Abba Anointing Prayer Oils






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How are Anointing Oils used today.

Anointing Oils are used in many ways; they are commonly used to anoint the ill when one is laying on hands. As in Biblical times, olive oil can be mixed with frankincense, myrrh and/or cassia to produce a fragrant and pleasing anointing oil.



1 John 2:2 “And He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours alone but also for the sins of the whole world”

Definition: Any of the various chiefly tropical trees, shrubs, and plants of the genus Cassia, having compound leaves, usually yellow flowers and long pods. A tree Cinnamomum cassia, of tropical Asia, having bark similar to cinnamon but of inferior quality. The bark of this tree used as a spice.; Cassia means fragrance of Christ. This ingredient is a reminder to us of Christ our Messiah the Anointed One. It reminds us of the sacrifice He made on our behalf and that He became our propitiation and our substitute.

Historical Information: Cassia was one of the principal spices of the Holy Anointing oil used to anoint priests, kings and their garments. Likewise, the coming King Messiah’s robes will smell of cassia. Cassia is not frequently used today but was apparently a highly valued commodity in biblical times. The root word, kiddah, in both Hebrew and Arabic, signifies a strip and refers to the strips of bark from which the spice is made. In the spiritual sense, cassia speaks of humility, being stripped of pride, set apart (holy) with a servant’s heart.

The ingredient of cassia reminds us of the suffering Servant who in His body was the sacrifice for the world. The brokenness of His body was the sweet fragrance to the Father that He had won the human race back to Himself.

Eph. 4:8 “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.”

Psalm 45:8 “Your robes are all fragrant with myrrh, aloes and cassia…”


Psalm 92:12 “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.”

Definition: A large, long-lived cedar (Cedrus libani) native to Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey and having spreading horizontal branches at maturity, short dark needles, and fragrant hard wood.

Historical Information: The cedar of Lebanon is a huge evergreen tree by Middle Eastern standards reaching 90 feet in height, the “King” of all Biblical trees. The wood is astonishingly decay resistant and it is never eaten by insect larvae. It is beautifully majestic and red toned with deep green leaves. The tree bark is dark gray and exudes a gumlike resin from which the highly aromatic oils are produced. Cedars of Lebanon is the strong, fragrant wood used to build David’s house, Solomon’s house and much of the First Temple. It was also used along with hyssop in the cleansing of a leper’s house. It speaks of strength, permanence, endurance and wholeness.


Matthew 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”

Definition: Frankincense is the gum or resin of the Boswellia tree, used for making perfume and incense. The Hebrew word, labonah, which means “white” referring to the gum’s color. The English word frankincense comes from a French expression meaning “free incense” or “free burning.”

Historical Information: These two fragrances combined not only smell divine, but have deep spiritual significance as two of the three gifts presented to the Messiah after his birth.

In temple days, sweet incense containing Frankincense was placed on the Inner Altar of the Tabernacle and burned morning and evening. It speaks of intercession. Myrrh, used as a burial spice and in purification rites, was a primary ingredient of the Holy Anointing Oil. It speaks of suffering and death, but our total deliverance in the atoning work of Messiah. Frankincense & Myrrh, two of the three prophetic gifts given to the Messiah at His birth, represent His role as Priest and Prophet, signifying all that Messiah would do and continues to do on our behalf.

Is 53:5 “He was wounded for our transgression, He was bruised for our iniquities; ….and by His stripes we are healed.”   

Heb 7:24-26 …he is totally able to deliver those who approach God through him; since he is alive forever and thus able to intercede on their behalf.”

Ex 30:34-36.And the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be like weight:35.And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy: 36.And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy.”

Is 60:6 “The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord”

Jer 6:20 “To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country: your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.”


Psalm 51:7 “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”

Definition: A woody Eurasian plant (Hyssopus officinalis) in the mint family, having spikes of small blue or violet flowers and aromatic leaves used in perfumery, as a condiment, and formerly in medicine; A Biblical plant, used for sprinkling in the ritual practices of the Hebrews.

Historical Information: Hyssop is a low growing evergreen, bushy herb growing 1 to 2 feet high, cultivated for its flower-tops, from which the fragrance is extracted. The herb grows in arid climates out of rocky soil and out of cracks in ancient walls such as in the old Temple area of Jerusalem.  Hyssop was once called a “Holy Herb” because it was used for sprinkling in the ritual practices of the Hebrews. Ex 12:22 reads “And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts..” Because of the reference found in Num. 19:6 (“And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer”). Hyssop, a very “clean, fresh” scent, speaks of spiritual cleansing by the refining fire of the Holy Spirit.

