The Filling and the Anointing of the Holy Spirit
October 25th, 1981 @ 10:50 AM
THE FILLING AND ANOINTING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Dr. W. A. Criswell
10-25-81 10:50 a.m.
And welcome to the great multitudes who on radio and television are sharing with us this service in the First Baptist Church of Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the message, one in a series of about four years on the “Great doctrines of the Bible.” They are being published in book form, and the first volume will come out in about February. There will be as many as ten volumes in the entire series. It is divided into fifteen sections, and this section in which we are now engaged is pneumatology, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
And the title of the sermon this morning is The Two Olive Trees, or The Filling and the Anointing of the Holy Spirit of God. So, we turn in our Bibles to Zechariah, next to the last book of the Old Testament—Zechariah, Malachi, then Matthew. Zechariah, chapter 4, beginning at verse 1. The prophet Zechariah, chapter 4, verse 1:
And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is awakened out of his sleep,
And he 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 on 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, Knowest though 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.
Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right hand of the lampstand and upon the left side?
And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves?
And the angel answered unto me and said, Knowest though not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.
And then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.
So the title of the message; The Two Olive Trees, The Filling of the Holy Spirit; “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” [Zechariah 4:6]. And the anointing of the Holy Spirit; “These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth” [Zechariah 4:14].
Israel is a land of the olive tree. You see them on every hand. If you go to Gethsemane, where our Lord prayed in agony before the cross [Luke 22:41-44], they’ll show you a grove of olive trees they say were there in the day when Jesus knelt beneath them and prayed. Most of the times, if you go to Israel, you will come back with a souvenir, like a Bible, and the cover is made out of olive wood. Or, you’ll bring back little figurines, carved out of olive wood. It was used universally in the daily life of the people. It was for medicine. It was for food. And before the Lord God Jehovah, it was a part of the sacrificial offering, the worship of God [Luke 22:41-44].
In our text, which is one of the most beautiful and meaningful visions in the Bible—in our text, historically, the vision refers, of course, to Joshua the high priest, and to Zerubbabel the governor of the land, as they rebuilt the temple and the life of the nation [Ezra 5:2]. Prophetically, it forecasts, it delineates, the two great witnesses of God in the heart of the tribulation [Revelation 11:3-12]. I read in Revelation 11: I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy . . . These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth” [Revelation 11:3-4]. And when they are slain [Revelation 11:7], after three and a half days, the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet. . . . And, they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud [Revelation 11:11-12] in the shekinah glory of God. Prophetically, the two olive trees are those two witnesses in the latter days of the consummation of the age [Zechariah 4:11-14].
Emblematically and typically, the olive trees and the golden lampstand, with its bowls of seven lights burning before God [Zechariah 4:2-3]—emblematically, typically, they refer to the dependence of the men of God upon the moving dynamic and energy and filling of the Holy Spirit of the Lord, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord” [Zechariah 4:6]. It refers to a change of center from man to God, from earth to heaven.
The Bible so illustrates that and, out of innumerable number of illustrations, I choose one. When Gideon made his call to Israel, to rise up in freedom against the oppressive Midianites, there were thirty-two thousand who answered his call. And God looked at the army and said, “Gideon, it is too many. Tell those that are afraid to return home,” and twenty-two thousand went back home [Judges 7:1-3]. God looked at the ten thousand who were left and said: “Gideon, there are too many. Take them down to the brook to drink. And these that lap up the water with their hands, with their eye on the Midianites, choose them” [Judges 7:4-8]. And there are three hundred left, in order, as God said, that the victory may belong to Jehovah the Lord, and not to man [Judges 7:2]. “Not by power, not by might, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord” [Zechariah 4:6].
What wings are to a bird, what feet are to a deer, what breath is to the body, what an engine is to a car, what electricity is to a dynamo, so is the Holy Spirit of God to the people of the Lord, in their work for our blessed Savior. Therefore, one of the fulfillments of that marvelous vision of the two olive trees pouring the golden oil into the seven-branched lampstand [Zechariah 4:2-3]—its fulfillment is found in our age and in our generation, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God at Pentecost [Acts 2], the filling of the presence of Jesus in our hearts, in our homes, in our lives, upon our work, and in the assembly of the family of God in the church.
