Biblical Concept of the Anointing



This section of the thesis presents the definition of the anointing within the context of materialism (biblical) and spiritualism (biblical) and introduces biblical references to support the theology of the anointing within the biblical context and the rationale of the utilization of the anointing oil ordinarily and religiously. The chapter gives the basic meanings of the anointing in the Hebrew and Greek languages while presenting the historical origin and purposes of the anointing oil as the result of change in climatic conditions, primitivism, and pious activities in the biblical world. It concludes with various symbolic anointings of the Holy Spirit in connectivity with nature (wind, water, rain, and fire) and materials (oil, wine, and dove).

Definition And Purpose Of The Anointing

Anointing is defined in scripture as either material as oil or spiritual with the Holy Spirit.[1] Primarily, the anointing ordinarily is used when a body or head has been anointed with oil, which has been a common practice with the Jews and other oriental nations (Ruth 3:3; Mic 6:15). Anointing the head with oil or ointment indicated a mark of respect or reverence rendered by a host to his guests (Luke 7:46;Ps 23:5). Another use of the anointing was official as in the case of the inauguration of each of the typical offices of the Jewish commonwealth. Prophets were occasionally anointed to their offices and were eventually nomenclatured as messiahs or the anointed (1Kgs 19:16; 19:16; 1 Chr 16:22; Ps 105:15). In the Jewish commonwealth, priests at the primary institution of the Leviticus priesthood were officially anointed to serve in their offices. In the book of Exodus, it states, “And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations” (Exod40:15KJV). In this situation, Aaron and his children were divinely set apart and inaugurated to serve as priests in the temple in order to offer sacrifices on behalf of the children of Israel. In the book of Numbers, it was recorded, “Those were the names of Aaron’s sons, the anointed priests, who were ordained to serve as priests, Nadab and Abihu, however, fell dead before the Lord when they made an offering with unauthorized fire before Him in the Desert of Sinai. They had no sons; so only Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests during the lifetime of their Father Aaron” (Num 3:3–4 NIV). As recorded in this scripture, two of the sons of Aaron died as the result of unauthorized sacrifice before the Lord; consequently, among the children, only two were left to serve as priests during the lifetime of their Father Aaron. It indicates that the priesthood was ordained by God through the use of the anointing oil; therefore, the oil plays a significant role in the inaugural ceremony performed during the era of the Leviticus priesthood designation.God uses the oil as a symbolic mediator to heal, to deliver, to bless, to set apart, to recognize divine office, to approve and to protect. This is the reason the anointing of God is delineated as being associated with the oil that is material, whereas the Holy Spirit is spiritual.

            On the other hand, the anointing ceremony appears to have been especially reserved for the high priest as recorded in the following texts. In the book of Exodus, it reads, “Aaron’s sacred garments will belong to his descendants so that they can be anointed and ordained in them. The son who succeeds him as priest and comes to the Tent of Meeting to minister in the Holy Place is to wear them seven days” (Exod 29:29–30 NIV). In the book of Leviticus, it reads, “The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his Father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the people of the community” (Lev16:32–33 NIV). In the book of Leviticus, it adds, “If the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, he must bring to the Lord a young bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed” (Lev 4:3 NIV). The high priest was commanded to offer sin offering after having been found guilty of breaking God’s law. This was done to bring peaceful co-existence between God and the priesthood ministry.

