Anoint With Oil Scriptures
What do we mean when we use the word “anointing” in reference to essential oils? Throughout history, people have created ceremonies and rituals to celebrate, bless and heal. Anointing meant they would touch with oil an individual, group, sacred objects or even their homes to signify a sacred connection to God was being made. It was a way of recognizing the coming together of the physical world and the spiritual world. Oil, specifically essential oils, became a symbol of the healing power of the Divine breaking through into the lives of people. It was a sign of a unique blessing from God that was at the same time healing and sustaining.
There are hundreds of references to the use of aromatic essential oils and incense in our Judeo-Christian Scriptures and by some accounts there are over a 1,000 references. However these references usually point to religious worship or to ceremonies such as anointing of kings, or to burial and embalming. Healing oils and fragrances were simply part of their practice for honoring God as well as a part of ordinary daily life. In the Jewish scriptural texts there are numerous prescriptions for treating the body and treating the people collectively with healing oils and fragrant incense.
What Were the Different Ways they Used to Anoint in the Scriptures?
The word ‘anoint’ in Hebrew is mãsah and it properly means “to rub or stroke with the hand” (Lev. 2:4). Literally, they would rub or smear the head or body with oil primarily for healing or health. The objects of worship however were anointed by “sprinkling” nzh (Lev. 8:11). And the high priest was anointed at his installation by pouring, yãsaq, the holy oil on his head (Lev. 8:12). The effects of all this anointing was to make them holy–to consecrate unto the Lord. But it also confers on the priest a particular character–the quality of ‘being holy’ that could be transmitted to others through contact.
Anointing for the kings was a very significant ritual for the whole people of God. The royal unction conferred a special character on the king as “Yahweh’s Anointed.” The king thus became closely approximated to God. Since all life derives from the divine breath, so the king is the breath of life to his people. It is interesting to note that the Hebrew word mãsah is also the root of the term “Messiah.” The New Testament was not written in Hebrew but in Greek. In Greek, the term that was used to refer to Jesus was “Kristos,” or “Christ,” which means “the anointed one.”
Anointing was also for healing in biblical times. It was used for soothing of wounds and referred to in other books like the Apocalypse of Moses as an “oil of mercy” and as a cure for every kind of illness. The idea that oil conferred health and well-being is the significance of a rite in the cleansing of the leper found in Lev 14:15-18. This is not a purification rite but the conveying of life as is suggested by the anointing of the head. The entire rite indicates that the formerly ostracized person is now accepted once more into the life of society. This is such an interesting account for if you know anything about the Vita-Flex points in the body, these three are significant. The priest was to put some of the cedarwood oil on the tip of the right ear-a reflex point to release guilt. Then he put the oil on the thumb of the right hand and the big toe on the right foot which are both reflex points for the brain and pineal gland-the center of the body’s communication systems and the place where emotional memory is stored.
Oil in the biblical texts appears fundamentally as a source of strength, vitality and life. Anointing someone with an essential oil paid the person great honor. So it was spoken of as bringing joy and gladness to festive occasions. And in sacred contexts, anointing with an aromatic essential oil acquired the weight of theology and of holiness. Educational courses that are Christian-based can help us reclaim our rightful role in healing and anointing one another. Such a program exists and is taught throughout the United States.
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