Do you notice, in the outpouring of the golden oil, the Spirit of God, it is inexhaustible, it is immeasurable, it is unending? The oil pours out of the olive trees into the golden lampstand [Zechariah 4:2-3]. So the pouring of the Spirit of God in our generation, in this dispensation, is inexhaustible. As the Lord witnessed in John 3:34: “God giveth not the Spirit by measure.” There is no end, absolutely inexhaustible, to the power and presence of the Holy Spirit of God in our work and in our lives.
And that is because of another thing. It is continuous. It is present; those two great olive trees, pouring in an unending stream their golden oil into the lamps that shine with God’s light upon the world. It is constant. It is unending. It is uninterrupted. It is flowing and for ever. As our Lord said in John [John 14:16]: “I am sending the Paraklete, the parakletōs, the Holy Spirit, that He may abide with you for ever.”
Our difficulty does not lie in God. Our weakness and powerlessness are not in Him. It’s in us. It’s because of our unyielded, unsurrenderedness, that we are full of stumbling and darkness and are enfeebled in our efforts. But the Holy Spirit of God is without measure [John 3:34]. It is inexhaustible. And if I can just empty myself, that God might use me, there is no limit to the power of God. “Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord” [Zechariah 4:6]. How we must be yielded and broken!
There’s not a more poignant story in the Bible than Jacob wrestling with the Angel all night long at Peniel [Genesis 32:24-32]. Jacob, you see, means “seducer.” It means “supplanter.” It means “cheater.” It means “deceiver.” When he was born, he had hold of the heel of his older brother, Esau [Genesis 25:26]. And the Angel wrestled with Jacob all night long—stubborn, self-willed, ambitious! When the Angel prevailed not against him, He reached forth His hand and touched his thigh, and broke it—broke him down [Genesis 32:24-25]. And, thereafter, Jacob, when he walked, he walked with a crippled thigh [Genesis 32:31]. And broken, God changed his name. No longer Jacob, cheater, supplanter, ambitious, self-willed, but broken; God said, “Your name will be Israel, the prince of God” [Genesis 32:27-28].
The Holy Spirit of the Lord is without measure [John 3:34]. It is inexhaustible. Poured out upon us in this dispensation and in this age, our stumbling lies in our own self-will and unyielded, unsurrenderedness. And look now at the marvel of the outpouring of the Spirit of God. Oh, look how it changed the disciples! A few days before, they were quarreling among themselves, self-seeking. You know, unless you read it in the harmony, you don’t realize, even at the Lord’s Supper, the institution of the memorial supper, in the upper room, the disciples were quarreling with each other about who would be greatest in the kingdom of heaven [Luke 22:24-30]. It arose, of course, over the seating arrangements around the Lord. Who was going to sit at His right hand? Who was going to sit at His left hand and who is going to be next to Him? [Mark 1-:35-41].
After the infilling, after the pouring out of the Spirit of God [Acts 2:1-13], they are new men. No longer do you ever read of their quarreling, their selfish, ambitious, self-seeking. They are no longer doubters like Thomas [John 20:24-25]. And they are not afraid, as Simon Peter cowed before a little girl and he swore and cursed and said, “I never saw Him” [Matthew 26:69-74]. But, they are bold and fearless, counting it a joy to lay down their lives for the Lord. That’s the Spirit of God!
Do you notice the effect upon the converts, these that are outside of the church, who are converted? They cry, saying, “Men and brethren, what shall we do? What must I do to be saved?” [Acts 2:37]. “Is there a way to heaven for me? Is there blessings of God upon me?” That day there were three thousand added [Acts 2:41]. Turn the page—the next—there are five thousand [Acts 4:4]. Then there is a great company of priests [Acts 6:7]. And then turn the page, the multitudes are so great. Luke doesn’t even try to count them any longer [Acts 11:21, 17:4]; the effect of the outpouring of the Spirit of God.
And do you notice the effect upon the assembly of God’s saints? You find the description of the result of that Pentecostal day in the last verses of the second chapter of the Book of Acts: meeting together, breaking bread from house to house; steadfastly continuing in the teaching, the doctrine, of the apostles; loving one another; rejoicing and praising God, every day—a koinōnia they called it, a communion of fellowship, a rejoicing in the blessed Jesus [Acts 2:42, 46-47]. O Lord, where the Spirit of God is, there is love, and peace, and joy, and patience, and brotherly kindness [Galatians 5:22-23]; the very presence of the Spirit of God moving in the congregation of God’s people.
