PETER'S SHADOW by Bill Britton

By Bill Britton

by Bill Britton

Peter fairly glowed with radiating joy as he stepped out of the house and walked down the stone steps. In fact, there seemed to be an aura of soft light that encircled him, not visible to the natural eye, but rather sensed by the Spirit. The glowing joy was recognized not by an outward smile or jovial appearance, but from an inward radiance.

He blinked his eyes as he stepped out into the bright sunlight. Looking up, he saw that the sun was directly overhead. It was high noon. Where had the morning gone? He had been in earnest prayer since daybreak, and in the glorious presence of the Lord, the hours had just slipped away. But his face still shined with the memory of that shekinah glory.

The crowd along the road began to stir as someone noticed the big fisherman, and passed the word that he was coming. "Get ready, here comes the man of God!" Peter started down the hot dusty road, the dust swirling around his feet, mixing with the spot of shadow made by the noonday sun. But as he passed a group gathered around an old man on a bed by the side of the road, a voice suddenly cried out- "Praise be to the Almighty, something touched me, I can walk!" And the old man jumped up from the bed, ran into the road and fell on his knees before Peter. The Apostle gently but firmly reached down and took the old man by the shoulders and raised him to his feet. "Don't fall down before me, dear brother, I am just a man like you. It is Jesus Christ who has healed you, by the power of His resurrection life." He looked around him at the crowd, his eyes begging for understanding. But the people drew back in awe at what they were seeing. No one crowded in upon him.

He walked on down the road, occasionally stopping to lay hands on some cripple, or some weeping child. But as he walked, the sick and lame on both sides of the road, some laying on beds or couches, began to praise God as the power of healing went through their bodies. There was a radiating presence of God that emanated from him, that began to touch and electrify the people before he got within 20 yards of them.

You see, dear ones, I learned from a great Greek scholar more than 12 years ago that the word "shadow" in Acts 5:15 does not, in the original Greek, mean a dark spot made by the sun. It is a word meaning an effulgence, a radiance, a shining forth of divine energy. And for the past 12 years I have checked this out through the other scriptures, and have come to know a glorious divine mystery.

If the word translated "shadow" simply means a dark spot caused by sunlight, then on cloudy days there would be no healing. And when the sun was overhead, Peter would have to stand on top of the sick ones in order for his shadow to touch them. And in early morning or late evening when the shadows were long, only one side of the street would receive healing. But oh, beloved, there is much more to it than that. it was soon after Pentecost. In chapter two of Acts, it tells us that many wonders and signs were done by the Apostles. In chapter three an outstanding miracle took place with a man lame from birth. In chapter four the place where the saints were meeting was shaken by the Holy Ghost.

And now here in chapter five, in the case of Peter, we see that it was as though these men of God had been dipped in a tub of raw nuclear energy, and went around spinning all the "Geiger counters" out of control. Except that it was "divine Holy Ghost energy," a carry over from the anointed life of Jesus. One of the dictionary definitions of radiation is "propagation of radiant energy." And this is exactly what was happening in the case of the Apostle Peter. Don't be afraid that I'm going to deify Peter, or you or me.... for it was not Peter's power or holiness that was radiating. It was the presence and power of Christ. And it is Christ Jesus our Lord that is going to be glorified by the revelation of this truth. Hallelujah!

Most people know that there is a life force in each of us that gives off "rays" of energy. This life force can be strong or weak, positive or negative, good or evil, depending upon the experience and relationship of that person to God. This is not supposition, it has been scientifically and medically proven. Medical science has developed a machine that can measure this life force in a patient on a positive or negative scale. People who have a large or heavy radiation of life force, be it for good or evil, are said to have "charisma." When they enter a room, their presence immediately demands attention, many times without a word being spoken. You know this is true.

