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The Power of the

Most High God

by

Diane Rodd






In light of the most recent demonstration of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our family, I felt it was very important for me to look seriously at the Greek word dunamis which is translated "power" in the NASB. I trust that the following information will be helpful to you. We believe that the Word and the Spirit will always agree. May the Holy Spirit, the third person of the God-head who is on the earth today, guide you into all truth.







The Power of the Most High God




L adies i n W AITING

"I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me,and heard my cry." Psalm 41 :1

Earl & Diane Rodd
6044 Pine Creek St. N.W. North Canton, OH 44720

Phone: (330) 305-9318


Written April, 1995

1st published edition - August 1995

2nd edition - December 1998

Permission is granted to copy this article for personal sharing
but not for sale or other commercial purposes.



WAITING is Watchmen and Intercessors Together Needing God.
LIW is an Ohio based ministry providing encouragement,
discipleship, and fellowship to Christian women.




Unless otherwise noted, All Scripture quotations are from the

New American Standard Bible, Copyright 1988,

The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.



Additional copies of this booklet may be ordered from FHC by writing to the above address. The price is on the back cover of this booklet. Please add $1.50 for shipping regardless of the number of copies. A full listing of other books and booklets on related topics is also available from LIW at the above address.

The Power of the Most High God

In light of the most recent demonstration of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our family, I felt it was very important for me to look seriously at the Greek word dunamis which is translated "power" in the NASB. I trust that the following information will be helpful to you. We believe that the Word and the Spirit will always agree. May the Holy Spirit, the third person of the God-head who is on the earth today, guide you into all truth. He is the Spirit of truth who has come to indwell us, and thus we can trust Him to guide us, teach us, reprove us, empower us, enliven us, heal us, restore us, renew us, correct us, encourage us, comfort us and bring us safely into Jesus' presence. He does so in many ways. May you recognize "His voice" however He chooses to demonstrate to you that He is the person and power that raised Jesus from the dead. May the glorious victory of Jesus' death on the cross and the power of His resurrection be a daily experience for you. In your weakness may the presence and power of Christ be demonstrated in you and to others as a testimony to our Living, Risen Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Dunamis {1411} is a Greek word which means (miraculous power, might, strength). It is most often translated as power [80] but is also translated as miracles [17], powers [6], ability [4] miraculous powers [3], Power [3], miracles [2], strength [2], mighty [1], mightily [1], meaning [1], wealth [1]. It is derived from dunamai {1410} which means to be able, to have power.

A Young Virgin
This pamphlet will look at the scripture where dunamis is first translated as "power" in the New Testament. It is noteworthy to "see" that the word is first used with Mary, the mother of Jesus, a humble young woman.

Luke 1:35
35. And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God.

Because satan first tempted Eve to listen to his voice and deceived her into obeying his voice, the grace and sovereignty of God is seen by choosing a woman to be the first one to know the Messiah before He even had an earthly body. Those who try to quench the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in a person just because that person is a woman really do not understand the heart of God. The first person mentioned in the New Testament to have the presence and the empowerment by the Holy Spirit to accomplish God's will on earth is a woman. May the familiarity and traditions of the Christmas story be removed from our eyes as we seek to "see" the truth contained in Mary's personal experience with the Living God.

Luke 1:26
26. Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee, called Nazareth,
27. to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28. And coming in, he said to her, "Hail, favored one! The Lord {is} with you."
29. But she was greatly troubled at {this} statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this might be.
30. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.
31. "And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.
32. "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;
33. and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end. "
34. And Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?"
35. And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God.
36. "And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month.
37. "For nothing will be impossible with God."
38. And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
39. Now at this time Mary arose and went with haste to the hill country, to a city of Judah,
40. and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.
41. And it came about that when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
42. And she cried out with a loud voice, and said, "Blessed among women {are} you, and blessed {is} the fruit of your womb!
43. "And how has it {happened} to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44. "For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.
45. "And blessed {is} she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord."
46. And Mary said: #"My soul exalts the Lord,
47. And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48. "For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
49. "For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name.
50. "\And His mercy is upon generation after generation\ \Toward those who fear Him\.
51. "He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered {those who were} proud in the thoughts of their heart.
52. "He has brought down rulers from {their} thrones, And has exalted those who were humble.
53. "\He has filled the hungry with good things\; \And sent away the rich empty-handed\.
54. "He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy,
55. As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his offspring forever. " #

