Exodus 25:1 – 9, Exodus 29; 5 – 7, Exodus 30:25 – 26 & Exodus 40:9
The Anointing Oil In The Old Testament
To “anoint” describes the procedure of rubbing or smearing a person or thing, usually with oil, for the purpose of healing, setting apart, or embalming. A person can anoint himself, be anointed, or anoint another person or thing. From ancient times the priests and kings were ceremonially anointed as a sign of official appointment to office, and as a symbol of God's power upon them.
The anointing in the Old Testament represented the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit who was poured upon all flesh on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4; Joel 2:28-29).
The Old Testament describes how oil was used in the practice of anointing to consecrate God’s people for ministry and His vessels for worship. It refers to the anointing as the physical act of pouring oil over someone's head that indicated God's choice of them for a very special function or office in Israel such as kings, priests and prophets.
With the physical and ceremonial act of anointing, done according to God's will and upon only those chosen by God, went the special endowment of the Spirit or divine enablement to carry out the functions of the office for which they were being anointed. The Old Testament also predicted a special anointed One, who would come and bring salvation and deliverance to Israel.
Everything the oil was to be applied to, whether it be the vessels, the instruments or the priesthood, was only to be applied to that which was holy, set aside and consecrated for service. It was never to be put on that which was unclean, or that which was unholy (Ex. 30:22-24)
The Five-Fold Anointing Oil
The Lord gave Moses a very detailed recipe for the anointing oil (Ex. 30:22-24). The anointing oil consists of four principle ingredients mixed with olive oil, which was the fifth component. God instructed Moses to use the best spices as ingredients of the anointing oil. They were valuable, costly and rare. They were not common or cheap.
The four principle spices were as follows: Five hundred shekels of pure myrrh two hundred and fifty shekels of sweet cinnamon two hundred and fifty shekels of sweet calamus five hundred shekels of cassia. These were compounded together and then combined with the fifth component, a hin of olive oil. These elements were carefully chosen because of their unique quality fragrance and aroma.
Myrrh is the first spice and represents bitter things, or the sufferings of the cross of Jesus. It is a pale yellow gummy substance or liquid from a small thorny shrub which grows in Somalia, Ethiopia and Arabia. It is used for spice or as an ointment. The oil of myrrh is purifying in its application. It is very costly. Fragrant at the smell and bitter to the taste, it is also used as a balm to rub on sore parts of the body to bring relief.
2. Sweet Cinnamon
Sweet cinnamon represents sweet things, the sweetness of grace. The cinnamon oil is distilled from the bark of the cinnamon tree growing in Ceylon. It is something very tasty and is usually used to flavor food because of its pleasant aroma.
God told Israel in that he would not smell the fragrance of their sweet aromas because of their disobedience (Lev. 26:31) and that whatever they were offering or doing for God's satisfaction was not pleasant to Him. Whenever God's children are disobedient to Him, He is not pleased with their prayers or whatever sacrifice they can offer to Him. He preferred obedience to sacrifice (1 Sam. 15:22 ).
3. Sweet Calamus
Sweet calamus represents government and divine order, the extended rule of divine anointing and is pictured in Jesus Christ in his resurrection and kingdom rule. The calamus is a sweet cane plant of about ten feet high growing in Asia in marshy places. When it is crushed and broken, it exudes a sweet fragrance. The more it is broken, more of the fragrance is exuded. In its spiritual application, the calamus speaks of brokenness.
Cassia represents the true humility of anointed worship. Cassia is the aromatic bark of a tree growing in Arabia. It is often used by some doctors as medicine. Cassia is derived from a Hebrew root word “quadad” meaning to bend, to bow, or to stoop. This represents God’s people who are to bow down before the strong hand of God (1 Pet. 5:6). Cassia also speaks of humility.
5. The Olive oil
Olive oil is symbol of the Holy Spirit that activated and released the ingredients to mix and flow together. These different ingredients of the anointing oil represent the differences in ministries.
The olive oil was one of the main tree crops of ancient Israel. It was during the month of November that the olives were picked and pressed for oil. Olive trees can stand for long periods of drought. They take two years to mature, and then the fruits ripen slowly. The olives are placed on a grooved stone wheel and another stone is turned over them which is worked by a beam. The pulp is then pressed under weight. The oil runs into stone vats where it is then left for sometime to settle and clear.
According to the instructions of God to Moses after the principal spices had been prepared, they would be blended with olive oil.