Finney had such a passion for lost souls, that he could walk through a factory and great conviction would grip the hearts of workers as he passed by. Back in the 1930's I attended a great healing revival under a tent in the school yard across from the Central Assembly here in Springfield. I saw many people falling under the power of God, many times before the evangelist could reach out and touch them. One dear saintly sister from our little church was healed of cancer in the revival, and lived for more than 30 years after that. But she told me later that as she stood In the prayer line, the closer she got to the man of God, the more it seemed like waves of glory, like breakers rolling in from the sea, pressed against her until she could hardly move forward. Finally she went down. The preacher never did touch her, but the cancer was gone. What was it? It was the radiation of the power of God for healing, a modern day "Peter's shadow," and I was there to see it. Glory to God!

Saul of Tarsus had met with the Man of Galilee on the road to Damascus in a blaze of divine light. The light brighter than the noon day sun hit him, and the radiance and reflection of it never left him. Everywhere he went, that divine life of Christ radiated out from him to people in need. Demons reacted violently whenever they came into his presence.

"And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul. So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them (Acts 19:11-12)." What was happening? What caused this? Was there some special quality or fetish power in the clothes that Paul wore? Of course not! This verse in Acts is the basis for the practice of sending out "anointed prayer cloths" for the healing of the sick. And we do it because it has scriptural foundation. But there is a special mystery about why it works. Just buying a piece of material in the store, stamping it with a rubber stamp and mailing it out, is not the answer. These handkerchiefs or aprons were taken "from his body."

These are articles of clothing that had been on Paul's person, and had been saturated with the flow of divine life that was in him. You see, that radiance of the substance of God that radiated out from him like "Peter's shadow" had an effect on his clothes. So that when his clothing came in contact with evil spirits or sickness, the devil fled the scene.

The simplest way I can illustrate this is from the negative side. There are no ash trays in our house, no one smokes there, and the air is fresh and clean. But when I take a trip on a bus or airplane, I come home reeking with the stench of cigarette smoke. It clings to my suit, shirt, even my hair. I can wash my hair and bathe, but if I hang up my suit in the house, the whole room is filled with the odor of tobacco. In houses where people smoke constantly, even the wall paper radiates this smell. But it is far more noticeable when the normal atmosphere of the room is clean and pure. Now that illustration is natural. But there is a spiritual and invisible force, in both the positive or Godly realm, and the negative or Satanic realm.

Paul was so filled with the power of God, so yielded to the flow of the Holy Spirit, that the outflow of the presence and substance of God saturated his clothing. This is why we take a piece of cloth and pray over it, sometimes keeping it on the altar or in the pulpit at church during anointed services, before cutting it up into small pieces to send out to those who write in for healing or deliverance. We believe that the anointing of that church will saturate that little cloth, and that the devil will recognize it and flee. That sounds juvenile and superstitious to the modern intellectual mind. But they are the ones who are in the most trouble and needing help desperately. And if it didn't work, I'd quit doing it, but we have many many testimonies that have been sent in to praise God for the healing and deliverance that came.

Let us read the account in Matt 17:1-2 of the transfiguration of Jesus: "And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart. And was TRANSFIGURED before them; and HIS FACE DID SHINE AS THE SUN, and HIS RAIMENT was white as the light." Notice the order of these three things: 1. He was transfigured. 2. His face shined. 3. His raiment was affected. In that order. It was not something that came upon Him externally, from without. It was a revealing and unveiling of the radiating glory of the Father that was within HIM. It is recorded in Luke 9:29 that "as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering." Notice that when His glory was revealed, it first of all caused his countenance or face to be altered. It shined as the sun. What was invisible became visible. The vail of flesh was drawn back, and the radiance of His glory that had caused the cripples to walk and the blind to see, was seen here by the disciples. "We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father" (John 1.14). The Apostle Peter says that they "were eyewitnesses of His majesty" (11 Pet 1:16). "For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness." (1 John 1:2).

