The Word for Writers
The Scribal Anointing
by Theresa Harvard Johnson
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I was studying one afternoon in preparation for the 2005 Christian Prophetic Poetry Writer’s Retreat here in Atlanta. As I meditated on the passion the scribe Ezra had concerning the Law of Moses, I suddenly heard the Lord say, “There is a revival of the scribal anointing upon the land. I, beloved, am revealing myself to my people through my creative word. They will write, spread the good news and testify with passion before men. I will release them as secret weapons in these last days.”
My spirit leapt with excitement. I began praising God and thanking him for sharing his prophetic word with me concerning this gift. I was thankful that he revealed to me that there even was a “scribal anointing.” I’ve searched high and low, and have never heard the term used – nor have I found any reference to it on the Internet. But when you consider the track record of scribes throughout the bible – it’s not surprising that anyone would want this type of anointing. But knowing what I know now, I’m glad to claim it and decree it over my life.
As I gloried in God’s revelation, I remembered that Ezra was the only writer in and of the bible whom the scriptures referred to plainly as “a scribe of the instructions of God in heaven” and who “prepared and set his heart to seek the law of the Lord – to teach it and to walk in its statutes.” (Ezra 7:10, 12) Using this gift and his passion for the Lord, Ezra was responsible for turning a rebellious nation back to God! Hallelujah!
This may not seem like a ground-breaking revelation to many, but for those who understand the power of words and words of power – creative and instructional – they are already seeing spiritually what God is saying to his people. (See, The Scribal Anointing Prophecy for 2006). For present day scribes walking under this anointing, I believe this revelation God has placed in my heart concerning the scribe will assist them in understanding their pivotal role in the Kingdom of God today.
WHAT IS THE SCRIBAL ANOINTING?
Let’s start with the obvious question, what is a scribe? Well, by contemporary definitions a scribe is a writer. Therefore, the scribal anointing or the writer’s anointing is the God-given blessings, gift, passion and/or desire of man to write the inspired and/or revealed word of the Lord with biblical accuracy and soundness of doctrine; and to deliver these revealed words to his people through prophetic writing and in oral tradition. This type of writing is inspired solely by the word of God – not research, theory, scientific conclusions, etc. The scribal anointing is upon creative writers and writers of instruction. I am, however, assigned by God to the ministry of the creative word.
As a proven minister of the literary arts (one who uses their gifts to spread the gospel and win believers to Christ) I’ve learned over the years that writers must be called – singled out by God - to truly be effective in this unique and widely unrecognized ministry. In the same respect, creative writers must have a platform to exercise this gift which is often not open to them in ministry.
Scribes generally step into their calling in one of two ways:
(1) Suddenly: In this instance, believers who have never written creatively before are suddenly awakened in the middle of night by the Holy Spirit. They are pushed toward pen and paper or a computer screen and they simply – begin to write. From that point forward, a passion is birth inside them that they cannot control. They begin to find inspiration in everything. In fact, they are so amazed that they are not quite sure what to do with the writings they are receiving from God. In many cases, these believers know very little about creative writing and, in fact, had no real interest in writing or any form of it in their entire lives.
(2) As a Gradual Transformation: In this instance a believer may journal or keep a daily diary, write as a profession or creatively, and may have an active, passionate interest in the writing craft. Well, by the unction of the Holy Spirit their writing begins to transform right before their eyes. Many writers have told me that they found themselves unable to write – as if the Holy Spirit had arrested the gift, and then one day they began to write again … and the style, flavor and context of their writing had been transformed. Others have shared experiences of having their writing transformed immediately – even to the point of changing the genre in which they wrote. Like the “suddenly” anointing, they are also filled with an uncontrollable passion to write.
In either situation, all of the writers eventually come to a place in their scribal anointing that God propels them to want to know more about the gift. Even the most timid and private writers (those who like to keep their journals to themselves) begin to hunger for opportunities to share their work. It is truly amazing! I am reminded of a scripture in Ezekiel which said the word was “shut up like fire in my bones and I could not contain it.”
This, my brothers and sisters, is what the scribal anointing is all about.
This is they type of “anointing” that was on Ezra the Scribe! He was first inspired by the word of God and then driven by a passion to praise him. He sought to understand the word, live the word and perform the word. What else is there if you truly love God and believe in Christ?
A SCRIBAL FOUNDATION
Let’s get some basics down.
God is the originator of all things in heaven and in earth – yet nothing, not a single experience in this life or the next, is new. (Ecclesiastes 1:9; 3:15) It may seem new to us – because we’ve never lived it or experienced it before – but believe me, it has been experienced and lived by generation after generation before us and surely, those to come. Our history is the evidence of this and God’s word is the proof concerning the future.
