The power of God is the power of “GOD” and we as mankind can scarcely begin to imagine the awesomeness of God’s power. Indeed, it is so far above our comprehension as to be utterly unimaginable. How can the pot imagine the potter? How God’s power manifests within us, is also bordering on the incredulous, even when we feel it and see it with our own eyes and our own senses. We just are not sufficiently experienced in the supernatural, to feel comfortable there. Miracles are show stoppers.
There are major differences between the two Bible times, the days of the Old Testament and the days of the New. Changes took place between the two eras which rendered some things redundant and brought others into sharp focus. As born-again Christians, we are to live in the New, but have reference to the Old; for the word of the old law brings death, but the Spirit of the law, brings life.
Looking at Old Testament times, or perhaps better stated as before Pentecost, we know that the Holy Spirit in the nature of the Paraclete, or the Helper of John 14:16-17 was not indwelling in mankind, and only occasionally came to interact with God’s people. In the Old Testament, we have what we can call, an “External Anointing” on someone; when the Spirit of God descended on them and remained for a while. Examples of this are many, with Gideon, Samson, Saul and others, all both feeling the effects of this external anointing, and also immediately acting differently:
First Samuel 11:6 “And the Spirit of God came powerfully on Saul….”
First Chronicles 5:26 “And the God of Israel stirred up the …King of…… “
Second Chronicles 15:1 “And the Spirit of God came on Azariah the …”
Second Chronicles 24:20 “And the Spirit of God came on Zechariah the son of..”
When the Spirit of God fell on someone, they were quite literally “changed”. They were, for a while, a new person with a new or renewed focus on God. But as we find in most of the Old Testament characters, they were not able to sustain this external anointing through their lifetimes. Being of fallen stock, most fell by their own selfish actions or unwise decisions. However, these were the anointed of God. These, who like David, received an oil anointing which poured down over their heads, received an anointing from God onto their heads which covered their bodies and seeped into their soul and into their spirit and saturated them: First Samuel 16:13 “And Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the spirit of Jehovah came on David from that day forward.” This was the anointing of the Old Testament, which was received by Prophets allowed them to prophesy God’s words to His chosen people. First Samuel 10:1&6 provides insight, saying:
“And Samuel took a vial of oil and poured on his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because Jehovah has anointed you for a leader over His inheritance? ….. And the spirit of Jehovah will come powerfully on you, and you shall prophesy with them, and shall be turned into another man.”
These were not common events, but the anointing of God could be transferred, as happened to Moses when God chose to share the anointing, the mantle He gave Moses to seventy others (Numbers 11). The anointing could also be removed for gross disobedience as happened to Saul; though it had a physical effect on Saul’s body, God removed it.
This was the anointing of the Old Testament; external. Does it still happen in the New Testament and under the New Covenant? Certainly, yes, as the Book of the Acts of the Apostles confirms. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit fell as fire on the group as they gathered waiting on the Lord and as Act 2:1b says: “they were all with one accord…….” In one accord; that is a very interesting and important phrase. More of that later.
In conclusion, it was possible under the Old Covenant to both lose or increase an anointing depending on the life one led. If you walked with God, He could increase your anointing, but if you were rebellious, He could remove it. The Old Covenant anointing was totally dependent one’s righteousness before God and one’s commitment to God.
Hebrews 11:39-40 says of the Old Covenant men of faith:
“And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, did not receive the promise, for God had provided some better thing for us, that they should not be made perfect without us.”
In this, we find that we have, what they did not. It was so great that Jesus made mention of the consequences of it, as he said of his cousin John the Baptist “Truly I say to you, Among those who have been born of women there has not risen a greater one than John the Baptist. But the least in the kingdom of Heaven is greater than he” (Matthew 11:11).
In John 14:16-17 we hear from Jesus just what the difference was, between living under the Old and the New Covenant as He said to His disciples:
“And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, so that He may be with you forever, the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him nor know Him. But you know Him, for He dwells with you and shall be in you.”
Then Jesus adds in the next line “I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you” (John 14:18). What Jesus is saying here is that He will not abandon them; He will not abandon us. He will not make us ‘orphans’ or imperil us to a state of loneliness, powerlessness, destitution and want; He will not leave us uncomforted, not leave us, comfortless. This was a major change from previous times when the anointing could be temporary and was sustained through our works and righteousness.
Paul explains this in Galatians 4:6 as he said “because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Jesus was to be with us, but in the form of the person of the Holy Spirit, providing that, as we read in His own Words in John 14:23
“If a man loves Me, he will keep My Word. And My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.”
Jesus is saying here is that the indwelling is not just the Holy Spirit, for He says “We will come and make Our abode within.” It was not just the person of the Holy Spirit who was to indwell, but God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit! The whole triune God; all three persons of the Godhead, are to dwell within those who love Jesus and keep His Word. Now that is power!
Because Jesus had not paid the price until the Cross of Calvary, the Old Covenant believers could not receive, nor possibly even dream of receiving, that which the newest believer receives from Christ – the indwelling Godhead.