Dimensions of the Anointing
The myrrh in the anointing oil, though it was a liquid, was measured by weight which speaks of the Glory of God, the weightiness of His presence influence and power (2 Cor. 3:18).
It is the will of God and the destiny of every believer to be conformed into the image of Jesus (Rom. 8:29). His image and likeness is being brought forth on the inside of every believer. His likeness is full of Glory, the very weightiness of the substance of His presence (2 Cor. 4:16-18). As each Spirit-filled individual submits to the working of the Spirit of God, Christ is increases the weight of His glory on the inside of that person. Figuratively, weight means abundance and authority. An increase in strength produces and increase in weight (glory), and an increase in glory (weight) produces an increase in strength (1 Pet. 5:8-10).
Another ingredient in the anointing oil was sweet cane. While sweet cane was also measured by weight, it was used as a measuring rod to measure length. This speaks of territory, sphere and boundaries.
Although much prayer is offered for territory to be enlarged, the only key to seeing an increase and enlarging is the anointing (2 Cor. 10:13).
Each believer has been apportioned a sphere of activity by God. Just as each has received gifts to function in within His Body, so have they also been measured an area, or sphere of influence in which they are to be effective, such as the local church, community, city, nation or nations. God’s people do not boast of things according to their own measure, but to the measure of the rule God has distributed to them (2 Cor. 10:13).
The anointing that each believer has been given is for their our measure of rule, for their sphere of activity to which they have been assigned. But it will be applicable if they do not stretch themselves beyond that measure (2 Cor 10:14). However, Paul also knew the key to extending his measure of rule (2 Cor 10:15, 16).
Olive oil as measured the normal way liquids were measured - capacity. This speaks of volume, magnitude, ability and use.
Whatever gifts and abilities the Lord has given to his anointed, should be given back to His Body. The gifts are for the edification of the Church (Lu. 6:38). The measure that is used is measured back (Ma. 4:24, 25 ).
God is wise and does not waste resources where they are not stewarded properly (Matt. 25:14-28). This this context, capacity refers to the volume and magnitude of the ability of God working in and through believers according to use.
Five-Fold Traits of the Anointing Oil
The anointing oil was beaten from olives which represents the flesh that must die.
The Anointing oil had to be fresh and new for use which represents fresh anointing.
The anointing oil was a perfumed mixture which represents the fragrance of Christ.
The spices in the anointing oil were mixed together which represents the mixture and diversity of the gifts by the same Spiit.
The anointing oil had to be pure which represents the Holy Spirit that flows through lives that are pure before the Lord.
Anointing the Tabernacle
As Moses dedicated the newly built tabernacle to the Lord, he anointed it with oil (Lev. 8:10). Wherever the tabernacle went, the blessings of God followed. Where the tabernacle went, the enemies of God fled in fear. Where the tabernacle went, righteous judgment was issued as shown in the classic example of when Miriam and Aaron stood against Moses. The power of God contained in the tabernacle made that object contain such power.
The following is a list of the different parts of the tabernacle that were anointed with the holy oil for service.
1. Anointing of the brass altar.
The place of sacrifice to God is the place of the anointing of the Spirit
2. Anointing the brass laver.
The place of cleansing by the Word is the place of the anointing of the Spirit
3. Anointing the golden candle stick.
This refers to the importance of daily filling one’s life with the Spirit of God.
4. Anointing of the show bread table.
This is a challenge to all Spirit-filled leader to pray for more illumination and understanding on the communion table of the Lord.
5. Anointing of the golden altar of incense.
Refers to the ministry of prayer and worship to the Lord which releases God’s anointing
6. Anointing of the golden arc of the covenant.
Refers to the presence of God through the blood.
The Five-Fold Old Testament Anointing Types
There were many priests, prophets and kings which were anointed for their specific function in the Old Testament. All New Testament believers need to function in these five types of anointings.
1. The Anointing of David – Anointed to Rule
David was anointed as King over Israel. He was a man after God's own heart. All believers need to operate successfully in the David-type of anointing, because God has made His people kings and priests unto God who shall reign on the earth (Rev. 5:10). All believers have been adopted into the royal family of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords (1 Pet. 2:9 ).
A king rules and reigns over his kingdom. God has anointed His people to rule and reign with Him on earth, now, in this time (1 Jn. 4:17).
2. The Anointing of Samson - Anointed to Destroy the Enemy
Samson was anointed to overcome the enemy (Jud. 14:5-6). The Philistines had mighty armies which continually waged war against Israel. The Spirit of God anointed Samson to supernatural defeat the enemy.
