Surprise: God has already anointed you. You may or may not be walking in the full understanding or benefit of that anointing, but if you are a Christian, you have received at least one anointing. One purpose of this study is to help you see when, how and why God has anointed you and how you can walk in it more fully. The other purpose is to help some believers realize there is more anointing available to them.
Many Christians have a couple of erroneous ideas about the anointing. The first is that only special people are anointed. The second is that the anointing comes and goes on a person. These two thoughts might be summed up in sentence such as: �Gee our pastor was really anointed today.� The belief behind that thought is that the anointing is only for certain people and specific times, and that, on other occasions, the pastor was less anointed.
Whether we mean to believe this way or not is irrelevant, the fact is that in some ways our basic understanding of anointing is askew; especially when we try to convey it in a New Testament sense. This is mostly due to the fact that we hear very few sermons dealing with the issue of anointing. And that is because the church has erroneously reserved it for the few.
In this essay we want to look at the true New Testament anointing. We often see the anointing symbolized by the pouring or rubbing on of oil. Of course we understand this to represent the unseen application of the Holy Spirit. Oil almost always represents the spirit in the Bible.
But what is important, the symbol or the reality? The reality of course!
In the New Testament church we are often content to go through the outward ritual of �anointing with oil,� but fail to realize the true anointing that has come to abide with the church and individual believers. We have a tendency to view the anointing only in terms of a specific result, such as a great sermon or an answered prayer. The Spirit, however, does not come and go in the life of the believer. He abides! The apostle John tells us, �The anointing that you have received of him abides in you.�� I John 2:27.
One thing is certain though; there was always a definitive act of anointing. The anointing is a line of demarcation that divided the past from the present and future. With a vial or horn of oil a man was �anointed� to a specific job or function. Anointing was always considered to be both the commission to the work and the investment of divine power to get the job done. He didn�t cease to be anointed, just because he failed to walk in it at all times.
With these thoughts in mind I want to look at two specific anointings revealed in the New Testament.
"Then the same day at evening, being the first of the sabbaths, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, Peace to you! And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Then Jesus said to them again, Peace to you. As My Father has sent Me, even so I send you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit." John 20:19 - 22 MJKV
Truly, O Theophilus, I made the first report as to all things that Jesus began both to do and teach until the day He was taken up, having given directions to the apostles whom He chose, through the Holy Spirit; to whom He also presented Himself living after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them through forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. And having met with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to await the promise of the Father which you heard from Me. For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days from now. Then, indeed, these coming together, they asked Him, saying, Lord, do You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? And He said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power, the Holy Spirit coming upon you. And you shall be witnesses to Me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth. And saying these things, as they watched, He was taken up. And a cloud received Him out of their sight. Acts 1:1-9 MJKV
(Emphasis mine in both passages.)
Setting the Stage for Two Anointings
The events related in these two passages of scripture take place 40 days apart. John 20 takes place in the upper room on the night of the resurrection. The events in Acts 1 take place 40 days later on the Day Jesus is taken up into heaven, 'being seen of them 40 days," according to verse 3.
Acts 2 occurs 10 days later, "When the day of Pentecost had fully come." Thus we have a complete 50-day setting for these events.
This is very important. It is precisely this 40 day period (and then 10 more days) that help us to understand two important things about the anointing of God in our lives.
In John 20 Jesus has risen from the dead on the first day of the week. Not yet having ascended to the father and presented his own blood in the heavenly Holy of Holies (Hebrews 9:12), He tells Mary not to touch Him. As the true High Priest he can not be defiled before performing the important task of obtaining eternal redemption.
Later that evening, having visited the heavenly holy place, and having obtained that redemption, He now returns to proclaim the accomplishment of His mission and to commission His followers to carry on from where He left off. His message was, �as the Father has sent me, so I send you.�
Jesus then does a strange thing. He breathes or blows on them and says, �Receive the Holy Ghost.� We often read passages of scripture like this with a vague feeling that there is something more there than meets the eye. However, we often continue reading without stopping to search the matter out.
Why would Jesus breathe on them? Why not lay hands on them as we (and they) might have expected. They were used to Jesus laying hands on people and seeing things happen. They had even experienced the power of God flowing through their hands as Jesus had sent them out two by two. Later on we find the Apostles laying hands on people and imparting the Holy Spirit to them. But tonight Jesus deviates from norm and breathes on them. This little deviation should give us pause.
