by M.W. Bassett
Pastor, Life Tabernacle UPC, Milford, CT.
Second draft thanks for editing help to Steve Sanabria
please send corrections to the author
There is no greater promise known to man today than
the wonderful Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Not only is this experience
and miracle a fulfillment and climax of many centuries of God's
unfolding revelation of His salvation: this spiritual transformation
and regeneration of Pentecost is a principle component of the
It is important that the church both understand and
teach the Biblical perspective of doctrine, from the Apostolic
perspective and using Apostolic terms. A good understanding of
the message of salvation is essential to evangelism, but of equal
or greater importance is for each child of God to understand the
elements of his own salvation. Abiding in the word of God ensures
our remaining and bearing fruit.
From time to time, some have asserted various ideas
that seem to detract from and distort the Biblical doctrine of
the New Birth. One movement has put much emphasis on the Biblical
term "Anointing", improperly unifying and consolidating
all its uses to the detriment of good doctrine.
Upon examining this issue, we will find that it involves a number of very significant truths.
Good ecclesiology, the study of the Church, is intimately
related to and has its roots in, Christology, the study of Christ.
Though it will be covered at length later on, the term Christ
really means anointed. When the nature and life
of Jesus Christ are studied, that study has direct implications
regarding the nature of the Church, since the Church is divinely
born of the nature of God through the second Adam. It is also
profoundly true that our understanding of the nature of Jesus,
specifically the relationship of His human and divine natures
will directly affect our understanding the nature of the church,
its inception with the New Birth, its enduring power in Christian
victory, and its future.
Anointing! This awesome and important term seems
to leap from so many diverse areas of the scripture. It is difficult
to find a perfect entry point for studying the subject in a brief
space. Let's rather examine a few statements that might be heard
commonly, regarding the anointing.
Given these ideas, a number of inferences are made and become assertions:
Since the Spirit of God is divinity
Except for the last statement,
these conclusions are not problematic,
for it is true that God's power and nature is to live in us. We
will return to the problem areas but first let's examine the basis
for an understanding of the anointing.
God's power is indeed supposed to dwell in Christians,
by the very plan of God. We could go so far as to say that, unless
the power of God dwelling and being demonstrated in them, they
are not Christians. After all Christian means, "follower
of Christ, or Christ-like".
This wonderful aspect of the plan of God is troublesome
to the world which lives bound by the limitations of carnal mind,
and looking squarely at the blight of condemnation. Religious
tradition lacking the illumination of spiritual experience has
always placed much emphasis on distinguishing the deity from sinful
humanity, and rightly so. However, without the knowledge of a
life-changing experience, and a true understanding of God's means
of bridging the spiritual and physical gap between God and his
beloved but lost offspring, religion places God in a distant and
unreachable place. Ancient Trinitarianism, conveying Jesus as
the "second person of the godhead" reflects this in
its religious art of bygone centuries where Jesus appears behind
a window, and often is recalled standing near another figure in
distant clouds, with Stephen's vision as the model.
For the diligently religious, who do not preach or
experience the transforming power of the Holy Ghost, Stephen's
vision is a natural choice of models, for it depicts man saved
by faith in a righteous God whose power will not intervene to
save him in his immediate perils. With the many spiritual upheavals
of the 20th century, a general understanding seems
to have settled upon the religious world. Of necessity, God must
be a NOW God, and a NEAR God, if not also a HERE God. In today's
spiritual climate, thankfully, it is not acceptable to suggest
that all must leave this world with as little present response
from God to their own faith, as Stephen experienced.
So, the charismatic movements as well as traditional
Pentecostals properly and rightly point to the immediate existential
experience and power promised by the Lord Jesus Christ. Today,
when Christians read the words: "But ye shall receive
power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye
shall be witnesses unto me
(Acts 1:8), they do not accept
an accompanying disclaimer which removes the impact and tangible
reality from the power. The words "
He that believeth
on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works
than these shall he do
" (John 14:12) are read literally
and no excuses or exemptions are allowed or desired. It is
widely believed that Christians should display not only the character
attributes, but the supernatural power that Jesus did in the pages
Seekers of God today rightly bypass the ordinary
and intellectually oriented tradition of Christendom seeking to
find fulfillment of what they read of the Bible. In lively spiritual
atmospheres, powers attributed to Deity are exercised by its adherents.
It is in these atmospheres where there is a need to carefully
apply the word of God to help us from becoming unbalanced, giving
heed to wrong and destructive ideas due to careless disregard
for the Word of God.
