IN ONE BRIEF PASSAGE in Paul's Epistle to the EPHESIANS,
we count at least fifteen distinct words that define power in
one form or the other. All of them revolve around, or must adjust to,
what happened when the Lord Jesus was raised from the dead. And, they
all relate in one way or another to our healing--our spiritual healing,
our physical healing, our emotional healing, and our mental healing. They
also relate to the healing of our conscience which is something we have
yet to address in an article.
I've looked at this Ephesian passage for over fifty years. I've drawn
from its resource, lived by some of its strength, and have written perhaps
more than I've really known about what it means. So, it is with some timidity
that I approach it once again. But I know that only as we handle it, bathe
in its light, and follow after what it means, can we partake of its boundless
The passage at which we are about to look is Eph 1:19-21. It is
part of the prayer Paul prayed for those who would receive the truth of
Ephesians. The light he was presenting could only find release in anyone's
understanding through the help of the Holy Spirit. This would come in
answer to prayer--very specific prayer.
We are learning to pray like Paul did, that the eyes of our understanding will be enlightened. Then we can know what is the
hope of God's calling, what is the riches of the glory of His inheritance
in us, and what is the exceeding greatness of the power He gives
to us who believe. The full knowledge of these three things--which Ephesians addresses--can only come through enlightenment brought
on by the Holy Spirit. They are not things that can be learned by human
methods or adopted to fulfill carnal schemes and dreams. They belong to
the Kingdom of God. They relate us to that Kingdom. The more we perceive
them the fuller will be our lives in the Kingdom. If we get these three
matters settled with regard to the Kingdom, its fullness will come over
on every dimension of life that we live. It will certainly have impact
on our physical being.
It is the third of the three points that we begin to cover in this article.
To do this, we drop into the middle of Paul's prayer and find him asking
that believers might know what is the exceeding greatness of His 1Power to us-ward who believe, according to the 2working of His 3mighty 4Power, which He 5wrought in Christ, when He 6raised Him from 7the dead and 8set Him at 9His own right hand in 10the
heavenly places far above all 11principalities and 12power and 13might and 14dominion and every 15name that is named..--Eph 1:19-21.
Through it all, we find the key that unlocks the vast wealth of this
power. It is given to us-ward who believe. Perhaps the ability
to believe is the greatest gift given us by God. Let us cherish it.
Words 1 through 4 in the above passage describe the dimensions
of power that worked in the tomb to bring the Lord Jesus from the dead.
These same four were released to work in us who submit our lives to Him.
Words 5 through 10 describe how and where that power operated
as it brought the Lord Jesus to His heavenly position. This is a place
He has won for us. Words 11 through 15 describe the forces
that have resisted Him through the ages. These final five describe the
realms of power that have been invaded by Satan's troops. But, they also
show us the realms of power which rightly belong to the Lord Jesus, even
in this age, and which we have the authority to take back for Him.
LET US LOOK NOW at the powers that brought off the Resurrection
of the Lord Jesus. When God raised Him from the dead, four dimensions
of power came into effect. They each worked in the Tomb to bring Him forth
alive. At that very point in time they were also released to work in us.
There was the enabling power of a miracle, the energetic power of a new life, the effective power of a new government, and muscle
power to bind the strong man.
Because these dimensions of power have been released, healing--ALL kinds of healing--can take place in us. In Jesus,
they reached into the stronghold of death, broke its back and set Him
free. Death was no deterrent to them. Because they broke its power, they
can reach into the stronghold of whatever rules in us and set us free.
They even take the sting out of death for us.
I first noticed the four distinctly different "power" words in this verse
when I saw it in the original Greek. Look at it again with me with the
Greek words in place. Remember, since we are lifting it out of an ongoing
statement, it is not a complete sentence in itself. Eph 1:19--And
what is the exceeding greatness of his power (dúnamis)
to us-ward who believe, according to the working (enérgia)
of his mighty (krátos) power (ischúos)…(literally, "the working (enérgeia) of the might (krátos) of His power (ischúos)").
