words in Titus 2:14,"Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, zealous of good works.” Here we have a new perspective, where the Lord prepares, cleanses, purifies and sanctifies His children for eternity.
Another experience is to be recorded in between. I had a friend by the name of Fritz Rienecker. I had great respect for this man, who was a purified and truly sanctified Christian. As time came for him"to bid farewell to this life”, he began to prepare himself. As he was facing eternity, this follower of Christ was seized by a deep spirit of repentance. Over a period of months he went through a process of self-examination, making"small” things right. He would repent deeply and thoroughly, although he had been a disciple of Christ for years. This was to be his last time of cleansing before parting from this world. I was gripped by fear when I heard this. If such a brother, who lived such an exemplary, sanctified life, was preparing himself to meet the Lord, where was I then? Where would I be found? I felt I could not compare myself to him.
During Ralph's two last weeks, these were the four signs of his preparation:
He knew that his time had come to go home.
He was a tremendous blessing in his surroundings.
He rectified many"minor” things.
A tremendous joy filled his heart.
These four attributes were very closely related to one another. Not one of them can be explained by itself. All things done by Ralph during these last weeks were a process through which he was becoming conformed to the life of Jesus Christ.
On one occasion he called Thembi, one of the helpers, and told her, "Thembi, live only for Jesus.” She answered him,"I have no speaking gift. I’m not able to preach the Gospel.” Ralph said,"That is not what I mean. I’m referring to Col. 3:23, where it is written, ‘And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.' Do your daily duties with your eyes fixed on the Lord! Do them continually with regard to the Lord Jesus.”
To Patrick, a believing brother from the nearby area, he said,"Watch yourself, my brother, that nothing remains in your life which needs to be put right. If you are reminded of something while listening in a service, do not leave the place without bringing the matter to the light. Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked by Christians leaving the service with their sins unforgiven.”
He taught Victor, a lorry driver, how to get rid of air in the diesel fuel system."If you don’t do this, you’ll fail to start the engine.” Victor then asked him,"Where are you going, Nkosana (Boss)?” Ralph answered him,"We do not remain here on earth forever.” Throughout the day he kept singing,"Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name." (Ps. 103:1)
Days later he said to a domestic helper in Friedel Stegen's household, "There is such a tremendous joy in my heart.” When he heard the girls speaking about worthless things, he would reprimand them, and say,"Bring me a Bible.” Ralph opened up at Psalm 23, and marked several parts in the passage which were important to him."When I am gone, read these portions of Scripture and think about them.” One young girl asked,"Nkosana, are you leaving?” Ralph didn’t answer. He went out under the mango trees and continued singing from Psalm 103. Again one of the young girls approached him and said,"Nkosana, you are so strange.” Ralph answered,"There is such joy in me, and I cannot explain it to you.”
The last three days before he died he would get up at four in the morning, and they would hear him singing and praying. Repeatedly, he would tell the Zulu helpers,"There is such a tremendous joy in my heart.” Then he asked the helpers to clean and tidy his room."Please clean my shoes, and take all the money out of my pockets. The coins can be given to my three small cousins. Take my brown suit and give it to Mandla (one of Erlo's co-workers). Give my nicest Sunday shirt to Arno (Friedel's son).” The helper girl asked in shock, "Where are you going? What will you wear on Sunday? You’re giving you newest shirt away.” Ralph answered,"I have no time to waste.” The girl was trembling. "Nkosana, but where are you going?”"Don’t ask me such a question. I’m busy with the things of God.” Then he added,"Take thirty rand and give it to my brother Edmund. Give five rand to Victor. I cannot have debts.”
The helpers were wondering what was going on with Ralph - he seemed to be so strange. He kept on singing about the joy he had received from Jesus.
On his last day he advised one of the co-workers,"Take my torch and put it beside Aunty Rita's bed. It will be a help to her if the light goes out due to a power generator breakdown.” He kept on singing and saying,"Let us burn for our Lord Jesus. I repeat, live only for the Lord - be on fire for God.” They answered him,"Yebo, Nkosana” (Yes, Boss).
Towards evening he got himself ready to drive to Muden to pick up green beans. One of the helpers, Mjolozili, a close friend of his, urged him, "Nkosana, don’t go. Stay here today - perhaps you can go some other time.” Ralph refused, and said goodbye with the following words,"Sala kahle, Mtaka Baba.” (Farewell, stay well, my father's child).
Ralph departed, never to return again. A young man accompanied him on the journey. As they were returning home, they came into thick mist. A truck and trailer, travelling in front of them, was turning off into a side road. Ralph saw the truck too late, and hit the trailer. He was killed instantly. His passenger survived.
Erlo showed me the spot, and personally gave me this account, some of it in written form. I have shortened it, otherwise this book would have been far too long.
Ralph's burial turned out to be a great blessing. His life was a powerful testimony to Jesus. He had never preached, but his whole life was a powerful sermon. He finished his course early. People turn to the Lord right up to this day when they read or hear of the account of his life. One could say of Ralph, as with Paul,"But we all, as with unveiled face we see the Lord's glory mirrored, are changed into the same likeness from one degree of glory to another, derived as it is from the Lord's Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18)
It is said in the USA that Paul Tillich, a professor of theology, was the initiator of the "God-is-dead" theology. His adherents act as if God has given His notice of departure from His creation. They say He has become old, that He is losing His governing control over this earth. This is nothing new from these semi-atheists.
The exponents of the deism worldview have already been spreading this for centuries. However, deism is itself not a child of the age of enlightenment. Even in ancient history, as well as in the Old Testament, statements have been made implying that God was indeed the creator of heaven and earth, but has now retired.
In the Old Testament these views are shown up as signs of unbelief and rebellion against God. The Scriptures say,"Then said He unto me, ‘Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery?’ For they say, ‘The Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath forsaken the earth.’ He said also unto me, ‘Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do.’” (Ezek. 8:12-13)
In Isaiah 40:27-28, reference is again made to the same attitude,"Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, ‘My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God?’ Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?”
These verses show that it is thoughtless, even blasphemous, to imply that God has resigned from His creation and from His people.
No, the Bible has a different message altogether:
Isaiah 43:13:"I shall perform and who shall undo it?”
1 Cor. 12:6:"It is the same God which worketh all in all.”
Mark 16:20:"And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.”
This is the same Lord who works in all spiritual revivals, and is experienced in reality by every true follower of the living Lord Jesus Christ.
In this chapter, this passage in Mark shall be emphasized: that signs follow, and do not precede, the Word of God. It can happen that the Lord grants a miracle prior to a conversion, but the proclamation of the Word is fundamental. Hebrews 1:3 says,"He sustains the universe by His almighty Word.” Luther emphasized this very strongly: Sola Scriptura.
1. The Gifts of the Spirit
At the beginning of the revival, which Erlo and the team called the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the various gifts of the Holy Spirit became evident.
Erlo himself preached with divine authority, leading thousands to conversion. I myself can testify that hundreds stayed behind for spiritual counselling. It hadn’t always been like that. Prior to the revival he would often end up in despair, seeing few people attending the meetings and a sprinkling of converts.
Erlo explained it this way,"God grants gifts - we cannot apportion gifts to anybody. As soon as our lives are in order with Him, the gifts are revealed. The bearers of these gifts do not necessarily need to know it. It is sufficient that the congregation is aware of it. So as soon as a gift becomes evident, we pray and ask the Lord to sanctify and increase it.”
Presumptuous gifts, those not from above, become a stumbling-block to a follower of Jesus. Erlo related such examples to me.
There was a man brought to Erlo with partial paralysis, both of body and spirit. He had to be carried because he was unable to walk. He was a follower of Christ. When he was counselled, something was revealed. After he had prayed for a man possessed by an evil spirit, he himself had become heavily burdened and afflicted. It showed that this believer wasn’t equipped or anointed for such a ministry. He had just taken this upon himself. After Erlo prayed for him, the paralysis and the depression vanished.
A Christian co-worker really thought that he had the gift to cast out evil spirits, so he prayed for three demon-possessed people. Subsequently, he fell into great distress and temptation and acquired the same characteristics as the three possessed people. A transfer had taken place. This often happens in struggles with those who are possessed, if the counsellor or intercessor is without spiritual authority or the protection of the blood of Christ. This co-worker also needed prayer until he himself was free.
In a certain place there was a great deal of witchcraft and spiritism. A seventeen-year-old girl that had often disturbed the services was brought for counselling. While she was being prayed for, she began to rampage. Up to seven men had to hold this girl down, at times without success - she possessed such supernatural power. But when a minister's wife was present, sometimes just touching her would immediately cause her to calm down. The co-workers recognised this, and asked her to care for the girl. But the lady said,"I can’t do this.” The others had recognised that she was empowered in this type of ministry.
Erlo emphasizes that when a special spiritual gift is recognised by others, this co-worker should be anointed to perform such a ministry.
A man who was recognised by the co-workers as having a spiritual gift prayed for a demon-possessed person - but without being anointed. Immediately something jumped from the possessed person to the praying one. We should never take on the serious duty of counselling without protection. This is the reason why Erlo makes a clear distinction between having a ministry and being anointed for it.
2. Speaking in Tongues and Interpretation
In the Christian church there is much wrangling about speaking in tongues (glossolalia). Some are intensely for it and others intensely against it. Who is actually right?
In my previous manuscript for this book, I had presented my point of view of the matter. Erlo then asked me to leave it out, because the issue had been dealt with in many other books concerning the charismatic movement. So let us hear what Erlo says:
He believes that spiritual gifts still exist today. He himself and the co-workers are daily confronted with the evidence of what the exalted Lord still does in our day. Erlo emphasizes,"We still live in the same period of mercy and grace, and there is desperate need for certain spiritual gifts. We need the gift of discernment, otherwise we’re lost. We need the gift of wisdom to counsel seriously. One person alone doesn’t possess all the spiritual gifts. They are all shared. Before the revival I was a maverick. After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit I worked together with my co-workers. We are one body. Each and every one depends on the other. Spiritual gifts get fouled by pride and even lost by conceit.”
I asked Erlo for his opinion concerning the worldwide debate on speaking in tongues. Here is his answer:"Before the revival came, I was in opposition to this gift. The Lord then asked me,"Why are you against this?” I responded, "Because there has been so much abuse and mischief.” The Lord then answered, "Aren’t there thousands of car accidents and yet you use your car without a thought.”
I wanted to know if there was any speaking in tongues at all at the beginning of the revival. Erlo responded,"Only one person spoke in tongues. She didn’t come from the Pentecostal, but from the Lutheran Church. Speaking in tongues was only a marginal problem. We are vigilant, making sure that the order contained in 1 Cor. 14:28 is maintained: ‘If there is no interpreter, let them keep still in church’. We do not allow any speaking in tongues without interpretation.”
Erlo mentioned various examples of misuse:
A young man pleaded in prayer to receive the gift of speaking in tongues. He received what he had asked for. During the following three days he prayed in tongues and couldn’t stop. Close friends were unable to converse with him normally. To keep quiet he had to hold his tongue. Even at work he continued speaking in tongues, becoming a mockery to everyone. Speaking in tongues had become an obsession. He went for counselling, repented of his pride, and was set free. He didn’t pray a second time for this gift.
In some cases they had to deal with demonic speaking in tongues.
A woman had a gift of speaking in tongues. The co-workers realised that things in her Christian walk were wrong, so they prayed and received clarity. When the lady started to speak in tongues again, the brethren commanded the false spirit of tongues to depart from her, in the name of Jesus. The demons started speaking,"We didn’t expect this - we thought we could interfere in your work.”
One of the co-workers’ wives started speaking in tongues. She wasn’t happy with it, however, and prayed to receive a more attractive tongue. Her motives were pride and arrogance - she just wanted to be better than others. Her husband was also dragged into this unspiritual conduct. He reported to KwaSizabantu that the Lord was working marvellously. Erlo went there, along with other brethren. The lady greeted them in tongues as soon as they entered the house. Nobody understood her. Her heathen housemaid then explained,"She says that you have to close the door.” An interpretation by a heathen? Does this come from the Holy Spirit? Everyone was talking about this lady in that region. She would visit people in hospital and speak to them in tongues, without any interpretation. She deviated completely from biblical principles, and no longer works with Erlo.
It bears emphasizing that the most important spiritual gift in our time is to have the spirit of discernment.
3. The Gift of Prophecy
In a distant place, about 300 kilometres from KwaSizabantu, the team prepared an evangelistic campaign. They pitched a tent on a Saturday. Due to a lot of work it was impossible for Erlo to be there personally.
On the Monday morning, a co-worker said to Erlo,"God has revealed to me that we must go immediately to where the campaign is being held.”
Most, or many, theologians would say,"This is fanaticism!” But let's hear more about it.
This revelation was taken seriously by Erlo. They dropped everything and departed at 4 pm. At midnight they arrived, having driven 300 kilometres on bad roads. When they arrived, there were still some people in prayer. The praying voices came from the tent, and there was weeping for joy. They called out,"Are You like this, Lord?” To them it seemed like a dream - they couldn’t grasp it. What was the reason?
On Sunday some of the co-workers had felt urged to go around the area with a loudspeaker mounted on a car and announce,"The pastor (Erlo) will be here on Tuesday to pray for the sick!” Nobody knew about this at KwaSizabantu, but the Lord had made the impossible possible. He, the Lord, had given the brethren the gift of prophecy, as well as the brethren at KwaSizabantu. Thus the great joy and the amazed praying which was coming out of the tent to greet Erlo.
On Tuesday morning many people came. Erlo and the team were busy the whole day, preaching about Jesus and praying for the people. Many were saved, and the power of the Lord was so mighty that the blind were healed, the dumb began to speak, and many other miracles occurred.
In the face of these occurrences, I dare not say that the times of spiritual gifts came to an end in the first century.
4. The Gift of Healing
A young man by the name of Mangalelwa contracted a stubborn illness. He suffered severe pain day and night. During this time he heard that Erlo was to speak at Nqutu. Now the road leading to Nqutu passes through the village in which he lives. He expressed a desire to be prayed for by Erlo. After being carried to the road by his relatives, he was picked up by a passing truck. Even the journey on the road was torture for him.
After attending the service in Nqutu, he had the opportunity to speak to Erlo. He confessed his sins and surrendered his life to Jesus. The miracle occurred and he was completely healed.
Later his spiritual life grew shallow, and he became lukewarm and slack. Immediately his severe pain returned, and he vomited blood and pus. His stomach, intestines, kidneys and bladder were severely infected. He asked the doctor for a kidney transplant, but the doctor refused, saying that it wouldn’t prolong his life.
He asked to be taken to KwaSizabantu, where he was prayed for. Again the Lord was merciful to him and healed him.
Many had come to see this miracle when he came home. His relatives had lost hope for his recovery and thought they would never see him alive again. Is there anything impossible with God?
Up to this day this man is completely healthy, and working again.
In one of the tent campaigns in Msumbe, an old man by the name of Donqabe came to the meetings. After the campaign, Erlo flew to Europe. Donqabe had been bitten by a snake shortly before and one of his legs was paralyzed. He would drag himself forward to walk. Having heard many wonderful things about KwaSizabantu, he wanted to go there to get help.
He arrived on a rainy day, and was brought into a lovely warm kitchen. Now not only was he lame in the one leg, he also had a stiff neck, having been kicked by a donkey.
The tent campaign had prepared him spiritually. He started speaking in the kitchen, and said that he didn’t want to keep any bad and unclean things in his life. The same day he asked to be counselled by a co-worker and later went to bed. The next morning he woke up to find the paralysis gone. He thanked the Lord immediately for his great relief, but didn’t stop at that. He sought for more, both spiritually and physically, and kept confessing the things revealed to him. One morning he awoke to find that his stiff neck had been healed.
Shortly after, he travelled home. There he went through everything, just in case there was something not pleasing to the Lord. He found two drums containing items used for fortune-telling, and some literature from the Jehovah's Witnesses. All these items were burned, because he didn’t want anything idolatrous in his house any more.
This example shows that it wasn’t just a matter of one specific healing gift, but that several things worked together. It was the honesty of this paralyzed man, willing to get everything into order with God, the counselling of a co-worker and the spiritual atmosphere at KwaSizabantu.
A young teacher suddenly went out of her mind. She became so wild she was almost impossible to subdue. After being brought to KwaSizabantu, the co-workers prayed for her that the Lord would touch her understanding, so that she could make her own decision to follow the Lord.
This is how the people at KwaSizabantu and the co-workers pray and deal with mentally ill people. First they pray that their minds will clear up, so that they are able to make conscious decisions for Christ. Once this stage is reached, they usually make their lives right and confess their sins. Then the Lord starts to reveal Himself.
The previously mentioned teacher experienced this very thing. After regaining her understanding, she confessed all her sins. The co-workers prayed for her several times until she was fully liberated. Two days later she took up her work again.
The case mentioned here has nothing to do with the gift of healing given to individuals, but the intercession of the brethren. It has been said by men of God that spiritual gifts aren’t given to individuals, but to the church. Of course this isn’t absolute, because both happen in revivals - spiritual gifts are given both to individuals and to the church.
In Timothy's case it was an individual. Paul says, "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” (1 Tim 4:14)
5. The Gift of Miracles
In this chapter we turn our attention to the illiterate. We have already related the story of Magakanye, who was also an illiterate.
All biblically sound evangelists say that God's Word is the foundation of our creed and life. But then what happens with illiterates who cannot read? There have been thousands in the Timor revival. There are also many among the Zulus. The Lord has solved this problem in four different ways.
In Soe, the revival centre of Timor, Bible passages were read over and over again until the passage was known by heart. This is usually an acquired attribute that illiterates gain from childhood.
The second form of how the Lord leads and guides is through dreams, or the miracle of hearing God's voice. Erlo told me the following: A believing girl, through whom the Lord worked mightily, one day sensed that something was wrong in her life. To her it seemed that her first love had grown cold. She was illiterate. She was driven to prayer, to ask the Lord,"Lord, why can’t You work as in the beginning?” The Lord answered her in a dream, saying,"Read Isaiah 59:1-2.” After coming to Erlo, the girl asked,"Is there a book in the Bible called Isaiah?” When Erlo confirmed this, she continued,"Is there a chapter 59?”
“Then please read verses 1 and 2.”
Erlo read,"Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.”
This was the girl's confirmation that the dream had been from the Lord. Hearing this, she repented.
Similar things happened in the Indonesian revival. Often there was only one person in a team who could read. Words especially spoken to illiterates by the Lord were then read to them.
The third way God instructs the illiterate is a miracle of its own. It has often happened that illiterates who owned a Bible asked the Lord to enable them to read. As they opened the Scriptures, they were able to read and understand. When they closed the Bible, these capabilities were gone. No other book or newspaper could be read - only the Bible.
Such things didn’t only happen in the revival among the Zulus - the same has been experienced on other mission fields.
Here is an example from Egypt: An ordinary Egyptian lady became a Christian. As an illiterate she wanted so much to read the printed Word of God. The Lord granted her a dream, in which an angel gave her a red, hard-back New Testament. When she woke up, she prayed more fervently to receive God's Word. Not long after, she received a New Testament exactly like the one of which she had dreamed. She wasn’t able to read it, but she didn’t give up. She prayed, "Lord, please open my understanding for Your Word. Help me to read.” Things didn’t happen suddenly. It took weeks. But without any help she managed to learn to read the New Testament in a short period of time. She could read no other literature.
The fourth way the exalted Lord helps the illiterate is a tremendous miracle. To illustrate this, here is the example of Mabanga, reported to me by Erlo. He had never attended school. Relatives explained that he was abnormal. On top of this, he was sickly. His father, who had the ability to heal many with witchcraft and magic, was unable to help his own son. The parents sent their son to a sect which mixes spiritual things with the occult. Erlo was busy with his team in that area. This witchdoctor's son had a dream at this time. Somebody handed him a Bible, and a voice told him to read a particular Bible verse. This young man couldn’t read, but got hold of a Bible the next morning, opened it, and was able to read. The verse he was to read was James 5:16, concerning the confession of sins.
Afterwards, the co-workers came past with a truck to pick up people for the services in Nqutu. This young man went along and listened to God's Word. He got the opportunity to confess his sins. After being prayed for, he got well again, and from that moment on he was able to read and write.