            In the Jewish commonwealth, the king was set apart to serve as the representative of God to the people of Israel. The governmental system that existed at the time was called theocracy. God was ruling from heaven through the human king; as the result, the anointing was the principal and divinely appointed ceremony in the inauguration of the Jewish Kings. The following scriptural references indicate the ceremony: In the book of Samuel, it reads, “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him leader over my people Israel; he will deliver my people from the hand of the Philistines. I have looked upon my people, for their cry has reached me” (1 Sam 9:16 NIV). Also in the same book, it reads, “Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, “Has not the Lord anointed you leader over his inheritance” (1 Sam 10:1 NIV)? In the book of Kings, it states, “There have Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel. Blow the trumpet and shout, “Long live King Solomon!” (1Kgs 1:34 NIV) In the same book, it reads, “Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon. Then they sounded the trumpet and all the people shouted, “Long lives King Solomon”(1Kgs 1:39 NIV)! In the following experiences relative to the anointing ceremony and what happened when the king was anointed, he was divinely approved and empowered to carry out the directive of Jehovah since he served as the divine representative from heaven to the people he led. When Saul was anointed, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him in power to enable him defeat the enemies of God’s people (1 Samuel 11–15). It is also recorded that when King Saul sinned against God, God rejected him and asked Samuel to anoint David in his place of kingship. After David was anointed, the Spirit of Lord left Saul andwas transferred to David. The Bible declares that David was changed into a different man (1 Sam10:6). In the book of Samuel, it reads, “So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah” (1Sam16:13 NIV). It also reads, “Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him” (1 Sam 16:14 NIV). After the anointing of David, he was changed into a different man and he grew in the power of the Spirit to enable him defeat Goliath in battle (1 Sam 17:50). The anointing of God transferred to an individual through the power of the Holy Spirit metaphorically witnessed by the symbolic application of the oil brings God’s presence in the life of the individual to lead, to fight battles, to heal, to deliver, to bless, and to overcome the attacks of the devil. The presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of an individual is not only for empowerment, but it is also for distinction in leadership, in one’s career path, in the place of employment, and in places one does not desire to be, such as in prison or dungeon. The anointing of God brings favor and identifies the anointed one to make him known to the world. Joseph had favor with his master Potiphar; unfortunately, he was thrown into prison after Potiphar’s wife accused him falsely of raping her (Gen 39:1–23). By the reason of the anointing on Joseph, he was divinely released from prison and he became the Prime Minister of Egypt after having interpreted the King’s dream (Gen 41:37–44); therefore, God’s anointing is for spiritual empowerment and distinction.This ceremony as a rite was sometimes performed more than once. David was anointed thrice.[2]

            In the Jewish commonwealth not only were the three individuals (prophets, priests, and kings) anointed, but also inanimate objects were also anointed with oil for religious service. Jacob anointed a pillar at Bethel as the result of being reminded by God in this verse, “I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and go back to your native land” (Gen 31:13 NIV). The Lord commended Aaron in Exodus, “Then use it to anoint the Tent of Meeting, the Ark of the Testimony, the table and all its articles, the lamp stand and its accessories, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the basin with its stand” (Exod 30:26–28 NIV). Another system of anointing described in the Old Testament is ascribed to the Deliverer who has been promised under the tile of the Messiah or the Anointed One as proven or stated in these scriptural verses. In the book of Psalm, it reads, “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against His Anointed, saying, let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” (Ps 2:2–3 KJV). Daniel provides this important prophecy, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come and shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined” (Dan 9:25–26 KJV). This designation concerning the Messiah as the Anointed One was revealed to Daniel, the prophet; therefore, the anointing of the Messiah was prophetic. Indeed everything Daniel adage in his vision concerning the Messiah or the Anointed One had been fulfilled in scriptures when Jesus was delivered to be crucified based on God’s providence and divine allowance to bring His mission into consummation (died to save humanity).Also, the prophet Isaiah prophesied concerning the Messiah or the Anointed One when the Spirit of Christ spoke through the prophet saying, “The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isa 61:1–3 NIV). This prophecy was palpable when Jesus entered his home town Synagogue and He was handled the scroll of Isaiah to read as recorded in the gospel of St. Luke. He read, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the Synagogue were fastened on Him, and He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:18–21 NIV). In these scriptures, Jesus of Nazareth is shown to be the Messiah, or Christ or the Anointed One of the Old Testament prophetic fulfillment. This identification was also made when Andrew found his brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (this is, the Christ) (John 1:41 NIV). Similarly after Saul’s conversion, “He grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ”(Acts 9:22 NIV). In his later mission work, “As his custom was, Paul went into the Synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you as the Christ, he said” (Acts 17:2–3 NIV). Likewise Apollos vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ” (Acts 18:28 NIV). The historical fact of Jesus being anointed with the Holy Spirit is recorded in these scriptures. John testifies, “Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit comes down from heaven as a dove and remains on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, the man on whom you see the Spirit comes down and remains is He who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. I have seen and I testified that this is the Son of God” (John 1:32–34 NIV). Peter referred to Jesus’ baptism by telling Cornelius, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him” (Acts 10:38 NIV). In these verses, the nature of his anointing is intended to show how Jesus became spiritual with the Holy Spirit while at the same time; God has anointed him to be prophet, priest, and king. The use of the anointing oil is also prescribed to the New Testament church ministry by Saint James to be used for the recovery of the sick. He asks, “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 he hath committed sins, they shall be forgiven him” (Jas 5:14–15 KJV).Thisuse of the anointingoil was also practiced by the apostles when they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them (Mark 6:13). Here we see that the anointing is also being used for an ecclesiastical reason to minister healing to the sick. In Roman Catholicism, the anointing in James is regarded as the “Sacrament of the Extreme Unction” and it is considered to be the sacrament given to the church for healing the sick or anointing the sick that are on their deathbeds.[3]