This glory radiating out of the life and body of Jesus was there all the time, but the natural eye could not see it. The sick were healed, the dead were raised, and demons were cast out. The Pharisees said it was by the power of the devil, but we know that it was the works of the Father being manifested in Jesus. It was the outflow of divine life, it was the radiating power of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus came on the scene, the whole atmosphere was changed. When Jesus passed by, joy replaced grief, pain fled away, death retreated, devils screamed in terror and frustration. The radiating glory of God was felt everywhere he went.

And finally, His clothing was so saturated by this radiating glory, that it was seen as white and glistering. I know that fictional books have been written about His robe, and some religious people have almost deified certain relics such as splinters of wood supposedly from the Cross, or the bones of Peter, etc. But the fact is, that His clothing was affected by the radiation of the glory from within Him. One woman merely touched the hem of His garment, with faith in her heart, and was made whole of her affliction. There were many who touched Him, pressed around Him, but they were not in the realm of faith where the glory resided.

Yes, Jesus said (John 14:12) that we would do the same works that He did. And they must be done with the same power, with the same compassion and love, for the same reasons. There was an outflowing of His life for the deliverance of a lost and dying world from its sin, sickness, sorrow, pain, death, and demonic bondage. And if a believer has other selfish reasons for wanting the power of God, he is in trouble.

You see, God is going to have a body of people in the earth, a "church" if you want to call it that, who will radiate with that same glory and life that Jesus had. They will do the same works He did. They will reveal Him to a world lost In the darkness of sin. In fact, Spirit-filled, consecrated children of God are already radiating His presence, flowing out with "rivers of living waters" through the power of the Spirit. But we are far short of His ultimate for us here on this earth. We have not yet reached our potential, and He is still working on us through His ministry gifts of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers. I see the day, very soon at hand, when the very least in the Kingdom of God here on earth is flowing out with a ministry far greater than the greatest of the prophets. Jesus said it, I believe it, that settles it!

In chapter 33 of Exodus, Moses was beseeching God to let him see His glory. And God told Moses that He would "make all my goodness pass before thee" (vs 19). Also in verse 22 God said that His glory would pass by. "I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by; and I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts; but my face shall not be seen."

When God said that Moses would see His back parts, He did not mean that He would pass by Moses in a nude body, as a human body and that Moses would see the back of God's "body." Nor did he mean that He would be in some beautiful robe, and that Moses would see only the back of the robe and the back of God's head. What the language of this beautiful scripture is actually getting at is that God's goodness, His glory, and His divine Presence would pass by, and that the radiance of His glory and Presence would leave a glow all about the rock where Moses stood. It was the result of His Presence, the residue of His power and glory clinging to the earth where God had made a visitation. Moses was allowed to see the "after-glow" of God passing through. But he was not allowed to look into the source, or "face" of this glory. No man can look at the fullness of God, the source of life. We can see the effects of His Presence, feel the nearness of Him, but while we still bear the smallest degree of the image of Adam, we cannot enter into the fullness of that Shekinah glory!

We see Moses back on Mt. Sinai in chapter 34, in the Presence of God. "And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. And it came to pass, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not (did not know) that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him (vss 28-30)."

II Corinthians chapter 3 says that "the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance." He had to put a vail over his face before they could hear what he had to say. Where did this glory come from? From being in the Presence of God. Scientists working on nuclear devises sometimes check workers with Geiger counters to see if they have come into contact with any radio-active material. If a person were to handle or stay in contact with dangerous nuclear material for any length of time, they would set off wild clicking in the Geiger counters, by the rays emitting from their bodies. This is what happened to Moses, except it was life shining from his face, not death. Watch dials are treated sometimes with radium, so they will shine in the dark. Then you will be able to tell the time without light. Moses shined, in the darkness of their human nature, shining with the glory of the living God. But they could not bear it. So there was a vail put over his face. Christ Jesus lived in a human body, under a vail of humanity. But behind that vail was the Shekinah glory of God. And the radiation of that glory flowed continually all about Him, healing, helping, saving, loving.

