Pt. 5 – Mariah Beulah Woodworth-Etter (1844-1924)

Mariah wrote several books, some of which have been reprinted and are in circulation today.  Some of her book titles include:

  • Acts of the Holy Ghost, Life and Experience of Mrs. M.B. Woodworth-Etter, published in 1912
  • Signs and Wonders God Wrought in the Ministry, published in 1916.
  • A Diary of Signs and Wonders, reprint by Harrison House of the 1916 original book.
  • The Holy Spirit, reprint by Whitaker House of the original book.
  • Holy Ghost Sermons, extracted sermons from her original books printed by Harrison House.
  • Maria Woodworth-Etter on Miracles, editor’s devotional companion book based on the writings of M.B. Woodworth-Etter.

Mariah was very prophetic in her sermons.  In one sermon, it was entitled “Prepare for War”, in which she prophesied of a coming world war.  This came to pass with World War 1.

Mariah talked much about the importance of worship, prayer, the authority of the Word of God, fasting, and intimacy with the Holy Spirit.  She emphasized the necessity of holiness and dying to the carnal nature (Galations 5 and 6) in order to walk the narrow path that leads to eternal life.

In her writings, you feel a sense of the reverential fear of God (which needs to be restored to the Body of Christ today).  There is lack of respect and honor today in God’s house, and lack of respect towards God personally in day to day living.  There is also a lack of respect towards authority figures and those who are older.

Today people do what is right in their own eyes.  People can attend church and be religious, but then live for the devil the rest of the week.  God does not want mixture in our lives.  There should be a distinction between light and darkness, between saved and unsaved.  God is looking for holiness and consecration.  Holiness is not outward, as much as it begins inwardly.

Mariah did not shy away from talking about the reality of eternal judgment (which is unpopular today to talk about), and she had compassion for the lost and wanted to warn as many as possible.

Mariah was a woman, who through hardships and perils, whose faith remained strong.  She was noted for her perseverance.  She considered herself a pilgrim here on this earth, and heaven was her real home.  While she longed for heaven, she also wanted to remain on this earth to fulfill her destiny and lead as many to Christ as possible.

Although she experienced tremendous success in her ministry, it wasn’t all rosy.  She also suffered setbacks and much persecution.  Her persecutors consisted of those who were not saved, as well as some Christians who were opposed to her ministry.

When she was 69 years old, she and two co-laborers were arrested and falsely charged with crimes they did not commit.  She was also accused of hypnotizing people.  God vindicated her and the charges were dropped.  But at the moment it was happening, she had to endure the lies spoken against her.

God used Mariah in her evangelistic ministry to gather together those of various denominations and religious backgrounds.  They came together in unity under one roof to worship Jesus, and the Holy Spirit and the power of God was poured out.  God also used her ministry to gather together people from various ethnic groups, as well as those from all walks of life and economic status.

She ministered to the saved and the unsaved.  She had an apostolic anointing.  She was a mentor to pastors and other ministers, she was a spiritual mother to many, she established various ministry works, and she paved the way for others as a pioneer.

Mariah’s ministry (and her contemporaries) were “John the Baptist’s” who prepared the way for the worldwide outpouring of the Holy Spirit, in which Pentecostal revival broke out in Topeka, Kansas and Azuza Street in Los Angeles, as well as other places around the world in the early 1900’s.

Mariah was a contemporary with preachers and leaders such as Smith Wigglesworth, William Seymour, Charles Parham, John G. Lake, and the Pentecostal outpouring on Azuza Street in 1906 and the subsequent years.  She was a forerunner of Kathryn Kulhman, used mightily of God to demonstrate that the power of the Holy Spirit is as real today as it was in the book of Acts.

In reading her writings, much of what she says is prophetic.  The Holy Spirit speaks, encourages, exhorts, comforts and even warns individuals through the messages He prompted Mariah to preach and record on paper.  Some of the anointing on her life is imparted into the readers who receive what the Spirit is saying to the Church today.

In reading Mariah’s sermons, prophesies, exhortations and other writings, there is a heavy anointing on it today even though it was written a hundred years ago.  The messages God spoke through her is still relevant to the Church today.  She really was born before her time.

She also spoke much about future events to come in the Body of Christ and the world, including the second return of Christ and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  She exhorted the Bride of Christ to prepare herself to meet the Bridegroom.  Only those Christians who would walk in the Spirit, bear the fruit of the Spirit, and live in holiness would be able to ascend and enter into the Marriage Supper.