All believers need to operate in the anointing of Samson. They have been empowered to defeat every work of the devil in every sphere of daily living.
3. The Anointing of Gideon – Anointed to Destroy poverty
God anointed Gideon to release the Israelites from poverty and bondage (Jud. 6:4,6, 34). The Mideanites systematically destroyed their crops and livestock, which caused poverty and starvation to destroy Israel.
God anoints believers with His Spirit so that they are able to overcome the curse of poverty and to set those who are bound by the spirit of poverty, to be set free in the name of Jesus.
4. The Anointing of Elisha – Anointed for Signs and Wonders
Elisha received a double portion of God's anointing. His mighty exploits make it clear that he operated supernaturally in supernatural signs and wonders (1 Ki. 19:16; 2 Ki. 13:20).
God has anointed each believer to perform similar exploits in the name of Jesus, by means of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We are created for signs and wonders (Is. 8:8) and for good works (Eph. 2:10).
5. The Anointing of Elijah – Anointed to Witness
Elijah was anointed by the Holy Spirit to preach the message repentance towards the living God of Israel (1 Ki. 17:1 – 2; 2 Ki. 13:20). When God raised up John the Baptist, who preached repentance, Jesus referred to him as Elijah (Mal 4:5-6; Matt. 17:12).
All believers are anointed and empowered by the Holy Ghost to be witnesses for Jesus (Acts 1:8).
The Anointing Oil of the New Testament
In the Old Testament, the anointing oil is a foreshadow or a type of the unction of the Holy Spirit. God’s whole intention toward man is summed up in saving, blessing and restoring man and it becomes easy to see the progression of God’s plan upon entering the New Testament.
The many symbolic demonstrations of anointing in the Old Testament were each involved in depicting a systematic design which is the plan of salvation. When a priest was anointed to serve in a tabernacle which was the shadow of heavenly things, it was both to facilitate the plan of God and to provide meat to enrich the understanding of God’s people, who receive the full measure of the promise.
Moses was given the formula for the anointing oil and the principles regarding its use for the priests and the holy vessels in the Tabernacle. The sanctuary of God, the tabernacle, was a picture or foreshadow of Heaven, of the Church, of Jesus Christ, of the believer and also of the Godhead. This relates to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, three distinct Persons.
The Oil of the New Testament
The tabernacle is now present in the spirit of every single man and woman of God. It is residing in every child of God, born again by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16). Each individual is the living moving temple of the Holy Spirit which incorporates God’s presence.
The Lord painted a picture in the Old Testament for New Testament believers to recognize and apply in their spiritual walk. For their temples to be made Holy unto the Lord and to carry the same kind of protection, power and judgment, these temples need to be consecrated with the oil of the New Testament.
The oil of the New Testament is the ever living and most powerful anointing of the Holy Spirit, given in power to every believer of the Lord Jesus Christ who have had a similar experience to those on the day of Pentecost. When Christ ascended and offered His own blood on the tabernacle in heaven, He sent the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Five-Fold Oil of the New Testament
1. The Oil of Cleansing
In the Old Testament, a leper presented himself to the priest to be consecrated and cleansed. He had to remove all his clothing, shave all the hair from his body and bathe in water. Then the priest would examine the former leper, pronounce him clean and anoint him with blood and oil.
Christ strips believers of their old life to put on the new (2 Cor.5:17). They are washed in baptism through dying to self and are raised in Christ as their spirits are renewed (Rom. 6:1-11). There is cleansing by the blood of Jesus (1 Jn. 1:7) and anointing by His Spirit (Acts 2:28). The leper was anointed in three places.
a. The Ear
First, the ear was anointed. The ear represents whatever is listened to and allowed into the mind. Jesus often said that anyone who is willing to hear, should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the Churches (Rev. 3:13; Jn. 4:24).
b. The Right thumb
Next, the priest anointed the right thumb of the cleansed leper. That represents work and service. Jesus tells His people to let their good deeds shine out for all to see, so that God can receive praise (Matt. 5;16).
c. The right Toe
Next, the priest anointed the right toe of the cleansed leper. This represents walking in the Spirit.
d. The Head
Finally, the priest poured oil over the head of the cleansed leper indicating that the cleansing was completed and the person was free of all diseases. In Christ’s anointing, believers are set free from the leprosy of sin to live consecrated to Him.