Let us look at this incredible experience in the present tense as though it were happening to us.

Mary sees an angel who says his name is Gabriel. She is "greatly troubled" by the words he uses to describe her. Perhaps Mary didn't "feel blessed or favored" at this particular time in her life. However, she doesn't run away; she listens to his voice; she sees an angel and hears his actual words! She then asks Gabriel questions concerning the information he is giving her. She converses with Gabriel just as she would talk to another human being. She believes the angel's words and accepts and submits to God's will for her human body. When she accepts the words of the angel as the same as the words of God, Mary's life is irrevocably changed! The Holy Spirit does something to her body that no other living human being had ever experienced. Her body is set aside as a sign and wonder to all around her of the Living God who does the impossible.

There is no man who can explain to Mary what is happening to her. As a woman, she is only allowed to enter one outward section of the Jewish temple where the Gentiles were supposed to seek God's favor through prayer. Jesus would later use whips and cords to cleanse this area and to declare prayer and intercession for the nations as very important to the heart of God.

Mary is not allowed by rabbinical law to look into the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament. The only knowledge she has of Old Testament prophecy would be what men have told her. She has no way to verify from the written Word of God that what is happening to her is valid. All she has at her disposal is a subjective, strange encounter with an angel who claims to be Gabriel. We do not know if Mary even knew that Gabriel was mentioned in the Old Testament.

Mary was "troubled;" she "pondered," but we are not told that she fell down or was trembling. The Holy Spirit "overshadowed her", and that's all the description we get of her encounter with Gabriel and her encounter with the Holy Spirit, who is the Living God on the earth today.

A Captive
Gabriel's name means "man of God" in Hebrew, and he is only mentioned in one place in the Old Testament. Daniel's encounter with Gabriel has a lot more "sensational" occurrences with it than Mary's. Let's look at Daniel's subjective experience in the present tense as though it were happening to us today.

When Daniel sees a vision, he wants to understand it. Now Daniel is in quite a predicament as well. The temple has been destroyed; we do not know what Old Testament parchments he has available to him in Babylon except for Jeremiah's prophecies over which he later prays. We may assume that Daniel is familiar with the Pentateuch, the Psalms, the history of the Jewish monarchy etc. However, the major and minor prophets were written during the very rebellious stages of Jewish history. We do not know which ones were considered valid by the people who heard them being preached and those who went into exile. We do know that Jeremiah prophecied for 23 years, and very few people believed he was speaking for God. We may assume that Daniel believed Jeremiah was a true prophet since Daniel prayed over much of his prophecies, and they came to pass within Daniel's lifetime. But Daniel now has a problem. He can only rely upon his own subjective evidence of what Gabriel, an angel, is telling him. No other human being can verify this experience for him. Gabriel is never mentioned in any other scripture except Daniel. There is no written precedent to give Daniel security or validity concerning his experience. Daniel has no way to verify Gabriel's message with any other Old Testament writings since Gabriel is giving it to Daniel first. Just like Mary who comes many years after him, Daniel has to trust in his own relationship with God. He can rely upon no man.

Let's look at Daniel's experience,

Daniel 8:15
15. And it came about when I, Daniel, had seen the vision, that I sought to understand it; and behold, standing before me was one who looked like a man.
16. And I heard the voice of a man between {the banks of} Ulai, and he called out and said, "Gabriel, give this {man} an understanding of the vision."
17. So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, "Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end."
18. Now while he was talking with me, I sank into a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me and made me stand upright.
19. And he said, "Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for {it} pertains to the appointed time of the end.