            The other area that the Smith’s Bible Dictionary points out concerning the anointing is that it categorizes it as the spiritual anointing with the Holy Spirit that is conferred upon Christians by God[4]. In Corinthians, it reads, “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Cor 1:21–22 NIV). This anointing given to Christians by God serves as the expression of the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit who rendered them to be priests and kings unto God. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia edited by Eager, the ancient Hebrews made a distinction with anointing oil in private use in making one’s toilet (cukh) and the anointing oil as a religious rite (mashach).[5] Ordinarily, anointing oil was used as native olive oil mixed with perfumes for toilet purposes.[6]On the other hand, the olive oil used as anointing oil in Palestine was used to protect the skin from cold as the result of its heat capability to sooth the body (Ruth 3:3). It was applied freely to expose part of the body particularly the face (Ps 104:15). The practice was in fashion before King David era and its practices may be found throughout the Old Testament era (Deut 28:40; Ruth 3:3; 2 Sam 12:20; 14:2; 2 Chr 28:15; Ezek 16:9; Mic 6:16; Dan 10:3). In the New Testament, anointing with oil seems to have been part of the daily toilet throughout the East (Matt 6:17). Whenever people abstained from the practice of anointing, it often meant that the individuals were mourning (2 Sam 14:2) whereas resuming it meant that the mourning was over (Matt 6:17; 2 Sam 12:20; 14:2; Dan 10:3; Jdt 10:3). After mourning before using the anointing oil, it was accompanied by the bath (Ruth 3:3; 2 Sam 12:20; Ezek 16:9; Sus 17). The practice of the anointing oil usage was customary part for preparing for a feast (Eccl 9:8; Ps 23:5).and the manner in which a guest was giving honor was to anoint his head with oil (Ps 23:5; Luke 7:46) and another way of honor for the guest was to anoint his feet (Luke 7:38).

            Another use of the anointing oil according to the literature was religious. The anointing oil as the religious ceremony was practiced throughout the ancient east in application both to persons and things.[7] The practice oftheanointing was observed in Canaan long before the Hebrew conquest, and Weinel holds that oil was generally used in Israel as an agricultural custom borrowed from the Canaanites; therefore, the anointing with sacred oil was an outgrowth from its regular use for toilet purposes.[8] According to International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, thecukh or use of the oil for toilet purposes had an agricultural and secular origin, whereas the use of oil for sacred purposes, mashach, had a nomadic and sacrificial origin. Robertson Smith finds the origin of the sacred anointing in the very ancient custom of smearing the sacred fat on the altar (matstsebhah), and claims, rightly it would seem, that from the first there was a distinct and consistent usage, distinguishing the two terms above.[9] The word mashach is a Hebrew word borne out of the Arabic meaning “to daub” or “ to smear.”[10]It is used of painting a ceiling in Jer 22:14 and the anointing of shield in Isa 21:5. It is consistently applicable to sacred furniture contemporary to the altar in Exod 29:36 and Dan 9:24 and to the sacred pillar in Gen 31:13. The most significant uses of mashach are found not to the application to things, but to certain sacred persons. The oldest and most sacred person for the anointing was the king whom oil was poured upon his head at his coronation. This religious ceremony was not held in Israel only for the king, but it was also held in Egypt and elsewhere (Judg 9:8, 15; 1 Sam 9:16; 10:1; 2 Sam 19:10; 1 Kgs 1:39, 45; 2 Kgs 9:3, 6; 11:12). The anointing was reserved for the king in the earliest period so that the Lord’s anointed became synonymous for the king (1 Sam 12:3, 5; 26:11; 2 Sam 1:14; Ps 20:6). The practice of the anointing of the king is thought by some that the practice was also carried out in Egypt andwas known to have been observed as a rite in Canaan at a very early day. For Example, Tell el-Amarna Letters 37 records the anointing of a king.[11] Among the Hebrews it was believed that the anointing did not only transfer to the anointed individual something of holiness and virtue of the deity in whose name and representative the rite was performed, but it also imparted a special endowment of the Spirit of Yahweh (1 Sam 16:13; Isa 61:1). The reverence for the king as a sacred personage, “as the anointed” is passed into our language through the Greek Christos as “Christ.”