Mabanga has become a faithful servant of the Lord. Often he is busy with retarded people, leading them to the Lord.
To nominal Christians this sounds unbelievable. I refer you to Erlo; he is a witness to these miracles.
All examples mentioned in this fifth section testify about the Lord who still performs miracles. None of the gifts were given to His messengers to possess as such, for it is the exalted Lord Himself in action.
“Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.” (Exodus 15:6)
“Who does great and unsearchable things, marvellous works without number.” (Job 5:9)
Let this not be misunderstood; there are many examples in God's work where the Lord grants His servants a special anointing to perform miracles. It does not mean a permanent possession for a child of God. It was, and is, the equipping of him or her for a special assignment. I could enumerate many more examples. However, this book already contains enough of what nominal Christians and"barricaded” theologians would term"impossibilities”.
6. The Miracles of Light
I have often heard reports from revival areas concerning the"miracles of light”. Let us see what the Bible says about this:
Luke 2:9 reads,"And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.” The shepherds were terrified when they saw this supernatural light. When the Apostle Paul met the Lord, a similar miracle took place. Acts 9:3 reads,"And as he journeyed, he came near to Damascus, and suddenly there shone around about him a light from heaven.”
The Apostle Peter is the third witness to see a miracle of light, mentioned in Acts 12:7,"And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shone in the prison and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying: ‘Arise up quickly’. And his chains fell off from his hands.”
Over and over again I feel sorry for the rationalistic theologians who regard the biblical miracles as mythological derivations, and even more, those Christians who confine all miracles to the first century.
In revivals one finds all these things happening today, as happened and were recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.
In a previous chapter I already mentioned that a team in Timor saw an illuminated church in the jungle. The congregation was assembled and the church was lit up by a light from heaven.
On one occasion the team was travelling through the jungle on a mule track. There was neither moon nor starry sky, but a light from heaven shone and showed them the way to their destination.
A similar episode occurred among the Zulus. Bruno Engelbrecht records:
“I had brought some Christians home with the car late at night, and it was very dark. From the place where I had dropped them off, they had to walk for another kilometre to their home. Later they told me how their whole pathway home was lit by the Lord.”
The Lord who led the people of Israel by a pillar of fire at night is still alive. In my youth there was a revival in Pfinztal, and I attended many of the meetings. One chorus that we loved singing was,"The same, yes, the same, God is still the same!”
In the story of creation, we read,"And God said: ‘Let there be light!’ And there was light.” (Genesis 1:3) God has not ceased speaking.
After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem, Peter began his discourse,"But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ says God, ‘I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.’” (Joel 2:28)
This portion of Scripture has been doubly misused by the evil one to try and stop or limit the working of the Holy Spirit. What are these misuses that lead people astray?
(1) Extremists use this portion of Scripture to confirm their most foolish fantasies as special revelations of the Holy Spirit. Professor Dr Hans Rohrbach summed it up this way:"Ninety-nine per cent of all visions, revelations and dreams are not inspired from above.” I subscribe to that as well.
(2) Most theologians make the opposite mistake by claiming that these verses only apply to the apostolic era, especially the American dispensationalist theologians. What they are actually saying is that Joel's prophecy was finally fulfilled on the day of Pentecost and has no meaning for us today.
There is no"golden mean”, but only the biblical truth.
I have to refer again to the Indonesian revival, seeing that there are many similarities between it and the revival among the Zulus.
During the initial stages of the revival in September 1965, Pastor Daniel was very sceptical. As he was sitting in one of the huge revival meetings in the church at Soe, he sat on the stage with a great deal of criticism in his heart. He thought,"This is just fanaticism!” Immediately a schoolchild jumped up and said,"Pastor Daniel, the Lord has shown me your thoughts. This is not fanaticism! Read Acts 2:17!” It happened three times during those first revival meetings that children rebuked two of the ministers with Bible verses. (I have reported on this in my book Uns, Herr, wirst du Frieden schaffen (To us, Lord, you will give peace).
Because children have been mentioned here as receivers of God's revelation, let me first give a report about Zulu children. Psalm 8:2 underlines this:"Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings You have ordained strength …”
1. The Four-year-old Kwasi
I got to know both Kwasi's grandmother, Thembani, and his father in Erlo's house. Their story has already been recorded in this book.
This four-year-old grandson is an amazing child, mightily used by the Lord.
Of course I know the adults’ objections:"What, just a child!” Others will say that children need to prove their conversions during adolescence. That is true! However, the Lord said,"… allow the little children to come to Me, and do not hinder them. For of such is the Kingdom of God. Truly I say to you, whoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter into it.” (Mark 10:14-15)
Kwasi experienced the Lord Jesus, and he would testify about his Lord wherever he could. He would gather children, even those older than himself, and tell them stories of Jesus. And he wouldn’t neglect to give his testimony to the adults! One day a raw heathen went to see his boss. He confessed all his thefts and other offences as well. The employer was astounded and asked his employee,"What's going on - why are you confessing all these things?” The man replied,"I heard Kwasi, the four-year-old, speak about Jesus, and this to me was a gut-wrenching experience.”
Kwasi would also go from house to house, visiting the neighbours in his area. He would call them together and speak about the faith. Because of his testimony, adults would surrender to Jesus.
2. The Eleven-year-old Lindiwe
This book will not be translated into the Zulu language. That is good because Lindiwe will not fall into the danger of becoming proud. I am fully aware that the evil one tempts and attacks both children and adults whose testimonies get published. This is why I suggest that all who are blessed by Lindiwe's experiences intercede for her in prayer.
The Zulu name Lindiwe means"wait for the Lord”. At the age of nine she was converted. She wrote a letter to Erlo which touched his heart -"I ask God that He will create in me a holy life. Please help me and teach me how to overcome sin and live in victory. I don’t want to spend my life in sin.”
Lindiwe often had dreams and visions. Before the revival began, Erlo would preach against dreams, saying that the daily experiences of life influenced dreams, or they could be a result of childhood adventures. He has subsequently somewhat revised his views.
Once, Lindiwe saw the Lord Jesus in a dream. His garments were shining so brightly that her eyes were dazzled. In this brightness and holiness, she realised how terrible her sins were. She had thought herself to be a good Christian after her conversion, and everyone, even her parents, did too. After this dream she went into deep repentance, continually weeping. Her Christian parents were unable to console her. She was so conscious of her sins that she doubted whether she would ever be forgiven. Three days later, she confessed all that had been revealed to her in the dream. Then the feelings of guilt disappeared.
The first series of her dreams and visions related to sin, repentance and cleansing. The Lord Jesus said to her in another dream,"Make everything right in your life, and then tell others to do so as well. The sin of mankind is so heavy. Sins look so small and harmless, which is why they creep so easily into your lives. I will show you people who have carelessly given themselves over to sin. Do you see this man who despises Me? Do you see that house where I suffer? The husband is quarrelling with his wife, and the children are not obeying their parents? Do you see those cheeky schoolchildren, frivolous people and others constantly cursing?”
In another vision, on 11th March 1975, Lindiwe was led to a place where her earthly clothes were taken off and new ones put on. The Lord led her to the heavenly mansions, according to John 14:23,"In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” The Lord led her through many rooms and said to her,"If you are faithful to the end, you will receive your own room.”
Erlo would always examine dreams and visions carefully, comparing them with the Bible, seeing if they were in agreement with the Scriptures. Everything was noted down carefully, especially hidden things which were revealed. The experiences were tested to see whether they were authentic, whether visions were fulfilled or whether they were mere fantasies. For those who shun these visions and dreams, and regard them as mere childish fantasies, I include the following visions:
a) Vision of a Schoolgirl
Lindiwe had a dream in Kranskop. Erlo was to tell a European schoolgirl in Durban to come to KwaSizabantu, and she gave him the address she had seen in the dream. This case was easy to verify - was this dream genuine or not? Erlo doubted it.
However, he prayed,"Lord, this girl is at school - she won’t be able to come.”
The Lord answered,"Why shouldn’t this be possible? Can’t I do as I will?”
“But I can’t just take this child out of school. It is only possible at weekends.”
“What if the child were sick? Could she then go to school? Is sickness more powerful than I am?”
“No, You are more powerful than any disease, but really, in this case it isn’t possible. The school will definitely not allow it.”
“You call me Lord. Am I or am I not?”
Friedel, Erlo's brother, came to see him the next morning. Erlo said,"I slept so badly last night. Won’t you call this schoolgirl's parents, and ask if their daughter can come or not?” Friedel called and received the following answer,"We’ll gladly send our daughter, but the problem is that she swallowed too many sleeping pills last night, in an attempt to commit suicide. She is still unconscious, but you can pick her up once she has regained consciousness.”
Erlo felt as if the ground would swallow him up. If he had acted the previous day, and obeyed God's order, this suicide attempt could have been avoided. The schoolgirl was only fourteen or fifteen years old. They picked her up from Durban and took her to Kranskop, where she made her life right and became a believer.
Can you doubt the genuineness of Lindiwe's dream?
b) Vision of a Criminal
Lindiwe had a vision concerning a young Zulu woman from Durban. When she was a young girl she had moved to Durban and joined a group of gangsters. Now at the age of twenty-four, she would hang around at night and get up to mischief. She would seldom be at home because of her nightly excursions. Her believing mother continually prayed for her wayward daughter.
The work of salvation for this young woman started with Lindiwe's vision. She had received her name and address in the vision. Erlo was to speak to her, so he sent a co-worker to pick her up. When the co-worker found her, she said, "How did you know that I was at home today? Who told you this?” The co-worker responded,"God has sent me.”
The young woman was ready to go to KwaSizabantu immediately. She left all her belongings at home. Erlo spoke to her like a father, asking"Is your life right with God? God is calling you, He is seeking you.” Immediately, she came under deep conviction of her sins, and said,"I have decided today to follow God's ways.” She confessed her guilt and her sin, and all that had been revealed to her, and told Erlo that there were many things she had to put right in Durban.
Day after day she would seek people with whom and against whom she had done wrong, and ask for forgiveness. Then came the most difficult task. She had to go to the police to expose her misdeeds. At eight o’clock one morning she turned up at the law courts, confessed her wrongdoings, and testified about Jesus. She was told,"These are serious matters - you will have to stay in jail for a long time.” She was sent from one office to the next, each one higher than the last, relating the same things and testifying of her faith. Each time there was the same answer,"This will get you many years in jail.” She was sent from one person to another the whole day until she was ordered to see the chief magistrate.
It is obvious that it was God behind all these interrogations. In every office she confessed her crimes and testified of Jesus. Through this, the entire law court staff was faced with the fact that the Gospel transforms people.
In the chief magistrate's office, she asked if she could first pray. This was granted. [Just an observation: In South Africa and some other nations, not all law enforcement officers are negative towards Christian values, as they are in Europe and some other western countries.]
After her prayer, the chief magistrate asked her,"What has God said to you now?” She answered,"God quickly hears our prayers, but He may take time to answer.”
The chief magistrate also told her,"You must expect a severe sentence.”
She said,"Yes, I know. I committed all these crimes because I did not know the Lord.” Again she testified what the Lord had done for her.
The chief magistrate said,"That is of minor interest to me, but I would like to know why you have come to report yourself.” The former gangster replied,"I’ve told you already. It is because I’ve found Jesus.”
He again said,"You must expect a severe and a long sentence.”
She answered,"Well, if that is God's will, then I’m ready - ready to witness for Jesus in jail.”
After all the cross-examinations, the lawyers discussed the matter. What was to be done in such a case? Eventually they decided,"We’ll cancel the whole matter.”
Relieved and happy, this brave Christian went on her way. She came back to KwaSizabantu and thanked the Lord for His guidance and help.
Let me ask again,"Can you doubt the genuineness of Lindiwe's vision?”
c) Vision of a Hospital Employee
Lindiwe had another dream, concerning a hospital employee. This lady was known to be very dominating in her area. The Lord Jesus spoke to the eleven-year-old Lindiwe,"It's time that this lady got converted. Pass the message on to Erlo that this woman has to be visited.”
As in all previous visions, Lindiwe received the lady's name and address.
She passed the commission on to Erlo. He then took co-workers along to find the lady. As they were heading towards her home, some of the co-workers told Erlo that he would have to go to the hospital, because she wasn’t at home. Erlo responded,"But in the vision there was nothing mentioned about the hospital; her home was mentioned.”
Indeed, they did find her in the backyard of her home, plucking a chicken for a meal. Her husband had come from Johannesburg and was to drive back again that day. He had said to her,"Fry this chicken for me and pack my suitcase. I want to go and visit my friends before I leave.”
This lady now asked why Erlo was visiting. He answered,"The Lord has sent me to ask you if your relationship with the living God is in order.” She immediately burst into tears, and admitted,"I am a great sinner. I am on the way to hell.”
Erlo continued,"Jesus is calling you. Come to Him.”
She replied immediately,"I will leave everything behind and come along to make my life right.”
“What about your husband? He will come back and nothing is cooked!”
She answered resolutely,"When God calls, there is no way for me to wait and consult with flesh and blood. I will write a note to my husband that I am changing my ways today, and leaving with the pastor to get my life in order.”
Erlo was amazed that a person could leave everything behind and follow Jesus, as it happened in Luke 5:28; that such things happen even today.
The lady packed her belongings and was about to leave, when her husband unexpectedly turned up and asked what was going on.
The quick return of her husband shows that God's plan fits perfectly together. He explained why he had returned so quickly. As he was on his way to see his friend he passed through a narrow pass in the road. At a certain place there was a cleft, a hole where he could see his home through the rocks, four kilometres away. As he was looking, he saw something shining in front of the house. It was the sun reflecting on the windscreen of a car. Somehow he felt constrained to return. So here he was, asking his wife why she was packing her belongings.
The woman told him that she had decided to follow Jesus, which was why she was leaving with the pastor and his co-workers.
Her husband said,"When God calls you, I cannot stop you. Go and follow His calling!” The Lord had given this man the right words even though he is still a heathen to this day.
After attending a service, she went for counselling and put things right. Her life changed completely, and there was a great sensation when she went to her neighbours and friends, making things right. All the hospital personnel marvelled that such a hard, dominating person could become so transformed. Many were converted, and even bitter opponents of the Gospel surrendered to Jesus. A small revival broke out in the area.
The three visions related above were clearly confirmed by the progress of occurrences. Not only were the visions confirmed, but the Lord used Lindiwe in other ways as well. She served the Lord not only through visions, but also through her mission work among children. She was also used to bear witness to the Lord to adults from time to time.
3. The Fifteen-year-old Nokutula
All Zulu names have a meaning. Nokutula means"She who found peace”. This girl, who is an orphan, came one day to Erlo, asking if she could help in his household. When the wage matter was discussed, Nokutula said,"I do not want any payment.” Erlo asked,"Why not? Every worker is entitled to a salary.” She answered him,"You are my spiritual father. Do children ever receive payment for helping their parents?” That's where the matter ended.
Nokutula is a very shy and quiet girl. Being next to her you would think she was unable to speak.
One day this young Christian girl said,"The Lord has called me to go into a dangerous area to proclaim His name.” Erlo laughed. Towards the end of the week she came to him again and said,"How will I appear before the Lord if I do not heed His calling?” Erlo allowed her to go. An older girl accompanied her to this place with a bad reputation. Many dangerous criminals lived there. But the miracle happened. These rough men repented, got converted and gave up their lives of crime.
This is what the Holy Spirit does. Before revival came, things were so difficult, but now it was so easy to lead people to the Lord Jesus.
4. Thoughts Revealed
It has already been recorded that during the revival in Timor the critical thoughts of Pastor Daniel were revealed by a child. The same thing occurred in the revival among the Zulus.
A group of people were meeting together for prayer. During these prayer meetings they would also sing hymns. During the time of prayer, one of the participants thought,"When will this come to an end? It's lasting so long.” During the singing, another person thought,"Why do they continually repeat the same hymns?” The Lord revealed these critical thoughts to a child, and the matter was made public.
The Lord revealed through this that He is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
“…for the righteous God trieth the hearts and the reins.” (kidneys) (Ps. 7:9)
“…and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb. 4:12)
5. Immanuel's Vision
These visions will provoke criticism. Those who are familiar with the history of sects and extremists will know that these spiritual"separatists” often refer to their lumen internum, their inner light, in order to develop their own crazy ideas. That which is considered by them to be from the Holy Spirit, is simply a swamp flower growing from the jungle of their own religious fantasies. The visions mentioned in this chapter do not have this characteristic. They are clearly given by the exalted Lord, proving their genuineness through the results they produced.
The following figure of speech also needs to be looked at:"The Lord has spoken to me.” How do such messages of the Lord occur in the revival area? There are different possibilities.
Some have a dream in which the Lord speaks to them. Others see visions, as the one mentioned below. Some hear the audible voice of the Lord. Usually this happens to the illiterate, those not able to read the Bible. Last but not least, the Lord uses the Holy Spirit to inspire a person's reason, will and insight, so that the one concerned is unquestionably sure of the will of God.
Before we turn to Immanuel's vision, let us consider an example from the revival in Indonesia. It is in the book Uns, Herr, wirst du Frieden schaffen (To us, Lord, You will give peace), which has already been mentioned. Many miracles that have occurred in Timor's revival have happened in the Zulu revival as well.
This is the report of how the Lord informed illiterate people of an upcoming event. In 1969 I was part of an international team visiting Timor. There were ten of us from overseas who were announced to be coming to Soe (Timor). Pastor Daniel told this to his congregation, but most of the teams who were busy with mission work in the jungle knew nothing about the planned conference, or about the visiting international team. There were no telephones, no mail, and no messengers in the jungle.
A few days prior to the conference, a team returned to Soe from a long absence. I got to know this team later. They reported back to Pastor Daniel and said,"The Lord has told us that there will be a conference in Soe with seven international men of God.” This team had no possibility of receiving any notice of this, and on top of that, all but one of that team were illiterate. Pastor Daniel answered,"There will be ten members in this international team, not seven.”
When the time came the team arrived. We were only seven, because three Japanese men were unable to get entrance visas. Pastor Daniel, who was also running a post office, had received a letter informing him of the arrival of ten. The illiterate team had no information whatsoever, but the Holy Spirit knew it better.
I experienced this personally, which is why this has a special significance for me. Such things happened over and over again among the Zulus; people were moved by the Holy Spirit to come to the place of a gathering. Later we will hear more about this.
This clearly illustrates that Jesus’ disciples hear their Lord's voice - this is not fanaticism.
Erlo knows of many similar instances, but also instances of false information. That is why he has a special task to carefully verify everything. As has already been mentioned, these visions are carefully noted down, to see if they come true or not.
At the beginning of the revival, Erlo was encouraged by Immanuel's vision to be cautious and watchful.
It was in the late autumn of 1966. Erlo was still at Mapumulo. Thirty brethren had gathered to pray for revival. As was already mentioned, they cleaned what had been a cowshed and whitewashed the walls. One evening the Christian brother Immanuel saw two words written on the whitewashed wall: "test” and"prove”. The next morning, Immanuel asked Erlo,"Where are the two words I saw last night on the wall -"test” and"prove”?”
Erlo said,"There were no words written. We had the walls whitewashed.” Immanuel insisted,"But I saw them.”
After this conversation, Erlo went home and opened his Bible. His eyes fell on 2 Corinthians 13:5"Examine...prove!” He realised that Immanuel's vision was genuine. This was the first vision seen in the revival. It was given to someone who doesn’t easily speak and was so shy that he couldn’t look into anybody's eyes. At the same time, this vision was a commission to test and examine all visions and dreams, to discern between the Holy Spirit and the evil spirits. This commission has been taken seriously through the years.
6. A Vision Confirmed by a Dream
Erlo was in Kranskop on a missionary outreach. There the Lord showed him through a vision that a young woman should come to the service. So a co-worker and Erlo left to pick up this woman. It was about thirty kilometres to her place. The last part of the way, a sharp incline, had to be gone on foot. The two arrived after midnight. There was still a light on in the house. After knocking, they were let in. They told the woman they had come at God's request to take her to the services at Kranskop.