I was talking with a man this last week concerning a church in which there was such divisive bitterness and trouble. And with joy beyond description, I spoke of our dear church. Not in the memory of any man who ever knew of any man has there been trouble in our church. In the thirty-eighth year that I’m here, in the forty-seven years that Dr. Truett was here, there’s never been trouble, divisiveness, in the church. Sometimes, bowed down with a burden, as your pastor was this time last year, when we faced an insufferable debt and things looked so dark—just wait on the Lord. He is alive. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord” [Zechariah 4:6]. And today we face the most heavenly and brightest future of any church I know in this earth; O Lord, the blessing, the effect of the outpouring, the filling of the Spirit of God!
But we must hasten. Did you notice, in reading our passage, this other thing: the anointing of the Spirit of God? “I answered and said, Lord, what are these two olive trees? One on the right, one on the left, pouring through golden pipes their oil into the lamps? And he said, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth” [Zechariah 4:11-14]. Not only is there an outpouring of the Spirit of God, an infilling of the Spirit of God, but there is also an anointing of the Spirit of God for a special assignment, a consecration for a special work. In this instance, of course, the prophet is speaking about Joshua the high priest, and about Zerubbabel the governor of the land [Ezra 5:2]. But the anointing of the Spirit of God for a special work is found throughout all of the Holy Scripture.
The priests were anointed, they were set aside, they were consecrated for their work of mediation and intercession [Numbers 3:3]. The king was anointed to be ruler over God’s people. Saul was anointed [1 Samuel 10:1]. David was anointed [1 Samuel 16:13]. Samuel was anointed. And the prophet of God was anointed, set aside by the Spirit of God for the work to which the Lord called him. In the nineteenth chapter of 1 Kings, God tells Elijah to anoint Elisha as the prophet in his stead [1 Kings 19:16]. And in the passage of Scripture that you had just read this morning, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because He hath anointed me”—Isaiah speaking of his call as a prophet—“God has anointed me to preach the glad tidings of comfort, and restoration, and victory to the people” [Isaiah 61:1-2].
Thus it is no less in the New Testament: the anointing of the Spirit of God for a special work. You will find that poignantly illustrated in the life of our Lord. Jesus was anointed for the special work for which He came into the world. He was anointed at His baptism. When He arose, was raised, out of the waters of the Jordan, the Holy Spirit of God came upon Him and anointed Him [Matthew 3:16-17]. He was filled with the Holy Spirit from His birth. He was a holy child. The Bible will refer to Him as the holy Child, Jesus [Luke 1:35]. There was never sin in His childhood or in His adolescence or in young manhood [Hebrews 4:15]. He was holy from His mother’s womb. He was filled with the Spirit of God [Luke 4:18].
But at His baptism in the Jordan, when the Holy Spirit came upon Him, He was anointed for His work [Luke 3:21-22]. He was anointed as a king. He began His messianic ministry when He was about thirty years of age [Luke 3:23], in His anointment in the Jordan River. And He announced Himself as the King of a new and wondrous kingdom [John 18:33-37]. Jesus is a King. He is an anointed King.
Do you remember one of the most interesting conversations you could ever read in literature, in the eighteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, between Pontius Pilate and Jesus at the trial of our Lord? Pontius comes into the judgment hall and says to Him, with His crown of thorns and His purple robe:
Art Thou the King of the Jews?
And the Lord replied: Is this a question that arises out of your own heart or did somebody tell thee of Me?
And he replied contemptuously: Am I a Jew that I would know?
And the Lord replied, My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight with swords and armies. But My kingdom is not from thence.
And Pontius Pilate—
looking at that incredulous creature with His crown of thorns, with His cast off purple robe, with His back bleeding from the awful laceration—
Art Thou a king?
And the Lord replied, in the strongest affirmative language that the Greek is capable of. The repetition of the question: Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world.
And when He was crucified, Pontius Pilate wrote a superscription above the head of His cross, and it said: “This is Jesus, a King” [Matthew 27:37; John 19:19]. He died a King. He reigns as King in heaven. And someday He is going to be King of all God’s creation. He is an anointed King.
He is an anointed Priest. At His baptism, when the Spirit of God came upon Him, He was consecrated and separated as a Priest [Matthew 3:16]. As the Book of Hebrews says, “Not after the order of Aaron, of Levitical priesthood, but after the order of Melchizedek who had neither father nor mother, beginning nor ending but abideth a priest forever” [Hebrews 6:20-7:21]. And He is our anointed Priest in glory! There does He mediate and intercede for us at the right hand of God [Romans 8:34]: Jesus, hearing our prayers, giving us strength for the day, loving us in our pilgrim way, anointed a High Priest forever [Hebrews 4:14-16].
