For some time I had wanted to study the subject of anointing to find out how it was used and what it was for in the Bible. In so doing, I discovered that the application and use of the words “anoint”, “anointing” and “anointed” today seemed to be often used outside of the context of the Bible and in an extra-biblical way. The best way to discern the false is to know the true, so I attempted to lay aside my own personal understanding and mindset of what anointing was from teachings I had heard and read, in order to more clearly see what the Biblical meaning was and to allow the Anointed One to teach me Himself.
The anointing as portrayed by many today is usually made out to be something that makes you feel good. The anointing will indeed bring joy and gladness, but it can also bring tears. Will the truth of God sometimes make you feel uncomfortable and convicted? Without a doubt! The Truth of God is anointed for that! Let the righteous man smite and correct me – it is a kindness. Oil so choice, let not my head refuse or discourage… Psalm 141:5.It is only when we comprehend the truth of how holy God is and how sinful we are, that we can truly repent and be personally revived and breathed on by the Holy Spirit (breath) of God!
“The issue of anointing is the issue of truth – the issue of authentic relationship with God, because if we are not authentically related to Him in truth moment by moment, how can we relate to men? And if we’re not authentic with ourselves, with those of the same race, same religious persuasion, what shall we be expressing to those who are outside of our orbit and to whom we need to bring a greater reality? The challenge is to bring to them a greater reality than what they themselves know and esteem and you cannot fabricate that. There’s something about the nature of that which is holy, that if it’s not jealously guarded, and watched over, becomes the cruelest of deceptions and cliches. It becomes the introversion, the negation of what is holy – it becomes, in a word, “religion”. Something is profoundly amiss. It raises some very serious questions about truth, integrity, righteousness, our relationship with the Lord. What we have been exaggerating and building up in a kind of phraseological Christianity in key words that evoke certain responses, is in fact not truth; and God is the God of Truth and the Spirit is the Spirit of Truth before He’s the Spirit of power. And so we need to return to reality – to a God who is truth and in truth or we’re going to find ourselves painfully deceived.” (Art Katz)
We are not told to seek after the anointing anywhere in the Bible but to seek Christ, THE Anointed! We are simply told that As for you, the anointing which you RECEIVED (past tense) from Him ABIDES in you; so then you have no need that anyone should instruct you. But just as His anointing teaches you concerning everything and is TRUE and is no falsehood, so you must abide, live in and never depart from Him, being rooted in Him and knit to Him just as His anointing has taught you to do. 1 John 2:27.This true anointing will always teach you to remain vitally united to the source of anointing, Jesus the Christ!
The first time anointing with oil is mentioned in the Old Testament is where Jacob poured oil on the stone that he’d been using as a pillow to dedicate it. And Jacob rose early in the morning and took the stone he had put under his head and he set it up as a pillar and he poured oil on its top in dedication. And he named that place Bethel (the house of God). Genesis 28:18,19. He anointed the pillar or stones in dedication, naming the place the house of God. The house of God, where He lives, is US – we are the temples and houses of the Holy Spirit so this may have been symbolically speaking of The Anointed One (the Rock) and His anointed ones (living stones) as we are being built together into the living house of God.
Light for Revelation
The oil in the Old Testament was symbolic of the Holy Spirit. However there were TWO uses of oil in the temple, oil for the anointing oil and oil for light. The priest shall have charge of the oil for the light… and the anointing oil. Numbers 4:16.
The anointing oil, I believe, is symbolic of He who has it’s name, Mashiach, Messiah which means, Anointed One. It represented Christ. But oil was used not only for anointing in the temple but also for light and illumination and THIS is the Holy Spirit’s specialty: When He, the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all truth, the whole, full truth… John 16:13. HE is the One who guides us into all truth, who reveals His Word (Christ) to us. The truth is hidden, it is a mystery until the Holy Spirit shines His Light, revealing and illuminating Truth to us. The entrance and unfolding of Your words give light; their unfolding gives understanding, discernment and comprehension to the simple. Psalm 119:130.