The whole experience was described this way by Daniel.

Daniel 8:27
27. Then I, Daniel, was exhausted and sick for days. Then I got up {again} and carried on the king's business; but I was astounded at the vision, and there was none to explain {it.}

The next time Daniel saw Gabriel, Daniel didn't describe any unusual occurrences except "extreme weariness" while he was trying to understand the prophecies of Jeremiah.

Daniel 9:20
20. Now while I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the \Lord\ my God in behalf of the holy mountain of my God,
21. while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in {my} extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering.
22. And he gave {me} instruction and talked with me, and said, "O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding.

If Mary knew the writings of Daniel, then she would have known that Gabriel appeared to him twice, but we have no way of verifying Mary's knowledge of the Old Testament scriptures. However, God in His mercy and grace, did not leave Mary without a human confirmation of her strange experiences. Gabriel told her,

Luke 1:36
36. "And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month.

There was no human way that Mary could have known about Elizabeth's pregnancy. Elizabeth had kept herself in seclusion for the first five months. No human person knew about her "miraculous" pregnancy except Zacharias, her husband. Luke tells us

Luke 1:24
24. And after these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant; and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying,
25. "This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked {with favor} upon {me,} to take away my disgrace among men."

It is most interesting to note that Mary doesn't run to Joseph to tell him what has happened to her or to get him to further explain what she has experienced. She doesn't run to the synagogue so the priests and rabbis can explain carefully what she has just experienced. She doesn't even go to her parents. (We know nothing about Mary's parents at all.) She goes to the one person about whom Gabriel gave her special knowledge: she runs to Elizabeth. She acts on experiential knowledge that no other human being knows (word of knowledge). Mary acts on the revelation given to her by an angel because she believes that her experience is totally from God even though she has no written Old Testament scripture to prove it, and no human being yet to confirm the course of her experience or her actions. Mary is a brave woman whose experience has radically changed her body, her lifestyle, her relationships; her very life has been transformed, but God has other "supernatural experiences" for Mary to "ponder".

Luke 1:39
39. Now at this time Mary arose and went with haste to the hill country, to a city of Judah,
40. and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.

Mary's actions are very important for two reasons. The Old Covenant was over. God was about to usher in a New Coveant, and no one under the authority of the Old Covenant could be trusted with such knowledge and information except those sovereignly chosen by God Himself. Zacharias and Elizabeth both have incredible credentials under the Old Covennant.

Luke 1:5
5. In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
6. And they were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.
7. And they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.

A Barren Couple
God had a married couple on the earth who had perfectly kept all the Old Covenant Law. I find this absolutely awesome that this couple was able to do everything the Law required. I have been told by many theologians, scholars, preachers and teachers that no one could keep the Law of Moses; and yet the New Testament records that a human couple was able to do it, and God chose them to mark the end of the Old Testament.

Many religious people have also taught that "barrenness" is a curse and is not the will of God. Now isn't it rather strange that Elizabeth who perfectly kept the Law which was to keep the curse far from her was "under a curse"? Something is very amiss here. She was blessed of God when she didn't have any children. However, verse 6 of Luke 1 makes it clear that God saw Elizabeth as a righteous one, one full of faith, one who was rightly related to God. Verse 25 of Luke 1 makes it extremely clear who made Elizabeth feel disgraced. Like Hannah before her, religious traditions of men can make women feel disgraced, humiliated, and teach others to treat women as less important than men. The seeds of the modern feminist movement can always be traced back to religious men who do not have the heart of God or do not take the time to see women from the Biblical point of view. Jesus' birth was the beginning of women being truly liberated by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus and the Holy Spirit always treat women as Father God has always desired. I pray that modern men influenced by a spirit of error and religious tradition will not be able to do any more damage to the perfect will of God concerning women and His role for them in the Kingdom.