The reason, I believe, is found in Genesis 2:7:
�And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. �
When God created man, He BREATHED life into him. The Bible tells us that when the �breath of life� touched the dead flesh of man; man became a �living soul.�
We know that God told Adam that the day he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he would surely die. Since Adam did not die physically that day, or for hundreds of years in the future, we are left with the reality that Adam died spiritually that day, since we know that sin and death (physical and spiritual) passed to all men through him (Romans 5:12). One fundamental fact of the gospel message is that a person is spiritually dead until he or she repents and accepts Christ as savior (John 5:24-26).
Romans 10:9 tells us that the requirement for salvation is to believe that God has raised Jesus from the dead. Without faith in the resurrection we cannot be born again. This brings us to the upper room on the evening that Jesus rose from the dead. For the first time in history a person could believe that Jesus was raised form the dead. Earlier, Mary believed, but the work had not been completed yet. It was not until Jesus reappeared to His disciples that evening that eternal salvation could find its first recipients. Finally the plan of the ages was beginning to bear fruit. He showed them His hands and feet and they believed in His resurrection. They had now fulfilled all the requirements for salvation. Jesus took a breath; heaven waited; the disciples knew something was about to happen. Then Jesus breathes out. The Spirit of God rushed back into mankind for the first time in 4000 years. Once again God had found the dwelling place he had longed for � a temple made without hands.
With this one act Jesus brought life to mankind for the second time. Man now had eternal life. God did not have to breathe physical life into man again. Just as Adam passed physical life (and death) to the entire human race; the disciples gathered that night were to propagate eternal life to the human race.
Just as you and I are direct descendants of Adam and Noah, so are we direct spiritual descendants of those gathered that night in the upper room. One of them preached the message or shared the gospel with someone who in turn shared it with someone, and on and on it went for nearly 2000 years until it reached the person who was instrumental in leading you to the Lord.
You have a spiritual family tree as well as a physical one. If it were possible it would be fascinating to see our spiritual family tree. Could you be a direct spiritual descendant of Billy Sunday, John Wesley, Martin Luther, Brother Lawrence or even Paul? Was it Peter or John or maybe even Mary who started your personal spiritual family tree. If we could only know the route the anointing took to reach us, we might be overwhelmed. But reach us it did, and that is the important part. The anointing, breathed out on that spring evening in Jerusalem, has come to find a resting place in you.
With this anointing came the commission: �As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.� You are to continue passing the anointing of eternal life to others, continuing the chain of eternal life. How many people have no spiritual offspring? How many spiritual family trees have existed for nearly 2000 years only to have a branch die with our generation because someone did not understand that one reason they were saved, was to pass it to someone else.
This anointing with the Holy Spirit for salvation transcended the Old Testament anointings of the prophet, priest and king. Now the Holy Spirit resided in a man instead of just coming upon him. Jesus� prophetic words recorded in John 14:16-17 had come to pass.
�And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, so that He may be with you forever, Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him nor know Him. But you know Him, for He dwells with you and shall be in you.�
This is a significant statement, �He dwells with you (now) and shall be in you (future).� Jesus was referring to the anointing of salvation; the transition from Old Testament to New Covenant; from an external anointing to an internal one.
This first anointing with the Holy Ghost brought the power of resurrection life to a person�s soul. Paul refers to this in Titus 3:5:
��not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit�.�
The word translated �regeneration� is actually the combination of two Greek words:
- RE: Palin (Strongs 3825) this word carries with it the idea of a repetition of a cycle, as if you took something back to the place where it started and started over again.
- GENERATION: Genesis (Strongs 1078) literally �Nativity� or birth
The idea conveyed is that God takes us back to the original state man was created in. Jesus visually demonstrated this principle when he breathed on the disciples, causing them to be regenerated or born again. A Christian is in the truest sense �recycled.�
Following through on this idea of �recycling,� Paul reveals an important truth in I Corinthians 15:45-49:
�And so it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul," the last Adam was a life-giving Spirit. But not the spiritual first, but the natural; afterward the spiritual. The first man was out of earth, earthy; the second Man was the Lord from Heaven. Such the earthy man, such also the earthy ones. And such the heavenly Man, such also the heavenly ones. And according as we bore the image of the earthy man, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.�
Jesus is given two names here: 1. The �last Adam;� and 2. The �Second Man.�
Where Adam failed, Jesus triumphed. What Adam lost, Jesus regained. What Adam did, Jesus undid. The term �Second Man� tells us that the cycle started over. The term �Last Adam� tells us there is no need for another cycle. Jesus succeeded where Adam failed. The incarnation of Jesus brought us to the beginning of the original cycle. God brought a man who would be victorious over the lies of the enemy and the power of sin. Thus He would be able to pass those spiritual genetics on to a new �genesis� or generation of spirit-men. II Corinthians 5:17 says:
�So that if any one is in Christ, that one is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation�.�
We find here that the born again person becomes a �new Creature� or a new creation. Salvation is not simply moral reformation. It is not turning over a new leaf, �getting religion� or adopting a new philosophy to live by. Salvation involves a transformation of the soul. Literally we are no longer simply human beings; we have become new creatures � Spirit Men. It is because of this that Paul tells us we will bear the image of the heavenly, just as we have born the image of the earthly.
