|Pulling on the Anointing|
|Pulling on the Anointing|
It is common practise in the church today to encourage people to 'pull on the anointing' to minister. What exactly is being taught, what do people mean when they talk about the anointing and what place do we have in the exercise of ministry? These are the questions I wish to address today.
What is 'the anointing'
It is difficult to determine what people actually mean by the anointing. In various meetings it has come to mean various things. It is used to describe the spiritual atmosphere of a meeting, "The anointing is so strong here". It is used to describe the spiritual manifestation in a meeting, "Can you see the anointing on him?". It is used to describe feelings, emotions or the 'buzz' during ministry, "I can feel the anointing". It can be used to describe a minister, "He is so anointed".
Benny Hinn controversially equates anointing with power, saying "hunger for this precious anointing on your life, prepare for it and experience the marvelous effects God's touch will have on your life. A vital, life-changing experience with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit will introduce you to the power of God so you can act in that power."
Rodney Howard-Browne agrees with him, "The anointing is based on a relationship not a formula... the anointing is the power to break yokes of bondage off of people's lives. Walking in this anointing, we can make a difference in this world."
Kenneth E Hagin, looked to by many in the faith movement agrees about the yoke breaking. He says, "The anointing (the power of the Spirit of God) is the force that destroys the devil's yoke of bondage and empowers ministries" a view shared by many in the renewal movement.
Reuven Doron, looked to by many with interests in Israel, follows the line of doing works with the anointing. He says, "God bestows the anointing to undertake His works: an anointing to prophesy, an anointing to build, an anointing to war and anointing to pray".
Paul Cain, revered by many in the prophetic movement says, "I hardly know what the anointing is, but I can sure tell you what it's not!" Cain lists, among other things that it is not fame, wealth, status, adoration, a feeling, a rush norÂ even manifestation.
T D Jakes states that, "The anointing is the manifest presence and person of the Holy Spirit. Cry out for the anointing to fall afresh on you as Christ received the Dove upon Him."
What does 'anointing' really mean?
I think professor RT Kendall comes closest to my understanding: "We need both to be filled with the Spirit but also the and also anointed by him for purpose and work. It is He who brings the divine empowerment to perform His will... He is that vital component that makes our gifts empowered by God."
A review of the Bible will lead you to discover two groups of meaning to the word 'anointed'. Firstly people anointed objects, places and people - usually with oil. We do not 'pull on the dabbing with oil' and nor do we consider being 'made fragrant with oil'.
The second set are closer to our meaning. The word 'mashiyach' in the OT referred to a specially "consecrated person, one with unction,Â (as a king, priest, or saint); the messiah". This was the term used by David to describe Saul and by Isaiah to describe Christ. A person was consecrated by an act of anointing, performed by pouring out a horn or flask of oil. The New Testament word 'chrisma', meant "an unguent, an endowment of the Holy Spirit, unction or power" (1 John 2:20,27).
So we might rightly think of the 'anointing' as being the manifest presence of the Person of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The anointing is not an 'it' or an event, nor even a description but rather a 'He'! To speak of the anointing 'flowing' 'falling' 'increasing' and 'glowing' is ludicrous. To teach others to pull on 'the anointing' is likewise a dangerous fallacy.
Pulling on the anointing?
Many who teach others in ministry to 'pull on the anointing' base their advise on two pieces of Scripture. Firstly they say that the anointing is resident (Rom 11:29) and that a person prophesies according to their faith (Rom 12:6) therefore if the gift is resident then you must 'pull' (use your faith) on the anointing to exercise the gift.
This thinking is flawed for a number of reasons:
1. The gifts and callings belong to God - they are His (Eph 4:8) 2. It is God who does the working: "There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men" (1 Cor 12:6) 3. We do prophesy according to our faith - according to our level of faith. A new believer would find it very hard to predict a drought in Africa, but would have the faith to speak over an individual they do not know. It takes more faith to prophesy a Columbine High School than it takes to predict that someone has a headache!
Another argument used is the story of the woman who supposedly 'pulled' on the power resident in Christ to obtain her healing (Matt 9:20). They prefer Luke version of the story because it mentions that Christ could feel the power go out from him (Luke 8:46). "You also, should reach forward and by faith grasp the hem of the garment of Christ! Pull on the power resident within Him, draw on it for strength and minister in that power" or so the teaching goes.
For my two cents worth, I think that's tantamount to Christian witchcraft. Stop for a minute and ask yourself what the heart position of the bleeding woman was. Was she really 'pressing in' and 'pulling on the power'? She had probably been to every healing conference and miracle worker she would find for twelve years. I do not think she went with the idea in mind to draw power from Christ, or 'pull on his anointing' to use the modern vernacular. She had surely heard of many others being healed by Christ and came to Him for help. Yes indeed she had faith, in Him as Saviour, not in her ability to 'pull' on healing or power. She probably did not even realise that would happen.
I have even seen pastors encourage the audience to 'pull on the anointing' of the speaker. As to this last practise I would liken us to the good soil that Christ spoke of in His parable. If Christ is using a 'sower' (speaker, minister) to seed the word into our hearts then what place does the soil have in pulling? None at all. The soil can not 'pull the seed' out of the sower's hand, he distributes it freely. The soil also does not have a place in 'pulling' on seed from the Lord to enter the sower's hand. The sower simply sows what he is given by the Lord into the soil. The only thing soil can do is work at being the best soil possible for receiving the seed!
A position of rest
Prophets throughout the Old Testament showed that their basic position of ministry was one of REST not exercise or pulling: . - Isaiah 30:15 "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength" - Amos 3:7,8 "Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. The lion has roared-- who will not fear? The Sovereign LORD has spoken-- who can but prophesy?" See here they are secrets, do not tell anyone unless the Lord says. The basic premise is one of keeping your mouth shut! But when the Lion roars - when he tells you to say it, say it! - Isaiah 42:19 "Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like the messenger I send? Who is blind like the one committed to me, blind like the servant of the LORD?" Isaiah is recognising that his basic human position is one of wretched blindness, deafness and dumbness. Unless God helps, we are nothing and have nothing to say.