THE EXTERNAL ANOINTINGAs you read the Old Testament you see the same expression appearing again and again. It says, "And the Spirit of God came upon Gideon..."
"And the Spirit of God came upon Samson..."
"And the Spirit of God came upon Saul ..."
"The Spirit of God came upon ..." You see that same expression again and again,
"The Spirit of God came upon ..." Well, it is that same picture of the anointing oil. It is the same picture of oil being poured on top of a person, onto his head and running down and spreading over his whole body. It is an anointing that is external. It comes from without and comes upon the person. It comes upon their body and seeps into their soul and into their spirit and fills and saturates them.
It is like being caught in a rainstorm or walking in a rain forest. It is like having a thundershower suddenly coming down on you. It is going to drench you. It is going to make you wet. Such is the external anointing. This is the anointing that came upon the prophets and they prophesied. We read how Samuel said to Saul that the anointing would come upon him and he would prophesy.
Transferring the AnointingWe read frequently of the anointing coming upon people in the Old Testament. We read of how God said to Moses, "I want you to pick seventy people and gather them together in one place. I am going to take of the Spirit that is upon you and I'm going to put it upon them." As they gathered together God came down, and He took the same anointing that was on Moses and it came upon the seventy elders, and something began to happen to them. We will look at that shortly as we consider what happens when the anointing comes upon a person.
Even Saul, who was a king, when the anointing came on him, fell under the power, and he lay there naked for several days prophesying. You would have thought he was drunk the way he was behaving. The anointing came on him and had a tangible effect. It had a physical effect on his body.
New Testament Effects of the AnointingWell, that was the Old Testament, the Old Covenant. What happened in the New Covenant? We read that on the Day of Pentecost, as the disciples were gathered together in the Upper Room, they heard a sound of a mighty rushing wind, and tongues of fire came down and rested upon them. They began to act like drunk people, because folks came along and were saying, "What is with you guys? It is nine o'clock in the morning and you're drunk already!" It had an effect on them, and we will be looking at some of the effects shortly.
Prophecy and TonguesIt was the same kind of thing that you see in the Old Testament. The Spirit came upon them. You see it repeated throughout the book of Acts. You see Peter standing preaching to Cornelius's household, and while he was preaching the Spirit of God fell on the people and they started to prophesy and speak in tongues. Something happened and it showed.
You read about Philip going to Samaria to preach the gospel to them, and Peter and John coming down to lay hands on these people so that they can receive the Spirit. Simon the Sorcerer also became a believer. He had dabbled in witchcraft, in the evil powers of Satan. He was impressed with all the miracles and things, but he had seen all that before. Now Peter and John came and laid hands on people, and as they laid hands on them they received the Holy Spirit.
Simon looked and he said, "Wow, I wish I could do that!"
Do what? Do what Peter and John were doing. Well, what were they doing? They were laying hands on people, and when they did that the Holy Spirit came upon them. Well, what happened when the Spirit came upon them? The Scripture does not tell us what happened, but whatever it was, it must have been outstanding enough for Simon to say, "I want some of that." Something happened. It was tangible; it was visible; it was physical. Something real takes place when the anointing comes upon a person.
The Anointing Affects the BodyThere are many signs that took place when the anointing came. In the Old Testament we see that with Samson, supernatural strength occurred. Another example was where Elijah, after he had prayed for the restoration of the rain, picked up his cloak and he began to run because the rain was coming. The Scripture says, "The Spirit of God came upon him, and he outran the chariot."
He outran the chariot! He became an instant marathon runner, and he probably broke every record, greater than we even have today. Why? Because the anointing came upon him. The anointing has an effect on the human body. There is a very powerful release of energy that comes upon a person when the anointing comes upon them.
In the New Testament you notice the exact same expression as what you read in the Old Testament concerning the anointing. It is described as coming upon a person.
We read that Paul, coming into Ephesus, found some disciples who had accepted the Lord but they did not know the fullness of the truth and he said, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit since you have believed?" They said, "What are you talking about? The Holy Spirit? We've never heard of Him."
They were a group who had been baptized but had not received the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon them. So you see the expression, "The Spirit coming upon them." And every time the Spirit came upon them something took place. The exact same sort of things took place in the Old Testament.