In the parable of the ten virgins (5 wise and 5 foolish in Matthew 25), when Jesus returns for His Church, will only half (50%) of those who claim to be Christians be ready to ascend to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb?  (Kat Kerr, who has been caught up to Heaven on many occasions and has seen and talked with Jesus said that right now only 20% of the Body of Christ is ready to ascend in the rapture. The other 80% are living carnal lives.) Mariah’s writings inspire the Christian to take a closer look at their walk with God, and to turn away from sin and those things which hinder.  She inspired people to love God with all their heart and to love their neighbor.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Maria Beulah Woodworth-Etter, Acts of the Holy Ghost, Life and Experience of Mrs. M.B. Woodworth-Etter (Indianapolis:  M.B. Woodworth-Etter’s Ministry and printed by John F. Worley Printing in Dallas), 1912.

Maria Beulah Woodworth-Etter, Signs and Wonders God Wrought in the Ministry (Indianapolis:  M.B. Woodworth-Etter’s Ministry and printed by Hammond Press in Chicago), 1916.

Maria Beulah Woodworth-Etter, A Diary of Signs and Wonders (Tulsa:  Reprint by Harrison House of the 1916 original book).

Maria Beulah Woodworth-Etter, The Holy Spirit (Pennsylvania:  Reprint by Whitaker House of the original book), 1998.

Maria Beulah Woodworth-Etter, Holy Ghost Sermons (Tulsa:  Extraction of sermons from her original books printed by Harrison House), 1997.

Maria Beulah Woodworth-Etter, Maria Woodworth-Etter Devotional (Florida:  Reprint by Creation House of the original devotional), 1997.

Larry Keefauver, Lessons of Maria Woodworth-Etter on Miracles (Florida:  Creation House), 1997.

NOTE:  My favorite biographies are her original writings which have not been edited, and contain more information, sermons and prophecies than the reprint editions.  The titles include:  Acts of the Holy Ghost published in 1912 and Signs and Wonders God Wrought in the Ministry published in 1916.  A limited supply of her original books are found in book stores that specialize in classics that are out of print.  I found her two original books at www.alibris.com.  Her original books may also be found in some theological libraries.

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Pt. 3 – Mariah Beulah Woodworth-Etter (1844-1924)

Mariah preached and prophesied with authority.  There were times in her meetings when God’s judgment was revealed (like in the early church in the book of Acts).  For instance, there were occasions when some were struck dead as they tried to blaspheme or openly oppose what the Holy Spirit was doing.  It was similar to what happened to Ananias and Sapphira after Peter confronted them for lying to the Holy Ghost and to the apostles (Acts 5:1-12).  Great fear (holy reverence of God) fell upon the people at her meetings.

There were times when the Holy Ghost would prompt her to prophesy to certain ones that this was their last opportunity to get saved because they wouldn’t be on this earth much longer.  Sadly, there were some who refused the warning from God or didn’t take it seriously, and within a matter of hours or days, were dead and didn’t have a second chance to accept Christ as Lord and Savior.

People were set free from demonic oppression in her meetings.  Sometimes gangs would come to interrupt, throw rocks at people, or slash the cords of the tent so that the tent collapsed.  Sometimes heavy rain storms arose during the meetings, soaking the place with cold, mud and water.  One time, a violent storm arose where gushing winds tore through the tent, and the tent and some equipment was ripped apart.

Sometimes evil or mentally ill people stormed into the meeting angry, carrying weapons, and a spirit of boldness would arise in Mariah and she would point at them and rebuke them in the Name of Jesus and they would be frozen in their tracks.  Suddenly their disposition would transform into a little lamb and they would leave the tent doing no harm.  Wherever the Lord is doing mighty things, the light attracts the darkness.

In her California meetings, she faced great dangers of being shot.  In one meeting, the men built a high board fence around the back of the pulpit to protect her.  While in California, she also received a death threat letter with a sketch of a skull and cross bones, and also one of a heart with a dagger stuck through it.  Her enemies threatened that if she didn’t leave then they would tear down the tents and kill everyone.  She stayed, and a mob showed up at 2:00 in the morning.

On another occasion, a group of policemen got drunk and were mad at one of her workers for some reason.  They gathered up a mob with the intent on storming the place.  Some of them entered her meeting, with the plan that at a precise moment they would give the signal, and then the mob would come rushing in.  The Spirit of the Lord came upon Mariah, and she stepped up to the altar and stood looking at the policemen.  She began talking as the Spirit gave her utterance.  The fear of God fell upon them, and they were afraid of the God in her.  They solemnly walked out of the tent and their plans were foiled.

