And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have I
to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father, and
to the prophets of thy mother [because they had forsaken
God]. And the king of Israel said unto him, Nay: for the
Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them
into the hand of Moab.
And Elisha said, As the Lord of hosts liveth, before
whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence
of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward
thee, nor see thee.
The Prophet Elisha regarded the presence of Jehoshaphat because God regarded the presence of Jehoshaphat. God will do a lot of things for his own people. Jehoshaphat wanted Elisha to prophesy regarding the outcome of the impending battle.
Elisha called for a minstrel, and his anointing was enhanced.
2 KINGS 3:15,16
15But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass,
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WHEN THE MINSTREL PLAYED, THAT THE HAND
OF THE LORD CAME UPON HIM.
16 And he said, Thus saith the Lord
Elisha went on to give the message of victory God gave him. "The hand of the Lord came upon him." Did you notice that? The "hand of the Lord" is the Holy Spirit, or we could say "the hand of the Lord" is the anointing.
Notice that Elisha couldn Jt start prophesying any time he wanted to, so he said, "Bring me a minstrel." And the hand of the Lord came upon him when the minstrel played.
Music comes under the ministry of helps listed in First Corinthians 12:28. The ministry of music is one of the greatest helps there is. Thank God for the ministry of music.
The Bible has much to say about music in connection with worship. We know that music helps us worship God. If you play the right kind of music in your home when you're praying or studying the Bible, what a difference it makes. When David would sing and play his harp, the evil spirit that troubled King Saul would depart.
Music affects all of the ministries; it has something to do with the anointing in all of the offices. Music can help all ministers — not just the prophet — because all ministers should minister under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
The right kind of music and singing even will help the teacher teach better. However, it seems to me that music has more to do with the prophet's office than the others, because the prophet must be so sensitive to the Spirit.
We saw that as the minstrel played, "the hand of the Lord," or the anointing, came upon the Prophet Elisha and
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he began to prophesy.
Sometimes the anointing to stand in the office of prophet is so strong I don't need anything — I can step right into it. At other times, like Elisha, I need a little help.
Sometimes I'll have the singers and musicians sing and play. If they sing the wrong song, however, they'll kill the anointing (and the service). The words, tune, and rhythm may be right, but the song still may be out of place.
When this happens, the Spirit of God lifts from me — it goes as if it were a bird that flew away. No, the Holy Spirit doesn't stop indwelling me as a believer, but that anointing to minister lifts.
Music will affect the anointing. We are missing it in the area of the minstrel. Many times musicians don't realize their responsibility. They stand in the office of helps. They need to pray and get the anointing on them just as much as the preacher does. They need to develop a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and learn how to flow with the Spirit.
Singers shouldn't get up and sing just to be singing. They need to be anointed. Even the choir should be anointed. But people don't stop to pray before ministering in song. They come into the church from everyday life, laughing and talking. That's all right in itself, because we need fellowship — but, really, that's carnal; it isn't spiritual. Before singers minister, they need to take time to get alone with God or take time to pray together to get the anointing on them.
I have found that when musicians really flow with the Spirit, it will cause the anointing to come on me stronger to stand in the office of the prophet.
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I know what the Scripture means when it said the minstrel played and the hand of the Lord moved. There have been times when I have gotten the right kind of music, and I have moved over into the prophet's office and have ministered for as long as three hours. Prophecy just flowed out of me. I can't minister that way every time — even though I do minister in a certain measure of anointing — for there are measures of anointing.
The Right Song
In 1958,1 was the main speaker at a convention being held in Kansas by the Foursquare denomination. One night the spirit of the prophet moved upon me. I can't bring it on myself, but I can yield to it when it comes, and music helps.
They had an orchestra there made up of people who had come from different churches. I said to them, "The anointing of the prophet is coming on me! Play something." They began to play "Preach the Word," a song written by Aimee Semple McPherson.
The anointing came on me and I ministered under it from 9 o'clock until midnight — three hours. Oh, what a service! I got caught up in the glory. Half the time I couldn't see. It was as if there were a hazy cloud over the whole room. I don't know to this day what I did or said. I just remember when the anointing came and when it lifted.
If they had played the wrong song, they would have killed the whole thing.