The lampstand in the temple had to have a continual supply of oil, the light was not allowed to go out (Exodus 27:20). We too must be filled continually with the Holy Spirit. Especially in these days, it is absolutely vital that we KNOW God! If we don’t know Truth, we will easily believe the false because we will have no standard of truth, no point from which to discern the false.
I believe this is one interpretation of the oil that the ten virgins accumulated in their lamps – the Holy Spirit. To have just the Word and not the Spirit, is like having the lamp with no oil in it or like trying to read and understand the Bible in a room with no light on! The foolish virgins had not stored up the revealed Word of God in their hearts, it had not been revealed and illuminated by the Spirit to them and so their oil was not sufficient to last the distance. The wise virgins or bridesmaids had allowed the Holy Spirit to illuminate and reveal the Word, His teaching had become a vital part of their lives. They had stored up the Word, but perhaps they had stored it as head knowledge rather than knowing Him in their heart as a Person. They knew Christ as the Groom but He was not THEIR Groom, they didn’t LIVE or dwell with Him in intimate relationship after the wedding where He would be their Life. The person that is hidden in this parable is the Bride. There would be no Groom or Wedding or Bridesmaids without the Bride and we are called to be His Bride, not bridesmaids (for more on this read: Parables… but not as we’ve known them).
Then he said to me, this addition of the bowl to the candlestick, causing it to yield a ceaseless supply of oil is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit (of Whom the oil is a symbol), says the Lord of Hosts. Zechariah 4:6. These are symbols to give us insight into what their function ought to be in our lives. He is the Spirit of Truth and when He shines the Light for illumination, we may not like what we see revealed that was previously hidden and out of sight in the darkness. This is why Truth is often rejected, Truth is absolutely essential and yet often rejected (John 3:19-21).
We need the Light in order to see, otherwise our eyes are of little use in the dark! Sometimes when the Light shines on someone, it is so bright and revealing that they tightly close their eyes in order NOT to see. Jesus spoke in parables and mysteries so that man would not rely on natural knowledge and perception but rely on Him for spiritual illumination and unveiling (Matthew 13:13-15).
Deception leads to blindness, we cannot or often DO NOT want to see Truth. For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realise and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to PURCHASE FROM ME gold refined and tested by fire, that you may be truly wealthy, and white clothes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nudity form being seen, and salve (anointing) to put on your eyes, that you may see. Revelation 3:17,18. This anointing or healing salve we are told to PURCHASE from Him so we can see; it comes with a cost. To admit Truth is to see Him as He is and to see ourselves as we really are and repent. Dying to ourselves and our desires and being wholly dedicated to Him is costly, but very, very precious…
The odor of your ointments is fragrant; your name is like perfume poured out. Therefore do the maidens love you. Draw me! We will run after you! Song of Solomon 1:3.
The anointing oil, as opposed to the oil for the lamps, was perfumed and fragrant. The perfume and fragrance of the anointing oil is specifically symbolic of Christ, He was anointed with perfume for burial. There are two instances in the New Testament where Jesus Christ was perfumed, A woman came with an alabaster jar of ointment perfume of pure nard, very costly and precious; and she broke the jar and poured the perfume over His head. Mark 14:3. A similar incident is in Luke 7:37 where His feet were anointed with perfumed ointment. This ointment is a different Greek word than that used for anointing oil, this was an embalming, burial ointment and so was heavily perfumed for obvious reasons!
The Hebrew word for anoint is ‘mashach’ and means ‘to smear with oil’ and the Hebrew word for Messiah is ‘Mashiach’ and means Anointed One! Christ (Christos) is the Greek word for Anointed. HE is our Anointing and only HE can impart His fragrance to us through our close relationship with Him. When you hug someone who has perfume on, it rubs off on you and you too become fragrant with that perfume. Christ is the Head of His Body, we are simply members of His Body and anointed by our association and contact with Him who is our Head and Anointing. It was the HEAD that was anointed, not the flesh or body which is simply under submission to the Head.