Dúnamis is the enabling power of a miracle. Enérgia is the energetic power of a new life. Krátos is the
effective power of a new government. Ischúos is the
muscle power to bind the strong man.
Let me state again, as we did in a previous article, the knowing of
all this power, for which we are learning to pray, is the kind
of knowing that can never be put down by a contradiction. It is a knowing
so settled that no force from man, nature, or hell can remove it from
one's heart or mind. It becomes like an innate or instinctive knowledge
that prevails when everything around screams to the contrary. It is a
knowledge that will not be forgotten in the evil day toward
which Ephesians Truth brings us. (See Eph 6:13.) When all
the forces of hell come against us to wipe us out, we can still know what
is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe.
What an asset can be ours! We will have the inbred knowledge that there
is available to us the resource of all the power that worked to bring
the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. What demon from hell can withstand
Even now, in the day by day turns of life, we are discovering how this
power will work in us. There is nothing that faces us--even horrible things
that sometimes happen to persons and families--but that a testimony to
God's greatness and love can emerge from it.
THE FIRST "POWER" WORD I learned in the Greek New Testament was dúnamis. It was also the first word Paul used
in the Ephesian prayer passage--and the one to which we must give our
attention in the rest of this article. It is the word from which we get
our English word "dynamite." Dr. Alfred Nobel drew this word from the
Greek to name the explosive he discovered over a century ago. The most
basic meaning behind the Greek word is "to be able, or to be strong enough"
to do something. It did not bear the meaning of an explosive in the New
Testament. In a time when many of the forms of power we know now were
unknown, dúnamis meant miraculous power. To early
believers it was the power of creation, the kind of power that would get
into an impossible situation and release possibility. It was the kind
of power that would get inside believers and make them strong witnesses
for Christ. It was the power of their new life in Christ.
To become more acquainted with this kind of power, we should see some
of the New Testament passages that speak of it. It is a power--wonderful, amazing power--that is ready to work in us.
The word dúnamis occurs in the New Testament over
120 times. The first time we see it in relation to the Lord Jesus is in Lk 1:35 when the angel…said unto Mary, The
Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power (dúnamis) of the Highest shall overshadow thee. The same power that would
later work in the tomb to bring Jesus again from the dead worked in the
womb of a young virgin to bring Him into being. With no blast of heat
or release of radiant light, power was released in her womb and a conception
took place. A child began to form supernaturally. This kind of power was
creative. From nothing, except a yielded vessel upon whom the stamp of
impossibility yet remained and the visitation of God's power, the Lord
Jesus came forth. When, in the face of impossibility, we are able to look
unto Him, we are drawing close in upon God's power for He was and
is the greatest expression of it.
The first New Testament occurrence of dúnamis is
in Mt 6:13--For Thine is the kingdom, and the power (dúnamis),
and the glory for ever. We must remember this statement taken from
what we call "The Lord's Prayer." The ability, or power, to perform all
things belongs to our Father in Heaven. This divine ability comes in company
with His Kingdom and His glory. While it is beyond our ability
to comprehend all of this, we can at least begin to do so. His
power relates to His Kingdom, and we are beginning to know His Kingdom.
His power relates to His glory, and we are beginning to know how to give
glory to Him. At least we can say, Let Thy Kingdom come! And we
can say, Father glorify Thy Name--Mt 12:28. When we do this,
we are drawing close in upon His power. We are embracing two things
that accompany it. In seeking His Kingdom and in glorifying His Name,
we cannot be far from knowing His power also.
THERE IS A PRECIOUS PASSAGE in which dúnamis occurs with reference to the Lord Jesus. It's when the woman who had been
hemorrhaging for twelve years reached through the throng of people and
touched Him. There is a record of this in Mt 9:20-22, Mk 5:25-34 and Lk 8:43-48. We take note that immediately her issue of blood stanched--Lk
8:44. Immediately means "on the spot, forthwith." Here
we find out what can happen when this kind of power is released into a
situation. Instantly, every thing is changed.
