Some say it’s a manifestation of the Holy Spirit and a gift from God. Others say it’s demonic activity. Here’s what the Bible says.
Holy Laughter is an uncontrollable laughter that comes upon a Christian which can last for minutes to even hours. The source of the laughter is unknown, meaning, there is nothing of amusement or funny happening at that the moment the laughter starts.
This “Holy Laughter” is said to bring about a euphoric feeling during or afterward. Some say it’s a manifestation of the Holy Spirit and a gift from God. Other say it’s a demonic manifestation.
After much study and discernment through the Holy Spirit, I would agree with the latter that this phenomenon, while seemingly harmless, is not God’s doing but an evil spirit at work.
The explanations given by those who defend and promote these experiences say things like:
“It’s the joy of the Lord bubbling up and overflowing in the form of laughter.”
“It’s an expression of joy because the person,” [somehow], “overcame the devil.”
What the bible says
In the 29 references to laughter found in the bible, not once is it ever implied that joy (which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit) can be expressed in uncontrollable laughter. Laughing because you’re full of joy is one thing, uncontrollable laughter is another thing. And that is the central piece of this phenomenon. In all these cases there is a lack of control and/or confusion.
We know that God doesn’t bring about confusion to his people (1 Cor 14:33) and his Spirit gives us self-control (Gal 5:22-23). It’s also important to note that God gives a list of at least 9 manifestations of the Holy Spirit in first Corinthians 12:7-10 but not once is uncontrollable laughter listed.
The Job passage
Till he [God] fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing. (Job 8:21)
The Job passage is used to suggest that Holy Laughter is legitimate, but when you read the verse in context of the whole chapter, it’s simply speaking of how Job might respond if God vindicated him from any wrong doing which his friend, Bildad, was accusing him of.
In this case, Job would be filled with laughter and joy because God vindicated him, and you could say that God made it happen, but that wouldn’t be accurate. God would simply be the cause of the laughter because God was the one that changed the circumstances for Job which would lead to his emotional response of laughter. Even in this hypothetical case, Job could chose to cry instead.
I’m not saying that God isn’t the cause for a variety of expressions. God can do a lot of things in our lives that could lead us to cry, weep, dance or laugh, but he doesn’t make us express it in any certain way. We chose to express ourselves based on our humanity and personality; and laughter is always a result of a specific situation whether funny or contemptible.
Holy Laughter happens for no reason—there is no evidence of what’s funny present, either in the mind or in the physical, therefore is should be questioned.
If you don’t know what you’re laughing at, or you can’t easily stop, this is a problem.
Blasphemy or testing the spirits?
Anytime a discerning believer questions demonic activity that is attributed to the Holy Spirit, they’re accused of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. But God says to test the spirits.
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try [test] the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world (1 John 4:1).
God also gives us the gift of discernment of spirits (1 Cor 12:7-10) in which a person can tell if he or she is dealing with Jesus, the Holy Spirit, God the Father, Satan, a good or fallen angel, a demon spirit or a man spirit. God wouldn’t give us a “spirit detector” and tell us to test the spirits if this would lead to blasphemy. Therefore testing and discernment is not blasphemy. Let’s look at what Jesus said:
22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. 23 And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. 27 No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. 28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: 30 Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit (Mark 3:28-30).
Committing the unpardonable sin can only be done in one way: If you know for certain in your heart, with verifiable proof, that the works performed through a man or woman of God is the Holy Spirit but you lie instead and proclaim that it’s the devil—this is how you blaspheme the Holy Spirit and this is what the Pharisees did.
Many of those who accept this experience as holy haven’t genuinely tested these spirits. They are deceived, naive, and lack discernment. I believe the primary reason they give it a pass is because it makes them feel good. Euphoric pleasurable feelings aren’t something one gives up easily and they can become addictive just like drugs. I think these people assume that, if it feels good, it must be from God, but we know that’s not always true.
God has given us a multitude of tools to test the spirits with (the gift of discerning of spirits, the bible, and the fruit) because he knows we war with an adversary that is highly deceptive and God doesn’t want us to be ignorant of his devices (2 Cor 2:11). So never let a person silence your discernment by accusing you of blasphemy.