Zacharias and Elizabeth received some incredible knowledge through Zacharias' experience with an angel. Like Daniel before him and like Mary who would be affected a few months later, Zacharias' physical body radically changed and the course of his life radically changed because God sovereignly intervened into his prayer life.

Luke 1:8
8. Now it came about, while he was performing his priestly service before God in the {appointed} order of his division,
9. according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
10. And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering.
11. And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense.
12. And Zacharias was troubled when he saw {him,} and fear gripped him.
13. But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.
14. "And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.
15. "For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother's womb.
16. "And he will turn back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God.
17. "And it is he who will go {as a forerunner} before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, \to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children\, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous; so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
18. And Zacharias said to the angel, "How shall I know this {for certain}? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years."
19. And the angel answered and said to him, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and I have been sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news.
20. "And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words , which shall be fulfilled in their proper time."
21. And the people were waiting for Zacharias, and were wondering at his delay in the temple.
22. But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them; and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he kept making signs to them, and remained mute.
23. And it came about, when the days of his priestly service were ended, that he went back home.

Let's look at Zacharias' experience in the present tense as though it were happening to us today.

Zacharias has been asking God for a son. Perhaps he has been praying this prayer every time it was his month to serve in the temple. Zacharias and Elizabeth are past child bearing years, and suddenly an angel now appears to tell him his prayer will be answered. Like Mary, Zacharias is also "troubled" by the angel when he sees him, but unlike Mary, Zacharias is "gripped with fear." The angel tells Zacharias to name his son, John . He tells him he will have joy and gladness and that others will rejoice over John's birth. Zacharias is told that (like Samson) John will not drink wine or liquor. The angel tells Zacharias that John will be great in the Lord's sight. Zacharias knows that John will be like Elijah of old and turn many away from their sin, and that John will prepare the way of the Messiah. Up to this point everything the angel has said could be researched in the Old Testament accounts of saints of whom Zacharias was probably very familiar. He would have had to have known a lot of scripture to fulfill God's requirements of the Law and of the Levitical priesthood. However, the most amazing knowledge, the information concerning the person of the Holy Spirit, is unverifiable. The Holy Spirit will come upon John while inside his mother's womb. Where in the Old Testament can John find any prophecy concerning the Holy Spirit filling a child while in the womb of his mother? If there is one, I don't know it, and Mary and Elizabeth don't quote it under the anointing of the Holy Spirit when the event actually occurs. Like Mary, Zacharias has no written word to verify what he is now hearing and experiencing. He has no human being to whom he can submit this subjective experience, and his rational mind causes him a bit of a problem. When he questions the whole thing that is happening to him, the angel gives him only one confirmation. The angel tells Zacharias his name is Gabriel and exposes Zacharias' unbelief.

Many people are saying this present trickle of God's Holy Spirit being poured out on the earth right now is not the Holy Spirit. Many are saying that the physcial manifestations of shaking, falling down, groaning, writhing, visions, dreams, the appearance of angels, the exuberant laughter, the loud exclamations of joy and the sobbing painful tears of repentance, sorrow, intercession and healing are not from God. Be very careful of unbelief. Be very careful if God pulls back the curtain of the Kingdom of His Holy Spirit and you see an angel. John was struck dumb for his unbelief, but his unbelief did not nullify what the Lord was doing at that point in man's history. Neither will the unbelief nor distain of this present generation stop God's sovereign intervention into the life of His church.

Luke 1:18
18. And Zacharias said to the angel, "How shall I know this {for certain}? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years."
19. And the angel answered and said to him, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and I have been sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news.
20. "And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which shall be fulfilled in their proper time."
21. And the people were waiting for Zacharias, and were wondering at his delay in the temple.
22. But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them; and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he kept making signs to them, and remained mute.
23. And it came about, when the days of his priestly service were ended, that he went back home.