In her meetings the glory of God was so strong that the atmosphere of Heaven was present.  There were many times when Mariah, and others, would see open visions (like what Peter and Paul experienced).  Some were even temporarily caught up (their spirit was caught up) to Paradise and literally saw glimpses of Heaven and the Throne.  In some visions, Mariah saw Jesus in person.  Sometimes He said nothing (His eyes and body language says it all), and sometimes He gave a verbal instruction.  In one meeting, a woman fell under the power of God, and went into a trance that lasted for eight days.  She came out shouting and preaching.

Mariah details these events in her autobiographies.  Mariah was a level-headed, balanced individual in what she said in her sermons and the things she wrote in her writings.  So therefore, it’s my belief that the visions she documented were accurate, true and of God.

Pt. 2 – Mariah Beulah Woodworth-Etter (1844-1924)

After the vision of hell, she was still resistant to minister for various reasons:  fear and rejection, the fact that she was a woman called to preach (which was rare at that time), and also because of opposition from her husband and daughter.  But then this awful vision would come to her remembrance, and she would see souls sinking into eternal destruction.  Then Jesus would whisper to her, “I am with you, be not afraid.”

Many men ministers began to recognize the calling on her life and were supportive, and they encouraged her to go forth in her destiny.  That was a miracle right there … she began receiving validation from men pastors at a time in history when women were generally not recognized, devalued and had little voice.  Ministers prophesied to her that God was calling her to the West to labor for lost souls (she lived in Ohio at the time).

Life on the road was a rough existence, without modern transportation, proper medical attention, and all the conveniences we have today.  Mariah didn’t know how she could take her little boy Willie with her.  A few days later, Willie died unexpectedly and went to heaven.  Her oldest daughter, Lizzie, who was sixteen at the time, was the only child (out of six children) who survived and lived out a full lifetime.

Mariah was married to Mr. Woodworth for 26 years.  The marriage finally ended in divorce for many reasons – years of complications, incompatibility, irreconcilable differences, her husband giving her opposition, and then her husband’s adulterous affairs.

At the beginning of her ministry, Mr. Woodworth released her to travel with a group, but later on accompanied her to her evangelistic meetings.

After the divorce, Mariah was single for eleven years until re-marrying.  She retained her first husband’s last name Woodworth.  Even after they divorced, they remained friends.  Mariah married Mr. Etter on January 1, 1902.  Mr. Etter traveled and ministered alongside with her as a team and helped her with the business details of ministry.  Mr. Etter was the husband she needed and they were truly one.  The second marriage was very blessed and successful.  It was filled with peace, joy, happiness and fulfillment.

At Mariah’s evangelistic meetings, the manifested glory of the Lord was present in her crusades.  Not only was the Lord’s presence felt in a powerful way, but at times a Cloud or Smoke of Glory filled the place (which is referred to as the Shekinah Glory).

Shekinah speaks of the “weighty” presence of God.  The Shekinah is felt tangibly or seen visibly.  At times, flames like raindrops (similar to what happened on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2), fell from heaven into Mariah’s meetings.  Sometimes the sweet beautiful fragrance of Jesus saturated the place (compare to Song of Solomon 1:2-4).  God’s mighty presence and power wrought healings, miracles, signs and wonders at the meetings.

An example in Scripture of the Shekinah glory is when Solomon dedicated the temple he built for God.  When the priests began to play musical instruments, sing and bless the Lord, the place was filled with the cloud of God’s glory.  The priests could not stand up to minister by reason of the cloud (2 Chronicles 5:13-14, 1 Kings 8:10-11).

In Mariah’s meetings, people’s hearts were changed as a result of receiving the Word which was preached.  Scores of people who were unsaved or backslidden would repent and come to the altar to receive Christ.  Her ministry colleagues (who were men) would often water baptize new converts shortly or immediately after they accepted Christ as Savior at her meetings.

Scores were baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues (Acts 2, Acts 10:44-46).  The Gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12 – prophecy, tongues, interpretation of tongues, faith, healings, miracles, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discerning of spirits), as well as a full expression of prophetic worship (Davidic expression of worship as mentioned in the Psalms and Revelation 4-5), was in operation at her meetings.

Pt. 1 – Mariah Beulah Woodworth-Etter (1844-1924)

Mariah Beulah Woodworth-Etter (1844-1924)

Her Life and Ministry

Part 1

To view photos of her: Maria Woodworth-etter – Image Results

God uses ordinary people who are available to Him, and He uses them to do extraordinary things for His glory and kingdom.  Often times, God chooses those who appear to be the least qualified in man’s perception, and He raises them up out of the ash heap to do a great work for the Lord.