2. The Oil of Light
The oil in the Old Testament lampstand represented the fiery presence of the Holy Spirit. But today, under the new Covenant, believers are God’s temple and lampstands. They are God’s lights that shine Jesus’ brightness everywhere in the world.
The oil in the tabernacle was to be tended continually so the light would never be extinguished. Likewise, the anointing of the Spirit ignites believers continually as they shine for Christ. Jesus is the light of the world (Jn. 8:12). So when he sends the Holy Spirit, He continually ignites His oil in the hearts of the people so that they can burn for Him day and night.
Ephesians 4:17 – 5:14 describes in detail what a true life on fire with the anointing is like. Sexual purity, no obscene foolish talk, thankfulness to God, not greedy, holy, not subject to anger, honest, no foul language, rid of bitterness, kind to others, forgiving others, making no excuse for sin.
3. Oil of Holiness
The anointing oil of the Old Testament was regarded as holy as set apart unto the Lord. It was pure, consecrated. Since the oil was Holy anything or anyone anointed with it was made Holy. Nothing about this anointing oil was commonplace or ordinary. It was specially made and kept for ministry by the priests because it symbolized the Spirit Who would anoint every New Testament believer.
The oil of the Holy Spirit anoints the lives of Spirit-filled believers who become Holy because His holiness is imparted to them. They are set apart for God’s exclusive use. Holiness is not a goal that is attained, but it is an act of grace applied by the Holy Spirit through the shed blood of Jesus Christ (Jn. 17:17, 1Cor 3:17; Eph. 4:24; 1 Pet 1:15).
The oil of the Old Testament was specially prepared, then kept from worldly contamination. In the same way, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s anointing consecrates and makes one Holy. But to continually walk in holiness, the lives of God’s people must be disciplined by the Spirit to keep them from worldly contamination and to continually guard their hearts and minds from temptation and pride.
4. Oil of Provision
A widow came to Elisha in desperation. She had nothing at all except a flask of olive oil. Elisha told her to borrow as many empty jars from her friends and neighbors and then to go into her house with her two sons and to shut the door. She would then have to pour olive oil from her flask into the empty jars, setting the jars aside as they were filled. She did as she was told and soon every container was full to the brim. (2 Ki. 4:1-7).
Like the widow in the story it may not be realized that with God’s Spirit, a little is much. The miraculous use of oil is a reminder of the anointing
a. When there is nothing except the anointing, there is enough.
The widow saw nothing in the house to meet any of her deepest need, except the flask of olive oil. But that was enough. So like her when there is nothing except the Holy Spirit’s anointing, there is enough. When believers reach the end of their own resources, they are ready for a miracle (Zech 4:6).
The widow was told by Elisha to find as many empty vessels as possible. When she did, the overflow of the oil from the first vessel filled all the remaining empty vessels and did not cease until there were no empty vessels left. In the same way, the anointing uses believers when they are empty vessels. He pours Himself into every vessels that will empty itself of pride and self (Ps. 51:8-17).
b. The anointing fills every vessel completely
The widow discovered that she could fill every empty vessel to the brim. Likewise, the anointing also fills every believer up completely. But the Spirit will not share space within a believer who has anything because God is a jealous God and God’s people are Holy, consecrated, and dedicated vessels to be used totally by Him (Eph. 5:18).
c. The anointing meets every need
Finally, the widows account shows that when there are no empty vessels the anointing stops flowing. When the members of the body of Christ become too full of self to minister to one another needs and the needs of the world, the Spirit anointing ceases to flow because the anointing flows through believers to others.
5. The Oil of Joy
God poured out his anointing of joy upon Jesus, His anointed one. God’s children, who are in Christ Jesus, partake in this outpouring of Joy (Heb. 1:9).
The Spirit that is in every believer is greater than he that is in the world (1 Jn.:4). Therefore, nothing in this world can overcome the anointing and nothing has the power to defeat the anointing of joy. The only way to loose the oil of joy is to resist it or give it away. Jesus said that no one can rob His people of their joy (Jn.16: 22).
Believers also loose their joy when they give up on Jesus because he is the source of their anointing. He replaces all mourning with joy (Is. 61: 1-3). Jesus’ life was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit (Lu.10:21 ). He fills the lives of His people with the same joy. Jesus overcame the world through the cross and resurrection. Because the victory has already been won through the cross and resurrection, not even death can rob believers of their joy in Christ (1Cor. 15:54-58).