Secondly, we are “literally” created in the image of God – pure reflections of his awesome power, majesty, glory and creativity. Our natural and creative abilities – including all forms of Holy Spirit inspired creative writing are reflective of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit inside of us. So what we create as writers is truly not of our own doing – but birth out of God’s spirit and our earnest desire to have him reveal his will to us.
Third, all scripture is inspired by God, and it is beneficial “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; 1 Corinthians 2:13; ) No man can add anything to God’s word or take anything away. (Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:19)
These books, poems, novels, inspirational stories or other writings we are inspired to write will never take the place of God’s word. It’s impossible! What is written, however, should illuminate the word – and place those who hear these words in the face of God.
Now, let’s take a quick look at scribes. (Side Note: If you choose participate in Voices of Christ’s School of Ministry through workshops or our annual writer’s retreat we will delve deeply into this aspect of the scribal anointing.)
The professional position of a scribe was highly esteemed and visible among the Jewish people. In some respects, it still is. Scribes of the bible were men trained and skilled in writing whose primary responsibility was to serve under high priests and kings as the official copyists of Jewish legal documents. As the profession gained preeminence, scribes served as secretaries and treasures, issued royal decrees, interpreted and taught the law, archived the law and other legal documents, recorded and preserved genealogy records, served as lawyers and judges, and at many points in time – seemed to have more power and influence than the kings and high priests. They were considered the foremost experts in all issues pertaining to the Law of Moses and the Prophets.
They were well educated men who were taught from their youth to write and copy without making a single error. They often wrote on wood, wax, stone or papyrus. They were well educated in the Law of Moses and the Prophets. Many - though not all – were Pharisees, an extremely popular religious-political who often held positions on the Sanhedrin, a Jewish judicial council that was established in ancient Jerusalem under the leadership of Moses. This council presided over the high priest.
So you can see from this description that scribes primarily held an “administration” function in Jewish culture. In their profession, they were required to memorize the law and accurately convey it both in written syntax and oral tradition so that history could not be lost.
Truly, scribes were passionate about their work. But for the majority of them, their passion was not driven by a love for the word of God. They used the law to manipulate the people and gain power, status and wealth. They were driven primarily by legalism, selfishness, religion, pride and greed. (Matthew 23; Jeremiah 8:8). (These are the key spirits that are violently attacking creative writers today … but that’s another story.)
What I want you to see here is truly the birth and evolution of the gift. Studying Ezra the Scribe, who lived between 500 - 300BC, is perhaps the most accurate example in the bible of a scribe of the Lord. Earlier, I mentioned that the word of God refers to him as a “scribe of the instructions of God in heaven.” Like the scribes mentioned above, he had many of these same responsibilities, however, his first love was God. He actively preached and lived the law. In addition, the bible says in the book of Nehemiah that Ezra spent a significant amount of time studying the word of God to get understanding. This wasn’t the case with those who fell into the categories described by Jesus in Matthew 23. For a complete understanding, every scribe must read the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.
Scribes are mentioned in more than 15 books of the bible and were present at many significant events in the Old and New Testaments. Through their presence, we can clearly see their biblical roles expanding and changing. They were called upon by the kings or high priests to witness and record significant historical events and even to dictate the words of others – including prophets. More than one prophesy given by the Prophet Jeremiah were recorded and spoken by his scribe Baruch! (Jeremiah 36:10) Clearly, you can see that the scribes were now taking on roles of journalists and secretaries.
Clearly and deservingly, the negative aspects of scribes have stood out more than anything else concerning them. After all, the majority of the attacks against prophets of old and believers of Christ were ignited by them.
Just as God gave us a true example with Ezra, Jesus defined the true role of the Scribe. He said, “Therefore, every scribe (teacher and interpreter of sacred writings) which is instructed (about and trained for) the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a man that is a householder (master of the house), which bringeth forth out of his treasure (storehouse) things new and old (the fresh as well as the familiar).” Matthew 13:52
Scribes are to bring forth out of his “treasure” things old and new! Immediately I though of the categorized poetic books – Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon. The authors of these books pulled from the treasures within them! Their bellies were full of the word of God!
The scribal gift is birth out of the gifts of administration or governments as mentioned in I Corinthians 12:28. There are multiple gifts of administration. Just under the profession of scribes, we know today that the term scribe is defined as a writer or journalist, clerk or professional secretary. This definition, however, does not mean that the scribal tradition of the Old Testament no longer exists. In fact, it does. To learn more about scribes today read this article.