You see, it's necessary that singers and musicians be in tune with the Spirit of God as much as the minister is.
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If they're not, everybody would be better off if there were no musicians participating in the service! (That's the reason I don't want any kind of singing sometimes.)
Other things affect the anointing as well. Often the spirit of the prophet will begin to move on me and something kills it. I think it's because of the environment, or maybe because of certain people present.
After all, Elisha said, "If it weren't for Jehoshaphat, I wouldn't look your way, as far as you other two kings are concerned." And because they were present in their backslidden condition, Elisha needed a little help.
"Bring me a minstrel. ..," he said.
The Hand of the Lord
Again and again in the Old Testament we see references to "the hand of the Lord." Actually it is the Spirit of God — the anointing. Other terms commonly used are "Spirit," "double portion of thy Spirit," and "mantle." They're all referring to the Holy Spirit or the anointing of God.
EZEKIEL 8:1 1 And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that THE HAND OF THE LORD FELL there upon me.
The call of God already was upon Ezekiel — the hand of God was upon him to minister potentially — but his prophetic ministry wasn't in manifestation until the hand of the Lord fell upon him.
(The Bible also speaks about the Holy Spirit "falling," doesn't it? In Acts 10:44, Peter was preaching in Cornelius'
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household, and "While Peter yet spake these words, THE HOLY GHOST FELL on all them which heard the word.") We see the expression "hand of the Lord" used again in the 37th and 40th chapters of Ezekiel:
1 THE HAND OF THE LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones .... [Ezekiel had a vision of what we call the valley of dry bones.]
In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the
beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in
the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the
selfsame day THE HAND OF THE LORD was upon me,
and brought me thither.
In the visions of God brought he me into the land of
Ezekiel sounds a lot like me, doesn't he, giving all those dates and times (or I sound a lot like him). People ask me how I remember all the dates and times I refer to in my preaching and teaching.
I'll tell you exactly how it happens. When I mention something that happened in the past, the date or time rises up out of my spirit — out of the inside of me — to my mind, and I know immediately. I'm just following Ezekiel the prophet in giving dates and times! That ability goes along with the prophet's ministry.
In the 33rd chapter of Ezekiel we find something else very interesting:
22 Now THE HAND OF THE LORD was upon me in the
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evening, afore [before] he that was escaped came: and had opened my mouth, until he came to me in the morning; and my mouth was opened, and I was no more dumb.
That means that the hand of the Lord wasn't upon the prophet in the morning or at midday. The hand of the Lord was upon him the evening before someone escaped and came to see him. The prophet went around all night with his mouth open, never saying a word. He was mute (speechless) until that fellow came. Only then could he speak.
Signs and Wonders
Sister Maria Woodworth-Etter was an early-day Pentecostal preacher whose books I have read. I have some of her earlier ones. (Only Signs and Wonders is now in print.)
Years ago, Sister Etter was preaching in a tent meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, and the hand of the Lord came upon her. She had her hand up and her mouth open, about to say something, when the hand of the Lord fell. She stood there three days and nights, neither moving nor uttering a word.
The St. Louis newspapers reported that an estimated 20,000 people filed by to see her. When the anointing of the Spirit of God lifted from her, her hand went down, her mouth moved, and she picked up right in the middle of the sentence she had been preaching three nights before. (All of her physical senses and functions had been suspended for those three days and nights.)
God used that as a sign.
Did you ever wonder about the verse in Acts that says, ''And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles" (Acts 2:43)?
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I've read many periodicals from Pentecostal people. Some of those early-day ministers had experiences similar to Ezekiel's and Sister Etter's. One fellow told of standing under the power with his mouth open for one day, and others told of being like that all night long.
You might ask, "Why does God do things like that? Why did the hand of the Lord come upon Ezekiel and open his mouth in the evening?" We don't tell God what to do. That's where we miss it.
John the Baptist's father, Zacharias, who was a priest, didn't believe the angel Gabriel's message that a son was to be born to him and his wife. He became speechless and remained speechless until John was born (Luke 1). Zacharias wasn't mute from sickness or disease; it was because the hand of the Lord was upon him.
Another example is the "blindness" of Elymas, the sorcerer who withstood Paul on one of his missionary journeys. Paul said, "And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season" (Acts 13:11).