And He was anointed a preacher and a minister for the blessing of our hearts. Do you remember, in the fourth chapter of the Book of Luke, when He came to Nazareth and went to church, to the synagogue, as He had been brought up, they delivered unto Him the prophet Isaiah? [Luke 4:16-17]. And, He opened the book and turned to the place where it is written—and, doesn’t it do something to your heart to think that, this morning, we read the very passage Jesus read that day?—“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He sent Me to heal the broken- hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives . . .To preach the acceptable year of the Lord” [Luke 4:18-19]. You notice how many times it says “anointed to preach” there?
And once again, when Simon Peter was witnessing of the grace of the blessed Jesus, at the Gentile concourse in Caesarea, in the house of Cornelius [Acts 10:34-48], he says, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit 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], the anointing of Jesus in His ministry to the poor, to the sick, to the lost.
Do you remember what I said? The outpouring of the Spirit of God is continuous today: an unfailing and inexhaustible supply today. “I will send Him to you,” said our Lord of the Holy Spirit, “that He may abide with you forever” [John 14:16]. And the anointing—not only the filling [Ephesians 5:18], but the anointing [1 John 2:20]—is today, continuous today [1 John 2:27]. God anoints separate ones for separate tasks. He consecrates them and enables them for that work. “Well, preacher, just how do you mean that?” Why, if we had the rest of the day, we’d just sit here and we’d talk about how God does that.
I’ll give you an illustration. On the front of your Reminder, it is announced that this coming Sunday, next Sunday, Billy Graham will be here. I have stood by the side of Billy Graham time without number. He is anointed of God to preach in these great crusades. I stood by him when he spoke to seventy-five thousand in the Cotton Bowl. And at the end of the appeal, standing by him, watching those people, hundreds and hundreds of them, walking across the field to the counseling room, I said to him, “That’s one of the dearest, greatest sights in this earth.”
And he replied, “That is the Spirit of the Lord.”
He is anointed of God to preach to the lost in these great crusades.
“Well, pastor, how are you anointed?”
I’ve tried that—in Hong Kong, in Japan, in England, in Europe, all over America—God doesn’t bless me in that. I can’t hold a crusade in a big football stadium. I’m not anointed. He is. I’m not. I’ve tried it again and again. And, my effort is just somewhat—it is enfeebled.
“Well then, pastor, for what did God anoint you?”
Why, my brother, I have known it and felt it since I was a small, small child: God anointed me to be a pastor of a congregation. And from the day when I began at seventeen years of age until now, I have never been pastor of a church but that God aboundingly blessed it. That is my anointing. That’s mine. It is my calling and God anoints me for the ministry of being an undershepherd of a church. Do you notice God anointed Him to preach? [Luke 4:18-19]. God anointed Him to heal those that were oppressed of the devil [Hebrews 10:38]—the anointing of God: a special assignment and the blessing of God upon it.
Upon a day, I was in Nigeria, West Africa. And there was a godly missionary physician, a doctor, and he’d gathered up in Nigeria all of those that had been cast out into the bush and into the jungle to die. They were lepers, and without any exception, when one was found with leprosy, that one was cast out of the village to die. Did you know little children have leprosy—cast out to die. But what this godly physician had done was, he’d gathered those lepers, and he arranged them. They called them clan settlements—not leper colonies, clan settlements. And in a great arc through Nigeria like that—starting here, all the way over here—why, he’d gather them here and there, and there and there, and they built their own village, their own town—made them out of mud and thatch—made their church out of mud. I’ve preached in them.
And dear people, once a month, when he’d go on that journey—take two or three days to make the arc—I asked him, “Could I go with you?” Did you know, when we’d drive up in that little tiny English car, and he and I would get out, all of those lepers, just like that, they’d throng that godly man. And I just stood there and watched it. It was just like a visit to heaven. He would talk to them; call them by name, look at their ulcers and their bleeding sores and bind them up. The unction, the anointing of God was clear. I couldn’t do that. I wouldn’t know how to start. But he did it so beautifully and wonderfully.
