The Anointing Oil
July 18th, 1965 @ 8:15 AM
THE ANOINTING OIL
Dr. W. A. Criswell
7-18-65 8:15 a.m.
On the radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the morning message entitled The Anointing Oil. In this series of messages on the Holy Spirit, we are speaking of the emblems of the Spirit of God in the Bible. And today the emblem presented from the Holy Scriptures is The Anointing Oil.
In the fourth chapter of the Book of Zechariah:
And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is awakened out of his sleep,
And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof:
And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.
So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord?
Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.
Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.
Palestine is a land of the olive tree. If you visit Palestine, almost certainly you will come back with a Bible or a New Testament, the covers of which are carved out of olive wood, or you will buy a figure or a figurine, inevitably it is carved out of olive wood. And the land is dotted with olive groves of ancient day. In the garden of Gethsemane, they will show you olive trees under which they say Jesus Himself bowed in prayer, olive trees two thousand years old.
The oil of the olive berry was one of the vital parts of the life of God’s people, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. It was used for food. It was used for cooking. It was used for medicine. It was used for light. It was used in worship. And typically everywhere oil is referred to in the Bible, typically, typologically, and uniformly, it refers to the Holy Spirit. It is an emblem of the Holy Spirit of God, the anointing oil.
The tabernacle was anointed by oil in its every separate part, including the outside great altar and the laver [Exodus 40:9-11]. Every vessel and every part of the tabernacle was consecrated with anointing oil. Inside the Holy Place, the light that shined from the seven-branched lampstand burned pure beaten olive oil [Exodus 27:20]; a type, a figure of the revelation and illumination of the Holy Spirit of God. And had it not been for the oil in the lamps, and the light therefrom, all of the beauties of Christ in His redemptive work, reflected in the table of showbread, and in the seven-branched lampstand, and in the golden altar of incense, and in the beautifully embroidered linens [Exodus 26:1], all of that would have been in utter and complete darkness. It was as the lamp burned that the glories of Christ, seen in the types in the tabernacle, are looked upon [Exodus 40:24-25]. The way was made plain in the Holy Place by the burning lamp of the Holy Spirit of God [Exodus 40:24-25].
In the sacrifices, oil was so often used, consecrating oil [Leviticus 7:12]. In the meal offering, made out of fine flour, a picture of the bruised Lord, oil was mixed in the meal offering, and then poured on top of it when it was offered unto God [Leviticus 2:1]. The fine flour, a picture of the purity of the humanity and character of our Lord, and oil mixed with it [Luke 4:18]; He was conceived of the Holy Spirit [Luke 1:30-35], and in the power of the Holy Spirit He did His work [Luke 3:22]. And the oil poured upon it as the Holy Spirit was poured upon Christ our Lord [Luke 4:18]; it was beaten oil, beaten oil [Leviticus 24:2].
After the sacrifice of Christ and the bruising of our Lord [Matthew 27:32-50, Genesis 3:15], then the Holy Spirit is poured out [Acts 2:1-4]; one of the many, many and multitudinous, one of the many illustrations of the inspiration of the Word of God is found in that typology. Unvarying, never changing, all through the Word of God, always first that bruising, that beating, that suffering, that pouring out of blood, that burnt sacrifice, and then thereafter the pouring out of the Holy Spirit and the grace and the blessings of God, always in that order [Genesis 1:2].
First, there will be the sacrifice of our Isaac [Genesis 22:1-14], then the sending of Eliezer to find a bride for the beloved son [Genesis 24:1-27]. First, there is the burnt sacrifice, then the meal offering with its oil [Leviticus 1-2]. First, there is the smiting of the rock, then the gushing forth of the water [Exodus 17:5-6]. Always in that typology, first the suffering and the death, then the blessings of grace that follow therefrom, Israel must go through the swollen waters of the Jordan before entering the Promised Land [Joshua 3:1-17].
Our Lord Jesus, our Savior, must be buried in the baptismal waters and raised from the dead before the coming, the descent of the Holy Spirit of God [Luke 3:21-22]. First there is the sacrifice on Calvary and the atonement for our sins [Matthew 27:32-50], and then the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost [Acts 2:1-4]. And that pattern, that typology, is followed without fail uniformly all through the Word of God. You see it so marvelously and so beautifully in the ritual for the cleansing of the leper [Leviticus 14:1-32]. When the leper has been made whole [Leviticus 13:1-59] then he appears before the priest for his cleansing [Leviticus 14:1-2]. And the way he was cleansed is this: there are two birds, two birds alive and clean, and the priest kills the first bird and catches the blood in a basin [Leviticus 14:3-5]. Then he takes the second bird and dips the wings of the live bird in the blood of the first bird that was killed [Leviticus 14:6]. Then he goes out into an open field, and he lets the living bird loose in the open field [Leviticus 14:7]; a picture of the bearing away of our sins in the blood of the Crucified One [Hebrews 9:12, 28].