            In conclusion, this section gives the definition of the anointing with respect to materialism and spiritualism in the context of biblical practice, gives biblical references that support the biblical theology of the anointing, incorporates oriental nations culturally as part of the practice based on ancient history, gives the rationale of the use of the anointing oil in agriculture and the coronation of the Jewish kings, priests, and prophets, mentioned believers as the anointed of God through the Holy Spirit, and presents Christ as the Anointed One.

Basic Meaning Of The Anointing



The Hebrew word for the anointing is mashach(מָשַׁח) that signifies to smear or to anoint.[12] In the NAS Exhaustive Concordance, the same word signifies, to smear, to anoint, or to painting and to spreading.[13] InBrown-Driver-Briggs,mashach(מָשַׁח)is the verb that signifies, to smear or to anoint which is originally from the Arabic word meaning, to wipe or to stroke with the hand.[14]Mashach is a Hebrew word mentioned in the following scriptures meaning to anoint a person and set apart him for the use of God, to anoint religious items for worship, to anoint a place where God’s presence is, or to adorn a place of worship (Num 3:25; Lev 16:32; 7:36; Ps 45:8; 1 Sam 10:1; 16:12; 2 Sam 3:39; 1:21; Gen 31:13; Amos 6:6; Isa 21:5; Jer 22:14; Judg 9:8, 15; Dan 9:24; Hos 8:3; Exod 29:2, 29; 40:15). In Jeremiah, it reads, “He says, ‘I will build myself a great palacewith spacious upper rooms.’ So he makes large windows in it, panels it with cedar and decorates it in red” (Jer 22:14 NIV). Isaiah records, “They set the tables, they spread the rugs, they eat, they drink! Get up, you officers, oil the shields” (Isa 21:5 NIV). Samuel states, “Mountains of Gilboa,may you have neither dew nor rain, may no showers fall on your terraced fields. For there the shield of the mighty was despised, the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil” (2 Sam 1:21 NIV). Samuel adds, “Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, “Has not the Lord anointed you ruler over his inheritance” (1 Sam 10:1 NIV)? The phrases ‘decorate it in red’ in Jer 22:14, ‘oil the shields’ in Isa 21:5, ‘rubbed with oil’ in 2 Sam 1:21 and ‘anoint your ruler in 1 Sam 10:1,’ all use the same Hebrew word mashash. Weapons used in warfare, religious vessels for sacrifice and adulation, consign of worship, and designated individual for devout service were consecrated to be used materially and individually similarly for individuals who serve in the kingly, the priestly, or the prophetic office.

            Mashach in the Hebrew language signifies as indicated in the following scriptures, to color or to paint a house (Jer 22:14; Isa 21:5, 2 Sam 1:21; Exod 29:2; Lev 2:4; Num 6:15). It also signifies, to solemnly set apart to an office by the use of oil poured on the head as portrayed in the following biblical passages (1 Kgs 1:39;19:16; 2 Kgs 11:12; 23:30; Isa 61:1; Judg 9:8; Hos 8:3; 7:3; 1 Sam 16:3, 12, 13; 2 Chr 22:7; 23:11; Ps 89:21). It denotes consecrating an individual for pious services as seen in the Aaronic priestly designation (Exod 28:41; 29:7; 30:30; 40:13; 29:29; Lev 7:36; 8:12; 16:32; Num 3:3). In conclusion, maschach implies setting apart sacred things as recorded in the following scriptures (Gen 31:13; Exod 29:36; 30:26; 40:9; Lev 8:10; Dan 9:24; 1 Chr 14:8; Num 7:10). There are 69 occurrences of maschach indicating anointing a person, a place, and a sacrosanct thing.[15]