Throughout the scripture, the Bible makes reference
to the power of God being applied directly to the mortal man,
thereby changing the individual, and drastically altering the
way in which he relates to the world and other humanity. This
imparting of divine substance and power, or unction,
is often referred to as anointing in both Old and
New Testaments. For example, Saul was selected by God to be King
of Israel. Accordingly, an anointing was performed:
Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it
upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the
LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance? -
1 Sam 10:1
Seeking the Hebrew root of "anoint", From Browns-Driver-Briggs
4886 mashach- to smear, to anoint, to spread a liquid
Forty-two times in the Old Testament, the verb takes
the form of a noun as "the anointed", or as it is expressed
in Daniel, Messiah. Readers unfamiliar with Hebrew
may not be aware, but each time the term is read from the Old
Testament pertaining to one who is anointed of God, it is pronounced
mashiyak, or as anglicized, messiah. This
is the term used by David to explain why he would not meddle with
Saul, the Lord's anointed.
The New Testament teaches us that the elements of
the Old Testament were shadows of spiritual things. We therefore
understand that the anointing shown here and many, many times
through the activities of God's priests and prophets, were reflections
of a spiritual reality transcending the oil used by the priest.
When a lamb was sacrificed unto the Lord by priests following
the pattern showed them by instruction of God through Moses, it
represented, in various ways, the coming Savior who would die
on Calvary. When oil was used to anoint, it also represented a
greater spiritual reality to be revealed in time to come.
The word is also used to denote both physical and
spiritual transmission in the New Testament though the English
word anoint derives from two distinct words in the
The word ailepho is used for anoint
where ever an actual physical rubbing of oil or ointment occurs,
as in James 5:14 or John 11:2. In the New Testament however, a
new word appears which is used exclusively for spiritual anointing.
Chrio is never used to refer to the rubbing of actual
oil, but appears to be related to another word, chraomai,
meaning to supply or furnish a need.
Is spiritual anointing a part of the plan of God
regarding humanity? Absolutely! When God wanted to illustrate
how God could magnify and use man in a way demonstrating God's
love for man, Jesus Christ was spotlighted on the stage of time.
Describing the transformation allowing Jesus, the incarnate God,
to live as a man while doing the powerful works of deity, the
How God anointed (chrio) Jesus of
Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about
doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil;
for God was with him. - Acts 10:38
This experience is not unique to the only begotten
Son of God, as the following scripture demonstrates:
"Now he which stablisheth us with you in
Christ, and hath anointed [chrio] us, is God;"
- 2 Cor 1:21
From chrio comes the term chrisma,
from which come the sacristic term chrismate, and
the popular description of those who demonstrate spiritual phenomenon
in their lives, charismatic. Since chrismate
relates to the literal smearing or sprinkling of oil by clergy,
it appears to be wrongly derived, for the scriptures use of this
root pertains to the anointing of man by God, never with
material substance, but spiritually, by the hand of God.
Since we have determined that God uses an anointing to covey power, and know from Bible doctrine that the power which God provides to transform humanity (as illustrated in the sublime example, Jesus) is the Holy Ghost, we can say assuredly, God anoints with the Holy Spirit. Indeed, most Bible scholars agree that the symbol of oil used throughout the Old and New Testaments does represent the Holy Spirit of God.
When God had the priesthood anointed with oil by Moses, and then other priests anointed by the priesthood, it anticipated the day in which God would anoint (separate, consecrate, and empower) to himself a "royal priesthood" by means of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. (see 2 Peter 2:9)
It is important to notice that when the Bible
expresses that anointing is taking place, it does not always relate
to exactly the same thing every time.
In the Old Testament there were various anointings. In each case,
the anointing is a good thing, but each instance does not always
indicate the same purpose or "fullness" of operation.
In the example of Saul, he was anointed to be King
of Israel indicating choice and God's blessing of provision to
fulfill that office. A spiritual phenomenon accompanied that anointing,
as we saw Saul prophesying under the power of God. Certainly this
was related to the act of anointing Saul. In 2 Chronicles 22:7,
God explains that Jehu had been anointed to "cut off the
house of Ahab". There is no record of accompanying spiritual
phenomenon, though it is likely that the touch of God also brought
personal spiritual experience to Jehu. The symbolic anointing
and its spiritual counterpart is demonstrated in scripture as
being mainly a choosing and equipping of individuals to fulfill
the will of God.
What specific purposes does God fulfill by the anointing, according to scripture? One means of examining the purpose of the anointing is identify the uses of the oil, which symbolizes the special operation of God:
Light and Heat from the oil of the olive tree.
