Understanding Anointing


A challenge for many Christians is appreciating the distinction between the Old and New Testaments. It’s why some are strangely seeking to please God by obeying the letters of the Law of Moses. The operative covenant in this dispensation – the dispensation of grace – is the New Testament. The Old is in abeyance. And so trying to please God under the terms of the old covenant through adherence to the law is rather unfortunate. When the Galatians sought to fulfill the letters of law, Paul was so infuriated – used some pretty strong language: “You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses?” (Galatians 3:1 MSG). “Only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God,” Paul wrote. He was speaking of those who sought to earn salvation through works and not by faith. Paul called them crazy. Like many today, the Galatians didn’t realize the consequence of seeking justification through the letters of the law: “Those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse… “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey ALL the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.”

Some think there are only ten commandments. There are in fact 613 commandments – 248 do’s, 365 don’ts. Were Apostle Paul alive today he would be equally alarmed at some of our attempts to fulfill the law to please God. He would be incensed by those trying to use juju & voodoo principles to practise Christianity. Galatians 4:8,9 NLT: “Before you Gentiles (non-Jews) knew God you were slaves to so-called gods that do not even exist. “So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to weak and useless spiritual principles of this world?” In Colossians 2:17, Paul explains the relationship between the old and new covenants. He called the Old Testament and all its rules, regulations and rituals “shadows”: “Let no one sit in judgment on you in matters of food & drink, or with regard to a feast day or a New Moon or a Sabbath. Such things are only the SHADOW of things that are to come, and they have only SYMBOLIC VALUE…” (Colossians 2:16-17 NLT).

A shadow is an obscurity, an area of darkness created when a source of light is blocked. “But the reality (substance, the solid fact of what is foreshadowed, the body of it) belongs to Christ” (Colossians 2:17 AMP). In other words, the presence of the shadow of the law was indicative of something real. That real thing is the Christ. Shadows can’t save. So keeping the “ten commandments” won’t save you. Works can’t save. Shadows frighten. It’s why the law is frightening. How are you ever going to fulfill all the 613 laws of Moses! Shadows can’t be crucified. Shadows have no blood. But the body of Christ was crucified. His blood was shed for us.

The issue of anointing is one of those highlights of the confusion people have about the old and new covenants. Churches often hold “anointing service”, and Christians talk of “anointed song” and “anointed man of God”. These are actually misnomers. They bespeak a charged medium or atmosphere through which the power of God flows. This wrong understanding and usage of “anointing” has of course led to dangerous bastardizations. People think they can be “anointed for success” and the “anointing oil” is now seen to hold mystic powers. Students “anoint” exam papers, workers anoint desks; some cook their food with “anointing oil”, bath in “anointed water”.

And so the Church is on a dangerous slide towards ritualistspiritism. It’s become so pervasive it’s almost normative. So-called “anointing oil” has become talismanic – a substance endued with mystic potential. As is, “anointing oil” has taken on the character of the tokens of juju and voodoo priests. Christianity is being processed through traditional African religion and voodoo. There’s a syncretism emerging. Anointing in the New Testament is a conceptual departure from anointing in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament people were anointed with oil as a mark of consecration, for hospitality, and for healing. But Paul already told us these were symbolisms pointing towards Christ.

In the Old Testament a deliverer with the title of Messiah, or Anointed was promised. Daniel 9:24 spoke of the “coming of the anointed one, a prince…” This is referenced by Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 61:1 concerning the mission of the Christ: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, and he has anointed me…” (Psalm 61:1). Jesus would quote this passage in Luke 4:18 thus claiming the personage of “the Anointed” prophesied. Jesus absorbed and personified all the attributes of anointing in the Old Testament: He was anointed as priest and king. And the tabernacle of his body was anointed. Priests, kings and tabernacles were anointed in the Old Testament. They were consecrated for divine purpose. Like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes (Psalm 133:2), the anointing of Christ flows unto his body. Because Christ is anointed, Christians are anointed. “But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us…” (2 Corinthians 1:21). Thus ALL Christians are anointed by the Spirit of God. The anointing we have is the anointing of Christ.

By that anointing all Christians are consecrated, set apart, sanctified. “You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit…” (1 Corinthians 6:11). Sanctification simply means “set apart”. When you get born again you are sanctified by the Spirit of God. It is because of this anointing of Christ that Christians can heal the sick and cast out demons. Acts 10:38 says, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” “The Spirit of the Lord… hath anointed me to preach the gospel… heal the broken hearted… preach deliverance…” Luke 4:18.

The oil in the Old Testament is thus emblematic of the Spirit of God in the New Testament. Unlike in the Old Testament where the oil was poured on human body, the anointing in the New Testament abides WITHIN. 1 John 2:27: “But the anointing you have received abides in you…” The anointing on the pastor is EXACTLY the anointing on the congregation. He just has a pastoral GIFT (2 Timothy 1:6). And there are no degrees of anointing. You can’t pray for a double portion of the anointing in the New Testament. In the New Testament there is no “double portion” of the anointing. The term “double portion” is a designation of the rights of the firstborn, and Jesus is the firstborn (Colossians 1:15).

Double portion is also indicative of favour and deep love (1 Samuel 1:5). Jesus is God’s beloved Son (Matthew 3:17); he is highly favoured of God: “God even thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Hebrews 1:9. Prosperity comes from the application of principles enunciated in scriptures. No anointing oil can make you rich. If you become rich through talismanic application of “anointing oil”, examine the spirit behind the prosperity. “Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich” (Proverbs 10:4). And so if you pour so called “anointing oil” on your invoice, but you’re lazy you won’t prosper. God will not do ANYTHING outside his word. The Spirit of God will not do ANYTHING outside God’s word (John. 1:1, 1 John.5:7). If it’s not in the Bible it is NOT Christianity. The only physical application of anointing oil in the New Testament is in respect of the sick (James 5:14). Note however that Apostle James wrote that it is THE PRAYER OF FAITH that saves the sick, not the oil (James 5:15). If only Christians will just obey the word of God concerning faith and stop inventing rituals and mystic objects.

© Leke Alder | talk2me@lekealder.com