Then after he has gone through that beautiful typology of the killing of the bird, and the splattering of the blood on the wings of the living bird, and it turned loose to soar away [Leviticus 14:1-7]; then he is to offer a lamb [Leviticus 14:10-13]. And after the lamb is slain, he takes the blood of the lamb and he puts some of it on the tip of the right ear of the leper that is cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot [Leviticus 14:14].
Then after he has anointed the leper that has been cleansed with blood, then he takes oil and pours it into the palm of his left hand, and the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and he shall touch with the oil the tip of the right ear of him that is cleansed, and he shall touch the thumb, and he shall touch the thumb of his right hand, and he shall touch with that anointing oil the great toe of his right foot. And the remnant of the oil he shall pour upon the head of him that is cleansed [Leviticus 14:15-18].
All of that has a infinitely sacred meaning. First, there is the blood. There is the sacrifice, the atonement that washes away our sins [Matthew 27:26-50; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5]; that cleansed the leper [Leviticus 14:1-7], first the blood [Leviticus 14:5-7]; then the anointing oil [Leviticus 14:10-20], the gift and the grace and the presence of the Spirit of God [Acts 2:1-4]. And the oil is placed on the ear, Lord that we might hear for Thee. And it is placed on the hand, Lord that we might do for Thee. And it is placed on the foot, Lord that we might walk for Thee; then it is placed over the head, Lord that our eyes may see [Psalm 45:7].
As the Lord said to the church at Laodicea, “Anoint thine eyes that thou mayest see” [Revelation 3:18], and Lord that we might think, that our thoughts might be inspired and our understanding quickened, the anointing oil upon the head [Leviticus 14:18]. And that our faces may shine for Thee; [Psalm 45:7] is quoted in Hebrews 1:9, “God hath anointed Thee with gladness above Thy fellows” and as the one hundred fourth Psalm says, “And our faces are anointed with oil that our countenances might shine for Thee” [Psalm 104:15].
Oh, what a wonderful thing that the light, that the lamp of the grace of God might shine in our faces. That is an example and that is a language that the deaf can hear and the dumb can understand; Christians of the shining face, of the radiant eyes, anointed by the Holy Spirit of God [1 John 2:20]. Then this anointment is for service. It is for ministry. It is for doing in the name of our Lord. In the fortieth chapter of the Book of Exodus:
And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto Me in the priest’s office.
And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats;
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.
So the anointing oil, the bestowment, the coming, the gift of the Holy Spirit is for service. It is for ministering unto God [Luke 4:18; Acts 1:8].
First, Aaron, he is to put on his beautiful garments, and then he was anointed that he may minister in the priest’s office [Exodus 40:13]. And our High Priest is the Lord Jesus Christ [Hebrews 4:14]. And He was anointed, the Holy Spirit came upon Him in power, that He might work and that He might do, and that He might minister before God [Luke 4:18]. When He was baptized, the Holy Spirit came upon Him [Matthew 3:16].
And Luke 4:1 says, after He was baptized in [Luke 3:21], Luke 4:1 says, “And in the power of the Spirit.” The Spirit drove Him into the wilderness to be tempted, to be tried by the devil [Luke 4:1-13]. And then the Spirit led Him in power to Nazareth, where He preached His first sermon. And He opened the Bible and read, “This day is the Scripture fulfilled in thine ears: For the Lord hath anointed Me, the Spirit of God has come upon Me, to preach the gospel to the poor, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” [Luke 4:16-19].
And in [Acts 10:38] Simon Peter says, and the Holy Spirit of God anointed Jesus, that He might go about doing the great works that He did. Everything the Lord did, He did in the anointing of the Holy Spirit of God. And the Holy Spirit of God raised Him from the dead [Romans 1:4, 8:11].
As the anointing of the high priest was for service, that he might minister unto God [Exodus 40:13], so the coming of the Holy Spirit upon Christ; the anointing of the Holy Ghost upon Him [Matthew 3:16], was that He might minister, that He might do mightily for God. I think it powerfully suggestive when the Lord opens the Book to Isaiah as He preaches His first sermon at Nazareth [Luke 4:16-20], and He says, “This day is the Scripture fulfilled in your ears [Luke 4:21]: for the Spirit of the Lord is upon Me to preach,” to preach [Isaiah 61:1-2; Luke 4:18-19].