Nothing put the crunch on America like the "oil crisis" of the 1970's. Without a source of energy, widespread problems are experienced.
Oil represents a power, and a lasting source of strength.
When the character of a material is to be changed, oil serves as a medium for matching the otherwise incompatible substances. What a wonderful illustration of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost!
So important to prevent damage to machinery, but even to wrestler's skin, and those exposed to harsh environments. Notice that the Holy Ghost experience today likewise mediates and smooths the interface between the absolutely holiness of Deity and the frailness of humanity.
One who is intoxicated is sometimes said to be "well oiled."
As a remedy for the commonness of life, oils provide relief of irritation, enhancement of beauty, luxury, and are sold as health aids.
Biblically: palm oil, olive oil. Consider the saying "Grease [or oil] my palm"
Oil soothes the skin, and provides lasting moisture. You have seven layers of skin. If through sustained dry conditions, these die and flake off, one after another, the result will be a raw wound, and a treat to life itself.
The offerings were baked with oil.
The oil enriches and gives substance to a dish.
Salad without oil is just vegetable leaves.
In summary, the Bible teaches that the anointing empowers, enlightens, mediates, corrects, facilitates, enriches, heals, and transforms. Each purpose of the anointing, in and through the Old Testament pertains to something good and virtuous. However, it cannot be concluded that the anointing is illustrative of one and only one ultimate reality in the New Testament. God may anoint to accomplish a limited, temporal purpose, and God may anoint to fulfill a deep and profound purpose. The verb "to anoint" represents God doing virtuous and wonderful things with man, but the specific depth and purpose may vary.
God's desires to accomplish various things in the lives of men and women. Wherever God wants to personally touch a person and change their life in any way, one can say that God desires to anoint them. The anointing may be for one or many of the following:
God is the Father in creation of all mankind, and through Jesus Christ, He is the Spiritual Father of all of the family of God. But, individuals may be chosen by the divine purpose and wisdom of God for unique and special purposes or operations. The anointing is the way in which God makes divine selections, promotes, and honors an individual among many.
In Numbers 7, the tabernacle with all its regalia, instruments, vessels and furniture, was consecrated by anointing. Exodus 28:41 calls the anointing of the sons of Aaron to be their consecration. When the High Priest is anointed by pouring oil upon his head in Leviticus 21:12, it was given as cause that he should remain undefiled. Furthermore, the oil is referred to as a "crown".
As in Leviticus 6:22: "And the priest of his sons that is anointed in his stead shall offer it: it is a statute for ever unto the LORD; it shall be wholly burnt."
1 Samuel 10:1 - Then Samuel the prophet too a vial of oil and poured it upon his head and kissed him and said, Is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee to be a captain over his inheritance. (read from 10:5-11).
2 Cor 1:21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God. WHO ALSO HAS SEALED US, AND GIVEN US THE EARNEST OF THE SPIRIT IN OUR HEARTS.
Because .. "God, who is rich in mercy for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace are ye saved;) and hath raised us up together and made us sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
... for by grace are ye saved through faith.
If one is going to have a place in the Kingdom of Heaven, he must be anointed!
Matt 8:16, Matt 12:15, Luke 6:9: Jesus (anointed of God per Luke 4:18 and Isa 61:1) healed ALL that came to him.
James 5:14: Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if they have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
The touch of Jesus Christ can heal. To be near to God is to be privileged, to stand on Holy Ground in the presence of majesty. God is not a God who delights in keeping the sick in his household. When Jesus came through town in his last days in Jerusalem, the people heard His name, and came out to be healed. There is an anointing for healing
To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me. - 1 Sam 9:16
" But the anointing which you have received of Him abideth in you, and you have need not that any man should 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, you shall abide in him" - 1 John 2:27
The world and the enemy would like to have people in a quandary. But remember what (Jn 16:13) Jesus said "When He the Spirit of Truth hath come, he will guide you into all truth."
What or who is the Spirit of Truth? The Holy Ghost!
God wants to anoint every individual, and everyone should WANT to be anointed of God!
And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave [it] unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD'S people were prophets, [and] that the LORD would put his spirit upon them! - Numbers 11:25-29
In 1 John 2 (verses 20 and 27), three times, another term is translated to unction. Since these passages refer to the merits and abiding substance that remains with the church, lets look at what God says about the condition of the anointed.
unction (ùngk´shen) noun
[Middle English, from Latin únctio, únction-, from únctus, past participle of unguere, to anoint.]
