The Image Of Anointing Oil
The Anointing and the use of Anointing Oil have a deep spiritual meaning. And with spiritual I mean Spiritual. It is not ‘an’ image, but ‘the’ image of empowerment by the Holy Spirit. It is a symbol of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in man. The anointed ones are also referred to as sons of oil, the ones with a shining countenance, glowing ones, bright ones and “God’s great ones”. The question that remains is, of course, what it should express? Whenever I read these terms and descriptions of anointing, I always have to think back to these verses:
The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel.
Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses’ hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him. So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.
He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.
Whenever the glory and holiness of God becomes manifest, this is what happens. I have heard and seen that events like these are still happening in these days, just like the fact that the miracles of the Bible are also still happening in these days. Yes, all of them, and more. God has never changed. Jesus never changed. If we move in the same faith as the disciples, if we preach the same gospel as they did and if we pay the same price they paid, all the signs and miracles that followed them, will follow us as well. Not from our own strength or by our own efforts, but by the power of our best Friend, Comforter and Companion, the Holy Spirit. All things are really possible, if we have faith.
When people used anointing oil, their countenance started to shine and glow from the oil. That is the image of God with us, an image of being in the constant presence of His glory and holiness. Moses had to climb a mountain to be in the presence of God. Jesus is God, but climbed a mountain anyway, to take His disciples with Him, to witness the glory and holiness. When the outpouring of the Holy Spirit took place, this went to a whole new level. From that moment it was not just God with us, but it became God in us as well, like God had intended it to be. It can be compared with the oil lamps, which are filled with oil and are burning and shining light. Likewise we can become filled with the Holy Spirit and burn for Jesus, shining His Light for the nations.
The image of the anointing and the Holy Spirit was already visible with the prophets, kings and priests of Israel in the Old Testament. It was a prelude of what was about to happen in the future. Whenever a prophet, king or priest was anointed, the empowerment by the Holy Spirit followed. This can, among others, be seen at the anointing of Saul and David.
Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him and said: “Is it not because the Lord has anointed you commander over His inheritance? (Verse 1)
Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. (Verse 6)
1 Samuel 10:1, 6
Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.
1 Samuel 16:13
The empowerment by the Holy Spirit was not something that happened to ordinary people in those days. It happened only with prophets, kings and priests. So the fact that Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit was something remarkable for the people of that time. At one point Jesus quoted a passage from the book of Isaiah, chapter 61, which was a well-known passage for the people of that time and place. It is that passage that clearly shows the connection between the anointing and the Holy Spirit. He said: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me”. Directly afterwards He tells why: “because of which He has anointed Me”.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because (of which) He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
Some translations say that the Spirit was on Jesus because He was Anointed, but the remarkable thing is that, in this case, it is the other way around. It originally says that the Spirit was on Jesus, because of which He was Anointed. As you can see in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came after someone was anointed by order of the Lord (not by their own initiative). But Jesus, the Christ, the Anointed One, already had and has the identity of ‘being Anointed’. He is God, the Source of the Anointing! Not only does this show the clear connection between Anointing and the Holy Spirit, it also shows the aim of the Anointing, which was and is to preach the gospel, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to recover the sight of the blind (physical and spiritual!), to liberate the oppressed and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
All earthly materials and all the people of this earth are not naturally holy. When the Tabernacle was built, none of the materials were holy. The people who were about to become priests, were not yet holy. Everything became holy, because of the Anointing. Whatever was Anointed became holy from that moment on. Here’s an example of that principal.
And you shall take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it; and you shall hallow it and all its utensils, and it shall be holy. You shall anoint the altar of the burnt offering and all its utensils, and consecrate the altar. The altar shall be most holy.
So holiness came because of the Anointing. In the same way, it is the Holy Spirit Who makes us holy, because of the Anointing of Jesus. It is by His Word, through His Spirit, that we are changed to holiness. The more time we spent in His Word, with alertness for what the Holy Spirit wants to teach us through it, the more we are transformed to holiness. There was a season in my life where the Holy Spirit told me the same thing over and over again, every day, several times a day, for months. The thing He told me was this: “Only the Word of God has the power to change you.” It was because of that Word that my love for the Word of God started to grow even more. I started to see, recognize and acknowledge its value. It is a message so simple, yet it was probably one of the most powerful messages that He has ever taught me.