The second Hebrew word for the anointing is mashiyach (מָשַׁח).[16] It is the Hebrew masculine noun that signifies the Anointed One or the Messiah of the Messianic prince, the king of Israel, the high priest of Israel, or the patriarchs as anointed kings.Mashiyach or the anointed usually refers to a consecrated personality such as a king, a priest, or a saint principally the Messiah. Mashiyach occurs 39 times in the 38 verses of the Hebrew Concordance of the King James Version (KJV).[17] The following quotations exactly refer to the anointing in the Hebrew word, mashiyach: In Leviticus, it reads, “If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the Lord for a sin offering” (Lev 4:3 KJV). In the same book, it reads, “And the priest that is anointed shall take of the bullock’s blood, and bring it to the tabernacle of the congregation” (Lev 4:5 KJV). Moses adds, “And the priest that is anointed shall bring of the bullock’s blood to the tabernacle of the congregation” (Lev 4:16 KJV). He concludes, “And the priest of his sons that is anointed in his stead shall offer it a statute for ever unto the Lord; it shall be wholly burnt” (Lev 6:22 KJV). In Samuel, it reads, “The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed” (1Sam 2:10 KJV). In the identical book, it states, “And I will raise me up a faithful priest, shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed forever” (1 Sam 2:35 KJV). Samuel concludes, “Behold, here I am witness against me before the Lord and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken or whose ass have I taken or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith? And I will restore it to you” (1 Sam 12:3 KJV). The word anointed in these scriptural verses uses the Hebrew masculine noun mashiyach, and it only gives reference to a person designated as king or priest.



In Greek, the original word for the anointing oil or ointment is muron (μύρον, ου, τό).[18] In the Thayer’s Greek Lexicon according to Strong’s, muron (μύρον) derives frommuro (μύρῳ) that signifies a flowing juice and a trickling sap.[19] It is probably correct to regard it as an oriental word akin to mura (μύρρα). It is related to the Hebrew word mur (מֹר, מור) that is connected with the root, smar, signifying to smear. It signifies ointment. Where, it reads, “There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat”(Matt27:7 KJV). The word ointment is recorded in the following scriptures (Mark 14:3–4; Luke 7:37; 23:56; John 11:3, 5; Rev 18:13). During Jesus’ visitation at Simon’s house, he recognized the woman of anointing his feet with ointment (Luke 7:46). In Proverbs 27:7, it reads, “Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart; so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel” (Prov 27:7 KJV). In John 11:2, it reads, “It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick” (John 11:2 KJV). In John 12, it reads, “Then took Mary a pound of ointment of 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”(John 12:3 KJV). In John 12:5, his disciples suggested that the ointment be sold and given to the poor. There are fourteen occurrences of ointment synonymous to the anointing mentioned in these scriptural verses.


In Greek according to the Strong’s Concordance, the anointing oil is the olive oil called elaion (ἔλαιον, ου, τό).[20] Figuratively, it refers to the indwelling empowering of the Holy Spirit. All true believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. In the Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, elaion (λαιον) refers to the olive oil used for feeding lamps (Matt 25:3f, 8).[21] It is used for the healing of the sick (Mark 6:13; Luke 10:34; Jas 5:14). It is used for anointing the head and body at feasts (Luke 7:46; Heb 1:9). It is mentioned among thearticles of commerce (Luke 16:6; Rev 6:6; 18:13; Mark 6:13). The Greek word elaion(ἔλαιον) occurs eleven times in scriptures.


Aleipho is the lexicon form in the first person conjugation that signifies, I anoint in festivity, in homage, in medicinal, or in anointing of the dead. Aleipho properly indicates to rub or to smear olive oil on the body.[22] Aleipho is the ordinary term used for physically anointing the body with olive oil. Since the anointing brought healing and relief, it became synonymous with gladness (festivity). Aleipho usually applied olive oil on.the face to refresh a guest. It was also applied to the feet to sooth and show honor. It shares a penetrating comfort to impart strength and healing. In the following scriptures, aleipho is best explained: Mark records, “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body” (Mark 16:1 NIV). John also records, “Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (John 12:3 NIV). The following scriptures justify what aleipho signifies with reference to the anointing (Luke 7:38, 46; Mark 6:13; Jas 5:14; John 11:2; Matt 6:17). There are nine occurrences of aleipho in the New Testament.


Another Greek word for the anointing is charisma(χρῖσμα).[23] It refers to the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit who guides the believer into the fullness of God’s preferred-will and He functions through faith. For example, God is inwardly persuading the believer of His preferences (Hab 2:1–4; 1 John 5:4).


Another word for the anointing is chrió (χρίω). It is a verb in the first person singular which signifies, to anoint, or to consecrate by anointing[24]. The word denotes to anoint by rubbing or pouring olive oil on someone that influences the flow or the empowering of the Holy Spirit. This anointing literally involved rubbing olive oil on the head particularly to present someone as divinely-authorized to serve as prophet, priest, or king (1 Kgs 19:16; Lev 8:12; Ps 133:2; 1 Sam 10:1; 16:13; 2 Sam 2:4; 5:3). In the Thayer’s Greek Lexicon,[25] chrio signifies to touch with the hand, to besmear as recorded in the Septuagint for the Hebrew word mashach (מָשַׁח) that signifies to anoint the person who had received the anointing among the Hebrews.[26] Such anointing known as chrisma (χρῖσμα) in the New Testament is topically applied when God consecrated Jesus to the Messianic office and furnished him with the power necessary for his administration (Luke 4:18; Isa 61:1; Heb 1:9; Ps 44:8; Acts 10:38; 4:27; 1 John 2:20; 2 Cor 1:21).