A term used to imply "excesses", or overdoing it, characterized by having "too much". This is may be something which men or women may be suspected of. It implies a sense of self-importance.
unctuous (ùngk´ch¡-es) adjective
Middle English, from Old French unctueus, from Medieval
Latin únctuosus, from Latin únctum, ointment, from
neuter past participle of unguere, to anoint.]
In common usage, the term has been used as a pejorative. It is not hard to understand why. A man whose opulence and excess is noticeable is unseemly. On the other hand, one expects the Living God to be rich in abundance, and the giver of "every good gift", who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above that which we can ask or think"
Evidently, the anointing of God is of the nature of abundance, leaving great excesses and lavish, rich evidence. The anointed is sumptuously supplied and exhibits no lack.
If we concur that God's whole intention towards man is summed up in saving, blessing and restoring man, then it becomes easy to see the progression of God's plan. His word is "yea and amen" towards us. The many limited and symbolic demonstrations of anointing in the Old Testament were each involved in a systematic design which we call the plan of salvation. When a priest was anointed to serve in a tabernacle which was the shadow of heavenly things, it was a both to facilitate the plan of God and to provide meat to enrich our understanding, as we look across the centuries through the wonderful window of scripture.
The symbolic anointing of priests, kings and the
blessed anticipated the nearing fulfillment of God's desire to
anoint on a much larger scale. Ultimately, this would be fulfilled
as foreseen by Joel the prophet:
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids
in those days will I pour out my spirit. - Joel 2:28-29
Ezekiel trumpeted the same awesome promise, but also
noticed several essential characteristics of this anointing in
at least two passages:
In Ezekiel 11, God indicates that the Spirit would
not only flow OVER the recipient, but would enter and remain in
the blessed. Furthermore reason for the blessing is given - "that
they may walk in my statutes and do them". The ultimate anointing
is provision to please God from the heart.
And I will give them one heart, and I will
put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart
out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That
they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do
them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their
God. - Ezek 11:19-20
The result of this is startling. It is through this
method that God says he would facilitate and bring into being
a real and sincere relationship with His people. Through this
anointing, God said he would realize the possession of a people,
and be pleased to be their God. While Israel was the people of
God by covenant, frequent backslidings, distrust, and unbelief
blemished their actual relationship such that He often claimed
that they had other Gods. Jesus ultimately indicated that Abraham
was not their father, and that they did not even know the God
which they claimed to serve.
Ezekiel 18:31 finds the prophet recommending that
Israel get "a new heart and a new spirit" and thereby
live and not die. This new spirit is associated with repentance.
If this new spirit is associated with this one thing, then
we can clearly interpret that God meant to deliver a remedy for
sinfulness with this spirit, and to associate the outpouring of
the Spirit with repentance.
Finally, in chapter 36, God identifies the spirit
which, with a new heart, will enable men to please God. God intends
to put his Spirit within man.
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit
will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out
of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will
put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes,
and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. - Ezek 36:26-27
On the day of Pentecost, Peter cites the prophet
Joel to identify the evident pouring out of a new spirit.
Declaring the scripture as it is fulfilled in the eyes and ears
of Jerusalem, it is clearly an explanation for the attending signs
of tongues and prophecy that are seen by the amazed onlookers.
In the moments which followed, Peter associated the receiving
of the Spirit with repentance, and with the name of the Lord (Acts
2:38) clearly binding this phenomenon to the prophecies of Joel
Jesus had commanded that the gospel should be preached
with the understanding that the promise of the Father (Luke
24:49) would attend to those who believed. This specific anointing
clearly occurred in a recognizable, distinct experience, for in
Acts 1:5 and Acts 1:8, Jesus told believers that the baptism (immersion
in) the Spirit of God was soon to come. It was then that these
believers would receive the properties associated with the promised
anointing, in particular, power.
Some have sought to prove that the power of the Pentecostal experience is limited to a verbal or extraordinary ability to convey a message, but the Bible simply says that power would be delivered in that anointing. There is reason to believe that all of the various properties and promises which are contained in God's promise were herein generalized under the term "power". After all the Spirit was not yet poured out. Spiritual things originating in and associated with the dynamic Spirit of God, were not yet in man's possession. (see John 7:38-39 ). When the outpouring finally did occur, ALL the powers typified in the Old Testament anointings, as covered above, would be put on and IN mankind.