I say, we’d be here the rest of the day, if I had opportunity to speak of the anointing of God upon His people. Do you remember what Simon Peter did in preaching his Pentecostal sermon in the second chapter of Acts? He quoted the second chapter of Joel, the great outpouring and anointing of the Spirit of God [Acts 2:16-40]. And it says: “And upon My menservants and upon My handmaidens will I pour out My Spirit” [Joel 2:29; Acts 2:18]. Dear people, world without end, have I seen the anointing Spirit of God upon a humble Sunday school teacher, the anointing Spirit of God upon a Baptist layman, a deacon, the anointing Spirit of God upon the work of a godly woman! That’s the kingdom and the age in which we live.
May I point out just one thing and then I’m done? There is an effect. There is a marvelous repercussion of that anointing upon us. I read it in Hebrews 1:9: “Therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows; the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.” If you want joy, real joy, just give yourself to the work of the Lord. There’s no dark brown hangover, however strenuous or demanding or sacrificial it may be—even those who, serving God, have been fed to the lions or burned at the stake, the joy of gladness, the anointing of God.
I was reading last night about John Huss. I had seen a tremendous monument to him in Prague in Czechoslovakia. It just looked so strange to me, that tremendous monument in that communist country: John Huss, burned at the stake. And last night, re-reading his life; when the flames were rising, John Huss lifted up his hands and sang a Moravian hymn, a praise to Jesus, until the flames took away his life. Can you imagine that; anointed with the oil of gladness, of joy? [Hebrews 1:9]. There’s a gladness. There’s a joy. There’s a celestial happiness in serving God that is unlike any other known to the human heart. That’s God in us, with us: the Holy Spirit filling us with His grace [Ephesians 5:22-23]. Now may we stand together?
May I make a little appeal? In the invitation—even the visitor in our midst—don’t leave. If you move, move toward the front, toward God. But don’t leave during the invitation. And I promise you faithfully, at the end of the invitation, I’ll give you opportunity to leave. If you want to stay and rejoice with us in the harvest God gives us this hour, you can. If you feel that you ought to leave, you’ll have opportunity to go in just a few minutes. But don’t leave now. Pray with us. Pray with me now.
Our Lord, we pray deep for a gift, somebody accepting Jesus as Savior, somebody to put his life in the circle of our church—a family, a couple, or somebody one. And our Lord, we’ll thank Thee for the harvest.
And if that’s you, make the decision now and come. Down one of those stairways, down one of these aisles, “Pastor, here I am.” If you want to make a special gift to the Lord, there’s that wicker basket on either side. You can come and make that gift and go back to your seat. But if you come taking Jesus as Savior, or putting your life in the church, we want you to stay here and stand with us.
And our Lord, thank Thee for the sweet harvest this precious hour, in Thy dear and saving name, amen.
While we sing our song, welcome, welcome. Come.
THE FILLING AND ANOINTING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Dr. W. A. Criswell
Zechariah 4:1-6, 11-14
A. Israel the land of the olive tree
B. The text
1. Historically refers to Joshua and Zerubbabel (Zechariah 4, 6:11)
2. Prophetically forecasts the two witnesses (Revelation 11:3-4, 11-12)
3. Emblematically refers to dependence of men upon filling of Holy Spirit (Zechariah 4:6, Judges 7:4-8)
C. For our age, describes outpouring of Spirit at Pentecost
1. Without measure (John 3:34)
2. Continuous ever-flowing supply (John 14:16, Genesis 32)
3. The marvelous effect of the filling and outpouring of the Spirit
a. Upon the disciples
b. Upon those outside the church
c. Upon the saints (Acts 2:41-47)II. The vision as the anointing of the Holy Spirit (Zechariah 4:14)
A. In the Old Testament
1. Priests (Exodus 40:12-15, Leviticus 8:12, 30)
2. Kings (1 Samuel 9:16, 10:1, 16:13, Psalm 23:5, 2 Samuel 5:3, 1 Kings 1:39)
3. Prophets (1 Kings 19:16, Isaiah 61:1-3)
B. In the New Testament
1. Jesus anointed at His baptism
a. King (John 18:33-37, 19:19)
b. Priest (Hebrews 6:20-7:21)
c. Prophet (Luke 4:18-19, Acts 10:38)
C. The continuous supply upon us (John 14:16)
1. Upon a preacher
2. Upon a healing ministry
3. Upon godly men and women (Acts 2, Joel 2:29)
D. The result of the anointing is joy unspeakable (Hebrews 1:9, 12:2)