When we are close and intimate with Him, His fragrance, the anointing which is upon Him, will permeate our lives and will rub onto us (which is how the anointing oil was put on, it was rubbed or smeared on). We then are also ‘perfumed’ and anointed by our association and relationship with Him (Christ’s ones).
The fragrance and anointing of Jesus on our lives will be easier to sense the more time that we have spent with Him, intimately with Him. A perfume will not be rubbed onto you if you just sit chatting with someone across the room, you need to be in close, intimate contact such as a hug! This fragrance of anointing on our lives will point those attracted by the perfume to its Source, THE Anointed One and the Father. When you smell someone with perfume on, you know that they have been perfumED (anointED), but they are NOT the perfume (Anointing) themselves and they cannot give you the perfume because they aren’t IT, they have to refer you to the Source – the Perfume: Jesus the Anointed.
But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere, for WE are the sweet fragrance of Christ (the Anointed One) which exhales unto God, discernible alike among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing: to the latter it is an aroma from death to death, a fatal odor, the smell of doom; to the former it is an aroma from life to life, a vital fragrance, living and fresh. 2 Corinthians 2:14-16. Many who have been anointed by God have noticed the effect described here – some don’t like the fragrance of Christ – it brings either Life or death.
There is always a counterfeit or false replica of the true, the fact that this is so proves all the more clearly that there is also the true and that we must discern between the two. Christ dwells in us through His Holy Spirit. It is interesting that the Hebrew word Ruach which means Spirit, originates from the Hebrew word ‘ruwach’ which means to smell a scent, or perceive an odour of delight!
The whole act of anointing with the holy anointing oil was primarily one of cleansing, consecration, dedication and being set apart for a purpose for God. But it is God Who confirms and makes us steadfast and establishes us with you in Christ, and has consecrated and anointed us; putting His seal upon us and giving us His Holy Spirit in our hearts as the guarantee. 2 Corinthians 1:21,22. We are now anointed as kings and priests to serve God, we are consecrated and dedicated to Him. We have to be clothed by Him, and hidden IN Him through death before we can be anointed and consecrated by Him. The holy garments of Aaron (High Priest) shall pass to his descendants who succeed him, to be anointed in them and to be consecrated in them. Ex 29:29. The Hebrew word for “holy” is the same word (kadesh) as for sanctify, it means to set apart, separate out as holy. What is the ultimate in separation? Death. We must die to self in order to have His resurrection life flowing through us.
The anointing of a king and priest was a one time event, and so also Jesus (our High Priest) has anointed us as His priests once and for all. Some churches and “ministries” encourage people to come up and ‘receive the anointing’ week after week. But what kind of anointing is it that they have to keep going back to man as the source of it? The things that were anointed in the Bible were priests, prophets and kings (one time events), lepers (for cleansing – one time event once again), furniture and things in the temple (that’s everything in us as His temple), clothes (our robes of righteousness), and food. Our food is the Bread of Life (Jesus – John 6:48-51) the Living Water (Jesus – John 4:13-15) and the Meat – The Lamb of God (Jesus – Hebrews 13:9,10) – Christ the Anointed again!
When we claim that we are anointing someone, do we claim to be making them a priest, prophet or king? Or are we cleansing them? Or dedicating all of their ‘temple’ to God? Or feeding them with ourselves? NO! These are personal things that only an individual can ask CHRIST to do for them and ONLY He can do as The Anointing! He is the only Mediator between God and man. We can point people to The Way, but we cannot walk out their journey for them. We cannot and must not presume to be Christ, we are simply Christ’s ones in submission to Him. HE is the One to point people to and they can then personally receive these things from HIM. Anything else is anti-christ (in place of Christ) and therefore idolatrous.