My continued research has shown that there is a practice in Yoga called “Laughter Yoga” in which the guru leader induces laughter in the participants. It’s brings about a euphoric feeling, but it’s not from God. Could this same spirit in Yoga be the same one at work in the Church? I believe so.
I also found a pastor by the name of Rodney Howard Browne who went to Africa and returned with this holy Laughter that he transferred to his church and from there he spawned a movement.
I heard of one brother’s salvation testimony where Holy Laughter came over him after the salvation prayer. He didn’t know why he was laughing so hard, nor did the Christians who were round about in prayer for him.
I believe this, now pastor, was genuinely converted on that day and filled with the Holy Ghost, but that unclean spirit was not casted out which made itself known through laughter. Unfortunately, the other Christians around him were ignorant of Satan’s devices, having no clue as to how to deal with something so seemingly harmless as laughter. This pastor today defends this experience as something from the Holy Spirit.
I personally remember when I first received the gift of tongues. The devil was right there telling me that I was mumbling and should stop speaking this edifying language. I mention my experience with the gift of tongues because the devil is present even when God is distributing presents. So don’t think for a minute that when the Holy Spirit is being distributed, that the devil isn’t there.
How many times have you heard of, or saw someone being prayed over to be converted, and the demons in them began to manifest? It’s usually a violent event, but we look at uncontrollable laughter as harmless, and we give it a pass.
This is what’s happening to some people at conversion. Not only are they NOT getting delivered from evil spirits, they’re deceived into believing that this demonically manipulated laughter is a gift from God! So while they should be growing in freedom, they stay in bondage while believing they’re free.
Mocking God through his own people
Why are demons making people laugh uncontrollably? I believe the answer is found in the bible. In the 29 references to laughter found in the King James version, 21 of them refer to mockery. Mockery is teasing and contemptuous language or behavior directed at a particular person or thing; ridicule; derision, jeering, sneering, contempt, scorn, scoffing, teasing, taunting, sarcasm.
Here are those 21 references (you can hover over each to review them): Gen 17:17; 18:12-13,15; 21:6; 2 Kings 19:21; 2 Chr 30:10; Neh 2:19; Job 9:23, 12:4, 22:19; Psalms 2:4 (God); Psalms 22:7, 37:13 (God); Psalms 52:6, 59:8 (God); Psalms 80:6; Proverbs 1:26 (God); Isa 37:22; Ezekiel 23:32; Matthew 9:24, 5:40.
It’s a fact that Satan and his demons hate God and humanity. They can’t touch God, but they can mock him through his own creation. While Christians may think they’re laughing at the devil through this Holy Laughter, I believe the devil is laughing at them and God using their own vocal cords to do it.
When this happens in the church, it’s a clear manifestation that demons inhabit the human vessel. The next step should be to cast them out, but all too often the charismatic thinking has been perverted to accept this phenomenon as normal expressions of the Holy Spirit. What a deception!
There are brothers and sisters I know who continue to explain away these demonic manifestations as extraordinary joy from the Holy Spirit. In one video, I witnessed a woman laugh loudly and uncontrollably for 16 minutes straight and eventually the preacher had to stop preaching not only because of her but other weird manifestations. She interrupted the entire service and the pastor never rebuked or casted out the spirit in her. Why? Because the pastor has been seduced and deceived to believe that this was the Holy Spirit.
I’ve been told that the Kundalini spirit doesn’t come unless you practice their religion or partake in it. My response to that was: What rule is that? You don’t have to practice Yoga or Hinduism to get the wrong spirit. Demons gets in through sin, bad fellowship, open doorways in the wrong environment, ignorance and a lack of discernment.
God will not always shield ignorant believers from the devil’s devices. He tells us to test the spirits and be informed (2 Cor 2:11). In these last days we can’t afford to be deceived. I can assure you that this Holy Laughter phenomenon is not of God but of Satan.
Next, I will talk about how to avoid all forms of deception.