We must see the Day of Pentecost, 50 days
after the Lamb of God fulfilled the role of the Passover lamb,
in proper perspective. In Egypt, in the blight of darkness, God's
careful plan provided for an escape from the death angel and ushered
Israel in passage from the bondage of slavery. A lamb was offered
for each family, and the hand of death was stayed when the blood
was placed over and upon the sides of each families door. Then,
eating the prepared lamb in a manner prescribed by the oracle
of God, people were escorted to the Red Sea (a type of water baptism),
where the pursuing enemies of God's people would be rendered forever
When fifty days had passed (Pentecost means 50),
Moses went up into the presence of God and received the Word of
God by divine order and plan. It was here, at this time, that
the definition of God's very being, His Logos, was transmitted
to earthly people in such a way that would forever change their
lives. When they looked at the tables of stone where the word
was inscribed, they knew that this was the unchanging and perfect
image of God's mind, not a concoction of some dreamer or philosopher.
It was, for them, God Himself, for they knew that God had intended
to represent Himself to them in that way. This was the best that
they could get. However, as time went on, it grew increasingly
clear that this outward and objective record was not enough to
actually change their hearts. They found that what they had been
so oppressed by in Egypt. Idolatry, self-will, hatred, and a powerful
desire for the earthy, had actually come with them from Egypt
in their own hearts. They could come close and almost touch the
stone tables and the ark which carried the Word of God. However,
that last few inches was an uncrossable gulf. They needed what
God promised by the prophet: a transforming experience with the
Living Word of God inside their hearts. Only the ultimate
anointing could promise this.
It is in this perspective that we can appreciate what really happened at the feast of Pentecost, in Jerusalem, 50 days after Jesus' crucifixion. Again as before, by God's divine providence, the Living Word of God was transmitted from heaven. The Passover Lamb had been slain, and mankind was waiting (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:14, 2:1). At the appointed time, God's very essence crossed as a celestial lightning from Heaven to earth where a receptor was ready to receive its eternal charge and image. This time it was not one obedient man waiting with stone to record the incomprehensible for others to see from afar off. This time it was believing and prepared hearts ready to become a "spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5, Exodus 25:8) which was waiting in the upper room.
At the outset we mentioned that many have rejected
Christendom that denies the power of spiritual experience. In
the early parts of the 20th Century, the Pentecostal
experience was commonly rejected by confused and unfamiliar traditionalists
as emotional, excessive and often called demonic in origin. With
the amazing spread of Pentecost to where some have estimated said
that as many as 1 in 3 will speak with other tongues as the year
2000 dawns, we are far from that original mindset of rejection.
Though there is acceptance of spiritual phenomenon, not all doctrine
concerning these matters agrees with Apostolic scripture. Some
still hold that the initial outpouring (anointing) of the Holy
Ghost was a unique event, and that God anoints men and women in
a way that somehow varies from this original pattern.
The scriptures plainly show that the same experience
which these first recipients had, was repeated with others who
heard and believed the gospel throughout the Book of Acts.
A false picture is painted of a world transformed by the incarnation of Jesus Christ, where certain virtues are eminent in the world, and received by mental assent (easy-believism) or by association with ideas and religious activities. In this view, the advent of Pentecost had greater power than the experience of the individuals involved, and that a Church somehow grew in the glow that succeeded these events without immediate and direct contact with that experience.
If those to whom the Apostles preached and ministered
could be shown to have received only a part of what was originally
received, then we might give this view some credence, but the
scriptures show us a much more wonderful picture! Peter, James,
Philip, John, and the others were at the upper room and spoke
with tongues as the Spirit of God filled first the room and then
the hearts of the believers. This same experience was accompanied
by the same evidence (speaking with other tongues) in four scriptural
accounts, with one additional implicit account. (For reference:
Acts 2:1-4, 8:5-25, 10:1-48, 19:1-6, 9:1-22 & 22:12-16
see "The Baptism of the Holy Ghost by the author, or other
similar studies). That is, the COMPLETE experience of the
anointing demonstrated first on the Day of Pentecost, is in truth,
a promise to every soul.
This means that the manifestation and characteristics
of the anointing of the Apostles and the 120 in the upper room
is to be repeated in every life, with the SAME power and characteristics
present for every soul. Those who prescribe "the anointing"
for the ills and limitations of humanity, and to enliven Christendom
are referring to the baptism of the Holy Ghost, in biblical terms.