Anti-christ simply means anyone who sets themselves up in place of Christ or instead of the Anointed!!! ‘Anti’ in Greek means:
1) opposite to, before
2) for, instead of, in place of (something)
The spirit of antichrist is that which opposes or places itself instead of The Anointing (The Christ), usurping the role and function that is His alone. There have always been those around who will put themselves in place of Christ, which is why John wrote that there were many antichrists and said that the spirit of antichrist was already in the world.
Woe to those who are at ease in Zion and to those on the mountain of Samaria who are careless and feel secure, the notable men of the chief of the nations to whom the house of Israel comes! Woe to those who lie upon beds of ivory and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock and the calves out of the midst of the stall, who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp and invent for themselves instruments of music like David’s, who drink wine in bowls and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved and sick at heart over the affliction and ruin of Israel! Therefore, now shall they go captive with the first who go into exile and the revelry and banqueting of those who stretch themselves shall be ended. The Lord God has sworn by Himself, the Lord, the God of Hosts, says: I ABHOR, REJECT AND DESPISE the pride and false, futile glory of Jacob (Israel), and I hate his palaces and strongholds; and I will deliver up the city with all that is in it. Amos 6:1,4-8.
God is not impressed when we manufacture the anointing and anoint ourselves or pretend that we are anointed when we are not. This was strictly forbidden under the Old Covenant. The anointing oil was to be HOLY, set apart. And you shall make of these a holy anointing oil, a perfume compounded after the art of the perfumer; it shall be a sacred anointing oil. And say to the Israelites, This is a holy anointing oil sacred to Me alone throughout your generations. It SHALL NOT BE POURED UPON A MAN’S BODY (flesh) NOR SHALL YOU MAKE ANY OTHER LIKE IT IN COMPOSITION; it is holy, and you shall hold it sacred. Whoever compounds any like it OR puts any of it upon an outsider shall be cut off from his people. Exodus 30:25,31-33. It wasn’t ever to touch the flesh (draw attention to the flesh or person) it was poured or smeared on the Head only.
The Israelites did anoint themselves daily as a part of their cleansing and dressing, they would wash themselves, anoint themselves with perfumed oil and dress themselves. But this was a DIFFERENT oil to the holy anointing oil; remember that God had told them that they were to manufacture no other oil like it, it was to be sacred. The holy anointing oil was for dedication and consecration. We cannot anoint ourselves with it, that is the role of our High Priest – Christ.
This is a “dangerous” subject. We must not play games with the Holy Spirit and His Holy Anointing; pretending we ‘own’ it or can give it away whenever someone wants it. That is equivalent to “making” and manufacturing it. We cannot just “impart” the anointing to anyone whenever we choose; if you did those things under the Old Covenant as a priest, you were cut off from the people. To claim that we have the anointing of God to give to all and sundry when we feel like it or when someone wants it, is not supported by the Bible.
We do not have God’s power to use at will; to do so would be akin to practicing witchcraft. In witchcraft there has to be someone through whom to ‘transmit’, a channel to pass something on and they can often use this power at their will; they claim or believe that it is available whenever THEY want to use it. With God He WILL use people for His purposes because we His Body, but He will only give us power when HE wants to; not always when WE want Him to. We are priests in submission to God through our High Priest; we do only what He tells us to.
Another way of looking at being anointed in more modern day terms is that being anointed with the holy anointing oil was like a qualification; they weren’t qualified or appointed as a priest, king or prophet until they had been anointed/qualified. For us, when we graduate we receive a ‘qualification’ which then qualifies us to do that which we’re qualified for. It is the same with the anointing oil – it is a dedication and setting apart of a person for a purpose. If you’re qualified as a Doctor and try to be an electrician; you get into trouble! The Holy Spirit can anoint us for any particular thing; He qualifies and enables us to do what He requires of us. So if He’s anointed/qualified me to draw a picture of something and I decide I’d rather paint instead of drawing and have not been anointed/qualified by the Holy Spirit for painting; it would be a waste of time and effort on my part! When something is anointed/qualified by God, it will perform what it is meant to. The Spirit of the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound. Isaiah 61:1.