How different was this in the life of Jesus. He had no need for the Anointing to make Him holy. He already was holy. For that reason the Anointing was on Him. When He quoted the passage from Isaiah 61, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because (of which) He has anointed Me”, that was a revelation of Himself as the promised Messiah. In those times the title “messiah” was not exclusively reserved for the Savior. As mentioned before, the word “messiah” means “anointed one”. It was a title that was used for all the prophets, who were also called messiah’s in those days and throughout the whole Old Testament. Even though the kings and priests were anointed as well, the term messiah was only used to address the prophets. That was probably the reason why so many people addressed Jesus as a messiah.
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
Most likely they said: “one of the messiah’s” or “one of the christ’s”. As you may remember, the term “messiah” is a Hebrew word, which translates as “christ” in Greek. Addressing Jesus with that title basically only says that He is an Anointed, like the prophets were Anointed as well. So although calling Him Christ or Messiah is an acknowledgement of the Anointing of God, it is not more than that. There are other religions, including the bigger religions like the islam, who are also acknowledging Him as Christ. That may sound confusing, but the difference lies in the statement that Peter did, when Jesus asked them who they said He was (and is).
Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Although several religions acknowledge Jesus as Christ, only Christianity acknowledges Him as the Son of the living God. No other religion will acknowledge Him as the Son of God. That is a big difference. Although the prophets were called “messiah’s” or “christ’s”, they were all ordinary people, naturally unclean and unholy, but made clean and holy because of the Anointing. There was only One Who could say that He already was clean and holy, because of which God Anointed Him. That person is Jesus. The only One Who lived His entire life without sin. That didn’t make Him a messiah, it made Him THE MESSIAH, the Son of the living God. And the only way to come to that revelation and acknowledgement, is by the revelation of the Father, through the Holy Spirit.
Calling Jesus THE MESSIAH is calling Him “God’s greatest One”, which He is. It is because of His Anointing and because of His sacrifice, that the presence of God left the temple and tore the veil, to make His indwelling in man, by His Holy Spirit. That is the image of the spiritual Anointing and what Anointing with Anointing Oil symbolizes. It is the Holy Spirit in us, as the seal of our salvation.
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
As I always say in all of my teachings, the aim of God is always to save, to heal, to deliver and to restore. So whenever the Holy Spirit starts to work in and through us, the fruits will always align with salvation, healing, deliverance and restoration. Everything and everyone that works against those things, is working against God, against the Anointing, against the sacrifice of Jesus and for the agenda of the enemy. But when the Holy Spirit really is in control, and when the Church totally submits to God and let Him have His way, then you will see it by the fruits. A lack of the fruits means a lack of the Spirit. A beautiful image of the restoration of God’s people can be seen in 2 Chronicles, where the people of Judah were released and restored to honor, by the Anointing.
Then the men who were designated by name rose up and took the captives, and from the spoil they clothed all who were naked among them, dressed them and gave them sandals, gave them food and drink, and anointed them.
2 Chronicles 28:15
The image of the Anointing is also seen in the prayer for healing. When someone is sick, their face does not look very happy or shining. The anointing makes the face shine again in the natural, as an image of what happens in the spiritual realm, if the prayer for healing is done from and with faith. According to the customs of that time, it is also a visible sign, showing the end of the time of mourning. The next verse is speaking about the aim of the Anointing of Jesus Christ.
To give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
This speaks about the promise of God, to remove the spirit of mourning and heaviness, and to grant the Holy Spirit and the Holy Anointing in its place. The trees of righteousness are olive trees, having the oil of Anointing in their fruits. The oil of joy that this verse is talking about is the oil of Jesus Christ Himself, which is referred to in Hebrews 1:9. The Spirit of Jesus Christ as the oil of exultation or the oil of elation (literal translation).
You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.
The last image of Anointing Oil that I see is the following. No one can touch oil, without leaving traces of it on their hands. Likewise, no one can be touched by Jesus, by the Holy Spirit, by the Anointing, and leave empty handed.