Below are two (unedited) articles I wrote over four years ago.
I wrote them to address the problems I saw associated with the use of the terms “anointing” and “anointed” by many Pentecostal/Charismatic believers.
Considering the great emphasis and prominence being given to “anointing” in charismanic circles today, I had look at all of the NT references to “anointing” or “being anointed” to see how current beliefs and practices align with scripture.
Consider these questions as you read the list.
Do any of the very FEW New Testament references to believers being anointed resemble the MANY references of anointing being thrown around today? Does it seem like the NT gives as much prominence to “anointing” as the present church is giving?
Do these references even indicate that there is any additional anointing to receive than the one we already have?
Do any of these references indicate that some believers are more anointed than others or that they can have a different anointing than other believers?
Is there any indication at all in the NT that there are different types of anointing that can be received – as is preached by certain prominent people in the “church” today?
Please see my additional comments below the list.
LITERAL ANOINTING WITH OIL, OINTMENT ETC. (12 references)
(Mat 6:17) But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
(Mar 6:13) And they cast out many demons, and anointed many who were sick with oil, and healed them.
(Mar 14:8) She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for the burying.
(Mar 16:1) And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James and Salome, had bought sweet spices so that they might come and anoint Him.
(Luk 7:38) And she stood behind Him, weeping at His feet, and she began to wash His feet with tears and wipe them with the hair of her head. And she ardently kissed His feet and anointed them with the ointment.
(Luk 7:46) You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with ointment.
(Joh 9:6) And when He had spoken these things, He spat on the ground and made clay from the spittle. And He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay.
(Joh 9:11) He answered and said, A man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, Go to the pool of Siloam and wash. And going and washing, I received sight.
(Joh 11:2) (And it was that Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
(Joh 12:3) Then Mary took a pound of ointment of pure spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.
(Jas 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.
(Rev 3:18) I counsel you to buy from Me gold purified by fire, so that you may be rich; and white clothing, so that you may be clothed, and so that the shame of your nakedness does not appear. And anoint your eyes with eye salve, so that you may see.
JESUS ANOINTED (4 references)
(Luk 4:18) “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me; because of this He has anointed Me to proclaim the Gospel to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim deliverance to the captives, and new sight to the blind, to set at liberty those having been crushed,
(Act 4:27) For truly, against Your holy child Jesus, whom You have anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the nations, and the people of Israel, were gathered together
(Act 10:38) how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and He went about doing good, and healing all those who were oppressed by the Devil, for God was with Him.
(Heb 1:9) You have loved righteousness and hated iniquity, therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your fellows.”
ANOINTING AND THE BELIEVER (3 references)
(2Co 1:21) But He confirming us and anointing us with you in Christ is God.
(1Jn 2:20) But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.
(1Jn 2:27) But the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true and no lie, and as He has taught you, abide in Him.
The anointing we are able to receive is given by GOD and is not passed on or given haphazardly by any human or angelic agency.
There are two New Testament that seem to contradict that statement but I think it would be wrong to associate them with the actions of some well known preachers today, who present themselves as being a type of “anointing distribution agency”.
The first of these references is:
Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who, coming down, prayed concerning them in order that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of Christ Jesus. Then they laid hands upon them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
The abusers of “the anointing” could very well use that reference to justify what they are doing. However, I see a vast difference between the practices and claims of the “anointing imparters” and this example from scripture. This clearly states that it is the Holy Spirit, a person of the Godhead that is received. And in naming Him there is an emphasis on HOLINESS. Any resulting experience would therefore be consistent with His holy character.
Contrast this with the impersonal idea of AN anointing or several anointings.
The other reference is:
Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. (1Tim. 4:14)
We need to recognise in this verse that Paul is not describing the impartation of an “anointing” – I understand that term (with regard to the believer) is reserved specifically to describe the impartation of the Holy Spirit by God. I would also note that the anointing of prophets, priests and kings with oil was ALWAYS applied to the head and flowed down from the head. Jesus is our head and the anointing can only flow to us from him.
Additionally, it was the eldership that did the laying on of hands. This needs to be read in the context of what Paul also says about the qualifications needed for eldership and contrast them with the “superstar” preachers propagating their own “anointings”. Genuine elders have accountability to those they serve. They are accessible enough to have the fruit of their lives and ministries assessed. They are NOT inaccessible superstar preachers who are separated from their audience by their celebrity status.
The church today idolises the “anointed” Christian Superstar. These Superstars can be individual big name preachers, or they can be well known centres of “REVIVAL” or “REFRESHING”. Many Christians put a lot of faith in these Superstars and invest significant quantities of time and money in seeking the anointed ministry they offer.
I have to confess I was one of those seekers. I’d run from conference to conference; from speaker to speaker, and I’d buy as many of the tapes and books I could afford (I admit the “tapes” reference probably shows my age!). However, looking back with honesty, I can see that I never received what I was led to expect – because my expectations were misdirected. Not only was I being careless by running here and there to seek an imparted blessing from God, I was being disobedient!
It is now clear to me that chasing after “anointed” ministers, or groups that claim to be spreading “the anointing”, is the VERY thing that Jesus warned believers against in Matthew 24:23-26
Then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ! Or, There! Do not believe it.
For false Christs (anointed ones) and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders; so much so that, if it were possible, they would deceive even the elect. Behold, I have told you beforehand.
Therefore if they shall say to you, Behold, He is in the desert! Do not go out. Behold, He is in the secret rooms! Do not believe it.
Taking into account that the title “Christ” means anointed one, how many of these big name preachers are claiming to be specially anointed? So when we rush off to places because the anointed ones are there… we have ignored Jesus’ warning and we have opened ourselves to deception.
When we rush off to conferences to hear their imported “anointed” guest preachers (usually at a price of course) – or to any other place where “anointed” ministers are advertised we are disobeying Jesus’ SPECIFIC and clear warning and opening ourselves to deception. We don’t need to chase the anointing – in fact we are warned and commanded not to do so.
The term “anointing” is used in scripture ONLY to refer to the anointing of believers with the Holy Spirit (or a literal anointing with oil as a type of the Holy Spirit). There are NO alternative anointings in scripture and no anointings by any other name. I suggest great suspicion be shown when you hear of any specifically named anointing (for example “warrior anointing”). I can not see scripture supporting such a thing. The same goes for individuals who claim they have a special anointing not shared by others.
As Christians we are no less anointed than any other Christian no matter how famous or high profile they may be. If you are in Christ “the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true and no lie, and as He has taught you, abide in Him.” (1 Jn 2:27)
God’s anointing isn’t increased according to the level of celebrity someone attains, neither does it increase according to the amount of TV air time they have. We do not need to seek the “anointing” of other people. Instead we turn to the source of the “anointing” – our Heavenly Father, through the Lord Jesus Christ.