Historical Origin Of The Anointing Oil

The use of the anointing oil extensively was the result of its refreshing nature it had on primitive men to refresh or to sooth the skin in hot and dry climatic condition.[27] Not only did primitive men use olive oil, but they also used fat substances of animal flesh to prevent the effect of excessive heat on their skins. Looking at the practices of primitive men on the use of the anointing oil, it can be inferred that biblical practices might have been accommodated by the Near Eastern populations as biblical people and the Near East people shared the identical cultural and cognitive environment. The tendency for cultural practices to exist and to permeate in such environment was inevitable due to the co-existence of biblical people with the Near East populations. The biblical practices accommodated and adopted by the Near Eastern populations particularly primitive men was not just cultural, but the refreshing nature the oil has to heal sores and to sooth the cracked skin of primitive men in dry and hot climatic surroundings. The anointing oil was also utilized as the result of cosmetic purpose because oil is a poor conductor of heat; it protects the skin against sun’s rays and prevents excessive perspiration by closing the pores. It soothes the pain of burnt and cracked skin and produces a sense of well-being.[28] The use of the anointing oil was for comfort and luxury for guests who arrived to pay a visit to their neighbors and the stopping of the use of the anointing oil was considered self-punishment. Peifer comments that guests are made comfortable in the same way (Ps 22:5), and the failure of Simon the Pharisee to offer this honor to Jesus was considered a distinct lack of etiquette (Luke 7:46).[29] So closely was anointing connected with comfort and luxury that its omission was considered a lack of hospitality. The second rationale is that the anointing oil was used for medicinal or curative purposes. The use of it was not based on the properties of the oil to heal, but its use sometimes comprised of religious and magical basis. Its origin of practice resulted from the ancients discovery that oil possessed curative powers for types of sicknesses, particularly ailments of the skin. Using it would refresh and comfort the patient and medical prescriptions revealed both in Egypt and in Mesopotamia mentioned anointing with oil as a popular remedy for sickness.[30] The third use of the anointing oil was for ritual purpose. The anointing oil was poured on religious vessels, altars, and significantly, the king, the priest, and prophet were anointed with oil to set them apart for the use of Jehovah. Both pagans and biblical people used the oil in their religious rites. It was believed that using the anointing oil could bring about some mystical or magical powers to the persons or things that have been anointed. Godly king, priest, and prophet of Jehovah received supernatural endowment of power when they were anointed with oil and set apart for the use of God.[31]While this was biblical original practice historically, it also has its practice among the Assyrians, the Babylonian, the Egyptians, the Hittites, and the Canaanites. Among the Hittites and the Canaanites, the rite was used as the coronation of a king by anointing.[32] In Israel, the king was anointed to serve as the representative of God from heaven to the people he led. It was a ceremony performed to set apart the king and to empower him for battle and leadership in Israel. Not only was the king anointed, but the priest was also anointed to serve in the temple to offer blood sacrifices to God on behalf of the children of Israel.[33] Among the ancients, when the anointing was carried out on a subject, it was believed that certain supernatural characteristics were conferred upon the individual who had been anointed. In the context of Israel’s inauguration of kings, priests, and prophets, the sacred oil of anointing which belonged in a special manner to Yahweh, sanctified all whom it touched.[34] This was the religious significance imparted by the ceremony.

            The fourth reason for the anointing of these officials was for divine election and appointment. As Israel was chosen by Yahweh out of all other nations; therefore, He singled out certain individuals to direct Israel to its maker. The anointing was the channel of divine election made known as the king became the choice of Yahweh Himself.[35] The article by Powell entitled, “What is Biblical Anointing,” delineates and examines the typical view of the anointing in the Old Testament giving the meaning and its significance.[36] These typical views include anointed places that signify the presence of God and His activities (Gen 28:18–19; 35:14–15; John 4:19–24). It also refers to anointed objects destined purposely for the use of God (Exod 29:36; Rev. 1:8; 21:6; Heb 9:12–14). It refers to anointed persons indicating the personage of the priest, prophet, and the king (1Sam 10:1; 16:1, 13; Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38) and the general anointing upon God’s people (2 Cor 1:21–22; 1 John 2:20; 2:27). There are also several prohibitions to observe with relative to the anointing as indicated in the following scriptural passages (Exod 30:31–33; 30:22–25; 34; Ps 133:2). Certain kinds of anointing were only reserved and applicable to God; as the result, no human being was allowed to wear it or use it.