When a person is qualified, say as a surgeon, they have the necessary skills and qualifications to do surgery; the person who was operated on would KNOW the person had been qualified as a surgeon, they would have experienced first hand that person’s qualification for their own benefit. They wouldn’t then jump up and down and say “I’ve been qualified; I experienced that qualification!” yet this is what some people do with the anointing: “I’ve been anointed, I experienced the anointing!” So when a person is anointed/qualified by God to heal for example, they have the necessary skills/qualifications to do that work and the person who has been healed through that person, has experienced that the person was indeed anointed/qualified by God for that work. They wouldn’t then jump up and down and say “I’ve experienced the anointing”, they’d say “I’ve been HEALED” because the person was anointed TO heal! The anointing oil was a means; NOT an end in itself!
In a broader sense than just a professional qualification, God can and does anoint and qualify us for many small, every day things also. It is a bit like a boss asking his secretary to go and deliver a letter from him, the secretary is qualified and authorised to hand that message on. In the same way He may ask us to send someone a note, and will inspire us with what to write, and because we are qualified or anointed by Him for this little job, it will DO that which it is anointed for in the person receiving it. I think we need to be very careful in what we define as having the anointing and authority of God, because if that little anointed message were read by someone other than who it was intended for; they may sense no anointing upon it at all because it had not been anointed for any purpose for them, but rather for someone else.
Oil for Healing
In James we are told to anoint with oil for HEALING, and the disciples anointed with oil for healing; not for some powerful anointing to be imparted, but to be anointed with oil FOR healing! The oil used was not the same as the holy anointing oil of consecration in the temple, but was medicinal. Jews used oil to cleanse wounds like in Luke 10:34 when the good Samaritan “Went to him and dressed his wounds, pouring on oil and wine”. We seem to have combined a symbolic medicinal use of oil with the spiritual use of holy oil.
“James 5:15 Anointing him with oil— That St. James neither means any kind of incantation, any kind of miracle, or such extreme unction as the Romish Church prescribes, will be sufficiently evident from these considerations:
1. He was a holy man, and could prescribe nothing but what was holy.
2. If a miracle was intended, it could have been as well wrought without the oil, as with it.
3. It is not intimated that even this unction is to save the sick man, but the prayer of faith, James 5:15.
4. What is here recommended was to be done as a natural means of restoring health, which, while they used prayer and supplication to God, they were not to neglect.
5. Oil in Judea was celebrated for its sanative qualities; so that they scarcely ever took a journey without carrying oil with them, (see in the case of the Samaritan,) with which they anointed their bodies, healed their wounds, bruises, etc.
6. Oil was and is frequently used in the east as a means of cure in very dangerous diseases; and in Egypt it is often used in the cure of the plague. Even in Europe it has been tried with great success in the cure of dropsy. And pure olive oil is excellent for recent wounds and bruises; and I have seen it tried in this way with the best effects.
7. But that it was the custom of the Jews to apply it as a means of healing, and that St. James refers to this custom, is not only evident from the case of the wounded man ministered to by the good Samaritan, Luke 10:34, but from the practice of the Jewish rabbis. They had, therefore, recourse to this as a natural remedy; and we find that the disciples used it also in this way to heal the sick, not exerting the miraculous power but in cases where natural means were ineffectual. Mark 6:13. On this latter place I have supposed that it might have been done symbolically, in order to prepare the way for a miraculous cure: this is the opinion of many commentators; but I am led, on more mature consideration, to doubt its propriety, yet dare not decide. In short, anointing the sick with oil, in order to their recovery, was a constant practice among the Jews. Mark 6:13. And here I am satisfied that it has no other meaning than as a natural means of restoring health; and that St. James desires them to use natural means while looking to God for an especial blessing. And no wise man would direct otherwise.” (From CLARKE’S COMMENTARY, THE NEW TESTAMENT, VOLUME 8 by Adam Clarke)
Christ is the ONLY One who can impart His anointing because He IS the Anointing. The apostles didn’t pray specifically for the anointing to come upon someone! They obviously had a different understanding of the anointing than many do today. They knew the Old Testament far, far better than we, and had a much more practical understanding of all its symbols.