Cast your mind back to John 4:10 and to the days of Jesus’ travels, when he talked with a Samaritan woman at a well in Sychar, offering her ‘living water.’ Now that ‘living water’ is available to each and every born-again Christian from our own internal well, such that we should never thirst again! Jesus has provided each born-again Christian with their own and unique Inner Anointing, as opposed to the External Anointing of the Old Covenant.
However, for us today, not only can we avail ourselves of our own unique Inner Anointing, we still have access to the External Anointing. During the days of the Temple, a ritual was introduced which had no roots in the Bible. It became a custom during the mornings of the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles, that a Priest would pour out wine and water from a golden goblet into a silver goblets at the Pool of Siloam, while reciting and chanting with other priests: “with joy shall you shall draw water out of the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3).
Gold here, represents God while Silver represents redemption. Though the priests of old did not apparently understand the prophetic significance of their ritual, Jesus did. Jesus was the golden goblet and we are the silver, whom He redeems through the outpouring of His blood. John 4:14 in which the priestly temple ritual portrayed, became true after the death of Jesus and His resurrection.
In John 7:37-39 we see the picture of the fulfilment of the prophetic words of Jesus, which in His death achieved reality:
“And in the last day of the great feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But He spoke this about the Spirit, which they who believed on Him should receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.) “
Jesus is clearly pointing out two different manifestations here. First there is the living water which wells up inside us as we come to belief, and the Godhead comes to well within us. Secondly, He is talking about gushing streams of water, flowing rivers of water, which flow from our of our bellies for the benefit of others. The internal well is for our use, the flowing rivers are for the use of others; to meet their needs.
What Jesus was saying here, is that we can have the old, and the new. We can still have the anointing of the Old Covenant, together with the new internal infilling of the New Covenant. One source of water is not sufficient for these days – we need two! One to sustain us on the Great Commission: one to use on the Great Commission.
Once example of using this power is found in Act 3:6 as Peter said:
“Silver and gold have I none, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”
The anointing available to born-again Christians, the power available to born-again Christians is simply far greater than it was to the Old Covenant prophets, both in capacity, quantity and breadth. Jesus tells us this in John 14:12 saying
“Truly, truly, I say to you, He who believes on Me, the works that I do he shall do also, and greater works than these he shall do, because I go to My Father.”
While Jesus had been with them, they moved in the External Anointing as they healed the sick, raised the dead and cast out demons. Now we all can do that, simply by “believing”, for inside every believer are not dribbles or streams, but rivers of living water to sustain us. All we need to do is to keep these rivers pouring out!
Now we get to the point of the Powerlessness of Christian Lone Rangers. As we have seen above, God has given all born-again Christians immense power. To many whom He has chosen to especially bless, they have also received a strong dose of External Anointing for His Kingdom sake, such that God’s works may be done and accomplished according to His will; but not at our effort, at His. For the external anointing is a tool for us to use, but use wisely.
The Amazon river starts with a tiny trickle, but by the time it reaches the sea, it is a mighty river whose water are so powerful, they push the saltiness of the sea back scores of miles out from the mouth of the river. The Amazon river grows as other small, unnamed and humble waterways add their waters into it. So too, it is with us when we work with others; the quantity of living water we can supply, begins to grow and grow.
Even in the flesh we can figure out why Jesus always sent His disciples out two-by-two, or in larger groups: in Mark 6:7 Jesus sends out the twelve, two-by-two; in Luke 10:1, Jesus sends out the seventy, two-by-two. But there is an interesting verse in First Corinthians 15:46 which reads: “But not the spiritual first, but the natural; afterward the spiritual.” From this we can infer that from the practical and obviously natural guidance in the Bible, there are underlying spiritual truths there also, though perhaps hidden for the unveiling of understanding. Thus, when we look at the words of Jesus when He gives practical advice in travelling two-by-two, we also have the practical and spiritual advice of Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.”
Jesus is telling us here is that if we can arrange at least one other, gathered in His name, He will come and add His Living Water and His Rivers of Water to ours. This is what happened at Pentecost as one hundred and twenty believers sat and waited for Jesus as Acts 2:1 says “And in the fulfilling of the day of Pentecost, they were all with one accord in one place.” Notice again what is says: “with one accord.” This means that two or three persons sitting and praying “with one accord” can bring Jesus to join them, while a congregation of hundreds may worship alone. Knowing and understanding this, we can now see the voice of the Christian Long Ranger as a single voice crying in the wilderness. The Lone Ranger is powerless, compared to even two believers praying in one accord; and two believers praying in accord are more powerful than a large discordant church body, all praying for their own pet causes and interests.
Throughout the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, it is interesting to note that each time the external anointing came upon any single person, it was when that person was working in unison with one or more other people. There is no reported case of an external anointing falling on a single individual. This again, is a good biblical support for the powerlessness of Christian Lone Rangers.
Is there a key or a protocol for the falling of the external anointing? There seems to be. To receive, to flow and to remain in an external anointing one needs at minimum one other person standing there in complete agreement in “accord”. The two must be as one, for “in accord”, Jesus will come and participate, adding His infinite Living Waters to ours. We know that for a fact, because He says so!