Monday, June 7, 2010

Lessons from the Annointing Oil Pt. 1

"Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. The word “symbol” comes from the Greek sym, which means “together” and ballein, which means “to throw.” To be “thrown together” indicates an object used to represent something else. How then does oil qualify to be a symbol of the Holy Spirit?

We search the Amplified Bible to find this clue:

Moreover, the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take the best spices: of liquid myrrh 500 shekels, of sweet-scented cinnamon half as much, 250 shekels, of fragrant calamus 250 shekels, and of cassia 500 shekels, in terms of the sanctuary shekel, and of olive oil a hin. And you shall make of these a holy anointing oil, a perfume compounded after the art of the perfumer; it shall be a sacred anointing oil ’” Ex. 30:22–25.

First of all, the Lord insisted on “the best spices.” These were costly, rare, and valuable. There were four spices—myrrh, cinnamon, calamus (or cane), and cassia—plus a hin of olive oil, thus, five ingredients. The number five speaks of grace. We will not earn the anointing by personal effort. It actually becomes ours the more we surrender. God is full of favor and grace. In our weaknesses, we can stand in victory over the enemy because He is faithful to His Kingdom family.

God was very meticulous with this recipe for anointing oil. It could not be used for any other purpose. It was set apart for Temple use only. Let’s consider the significance of each of these ingredients.

Myrrh The name “myrrh” is from the Hebrew for “bitter.” It is used today in healing salves. In ancient times, it was greatly valued for perfume and incense and was worth more than its weight in gold. So myrrh speaks to us of fragrance which is bitter to taste.

It has healing ingredients and so when applied as an ingredient of the anointing of the believer, it represents cleansing and purification. It is an ingredient of purification: “ I indeed baptize you in (with) water because of repentance [that is, because of your changing your minds for the better, heartily amending your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins]. But He Who is coming after me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy or fit to take off or carry; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire ” (Matt. 3:11 , Amplified).

Being anointed by God is not just a mountain top experience. There is also a process of fire and purification which we all experience. His fire does not destroy us, but by His grace, He works on a continuous process of purification: “ So whoever cleanses himself [from what is ignoble and unclean, who separates himself from contact with contaminating and corrupting influences] will [then himself] be a vessel set apart and useful for honorable and noble purposes, consecrated and profitable to the Master, fit and ready for any good work (2 Tim. 2:21, Amplified).

We must not fear purification, but we must get right with God. After all, the Holy Spirit is our comforter, and we will find great uplifting solace and encouragement in Him no matter what cleansing process is required. The very thing we may rebuke as a work of the enemy, may be that God-given opportunity for us to deal with our heart—our prejudice and agenda—and be cleansed.

Here’s an interesting factor. When burned, myrrh does not melt or liquefy, but rather expands and blooms. The scent of burning myrrh is vanilla-like. In ancient times, it was burned at funerals to nullify the smell of death. Isn’t it interesting that an item with such attributes is part of the anointing oil?



  1. I'm getting a theme here lately--that if we want to progress we need to stop trying to accomplish it ourselves and let God work in us without complaining (perhaps that's just for me). Thanks.

  2. I think April has nailed it perfectly! Check out myrrh in the Bible Dictionary and see its connection to purification of women (Esther 2:12). There is a commandment in D&C 88 to purify ourselves. But I believe this is started by us but accomplished by the Savior's Atonement. We can play a small part in this healing, but of ourselves, we can do nothing.

  3. Great post. I look forward to the other parts of this series. Thanks.

  4. No wonder the second church spoken of in Revelation 2 is Smyrna (from the word "myrrh"), and who shall overcome that will not be hurt of the second death. Beautiful ties!

    8And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

    9I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

    10Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

    11He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.