Elymas wasn't struck with disease, for the Spirit of God never has struck anybody with disease. He doesn't have any! Elymas was blind because of the power of God that had come on him.
I've seen things like that happen under my own ministry, and I'm thoroughly convinced that as we learn how to cooperate better with the Spirit of God, there will be even greater manifestations of these things in the last days.
Struck Speechless by the Spirit Sometimes when I'm preaching, the Spirit of God
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comes on me, arrests my attention, and I can't say a word in English. I can speak in tongues, but I can't speak in English (I've tried to.) I can think in English, but I can't say a single word in English — I just absolutely can't. I've been that way sometimes for several hours.
It happened in a great way at our 1981 Campmeeting. I simply couldn't speak in English. The longest time was at Fred Price's church in Inglewood, California, the following month, August 1981.
I had finished my sermon and was laying hands on the sick when suddenly that anointing came on me, and I could not say one word in English.
I turned around and said in tongues to Fred (for I could speak in tongues, but not in English), "You go ahead and lay hands on the people and finish the healing line."
Fred understood me as if I had spoken to him in English. He said to me in tongues — and I heard it as if he were speaking in English, although everybody else heard it in tongues — "All right, you lay your finger in my hands that I may minister with the same anointing, and I will pray for them." I did so, he began to minister, and it seemed as if there were a stronger surge of power than before. I stood there and watched the whole thing, but still couldn't speak in English.
After the service, we went to Fred's home to fellowship and eat. I would start to say something, and I'd say it in tongues. When we were ready to eat, I still couldn't talk to Fred and his family. I began wondering if I'd ever get back to where I could communicate in English again.
When I first came back over into English at Fred Price's home an hour and a half later, I could only speak a word or two. I still couldn't even put sentences together.
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Many times when I'm preaching or teaching and the anointing is stronger, a tiny manifestation of this occurs. It's not a matter of what I want to do — I cannot speak in English. I can think in English, but I speak in tongues. That comes out of your spirit.
As a teenager, I had been paralyzed and bedfast. My tongue became paralyzed and my throat partially paralyzed. Only the people who spent time around me could understand me. When the Holy Spirit is on me so strongly, it's almost that same feeling, except it's not a matter of paralysis.
What is the purpose of becoming speechless? Well, what purpose was there for the Holy Spirit's coming upon Ezekiel in the evening, opening his mouth, and making him remain that way all night until the man came in the morning? The Bible doesn't tell us what the purpose was.
Personally, I think such things often are a sign, and often they prepare you for something.
I think there are aspects of the anointing we are going to come into in the days ahead that we haven't experienced yet. By this I mean the use of the anointing, the purpose of the anointing, the utilization of the anointing, ministering under the anointing, and transferring or transmitting the anointing — on the one hand to do good and bring blessing, and on the other hand to bring judgment on those like Elymas who would stand in the way and hinder the Gospel.
In fact, I've never stayed in anybody's home yet without God's warning me about any impending tragedy. If there were going to be a death in the family within the next two years, He'd tell me. Sometimes you can change it and sometimes you can't; He just gets you ready for it.
Years ago I was preaching for friends in California, and on the last night of the meeting, they got some distressing news. Their 16-year-old granddaughter, who had been visiting her other grandparents in Oregon, got on a bus in Portland but wasn't on the bus when it arrived in Los Angeles.
Finally the bus company traced her to Reno, Nevada, but there they lost track of her. Her grandmother burst into tears and was inconsolable. She was sure she would never see this granddaughter again. It was heart-rending.
My wife and I were trying to comfort her. I was sitting in a chair within three feet of her. With my eyes wide open, suddenly I saw myself standing in front of the bus station in Reno. I've never been there, but I know exactly what it looks like. I saw it.
I was standing behind a bus. I saw another bus pull up. It said "Los Angeles" on the front of it. I saw people getting off, including this blonde girl. I saw the other passengers come back, but the girl got on the bus in front of her bus.
I said, "Sister, Sister, Sister — she got on the wrong bus!"
She asked, "Are you sure?"
I said, "Yes, I saw her. She got on the wrong bus."
She asked again, "Are you sure?"
I said, "I'd stake my life on it before I'd say it isn't
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so. I'd stake 25 years of ministry on it."