The woman replied,"I knew that you were coming - I’ve been waiting.” Both brethren were astounded, and asked,"Who notified you? There is neither phone nor mail.” She responded,"The Lord Jesus informed me through a dream. I just woke up before midnight, packed my bags and organized the things for the small child.” The brethren wanted to know more, and asked,"How did the Lord speak to you?” She answered,"A man said to me, ‘Get up and prepare yourself. Someone is coming to take you to Kranskop.’”
After waking up before midnight, there were questions in her mind: What significance does this dream have? How strange, somebody picking her up at midnight. Although there were these doubts, she followed the instructions and indeed, here were the brethren.
All three went onto their knees and thanked the Lord for His wonderful leading and guidance.
This woman is now a richly blessed full-time mission worker, together with her husband.
7. Vision of a Zionist Pastor
About a hundred kilometres north of Durban, in the area of Chibini, lived a Zionist pastor by the name of Magubane. It has already been mentioned that the Zulu Zionists have nothing to do with the Zionists in Israel. This sect is a mixture of Christianity, heathenism and witchcraft.
Magubane informed his congregation that the Lord had revealed to him that a white man would come, who would show them the way of the truth. Magubane didn’t know who this white man was, but he searched for him. Some of the congregation advised him to go to Durban and look for him among the white missionaries. However, things didn’t get that far.
Three months later, Erlo and his team pitched their tent in Chibini. Many Zulus said,"This is the white man spoken of by Magubane. Let's hear what he has to say.”
Magubane was not present during the first days of the tent campaign. After he returned, he didn’t miss a service, and he came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. He made a radical decision, and burnt all his official church vestments and robes as well as the cross carried by the Zionist pastors. This cross was not a small thing attached to a chain; it measured 1.5 metres, was made out of wood and was carried on the shoulder. Magubane also destroyed the Nehushtan, a bronze image of a serpent (Numbers 21:8, 2 Kings 18:4). The"Rod of Moses” was burnt along with Zionist drums.
That was the end of Magubane's old life. He broke his ties with the sect, and surrendered his life to Jesus. He now works with Erlo and the team.
8. Vision of a Catholic
In the time I travelled with Erlo through the revival area, I recognised that after some rainy days, the weekends would have fine weather, making it easier for the people to come to the services. When it rains, the roads are often so muddy that many are unable to come. I was told by Erlo that for years he had noticed that the Lord gave them good weather for the meetings.
On one evangelistic tour things were different. In a certain place they had put up the tent when a terrible thunderstorm came up. The heathen Zulus are terrified of lightning. The team didn’t expect many to come, but as the crowds poured in, soaking wet and on foot, the brethren rejoiced. Many found the way of salvation during the preaching.
Among the converts there was a Catholic woman. Years before, in a dream, she had met the Lord. He had prophesied that one day white men would come and show her the way of life. She hated the whites, but she had such a deep desire for salvation, she came anyway. She was even told that on that day there would be a terrible thunderstorm. When she was there that evening, she remembered the dream precisely, and experienced its fulfilment.
Our God is so great! He has no lack of ways and means. His thoughts and plans are impenetrable and inscrutable.
9. Vision in Pelotas
Pastor Müller invited me for a lecture series in the city's Lutheran Church. By special request I began on Sunday to speak on the topic of spiritism. There are spiritists in the city. There was such a throng of visitors that the lectures had to be transmitted to a neighbouring hall. On the third day, people started coming for counselling. On Wednesday morning a Catholic man reported remarkable things. Here is his report:
“Three weeks before this lecture series began, I had a vision. I saw a cross, under which a man was preaching God's Word in a foreign language. Eventually this foreigner disappeared, and I heard the voice of Jesus say,"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.” During the following three weeks I forgot this dream. I didn’t remember it at all. But then somebody gave me an invitation to these lectures. Services in the Lutheran Church didn’t interest me. I’m a Catholic and a spiritist. But there was something that attracted me. The title on the pamphlet was,"Spiritism in the light of spiritual counselling”. This looked interesting to me, so I went to hear the lecture, and I was gripped by it. This was exactly what I had seen in my vision.”
Let me now continue. This Catholic and spiritist attended all lectures, and here he was with me, confessing his sins and turning his life over to Jesus.
This then is the counterpart to the previous vision of the Catholic lady.
Barely a reader not living in Brazil will have noticed that this didn’t happen in the Zulu revival. Pelotas is situated in southern Brazil. Geographically, both examples, Durban, South Africa and Porto Alegre, Brazil, lie on the 30th degree of latitude, 8,000 kilometres apart.
Behind both examples there is a secret. The Holy Spirit acts in the same way on different continents. Example 4 reports on Timor in Asia, example 7 in Africa, and this vision in Pelotas in South America. We have three very similar experiences on three different continents - it is the same God, the same Lord and the same Holy Spirit.
Whoever wants to bring these experiences down to nothing by criticizing may do so. But by doing so, they will have to make Erlo and myself out to be liars. However, this will not cause any martyr complexes in us at all.
10. Spiritual Counselling through a Dream
A young Zulu was attending a theological seminary near Pietermaritzburg. He intended to become a pastor. During his studies he fell in love with a girl. Soon she expected a child from him. Both of them concealed it until it became obvious. The young student was called to the principal and questioned. He admitted what he had done, and so he had to leave the seminary.
The desperate man sought a job and found one, only to lose it shortly afterwards. He borrowed money to keep alive, promising to pay it back soon. However, because he was unable to, he had to borrow money again. His debts just grew and grew. Now and then he would find a job, but shortly after he would lose it again. The girl's parents demanded that he marry the girl, but he couldn’t do so without money. The Zulus have the tradition whereby they have to pay for their bride. He was in such trouble that he even thought about committing suicide.
One day, about 50 kilometres from Mapumulo, he heard Christians singing hymns. He thought that perhaps God would have a solution for him. Late that night he found his way to Erlo, who was already in bed. He shared his problems with him. Erlo didn’t know what to say, so he just said,"There is no way that I can help you financially. I will pray that the Lord will show you a way out.”
Early the next morning he came back again, excusing himself for disturbing so early."I had a strange dream last night, after which I was unable to sleep,” he said."Perhaps God wants to show me a way out.”
This was his dream:
He was walking alone on a path, and his situation was troubling him as he was walking. So he prayed,"God, where are You? Won’t You help me?” The path he was walking along led straight to a stone wall. There was no opening in the wall through which to go.
He looked up to see whether he could climb over. It was unbelievable that his path was walled up like this. It seemed to him, though, that God was on the other side of the wall. He prayed, but his prayer didn’t penetrate the wall. God seemingly wanted to say something to him. At last he heard a voice in the dream:
“Do you know what this means? It is you that has built this wall; every stone was laid by you.”
He answered,"But I’m no bricklayer.”
The Lord answered,"Every stone is a sin that you have committed.”
That very moment, the biggest sin in his life came to his mind, and he said, "Lord Jesus, I should never have done that.” As he said this a huge rock fell out of the wall and fell down into a bottomless pit. Then the next sin was revealed to him, again he acknowledged it, and another stone toppled down. By and by a hole seemed to be created. He woke up and started to note down all the sins that came to his mind. With that note he came to Erlo early that morning, confessing before him all that he had done.
Erlo prayed with him. The young man was filled with great joy, as though he could fly.
The next day he came again. The Lord had revealed further sins which he made right in a third confession. This went on for the whole week; day after day the Lord showed him other sins. By the end of that week, everything was brought to light. The forgiveness of his sins changed his life and even his appearance.
After the purification of his life, God's blessing was on him. He got a job from a businessman he had never seen before. This man said to him,"If you have debts, I’ll pay them for you.” Three months later he was happily married to the mother of his child. His wife also found the Lord, and became a great blessing to others. After the first trading year, the owner of the business (who had six other businesses as well) said,"This man has earned us the biggest profit of all seven companies.”
This Christian, who had at first wanted to become a pastor, remained a businessman but preached the Gospel as well. He and his wife work together with Erlo.
During the counselling process, Erlo showed him that he had passed through two stages:
1. Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God - like a wall (Isaiah 59:1-2)
2. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered (Ps. 32)
11. Dreams of Warning
A young man by the name of Tkomu got converted. Soon after, he became lukewarm and idle in his Christian life. He was 18 years old, and attending a high school.
The Lord tried to warn him and straighten him out through a dream in which he saw a tremendous fire in the distance. Many people were standing in a queue. The fire came nearer and nearer, and some of those waiting were already burning. As the fire approached him, he lifted his hands, crying out,"Please wait, don’t throw me into the fire yet!” He was told,"Move to the side.” After that he awoke. This dream had no impact on him at all; he continued to cause a lot of heartache to the believers. He would keep new converts away from the Gospel and produce confusion.
The Lord tried again with a second dream. Again he saw people standing in a line waiting for judgment. One after another was grabbed by their legs and put head first into boiling water. When it was his turn, he begged,"Please forgive me. Give me some more time!” He was again moved to the side, after which he woke up.
Nothing changed with this imposter. He continued to be a stumbling-block for the believers. Then the Lord gave him a final dream, in which He warned him, "If you don’t completely surrender, you will end in darkness and in the fire.”
This dream troubled the young man greatly. To him it was like with Job, "Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions.” (Job 7:14) He knew that he was on the brink of great danger, but he wouldn’t repent. After his third dream he went to the school shop, where he got into an argument with a man. As the quarrel escalated, he drew his knife and tried to stab the man. The latter tore the knife out of his hand and stabbed him in return, so that the aggressor was seriously wounded. He fell to the ground and wailed loudly in pain for help, but those standing around did nothing. This sometimes happens with accidents. The young man bled to death. His time of grace had passed. He had cast the three warnings to the wind.
12. Joe Newland's Vision
I know this brother. At one time I was a guest in his home. We also travelled together through KwaZulu-Natal. He is a sober, down-to-earth Christian.
About seven years ago, this brother was in prayer before the Lord. Suddenly, in a vision, he saw a place in the mountains where people were looking towards heaven with raised hands, praising God. And the Lord was very pleased with them. Shortly before I myself visited the Transkei, the tent was pitched there for the first time for a campaign. Before they began to preach, a severe storm broke out. There was thunder and lightning, and the rain poured down. Joe had returned to his home. As the storm continued, Joe became uneasy about the tent. Perhaps the tent would be damaged or even be torn away. He had an inner urge to go back and check the tent, which was 45 kilometres away from his home.
On the way he arrived at a torrential river. The day before the team had observed how a horse was swept away. Usually this was a stream about two to three metres wide, but now its width was between eighty and a hundred metres. Joe didn’t risk driving through. He waded in to see if he could make it with the car, but the river was far too deep. While he was standing in one of the deepest spots, it was as if the heavens opened and somebody said,"The Lord has great things in mind with the tent.” Joe was so full of joy that he started singing,"Lord Jesus, kindle Your fire and let it burn.” While returning to his car he praised the Lord. But his way back was also cut off by the rising floods. Joe had no other choice but to wait in the car until the fierce current ebbed away, so that he could continue on to the tent.
The following days confirmed his vision. Hundreds of people surrendered their lives, and miracles happened. A blind woman regained her sight. The girl that guided this blind woman was also very sickly. When the blind woman recovered, she said to the girl,"Now I can see and don’t need your help any more, but go to KwaSizabantu to get prayed for.” So the previously blind lady, whose sight the Lord had restored, went home without the girl.
In the USA I once heard the following statement,"Our theology is life-related.” This can also be misunderstood.
For years I would preach against dreams, visions and other experiences, until I personally met up with the various revivals. I have become more careful and restrained with my judgment.
Although we have the written Word of God, the Lord Himself has chosen to speak to people through visions and dreams on special occasions.
The need for discernment remains one of the urgent issues among Christians today.
We know from the Scriptures that God often spoke directly to people, as in the following examples:
“The Lord had said unto Abram...” (Genesis 12:1)
“...God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, ‘Moses, Moses!’” (Exodus 3:4)
“The Lord called Samuel!” (1 Samuel 3:4)
“...The Lord said unto him (Saul), ‘Arise and go into the city...’” (Acts 9:4-6)
“There came a voice to him (Peter)...” (Acts 10:13)
Can the Lord still speak directly to people? There are different answers to this:
a) One American newspaper said,"God can do it, but He doesn’t.” It amazes me that the editor seems so sure of his case.
b) Many theologians agree that God's direct speaking ceased when the written Bible came into existence. They say that the formation of the canon of Holy Scripture was the end of God's direct speaking.
Of course there is some significance to this theological point of view and nothing needs to be added to the Scriptures. All that is written and sealed suffices completely for our life and salvation. That doesn’t change the fact that in reality God speaks directly to man, especially to the illiterate, and of course to others as well.
Men of God on the mission fields have also experienced this direct speaking. This book includes many examples of that kind. Let me show this by comparing this with other revival areas.
Years ago I visited Father Daniel in Madras. God used this man, who is now in eternity, exceedingly. Father Daniel granted me a lot of time and many days to record his experiences. In his early days as a Christian he was greatly troubled because God doesn’t speak to us as in the days of Abraham. This drove him to repentance, and his entreaties and prayers were heard. God granted him this way of speaking to him directly. Besides the examples I heard from him, let me relate one of the examples I heard from his son, Joshua.
Joshua was driving his parents across the country. His parents were in the back seat. His father was reading the Scriptures when he suddenly said, "Joshua, the Lord has told me there is danger ahead.” The son thought logically,"Why should there be any danger here? There's no traffic, lovely tar roads, and it's absolutely straight.” So he didn’t reduce his speed. As they approached a slight bend, there was, humanly speaking, nothing risky. However, Joshua lost control of the vehicle and it turned over several times. Nothing happened to his parents, but Joshua had to go to hospital with his injuries. The car was a wreck."The Lord told me…” was not fanciful, but the reality of God speaking.
There are few instances of God speaking directly on the European continent. Westerners, by and large, are so haughty and fixed in their views that they don’t know what it is to have an open attitude towards the Scriptures. And yet we do experience this among us. Years ago, I reported about Mother Knies, and how she often experienced such things. It would be beyond the scope of this book to retell her experiences.
But let me mention just one incident concerning my best friend, Gottlieb Weiland. He is already with the Lord. In the early 1930's, as a young evangelist, he received a message from the Lord,"Take your bicycle and ride up the valley.” He had no idea where to go, but obeyed, not even knowing what was to be done. As he was passing the different villages, he would repeatedly ask the Lord,"Lord, do You want me here?” In a certain village, the Lord showed him a house which he was to enter. He found a disturbed and haggard woman who was absolutely flabbergasted to receive a visit. During the counselling that followed, it became clear that she had been about to commit suicide by hanging. When Weiland had entered the house, she had quickly hidden the rope behind the curtain. While they were speaking, she got it and showed it to her visitor. Through God speaking directly, the suicide was averted; it is hard to think of what would have happened if Weiland hadn’t obeyed.
1. Inspired by the Holy Spirit
In Luke 2:27 it says,"And he (Simeon) came by the Holy Spirit into the temple.” This means that Simeon was a person to whom the triune God could speak.
The Apostle Paul and his co-workers were also among those who arranged their travelling plans according to the will of God. In Acts 16:6-7, the Holy Spirit cut across their plans twice.
In the Zulu revival many similar things have occurred. It would happen that two hundred or more would gather in one place without anyone being called. They would wait until Erlo or his co-workers would bring the Gospel. The people who were led to these gatherings were as if they had been"selected” by the Holy Spirit, ready to receive the Gospel. Many were converted, and numerous sick people were healed.
This also happened in Madlala. People from distant places, sometimes as much as twenty-five kilometres away, came by foot to the meetings without being invited or called. The same thing occurred at Erlo's hospital. The Lord sends people, not randomly, but"by choice”.
Erlo explains,"At certain times many people who are mentally ill come. Many are very dangerous and need to be watched day and night. At times they run away and we have to search for them - sometimes for hours or days. Two to three days later they are healed and in their right mind.”
There is not even one psychiatric clinic that I know of where mentally ill people get healed after a couple of days. Erlo continues,"It is obvious that God is at work with His planning. The mentally ill come from four different directions, some travel over hundreds of kilometres. They are often brought by their relatives, without asking, to KwaSizabantu. After the mentally ill have received help and have left for home, the drunkards come, then those possessed with evil spirits. One sees the Lord sending them in groups, making the work so much easier for us.” The people who come seeking help have no means at all of communicating. No phones or letters, just the Holy Spirit operating in waves.
The youth work started similarly. One day a girl called from Durban, asking if she could come. Durban, of course, is a large city with telephone communications. The following day more young people arrived. By the end of the week there were eighty children, for whom the Lord did marvellous things. During the school holidays another two hundred came. The following holidays four hundred came. Then more than a thousand came.
By way of comparison, let us take another example from the Timor (Indonesia) revival. The team's itinerary was determined by the Lord. He also made known the destinations and the times of departure. There was no notice given in advance for the locations or villages which were to be visited. As the teams arrived in these jungle locations, they would find all the villagers assembled, called together by the Lord.
The following is a special example:
One of the teams was on its way to a remote village. As they approached their destination, from far away they could see a light in the church. There were no electrical lights - they used petroleum lamps. (In some cases the gatherings were lit up by a supernatural light from the Lord). When they arrived they were amazed to see the church packed with people. The team asked, "But who informed you of our coming?” The congregation replied,"We heard your trumpets on the mountain, so we gathered in the church and were waiting for you. Where are your instruments?” The team replied,"We don’t have any trumpets to call you all together.”
There was great amazement on both sides. Nowhere in the whole region are there any trumpets. The jungle inhabitants are very poor, much poorer than the Zulus. So the Lord Himself or His angels gathered the people.
It is good for us that we western people, who are contaminated by rationalism, are confronted with such examples. If we are honest and not restricted by man-made theology, there's a chance that our Christian faith can reach new heights.
2. A Midnight Mission
I received a report from Erlo once about being called out at night. He relates it as follows:"One night the Lord said to me, ‘Go to Z. He needs you.’ The elderly man concerned lives about 145 kilometres from here. I couldn’t understand what this call-out was about. People are asleep at midnight. In spite of these thoughts, I left immediately. Around one in the morning I still had about one-and-a-half kilometres to go. Here I met him in his car with an engine breakdown. He only has one leg, and here he was, stuck on the road in a deep gorge, with a steep hill in front of him, an impossible situation on a very cold night. This heathen man asked me, ‘Where do you come from?’ I answered, ‘The Lord Jesus has sent me to help you.’ I had arrived on time. The engine had just given up the ghost and wasn’t able to be restarted, so I took the disabled man home. Here we sat together - this formerly hard and indifferent man and I. But now he was prepared for the Gospel. He just said, ‘God is indescribably almighty; I cannot continue living without Him. The Gospel you are preaching is the true one; there is nothing more that I desire to have than to possess this life.’ That night the angels rejoiced because of a sinner that repented.”
3. Spiritual Counselling through the Information of the Holy Spirit
Two Zulu ladies living in a large city had to make things right with people they had wronged. They prayed, because their consciences would give them no rest. One day both of them said to Martin Stegen,"The Lord has let us know that we will find the people concerned.” They returned rejoicing in the evening and reported to Martin,"It was exactly as the Lord had foreseen. We found the people concerned and were able to settle the matter.”
Erlo and his co-workers have often experienced that they, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, had to carry out commissions and counsel people.
One day the exalted Lord told Erlo to send for a seventeen-year-old girl who lived 130 kilometres away from KwaSizabantu, in order to show her the way to Jesus. This girl led a horribly sinful life.
Some co-workers left immediately and called on this girl, telling her what God wanted her to do.
She almost fainted when she heard this, but agreed immediately to go with them to KwaSizabantu. After thoroughly cleansing her life, she found the Lord and put her life in order.
It can be seen how accurately God had planned these circumstances, by the fact that before the arrival of the co-workers, this girl had just arranged to flee to Johannesburg. The Lord had thwarted these plans at the right moment.
Today it is obvious, through the fruit of her life, that she is a chosen vessel of the Lord. She is in full-time ministry, and has led many to Jesus.