We are not human beings going through a spiritual experience;
we are spiritual beings going through a human experience.
we are spiritual beings going through a human experience.
I saw a poster recently that summed up this whole thought. It said, �We are not human beings going through a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings going through a human experience.� This simple reframing of our existence changes the whole point of our perspective. It is our bodies that are temporary and our spirits that are eternal; therefore it is our spirits that should be the emphasis of our lives. Salvation brings this point into sharp focus.
You will notice once again this transformation comes with a responsibility: We have been given the �ministry of reconciliation,� a commission to pass it on.
The sum of all of these thoughts is this: When a person is born again he or she receives the genuine anointing of the Holy Spirit to become a new creature. John put it this way in John 1:11-13:
�He [Jesus] came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.�
Salvation cannot originate with man. You must receive POWER to BECOME. This is the anointing we receive at salvation.
Wait in Jerusalem
The story now jumps 40 days into the future. In Acts chapter one we find Jesus has been showing himself alive for 40 days, at one point being seen by over 500 people at once. As He leads his band of disciples to a mountain for one last earthly visit before his ascension, he shares with them his final instructions: Wait in Jerusalem until you have received the promise of the father and have been endued with power.
Luke puts it this way:
�And behold, I send the promise of My father on you. But you sit in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high.� Luke 24:49 MJKV
Here and in Acts 1 we find Jesus instructing his disciplines to do something that might seem a bit strange when we stop to think about it. He tells them to tarry or wait, for in a few days they would be baptized in the spirit and clothed with power from on high.
The thinking person might say, �Hold on a second, I thought that just happened back in John 20 in the upper room, 40 days ago. Why is Jesus telling them that they must now wait a few more days for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to come upon them?�
Good Question. We are left with one of two possibilities.
- Jesus breathed on the disciples, saying �receive the Holy Ghost� and that they didn�t actually receive it until 50 days later on the day of Pentecost.
- That there are two anointings; taking place on two different occasions; for two different purposes.
If you subscribe to the first theory, it means that nobody was saved on the night of the resurrection or in the ensuing 50 days that people saw Jesus and believed in His resurrection (the condition for salvation). It would also mean that the picture Jesus painted by breathing into them the Holy Spirit would be marred. Jesus breathed out the Holy Spirit, but it wandered around for 50 days waiting to get into them. If this was indeed the case He would have instructed them to do something they could not have done right then: receive it.
If language means anything, we are left with the impression that they did in fact receive the Holy Ghost the night of the resurrection when Jesus told them to receive it. This means that the command to wait in Jerusalem was for something different than they had already received.
Let�s look at the terminology used to describe the soon-coming anointing.
- The Promise of the Father � Acts 1:4
- The Baptism of the Holy Spirit � Acts 1:5
- A clothing (KJV: enduing) with power � Luke 24:49
In both passages Jesus links the �promise of the Father� to an anointing of spiritual power that is to come upon the believers. In Acts He links it to the �baptism of the Spirit� in fulfillment of John the Baptist�s prophecy that he baptized with water but that Jesus would baptize them with the �Holy Ghost and fire.�
Clothed With Power
The King James uses the word �ENDUED� to speak of how this power would be given to them. Most modern versions use the word �CLOTHED.� While either word is correct, we are more familiar with the concept of putting on a garment. �Endued� is a transliteration of the Greek ENDUO which means, �to invest with clothing.� The combination of Greek words literally means to �Sink into a garment.�
This distinction is particularly relevant to the study at hand because it shows us not only a distinctly different event, but a distinctly different experience. The first anointing was an internal anointing. It changed the nature of the person. It was symbolized by breathing out and breathing in.
This second anointing is portrayed in a word picture as putting on a garment, or most accurately, sinking into a garment. The idea is that you are totally immersed in it or swallowed up in the garment. This is why the term BAPTISM of the spirit is used. The Greek word BAPTIDZO means �to wholly whelm� or in other words, to immerse.