Did something change between the Old and the New Testaments that would have given them a new understanding of the anointing? Definitely! The Holy Spirit of whom the anointing oil had been a symbol of in the Old Testament, was now LIVING within them through Jesus the Christ, as He also does with us! So why did they not need to pray and ask for anointing to be given? Because THE Anointed One HAD already been given and was now dwelling within them through the Holy Spirit so they were already anointed and they knew that He was the High Priest who would anoint! Why would they pray for someone to receive an anointing when they understood it to be simply a symbolic act of the Holy Spirit who was now living as the Anointing within them and the other person? We seem to have developed a wrong understanding of what the anointing is. There is no reference in the Bible of praying for the anointing to be given to others.
Anointing Points to THE Anointed One
The TRUE anointing of God will never draw attention to itself but will always point to THE Anointed One, not just ANY anointed one! After all, many have been anointed and have stayed anointed even when the favour of God is no longer upon them and He has in fact rejected them. Our examples of this are King Saul, Balaam and many kings in the Old Testament who were anointed by a prophet or priest of God to be king and yet were wicked. Many today lift up any apparent “anointed one” that happens to come along as if THEY were the source of the anointing! This is idolatry and can lead us away from Jesus Christ especially if these ones were once anointed, yet are now rejected by God. Remember that Saul ended up involved in witchcraft.
Saul got tied up in who HE was. He still had the title of king and he didn’t want to let that go, so he felt threatened by David, God’s replacement for him. Not much has changed, many today are enamoured with titles and with themselves. But what’s more important, the title or the function? We need to simply forget the titles, and just DO whatever job God has anointed us to do. We sometimes spend far too much energy and time trying to work out which nice little “label” or “5 fold ministry” we might fit into (maybe because of an insecurity in who we are in Christ?) instead of simply listening to the Holy Spirit and being obedient to what He says without concerning ourselves with what the ‘name’ or ‘title’ of what we’re doing might be… What is important is knowing the Father and His will (what He’s told you to do or say) and getting on with the job and DOING it.
Some herald the arrival of this or that anointed prophet or apostle. When you have to TELL someone what your title or role is instead of simply BEING what you are, then you are likely to be false. But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. 2 Corinthians 11:12-15 (NKJV). Maybe if we as humans weren’t so quick to put people in boxes and give them titles, we wouldn’t be in the situation we are in today with people idolising the “titled” and many of the “titled” being blind and proud as a result. Titles appeal to people’s pride.
In fact, were a genuine prophet or apostle to really come along, they would often be rejected because people would not take kindly to what they were saying. They will not only reject the message, but also the messenger. Many actually use the messenger as a reason to reject the message. A true spokesperson of God will bring God’s Truth, and truth reveals and illuminates what was nicely hidden away. Jesus was like this, He exposed the hypocrisy of the religious people without apology (Matthew 23). People like to have their ears (and maybe egos?) tickled. It’s not always nice to see things how God sees them, but it is absolutely vital that we see.
The anointing in churches today is often portrayed as a feeling, power, or something that is sensed and makes people feel good. The term ‘anointing’ when used in this way, is not Biblical. At best, it is wrongly termed; at worst, it is simply false.