Zacharias had no one with whom to share this strange experience except Elizabeth. The written scriptural record doesn't tell us if he wrote it down to tell her about John's destiny before she became pregnant or waited until after it was a positive fact, but we do know they were overawed, excited, and perplexed. I'm sure like the Bereans who would come much much later (Acts 17 :11), Zacharias and Elizabeth searched the scriptures trying to find some prophecy of the Holy Spirit verifying the infilling of their son John while he was in his mother's womb. I'm sure Elizabeth wanted to know when it would occur, how it would occur, how it would feel, etc. They had a future experience awaiting them and had no idea what it meant!

Just imagine their surprise when a distant female relative knocks on their door, yells out the customary greeting, and Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit. This scripture passage never explicity says that John was filled with the Holy Spirit while in his mother's womb, but many assume that when Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, the baby inside her was filled at the same time.

Luke 1:39
39. Now at this time Mary arose and went with haste to the hill country, to a city of Judah,
40. and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.
41. And it came about that when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
42. And she cried out with a loud voice, and said, "Blessed among women {are} you, and blessed {is} the fruit of your womb!
43. "And how has it {happened} to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44. "For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.
45. "And blessed {is} she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord."

When Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit, her body reacts in interesting ways. Let's look at her experience with the Holy Spirit in the present tense as though it were happening to us.

Elizabeth cries out with a loud voice. The power of the Holy Spirit must have been a shock to her body. She says this was her baby leaping for joy. Skeptics and doubters try to say Elizabeth merely felt the baby move for the first time (quickening). However, the written scripture reveals the experiences in her body were directly caused by the presence of the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit, Jesus, who was a tiny blob of cells undergoing the initial stages of cell division inside Mary's body. The presence of the Holy Spirit must have been incredibly strong for both Elizabeth and Mary to prophecy to one another. Where in the Old Testament writings could they find two women prophesying to one another? Miriam sang a prophetic song of victory while the Israelite women danced. Deborah and Huldah were prophetesses; Abigail prophesied to David, but nowhere do we find two women standing around in a doorway prophesying to one another.

Before the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost, before John the Baptist prophesied about it, before Jesus Himself experienced it as an adult, two women experienced the majesty of the presence and the power of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth confirms to Mary that she is blessed; that she is the mother of the Messiah; that she is a believer. Words of Knowledge are splitting the air, and I'm sure the demonic host were terrified and running for cover as Mary proclaimed,

Luke 1:49
49. "For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name.
50. "\And His mercy is upon generation after generation\ \Toward those who fear Him\.
51. "He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered {those who were} proud in the thoughts of their heart.
52. "He has brought down rulers from {their} thrones, And has exalted those who were humble.

Everything that Gabriel had told Zacharias and Mary was confirmed to two insignificant women on one day. We don't know if Zacharias was there when it happened, but we do know it occurred in the privacy of the home of a righteous couple. Mary had a safe place to hide where she was perfectly understood. The temple priests didn't know about it; the rabbis weren't told about this event before it happened or when it happened. It was a Holy Spirit secret that was brought to three people in an extraordinary, highly sensory way. If others knew about the Holy Spirit filling up the bodies of human beings, it wasn't shared at this time. Mary and Elizabeth enjoyed the fellowship of the Holy Spirit with each other for about three months. Zacharias could only write notes, but I think he continued doing a lot of searching through the Holy Scriptures during Mary's visit.

It wasn't until John's birth that Zacharias erupted in prophecy concerning the Messiah and John. Just as Gabriel had told him: Zacharias' voice had a "rest" for 9 months.

Psalms 46:10
10. "Cease {striving} and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

Suddenly the scriptures take on a whole new meaning for Zacharias. As Jonathan Edwards reports on the revival of the Great Awakening and as others, who have experienced the most recent renewal and refreshing also testify, the scripture comes alive as a person's experience suddenly matches the words found in scripture, and when the experience can't be found in scripture, the person simply has to ponder and wait. But when it does comes to pass just as a messenger from Heaven indicated, the sovereignty of God becomes an experiential reality rather than a dead, dry doctrine.

