The use of anointing oil in Christian worship services
by Robert Randle
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I have observed the Pastors of some Pentecostal Christian denominations use olive oil in their healing and deliverance ministries so it prompted me to search the Scriptures to better understand how this practice originated. One of the first things that my study led me to was that olive oil was used in the “anointing oil” and it was not just some ordinary dime-store variety that is on the shelves of the local drugstore or grocery store. In fact, the oil used for the light of the lamp stand in the tabernacle was composed of the pure oil extracted from pressed [cold-pressed] olives (Cp. Exodus 27: 20-21).
Exodus 30: 22-25, 30, 32-33
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Collect choice (quality) spices-12 pounds of pure myrrh, 6 ¼ pounds of fragrant cinnamon, 6 ¼ pounds of fragrant calamus, and 12 ½ pounds of cassia-as measured by the weight of the sanctuary shekel [5.7 kg]. Also get one gallon of olive oil [pure]. Like a skilled incense maker [refiner], blend these together [according to the art of a perfumer] to make a holy anointing oil. Anoint Aaron and his sons also, consecrating to serve Me as priests. It must never be used to anoint anyone else, and you must never make any blend like it for yourselves. It is holy and you must treat it as holy. Anyone who makes a blend like it or anoints someone else other than a priest will be cut off (destroyed) from among the people.”
NOTE: This is the divine formulation and ingredients as directed by God Himself and it was reserved only for the holy vessels of the Tabernacle and the priests who do service therein. Use of it was forbidden, on penalty of death, among the Israelites for common use or outside the holy service among the sanctuary. However, King David (Cp. Psalms 89: 20) and King Solomon were both anointed with the precious holy oil (Cp. 1 Kings 1: 39-40). Now the believers have a position in Jesus [Yehoshua] as our High Priest to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God. Just like under the Old Testament with the holy oil administered to the priests as well as King David and Solomon, so believers have a“spiritual” anointing oil which has been distributed upon us.
1 Peter 2: 5
And you are living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ [Yehoshua Mashiach].
Revelation 1: 6a
And [He] has made us kings [a kingdom] and priests to His God and our Father.
1 John 2: 27a
But the anointing which you have received from Him [Jesus-“Yehoshua”] abides in you.
1 John 3: 24b
And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit [Holy Spirit] whom He has given us.
NOTE: It would seem therefore that the use of a special blend of olive oil is appropriate, considering that under the “Old Dispensation” Aaron and his descendants were anointed with the ‘holy’ oil to carry out the priestly services in the physical tabernacle and later, the temple. The last consideration, which has always been an enigma, is how much oil to use on a person because it seems to me that a little dab on the forehead in the sign of the cross is not enough, and it is barely visible anyhow; so, can the Old Testament shed some light on this, too?
Leviticus 8: 12
Then he [Moses] poured [not dabbed] some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head, anointing him and making him holy for his work.
Psalms 133: 2
For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the borders of his robe.
Mark 14: 3a
As He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard [perfume hade from the essence of pure nard]. Then she broke the flask and poured it all over His head.
Now, are there any examples of Olive oil being used by the followers of Jesus [Yehoshua] and in other passages in The New Testament?
Mark 6: 13
And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil.
James 5: 14-15
Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders [old men/senior citizens according to the Hebrew and not necessarily the congregation officials or Ecclesiastical leaders of the church], anointing you with oil [olive] in the name of the LORD [Jesus-“Yehoshua”]. Such a prayer offered in ‘faith’ will heal the sick and the LORD will make you well.
CONCLUSION: Interestingly, the idea behind ‘anoint’ is to apply liberally and depending on the circumstances, it might also include something like massage therapy and deep tissue penetration to promote the healing of some affected region of the body. Today, it seems that olive oil has been used for everything from finances to employment, relationships, blessing little children, the laying on of hands to impart some spiritual gift, ad infinitum. The thing is, though, anointing someone with oil like in the olden days of Bible times may crimp the style of modern believers, especially if it is poured all over a person’s head and starts running down onto their clothing. Imagine the expensive cleaning bill from it staining a nice, expensive church outfit; or possibly even ruining it. And what about a believing sister or a female visitor who spent most of Saturday at the Beauty Salon to get a “perm” and now has to shampoo all of it out of her hair, how long would that take; not to mention the money she paid the beautician for it? No, it seems that inconvenience is not an option and it’s like the ‘BRYLCREAM’ men’s hair commercial from several decades ago-“A LITLLE DAB WILL DO YOU.”
776 Commerce St. #B-11
Tacoma, WA 98402
October 17, 2011
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