The devil was preaching. The devil was preaching, and one of the saints of God heard him and objected to the devil preaching. And someone said to the saint, “Don’t be disturbed. Have no fear at all, for there is no power in it.” Oh! And of how many sermons, and of how many services, and of how many assemblies where there is a minister standing up to preach is that true? No power in it. How Paul said, “And my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and the power of God” [1 Corinthians 2:4], anointed for ministry, for doing, for preaching.
Not only upon the high priest [Exodus 40:13], “but thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them; and thou shalt anoint them, as thou hast anointed their father, that they may minister unto Me” [Exodus 40:14-15]. There is to be a powerful and marvelous anointing upon the servants of God, as well as upon our great High Priest [Acts 10:38]. I think of the anointing of the kings of Israel to rule and to save God’s people. “And Samuel anointed Saul, and kissed him” [1 Samuel 10:1]. And Samuel loved Saul [1 Samuel 15:35]. And in the power of the Spirit, in the days of his dedication, Saul was God’s king, delivering the Lord’s people [1 Samuel 11-14].
Then when the Spirit of the Lord left him because of his disobedience and rejection [1 Samuel 15:26, 16:14], Samuel was sent a second time, and this time sought out a ruddy-faced lad, a youth, unshaven—ruddy-faced, unshaven—a lad. And the Lord said to Samuel, “This is he, arise, anoint him” [1 Samuel 16:12]. And in the presence of his brethren, Samuel anointed David to be king over Israel [1 Samuel 16:13]. And remember the following sentence? “And the Spirit of the Lord abode upon David from that day forward” [1 Samuel 16:13], anointed for service.
So with us today. The anointing of God is not just that the Lord might employ His time, or that we might be intrigued with some kind of celestial experience, or that we might have something to describe. But the anointing of God, the pouring out of the Spirit of God, is for a great dedicated reason and purpose.
So it is in the text that I read. This is the meaning of the two olives trees pouring oil into the lamps [Zechariah 4:3-5]. “Thus saith the word of the Lord, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” [Zechariah 4:6]. Historically, the two olive trees are Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the civil ruler [Zechariah 3:1-4:14]. And the Spirit of God blessed the people through Joshua the high priest and through Zerubbabel the civil governor.
Prophetically, the two olive trees forecast the two great witnesses in the awesome tribulation, in [Revelation 11:3-4]. But for us, typically, emblematically, the two olive trees represent the unceasing flow of the Spirit of God in our lives, in our lives [Zechariah 4:3]; we who have been saved and anointed to minister before the great King. Notice, notice, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” [Zechariah 4:6]; anointed in our weakness, in our inability. Not in our might and not in our strength and not in our power but in our weakness, in our inability, in our feebleness, in our frailty, anointed by the Spirit of God [Zechariah 4:6].
You read this morning and I thought how unusual, you read this morning the fortieth chapter, the first part, the fortieth chapter of the prophet of Isaiah. Do you remember how it ends, how the fortieth chapter ends?
He giveth power unto the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.
The youths shall faint . . . and the young men shall utterly fall:
But they that wait upon the Lord shall increase their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.
Unto those who have no might, God increaseth strength. “Not by power, nor by might, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord” [Zechariah 4:6]. And upon the little band of Gideon’s three hundred, God’s Spirit comes to annihilate the Midianites [Judges 7:7, 19-22]. To little David, a lad, a youth, ruddy-faced with a sling and a rock in his hand God makes powerful to overcome the giant Goliath [1 Samuel 17:45-49]. To Jehoshaphat, who cries unto the Lord, “We have no might against this great company that cometh out against us, neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon Thee” [2 Chronicles 20:12]. To Daniel, shut up in the lions’ den, deliverance comes from heaven [Daniel 6:16-22].
To the impotent man, thirty-eight years, so enfeebled he could not find his way into the pool when the water is troubled, the Lord heals the impotent man [John 5:5-9]. “When we were yet without strength,” Paul preached, “Christ died for the ungodly” [Romans 5:6]. And when Paul came before the Lord with a thorn in his flesh, and asked God thrice to remove it, the Lord said, “Paul, speak to Me no more of the matter, mention it to Me no more. Come back not again with this appeal and supplication, for My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness” [2 Corinthians 12:7-9].
“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord” [Zechariah 4:6]; in the power of God, not in human wisdom, not in human strength, but in the wisdom and in the strength of God.
And do you notice one other thing? The constancy of the flow, the two olive trees, one on one side and one on the other side, pouring their pure olive oil into the lamps that shine [Zechariah 4:3, 11-12], it was a living contact with the living tree—not by drums and not by pumps and not by human instruments but by living contact with the living trees, the olive oil pouring into the lamps as they shine before God. “Not by might, nor by power, but My Spirit, saith the Lord” [Zechariah 4:6]. And God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him; an unceasing flow [John 3:34]. As long as life lasts, as long as our voices lift up appeal to God, as long as there is need in human life, as long as there is work to do, the unceasing flow of the Spirit of God in our souls and in our lives; never failing, never.