During John's circumcision the religious leaders and perhaps even relatives were shocked that Elizabeth would give the boy such a strange name. She was rebuked for not choosing a family name. When Zacharias writes that the boy's name is John, we have the first New Testament record of a woman being strongly affirmed and supported for her stance against the traditions of man. Jesus would pick up this godly affirmation of women all through out his earthly ministry.

Having been "filled with the Spirit," Zacharias gives a few confirmations of some of these events from the Psalms and Minor Prophets. Those who heard the prophecy may have had a suspicion of what was going on. I wonder how long it had been since a public prophetic utterance had been made. Some scholars say over 400 years. This was a "trickle" event when considering what else was about to take place. God was not sharing His glory with the religious hierarchy of the day.

A Young Man
Matthew tells us that Joseph received information from the angel of the Lord in a dream to instruct him in the new thing that God was doing in the earth. A righteous man of the Old Covenant would have taken Mary to the authorities to be stoned; Joseph is a righteous man in God's eyes, but he is loathe to obey the strict dictates of Old Testament law. It is the angel that tells him that the Old Covenant is ending. Like Mary before him and Paul after him, Joseph doesn't confer with flesh and blood concerning the strange dictates of the angel's words; he doesn't seek scriptural confirmation or seek the counsel of the religious theologians of his synagogue. He just listens and obeys what the angel said to him in a dream.

Matthew 1:19
19. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly.
20. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
21. "And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins."

Matthew 1:24
24. And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took {her} as his wife,
25. and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

A Select Group
It remained in God's sovereignty to shock, traumatize and frighten a group of insigificant shepherds by revealing to them through an angel that the Messiah has been born.

Luke 2:8
8. And in the same region there were {some} shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night.
9. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.

God once opened the eyes of Elisha's servant, so he could see the truth or the reality concerning God's sovereignty over the affairs of men (2Kings 6 :17). However, on this night many years later, God used the singing testimony of a host of angels to reveal to simple shepherds that the long awaited Messiah was now on the earth. This visitation was a corporate, not a personal, subjective experience.

Luke 2:13
13. And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14. #"Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."#
15. And it came about when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds {began} saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us."

The shepherds do not go to the recognized religious authorities of their culture. The priests and the scribes aren't consulted to see if this "supernatural" event can be confirmed in the ancient scriptures. The shepherds, like Zacharias, Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph, decide themselves that the angelic messengers and the message is from the Lord (Luke 2 :15). In God's sovereignty He chooses uneducated, unsophisticated, uncomplicated men to confirm to Joseph and Mary that God would reveal who their special son was to whomever He so chose.

If the first coming of Jesus was so markedly orchestrated by the Holy Spirit and supernaturally revealed to those whom God had chosen, why is it so difficult to believe and accept that the same Holy Spirit could sovereignly choose to do a few signs and wonders in our present generation? It is only the traditions of men, pride, rebellion, and unbelief that keeps a person from believing that God wishes to demonstrate His love for His people in His own way. That same pride in man-made theologies concerning the acts of God keeps people from receiving the love that God wants to bestow upon them. It is the kindness of God that leads a person to repentance (Rom 2 :4).

Two Senior Citizens
Simeon and Anna were very devout and dedicated to watching and waiting for the fulfillment of God's prophecies concerning the Messiah. They are described accurately as spiritually hungry and as having had a vital living relationship with the Holy Spirit according to the Old Covenant.

The Holy Spirit was upon Simeon; the Holy Spirit had revealed specifically that Simeon would see the Messiah before he left the earth; and he was led into the temple by the Holy Spirit on the very day that Jesus was to be circumcised. Simeon was chosen by God to reveal further revelation concerning Jesus to his parents.