The following example is similar. The Lord revealed to the team that there were three people who had to make their lives right with God. They would be brought by the Lord to attend the Sunday morning service. The first one had a job in Durban, 145 kilometres from KwaSizabantu. The second one was a teacher, 60 kilometres away in a different direction. The third woman lived 30 kilometres to the northeast of KwaSizabantu. It was not known whether these three women had ever been together in a service at the same time.
Erlo wasn’t able to preach on that Sunday because he was somewhere else, so he told the co-workers,"When these women come, please tell them to wait for my return. I want to speak to them.”
And indeed, all three of them were there on that Sunday. Although they were in a hurry, they waited until evening, when Erlo returned. All three were claimed by the Lord.
4. The Lord Prevents a Marriage
A girl got converted before her marriage. According to the Zulu culture a price of eleven cows was to be paid for the bride by the future husband, apart from other presents. There were still three cows to be paid. After this the marriage would take place. Through her conversion there seemed to be some uncertainty. The man wanting to marry her was a heathen, and she was to be his second wife. She prayed to the Lord about this, asking,"Lord, is it Your will for me to marry him?” The answer came categorically,"No!”
The question was, would this girl understand the voice of the Lord? Or would she be like many young people that have fallen in love and are deaf to the Lord's voice, just listening to their own desires?
This girl went to see a counsellor and said,"The Lord does not agree with this marriage.” She even declared herself willing to pay back the eight cows. The will of God was more important to her than marriage. She had already started with the repayments. It will take her years to pay back the whole amount.
After seeing the counsellor, she spoke to her brothers and to her fiancé and informed them about her decision. The disappointed ex-fiancé was furious and went to her heathen brothers, telling them that he didn’t agree with her. Her brothers just said,"We’ve got nothing at all to do with our sister's decision. You can do as you wish.”
The new convert was determined at all costs to follow the Lord, even if it cost her life. From that time on, she was in continuous danger of being ambushed by her ex-fiancé and his people. But the Lord kept His hand over her. Daily this faithful Christian would commit herself to the protection of the Lord. In the mornings and evenings she had to walk a long way to work and back.
The girl's ex-fiancé was livid and threatened,"If only I had a gun, I would execute all the Christians on the spot.” He repeatedly threatened the Christians.
In the end, this was what happened to him:
He was a security guard for a business in Johannesburg. One night thieves broke into the factory and shot him, severely injuring him. After medical treatment, he recovered from his injuries. This was a warning to him, but he did not heed it at all. He continued with his hatred towards the Christians.
The hand of the Lord hit him a second time. He was at another place in Johannesburg, when he was ambushed and stabbed. The stab wounds were in exactly the same place where he had been shot previously. They moved him from one hospital to another, but in 1976 he died in the Edendale Hospital at Pietermaritzburg.
The son's heathen father asked Erlo to take the funeral. Erlo asked,"But why do you, a heathen, ask a Christian to take the funeral?” The father answered,"This is our third death in a year. Therefore I ask you to plead with God to bring these disasters in our lives to an end.”
The wife of the deceased didn’t agree to this. Being a heathen, she wanted a heathen funeral. So she asked that her husband's corpse be taken out of the coffin and laid in a cloth or skin. This is a heathen tradition. The heathen pall-bearers refused, however, because the man had been dead for three days, and had started decaying in the African heat.
The funeral was held at Tugela Ferry, a place where many things have happened that have been recorded in this book. Many true Christians live there. The funeral was attended by a good number of people, providing a wonderful opportunity to spread the Gospel.
This incident of death has an anecdote. We have already heard about the car at Tugela Ferry which was named"Noah's Ark”. After the death of this man, four men and three women set off to get the corpse. Because the seriously injured man had been taken to different hospitals, there was some misunderstanding as to where he was. So instead of going to Pietermaritzburg, they went to Durban. On their way back to Pietermaritzburg, while still in Durban, they had a breakdown."Noah's Ark” just stood still, unable to start. A mechanic came, but was not able to repair the vehicle, so the seven had to stay over in Durban.
The next morning an Indian man came, who was known as a good car mechanic. He checked everything and said,"The car is all right, it should run.” But"Noah's Ark” wouldn’t move.
Among the seven there was a Christian woman. The unbelieving father, Zondo, said,"Don’t you know that this car only starts with prayer?” All seven, six heathens and a Christian, knelt down beside the road and prayed to God for "Noah's Ark”. After the prayer the driver said,"Let us try again.” The engine started immediately. During the next 210 kilometres that they had to travel there was no further breakdown.
Thus, many things happened just because this engaged girl listened to the voice of the exalted Lord. Many heathens who heard all that had happened, from the engagement to the funeral, began to understand. To hear and obey the voice of the"Speaking Lord” is an essential lesson in the life of a Christian.
In Psalm 4:3 King David confesses,"Remember that the Lord has chosen me to be His own, and hears me when I call to Him.” The precondition is that we allow ourselves to be led. Even the Apostle Peter had to learn to be led. We need to remember what Jesus said in John 21:18,"I tell you the truth: when you were young you used to fasten your belt and go anywhere you wanted to; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands and someone else will tie them and take you where you do not want to go.”
Some examples of guidance in the Zulu revival:
1. The Tobacco Story
A co-worker told me his story. In 1951/52 he was a salesman in a shop in the Matatiele District near the Drakensberg. One day, an elderly man entered the shop and bought himself tobacco for 15 cents. While this customer was in the shop, the salesman sold something else to another customer. After coming back to this elderly man, he asked for the 15 cents again. The elderly man defended himself, saying,"I’ve paid for the tobacco.” The young salesman denied this, grabbed him by the collar and said,"You’re not leaving until you’ve paid.” The customer had no choice but to pay for the tobacco a second time.
The narrator has been a Lutheran from childhood because of his parents. But he didn’t have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. One day he met a pastor who showed him the way of salvation. Through this, an essential step was taken.
Years later, the Lord made it clear to him that this tobacco matter had to be put right. He remained stubborn, and said,"Lord how can I drive 800 kilometres, using 30 rand for petrol, to pay back 15 cents? Besides, I have no clue who that customer was.” But his conscience just wouldn’t let him rest.
Obeying his inner urging, he set out on his way. While he was travelling, he remembered a matter of dishonesty concerning some apples. He decided to put that right as well.
His first mission led him to a neighbouring shop to settle the apple incident. He asked the salesman about the man to whom he had sold tobacco, and told him the whole story. The salesman could hardly believe that after so long, someone would come to make such a small thing right again. It was also a good opportunity to testify to the salesman about the Lord Jesus.
Then the co-worker looked for the shop in which he had worked such a long time ago. Here he found out about the tobacco buyer. He was told that he had died, but that his son was living nearby.
After that, he saw the tribal chief to find out in which village the son was living. The chief informed him that he himself had been present when he compelled the man to pay again. The co-worker explained to the chief that he had come to sort this out, because he had found Jesus. He handed the chief the 15 cents plus all the interest, because the son of the tobacco buyer wasn’t available, asking him to give it to the son.
On his way back, the co-worker went back to the neighbouring business and told the salesman how the matter had been solved.
Hearing this confession, the conscience of the salesman was touched, and he related that he had recently said to the Lord in prayer,"Lord, I want to fully belong to You.” The Lord had then replied that He would show him the way. This had happened repeatedly. Now he knew what to do, and was counselled by Erlo's co-worker.
After that blessed day, this Christian co-worker went to see an old friend of his, because the journey back was too long to go on on the same day. There he was phoned by the salesman from the neighbouring business again,"Can I see you again tomorrow, the Lord has shown me that there is more to be put right.” The next morning he confessed a second time and asked finally,"Can I give you a gift?”"Not to me” the co-worker said,"But if the Lord wants you to give something for the mission, you may gladly do so.”
The salesman gave him a check of over 500 rand. The co-worker remembered quarrelling with the Lord about thirty rand, and here he was going home with 500 rand.
The 15 cents had brought in high interest on both sides, and in addition to that, three men had been confronted with the Gospel.
David says in Psalm 23:3,"… He leads me in paths of righteousness for His names’ sake.”
2. The Half-Crown
Since the revival among the Zulus began, even the marriage customs have changed. The heathen Zulu's marriage simply begins by him visiting the girl he loves at night. The official marriage happens later when the bridal price has been paid.
The Zulu believers have changed this by being a good example and testimony. When a Christian young man wants to marry, he will first go to his counsellor and share this. The counsellor then goes to the girl on behalf of the young man to request her hand in marriage. The girl then prays about it and answers through the counsellor. There is no contact between them. They keep themselves pure until their wedding day. Here is an example:
A Christian man came to Erlo and said that he would like to marry a certain Christian young lady. He asked Erlo to speak to herl. Erlo answered by saying that he should ask the Lord again if this really was His will.
After some days, he returned and said,"I really have the impression that the Lord wants me to marry her.” So Erlo went to her and asked her if she agreed to marry him. She said,"I have no ambition to marry at all; I want to remain in full-time ministry.” Erlo said to her,"What you plan to do does not count. God's will is what matters. Pray and find out what He says.”
She asked the Lord for a clear sign and His guidance in the matter. She received an answer through a dream. In the dream she found herself in a strange room with a table in the middle. On the table there was a glass bowl. A child entered the room and gave her a half-crown. This was a common coin at that time. Then a man entered the room and put another half-crown into the bowl without looking at her. The child then told her,"Put your half-crown into the bowl as well.” She obeyed and saw how both half-crowns became a whole crown. After this happened, the child disappeared. Through this, she received her answer. They are co-workers together.
3. Marriage against her Will
Erlo came to a Zulu Christian woman, Grema, and told her that a young man wanted to marry her. He asked Grema to pray about it so that she could give him her answer. Now Grema's ideas about marriage were a bit eccentric. She said, "This man must have fallen if he is busy thinking about getting married. A Christian who is burning for the Lord doesn’t waste thoughts on marriage.” Erlo had to correct this point of view.
After some time, Erlo came and asked her if she had prayed about the matter. Grema answered as the first time,"No, I’ve got nothing to do with it. I’m not wasting any time on marriage.” Erlo asked if she knew how God could answer. She said,"Through His Word, or through a dream or a vision or directly to our hearts.”
After Erlo's second visit, she prayed earnestly, for the first time, concerning marriage. The Lord answered her by telling her to open the Bible. Grema opened at Acts 10, and read on to verse 15:"What God has made clean, you do not call common.” Now she realised that she had despised marriage in an overly pious way. The Lord made it clear to her,"God has given marriage, and you call it something unclean.” Grema understood the lesson.
After this spiritual correction, she went to Erlo and brought him her answer. The couple married and received four children from God. The names of the children all have a meaning, according to the custom of the Zulus:
The first child is called Mfihlo, meaning"secret” or"mystery”.
The second, Nontando, meaning"the will of God”.
The third, Nhlakanipho, meaning"wisdom”.
The fourth, Kwenzaokwenkosi, meaning"it is from the Lord”.
Both parents are in the Lord's service.
The husband is one of the team of co-workers and his wife works in the hospital. Both live wonderfully together and enjoy their work in the ministry. She is glad that she was obedient, although her husband is often away. Both of them do their work in faith that the Lord will provide. It sometimes happened that there was little or no food. She would then pray to the Lord and He would provide for both her and her children. The marriage was brought about by the leading of the Lord, but Grema had to learn to follow His guiding.
4. Unwillingness to Marry
A co-worker came to Erlo and said that he had the assurance that he was to marry a certain young lady. Erlo sent him away again and told him to pray for full certainty. The young man came back and said that he was sure about the matter.
So Erlo went to her, but she wasn’t interested in marriage at all. Erlo later came again and asked her if she had the assurance as to what to do. She answered,"No!” She had not taken the matter seriously. After Erlo's second visit, she prayed earnestly to the Lord about it.
The Lord answered through a dream. The young lady saw the man standing in a certain place. The next day she came to that place and saw him in reality standing there. But she wanted to be very sure, so she asked the Lord for a second sign. He granted this to her. In a vision she saw a white dove standing on a crystal glass, and a voice said to her,"Be very careful with this dove, it belongs to you. Don’t you see that because of your stubbornness and your unwillingness, it is already injured on the foot?” There were many Bibles next to the dove. When she heard and saw this, she knew that it was God's will to marry the man. The Bibles were a sign that the man was preaching the Gospel. Not only was this a happy marriage, but a great blessing in the Kingdom of God as well.
5. Difficulties with Polygamy
A heathen had become a Christian, but he had two wives. He had married the first wife because of his parents; his second wife was his own choice and his first love. He gave all the money that he earned to his favourite wife. The first wife didn’t receive anything at all and was totally neglected. He lived only with his second wife in a real marriage relationship. So now that this heathen man, who had been a strong opponent of the Gospel, had turned to the Lord, he asked the Lord what he should do. Would he have to send his second wife away, the one he dearly loved?
Such marital problems have been solved differently on the mission fields. In Liberia I got to know a man who had been a heathen and become a Christian. He kept his main wife, gave the other three wives money and sent them away. In New Guinea and the South Sea Islands, I have come across other cases where overzealous missionaries insisted that the new converts should send their other wives away and keep just one. This has proven to be a hindrance to the Gospel, because those sent away would say,"Christianity is a brutal religion, it robs us of our husbands, our children, our homes and our livelihood. Did the missionaries come for that purpose?”
Knowing this, I asked Erlo how this problem was solved among the Zulus. Would the new converts have to send away their wives, except for one? Erlo answered as follows,"We do not have any laws concerning this. We tell the husbands to ask the Lord what His will is.” Erlo added,"I haven’t heard of any that were sent away. Of course, when a Zulu girl gets converted, the Lord doesn’t allow her to marry a heathen.” I have already reported such a case.
Now back to the man with two wives who had become a Christian. He sincerely asked the Lord what His will was. What happened? He went to his first wife, whom he had totally neglected, and asked her for forgiveness. He gave both wives the same amount of money and he lived in a real marriage relationship with both of them, not only with the one.
This made a great impression in his area, and it was said,"This is the true Gospel, because it brings fairness to the neglected one.”
6. Well-meant Zeal - but still Wrong
Two young Zulu women came to believe in Christ. They were in the beginning of their first love, and burning for their Lord. When their husbands returned from their jobs in Durban, they both declared,"We have found Jesus, and for that reason we are not allowed to brew any beer any more.” It is a common thing among the Zulu women to brew beer for their men and their friends. However, the Zulu Christians don’t do this.
Both husbands were outraged, and wouldn’t accept it. The women defended themselves against their husbands with the Bible verse,"… we ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)
The disappointed men went back to Durban and their reply to their wives was to stop giving them money. They wouldn’t come home on weekends either, but stayed in Durban with other women.
Erlo heard of this and asked the two wives to come and speak to him. He told the two hotheads,"The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of peace and not of conflict. Your behaviour has caused your men to commit adultery, and to become more radically opposed to the Gospel. Go back to your husbands and ask for forgiveness. Be submissive to them and pray that the Lord will set them free.”
Both women did just this, and the men were deeply moved. The one man said to his wife that she would never have to brew beer for him again. The other one said,"Just brew beer for me, and not for my friends and visitors.”
The different attitudes of the men also brought about different results. The first man comes to the services, whereas the other one became paralyzed, and remains so to this day.
It is the wise who win souls, but this doesn’t mean that godly wisdom leads to compromise. If these women had initially asked to be led by the Lord, a lot of distress and strife could have been avoided.
God's leading demands quietness.
Where our foot still wants to go,
The will of our everlasting Father,
Is exchanged for our own.
Deep and godly matters,
Do not allow anything,
That man would force by taking it by storm,
But rather lead to His peace.
To allow the Lord to lead and guide in every situation is almost a greater decision than that made at conversion. For me it wasn’t as hard to turn to the Lord, comparatively speaking, as to be ready to be led by Him at all times. In this I’m still a beginner. I mention this with deep sorrow.
7. Guidance in Prayer Life
As I was writing this book, a letter from Erlo reached me. In it he wrote some very important things that give food for thought."When we speak about prayer we should know that the Lord Jesus put ‘watching’ first. He said, ‘Watch and pray!’ There are Christians who have prayed themselves to a standstill. The enemy can enter into prayer and deviate people from that which is essential. One can go to destruction on one's knees.”
There are forms of prayer which do not draw us near to the Lord, but away from Him. Jesus labelled as hypocrisy the prayers of the Pharisees. Hypocritical and thoughtless prayers, such as those of the Pharisees, haven’t died out yet. I am reluctant to name all the different forms of unavailing prayer.
In the Zulu revival there are many Christians whose whole lives are lived in an attitude of prayer. They pray ceaselessly, day and night. Not on certain occasions or at certain times, but always when the Holy Spirit constrains them. Everything else is of secondary value, and in the background.
Not only do adults have this prayerful attitude, but it is also found among the children. The Lord often revealed Himself to an eleven-year-old and showed her the state of several Christians and even churches. She would then pray fervently that God would have mercy on them - and the Lord answered her prayers!
It also happens that the Holy Spirit moves Christians to withdraw into periods of quietness. They pray for a day or more, sometimes even a week, until God answers.
I know of such examples in missionary history. Eva von Tiele-Winckler once prayed for ten days for a certain Chinese province, without having any background information. Later she learnt that a mission station was being threatened by gangs of robbers during this time, but the missionaries were spared.
Erlo wrote some more things in the letter."There are people of prayer here that will not be prevented from interceding, even when an important visit is at hand. The visitors have to wait until the time of prayer is over. I know of instances when visitors came early in the morning and had to wait the whole day. If the people praying were told that visitors were waiting, they would respond, ‘We have an appointment with God.’ Fellowship with the Lord is more important to them than any person or matter. Visitors that are able to wait patiently are richly blessed by the Lord. People who find other things more important or urgent, lose that blessing. This life with the Lord cannot be compared with anything else.”
In the same letter Erlo gave a very clear example of such a prayer life. "A pastor came to us from a place about 145 kilometres from KwaSizabantu. His desire and longing was to live a life filled with the fire and Spirit of God. We went to a woman, a Mrs B., who I know has a genuine life of prayer. It wasn’t possible to reach the house by car, so we had to walk the last part. When we arrived at her house and were standing at her door, we heard Mrs B. praying. We heard her mentioning the pastor's name and mine, praying that the Lord would grant us what we need. She didn’t know of our coming or that this pastor was with me. She had already been in prayer for several hours, because the Lord had laid a burden on her heart to intercede for us.”
The psalmists often speak about the guidance of God. David says in Psalm 31:3,"For You are my rock and fortress; and for Your name's sake lead me and guide me.” Also in the well-known Psalm 23, verses 2-3, which have already been mentioned,"…He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.” He leads me! This has to be learned: to allow oneself to be led in total obedience and sensitivity to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, to observe and not to miss His guidance.
THE PROTECTING LORD
Consecrated children of God are always under fire:
-Satan will never allow them to rest.
-Nominal Christians provide heartache and distress for them.
-Cold orthodox people despise them.
-Rationalists ridicule them.
-Lukewarm Christians regard them as eccentric.
-Hamstrung theologians call them a sect.
Opposition and attacks serve to strengthen our faith, and help us to hold more firmly to the Lord.
Men in the Scriptures also suffered persecution. This is why we have so many wonderful psalms that mention God's protection. Remember Psalm 46, which inspired Martin Luther to write the great Reformation hymn,"A mighty fortress is our God.”
Or let us meditate on Psalm 91, which has often been a tremendous help to me:"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust. Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence ... Because thou hast made the Lord thy refuge, even the most High, thy habitation …”
Erlo, his team and the whole revival have often experienced a lot of opposition, but also the help and protection of God.
1. Protected from Church Authorities
In almost every revival there has been opposition from the Churches and the pastors. Often, after some years, this antagonism falls away, and the revival begins to penetrate the Church. This has often been to the advantage of the Church, but has adversely affected the revival. I have many examples that I could quote. Here is one that I experienced myself:
In the 1930's there was a minor revival in the area of the Pfinz valley and the district of Hardt, through the evangelist Gottlieb Weiland. The pastors and ministers of the different Churches were more or less in opposition, railing against the fellowship of Christians who had come to the Lord through the evangelisations - calling them fanatics. One pastor and his wife especially found no good in them at all. Then came the time of the Third Reich (Hitler's era), and nobody was courageous enough to accept the office of a church elder. Then the brethren of the fellowship were considered good enough to fill the gaps. One of them was my father. This was, outwardly at least, the end of the opposition to the Christian fellowship.