            In conclusion, the origin, the practice of anointing coupled with its usages had customary, religious, ritual, climatic, cultural, and official implications historically.

Various Symbolic Anointings

Oil and the Holy Spirit

There are various symbolisms used in the Bible to represent the Holy Spirit. Among the symbolisms used is the oil that shows a direct link between the Holy Spirit and His imparts to a place, a thing, and a person. With respect to a person, when the priest, prophet, and king were anointed with oil, the Holy Spirit came upon them in power and made them people of distinction (1 Sam 10:1; 2 Sam 5:1–5; 9–10). Samuel records, “And the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man” (1 Sam 10:6 KJV). Prior to the Spirit of the Lord coming upon David to enable him prophesies with the procession of the prophets from the high place, he had been anointed with oil by Samuel (1 Sam 10:1, 10). On the other hand, the Spirit of Christ or prophecy was in the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn in Zion” (Isa 61:1–2 NIV). This prophecy was self-pronounced when the Lord Jesus entered his hometown Synagogue and the scroll of Isaiah was handled to him (Luke 4:18–20). Peter narrated the fulfillment of this prophecy when he paid a visit to Cornelius in this manner,“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him” (Acts 10:38 NIV). In these scriptures, the Holy Spirit is symbolically described as the oil. God has anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit (oil) to comfort all who mourn, to provide for those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, and the oil of gladness instead of a Spirit of despair (Isa 61:3). Oil has been very significant when it comes to providing healing and comfort to the crack skins of primitive men, in honoring gusts, beautifying the body of mourners after tragic events, and the empowering of Jewish officials to serve as kings, priests, and prophets unto Jehovah. What oil has been used for in history proves its symbolic relevancy to the Holy Spirit; therefore, there is a direct link between the oil and the Holy Spirit when it comes to the inaugurations of Jewish officials, consecrations of religious vessels, the anointing of Jesus, the ordination of Old and New Testament ministers, and the deliverance and healing ministries of the church universally.

Rain and the Holy Spirit

Rain plays very significant roles in Israelite agrarian and biblical society. Cisterns discovered by archaeologists in Israel manifest the valuable explanation concerning the significance of water and the necessity to preserve it for the dry season. In Israel, the rainy season begins from December to February of the year and the early rain prior to the rainy season comes mid-October through early November. This rain facilitates the germination of seeds and the growth of crops agriculturally. This rain is called the early rain that comes before the letter rain. After the early rain is followed by the latter rain from March to April and this rain contributes to the maturation of the crop; therefore, the early rain was considered very vital to the Israelite lives and was considered a gift from God (Deut 11:14; Jer 5:24; Matt 5:45).[37] The lack of rain in Israel was considered to be the result of sins and rebelliousness of the people against God (Jer 3:3). The ideology behind rain is that rain was associated with the power of God over nature (1 Kgs 17:1; Isa 5:6) and His blessing (Ps 84:6; 147:8) accompanied by His favors to humanity (Hos 6:3). Its connectivity with agricultural activities indicates an expression of God’s care for the lives of the inhabitants and soil fertility (Deut 11:10, 11; Lev 26:4). In the same token, the connection between life and rain permits its usage as the symbol of wisdom (Prov 18:4) and godly instruction (Deut 3:2). Metaphorically, rain is associated with the just king who is a blessing to all instead of a threat (2 Sam 23:4). The adverse side of rain is, it is a symbol of chaos and destruction (Gen 7:11). Rodriquez said that both rain and the Holy Spirit were sent by God as a demonstration of His concern for life.[38] The image of the early and latter rains could relate to two works of the Holy Spirit within Christendom today: the experience at Pentecost and the second events before the return of Christ to earth. The eschatological work announced by the prophet Joel was partially fulfilled during the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:18). This metaphorically could be nomenclatured as early rain in biblical history; however, this prophecy referred to a great and glorious day of the Lord suggesting full manifestation of the Spirit anticipated (Acts 2:19–20). The eschatological work of the Holy Spirit would follow and make the promulgation of the message of judgment and the salvation of the human race.[39] In conclusion, symbolic anointings that include the oil, the rain, the River of Living Water, the wind, the wine, the fire, and the dove are metaphorically used to represent the works of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church. The Holy Spirit is described as the Rivers of Living Water (John 7:37–38). He is described as the wind (Acts 2:1–4; John 3:1–6). He is also described as the wine (Eph 5:8). He is called the Spirit of burning and fire (Isa 4:4; Acts 2:3). He came as a dove during the baptism of Jesus (Matt 3:16; Mark 1:8).