Do you remember the story? With this I must close: do you remember the story of Elijah sent from the Brook Cherith to Zarephath [1 Kings 17:2-3], to be taken care of by a poor widow? [1 Kings 17:8-9]. The King James Version calls her a widow woman, a poor widow woman. And when Elijah comes to the gate of the city, he meets this poor widow woman, and she has come out to gather some sticks to make the last meal for her and her boy before they die in the famine [1 Kings 17:10].
So when Elijah appears at the gate of the city he says, “I pray thee, bring me a drink of water” [1 Kings 17:10]. And then as she went to get the water, a drink of water, “a little water” it says, he called her again and said, “And bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand” [1 Kings 17:11]. And the poor widow says, “Oh, oh, as the Lord thy God liveth, there is nothing, there is nothing but a handful of meal in the barrel, and a little oil in the cruse; and I thought I would prepare it for my son and me, and we would eat of the little cake, and die” [1 Kings 17:11-12]. And Elijah the prophet said:
Fear not, fear not; do as thou hast been told, as I have said: make me the little cake, and bring it unto me, and then for thyself and thy son. For thus saith the Lord God, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, till God shall send rain upon the earth.
[1 Kings 17:13-14]
So she took the handful of meal, and she took of the little oil that remained in the cruse, and made the cake for Elijah [1 Kings 17:15]. And she looked in the barrel and it had not declined or ceased. And she looked in the cruse of oil and it had not wasted nor failed [1 Kings 17:16]. And she cooked and she cooked, and the days passed and the years passed, and the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail [1 Kings 17:16]. By dedicating to God, and sharing before the Lord what she had, the Spirit of God increased, and increased, and increased, and increased, and took care of her and her son through the dreadful days of the famine [1 Kings 17:13-16].
Is thy cruse of comfort wasting?
Rise, and share it with another.
And through all the years of famine
It shall serve thee and thy brother.
Love divine will fill thy storehouse,
Or thy handful still renew;
Scanty fare for one will often
Make a royal feast for two.
For the heart grows rich in giving;
All its wealth is living grain;
Seeds, which mildew in the garner,
Scattered, fill with gold the plain.
Is thy burden hard and heavy,
Do thy steps drag wearily?
Help to bear thy brother’s burden;
God will bear both it and thee.
Is thy heart a well left empty?
None but God its void can fill;
Nothing but a ceaseless fountain
Can its ceaseless longing still.
Is thy heart a living power?
Self entwined, its strength sinks low;
It can only live in loving,
And by serving love will grow.
[“Is Thy Cruse of Comfort Wasting?” Elizabeth R. Charles, 1859]
“And the barrel of meal did not waste, and the cruse of oil did not fail” [1 Kings 17:16], ministering unto God, dedicating what we have and are to Him. The flow of the grace and the blessings from the Lord in heaven never ceased, never waned, never failed [1 Kings 17:16]. Oh, the blessedness and the preciousness of the promise of the anointing oil, the Holy Spirit of God with us! [Luke 24:49].
Now while we sing our hymn of appeal, somebody you, give himself to Jesus [Romans 10:9-10]; a family you, coming into the fellowship of the church; a couple, a youth, a child, one somebody, as the Spirit of God shall say the word, shall lead in the way, shall press the appeal, come this morning. Make it now, make it now, while we stand and while we sing.
ANOINTING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
I. Olive oil a vital part of the life of
the people of God
A. As a type in the
Bible it refers to the Holy Spirit
1. In the tabernacle
(Genesis 40:9-11, Exodus 27:20-21)
2. In the sacrifices
a. Beaten oil (Exodus
27:20, Leviticus 24:2)
II. The Scriptures faithfully follow
A. First the suffering;
then the blessing of the Spirit
1. Cleansing of
the leper (Leviticus 14:1-18)
B. Blood of atonement,
then oil of consecration
1. To know (1
John 2:20, 27)
2. To see
3. To radiate the
gladness of God (Psalm 45:7)
III. The anointing for service
A. Upon Aaron, a type
of our High Priest (Exodus 40:12-15)
Upon Jesus (John 1:32, Luke 3:22, 4:1, 4:14, 16-21, Acts 10:38, Romans 1:4-5)
the sons (Exodus 40:13-15, 1 Samuel 9:16, 10:1, 16:1-3)
IV. Unfailing, continuous supply (Zechariah
Lord’s strength upon our weakness (Isaiah 40:29-31, 2 Chronicles 20:12, Romans
5:6, 2 Corinthians 12:7-11)
contact with unceasing resources of heaven (John 3:34, 1 Kings 17:8-16)