When the miracle happened, Jesus said, Who touched me? Then all
the disciples questioned Him because the whole multitude had been touching
Him. And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched Me: for I perceive that
virtue (dúnamis) is gone out of Me--Lk 8:46. There was a touch from one person that was different
than all the others.
When the woman saw that she was not hid, she fell trembling before the
Lord and told why she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately. Jesus comforted her and said, Thy faith hath made thee whole. We
have to take note in this that the woman reached toward Jesus even when
He was not aware of her. When Jesus told what happened, He did not say,
"The power that came from Me made you whole." He said, "Your faith made you whole." Through all her impossibilities, she had reached
out for Him and touched His garment. It was a humiliating circumstance
from which she came. Her reach was one of humility, but it had in it the
element of faith. That key of faith opened the door to His healing power.
This is an amazing story and one that should give hope to all who have
suffered long. Adam Clarke, in his commentary on this passage, gives seven
points as to the affliction of the woman. 1--Her malady was such
that it could not be made public without exposing her to shame and contempt. 2--It was a chronic disorder for it had lasted twelve long years. 3--It was continual for she appears to have had no interval of
health. 4--Her disorder was aggravated by the medicines she used
for she had suffered many things of many physicians. 5--Her
condition was ruinous both to her health and circumstances, for she had
spent all that she had. 6--She was brought to the last
point of wretchedness, want, and despair. She was growing worse and had
neither money nor goods to make another experiment to procure her health. 7--She was brought so low by her disorder as to be incapable of
earning anything to support her wretched life a little longer.
Never could the power and goodness of God be shown in a more difficult
and distressful case. She came upon Jesus and she is healed--all because
she was willing to place her faith in Him.
It is here we need to see just one brief statement from the Book
of Hebrews. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and
forever--Heb 13:8. This being so, there is no person in any
dreadful condition today but who can touch Him and be made whole.
And I think I must take note of this: it was she who touched Jesus; He
did not touch her.
What does this mean to me if I am hopelessly ill? I need no longer
wait without hope, like some in the outer room of a great doctor thinking
he may hold some knowledge of medicine that will cure me. I need no longer
wait like some in the meeting of a great healing Evangelist with the hope
that, perchance, he might draw me out of the audience and minister to
me. With a faith, born of God's Spirit, I can reach through the throng
of whatever, and whoever, surrounds me and touch Jesus, whether I ever
be touched by any person or not.
While some do benefit from the knowledge and skill of physicians, not
everyone does. While we may respect and enjoy the ministry of the miracle
Evangelists, and while many receive from their hands, it does not happen
to all. If you are one who, like the woman, has suffered many things
of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered,
but rather grew worse, then reach through all this and let His virtue come upon you. It has not diminished, but rather is now gone into all
the earth wherever there is person ready to place his or her faith in
THE FIRST VERSE in which I remember seeing the word dúnamis was Acts 1:8. This Scripture took our attention after the Holy
Spirit came upon us back in 1956. Look at it with me here. But ye shall
receive power (dúnamis), after that the Holy Ghost
is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses (Greek martúres, from which the word "martyr" comes) unto Me both in Jerusalem,
and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the
earth. There is no boundary beyond which the witness unto Him cannot
We began discovering over forty years ago how the same power that brought
Jesus into being and that entered death's dominion to bring Him out alive
would now work in us. We discovered it was a creative and enabling force
from God that would enter us who are believers and make us into witnesses, even witnesses unto death if need be. This meant more than standing
up to give a good testimony in a Gospel meeting. It meant having something
within us that came from out of eternity with God. It meant being indwelt
by something that came into the world in Jesus. It meant living by something
that was perfected and released for us through His Resurrection. Having
the Holy Ghost come upon us brought the power from God's Throne
into us. This would have effect on what we are as well as what we do and
say. We began discovering that the power brought by the Holy Spirit was
the stuff from which miracles are made. It was the power of a new life.