Chapter 1 Summary

The anointing of God is categorically defined in term of materialism and spiritualism in the context of biblical theology; meanwhile, its purposes of utilization are categorically ordinary, ritual, religious, environmental (climate change), medicinal, and ecclesiastical. Its variability with respect to its morphology and basic definitions in Greek and Hebrew languages indicate its significance in the history of biblical theology. The various forms of anointing such as moron, elaion, aleipho, charisma, and chrio define anointing slightly different from one another based on the situation and application; likewise, the Hebrew words maschach and mashiyach also define the anointing in different context based on the object and its application. For example, maschach is a Hebrew word that means to anoint or to smear oil on both things and person; unlike, the Hebrew word, mashiyach, it signifies to anoint a person. It does not refer to anointing imamate object as maschach advocates for. In conclusion, the change in climatic condition during the era of primitivism and religious implications obliged or necessitated the use of the anointing oil; meanwhile, it was used for medicinal purpose to sooth the cracked skins of primitive men and religious purposes to inaugurate the Jewish religious officials. Basically, the anointing is defined in the context of the oil and the Spirit; however, there are symbolic anointings that describe the work of the Holy Spirit based on their characteristics contemporary to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is described biblically in scripture as the River of Living water, the Latter Rain, the Wind, the Wine, the Fire, and the Oil.

[1]William Smith, “Anointing in Smith’s Bible Dictionary,” n.p. [Cited 11 November 2016]. Online:

[2]Ralph w. Klein, “Commentary on 2 Samuel 5:1–5, 9–10,”n.p. [Cited 11 November 2016]. Online:

[3]Father Williams, “Lesson 27: The Sacrament of Extreme Unction,”n.p. [Cited 7 February 2017]. Online:

[4]Ibid., n.p .

[5]George B. Eager ed.,“Anointing” in the Jewish Encyclopedia,” 1901, IV, ix, 10, DB, n.p.[Cited 29 October 2016]. Online:

[6]Ibid., n.p .

[7]Ibid., n.p .

[8]James Orr., ed., International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, n.p. [Cited 12 November 2016]. Online:

[9]Ibid., n.p .

[10]Ibid., n.p .

[11]Ibid., n.p .

[12]Ibid., n.p .

[13]Robert L. Thomas, NAS Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible with Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries (The Lockman Foundation), 1981, 1998, n.p.[Cited 9 January 2017]. Online:

[14]Francis Brown, S.R Driver, and Charles A. Briggs, The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, n.p. [Cited 9 January 2017]. Online:

[15]Ibid., n.p .

[16] Jane Elizabeth Cody, Blue Letter Bible, n.p. [Cited 10 January 2017]. Online: htts://

[17]Ibid., n.p .

[18] James Strong, Strong’s Concordance of the Bible, n.p. [Cited 14 January 2017]. Online:

[19]Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek Lexicon (Electronic Database: Bible Soft, Inc), 2002, 2003, 2011, n.p. [Cited 14 January 2017]. Online:

[20]Ibid., n.p .

[21]Ibid., n.p .

[22]Ibid., n.p .

[23]Ibid., n.p .

[24]Ibid., n.p .

[25]Ibid., n.p .

[26]Ibid., n.p .

[27]Claude Peifer, “Anointing in the Old Testament,”W35 No 9(Oct 1961): 577–586.

[28]Ibid., 29.


[30]Ibid., 30.

[31]Ibid., 34.

[32]Ibid., 35.

[33]Ibid., 36.

[34]Ibid., 37.

[35]Ibid., 37.

[36]Philip L. Powell, “What is Biblical Anointing,”n.p. [Cited 11 January 2017]. Online:

[37]Angel Manuel Rodriquez, “Images of the Holy Spirit (Latter Rain),” n.p. [Cited 12 January 2017]. Online:

[38]Ibid., n.p.

[39]Ibid., n.p.