Since people in the biblical era did not have access to the products we do today, they often relied on naturally occurring resources such as plants, animal by-products, and minerals for cleaning, cooking, food, medicine, and more. Hyssop, an herb in the mint family with cleansing, medicinal, and flavoring properties, was prolific in the Middle East and was used in a variety of ways.

The Bible mentions hyssop several times, mostly in the Old Testament. In Leviticus, God commanded His people to use hyssop in the ceremonial cleansing of people and houses. In one example, God tells the priests to use hyssop together with cedar wood, scarlet yarn, and the blood of a clean bird to sprinkle a person recently healed from a skin disease (likely re-enter the camp (Leviticus 14:1–7). The same method was used to purify a house that had leprosy). This act would ceremonially cleanse the formerly diseased person and allow him to previously contained mold (Leviticus 14:33–53).

Hyssop is also used symbolically in the Bible. When the Israelites marked their doorposts with lamb’s blood in order for the angel of death to pass over them, God instructed them to use a bunch of hyssop as a “paintbrush” (Exodus 12:22). This was probably because hyssop was sturdy and could withstand the brushing, but it also likely signified that God was marking His people as “pure” and not targets of the judgment God was about to deal out to the Egyptians.

David also mentions hyssop in Psalm 51:7: “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” David does not refer to physical cleansing—rather, he is asking God to cleanse him spiritually as he confesses his sin.

Hyssop also appears at Jesus’ crucifixion, when the Roman soldiers offered Jesus a drink of wine vinegar on a sponge at the end of a stalk of hyssop (John 19:28–30). This was, in fact, Jesus’ last act before He declared His work on earth finished and gave up His spirit. While the hyssop stalk may have been used for purely practical purposes (i.e., it was long enough to reach to Jesus’ mouth as He hung on the cross), it is interesting that that particular plant was chosen. It is possible that God meant this as a picture of purification, as Jesus bought our forgiveness with His sacrifice. Just as in the Old Testament blood and hyssop purified a defiled person, so Jesus’ shed blood purifies us from the defilement of our sin.


Revelation 21:2 “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

Definition: A marriage contract, traditionally written in Aramaic, stipulating certain rights and responsibilities according to Jewish laws and customs.; The ketubah is a unilateral agreement drawn by witnesses in accordance with Jewish civil law, in which they testify that the husband guarantees to his wife that he will meet certain human and financial conditions of marriage, “as Jewish husbands are wont to do.”

Historical Information: Ketubah is the Hebrew word meaning “It is written” and the name given to marriage contracts for the children of Israel outlining the vows and responsibilities of the groom and the bride toward each other. Many scriptures compare the marriage covenant on earth with the covenant between the Creator and His people. After the Exodus, Moses presented the children of Israel with the terms of one such covenant, the Ten Commandments written with the finger of the Holy One of Israel, which they accepted wholeheartedly with a resounding “I do.”  Love for The One True God, shown by obedience to His Word, is the basis on which this covenant is extended to all who believe.

Ketubah is a special aromatic blending of biblical fragrances representing the participants in the holy covenant of marriage–the Groom, the Bride and the Spirit of The Living God.


Psalm 45:8 All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; from palaces adorned with ivory the music of the strings makes you glad.”

Historical Information: In Ps 45:8 the Bible portrays a king whose garments are so thoroughly scented with costly perfumes that they seem to be altogether woven out of them. Two of the three scents mentioned, Myrrh and Cassia, were ingredients in the holy anointing oil used to anoint priests and kings. The remaining fragrance, Aloes, is listed among the “chief species” in the garden of the beloved in Song 4:13-14. Psalm 45:8 “All your garments smell of myrrh, aloes and cassia…”   King’s Garments is a special aromatic blending of the three biblical scents consisting of: Myrrh: A gum resin that exudes from a small bushy tree found in Arabia. It flows as milky white then quickly turns to a deep purple-brown color as it begins to crystallize. Aloes: Most likely the product of a tree of the genus Aquilaria, a native of northern India. At a certain stage of decay, the wood develops a fragrance well known to the ancients and from it a rare perfume was obtained. Cassia: An evergreen tree in the cinnamon family with an aromatic bark, which is harvested in strips to make an aromatic powder or oil.