Sure enough, by the time the service was over, a representative of the bus company called and said, "We located your granddaughter in Salt Lake City. She got on the wrong bus. She'll be back in here at 4 o'clock in the morning."
If I never get any other reward than to have seen that grandmother smile through her tears, that was enough.
Chapter 10 The Anointing of the Apostle
The most significant statement in the Bible regarding this office is that it was filled by Christ Himself, as we saw in Chapter 1.
The Greek word apostolos, translated "apostle," means "one sent forth, a sent one." Jesus Christ is the greatest example of a sent one:
21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: AS
MY FATHER HATH SENT ME, even so send I you.
A true apostle is always one with a commission — not one who merely goes, but one who is sent. A Bible example is found in Acts 13, where Barnabas and Paul were sent forth to be apostles to the Gentiles.
The Bible also speaks of the signs of an apostle:
2 CORINTHIANS 12:12
12 Truly the signs of an APOSTLE were wrought among
you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.
The "signs," then, are signs, wonders, and mighty deeds.
To stand in this office, one must have a personal experience with the Lord — something very deep and real, something beyond the ordinary — not just something secondhand or handed down by tradition.
Notice that Paul said, in defending his apostleship, 'Am I not an apostle? am I not free? HAVE I NOT SEEN JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD?... " (1 Cor. 9:1).
Paul did not see Jesus in the flesh as the twelve did,
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but he saw Jesus in a spiritual vision (Acts 9:3-6). He had a deep spiritual experience with the Lord. Even his conversion was beyond the ordinary.
In fact, Paul had such a deep spiritual experience with the Lord that he could say concerning what he knew about the Lord's Supper, "For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you .... " (1 Cor. 11:23). Paul didn't learn what he knew about this subject from the other apostles. He got it by revelation. Jesus gave it to him.
Paul wasn't taught the Gospel he preached by man. The Spirit of God taught it to him. He wrote, "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Gal. 1:11,12).
The work of an apostle is that of a foundation layer:
1 CORINTHIANS 3:10
10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I HAVE LAID THE FOUNDATION, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
20 And are built upon THE FOUNDATION OF THE APOSTLES and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.
The first twelve apostles laid the foundation of the Church as the earliest pioneers and preachers of the Gospel. They also laid the foundation of the Church by receiving the Holy Spirit.
An apostle's ministry seems to embrace all other
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ministry gifts. The distinguishing result is the ability to establish churches.
The apostle has the supernatural equipment called "governments" listed in First Corinthians 12:28. (Weymouth translates it "powers of organization.")
After churches are established, apostles can exercise authority over those churches they have established (1 Cor. 9:1,2).
There are many who call themselves apostles who want to dominate and rule people. They say, "I'm an apostle. I have authority. You have to do what I say."
In New Testament days, the apostles could exercise authority only over the churches they had established themselves. Paul, for example, never exercised any authority over the church at Jerusalem, or any of the churches other apostles had established.
Remember, these offices are in power and not in name. If the power is not there to establish churches, then those involved are not apostles.
A missionary who is really called of God and sent by the Holy Spirit is an apostle.
In Acts 13:2, the Holy Spirit said, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul [Paul] for the work whereunto I have called them." Verse 4 continues, "So they, being SENT FORTH by the Holy Ghost, departed.... " They were "sent ones." They left on their first missionary journey to the Gentiles.
The New Testament never mentions missionaries, yet that is an important office. It is here in the office of apostle.
A missionary will have the ability of all the ministry gifts:
He will do the work of the evangelist. He will get people saved. He will do the work of the teacher. He will teach
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and establish people. He will do the work of the pastor. He will pastor and shepherd people for a while.
In studying closely the life of the Apostle Paul, we note that he said he never built on a foundation someone else had laid. He endeavored to preach the Gospel where Christ was not named (Rom. 15:20), and he always stayed in a place from six months to three years.
His real calling was not to be a pastor, but he stayed long enough to get his converts established in the truth before moving on.
Some wonder if there are apostles today. No one, not even Paul, could be an apostle in the sense the original twelve were. There are only "twelve apostles of the Lamb" (Rev. 21:14).