TYPES OF SCRIBES IN THE BIBLE
There are twenty-six or so scribes in the bible who are identified by name. Of course, I can’t list them all here – but a chart of scribes and kings is provided in the Voices of Christ School of Ministry’s instructor’s guide and student workbook, “The Scribal Anointing.” There are countless more, however, which are mentioned only as the scribes throughout the Holy Bible. Then, there are scribes who were never officially called scribes – but clearly walked with the scribal pen of a ready writer. (Psalm 45:1) See the brief overview of writers mentioned below:
Moses was primarily a writer of instruction having written Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. He is also the author of at least one the poems in the book of Psalms. Writers of instruction generally write on specific biblical subjects with the express purpose guiding them to act, behave or think in a certain way. Though each writer has their own unique flavor, they all generally push for the same outcome – motivation or inspiration. Examples of writers of instruction would be Dr. Joyce Meyer, Dr. Juanita Bynum, Dr. Miles Monroe, Dr. Franklin Graham and hundreds of others like them. Their work could be summed up as in-depth topical bible studies or a series of sermons that enhance a readers understanding of the word of God and basic biblical principles.
King Solomon was clearly a creative writer. A creative writer is simply one who writes in a new or original way that would not come naturally to the average person. Creative writing is non-traditional and generally distinctively unique. Clearly, King Solomon was a creative writer whom God granted a gift of wisdom. He wrote two of the most controversial books in the bible -, Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes. He also wrote the book of Proverbs 1-29, and at least two of the poems in the book of Psalms - Psalms 72 and 127. He is believed to have written 1,005 according to the scriptures (I Kings 4:29-32). Solomon was a poet, a psalmist, a writer of wisdom (quotations) and a storyteller.
King David, a known praise and worship leader, wrote 73 of the Psalms. Several of his ministers of music, including the Sons of Asaph and Korah, Ethan and Heman, wrote 26 of them. They were poets and psalmists. Hezekiah wrote Psalms 120-123, 128-130, 132, 134-136.
Luke, a physician and evangelist, wrote the most complete story of Jesus of all the gospels in the New Testament – the Gospel of Luke. Luke’s version of John the Baptist, the birth of Christ, the parables of the Good Samaritan, the lost sheep, and the prodigal son are far more detailed than the other gospels. In addition, he blended the stories in an easy to follow format, included significant historical, humanitarian and social data that added a greater level of credibility to the facts. It was as if he had taken a personal interest in conveying a precise story concerning Jesus’ life that filled in the gaps –so to speak – in the other gospels. He even included a preface, dedication and attribution for some of his sources. Luke is believed to have taken eye-witness accounts of the life of Christ, having gone back to interview those who were actually there. Because of his Jewish heritage, he was able to convey Jewish traditions and practices. In addition, Luke wrote the book of Acts. Historians agree that Luke’s writing is akin to that of a journalist.
From these brief examples, we see the emergence of many creative writing gifts and have taken a look at how they were used by God. Although we are not writing Holy Scripture, God is using us to continue to carry the message began by these great scribes.
With our unique gift, we offer a creative alternative to hearing the instructional word of the Lord. David prayed poetically, we can pray poetically. Solomon wrote stories from God creatively, we can write stories inspired by the Holy Spirit creative. You see … God is not doing anything new. Even the stories we share and the poetry we recite has been said and done before ... by his Spirit. I urge you to read this in the spirit – not with your natural ear.
VALUE & GUARD YOUR ANOINTING
As the scribal anointing takes hold, it is imperative that our hearts and minds are in tune with the heart and mind of Christ. We must adequately weigh the word, the importance and the usefulness of this gift in the kingdom. Not everyone is anointed to write or recite the creative word of the Lord – just as everyone is not called to be an apostle, prophet, pastor, evangelist or teacher.
If you have been ordained by God to go forth in the ministry of the creative word, then I urge you to study the word of God to show yourself approved (See, Creative Writing Is About More Than Telling A Good Story), learn everything you can about the spoken and the unspoken word, write everyday – even when you don’t feel like it and always be open for constructive criticism.
No man is an island! There’s always room from instruction, growth and change. Most of all remember, “He did not come to entertain you, but to set the captives free!”
For more articles on the ministry of creative writing, visit http://www.voicesofchrist.org. The Scribal Anointing™ is a trademark of Voices of Christ Literary Ministries International and Prophetess Theresa Harvard Johnson. If you have any questions after reading this article, please email the team. If answers are not provided in existing articles, Prophetess Johnson will address your specific question in a future article.
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I really got excited as I read your article. I do enjoy writing & when I am not able to write each day a part of me feels missing (so to speak). Your article makes me want to go now and study the scribes especially Ezra. May the Lord continue to bless you. Arlene
I learned a great deal from reading this article, thank you so much for sharing!
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