In the beginning Erlo and his team also experienced the opposition of the Churches. In my presence, an ecclesiastical lecturer in South Africa described Erlo's group as the worst form of sect. This lecturer has not reversed what he said to this day. When this book has been printed he will receive a copy of it.
Believers and Christian workers who have never confessed their sins will always resist confession.
Christians who do not reveal the power of God in their lives will always try to criticize it in others who do.
Ministers and pastors who see that their members are leaving because they are receiving stones instead of bread are full of envy, sowing demonic seeds of verbal abuse. Such people do not realise that they are tools in the devil's hands.
Many believers cannot grasp what the words of Jesus mean where He says in Matthew 12:36,"But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof on the day of judgment”.
2. Protected from Secular Authorities
Erlo wanted to preach in a certain district, K. He wasn’t allowed to preach or put his foot in the place by order of the court. So he preached outside the forbidden district. Only two people came, which was a discouraging experience. There seemed to be no hope that something could happen there. All the inhabitants were against this evangelisation. In his distress, Erlo turned to the Lord and asked Him for a word from the Bible. He received this promise: "To you and your seed will I give this land.” This greatly encouraged him. On the Sunday following, he listened to a radio message on Psalm 2:"Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing?”
Erlo was comforted and intrigued to know how the Lord would change the situation. Shortly afterwards, a man who wanted Erlo to conduct his funeral died, and Erlo was asked to bring the message. But Erlo responded that he couldn’t do so unless he was given permission by the authorities. The local authorities passed this on to the higher administrative office which had forbidden Erlo to preach. They had no choice but to respect the will of the deceased and that of his relatives, giving Erlo the permission for just one day of preaching. Days later, another man, who had made the same request, died. The whole procedure started all over again. Again Erlo received permission for just one day. This rare thing happened so often that within a short period of time ten people passed away who all had made the same request. In this way God overcame the ban, and made it possible that the Gospel was preached. His blessings flowed and many were saved.
3. Protected from Non-believing Relatives
In the prophet Micah 7:6 we read,"…a man's enemies are the men of his own house”. The New Testament adds the following words in Matthew 10:21,"And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child, and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.” The Gospel discerns the spirits, and this is the case in every nation.
As I was writing this chapter a minister from a church in Mosbach asked for prayer concerning a Catholic girl. The sixteen-year-old Birgit was converted and wanted to be baptized in an evangelical congregation. Her Catholic parents put her under house arrest and prevented her from going to the service and being baptized. They let her pastor know that in the age of ecumenicism there is no such thing as enticing someone (to another Church). This answer reveals the character of both ecumenicism and the Catholic Church. Neither knows what conversion and rebirth are.
Now to a case regarding a Zulu Christian, a seventeen-year-old girl, who had attended a Christian church since 1968, but hadn’t received anything spiritually. One day she was invited to meetings Erlo was holding, and found Jesus. Her mother and both her older brothers, however, wouldn’t allow her to attend the services. She would often get beaten. One day one brother whipped her with a hippo lash and the other with a cane, to drive her Christian faith out of her. She was so badly treated that she still has scars. Her mother even tried to strangle her. Though greatly tested and distressed, she said,"I will not forsake Jesus.” Her mother challenged her to choose either to forsake the services, or to leave home. Again she remained faithful to her Lord. Her mother tore the clothes from her body and chased her out of the house naked.
She fled to a neighbouring house, but came back for a loin cloth. As she said farewell the second time, she said,"Even though you hate me, I will keep on loving you.” So she left her village and her home for a long time.
After this her mother fell ill. The daughter found a place of work, and with the money she earned she supported her family for months, winning them through this. Her mother is now a Christian, and one of her brothers attends the services.
This young Christian overcame hatred with love.
4. Protected from their Husbands
Two women from Tugela Ferry turned to the Lord. Their husbands, working in Johannesburg, were informed. Both of them reacted with threats."When we come home we will beat the faith of the whites out of you.” The women were afraid and asked their counsellor what to do. He encouraged them not to be fearful, Jesus would protect them.
When the men came home to Tugela Ferry, they encountered transformed women who honoured them - they were not as they had been before. They treated their husbands as kings. Previously, they would bring cold water for their feet, now they brought warm water. The men's anger disappeared very quickly.
Their booze-drinking friends asked them,"Have you driven the ‘white’ religion out of them? Have you beaten them?” But the men answered,"If the God of the whites can do something like that in women's lives, then we have nothing against it.” And they told of the great changes that had come about in their wives.
When they were about to return to Johannesburg they said,"We do not forbid you to go to church. You may continue with this living Gospel.” Not only their husbands, but their parents as well, were gripped by the Gospel through this change in their lives.
A heathen woman came to believe in Jesus after the loss of her first child, then gave birth to another child. When her second child was three years old, her husband demanded that she convert back to heathendom. He forbade her to attend the services and fellowships with Christians. Then he brought idols and offerings for the ancestors, so that the spirit of the forefathers would bless their child. Then he clothed the child in the heathen way, with skins. Two months later the child died. The heathen father was so shocked that he allowed his wife to attend the services again.
They then had three more children, who are all healthy.
5. Protected from Gangsters
A Zulu woman by the name of Esther lived in Johannesburg and heard the Gospel for the first time. However, she didn’t make things right in her life, because she worked together with gangsters that smuggled diamonds. She was their translator. They had the following trick: they would sell diamonds to someone, but as soon as they had the money in their hands, they would take off with the money and the diamonds. And in the same way they would cheat the next person.
One of Erlo's co-workers showed Esther the way to Jesus. Esther said that if she quit the gang they would murder her, because she knew too much. The co-worker encouraged her and said to her,"Esther, rather be shot than forsake the Lord”. Esther then dared to make this difficult decision, looking to the Lord.
The gangster boss came to her the following day, and she was scared to death. But he was very pleasant, and said to her,"Esther, we know that you do not want to work with us any more. Just hand me all the documents!” Esther gave him the documents without a word, and he then disappeared, not harming a hair on her head.
Her husband's story is intriguing in itself. Esther's conversion also affected him. He had previously had a lung disease. After being ill for seven years, he went to see a doctor, who had him X-rayed. He was told that his lungs were free of tuberculosis.
Now he experienced a second miracle. As it had been with his wife, he was also involved in crooked business. He was a drug dealer with a long record of convictions. When he was caught again, the magistrate took out his long list of previous convictions, and contemplated it for a long time. At length he tore up the considerable file, and said to Jim,"Let us begin from scratch again.” He didn’t have to go to jail. He only had to pay a fine.
6. Protected against Magic
In a place called Hammersdale, between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, a young man fell in love with a girl who had a witchdoctor as a boyfriend. This witchdoctor put a curse on his rival so that he became sick. Although the bewitched lover was a heathen, he cried to the Lord.
The Lord answered him in a dream and said to him,"There is a place between Kranskop and Mapumulo where you can receive help.”
The heathen man came to the police station at Kranskop and asked where KwaSizabantu was. He was shown the way, and there he found the way to salvation. He confessed his sins and thereby placed himself under Jesus’ protection; so the witchdoctor was rendered powerless.
7. The Daughters-in-Law
A heathen woman from a big kraal with 18 huts came to the Lord. Her life was so changed, that after some time both her daughters-in-law came to her and said,"Your life and faith appeals to us. We would also like to become Christians.”
Both daughters-in-law belonged to one man, the son of this converted heathen mother. After hearing of their conversion he was furious. He wrote to his mother that he would come and drive this new faith out of them. If they wouldn’t stop with it, he would chase them away.
After receiving this letter, the mother went to KwaSizabantu to fast and pray for three weeks. After this period she went home and said,"God has heard my prayer.” When her son came home from Johannesburg, his anger had abated. He told them,"After writing this letter, my hatred against the Christians disappeared. I now have a different attitude.”
He gave his mother and both wives forty rand each and sent them to town. "Go and buy yourselves some clothes,” he said."I also want you to continue with this new Gospel, and you are not allowed to participate in heathen feasts any more. If you are not faithful to this new Gospel, I will chase you away.”
This man later came to KwaSizabantu with both his wives and surrendered his life to Jesus. He also asked Erlo to intercede in prayer for his wives, because they always had miscarriages. Shortly afterwards one of them received a big, healthy and strong child. The other one hasn’t received a child yet. This is a very recent report.
Since his conversion, this man has supported his wives and mother very well, and gives them more money than ever before. The whole family will be coming to services in April 1976 for preparation for baptism. They intend to be baptized soon.
So the Lord has made a"Paul” out of a"Saul”.
8. The Angels are Watching
In Hebrews 1:14 it is written,"Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” I believe in guardian angels. I have heard many stories about such angels on the mission fields.
But let me mention a German story first. As a young minister I was in Hornberg in the Black Forest. This congregation was my first love. I also loved the Black Forest, and because of that I almost became a nature fanatic.
The care for all the people of the146 Black Forest farms in my circuit wasn’t a heavy duty, but a form of recreation to me. I owe much gratitude to the regional Bishop Kühlewein, who placed me in this wonderful spot to assist his son.
On the long trails of this vast parsonage I often passed the Huberfelsen. These rocks have quite a history. One evening, history recalls, some young men waited in ambush for the minister of the congregation, Pastor Blum. They intended to beat him with sticks, and for that purpose they chose these rocks. As Father Blum came by, he greeted the young men. None of them answered him or moved. When he went home the same way, the men were still standing there with their clubs. The same thing happened, whereupon Father Blum said,"It's time for you to go home.”
Three months later, Father Blum was called to Prechtal, to the deathbed of a young man. This young man then confessed that he and his friends had intended to beat him at the Huberfelsen, but they saw a white figure walking next to him. Besides that, they were completely paralyzed. So they planned to do it on his way back. The same thing happened. The white figure held his hands over Father Blum's head, and they were again paralyzed.
This is one of many proofs of the existence of guardian angels. I could also mention several personal incidents here as well, but I do not think it would be appropriate to subject myself to the mockery of the rationalistic theologians.
Just one more example from China. Before Mao took over the power in China, many raiding gangs had terrified both the population and the mission stations. One day, a small city in the province Kweichow was surrounded. In the mission station, the believers were on their knees asking God to protect them. After some days, the gangs left without harming them. Months later the missionaries heard from a man who had defected from the enemy gang, who explained why they had withdrawn. The whole city had been surrounded by one or two rows of"white soldiers”. The raiding gangs thought them to be western soldiers, which was why they didn’t dare to attack. We know who the"white soldiers” were. They were messengers of God, sent to protect those who had asked for protection.
Now to Erlo's experience. The team was conducting a tent campaign in Ladysmith (KwaZulu-Natal). Many girls were converted, exposing their unclean relationships. The men concerned were very angry, and they intended to take revenge. They planned to come at night and rip up the tent. When they arrived, the whole tent was surrounded by soldiers. The men fled immediately. Erlo's team hadn’t ordered any soldiers at all, nor had they seen any.
Here is the correlation with Father Blum. Under his preaching there were girls who came to the Saviour. From that time on they attended the Bible studies rather than visit their boyfriends. At Prechtal in the Black Forest and in Ladysmith, the reason for the intended revenge was the same.
In Isaiah 37:35, the Lord says, "For I will defend this city to save it for Mine own sake, and for My servant David's sake." In Psalm 91:14, we read words which have helped me many a time, "...therefore will I deliver him ... because he hath known My Name."
This is possibly the most amazing statement in the Bible: "Ye shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy." (Lev. 19:2) The New Testament complements this statement with the words, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Heb. 10:31)
How do we sinners live in the presence of the Holy God?"For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire.” (Deuteronomy 4:24)
In the Zulu revival the holiness of God has often become terrifyingly apparent.
Here are some examples:
1. Kista Pillay
The witnesses of the following are Erlo and sister Käthe from Gödenstorf in Germany.
Kista had been a member of the secret police in Pietermaritzburg, but was then stationed in Benoni, near Johannesburg. His mother earnestly pleaded, "Come back. In Johannesburg you’ll be killed.” He at first resisted because of his good position, but he then left the police and came back to Pietermaritzburg. His mother's persistence had won the battle.
Kista found a job in a hotel where provisions had to be guarded, because of thieves. In his first week there was a case of theft, and then again in the second week. The manager called for him and threatened to dismiss him if this didn’t stop. Kista asked for one more chance."I’m innocent. I’ll find the thief,” he said. In the third week there was another theft, but this time he caught the thief. It was a Zulu, and Kista hit him and dragged him to the manager, who dismissed him on the spot. However, the Zulu was a sorcerer, and this caused a bad sequel.
Kista, an Indian man, received a lot of trouble from this day on. During the night he would get beaten by invisible powers. One evening there was a noise on the roof, and Kista went out to investigate. When he didn’t return, his wife went out through the back door to her parents, who lived in the neighbourhood. They all came back together and found him lying unconscious outside the front door. From that time on he was unable to keep any food down, vomiting constantly. During the next eight months he could only take in liquids. Night after night he was beaten by these invisible powers. Many doctors were consulted, and among them were five specialists - but they found nothing.
Let me just mention, by the way, that I have many such cases in my index. This belongs to phenomena called persecution sorcery. Rationalists would laugh about this, but they also laugh about Christians who are aware of the existence of the devil. One day their laughter will fade away, when they recognise the reality of the one whose existence they had denied. It would be better for them to repent while there is still time.
After all these terrible visitations, a famous doctor from Cape Town came to see Kista and said to him conceitedly,"If I cannot help you, then no one can.” The Indian man answered,"And yet, I have heard of one who can help when all doctors have failed.”"Who is that?” the doctor asked. Kista answered,"It is Jesus, the God of the Christians. He can help.” The doctor rejected this, saying that he didn’t believe it."That is the reason why you cannot help me,” Kista said, who was by now ‘skin and bones’. The famous doctor was also soon at the end of his tether.
While in this condition, he got to know sister Käthe, who advised him to go to Erlo's hospital at KwaSizabantu. Kista agreed to be taken there. When his wife heard this, she implored him to let go of this idea. She sought out a Hindu temple and asked a fortune-teller what she should do. The witch warned her,"If your husband goes there today, he will be a dead man tomorrow.”
The prophecy was not fulfilled. Kista arrived at KwaSizabantu and did not die! However, at this place of prayer, the haunting continued - the noise on the roof, the knocking at the door, the walking in the passage, the scratching on the windows and the beatings by invisible forces. But he was shown the way to Jesus and was now ready to follow. Then the miracle happened. After eight months he was able to eat solid food and keep it down.
But the attacks still kept on, to a certain extent. Erlo spoke to him and asked,"Do you still have hidden things in your life from which you are not ready to separate yourself?” He said he could think of nothing.
One night Kista went to the toilet. In the corner of the passage he saw a small table with a Bible on it. As he went around the corner he saw a spirit resembling the Zulu sorcerer. The apparition spoke to him,"You thought that you could escape me, but I have followed you here. You will never get away from my power.” Kista didn’t know what to do; then he grabbed the Bible and held it towards the spirit, and it fled immediately.
The attacks continued, and again Erlo asked him,"There must be something which gives the enemy a foothold in your life!” Kista answered,"I know of nothing.” Then Erlo smelt cigarette smoke, and asked him,"Do you smoke?” Kista answered,"Yes, but is that wrong? Then I’ll stop it immediately.”
Kista repented and stopped smoking immediately. All the attacks stopped as well.
I would like to make a comment here. Many Christians in Europe and North America will find this too far-fetched - that smoking should be such an evil thing, that it opens someone up to be targeted by the enemy. Some will even point out that well-known men of God were also smokers. I know of this. In revival areas the holiness of God is so pervasive, that bad habits, regarded simply as weaknesses on other continents, are shown to be sinful. The lukewarmness and readiness to compromise among the Christians in Europe is one of the reasons why the Lord cannot grant revival.
Back to Kista! Satan attacked once again very fiercely. One night a smartly dressed gentleman came into his room, sat at Kista's bedside and offered him a cigarette.
He refused and said"No, I do not smoke any more!” The "gentleman” said,"There is nothing wrong with it - if I smoke, you can too.”
Kista responded,"You smoke because you are not a believer. I do not smoke because I belong to Jesus!”
Then this gentleman started beating him viciously. Kista thought that it must have lasted for three to four hours. Finally Kista was on his stomach, praying,"Lord Jesus, You have purified me. Please, will You take me under the protection of Your Blood?”
At that moment, the visitor ran to the door. Kista saw him going and noticed a long tail. From that day on he had peace. He went back home to Pietermaritzburg and gave his testimony of Jesus to his Hindu relatives. Many were converted and came for counselling to Erlo.
Some months later Erlo asked Sister Käthe how Kista was doing. She said that something was wrong in Kista's life. It was as before, when he wasn’t able to keep his food down. She said she wanted to visit him.
Sister Käthe visited Kista. When he saw her, he quickly threw away the cigarette he was smoking. He was in very serious condition. She spoke in plain language to him, and said,"Kista, you thought that you could fool God. Now the Lord has caught you out again. Don’t you want to go back to KwaSizabantu? I’ll have to ask Pastor Erlo if he will take you back after this backsliding.” Kista agreed.
So Sister Käthe called Erlo and asked if Kista could come."As long as he is alive,” Erlo replied,"there is time to repent and turn back to God.” Sister Käthe brought Kista this message and fixed a day when he was to be picked up. When she arrived on the appointed day, Kista's flat was locked. The Indians usually lock their houses on the outside with a padlock, but because there was no lock on the outside, she could only suppose that he had changed his mind and locked the door from the inside. Nobody answered. All the calling and knocking was in vain.
Erlo soon had to leave for Europe. Kista's condition worsened, and he died while Erlo was still overseas. Kista had missed his opportunity!
In revivals the blessings of God are glorious, but His judgments are fearful.
In Malachi 1:14, the Lord says,"My Name is dreadful (full of terror) among the nations.” He is at times also terrible among apostates (those who fall away).
2. The Apostates
In Tugela Ferry a blind witchdoctor was healed. After his healing he went into the mountains to collect herbs. While he was digging his eyes were again closed. He was unable to go home on his own because he couldn’t see at all, so he started to call out loud for help. When his cries were heard, they brought him down from the mountain. Now he realised that God is not mocked. He went back to the Christians and asked for prayer, but he wasn’t healed the second time.
There may be some misunderstanding concerning the wrong in the use of herbs. The Zulu witchdoctor, however, combines many magic practises with the use of herbs. When this witchdoctor reverted to his previous practices, his blindness returned.
An old man had malformed legs. His only means of moving was by use of his hands, propelling himself along while in a sitting position. He confessed his sins and was prayed for, after which his legs straightened, and he returned home the following day. When his heathen relatives saw this miracle, they suggested offering a cow to the ancestors as thanks. The healed man agreed. While this was being done, he became paralyzed as before, and after some time he died.
An alcoholic woman found the Lord. After a period of time she became idle and lukewarm in her Christian life. Becoming seriously ill, she consulted doctors and even witchdoctors, but nobody was able to help her. Then she sent for an evangelist, and one of Erlo's co-workers came. Her intention was to confess her sins, but every time she tried to confess before the co-worker, an invisible hand seemed to strangle her. She was able to say anything else without hindrance, but the moment she tried to confess her sins, she was unable to speak. The invisible hand strangled her, preventing her from breathing properly. She died without making her life right.
An epileptic came to the Lord and was completely healed. He was a testimony for Jesus, fit and transformed, and he asked if he could work at KwaSizabantu. Then he backslid. One Sunday evening he returned home drunk, and there and then his fits started again. The team's prayers were this time unable to help. The epileptic fell unconscious and died after two days.
Backsliders are a serious problem for counsellors. I myself try to point out and show the mercy of God to backsliding Christians. I mainly use two Bible passages:
Jeremiah 3:22:"Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backsliding.”
Hosea 14:4:"I will heal their backsliding.”
Both passages mention that the backslider may come back to the Lord, which I have also seen happening. There are those who manage to return.