The coming of the (antichrist) is through the activity and working (energeia) of Satan and will be attended by great power (dunamis) and with all sorts of miracles and signs and delusive marvels – all of them lying wonders – and unlimited seduction to evil and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing BECAUSE THEY DID NOT WELCOME THE TRUTH but refused to love it that they might be saved. Therefore God sends upon them a misleading influence, a working (energeia) of error and a strong delusion to make them believe what is false, in order that all may be judged and condemned who did not believe in and who refused to adhere to, trust in and rely on the Truth, but took pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12.
We would be naive and gullible not to recognise the fact that there is the false or counterfeit of the true. The Greek words “energeia” and “dunamis” are words for “power” that are used of both God AND Satan and we are warned very clearly in the Word to beware. So what would a false anointing or anointed one look like? Like the true anointed ones.
The Israelites were not the only ones who anointed people and things in the days of the Old Testament. It was also a practice in pagan religions. Why are we warned so much to beware of deception in the New Testament? Because the false is very LIKE the true, it is in place of and INSTEAD OF the true Anointed One (anti-christ)! A counterfeit has to be almost exactly like the genuine in order to fool people, it is not something that is obviously wrong at first glance, it is a very clever copy in order to deceive.
This is why we are warned to be very careful, because Satan wants to deceive even the chosen ones of God. False christs (anointed ones) and false prophets will arise and show signs and work miracles to deceive and lead astray, if possible, even the elect, those God has chosen out for Himself. But look to yourselves and be on guard; I have told you everything beforehand. Mark 13:22,23. Satan is cunning, it would be no deception at all if these false anointed ones were obviously evil and of Satan! We must always keep our eyes fixed on THE Anointed One.
Jesus said, Be careful that no one misleads you, deceiving you and leading you into error. For many will come IN MY NAME saying I am the Christ and they will lead many astray. And many false prophets will rise up and deceive and lead many into error. Matthew 24:4,11. This warns us of people who come in the Name of Jesus, agreeing that He IS the Anointed One (or will say “I am the anointed” themselves) and yet they will lead people astray! We must be those who know and are obedient to the voice of our Good Shepherd and trust in and rely on the Truth which is Jesus Christ so that we will not be deluded or deceived.
It is when we deny or refuse to accept Truth that we are already on the road to deception. For the time is coming when people will not tolerate sound and wholesome instruction but having ears itching for something pleasing and gratifying, they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold, and will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions. 2 Timothy 4:3,4.
Unction for a Function
The anointing in the Bible was always for a purpose. When someone was anointed in the Bible it was either for commissioning or for a purpose, to DO something eg “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me TO preach the gospel to the poor, TO heal the broken hearted etc. How God anointed and consecrated Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with strength, ability and power; how He went about doing good and, in particular, curing all who were harassed and oppressed by the devil for God was with Him.” Acts 10:38. This anointing enables and pushes us out where no man has gone before!
Yes, individuals are still anointed today for whatever work God desires for them. But who is it that appoints, ordains and anoints them to do these things? I found no instance of the apostles in the New Testament anointing or appointing ANY “ministries”, they only recognised those who were older and those who would distribute food. This is because if they did anoint and appoint any people to heal etc, they would have been presuming to take the place of God, because the Word says; So GOD HAS APPOINTED some in the Ekklesia: first apostles; second prophets; third teachers; then wonder-workers; then those with ability to heal the sick; helpers; administrators; speakers in different tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:28 And His gifts were varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us, some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers. Ephesians 4:11. It was not their job to appoint or anoint but simply to discern and recognise the function or outworking in a person’s life. I did not find record of anyone being anointed by another person in the New Testament for a function. There is no record of Paul being anointed by a person as an apostle and teacher, or Agabus being anointed as a prophet, or Philip being anointed as an evangelist etc. These ministries were recognised as gifts from God and appointed by Him, not man. The apostles DID lay hands on people and pray for them to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and healing, though.