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost is shown scripturally
to be the fulfillment of all that is desired and available from
Furthermore, there is no scriptural evidence of another
means (or anointing) by which God imparts these essential
spiritual elements, or provides the "birth of the Spirit"
(John 3:5,7). If separation from a binding relationship to sin,
and to the elements of this perishing world is to be experienced
by the church, we are glad that it is "by one Spirit [that]
are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles,
whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into
one Spirit". If any study of salvation from scripture
fails to identify the Baptism of the Holy Ghost as the means of
imparting that Spirit, and the means of joining us to the eternal
Body of Christ, it has surely missed all meaningful marks.
The scriptures teach that this experience is available to ALL believing and obedient PEOPLE, regardless of race, religion, or background. The anointing which the Holy Ghost fulfills, includes the promise of LIFE. Given these profound truths, and without any scriptural proof of another anointing wherein the actual virtue of eternal life is imparted to the believer (not to mention the other characteristics of the child of God) WHO CAN DENIGRATE OR REJECT THE CALL FOR ALL to receive the BAPTISM of the HOLY GHOST ?
As we have shown, the term anointing is a general
term which always refers to God's desire to bless. The Baptism
of the Holy Ghost anoints a person with a heart to love and serve
God, a divine nature that desires God's instruction, and finally
regenerative power of eternal life. The Spirit of God, received
through this experience, joins a person into the church through
that Spirit (1 Cor 12:13)
It also serves as the basic foundation for God's
operation of the gifts of the Spirit. No one ought to imagine
that God genuinely operates the gifts of the Spirit in the church
in those who have not yet received it.
While the blessing of God is ultimately manifested
in the free gift of God's spirit through the experience of a personal
Pentecost, God may also anoint (call, select and empower) for
specific reasons beyond personal salvation, and being joined to
the spiritual body of Christ.
With this in mind, the Bible does not indicate
that there is a special anointing required to do Christian ministry
beyond the preparation which is given every child of God who is
born of water and Spirit. While we are constantly reminded that
work "in the flesh" (or empowered by fleshly abilities
alone) is utterly valueless, we are not taught of a need for a
substance other than the Spirit of God which every Christian is
admonished to "be filled with", and to "walk in".
While the Christian world often stands in awe of men whose abilities impress multitudes, the Bible simple says that signs would follow "them that believe". Perfection for the work of the ministry was not to be by anointing, but rather at the careful hands of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. (Eph 4:11-12) And further, wherever the church is addressed regarding it's "anointing" (or unction), the address is made in general. We are reminded that there is power in the name of Jesus Christ, works that are accomplished through His Spirit, and a great reward of faith. We are not taught of any limitation in these. Specifically, it is not scriptural to teach of the requirement of anointing above and beyond these components, assuming they are genuinely possessed in sincerity.
Reading the typology of the Old Testament and applying it in the light of revelation would be fraught with danger and would become the territory of every lunatic if we did not have Jesus Christ as our light.
In coming to earth in human flesh, visible to the
eyes of every man, seen, touched and enthroned on the pages of
scripture by his chosen, anointed Apostles, God closed the door
When we look at Jesus Christ we see many things,
and many aspects of God's plan. The writer of Hebrews even calls
Jesus "the brightness of [God's] glory, and the express image
of his person". (Heb 1:3) Paul says He is the "image
of the invisible God" (Col 1:15). Theologians would like
to limit Jesus' usefulness in understanding God, but the Apostles
knew no other laboratory apparatus for observing God's nature
or power. He is called God's "right arm" by the prophets,
and the "Almighty" by John. To imagine that there is
a better place to look for evidence and understanding of the operation
of the Spirit of God than in Jesus is foolishness.
The revelation of Jesus Christ expressly involves
the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) from the beginning. When the
Messiah is prophesied, it is understood that God's Spirit would
Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect,
in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he
shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. - Isa 42:1
Though we see God referring to "his servant"
in third person, we do understand that the messiah is in fact
the "Ancient of Days", by whom all things are made.
Very little classical Christian theology would not make the pre-incarnate
Jesus Christ to be an individual who did not have access to the
Spirit (English for the Greek "pneuma" of the Hebrew
"breath"). That is to say that this passage from Isaiah
and others like it cannot be used to imagine a mortal Messiah
who is first touched by the Holy Spirit through divine transformation.
Furthermore, the advent of the "Christ Child" occurs when the Holy Spirit, also called the power of the Highest, overshadows the virgin Mary. Evidently, the Spirit is the Father (or progenitor) of the child Jesus. The angel declares that the name of the child shall be Emanuel, and Jesus. Obviously heaven knew the plan that the immanent God would be called "God with us" by men, and would save HIS people from their sins. When God imparted life into Mary, that life was the life of God. Notice that the scripture writer takes time to repeat the angels instruction that that the life originates in the Holy Spirit. If Jesus had life, it was the life of the Holy Spirit, the deity, or "father" concealed within the Messiah (see 2Cor 5:19)
The main purpose of this pamphlet is not to deal
with the nature of God, but it is necessary to stop by these old
landmarks for a moment.