On the other hand, one observes very often that in revivals higher standards prevail. When God's glory is so mightily revealed that lost sinners are delivered, the blind see, the lame walk, and the lepers are cleansed, then God's holiness and His revelations take on new dimensions. This was so in the Indonesian revival and is likewise so in the Zulu revival.
A witch was brought to KwaSizabantu. She had lost her senses, and she raged and screamed. It wasn’t clear whether she was insane or possessed. She was locked into a room by herself, but her screaming could be heard from afar. She would bang the walls and even try to climb them. The food which was brought to her was thrown around so that her room soon looked like a pigsty.
After the team had interceded for her in prayer, her condition improved so that it was possible to speak to her. She was counselled, and made her life right with God. When she saw the soiled walls, she asked,"Have I done this? How could I ever have done such a thing? Give me water, soap and a brush so that I can remove the filth.” She got to work and started cleaning and scrubbing the walls.
She was ready to burn her charms, but there was one thing from which she wasn’t ready to part. This was just too valuable to her."I cannot give this up,” she said,"it's far too precious to me!” What happened? Her condition worsened, she rampaged more than ever and was picked up from KwaSizabantu in that state.
Rendering ninety per cent of one's life to Jesus is nothing but a complete rejection of Him.
4. Lost Power
The story of two blessed Christians is reported here:
A farmer who was converted had good counselling qualities. Many found the Lord Jesus through his testimony. One day he came to Erlo, weeping. He said,"I haven’t led anyone to the Lord in the past two weeks. There is something wrong with my life. The devil has victory in my life.” He confessed his sins and received peace and forgiveness again. When he returned that night, there were people waiting to be counselled. He asked those who were waiting why they had come."We want to get our lives right with God,” they said. From the very hour that the farmer made his own life right before God, the Holy Spirit started to work again. God withdraws His blessings when something isn’t in order. Even a minor unfaithfulness will cause His power to stop.
A white Christian was blessed in his work for the Lord. He would daily lead people to the Lord. Suddenly it was as if everything was cut off. Not one person came for counselling in three months. Even his Christian brethren avoided him. He had sinned in secret and nobody knew about it, but the Spirit of God, who sees into every dark corner, had withdrawn. The brother pleaded for three months daily on his knees, asking the Lord for forgiveness. Three or four times he confessed to the Lord,"Lord, forgive me without me telling anyone. What will that person think of me if I tell him what I have done?” But the Spirit of God did not work, and the brother found no peace. Finally he said to the Lord, "Lord, even if I lose my position, I cannot continue like this. I need peace in my heart.” He went to Erlo and confessed his wrongdoings. Then he asked,"Do I have to stop with my ministry?” Erlo replied,"The one who confesses and repents of his sin, receives forgiveness from the Lord. And if the Lord forgives, I forgive as well.” The brother went on his way home with a light and joyful heart. When he arrived home he found three people waiting for him. When he asked them what they had come for, they said that their sins plagued them, and that they were seeking forgiveness and peace. One after the other confessed, and all three were led to the Lord. From the hour that he had confessed his own sins, streams of living water flowed out of him once again. By the way, these three had no idea when the brother was to come home - they were brought by the Spirit of God!
Through repentance and confession, back came the lost power!
5. Missed Chance
In a place called Ntunjambili a woman fell so ill that she lost consciousness. When she regained consciousness, she said,"I’ve been shown that I have to go to KwaSizabantu to make my life right. I’m ready to go.” Her relatives carried her to a car and drove her to KwaSizabantu. Things had already improved by the time she arrived, and with some support she was able to walk slowly. Her recovery progressed very well and after some hours one hardly noticed that she had been grievously ill. Things went so well that she was able to sit on her bed and converse. But she had forgotten why she had come.
She was asked by a co-worker if she would like to be counselled before she prayed with her."No,” she said,"there is nothing”. The co-worker urged her, saying that she had come in order to be prayed for. The relatives had already mentioned before coming that the ill woman wanted to make her life right with God. But she avoided talking any more about it. She said"But I’m fine now.”
An hour later the co-worker informed the team that the condition of the woman had worsened. The team immediately went to see her and found that news confirmed. Her condition made it necessary to place her in a private room.
The sick woman declared,"I have gone astray. I’m lost, and I’m in a dark world. It is so dark that I cannot describe what it is like! Pray for me!” The team prayed, but it didn’t help. Erlo told her to pray as well, whereupon she prayed the Lord's Prayer. She groaned,"O woe is me, where am I?” She grabbed Erlo's hand and held it tightly, wailing again,"I cannot describe how awful this world is where I am.” She continued praying some sentences and then called out,"The darkness is too great. Is there no one who can help me? God gave me my chance, and I neglected it.”
All the co-workers prayed, but without success. The sick woman passed away into eternity, unsaved.
In Job 33:29-30, it is written,"All these things God does, twice, yes thrice, with a man, to bring back his soul from the pit, that he may be enlightened with the light of the living.”
We do not know if God granted this sick person more than one opportunity, but perhaps there are more severe conditions in times of revival. This woman had heard the Gospel in a mighty way and experienced her healing at KwaSizabantu. She would have received forgiveness of her guilt and sins if she had repented and confessed.
Mandlenkosi was the son of a believing mother and a godless father. When his mother turned to the Lord, his father almost beat his wife to death. She lay on the ground, unable to walk. In the night she managed to crawl out and hide herself in the high grass. In spite of all the opposition and the beatings this mother stayed faithful to the Lord. From that time on, she became a great prayer warrior, interceding for her children and committing them to the Lord.
As a child, Mandlenkosi felt called to the Lord's ministry. In his holidays he would come and help Erlo.
One day his father said:"Okay, you have learned enough. Now go to the city and earn your living.” Mandlenkosi went to Durban.
He did not come back to KwaSizabantu again. After two years, his mother came to Erlo, told him that her son was in jail, and asked him to pray for him. What had happened?
Mandlenkosi was involuntarily drawn into a criminal youth gang. One day while he was walking along the road, a group of young criminals met and molested him. They threatened him and told him that if he wouldn’t go along with them, he would be killed. Then they asked him if he had a pocket-knife. The leader took it and Mandlenkosi followed them.
Shortly afterwards, the gangsters met a widow accompanying her son to work, both of whom they didn’t know at all. The gang leader used Mandlenkosi's knife and stabbed the young man in the heart. It was plain murder without any reason, just out of a desire to kill. The gang continued on their way and murdered a second person the same day. The leader threatened that anybody who blabbed would be killed.
Mandlenkosi didn’t report the murders to the police, which would have been his duty, but somebody else did. The whole group was arrested and condemned to death by hanging. South Africa still had capital punishment for both blacks and whites.
The convicted murderers were taken from the Durban jail to Johannesburg. There they had to wait for almost a year until their sentence was carried out. During this time, Mandlenkosi found his way back to the Lord. He received a Bible which he faithfully read. He wrote a letter to Erlo which he asked to be read to the congregation.
When the sentence had been announced, the gang leader had warned the gang, "Don’t weep! We are not womenfolk.” This courage disappeared when the day of execution was fixed. An official came to their cell and told them that they were to be hanged the following day. This was the end of their boldness; they buckled and wept like small children. Only Mandlenkosi stayed comforted.
One of Erlo's co-workers accompanied Mandlenkosi to the place of execution. Mandlenkosi sang as he went to the gallows.
The judge said that, if it had not been a double murder, and if Mandlenkosi had reported it to the police, he would have had a chance of escaping the death penalty, but there was now no chance at all.
Mandlenkosi's letter was read to many of the congregations by Erlo. His last testimony was a blessing to many lukewarm and idle Christians. This is what he wrote:
“Baba Umfundisi (Father Pastor) and brethren in Christ,
I greet you in the Name of the Lord Jesus. I thank God that, through the mercy He has granted me at the end of my life, I could find my way back to Him, and call myself His child.
I thank Him for this opportunity to write to you. Please tell all the brothers and sisters in the Lord never to promise anything without keeping it. (Deuteronomy 23:21: ‘When you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not be slack in paying it; for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and slackness would be sin in you.’)
I promised something that I did not keep, and that is why I am here. I want to tell you that you should live for the Lord. I greet you all for the last time with the following song:
Rejoice that we are children of God,
We belong to the Lord,
We have this testimony,
We thank You, Father, for Your Love,
And that we may know our Saviour.
Brethren, let us go forward,
To meet our Bridegroom,
Led by the Holy Spirit,
We will overcome with the Lord.
It is Christ who has overcome death,
And broken down the might of hell,
He has risen from the tomb, Hallelujah!
All the bars are broken.
Please greet my family and tell them not to weep, because I am going to my Father's house. Tell my brothers and sisters to be converted, and not to do what I have done. Greet my only small brother - please help me, Umfundisi - tell him that he should live for Jesus alone. Tell my sisters, my grandfather, my grandmother, not to weep and grieve over my death, because God has granted me another chance to repent and be converted. I am Mandlenkosi (meaning ‘Strength of the Lord’).”
This chapter shows the holiness of God. The examples out of the Zulu revival are an illustration of this. These are examples that evoke fear. How many Christians have made a good start and then got stuck halfway, like the woman from Ntunjambili! Many have lost their first love. Others have not been ready to surrender their reserved areas to the Lord, such as the witch who wasn’t ready to give up her favourite charm, and then have ended terribly. All these examples should enlighten and quicken us. Has Jesus got access to all the rooms of our hearts? Is Jesus truly Lord, or do we decide and determine for ourselves? The letter to the Hebrews (12:14) says,"Follow peace with all, and holiness without which no one shall see the Lord.”
Who can live this life of sanctification? No one! Do we then need to despair? No! The merciful Lord has prepared a way for us. We read in 1 Corinthians 1:30,"But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who of God is made to us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” This is our rescue! But the price of sanctification is very high. It demands our total devotion. I also ask every reader of this book to pray for me, that this devotion be granted to me as well.
THE CHASTENING LORD
Many have a faulty understanding of God. This comes, for instance, from the expression"from our loving God”. We do not only have a loving God, but a holy and righteous God. His many judgments mentioned in the Bible attest to this.
We have a God who rewards, avenges and punishes. Let me just mention two Bible passages.
Nahum 1:2:"The Lord is a jealous God and avenging; the Lord avenges and He is full of wrath; the Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries and reserves wrath for His enemies.”
1 Thess. 4:3,6:"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from fornication … that no man goes beyond and defrauds his brother in any matter, because the Lord is the avenger of these, as we also have forewarned you and testified.”
In the Zulu revival there are mighty examples of God's intervention, as well as the chastising judgments against impenitent people.
1. Judgment on Nominal Christians
In the autumn of 1966 Erlo asked the Christians in his area to pray for a revival. Twenty to thirty responded to the request and gathered daily to pray.
Other Christians were opposed to it, giving various reasons for their apathy. They said that they were content with what they had. What more did they need?
Erlo answered them,"Don’t you see that our services and our congregations are without power and spiritual authority? The dance floors, the soccer fields and alcohol are more important to the Christians than the working of the Holy Spirit.”
Their paths separated right there, some continuing to pray faithfully and intensively for revival while others pursued their worldly pleasures.
God didn’t let them wait long for an answer. The one group experienced a wonderful spiritual blessing and revival, while the others saw the judgment of God. Here are some examples:
A Christian woman had four daughters, all of whom had illegitimate children.
Another woman had two daughters, and both experienced stormy marriages.
One mother asked Erlo to pray for her son who was in jail.
The son of another Christian was a drunkard, often beating his wife and children and chasing them out of the home.
Many other things occurred which cannot be mentioned here.
One of the Christians who scorned Erlo's message subsequently had an abnormal child.
Paul writes Galatians 6:7,"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he will reap.” Nominal Christianity is worse than heathendom.
2. Judgment on a Prostitute
A young girl was converted in 1967. She was zealous in leading others to the Lord, even warning them not to trifle with the Lord.
However, her first love began to wane, and her zeal slackened. In the end she went back to the sins of the world. She became a prostitute and lived a wicked life. For nine years she was not seen in church.
In March 1976 she came to KwaSizabantu and attended a service held in the garage. More than a thousand visitors were present. A terrible thunderstorm came up. The girl was sitting in the middle of the crowd when a bolt of lightning came down and struck her, knocking her unconscious to the ground. Nobody else was injured. So they carried her to hospital, where she regained consciousness after some hours - but she was unable to speak.
After a few more hours she slowly began to speak. She asked to speak to the pastor and said,"This has happened because of me. As Paul was thrown to the ground (Acts 9), so was I. I brought this upon myself because of my sinful life.”
An incredible confession followed. The counsellor said that he couldn’t ever remember having heard such a dreadful confession. Her sinful life could fill a book. One side of her was still paralyzed. When Erlo came home from a service in another area, he noticed that it had only rained at KwaSizabantu. All the surrounding areas had sunshine and blue skies. A Christian living three kilometres away hadn’t noticed the storm. It seemed to be confined to a small spot at KwaSizabantu.
This girl who had been hit by lightning wanted to speak immediately to Erlo. She said,"I have asked the Lord for forgiveness, I want to ask Pastor Erlo as well.” Erlo prayed with her and the lameness disappeared. She also wanted to see her mother and ask for forgiveness, as well as many others to whom she had done wrong.
In this case, the judgment of God was transformed into a judgment of mercy.
“…But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” (Romans 5:20)
If the Lord granted this prostitute a second chance, this doesn’t mean that we can rely on a second chance.
“…Today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts..." (Hebrews 3:7-8)"looking diligently lest any fail of the grace of God, …” (Hebrews 12:15)
3. Judgment on a Witchdoctor
A very old man came with his wife to KwaSizabantu. Some of the co-workers informed Erlo that a famous witchdoctor had arrived.
Erlo asked the visitor,"What do you want here?” He answered,"God has sent me here and told me to make my life right before I die.”
“How did God tell you?”
“Through a dream,” the witchdoctor replied.
Erlo was very busy at that moment, so a co-worker showed the old man the way of salvation. He promised to follow Jesus. Erlo then prayed with him that he would be free from the evil powers that he had served.
The next morning the old man said that he felt very well and wanted to go home. Erlo asked him if he wouldn’t stay a bit longer than just that one day. The old man reckoned that he had attained his goal, and there was no use in staying longer.
Three weeks later Erlo had a phone call from a doctor saying that an old man there was asking to come to the mission. Erlo thought that this was an elderly person without a home wanting to stay somewhere. Two days later a car arrived bringing the patient from that doctor. It was the former witchdoctor, looking like a dying man.
Erlo asked him what had happened. He responded by saying that when he had entered his house, his previous illness had struck him again. He reckoned that the problem was the house. Erlo said to him,"I do not believe that. Either you have sinned again or you didn’t confess everything the first time. Hasn’t the Holy Spirit shown you anything?” The now seriously ill man said that he knew of nothing. Erlo made the conditions very clear."If you don’t take matters seriously with God, I will not pray with you.”
The ill man lay there for about three to four days without bringing anything to the light. Different co-workers spoke to him, encouraging him to do so, but it was all in vain. He was as hard as a rock.
After several days there was a loud cry in the hospital. Co-workers dropped everything to see what was going on in the room from which the commotion came. The room was already filled as the co-workers forced their way in. There was the witchdoctor sitting on his bed, his eyes huge, as if they would pop out of his head. It was as if he was seeing something dreadful.
The witchdoctor cried,"Woe is me! The blood cries out. The Lord God says that the faithful and true witness was there when I murdered him!” Erlo asked him what all this meant. He didn’t understand it. The man continued,"Woe is me! The blood cries out.” Then he named a second person that he had murdered. This went on and on."Woe is me! The blood cries out.” Then he named all the women with whom he had had adulterous relationships, and the girls he had seduced. Erlo tried to calm him down, but he cried ever louder, so that Erlo had to send the children out of the room.
When the old man had calmed down a little, Erlo tried to approach him spiritually, quoting,"…and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) The witchdoctor shook his head.
When the name of the first murdered person had been called out, his wife had run out of the room. She later said to Erlo,"My brothers had accused my husband of killing that person, and I vehemently denied it and defended my husband. And now he is saying that he has done it. What will my brothers say?”
The old witchdoctor was still conscious for the next few days. Many co-workers, as well as his wife, pleaded with him to come to the cross and ask Jesus for forgiveness, but he refused to accept anything. Over and over again new confessions would burst out of him."I milked somebody else's cow,” he admitted one time. Before he lost consciousness a young female worker came by and pleaded with him to make his life right. As she passed his bed, he stretched out his hands to grab her under her dress. She jumped aside and said, "Grandfather, what are you doing?” He answered,"I cannot do otherwise. I’ve been given over to sin. There is someone who says,"Take your full measure of sin”.” Shortly before he died he made movements with his hands as if he was rolling tobacco between his fingers to do witchcraft. Naturally, Erlo has no tobacco in his house.
This is how the old witchdoctor went out of this life. The very things he had hidden and not confessed when he was first counselled were now broadcast in such a way that many heard what he had done. He died in these sins. The time of mercy and grace had passed him by. Genesis 4:10 reads,"The voice of your brother's blood cries to Me from the ground.”
4. Judgment on a Preacher
A black man from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) was a preacher in KwaZulu-Natal. His work among his congregation was unproductive, because he himself was not a believer.
He found the Lord In 1956, and from that time on, his congregation flourished. Many found the Lord Jesus through him, and captives were set free.
In 1966 this preacher had contact with Erlo, and also participated in the prayer meetings in Mapumulo. This Rhodesian brother had a strange way of praying. He would put his head between his knees and roll on the ground like a snake. He would even press his head to the ground, like a huge snake ready to attack. In one prayer meeting he also confessed that it was dark around him, and he asked for prayer.
After the revival began, in 1967, this Rhodesian preacher strongly opposed and attacked Erlo and the team wherever he could.
After a while the reason for the strange manner of this preacher became clear. He told his wife that his grandfather had been a well-known witchdoctor, who knew at the start of each day the things that would happen during the day. The preacher's father was also a witchdoctor. As a young lad he would carry his father's bag with all the charms and fetishes, usually when they were hunting snakes. His father had developed a system of catching large snakes alive. He used a longish cage which narrowed towards the end. The floor of the cage had razor blades pointing upwards. At the end of the cage they would place bait. The snake would crawl in towards the bait, injuring itself on the razor blades. The father would then grab the head of the snake, and the boy the tail, and they would drag the snake home to make charms and fetishes. This sorcery with snakes was most probably the reason for the strange prayer methods of the preacher.
One morning at breakfast he told his wife that he had dreamed of his grandfather, and that he longed to see their home country, Rhodesia, again. He also wanted to stop preaching and earn money by driving tractors. His wife responded,"I do not agree with this at all - you once said that God had called you to preach.”
From that day on the preacher was in opposition to the work of God. Eventually he said,"My conscience burns me like a red-hot iron. There is no more forgiveness for me.”
Some days later this preacher hanged himself on a tree.
His congregation was devastated when this happened - that their pastor should take his own life and come to such an end, a man who had led so many to Jesus. Many were made to stumble and to doubt because of it.
His wife, who was later counselled by Erlo, revealed many hidden and unclean things in her husband's life.
The fate of this preacher can be largely attributed to the sorcery practised by both his father and grandfather. The most terrible things occur to descendants of families in which a great deal of witchcraft has been practised. Naturally this man bore a great responsibility because he had continually criticized the revival.
There are three things that led to this suicide: The witchcraft of the forefathers, the opposition in his own life to the working of the Holy Spirit in the revival and impure motives in the ministry of the Most High.
But let us guard against throwing stones. It is not we who are allowed to judge!
“For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son.” (John 5:22)
THE PROVIDING LORD
King David had a golden rule regarding God's provision -"Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you. He will never allow the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22)
There is such a thing as a life without reality, and conversely there is a genuine life of faith. Some months ago I received a letter which related the following:
A sick lady approached a well-known faith healer concerning her illness. I will not mention his name to shame him or unmask him, but he has caused much damage in the Kingdom of God. The letter-writer asked for prayer because she suffered from a chronic disease. She received a letter from the wife or the mother of this extremist, asking for the payment of 500 German marks, upon which she would be prayed for.