There is one case of a person being commissioned as an apostle, this was when Matthias was selected in Acts 1; but this was BEFORE the gift of the Holy Spirit had been given! The only instance that looks as though men were appointed and anointed (in the sense of being set apart and dedicated for a purpose) by men is, Now in the assembly at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Symeon, Lucius, Manaen, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, Separate now for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them. Then after fasting and praying, they put their hands on them and sent them away. So then being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia… Acts 13:1-4. We have to note that they had already been anointed as prophets and teachers, what they were setting them apart for was being sent away from themselves for a purpose. They were simply following the instructions of the Holy Spirit, and the men knew very well that they had been sent out by Him because the instruction to do this had originated from the Holy Spirit and not from man.
This one Scripture has often been emphasised without balancing it with the fact that it is the only record of anyone being ‘set apart’ by man in the New Testament, and that the rest of the time the Holy Spirit did this work sovereignly Himself! Even in this one case it was very clearly the Holy Spirit Who sent them. Ministries which appoint men in this manner, often use this one verse as their justification for doing it while neglecting the many examples in the New Testament where the Holy Spirit sovereignly anointed and appointed. In teaching and practicing this, they put the focus on themselves instead of Christ as being the One who approves, appoints and anoints and sends people out, thus giving themselves a position of great control and power over people. For instance, Paul was sent away by God to be taught by Him alone for several years, rather than being approved or even taught by the apostles.
An interesting thing to note is that the New Testament speaks of the anointing as something which had already been given or done for a person. But YOU HAVE BEEN ANOINTED by the Holy One, and you all know the truth… 1 John 2:20. The anointing of the priests, prophets and kings, gave them the authority to do and to be that which they had been anointed for, and it is the same for us today! As His priests, we represent Him and we do what He requires and sometimes this will mean we minister to others as He leads us because WE are His Body here on earth.
From what I personally have witnessed, it seems almost as though some people rely on receiving an anointing from some anointed one instead of relying on their own personal walk with THE Anointed One. We’re not encouraged or told to seek the anointing, but THE Anointed One. We are told to also seek love and to desire the gifts, (1 Corinthians 14:1) but there does not appear to be any Scriptural precedent in the New Testament for a person praying for someone to be anointed, or ‘imparting’ the anointing.
It is certainly true that we are anointed, but WE are not the source of the anointing, Jesus the Christ is, and we must make people aware of this when He touches them through us. He can and does minister to people through us because WE are His hands and feet here on earth, WE are His Body and we are anointed as His priests to do what He tells us to as our Head. But, and it is an important but, we must be sure to do what He says, no less and no more. Even Jesus Himself said, I am able to do nothing from Myself, independently and of my own accord, but as I am taught by God and as I get His orders. I decide as I am bidden to decide. Even as I hear, I judge and My judgment is right and just because I do not seek or consult My own will, I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose, but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me. John 5:30
Through studying anointing in the Bible I found that:
- nowhere are we told or encouraged to seek the anointing
- nowhere are we encouraged to impart or give the anointing to others
- the anointing is not referred to as some thing we need to receive from man, but is Christ the Anointing within us
- the Holy Spirit Himself will anoint and consecrate us for that which He would have us do and say.
I’m aware that I need to be very careful as I don’t want to encourage anyone to be against the anointing of God or the Holy Spirit in any way. However, I strongly suspect that in some cases seeking the anointing has become like a ritual or a man-made doctrine and there is no purpose or outworking of it (which is the Biblical meaning of an anointing; anointed to do…) It appears as though the anointing itself is sought, (or some sort of spiritual experience) instead of seeking the Anointed One Himself. We’re not to seek the anointing but the Anointed! True anointing would normally be done (since it is an act and NOT a mystical power) by Him sovereignly as opposed to when we want it or by our own self-will, so actively seeking an impartation of anointing would be an exercise in futility!
There are only a few references to anointing in the New Testament, there are FAR more references to Jesus the Anointed, HE is the One we must seek! May He fill our houses/bodies with the fragrance of His presence.
Mary took about twelve ounces of very expensive perfume (pure nard) and anointed Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. (John 12:3).