Their qualifications were outlined in Acts 1, when the twelve selected an apostle to take Judas' place. We see from verses 21 and 22 that to be one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, one had to have accompanied the apostles and Jesus during the entire time of His 31/2-year ministry (Paul was not with them).
Also, the original twelve were "sent ones" to be eyewitnesses of the ministry, works, life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. They stood in a place no other apostles or ministries can ever stand.
There are, however, apostles today in the sense that Barnabas, Paul, and others were apostles.
We have seen listed in Ephesians 4:11, "And he gave
some, APOSTLES"If God has taken this or any
other ministry out of this list, then the Bible should have told us that He gave them for just a little while.
All of the ministry gifts were given for the perfecting of the saints, the work of the ministry, and the edifying
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of the Body of Christ. This includes apostles. Thank God, the office of the apostle exists today!
For how long did God give the ministry gifts? According to verse 13, all of them were given ''Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. "
In summary, the four marks we look for in an apostle today are:
Outstanding spiritual gifts.
Deep personal experience.
Power and ability to establish churches.
Ability to provide adequate spiritual leadership.
If you think God called you to be an apostle, don't
bother about it. You won't start out there anyway. Paul didn't. Acts 13:1 says, "Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain PROPHETS AND TEACHERS; as Barnabas, and Simeon. . . and Lucius . . . and Manaen ...andSaul."
Each of these men was either a prophet or a teacher, or a prophet and a teacher. Some may operate in more than one office — but a person doesn't operate in those offices as he wills. It is as God wills and as He anoints.
Barnabas was a teacher. Saul (Paul) was a prophet and a teacher, for a prophet is one who has visions and revelations, and Paul received the entire Gospel that way. He would have been called a "seer" in the Old Testament, because he would see and know things supernaturally.
As we have seen, in Acts 13:2 the Holy Spirit said, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them." They had not yet gotten into the work that God called them to do. They fasted and prayed again,
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and the other ministers laid hands on them and sent them out, and they became apostles or missionaries to the Gentiles.
Barnabas was considered an apostle as much as Paul was: "Which when the APOSTLES, Barnabas and Paul...." (Acts 14:14).
In the city of Lystra, during this first missionary voyage, Paul ministered healing to a man who had been crippled from birth (Acts 14:8), and the people of the city wanted to worship Paul and Barnabas as gods, saying, "The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men'7 (v. 11). Paul and Barnabas had moved into another office, that of apostle, and a stronger anointing had come, because it takes a stronger anointing to stand in that office.
Don't get taken up with names and titles. If I didn't know what God called me to, I wouldn't bother a minute about it. If I sensed the call on the inside of me, I would just preach and teach and let God eventually set me in the office He has for me.
Notice Barnabas and Paul were not set in the office of apostle to begin with, but God eventually did set them there.
Also remember this: God rewards faithfulness. He doesn't reward offices. A prophet won't receive any more reward than a janitor who was faithful in his ministry of helps.
Higher offices do not receive greater rewards; there is just a greater responsibility.
(For an in-depth study of the fivefold ministries and the other ministry gifts, read my study guide, The Ministry Gifts. )
Chapter 11 How To Increase the Anointing
There is an anointing on you, whether you recognize it or not, if you're called to any office or ministry.
And no matter which office you stand in, or what you are called to do, you can have something to do with determining the degree of your anointing. You can prepare yourself for this anointing. If it doesn't come on you, it's because you didn't prepare yourself.
Furthermore, the anointing can be increased. You can increase the anointing by studying the Word and by being prayerful.
You can decrease the anointing by neglecting to study and pray.
A workman who doesn't study (2 Tim. 2:15) is going to be ashamed, because people are going to find out about it, and he'll either lose the anointing, or the anointing will not be in manifestation. If you do your part, however, this will not happen.
If you'll study and pray, when you get up and start out in faith, the anointing will come. When I used to preach under that preaching anointing, most of the time I'd have to start out in faith — I didn't particularly feel anything — but that anointing never failed to come on me to preach. (And sometimes it will linger on and you will enjoy it, praise God.)
You have to realize that one standing in the office of the prophet, the pastor, the evangelist, or whatever can be more or less anointed.
I think it's quite obvious as you listen to different ministers that sometimes they are more anointed than at other times. Sometimes teachers are more anointed to