This is not a life of faith, but"supposing that gain is godliness.” (1 Timothy 6:5)
There are also other forms of collections and begging. On my lecture tour through Florida, a well-known pastor, in whose church I preached, said that he wouldn’t ever ask J.W. to preach again. This man would preach for 45 minutes on collections and 15 minutes on the Word of God. It may be that that is an exaggeration, but it is typical of this type of evangelist that I have heard of in other places.
There are other methods, such as announcing a minimum amount to put in the collection plate. I was present myself when the collection was taken in a service at Pacific Palisade (California), where the people were encouraged not to give less than $10.
Erlo isn’t out for money, he seeks for souls. This is certainly one of the reasons why so many turn to the Lord in his meetings. The Lord supplies all that is needed so that many more than a hundred have enough for their daily needs. At youth gatherings it can easily be up to 1,000 young people, and at conferences even more people sit down to ample meals, and are fully satisfied.
Those who venture out in faith on God's account will experience that at times things get narrow, but in the end you see the fullness of His wonders. I have already experienced something of this.
It was very difficult to get information out of Erlo as to how this great work is financially run. I tried for 2½ long weeks to find out. In the end he sent me some co-workers to give me some information. They told me,"You are the first visitor receiving such insight.”
1. Beds for Erlo's Hospital
Before I left for South Africa in March 1976 to visit Erlo, I got my first example of how the Lord provides. On the afternoon of Thursday, 18th March 1976, I travelled to Frankfurt to fly with Lufthansa to Johannesburg and Durban. Some hours before my flight, a money courier brought me 1000 German marks in cash from a brother E. in Frankfurt. I knew that this money was to be used for Erlo's mission. I took it along in cash and gave it to Erlo. Someone may quote the Bible passage in Matthew 6:3,"Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” But this passage doesn’t fit in this case because I was not the donor, only the bearer. Later I noticed how this donation was in the Lord's planning.
In the second week of my stay, Friedel, Erlo's brother, mentioned that a hospital in Dundee was selling good bedsteads, and that he would have to go and see. They were urgently needed for the hospital. Friedel set out and got 20 bedsteads for the equivalent of 1000 German marks.
Now this is only half the story. Erlo told me that Muslims from Durban were visiting. Some even came for counselling. When they saw the mission and the work they were doing, they sent 48 new mattresses from Durban.
While on the subject of the hospital, here are some other facts: At the beginning of their mission work, their enemies would say that they only wanted money from the people. Erlo, as it were, took the wind out of their sails by never asking for donations. Then the religious people turned things around by saying that the visitors only come to be fed and showered with love. Satan will always find his helpers to target the messengers of Christ.
After they had settled at KwaSizabantu and had built the hospital, the black Christians said to Erlo,"Just do the preaching and the counselling, and we’ll provide the food.” Then Erlo asked them,"Do you know what it means to feed a hundred people a day?” Erlo's black friends sadly answered,"Does the Lord not know then?”
The hospital has been running since 1970. Often the faith of the black Christians has been tried, but never have they been disappointed.
What does a bill look like when a patient, healthy in body, soul and spirit leaves hospital?
Doctor's bill 0.00
Laboratory bill 0.00
Hospital fees 0.00
There is barely a hospital in the world where everything is free of charge. Of course no bills are sent out for all of this. There are no doctors, there is no laboratory and no medicine. The black and the white nurses receive no salary; every one of them depends on the Lord. When a co-worker needs shoes or a shirt, he will pray for it. Just a small example:
On April 1st 1976, I stayed overnight on Joe Newland's farm in Creighton. The men stayed in one house and the women in another. One of the women washed her daughter's pullover, and the colours ran. It looked as if it was ready for a carnival. The daughter said to her mother,"Mother, please buy me a new pullover. I cannot wear this any more.” Then her mother said to her,"Am I God? Go to Him and ask Him for one.” The daughter thanked her, saying that she would do just that. On April 3rd a white woman came and brought some pullovers for the team. The girl received one of them. She burst into tears, went to her mother and said,"The Lord has already given me a pullover.” Both of them thanked the Lord for His swift answer.
2. Transport Matters
More and more people attended the services at Tugela Ferry which were mentioned earlier. One of the brethren who owned a Land Rover would drive 12 times back and forth to pick up all people living far away. The co-workers told Erlo that they were praying for a trailer in order not to have to drive so often. Erlo responded by saying that they had been praying for three weeks that the Lord would grant them a lorry. Three days later, an unknown white woman attended the service. She didn’t understand a word of Zulu that was spoken, but at the end she said,"I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in such a way that I can hardly believe it.” Then, with tears in her eyes, she said,"I would like to do something for these black Christians.” The co-workers thought that perhaps she would donate some Bibles, but to their surprise she donated a truck. And this woman did not even belong to the mission. The truck was large enough to take up to 200 children.
For three weeks and three days they had prayed at KwaSizabantu for a truck at Tugela, and the Lord heard and sent a woman unknown to them to meet that need.
A truck doesn’t run on water - it needs diesel fuel. 100 kilometres from there were many Christians who wanted to come to the services at Tugela Ferry. Bill Larkan, one of the leading Christians there, intended to pick them up, but he had no money for diesel. So he prayed,"Lord, please give us the necessary money before Friday so that we can purchase diesel to drive.” Friday afternoon came, but still no money. Bill was sitting under his vine-covered arbour, thinking that he probably wouldn’t be able to pick up the people. Suddenly he heard somebody calling his name three times. A woman came to him and said,"I live 18 kilometres away, and we were having a prayer meeting. We felt led to send you a sum of money.” She gave Bill R9.60. Bill immediately went to the filling station and had the truck filled with diesel. When the tank was full, the indicator read R9.60. How precisely the Lord answers!
The repair of the truck is also a wonderful story. Barney had loaded grass for huts, and was on his way from Tugela Ferry to KwaSizabantu when the truck broke down 11 kilometres from Greytown. Barney informed Erlo, who told him,"Leave the truck where it is and come home. You can get it tomorrow.” Barney arrived around 2:00 a.m. The next day some of the co-workers left to repair the truck. When they arrived at the place, the truck was gone. They were shocked, but they prayed that they would find it again. They thought that the thieves might have rolled the vehicle down a slope. Erlo asked the Lord,"Have I acted against Your leading?” Finally, they reported the theft to the police, and sadly set off for home. They hadn’t gone far when the police came up behind them, while they were travelling, and stopped them."The truck has been found. It has already been repaired at the garage,” they said. When the co-workers went back to the garage, the manager came out, apologizing profusely. He explained,"There has been a complete misunderstanding. Last evening, another truck of the same make also had a breakdown near Greytown. The owner called us and asked us to come get the truck and repair it. After setting out we found your truck first, so we towed it back and repaired it. Then the owner of the other truck called again and asked us why we hadn’t yet towed his truck in. Then we realised our mistake and informed the police. Here is your truck - please take it.” When the co-workers enquired about the cost of the repairs, he answered that they had had enough worries and that there was no charge. Erlo and the co-workers thanked the Lord for sending His angels to repair the truck free of charge. They also used the opportunity to speak to the white manager about the Gospel.
The Lord doesn’t only care for the vehicles, but much more for the people using them. Erlo once travelled with a team of five to a place about 100 kilometres from KwaSizabantu. It was a dusty gravel road with many curves, rough and bumpy. It was also hot and they were thirsty. At about lunchtime, they ate some bread while travelling, but they had had nothing to drink. The area was unknown to them and they didn’t know where to get something to drink. Suddenly one of them said,"Stop, there is something to drink!” Now because Erlo was travelling quite fast, it took some time to stop. After they had come to a standstill and opened the back door, they saw a water tap about a metre away from the door, on the side of the road. Erlo was stunned. He asked,"Did you know that there was a tap here?” The co-worker replied,"I didn’t know, but I felt as if the Lord wanted to give us water here.” All six thanked the Lord for His wonderful care and guidance. When relating this experience, Erlo said, "I had never before seen a water tap beside the road. When we drove on, we passed a house. Perhaps the water pipe was laid from there, but for what reason we do not know.”
While we are referring to motor vehicles, I would like to relate something about a driving test. One of the co-workers needed to get his driving licence for the bus. The licence officer was very strict - a feared man! The officer and the learner got into the bus."Get going,” the man said. The co-worker asked if he could pray first. Then he prayed loudly, asking the Lord to be with him and help him, and to protect them. After opening his eyes, he saw that the inspector had stubbed out his cigarette. After the test, he thanked the Lord for protecting them. Without any further questions, he received his licence. After the officer had left, some Zulus said to the co-worker,"You must have used a strong spell that everything went so well.” The co-worker responded,"No, I didn’t bewitch the man. I do not use charms. One thing I do - I talk to the Lord Jesus about everything.”
Speaking about driving reminds me of four-year-old Kwasi. He is a young child who has a childlike and intensive prayer life. We have already heard how the Lord has used him mightily. One day he was travelling with a woman in a car when he said to her,"You are fortunate to have me with you. I can be of great help to you.” The woman laughed and said,"How can you be of help to me? Can you drive?”"No,” he said,"but I can pray if the car doesn’t start - and it will start again.” The lady thought that he was just exaggerating as children sometimes do. After the trip she spoke to Kwasi's mother about it. His mother replied,"You can really take him at his word,” then she told her what had happened on a previous night. They were about to drive home, when the engine of the car wouldn’t start, and the lights didn’t work. She intended to call a mechanic, but Kwasi said to her that they should pray. After saying,"Amen”, he told her,"Mother, start the engine. It will work.” She didn’t want to believe it, but she tried the lights first and was amazed that they went on. Then she turned the ignition and the engine started! They got home without any problems.
In Matthew 18:3, the Lord says,"Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Our pride, presumption and arrogance hinder the power of the Lord.
I once experienced a similar thing while conducting various lectures in Switzerland. On a Saturday evening I was to speak in Zürich and on the Sunday morning in Pruntrut, to the congregation of Pastor Dr Külling. I set off early on Sunday morning to arrive on time in Pruntrut, 150 kilometres away. It was a difficult situation, because on that morning there was black ice on the roads. In one of the curves before Wollhusen a mail bus was approaching on the wrong side of the road. I couldn’t avoid it, because there was a convoy of military cars next to me, and on my right a wall. There was simply no alternative - the bus was overtaking in a blind corner, and I was going to hit it head-on. I tried to slow down carefully, but my car was starting to skid on the ice. I tried to correct, but then hit the wall with my right front wheel, bringing the car to a stop. The bus also stopped, but then took off as soon as there was a gap in the military convoy. I took down the number-plate but didn’t report the driver. When I wanted to continue I was unable to steer properly. The car seemed to veer to the left and then to the right as if the steering was damaged. On a second attempt the same thing happened. Here I was, asking,"Lord, what shall I do? It is Sunday morning. There is no garage open and in two hours I have to speak in Pruntrut, and with this black ice I need all the time available. Can’t You repair my car this moment? There is no more expert mechanic than You!” After speaking to Him I started off again carefully. My steering was as if it had never been damaged, and I arrived in Pruntrut on time with one more rich experience of faith. Never did a repair need to be made to the steering of that car, and the wonderful experience made me forget my annoyance with the bus driver near Wollhusen. In fact, just the opposite was the case. I was thankful to him for what had happened. Had it not been for his irresponsible driving, I wouldn’t have experienced the Lord's help.
To live a life in faith doesn’t mean to lay one's hands down and wait for the Lord to do everything. The words of Paul would apply here,"…if any would not work, neither should he eat." (2 Thessalonians 3:10) And:"…to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11)
The co-workers’ task is not only to ask the Lord for provision, but to labour and share in the hard work, not only in a 40 or 45 hour week. They cultivate the more than 10 hectares of farmland at KwaSizabantu, and care for the many sick in hospital. Christians from far away are picked up and taken back, sometimes well into the night or even in the early hours of the following day. Cars are repaired by some co-workers who are very gifted technically. This all happens in a selfless manner without murmuring or complaining.
Those who support the work have the same attitude. Women buy wool, knit pullovers and donate the money earned to the work of the mission. Others cultivate vegetables and bring the harvest to KwaSizabantu, and still others buy at good prices on the market and sell with some profit in the country areas, bringing their small gain to the Lord.
I was reminded of the selfless Korean Christian rice farmers that would sell their expensive rice and buy the cheaper millet for their own sustenance, bringing the difference to the Lord.
Not only is there prayer at KwaSizabantu, but also faithful labour. That is why the blessing of the Lord is on all that they do.
Sometimes the self-help is followed up by the Lord's direct support. Here is a wonderful example:
Some co-workers came to Erlo and asked him to supply them with seed potatoes. They intended to plant them. Erlo was surprised and asked why they wanted to plant at this time of the year. He said,"I am a farmer's son and acquainted with farming. It's not potato-planting season.” The co-workers insisted, saying that the Lord had told them to do so. Erlo gave in and supplied them with seed potatoes. The potatoes were planted and they received a plentiful harvest. In addition to that, the potato prices had gone up, so that they received a good profit and enough food.
This amazing crop of potatoes reminds one of Peter's wonderful haul of fish described in Luke chapter 5. Jesus had said to him,"Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.” Peter could have replied,"Lord, we are fishermen. We assure you that it is not a good idea to cast out the nets in broad daylight. We realise that you‘re an excellent teacher, but we happen to know more about fishing.” However, Peter's answer was,"At Your word I will let down the net.” The result was that they caught such a quantity of fish that their nets broke. Erlo explained to me that, having grown up on a farm, he had been quite sure that the beginning of winter was not the time to plant potatoes. But the Lord ordered,"Plant potatoes!” and the result was an abundant crop.
4. Direct Help
There are situations where goodwill and hard work do not help, and one can only pray, keep trusting and confiding in the Lord alone and waiting on His promises.
Before Erlo was married, there was a day when they had nothing to cook apart from a small amount of flour. The team went to their place of prayer in the forest."Dear Lord,” they prayed,"please help us. All we have is a little flour, and we don’t know how to prepare our next meal.” On their way home one of the women saw some weeds."Those weeds are edible,” she said,"We can take the leaves and cook them for lunch.” They took the leaves and cooked them with a little fat, preparing lunch with them. They were embarrassed when a white man came for lunch. They would have loved to give him something better. They prayed before eating and asked the Lord's blessing on the food. After the meal, the white man burst into tears and said that he couldn’t bear to see them live in such poverty. He took a co-worker with him to a shop and bought groceries without sparing, even meat, so that all those who were sick and the co-workers had enough again. The pantry was also full again. The co-workers went back to their place of prayer, and thanked the Lord for His rich provision. Erlo added, "This has continued over many years. We have not known a day without food.”
Elijah's ravens are still alive. Even the old promises have kept their power until this day.
In 1 Kings 17:16 we read,"And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.”
One time when Erlo was in Germany a similar thing happened. Supplies had run out. All the co-workers came together for prayer, as they had no food for the following day. Just before sunset a white man came with a car loaded with groceries. Shortly afterwards a black man also came with a car loaded with food. Again their needs had been met.
During the first few months of 1976, there was little money available. It was the practice at the mission to pay the grocery bills at the end of each month. The same applied to the hospital. One evening, Kay, Erlo's wife, came to the co-workers and told them that the monthly bill was already too high, and that there was not enough money to pay it. Nothing more was to be ordered. The co-workers closed the door and got onto their knees, beseeching the Lord for help. A few days later, the monthly bill arrived and it was higher than ever, amounting to R6006. Then an unknown donor paid R6000, so only R6 remained. This was undoubtedly the Lord!
Other matters of provision arise when big conferences are held at KwaSizabantu. I was present at one conference on April 4th 1976. Before such events the team comes together for prayer, asking the Lord to provide what they need for the many people who come. They buy as many groceries as the money they have will buy. Some people donate money or food. But that day there were so many people that those who were cooking were afraid that they would not have enough."Lord,” they prayed,"may the miracle of the bread and fish be repeated, so that nobody leaves hungry.” They prayed while they were cooking and serving,"Lord, You take the spoon and dish up the food.” While they were busy putting out more plates, a visitor to the conference looked at the food and asked if there was enough. They replied,"Don’t discourage us, we have prayed about it!” Then the Lord answered. There was so much meat, bread and maize left over, that they had enough for the following day. Before the trucks and private cars left, the kitchen staff asked many of the drivers if the people had had enough to eat."We have had more than enough,” they responded.
It often happens that problems of provision arise in this work of faith, simply because of the growing numbers of people who come to KwaSizabantu, who receive free meals and accommodation. To feed not only hundreds but thousands is no small task.
In May 1976 such a problem arose. Some of the older co-workers reported to Erlo that the younger co-workers and the patients in hospital had hardly anything to eat. There was just a little maize meal left. The weed leaves mentioned previously are hardly edible at the beginning of winter. The winter in South Africa is at a different time of the year to that of Europe.
Erlo was shocked when he heard this. Already days had passed in which the people in hospital had only had this maize and the barely edible weed leaves. I will let Erlo continue in his own words. He gave me this written report when the book was about to be printed. This was written in his letter:
“I told my co-workers that they should immediately get a large order of groceries from the shop, even though there was no money. Our cash box was empty, but I did this in faith. I thought if the Lord wouldn’t send money, then He surely would provide in some other way. I sent the car without money to the shop. It had just left when I received a phone call from a man who told me that he had R500 to buy groceries for the hospital and the co-workers. And he added,"If you need something right away, just let them know that I will pay.” After this phone call I was unable to speak, and I went into a room and fell on my knees before Jesus, weeping tears of gratitude and joy. After that I let the co-workers know how the Lord had answered, and they immediately sang songs of praise to the Lord.”
The same month there was a similar incident. Several young co-workers came to Erlo and said,"We have the impression that the Lord wants us to minister in different places.” Erlo said,"If the Lord has given you this leading, then pray about it and ask Him to provide the necessary money, so that you are not a burden to anyone.” At that time there was no money. After some days, a Christian visited KwaSizabantu and spoke to Erlo. He said,"I have received instructions from the Lord to give you a certain amount of money for the co-workers to go out to different places, or as the Lord leads.” Erlo told him that the co-workers were in fact busy praying for the means for this very thing, so it must have been the Lord that led him in this way. The joy was great on both sides. When Erlo opened the envelope there was R1000 inside.
Erlo gave me a wonderful example of how the Lord provides, in a letter written on June 9th 1976. He was asked by a heathen man to visit some relatives of his, very elderly women who were no longer able to walk. This trip took Erlo into a completely new area, where he had never been before. He sat there for hours with these women, telling them about Jesus. Time went by almost unnoticed, until eventually Erlo said to his companion,"We must hurry back. I have to speak in a tent meeting this evening. I don’t know how we will manage to eat something. We can’t eat here - to make a fire and cook something would cause us to arrive too late. Do you mind if we go without eating?” So off they went. They had hardly driven 200 metres when a girl stopped them. Erlo asked what she wanted, and she said,"My mother has sent me to tell you that the food is ready, so please come and eat.” Erlo asked the hospitable woman how she knew that they hadn’t eaten, and that they were passing by that place. She said, "When the food was cooked and I saw the car coming, I felt that God was telling me to invite you in and give you food. So this is how it happened.” Erlo realised that this was a miracle, as the woman was a heathen and they were complete strangers. And so the Lord provided"a table” for His servant as in Psalm 23 -"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.” Gratefully, Erlo accepted this meal that the Lord had provided for him.
The provision of a mission such as KwaSizabantu is not only a matter of nutrients. Many other larger and smaller things are needed.
The mission has, at the time of writing, a bus, two trucks and eight cars, which travel great distances and need huge amounts of petrol or diesel. The people who are transported are never asked to pay, but the Lord looks after His children. We have already related the story of the white lady who sponsored a truck because she sensed the power of the Spirit of God. Erlo has driven me considerable distances in a car that was given to him as well.
The account of the construction of a fence around the hospital made a great impression on me. It would often happen that mentally ill patients would run away, and it would take hours and sometimes days to find them. So they asked the Lord to provide for them to buy tall fencing to put around the hospital. They needed approximately 400 metres. Then somebody gave them an amount of money with which they bought the fencing material. They erected the fence with the rolls of wire they had bought and it was the exact length they required. Nobody had measured it, but the Lord had provided the exact quantity needed.