Anointing Causes MiraclesThere were miracles that took place in the Old Testament when the Spirit of God came upon the prophets of old. There were miracles that took place in the New Testament when the Spirit of God came upon the early disciples and the apostles. It had the same kind of effects, but there was something new that took place in the New Testament. There was something new that did not happen in the Old Testament. That is what I really want to major on here. I want to show you that the anointing in the New Testament is different to the anointing in the Old Testament.
Evidence in SpeechThe first difference that took place had to do with speech. Jesus said that there would be various signs that would follow those who believe. In Mark 16:15-16 as Jesus gave the Great Commission He said, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved. And these signs shall follow those who believe; in My name they shall cast out demons ..." Strangely, you did not see that in the Old Covenant. "In My name they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly it shall not harm them."
There seemed to be a greater power here than there was in the Old Covenant. Somehow there seemed to be something extra. But one thing stood out above all the others. "They shall speak with new tongues." Now, in the Old Testament when the Spirit came upon people it had an effect on their speech. How do I know that? Let's look at that passage where the anointing came down on the elders.
You will find it in Numbers 11:24-25:
24 And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the LORD [Yahweh], and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle.
25 And the LORD [Yahweh] came down in a cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the spirit that [was] on him, and gave [it] to the seventy elders: and it occurred, [that], when the spirit rested on them, they prophesied, and did not stop.
What happened to Saul when the anointing came on him? He began to prophesy. What happened when the anointing came on the prophets of old? They began to prophesy. Well, prophesying involves speaking. It showed in speech. They began to speak out under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit took control of their tongues in some way.
Tongues in the New TestamentNow what happened in the New Testament? In Acts 2:4 it says, "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance."
You say, "Didn't they prophesy in the Old Testament?" Well, they did that in the New Testament too. It says in Acts 19:6, "And when Paul laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came upon them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied." There is definitely something very similar about the anointing in the New Testament to what there was in the Old Testament.
You say, "Well, what's the difference?"
So far the only difference really seems to be in the tongues. They did not speak in other tongues in the Old Testament. In the New Testament they spoke with other tongues. And just about every time this anointing came upon new believers in the Acts of the Apostles, we read that they spoke with other tongues.
External Anointing and Speech LinkedThere seems to be a link here with the external anointing and with speech. There seems to be an indication here that when the external anointing comes upon somebody it takes control of the whole person in a way that controls their language as well. When a person begins to speak and their very tongue is under the control of the Spirit of God, it is a sign that God has come down upon them; that the anointing of God has come upon them.
All of these are signs of the external anointing. Apart from tongues, if you look at the Old Testament and you look at the New Testament, they look almost exactly the same. They look very similar. But if you look back in the Old Testament, you find out that God only poured His Spirit down upon individuals who fulfilled certain criteria. He did not pour it down on just anybody. He was very selective. He was very choosy about who He put His anointing on. And when Saul turned his back on God he lost his anointing.
Old Testament Anointing Influenced by WorksIt was possible under the Old Covenant to lose the anointing. It was possible under the Old Covenant to increase the anointing, depending on the kind of life you lived; on the kind of commitment you had to God; on whether you walked fully in His Covenant. The anointing was dependent upon your commitment. It was dependent upon your righteousness before God, and your total commitment to Him.
But then came the New Testament. So far, we have not seen any difference between the two, but yet there is a difference. I told you at the beginning there is a difference, and I am going to show you that difference now.
Something Greater OfferedWe go back to Hebrews 11 where it was speaking about the heroes of faith, and we read in Hebrews 11:39 these words, speaking of all these Old Testament heroes of faith. It says:
And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
There is something that God promised to us in the New Testament that they did not have. There is something that is promised in the New Testament that makes the New Testament believer far greater than any Old Testament believer. So much so that Jesus, speaking about John the Baptist, said of him that he was the greatest prophet, yet not the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. He said, "Amongst those born of women, no greater one has arisen than John the Baptist. Nevertheless, he that is the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than John the Baptist."
Why? Obviously there is a difference. Obviously there is something that the New Testament saints have that the Old Testament saints did not. They had the external anointing. They had the Spirit come upon them. In the New Testament we have the external anointing. We have the Spirit coming upon us. But where is the difference?
Don't just understand the anointing, experience it for yourself! Both the Internal and External Anointing are available to you right now. Tap into it as you read The Way of the Anointing: The Double Portion