Luke 2:25
25. And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
26. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law,
28. then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29. #"Now Lord, Thou dost let Thy bond-servant depart In peace, according to Thy word;
30. For my eyes have seen Thy salvation,
31. Which Thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32. A \light of revelation to the Gentiles\, And the glory of Thy people Israel. "#

Again we see the religious leaders of the day being omitted or overlooked. Simeon is described simply as "a man in Jerusalem." He is an insignificant, faceless man hungry for the will of God to come upon the earth; and God answers his prayers. This humble man recognizes the Messiah and is used of God to encourage and strengthen Mary and Joseph and to remind them of the unique role Jesus will carry out on the earth for His Heavenly Father: He will reveal the thoughts of many hearts.

Luke 2:33
33. And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him.
34. And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this {Child} is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed--
35. and a sword will pierce even your own soul-- to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed. "

The days of religious hypocrisy and traditions of men are over. Peter would need to see the same vision three times before he would understand that God through Christ will unite Jews and Gentiles (Acts 10 :10-23).

The Holy Spirit and His divinely chosen manifestations aren't mentioned with Anna, but in her story we again see God's tender heart toward His female intercessors.

Luke 2:36
36. And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with a husband seven years after her marriage,
37. and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. And she never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers.
38. And at that very moment she came up and {began} giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

As a widow, Anna devoted her life to prayer and fasting and was well able to speak to others concerning Jesus as the redemption of Israel. I wonder what the rabbis and priests were saying and doing that day. Did they continue to think these two old people were senile, crazy, or insane? What scripture references did Anna and Simeon use to verify their claims that this eight day old baby was the true Messiah? Who were these two ancient relics to interpret any scriptures? Anna was a woman who wasn't even allowed to think on such high minded things, and Simeon was just a man. These two heaven sent prophetic people were not there for the religious skeptics; they were in the temple by the leading of Holy Spirit who wanted Mary and Joseph to be encouraged and strengthened. There may have been some people standing around the temple that day who had "ears to ear". But it would be another 12 years before the Holy Spirit would demonstrate another sign and wonder to the religious heirarchy. Jesus would then astound the scribes and pharisees with His profound wisdom at such a young age. It would be another 18 years before the Holy Spirit would totally reveal the truth about Jesus; and then it would be another three and a half years before the power of the Holy Spirit would be revealed to the whole world in resurrection dunamis - a resurrection body that would never die again!

A Forgiven Woman
In the resurrection of Jesus the grace and love of God is once again extended to women. It was a woman who first knew of Jesus' conception, God's everlasting kingdom coming in her generation, and it was a woman who first knew He had risen from the dead. Because it was Eve, a woman, who first listened to the lies of the enemy, God has chosen often through history to allow women to know extremely important things concerning His kingdom before He reveals them to men. God's choice to use a woman is always a sign of His grace, and by His sovereignty He continually shows He is greater than satan's lies and deceptions. He arranges events so unbelief, hardness of heart and pride can be exposed, forsaken and forgiven.

Mark 16:9
9. [Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons.
10. She went and reported to those who had been with Him, while they were mourning and weeping.
11. And when they heard that He was alive, and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it.
12. And after that, He appeared in a different form to two of them, while they were walking along on their way to the country.
13. And they went away and reported it to the others, but they did not believe them either.
14. And afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining {at the table;} and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen.

When God intervenes into human history, it can be very easy for many to scoff, ridicule and refuse God's visitation. Jesus clearly stated that unbelief brings condemnation (Mark 16 :16). May the warning of Hebrews keep all of us tenderhearted and humble as God pours out His Spirit on human flesh.

Hebrews 3:12
12. Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God.
13. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is {still} called "Today," lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
14. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end;
15. while it is said, #"\Today if you hear His voice\, \Do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me.\"#

Copyright by Earl & Diane Rodd