We take note in Acts 1:8 that this power can be known only after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you. We can read about it,
talk about it, think about it, and preach about it, but we cannot know
it in us until the Holy Spirit Himself comes upon us and releases
us to know it.
We cannot shrug this off as an option for less educated believers. We
cannot consign it to the first century when the ability to witness for
the Lord was more difficult and therefore more power was needed. It will
become increasingly difficult to be a witness unto Him as the age moves
on toward its end, till finally many will give their lives for this very
thing. We need, with simple trust, to hear again the Lord Jesus saying, Behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem (or wherever it is that you may be), until ye be endued with power (dúnamis) from
on high--Lk 24:49.
Tarry means, "Stay right where you are. Don't give in"--
till you are endued with power. It's this kind of determination
before the Lord that brings forth a soul knowing miracle power. There
are those who seek but give in before the answer comes, who knock but
turn away before the door is opened, who ask but are content not to receive.
They never really know much of this power that Jesus promised and Paul
taught us to pray about.
I DISCOVERED THAT EIGHT TIMES in the King James Version of the
Bible the word dúnamis is translated miracle. This begins to show us what a miracle is. It comes about when an impossible
situation is visited by the power, the dúnamis kind
of power, that was released in the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
Early believers were close to the Resurrection, and miracles were frequent
among them. They were kept ever aware that God had raised Jesus from the
dead. His Resurrection was the continuing subject of the Apostles' message.
Thus, the word they preached ever drew the people unto miracles.
Observe how it was with Peter and John. And with great power (dúnamis) gave the Apostles witness of the resurrection
of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Look what grace
and power were on these two. They encountered a cripple man begging. Peter
said he didn't have any money, but such as I have give I thee. In the
Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk--Acts 3:6. Immediately, just as with the woman who had an issue of blood, he was made whole.
There came from these two men who exalted the Lord Jesus and proclaimed
His Resurrection the same kind of power that had come from the Lord Himself.
Peter explained what happened. He said, God hath glorified His Son
Jesus. He hath raised Him from the dead (Acts 3:13-16).
The same was true with Philip, the obedient deacon in the church. In Acts 8 we find him going down to Samaria. There he preached (kerússo) Christ. This word preached did not
have reference to a sermon or a message; it had reference to a Person.
The word kerússo meant to publicly proclaim, to announce
as a herald would do. Philip announced the presence of Christ who was
alive and miracles (the plural form of dúnamis)
and signs were done.
We also find that God wrought special miracles by the
hands of Paul--Acts 19:11. When he listed the Nine Gifts of
the Spirit to operate in the church, he put at the very center the
working of miracles (again, the plural form of dúnamis)--I
Cor 12:10. Literally the working of miracles means
"the energetic release of dúnamis power."
We continue, simply expecting and believing this will become the order
of the day for believers everywhere. We learn not to fear the impossible
HOW DOES THIS come into effect with us? We've learned a few things--and
we continue to learn. One is that we need not be baffled by impossibility.
"Impossible" is the opposite of "possible." The basic meaning behind the
word dúnamis is "it is possible." Thus, it becomes
the power of possibility, the enabling power of a miracle. This enabling
power is set in motion in us through the simple matter of faith. In faith
we learn to take steps toward Him and give Him the impossibilities that
face us. The virtue that came from Jesus rushes to meet us on the
way. Sometimes our early steps are faltering, but that wonderful power
released out of the Resurrection is great enough to make up for our faltering
We've walked in this for years--and have many testimonies of God's great
faithfulness as it paired up with our little faith to bring about a miracle.
Sometimes our faith has been so small it was almost ridiculous, but at
least we reached toward Him, like the woman with an issue of blood reached
toward Him--and He responded.
Another thing we have learned is that we are not sufficient enough in
ourselves to always make it alone. There are times we need the help of
someone else to go with us in before the Lord. That's the reason we feel
the most important ministry we can have now is the ministry of intercession.
That's what we call praying for someone else. If you need help, e-mail
us. There's a prayer team here with us who will pray.