In the first part of the series, l stated that among the weapons and strategies the devil uses to prevent many Christians from living for God’s best are some religious teachings and practices. These teachings and practices in our churches and religious circles hold us in bondage and short-circuit God’s grace in our lives. The first of such practices which l wrote on was the anointing of believers with holy anointing oil.
l pointed out that the holy anointing oil was first mentioned and introduced to Israel by God Himself. God, thus, gave the list of ingredients for the preparation of the anointing oil which included choice spices and olive oil. The regulations regarding how the holy anointing oil should be used were also given by God. The holy anointing oil remained sacred unto God and the penalty for those who violated any of the regulations was death.
It will be helpful to remind ourselves of the fact that God has anointed us in Christ with the Holy Spirit. And the true anointing, the Holy Spirit abides in us (2 Cor. 1:21;1Jn 2:27). THIS EXPLAINS WHY IN THE NEW TESTAMENT YOU CAN’T FIND ONE EXAMPLE WHERE BELIEVERS WERE CONSECRATED WITH HOLY ANOINTING OIL OR THEY ARE COMMANDED TO DO SO. Instead, hands are laid on believers with prayer (see Acts 6:5,6;13:1-3;1Tim 4:14).
The truth is that believers’ confident expectation of God’s glory isn’t in anointing oil. CHRIST IS THE SOLE EXPRESSION OF GOD’S GLORY, THE FULLNESS OF THE GODHEAD DWELLS IN HIM AND HE IS FULL OF GRACE. UNDERSTAND THAT CHRIST IS IN US, AND THAT IS OUR HOPE OF GLORY (Col. 1:27).
Therefore, we don’t need anyone to anoint us with the so-called “holy anointing oil” to consecrate or empower us. What we need is to walk in the reality of the anointing that we’ve already received in Christ by grace.
Now, one may ask this particularly important question: Why should Apostle James admonish us to anoint the sick with oil in his epistle?
14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
The first point l want to make is, James admonishes the church to anoint the sick with OIL and not with HOLY ANOINTING OIL. We need to know the difference between these two types of oil in scripture–the holy anointing oil and olive oil. Kings, prophets, and priests were anointed with holy anointing oil as a consecration to their sacred tasks under the Law. The holy anointing oil was never used to anoint a layman or the sick (Exodus 30:31-32).
The other thing l want to clarify is, olive oil was used for medicinal purposes to heal the sick and soothe the wounds of the injured. The prophet Isaiah mentions olive oil’s therapeutic qualities in his writings (Isaiah 1:6), and the Good Samaritan had to use oil and wine to dress the wounds of the man who fell among robbers (Luke 10:34).
However, James states that it’s the prayer of faith that heals the sick. The emphasis is on the prayer of faith, and not on the oil.
Know this, the Law of Moses made provision for the healing of a person afflicted with skin diseases. The Book of Leviticus gives procedures for how the priests were to quarantine and heal those with these diseases. Part of the treatment involved being anointed with olive oil.
15 And the priest shall take some of the log of oil and pour it into the palm of his own left hand. 16 Then the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle some of the oil with his finger seven times before the Lord.17 And of the rest of the oil in his hand, the priest shall put some on the tip of the right ear of him who is to be cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot, on the blood of the trespass offering.18 The rest of the oil that is in the priest’s hand he shall put on the head of him who is to be cleansed. . .
Clearly, the application of oil in the above process isn’t for medicinal purposes. It’s for those to be cleansed and made whole to be conscious of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the process of their restoration and acceptance by God.
Likewise, James’ prescription given to the church to anoint the sick person with oil isn’t intended to be for medicinal purposes. How can oil with its medicinal value heal instantly a cancer patient who is just anointed with it by the elders?
Again, oil has medicinal qualities, but it can’t heal every sickness or disease. Therefore, others whose conditions can’t be healed with oil will be denied healing.
So, what is the purpose of anointing the sick with oil as it’s being recommended by James?
The initiative which lies in the sick person sending for the elders in the church tells me this: James has those who are bedridden or cannot do anything for themselves in mind. Realize that the Apostle further mentions that the Lord will raise the sick person up.
Anointing someone in such a situation with oil will positively do a lot of good to him. Once the sick is consciously aware that his body is being set apart for the operation of the Holy Spirit, it will rekindle his confidence in God and the expectation of his healing.
I like what one minister said, “Many have said that the anointing in “James 5” is symbolic of the Holy Spirit at work in the individual through the prayer of faith to heal the sick person. In other words, the anointing of oil in “James 5:14″ is thought to be sort of a symbol for the healing power of God coming upon the person to deliver them from sickness.”
We must understand that it’s according to one’s faith to receive from God. So, the faith of the sick needs to be released to activate the healing power of God.
The Scriptures provide a clear relationship between the power of God and the manifestation of healing in Jesus’ earthly ministry.
Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And THE POWER of the Lord was present TO HEAL them. …
And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for POWER WENT OUT FROM HIM and HEALED THEM ALL.
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT AND WITH POWER, who went about doing good and HEALING ALL WHO WERE OPPRESSED BY THE DEVIL, for God was with Him.
In all these, we all know that the determining factor between the power of God and healing is faith. This is why it’s necessary for ministers to explain the purpose of anointing the sick with oil so that by faith, they can reach out to receive the healing power which God graciously provides to restore them.
Again, we’ve to teach the sick to trust God for the Spirit within them to restore life to their mortal bodies ( Romans 8:11). And also learn the different ways of ministering healing to them.
Written by Peter Collins Obeng
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