The whole concept being presented is that the person who is baptized with the Holy Spirit is whelmed or overwhelmed by the spirit and is invested with a garment of power. The whole idea is of an external anointing, not an internal one.
Next we discover the purpose of this anointing or spiritual baptism. It was not for salvation as was the first one. It was for the power to serve God. Specifically, to �Be witnesses.� Jesus told them not to go out and spread the gospel until they had the power to do so. That power came on the Day of Pentecost. The result was that Peter preached a message by the power of the Spirit and 3000 people believed in Jesus and accepted Him as savior in one day.
Setting aside the controversy raging in the church over the baptism of the Spirit and how one is baptized in the Spirit or with what proof they show that they are, we discover that there were indeed two separate events in the lives of the believers.
As the Bible says, �In the mouth of two or three witnesses, let everything be established.� Another scripture bears this out also. In Acts chapter 8 we find Phillip traveling to Samaria and preaching there. We are told that they respond to the message, repent and are baptized in Jesus� name (8:12). Sometime later the Apostles come down and laid hands on them and they were filled with the Holy Spirit (8:15-17). It is impossible to say that the Samaritans were not born again Christians, because they had believed and had been baptized in Jesus� name. Once again we see two distinct experiences and two distinct anointings.
One last Biblical picture should suffice. While it is not in the scope of this essay to delve too far into the Feasts of the Lord, we do see a consistent picture in these annual Old Testament prophetic events.
God gave Israel seven individual feasts grouped together into three annual celebrations. The first three feasts were: Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread and The Feast of First Fruits. These three feasts grouped together occurred in the first month of the Jewish ceremonial year, at the time of Jesus� death and resurrection. Jesus died on Passover and was raised on the Feast of First fruits. The Bible tell us that Jesus is our Passover (1 Cor. 5:7) and that He is the �First fruits from the dead� (1 Cor. 15:20). It is significant that Jesus died and rose on these two feast days, fulfilling the Old Testament prophetic types and shadows. The Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures the process of removing sin form the life of the believer. These three feasts combine to represent salvation in all three aspects: I am saved from the penalty of sin, I am being saved from the power of sin and I will be saved from the presence of sin.
Counting 50 days from the Feast of First Fruits we come to the Feast of Pentecost. We have already discovered this was related to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This was a distinctive feast set apart from the first three.
The last three feasts were the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles. These three occurred over a period of 22 days in the 7th month of the Hebrew ceremonial year. They prophetically portray a third, separate anointing and the church events of the last days.
God specifically commanded Israel to �appear before Him three times in the year.� (Ex. 23:17 and elsewhere.) Since these were separate feasts and represented separate times and purposes we are left with the distinct impression that they prophetically symbolized three distinct experiences in the life of the New Testament believer: salvation, the baptism in the Holy Spirit and final sanctification.
In conclusion we find that the two anointings we have been discussing are entirely different:
- They are demonstrated scripturally to be two separate events (although in reality they may occur closely together chronologically in the life of a believer).
- One is inward; the other outward
- One brings salvation and regeneration; the other brings power to serve
- One has to do with our life changing; the other has to do with us being used to impart what we have received to others.
- One anointing results in the nine inward fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-26); and the other results in the 9 outward gifts of the Spirit (I Corinthians 12:4-11)
Our conclusion is then that God has two, if not three, anointings for every person.
Many people try to operate in the church without any anointing. They try to �be Christian� without first �becoming a Christian.� In other words they have never had the anointing of salvation to regenerate and transform them.
Others operate on only one anointing. They have been born again and their lives are changing, however they have no power to really live for or serve Christ. In the opinion of most Christians this anointing is for pastors or missionaries. Some have been taught the baptism of the Spirit is not for today, only the early church needed power to get the job done. However a quick look around shows that the need is the same. Sin still controls people, demons still exist, and people still need the gospel shared in an anointed way to get saved.
In Acts 2:39 we find Peter holding out the same promise to those listening to his sermon as Jesus held out to His disciples 10 days prior, �For the promise (of the Holy Spirit) is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.�
God has not left His church to do spiritual things with carnal power (I Cor. 10:4). Peter assures us that the power of the Spirit is available, and indeed promised, to every person, not just clergy. And that it is available in all ages, not just the first century.
In reality the anointing is not some �extra� portion of spirituality that is given to a select few in the church. In the truest sense of the word, God wants every man, woman and child to experience the two-fold anointing of salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit so they might have the power to live for and serve God acceptably.