When a man of God is walking in the Spirit, believing the promises of God, and speaking the word of the Lord, you can feel the life of God flowing out of him. This is what makes the laying on of hands so effective. Faith in Jesus, along with this physical contact with one who believes, brings great results. But how long does this substance of God remain in the body or in the clothing? This would depend, of course, on how much exposure the believer had to the Presence of God. One who walks continually with God, who lives in the Spirit, and who stays in His Presence, would have a greater radiation of His power, more effective results, and longer staying power. We have an outstanding example in the prophet Elisha. It Is found in 2 Kings 13:20-21....

"And Elisha died, and they buried him. And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulcher of Elisha; and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet." And there the story ends. No more said about Elisha's bones.

Now why did God put those two verses in? Here is a prophet who had received the mantle of Elijah, and who had asked for and received a double portion of his spirit. Here was one who had recorded twice as many miracles as Elijah, who had caused iron to float, made the widow's pot of oil to flow until all her debts were paid, and who had raised the Shunamite woman's son from the dead. He had lived and walked in the Presence of the God of Heaven. He had healed the poison in the pot of food, fed a hundred men with a handful of food, healed Naaman's leprosy, and captured an entire army single-handedly by the power of God. That radiant power of God had flowed through him and out of him for years. Now he is dead. But those dead bones still radiate with the residue of God's power and glory that had once worked in him. Yes, it is the will of God for Elisha to go home to be with the Lord. But when the dead man is thrown into the sepulchre and touches Elisha's bones, the radiating life of God is still active. Radioactivity? No, but the anointing is still active, even tho the man of God is now in another realm. He is a very special man, a giant among the prophets. We never read of this happening to any other man. And there is no reason to try it today, to open some preacher's grave and try to get healing out of his dead body. But this story points out this truth; that enough exposure to the glory and power of God will impregnate your very body and clothes with enough power to defeat the strongest devil, even death.

In John chapter 18 we read of Judas and a band of soldiers coming to Gethsemane after Jesus. He had just finished praying until sweat ran down like great drops of blood. They met Him as He came out of this last prayer. "Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered Him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. Judas, also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as He had said unto them, "I am he," they went backward, and fell to the ground (John 18:4-6)." What kind of power was it that knocked them to the ground? It was the radiant power of His glory, and the powers of darkness in them could not stand before it. When He said "I AM," a force of life and light issued out of Him like a tidal wave. He could have destroyed them, but He would not. He knew that this was part of that which should come upon Him. But veiled though it was, the light and life and glory and power of Almighty God still flowed out from Him like a great underground river breaking forth in a mighty fountainhead.

Do you want this kind of power and life ? Then are you willing to go to your Gethsemane? Are you willing to renounce all destructive forces of the natural life ? It is here, it is for us, today. Peter's shadow was not for Peter alone. The transfiguration of Jesus is something we can participate in. The same identical word used in Mark chapter nine, translated there as "transfigured," is used two other places relating to us. Romans 12:2 says "And be not conformed to this world, but BE YE TRANSFORMED..." This is the same Greek word. And in 2 Cor 3:18 that word is used again when it says: "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are CHANGED into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. " Paul says in 11 Cor 4:7... "But this treasure we have in earthen vessels." Praise God that the treasure is there. And radiating. Rest in Him. Know what there is and who there is within you. "He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world." We are more than conquerors. We are commanded to resist the devil. He will flee. Recognize the radiant glory that is vibrating or radiating from your being, and seek His Presence, that the glory and power might be greatly increased for the sake of His Body as well as a lost world. Release the Christ within!

Glory to God, what a day! You can change the atmosphere about you, regardless of how dark or depressing it may be. You can radiate with His power and glory, like a blazing light where darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people. Your light has come! The glory of the Lord has risen upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon thee! (Isa 60:1-2).

Bill Britton

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