Our Anointing

“You have an anointing from the Holy one; you all know it.” —I John 2:20, Diaglott

IN THE Hebrew language of the Old Testament, the word used to describe the application of the holy anointing oil of the Tabernacle arrangement is mashach, from which the word mashiach (Messiah) is derived. In the New Testament it is the Greek word chrio, from which comes christos (translated Christ). During the times of biblical history, the Hebrews, at the Lord’s direction, ceremonially anointed rulers and priests. This constituted the confirmation of their appointment to office with God’s favor. Samuel anointed Saul as king over Israel after God had designated him as his choice. (I Sam. 10:1) David was anointed as king on three different occasions. (I Sam. 6:13; II Sam. 2:4; 5:3) Aaron was anointed at high priest after his appointment to that office.—Lev. 8:12

The sacred anointing oil was also used to anoint the Tabernacle and its furnishings, indicating that they were dedicated holy things. In the Law that God gave to Moses, he prescribed a formula for the anointing oil. It was of special composition consisting of precise measurements of the choicest ingredients—myrrh, sweet cinnamon, sweet calamus, cassia, and olive oil. (Exod. 30:22-33) It was a capital offense for anyone to use this special compound for any common or unauthorized purpose. This very effectively demonstrated the importance and sacredness of an appointment to office, that had been confirmed by an anointing with the sacred oil.

The typical anointing of Israel’s priests and kings prefigured the appointment of Jesus as the long-promised Messiah (or anointed), prophet, priest and king, who would deliver his people. One of the beautiful prophecies concerning the Messiah is found in Isaiah 11:1-5 which is quoted in part: “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. … With righteousness shall he judge the poor and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.”

Jesus was anointed at the time of his baptism in the river Jordan. He was not anointed with oil, but with what the holy anointing oil represented—the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist confirmed the anointing of Jesus. “John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.” (John 1:32) Jesus quoted a prophecy concerning himself at the beginning of his ministry: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”—Luke 4:18,19; Isa. 61:1,2

Jesus is primarily the anointed one and, according to the scriptural testimony, he was faithful even unto death in the carrying out of the Heavenly Father’s instructions. Because of this, he was highly exalted. (Heb. 5:8-10; Phil. 2:5-11) But Jesus was not the completion of the divine arrangement regarding the anointed. The Heavenly Father further purposed that His son should be the head of an anointed body called the church. In Ephesians 1:22,23 the apostle states: “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.” Again in Ephesians 5:30-32 we read: “For we are members of his body. … For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ [or the anointed] and the church.”

The fact that the Christ was to be composed of many members was a mystery and was not made known until after the first advent of Jesus. The Apostle John, speaking to a group of the Lord’s followers, said: “The anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (I John 2:27) The revelation of this mystery could not take place until after Jesus had presented himself as a sacrifice to God, so that the merit of his offering might be made applicable to all who desired to become members of his body. This was necessary to make them an acceptable sacrifice and prospective members of his body.

There were a number of Jesus’ disciples, including, of course, the apostles, who believed the testimony of Jesus that if they would take up their cross and follow him, they would also be privileged to share in his glory. But they could not receive the anointing or understand its meaning until he had made satisfaction for their sins. “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” (Heb. 9:24) Therefore the Lord instructed them to wait in the upper room until Pentecost when the blessing of the anointing (Holy Spirit) should come upon them. It came from the Father through Christ after his ascension.—John 14:26; Acts 2:1-36

In the case of the disciples who received the Holy Spirit in that upper room, they were given special gifts as evidence of their anointing. The Lord deemed this necessary because this was an entirely new arrangement, not heretofore understood or appreciated even by the disciples. The ability to speak in different languages was a miracle, and was necessary at that time for the dissemination of the Gospel, since there was no other media except by word of mouth. Also associated with the anointing was an enlightenment of mind to the meaning of the scriptures so wonderfully demonstrated by Peter’s sermon recorded in the second chapter of Acts. Later other gifts were given the apostles, such as the power to heal, to cast out devils, etc. These powers were given for the purpose of evidencing the authority of their ministry as coming from God and also as illustrations of the work that would be done in the future kingdom of Christ. These powers came to an end with the death of the apostles because the ministry was by then well established.

The footstep followers of Jesus down through the Gospel Age have received the same anointing of the Holy Spirit, except that the power to perform miracles has been withheld because there is no longer any need for this demonstration of divine power. But all have continued to experience the wonderful enlightenment of mind that has led them from the darkness of this world into the marvelous light of the Gospel of Christ.

The Bible describes this gift of the Holy Spirit as an anointing and also as a begetting. The thought of the anointing has to do with office, as was true in the type. We are called in the one hope of our calling. (Eph. 4:4) In Philippians 3:14 the apostle states that “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” The prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus is the divine nature and the privilege to live and reign with Christ in the kingdom for a thousand years. (Matt. 19:28; Rev. 20:4,6) Our anointing to office is conditioned upon obedience. “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also … reign with him.” (II Tim. 2:11,12) But associated with our anointing is a second work of the Holy Spirit that occurs simultaneously, which is referred to in the Bible as a begetting. The begetting of the Holy Spirit is not conditional, except that both the anointing and begetting of the Holy Spirit are limited to those whom God has called and accepted.