With this, my report has come to an end. I would, however, like to finish with an epilogue.
Glory to the Lord
The sovereign work of the Lord over the past ten years among the Zulus, Indians and whites at KwaSizabantu is absolutely miraculous. We praise and worship God in thanksgiving with the words of Psalm 95:1-8:
“O come and let us sing unto the Lord. Let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth, the strength of the hills is His also. The sea is His, and He made it; and His hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our maker.
For He is our God; and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your heart!”
Million-fold blessings of three millenniums have been given in the thanksgiving song of David, which every Christian should know by heart.
How often I recite this in sleepless nights or while driving! Also Psalm 103:"Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy soul with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.”
It is a tremendous inspiration, not only for the Zulus, but also for all the Christians who hear of it, how the exalted and risen Lord has come down and revealed the glory of His name.
The Ugandan revival fire from 1931 has almost burnt down, but the Zulu revival flame still burns with a bright shining light.
When will we, the hardened people of Europe, be next? There hasn’t been any great revival on our continent, if I’m right, since the Welsh revival of 1905–1909, which was very brief, and did not have a great impact on the mainland. The revival in the Hebrides (1949) was confined to the Gaelic-speaking population. Russia with its blood-stained and blood-soaked soil has known a man-to-man revival under the Bolshevik oppression, but it has not been widely seen.
THE LONGING FOR REVIVAL
There are many Christians worldwide who long and pray for revival. Often the question is,"What must we do in order for the Lord to grant us a revival?”
We know very well how a revival can be hindered, but it is still a mystery as to what conditions need to be fulfilled for the Lord to grant a great spiritual breakthrough.
Although the Holy Spirit is able to unconditionally reveal Himself to man, often He waits for certain preconditions to be met.
It is impossible in one chapter to name all the conditions needed for revival, but here are some important characteristics from the Zulu revival that should be mentioned.
1. Continuous Prayer
Long periods of prayer have been preparatory in all revivals.
The Korean revival was granted after all the Christians were gathered for daily prayer in Pyongyang from Easter to Pentecost in 1906. At first it was one to two hours, then five to seven hours, even eight a day. The Korean revival has remained a prayer revival. I have described this in my paperback, Koreas Beter (Korea's Prayers).
The revival in the Hebrides was granted after two women had prayed for thirty years.
The Indonesian revival occurred in Soe/Timor through prayer groups that had prayed for many years without the knowledge of either of their two pastors.
The Canadian revival in 1971 was preceded by the prayer of thousands. Ernest Manning, the Governor of Manitoba Province for thirty years, was a Christian. In 1966, over the radio, he called all Christians to unite for the hundred-year-celebrations of Canada, expressly to pray for revival. Many heeded this call.
The Zulu revival began with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of 1967. Erlo, together with thirty other Christians, had been praying daily for weeks, experiencing the process of purification and cleansing. We have already mentioned this in a previous chapter.
2. Overwhelming Conviction of Sin
Erlo told me,"We experience how, through the working of the Holy Spirit, a deep knowledge of sin comes over people. One day I met a huge, well-built, but hard man. He was sobbing and crying like a small child who had been punished with a cane. I asked him what had happened, and he replied, ‘I am a terrible sinner. I have sinned against God, and I’m right on the brink of hell.’ The man was broken-hearted. When God convicts a man of his sin, even the smallest transgressions become like a heavy burden.”
It sometimes happens in services that people cannot bear their sins any more, and they get up and begin to confess their sins out loud.
This happened as well in the Korean, Indonesian and Canadian revivals. One recognises that the Holy Spirit is the same on all continents, and often convicts in the same way.
Erlo tries to stop these public confessions, and sends such people with a co-worker into a counselling room, or asks the person concerned to wait until the service has ended. Public confession can sometimes cause problems.
It happens at times in services that people fall weeping to the ground under the weight of their guilt. This repeats itself in almost every revival. Erlo isn’t somebody who stirs his listeners emotionally; I think the contrary is the case - to me he is the most sober and unemotional revival preacher that I have ever heard.
Such a deep and radical conviction of sin is brought about by the Holy Spirit. A mere superficial knowledge of sin leads to shallow conversions, but the greater the sense of sin a person feels the better. Only the one who has been forgiven much can truly love wholeheartedly. One who has not experienced great forgiveness cannot really know the true meaning of love.
Erlo wrote once in a letter,"It happened during a service one day that somebody tugged at my jacket. When I looked around, I saw a man who was very determined, and he said in a trembling voice, ‘Come with me!’ I followed him and wondered what he had to say. ‘I cannot stand this any more. My sins are so great. Can I ever find forgiveness?’ I pointed him to Isaiah 1:18: ‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.’”
It has happened at times that cunning and cruel murderers have recognised their sin and come to repentance.
3. Readiness to Confess
The Zulu revival is a revival of confession of sin, as has been seen in the many examples related. People who are not ready to surrender completely and reveal everything that cannot stand the light of God receive no help. People who do not recognise their sin, or who half-heartedly confess, are held back spiritually and experience the judgment of God. Two examples:
The team conducted a communion service on Mount Elias. A woman partook of the Lord's Supper without having confessed her sins. She immediately fell ill, and her condition worsened, so that she was unable to go home. Things got so bad that it was feared she would die. She was taken to KwaSizabantu immediately after the service. There she revealed her hidden sins, and received forgiveness. The Lord withdrew His punishing hand from her, and she was healed on the spot.
At Claridge a similar thing happened. A believing man came to the Lord's Supper rejoicing because he had missed out on it for a long time. But there was something wrong in his life, which he had avoided confessing before taking part in the communion. After the service he fell ill, and his conscience plagued him, but he carried on in this condition for two weeks. Then he confessed his sin in Erlo's presence and the Lord had mercy on him.
Such radical things usually happen only in revivals. I have experienced mass communions where no participant had confessed any sins beforehand. Personal confession was abolished in state Churches over a hundred years ago. The other problem is that nominal Christians, who do not belong to Jesus, just partake of the Lord's Supper out of tradition.
Double-minded Christians cannot count on experiencing revival. Here is a typical example:
Co-worker Lionel Muller brought a mentally disturbed man to a service at Kwambonambi. The sick man was to be counselled spiritually after the service.
This man continually brushed his head on the right side with his hand from the back to the front and then vice versa. Through this, the hair on the right side of his head was worn away, leaving him bald on that side. He also walked with great difficulty, being chronically knock-kneed. His knees would rub against each other, and as a result his feet were well apart and turned out at an angle. In addition, his body from the waist upward would sway from one side to the other.
In the services he would cause a great deal of disturbance. When he was prayed for, he said that his radio wires had been cut off, and that he couldn’t transmit any more. That meant that in answer to intercessory prayer a healing process had begun. His mental illness was completely cured, and his hair grew again, because he had stopped rubbing his head. However, spiritually there was no growth. When he was advised to surrender his life to Christ, he would get furious. One thing he couldn’t stand was to confess his sins and to make his life right. After several weeks he said,"I’m going home. All this prayer is too much for me. I do not want to have anything to do with fanatical Christianity. I prefer our Church, which is lenient and follows a middle course, allowing us to do as we please.”
Erlo told him,"The Lord has done a lot for you, and healed your understanding. Wouldn’t you like Him to heal your legs as well?” However, the man said stubbornly,"No, I would prefer to keep to a middle course and have a calm and peaceful life.” He wouldn’t agree to an uncompromising and radical way of dealing with sin. He left the one place where he could have been helped.
My late friend Gottlieb Weiland used to ask the children,"How many whole Christians result from a thousand half-Christians?” Many would be fooled by this loaded question, and then he would roar,"A thousand half-Christians will not even produce one whole Christian!”
The Holy Spirit will never allow compromise!
5. Undivided Devotion
At the revival centre in Soe, Timor, Franz Selan pointed out the following Scripture passage to me:"…cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded," (James 4:8), or as the Berkeley version puts it, ". . . you people of divided interests.”
Divided interests, divided hearts, divided commitment, secondary objectives!
Here is an example of this from the Zulu revival:
A congregation under Erlo's oversight wasn’t progressing. This situation drove Erlo and his team to prayer. It became clear to those praying that revival could also come to this lukewarm congregation if the Holy Spirit was able to act freely in the lives of the people.
At the next service Erlo challenged the congregation to choose."Are you willing to serve the Lord with an undivided heart? Will you give the Spirit free access to your lives and submit to Him? If you cannot go this way, I am ready to make way for another preacher. Please tell me what you have decided.”
The following Sunday Erlo spoke to the congregation and said,"None of you have come and asked me to leave, so now I ask you that all who are not ready to follow the Lord in an undivided and uncompromising way may leave the congregation. I prefer to work together with two who follow the Lord wholeheartedly than two hundred lukewarm Christians. Two wholehearted Christians honour the Lord more than all the others that follow the crowd.”
Erlo withdrew to Kranskop together with his co-workers to pray. The Lord revealed to them that He wanted to use this congregation, but that there were things that needed to be made right in the lives of the people, things that hindered Him from working.
These revelations led the whole team to search their lives, and to repentance. They couldn’t expect things from a lukewarm congregation that they themselves weren’t ready to fulfil. The most important lesson was that they needed to be entirely one with Christ as He is one with His Father. Without this oneness with Him every ministry is fruitless.
In those days of purification and searching their lives, the Lord repeatedly spoke to the team through eleven-year-old Lindiwe. We have already written about her. This lukewarm congregation was to be called together, children and adults. When they were assembled, there were so many that the room was too small. The adults and the children had to be separated.
They shared with the congregation all that the Lord had revealed to the team during their time of prayer. Here are some of the points:
a) Do we thank God for all that faces us daily?
b) Do we consult Him in every decision?
c) Are our actions and lives a testimony to Him?
d) Do we observe and esteem each other as better than ourselves? (If I interrupt somebody while he or she is still speaking, that is not according to this biblical standard.)
e) Do we speak about others’ mistakes, without speaking to them ourselves?
f) Are we dedicated Christians or do we only follow the crowd superficially?
g) Do we have a sharp sense of hearing, and a fine intuition for that which the Lord wants to tell us?
h) Can the Lord rule over our time, our will and our possessions?
i) Do pride and egotism crawl imperceptibly into our lives?
During this meeting with the congregation something unusual happened. The number of those attending was getting smaller and smaller, until only the team was left. What was happening? The Holy Spirit had gripped the congregation, and they were going their way to make things right. Children went to their parents to reconcile, parents made peace with their children. Employees went back to their employers to give back stolen things. People who detested one another, reconciled. Hatred turned to love. Those who had transgressed the law went to the authorities and reported their wrongdoings. Debts were paid and children asked forgiveness of their teachers.
The fear of the Lord had fallen over the congregation. Old and young started a new life. People turned from their sinful habits. Lukewarm and indifferent Christians experienced a genuine love towards the Lord. Items of witchcraft and sorcery were removed from homes. Pornographic pictures were burnt, even all worldly books were destroyed by fire.
The congregation started living a life of love. The unity in the Spirit was given to them, so that thousands were attracted. After a year the numbers had almost doubled. A fire was kindled that spread in every direction.
The things that had begun here repeated themselves often in other villages, through the Holy Spirit, without any preachers.
In this revival congregation there was a fulfilment of what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians in Phil. 2:1-4:
Fellowship of the Spirit, tender love and mercy, oneness, like-mindedness, humility, esteeming others higher than themselves, considering their neighbours, serving one another.
6. Grasped by the Fire
Matthew the evangelist writes in chapter 3:11,"He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” When Erlo was in Mapumulo with several Christians, united in prayer, imploring the Lord for His Holy Presence and the outpouring of His Spirit, something happened that they hadn’t experienced before.
One of those praying called out,"My eyes! My eyes are burning like fire!” Another said,"O Lord, I am dying. My lips are burning, my tongue is burning. I’m a sinful woman!” A third person tore the shoes from his feet and threw them far away, saying that his feet were burning; then he tried to hit his feet in order to extinguish the flames. Naturally, no fire was seen. This was a spiritual experience. Most of those present called to God to have mercy on them. All those who were praying experienced what is written in Hebrews 12:29,"… our God is a consuming fire.”
This godly burning was not a unique experience. It was repeated in other prayer meetings. A woman called out that her whole body was burning; she jumped up from where she was sitting, as if she was on a fiery grill."I am unworthy, I am unclean, my life is not in order, and I should never have come into the presence of God with my sin. Allow me to leave the room immediately to bring my life into order, otherwise I will die.” She truly repented, and today is a shining example before Christians and heathens.
Not all can deal with the fire of God's holiness. Some are burned. Here are two examples:
In a prayer meeting, a believer called out,"God, You are holy, holy!” Later he told the team that while he was praying, he had the feeling of being cut in two from head to foot. Erlo was alarmed because the brother had used the same expression as the Lord had used about the evil servant who beat his fellow servants. (Matthew 24:48-51) Not long after, it was revealed that he had sinned terribly against other brethren. Soon afterwards he died a terrible death.
In the fire of God, people who are honest and repent, confessing their sin, find mercy, while others who don’t are consumed by it.
I would like to add a personal experience to that of Erlo's. Many years ago a preacher came for counselling. He confessed that while he was serving the Lord's Supper at the altar, he had a feeling as if someone was cutting him into two parts. The painfulness of this experience was so dreadful he had to quit his job as a pastor. The background of this was that the minister had sinned terribly and had not repented.
As there are two examples before us of men having experienced the sensation of being cut in two, we need to look at the Greek text of Matthew 24:51. The original says,"kýrios dichotomései autón.” Luther translated it,"The Lord will cut him apart.” But the Greek verb, dichotoméo, means more. It means to cleave in two, saw apart, cut in pieces.
Both the African and European brother had this dreadful feeling of being cleaved in two.
The fire of God is either a purifying process for our salvation or it destroys us.
Without this purifying process and refinement in God's fire, there is no revival.
Not everything is covered concerning the basic principles of revival in this last chapter. But he that has ears to hear and eyes to see, will sense from the examples in this book, that they point to one objective - recognising and confessing our guilt, undivided devotion towards the Lord, complete obedience, being under God's control, recognising and following His guidance and walking in the Spirit. These are some truths which have priority in the Zulu revival.
In conclusion, we need to go to those truths mentioned at the beginning of this book: if we lose our sight of the Lord, His power is gone. If Jesus isn’t the first and last goal, then He is unable to reveal His power and glory in our lives. Let me close with two passages of Scripture.
2 Chronicles 20:12:"… we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon Thee.”
Psalm 25:15:"My eyes are ever towards the LORD …”
“Lord, do not cease to bless the Zulus. Preserve the fire of Your Holy Spirit, which you have kindled in the revivals on the different continents. And come soon, Lord Jesus! Amen.”
In March 2007 the KwaSizabantu Mission had a celebration to thank God for His working during forty years since the start of Revival at the end of 1996. The big auditorium was filled with people from all over the world. There are many branches of the Mission in overseas countries, and some of the leaders shared what the Revival has meant to them personally, to their families and in their countries. They thanked God for the rivers of living water which began flowing in KwaZulu-Natal.
Dr. Mangosuthu Buthelezi (Chairperson of the House of Traditional Leaders, KwaZulu-Natal) said in his address to the audience:"This place (KwaSizabantu Mission) has been a place of hope and healing to countless men, women and children, amongst whom I include my own family, my wife and children.” Dr. Zweli Mkhize, the provincial MEC for Finance and Economic Development, also addressed the audience:"The Revival which started in 1996 has touched thousands of lives in KwaZulu-Natal and many parts of the world. To our people it has brought about spiritual growth, reconstructed families and created a sense of strong values, knowledge of God, of peace, caring, respect and love for fellow human beings.” (Excerpt from Newsletter, Erlo Stegen, March 2007)
Since the first edition of this book in 1976, the KwaSizabantu Mission has grown from year to year. By 2010 many new buildings had been built:
The auditorium, seating ten thousand people. The first auditorium burnt down in 2008 and could be rebuilt, by God's grace and with His help, in 2009.
The Domino Servite School, the Cedar College of Education, Tabitha Adult School and Thembalethu Play Centre, as well as a guesthouse, coffee shop, bakery and a small supermarket.
The mission is independent as far as its livelihood is concerned. About one third of the 300ha farm is planted with avocado trees. These fruits are sold domestically and exported to Europe as well. Another project is the hothouses with the production of sweet peppers (paprika) in high quality. The discovery of a pure water source made it possible to build a water-bottling factory on the mission's property. Hundreds of thousands of bottles of pure mineral water are produced and sold throughout the year.
A dairy, as well as an electrical workshop, a mechanical workshop and a wood workshop should all be mentioned. There is also a radio station, called "Radio Khwezi” (Radio Morningstar).
Finally, a very important project should be mentioned. The province KwaZulu-Natal is one of the hardest hit by the Aids pandemic. In 2006 the KwaSizabantu Mission started a ministry for Aids patients called"Emseni Care Centre” (Emseni=Place of Grace). The patients get spiritual and physical help. God is working among them in His mighty power. Many patients could testify to their experience of how Jesus changed their lives. The following testimony of Gcinephi Khuzwayo stands for many others:
Gcinephi grew up in a Christian environment. In spite of that she decided to go her own way in life. She was an athletic girl weighing 83kg. In 2004 she got a job in Pretoria. Enjoying her new lifestyle, she preferred relationships with married men, thinking that to be safer than with unmarried ones. But soon she lost weight and reached 45kg. She went home and was subsequently tested HIV positive. At hospital the doctor told her that she was beyond medical help. He did not even put her on antiretrovirals. Her weight had already dropped to 22-23kg.
Gcinephi's mother suggested that she might be brought to KwaSizabantu Mission. At the end of March 2006 Gcinephi arrived at Emseni Care Centre in critical condition. She was incontinent and could not straighten her legs. Under the influence of the Gospel and loving care she was convicted of her sins and realized that she would die and not reach heaven in her spiritual state. She asked for counselling and testifies of having had three main sins, pride, stubbornness and immorality. She made peace with God and immediately there was an improvement in her physical condition. During the July Youth Conference in 2006 she gave her testimony, even though she was still sitting in a wheelchair. During the December Youth Conference the same year she could speak standing in front of the young people. By then she already weighed 56.2 kg.
After a further test the CD4 count was within normal range and the viral load test showed the levels of HIV to be so low as to be undetectable. Gcinephi cannot stop praising God for His goodness to her."What can I say about the grace of God which has been shown to me? I came from the dead, because the doctor had said: ‘You are as good as dead!’“
The matron in charge of state hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal said:"There is no hospital like Emseni Care Centre. One cannot see that the patients are patients, but instead they have shining faces and they are a picture of health.”
May this short report be the answer to the question whether the KwaSizabantu Revival is still alive. The principles are firmly based on the foundation of the Bible and are followed by the leaders and co-workers of the mission. May God in His grace continue His work saving people out of sin and bondage above all we ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20).
Dr. Kurt E. Koch (1913 – 1987)
Kurt E. Koch, born 1913. After studying theology and after further studies in medicine, received a Doctor of Theology degree at Tubingen University, Germany.
22 years pastoring in the state Lutheran Church, predominantly in youth work and in evangelism. Founding and directing of a Bible mission, financing of the printing or own publication of Bibles or parts of the Bible into approximately 30 languages, particularly into languages of Stone Age tribes.
Itinerant missionary and evangelistic work in over 100 countries, lecturing at universities, seminaries, Bible schools and churches on all 5 continents.
With God's help, author of more than 100 books and brochures. As of November 1986, 96 copyrights awarded for translations into foreign languages.
Regarded by many to have been the world's leading authority on the occult.
Several international recognitions, among them Life Membership in the Academy of World Literature (Cambridge, England). Further, a number of international book prizes.
The central experience of his life: forgiveness of guilt and sin by Jesus Christ. The experience of being a child of God and the certainty of eternal life due to the mercy of the Lord. The faithfulness of God in the most difficult times. Experiencing"the exceeding riches of His grace” (Eph. 2:7).
The most important experience in his work was the visit to all present revival areas in the world and his books about these spiritual movements.
This book reports on his research into the revival which has been taking place in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa since 1966, now known as KwaSizabantu Mission.