To understand the relationship of the character of the Savior, Jesus Christ, and the concept of the Holy Spirit in scripture, three truths must be laid down and held to:
The problem which many theologians of the Christian
tradition find difficult is to reconcile these facts and conclude
with Jesus Christ in the place of supreme deity as the Apostles
Following these principles we understand:
There are three important truths found when we hold to these principles. We might be puzzled by the third person language of the Bible regarding the Messiah, and we might puzzle as to the great mystery of godliness ("..without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.." 1 Tim 3:16), God's description of his anointing a human messiah with His Spirit does NOT mean:
Now when all the people were baptized, it came
to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven
was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like
a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou
art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. - Luke 3:21-22
In truth, Jesus Christ did not become Deity at
the Jordan river while being baptized by John. However,
some have ventured that Jesus Christ actually received the power
of deity when this sign was recorded by John the Baptizer (1:32).
There are a number of reasons for this error which we will examine,
but lets look at the grotesque consequences of this derivation
of kenosis. Some have even said "Jesus was the first
"born again believer".
The idea that Jesus became deity at Jordan is very dire, and has completely destructive impact on good doctrine.
Several things ought to be plain:
Retaining good Biblical doctrine, we can make the
In the humanity of Jesus Christ is the perfect model for every believer.
Yes, Jesus Christ lived in this world, limiting His
omnipotent power to the degree that He actually was tempted as
we are, and also resisted temptation using no power that is not
accessible to the believer. While Jesus Christ was fully deity,
His life is the life of the perfect Son of God. No Christian ought
to rejoice in his inheritance as a son of God without also knowing
that Jesus established the proof that mortal man can resist sin,
through the Spirit of God. The power to overcome was not engendered
in Jesus flesh, but in the word of God, and through His spirit.
This same power is available to us. Similarly, ministry of Jesus
Christ originates in the power that He gives, not in our talents,
and therefor it need not be hindered by our limitations.
Some have said that no miracles were done by Jesus
before Cana, saying that this was the first miracle, but the Bible
says it was the "beginning of miracles". Before this
Jesus had seen Nathanael under the fig tree, and had obviously
long impressed the scholars at the temple with wisdom that exceeded
No child of God will ever be greater than the Master
who first walked in submission to the will of God, but no child
of God will ever have less provision for his or her Christian
victory. Our battles are fought in repetition of those which He
has already prevailed in, and the great work expected of
us is cited as simply "believing on Him who [God] has
sent" - (John 6:29). Following Jesus cannot be considered
more tedious or less possible than actually being the Trail Blazer.
Jesus Christ was fully God from His birth.
Due to the error of regarding Jesus as a secondary Deity, some have implied that Jesus was no more God than the lowliest man or woman at the time of His birth. We understand that some desire to promote this idea so as to put themselves and followers of their error in line for inheritance of deity. However, we see that at the time of His birth, innumerable angels of God attended and worshipped Him. The wise of the earth came bearing gifts. The Bible says that Jesus Christ is given the highest name (Php 2:11), and is also given "all power in Heaven and earth" (Matt 28:18). Either Elohim, the God of Abraham, has approved that man should worship Him, the true God alone in this tabernacle, or God has demoted Himself and now recognizes another god.
Question: Was Jesus' power imparted by and enabled through the Holy Ghost experience at Jordan ?
Answer: It depends what power is in question. Regarding
the ministry and life which we are to emulate, yes. Regarding
the demonstration to man that God had manifest in the flesh and
was to be sought and worshipped in Jesus Christ? No. Jesus Christ
was not a normal human being, but Jesus did nothing to prevent
us from the hope that we can live a life of power and victory,
with the anointing of the Holy Ghost. It is not implied that any
child of God will ever become equated in stature to "The
Question: Did Jesus Christ work miracles only through the anointing?
Answer: Some have said, "It was the anointing
of God on Jesus that healed people, not the fact that he was the
Son of God." They go on to say that Jesus' flesh and blood
body did not have the power to heal, any more than yours or mine.