Mariah Beulah Woodworth-Etter is an example of a person who had a rough childhood and life.  Now days, you would say that she came from a dysfunctional, abusive home.  Her father was a drunkard and her mother was victimized by his abuse, with no money to leave and eight children to take care of.  Back in the 1800’s divorce was not an option.  There were no laws to protect women and children from abuse, no police intervention. Women and children were considered more like property, than people with value.  Mariah’s mother and the children were trapped in this miserable situation.

Mariah Beulah Underwood was born on July 22, 1844 in New Lisbon, Ohio to Samuel Lewis and Matilda Brittain Underwood. She was the fourth daughter of Samuel and Matilda Underwood.  Her parents were not Christians during her early years, but joined the Disciples Church when she was ten years of age.

Her father being an alcoholic and drunkard, one year after they joined the Disciples Church, he was struck by lightning in a terrible storm and died. Mariah’s mother was left in poverty with eight children to raise.  Eleven-year old Mariah, and her older sisters, had to go out and work to provide for the family.  Mariah longed for a formal education, but the idea seemed impossible.

Mariah’s circumstances were negative, with the odds stacked against her future success.  However, God chose her to preach the Gospel and He raised her up.  In her day, it was unheard of and looked down on for women to preach.

At the age of thirteen, Mariah went forward at the end of a church service to accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.  The following day, she was water baptized in a river.  When she came up out of the water, a light shone upon her, and God’s power so overwhelmed her that she fainted in the Spirit.  She heard Jesus call her into ministry, but her church did not allow women to serve in any kind of ministry capacity, except as a missionary. Because it was generally not accepted in the church and society for women to be preachers or ministers, she assumed that she was being called as a missionary.

A few years after her conversion (around age 17), Mariah married Mr. Woodworth with the hopes that the way would be opened for them to be missionaries, because he was called to be a missionary.

When God initially called her to preach the Gospel, she assumed it would be missionary work because women were not allowed to preach but could be a missionary.  But that’s not what God had told her.  He said she would travel and preach.

So often our mind overrules what the Spirit says to us, and we tend to interpret things according to our mindsets.  Traditions, the culture and society, and preconceived ideas are very powerful, often exalting itself above the wisdom of God.

In Mariah’s case, she interpreted what God had spoken to her through the mindset she had which was based on her religious background and society.  She followed her mind in choosing a husband … what seemed right, logical and rational, but the marriage was laced with complications.

She assumed God called her to do missionary work just because it was acceptable for a woman to be a missionary at that time, and unacceptable to travel and preach, or start a church.  Mariah didn’t really consult the Lord regarding whom she was to marry.  And she was so young (only 17).  They got married and things didn’t turn out like she had hoped.

One trial and hardship came after another.  Her health failed, and everything they undertook seemed to fail.  Although there were troubles in her marriage, she was happy with her young children.  But then her son died.  Then a year later, another baby son was taken away by death.

Shortly after, her seven-year old daughter Georgie became sick with a dreadful disease (scrofula), and lingered about eight months before going to heaven.  Mariah gave birth to a baby girl named Girtie three weeks before Georgie died.  However, this baby also died at four months of age. During this entire time, Mariah was very ill, on the brink of life and death.

Medical science was not advanced back then like it is now.  Vaccinations were not available like it is today.  Now days, cures and treatments have been discovered for many of the diseases people died from over 100 years ago.

Mariah’s family had no money for doctors, proper health care and proper nutrition (of what was available at the time).

Years later Mariah had another little boy named Willie, and he also died at a young age.  Out of six children, only one daughter, Lizzie, survived and lived out a full lifetime.

In spite of all the tragedies, God was speaking to her heart to preach the Gospel, and God began giving her visions.  Mariah promised God that if He would restore her health, she would try to do what He was calling her to do. Immediately, her health got better.

Mariah and her husband, and daughter Lizzie and son Willie moved to a Friends’ Settlement (a Christian group at that time).  It was there at a church where God said, “I brought you here; go to work.”  Mariah was very fearful and timid, and went through a season of giving God all the excuses of why she could not preach and wanted God to use somebody else.  But she was forever impacted by a vision God gave her where she saw souls in hell.

In the vision of hell, there was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, torment, torture and suffering.  Hell was surrounded by multitudes of people who seemed to not be conscious of their danger, and without a moment’s warning they would tumble into this hideous place.  In the vision, she stood above hell on a narrow plank-walk, which wound towards heaven.  She was exhorting and pleading with people to come upon the plank and escape that horrifying place.  Several followed her on the plank. There was a bright light above her, and she encouraged them to follow that light, which would lead to heaven.