The begetting of the Holy Spirit makes possible a profound change in the life of the faithful Christian. We, of course, cannot describe what has taken place and the change is unobservable to our friends and neighbors except as it makes itself manifest by our interest in and dedication to the truth. It is enough for us to know that the Lord, by his power, has given our minds the ability to discern spiritual things, enabling us to extract from his Word “the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.” (I Cor. 2:7) The Apostle Paul, in his prayer on behalf of the brethren at Ephesus, prayed that the Holy Spirit “may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him [God]: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling.” (Eph. 1:17,18) This is the purpose of our begetting of the Holy Spirit. Those who are favored to know and really appreciate their calling will be obedient to its terms.

In harmony with the above, it is interesting to consider the holy anointing oil used in the typical arrangement. When a king or a priest was anointed with the oil, it pictured his divine authority to occupy that office. But associated with the anointing was the ability to receive instruction from God. In some instances this instruction was given by a vision and in other instances, such as with Moses of whom the Lord said, “With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently [plainly], and not in dark speeches.” (Num. 12:8) The instructions were to enable the servant to accomplish the work God had for him to do.

This seems to have been especially true of Bezaleel, who was commissioned by God to build the Tabernacle with all of its furnishings. It was necessary that it be built exactly according to instructions, so that in the ages to come it would cast a perfect shadow or type for the benefit of the church. The account states, “I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship.” (Exod. 31:3-5) It has been suggested that these qualities—knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and workmanship—are the qualities that the begetting of the Holy Spirit imparts to the one begotten. And it is further suggested that these four qualities were represented by the four ingredients—myrrh, cinnamon, calamus, and cassia—in the holy anointing oil.

In the formula given to Moses for the preparation of the holy anointing oil (Exod. 30:22-25) it will be noted that the quantities of cinnamon and calamus are the same. This suggests that these two ingredients could well represent knowledge and understanding. Knowledge is factual information; we get this from our study of the Word of God. Then, because of the Holy Spirit, our minds are enlightened and we are given spiritual discernment of the will of God contained therein. This we could call understanding with the heart.

It will be noted that the quantity of myrrh was equal to the combined quantities of cinnamon and calamus. Myrrh then would seem to represent wisdom, which takes the knowledge and understanding we have and translates it into decisions—knowing what to do. It enables us to demonstrate wisdom from God’s point of view. The final ingredient of the oil was cassia which could well represent the quality of workmanship. By workmanship we mean the ability to perform or to accomplish that which the Lord would have us to do.

In Isaiah 11:1-5, previously quoted, the prophet states that the Spirit of the Lord would rest upon Jesus, the Messiah, and that he would manifest the qualities of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and the spirit of counsel and might. ‘Counsel and might’ has basically the same meaning as workmanship, or the knowledge and ability to perform.

The psalmist, in an inspired prophecy about the Messiah, wrote: “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.”—Ps. 45:7,8

The Apostle Paul, in his prayer for the brethren at Colosse, said: “Because of this also, we, from the day we heard it, do not cease praying on your behalf, that you may be filled as to the exact knowledge of his will, with all spiritual wisdom and understanding; to walk worthily of the Lord, pleasing him in all things; bringing forth fruit by every good work; and increasing in the exact knowledge of God.” (Col. 1:9,10, Diaglott) The burden of the apostle’s prayer was that the Colossian brethren would completely yield themselves to the power of the Holy Spirit working in their lives through the Word of God. If this was done, he said, they would walk worthy of the Lord, pleasing him in all things.

We very much appreciate the illustrations and instructions the Lord has given to help us discern our relationship to him and to some extent understand how the power of the Holy Spirit works in us to accomplish the fruitage he desires, which will ultimately qualify us for a place in. his kingdom.

The good works spoken of by the apostle are the same works that occupied Jesus during the three-and-one-half years of his ministry. They consisted of preaching the Gospel and laying his life down in serving his brethren. In performing faithfully these works, there is a beneficial outgrowth—the development of the fruits and graces of the Spirit. Of Jesus, the Apostle Paul states, that “though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” (Heb. 5:8) His difficult and trying experiences resulted from doing good works. He was a light in a dark place and the darkness hated the light. (John 3:19,20) The Apostle Paul described Jesus as one who “endured such contradiction [opposition] of sinners against himself.” (Heb. 12:3) This will also be the lot of all the anointed of the Lord if they faithfully follow in the footsteps of Jesus, the head of the Messiah. They can be more than overcomers, not by their own strength but by the power of the Holy Spirit culminating in workmanship or counsel and might.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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