This is true, but it utterly wrong to assume that Jesus was "just
flesh and blood" before the Jordan experience. When the seventy
returned from the mission of casting out devils and healing (Luke
10), they exclaimed that even the devils were subject to them,
not through the anointing, but through Jesus' name. The
text records that the disciples here were appointed, not anointed.
Question: Is there any limit to what the anointing can accomplish in a human life ?
Answer: Yes. Our works may exceed the works that
Jesus did within 3½ years in some measure (perhaps cumulatively,
and perhaps in terms of audience). However, we will not exceed
the stature or majesty of Jesus the Christ. Asked about the timing
of God's program before his ascension, Jesus said "
It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the
Father hath put in his own power." Humanity will never have
access to any knowledge that God has forbidden of man. No anointing
of wisdom will ever do anything that removes a person from the
authority of the Living God.
Question: Since the word Christ means "anointed", can I become Sara Christ, or Ricky Christ, in the same way that Jesus was called Jesus Christ, as He was anointed?
Answer: I think this question illustrates the problem
with the teaching that we are addressing. Some have pointed out
that "Christ was not Jesus' last name, rather it was a title
spotlighting Jesus of Nazareth as one who was anointed. Of course
this is true, but the implication does not follow that the promised
anointing received by a believer makes him a Christ. Its obvious
that such a departure enters into blasphemy. The implication from
this teaching is that Jesus received the title at Jordan, but
the scriptures declare otherwise. The angel announced his birth
saying "For unto you is born this day in the city of David
a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." Jesus was Christ
the Lord in his incarnation.
Jesus was not only anointed with power as witnessed
when John saw the sign, whether an actual imparting of power took
place at this moment or not. Remember that another purpose of
anointing is appointment, identification and selection. Prophet
Micah sees Jesus appointed as Messiah long before the incarnation
"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah,
out of thee shall
he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings
forth have been from of old, from everlasting ." (Micah
The Bible makes it clear that the Lamb was slain
from the foundations of the world (Rev 13:18). When the veil lifted
for a moment, and Peter perceived that Jesus was the Christ (Matt
16:16) he was seeing the eternal plan of God, and glimpsing the
one who was always appointed to be Savior of His
people. One might ask "by whom ?", but it is clear that
the plan, or logos of God was with God from the beginning (John
Question: How significant is the term, in the scripture?
Answer: 151 times in scripture (18 times in the NT), anointing is mentioned.
Ac 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with
the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and
healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with
In Jesus Christ, the plan of God to deliver mankind
is fulfilled. Jesus is anointed (or chosen) of God as the One
and only Christ of God to deliver salvation. To that end God's
plan called for anointing humanity with the Holy Ghost, first
in the only begotten Son, and then in the believing children of
Anointing is a method of blessing to change mankind
by causing his destiny, being and experience to come miraculously
in touch with the divine. Anointing equips humanity to work with
eternal purpose, reflecting the intent of the Creator God.
The Christ is that one who is called the Bishop of
our Souls. His position is unique, and His anointing is unique.
Christians worship this Christ, for He is the Everlasting and
In the tabernacle plan, a shadow of spiritual things,
Aaron the high priest, and the sons of Aaron wore special garments.
The garments had a number of purposes, such as identification,
but primarily the were so that the priest might minister unto
And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted,
whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make
Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister
unto me in the priest's office.
- Exod 28:3
The Talmud, referring to the garments: "When
the priests are clothed in their garments, their priest hood is
upon them. When they are not clothed in their garments, their
priesthood is NOT upon them".
The priest is anointed, in Exodus 28:4 immediate after the garments are put on. Both Aaron a type of the High Priest Jesus Christ, and Aaron's sons, a type of the Royal priesthood of believers, have special garments put on, and then are anointed. Christians need to understanding that the anointing of the Holy Ghost is given to those who obey God (Acts 5:32), and who server after the example of the High Priest, ministering in His stead (2 Cor 5:20).
Identifying God and being in harmony with His power (and his will) are the most significant elements of spiritual life in this age. We must guard against doctrinal error which would move the pillars of our experience askew such that
On the other hand, if Christians do not appreciate and operate in the anointing (i.e. the ability that God gives - see 1 Peter 4:11) they will
Christians need to understand and experience the
power of God. But, above all, they must preserve a sound and Apostolic
doctrine regarding the identity of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ
is the Lord and Savior, and is alone among all names being worthy
of worship, and providing remission of sins through His name in
baptism. True power with God is having a right relationship with
Him, and a confidence which derives from access to all things
which pertain to life and godliness. This comes from the knowledge
According as his divine power hath given unto
us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the
knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: - 2Pet