Song of Solomon 4:13-14 “Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard,14.Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices”


Matthew 2:11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”

Definition: Myrrh is an expensive spice, used for making perfume, incense, medicine, and for anointing the dead.; An aromatic gum resin obtained from several trees and shrubs of northeastern Africa and Arabia (Commiphora), used in perfume, incense, and medicinal preparations.

Myrrh comes from a small bushy tree, cultivated in ancient times in the Arabian peninsula. The grower made a small cut in the bark, where the resin would leak out. It was then collected and stored for about three months until it hardened into fragrant globules. Myrrh was used or crushed and mixed with oil to make perfume. It was also used medicinally to reduce swelling and stop pain. Today myrrh is used in Chinese medicine for a variety of ailments.

Historical Information: Myrrh, an exotic Biblical spice, was used in purification & beautification rites, in the formula for the Holy Anointing Oil, and in burial spices. Queen Esther was bathed in Oil of Myrrh for six months and with other aloes and perfumes for another six months before her presentation to the king. Bitter to the taste but sweet to the smell, myrrh in the spiritual sense speaks of dying to self to become a “sweet smelling savor” to the Lord.

Esther 2:12 Now when the turn came for each young woman to go in to King Ahasuerus, after being twelve months under the regulations for the women, since this was the regular period of their beautifying, six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and ointments for women.”

Myrrh appears frequently in the Old Testament, primarily as a sensuous perfume in the Song of Solomon. The Bible records myrrh showing up three times in the life and death of Jesus Christ. Matthew states that the Three Kings visited the child Jesus, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Mark notes that when Jesus was dying on the cross, someone offered him wine mixed with myrrh to stop the pain, but he did not take it. Finally, John says Nicodemus brought a mixture of 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes to anoint Jesus’ body when it was laid in the tomb.


Numbers 13:23 “They came to the valley of Eshkol…they brought also of the pomegranates, and of the figs.”

Definition: A deciduous shrub or small tree (Punicaceae family) widely cultivated for its edible fruit.; the many-chambered globular fruit of this tree, which has tough reddish rind, juicy red pulp, and many seeds.

Historical Information: The pomegranate, a Persian native, is one of the oldest fruits known to man and was highly esteemed by the Israelites. It takes an enormous amount of the flower petals to be pressed and steam-distilled in order to make a quantity of oil. Pomegranate is one of the seven species the spies brought back with them to show how fertile the promised land was. It speaks of God’s favor exhibited, in fruitfulness and abundance.

Although the pomegranate is an ancient symbol steeped in tradition, it has re-emerged in contemporary culture, not only because of its beauty and rich history, but because the pomegranate is quite desirable for its healthy, antioxidant qualities. The word pomegranate, in Hebrew, is derived from the Latin words “pomum” (apple) and “granatus” (seeded). Grown in the Mediterranean region for several thousand years, this remarkable fruit is rich in symbolism and there are specific references to the pomegranate in the Bible. Exodus 28:33-34 states that images of pomegranates be woven into the hem of the robe worn by the Hebrew High Priest. Pomegranates can also be found in the Bible in 1 Kings 7:13-22, where the fruit is depicted on the capitals of the two pillars which stood in front of the temple King Solomon built in Jerusalem. King Solomon is said to have designed his crown based on the crown of the pomegranate. The significance of the Jewish pomegranate is further exemplified by its appearance on ancient coins of Judea, one of only a few images that appear as a holy symbol. Jewish tradition teaches that the pomegranate is a symbol of righteousness because it is said to have 613 seeds, which corresponds with the 613 mitzvot, or commandments, of the Torah. The seeds of the pomegranate were also crushed and the dye would be used to write the Torah. For this reason and others, it is customary to eat pomegranates on Rosh Hashanah. Moreover, the pomegranate represents fruitfulness, knowledge, learning, and wisdom. Interestingly, many Jewish scholars believe that the pomegranate was the forbidden fruit of the Garden of Eden. Furthermore, the pomegranate is listed in the Bible as one of the seven species (shivat haminim) of fruits and grains that are special products of the Land of Israel.


Song of Sol 2:1 “I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valleys.”

Definition: common named for several plants, especially Hibiscus syriacus, (Malvaceae family), and for St. John’s-wort, (Hypericum genus, Hypericaceae family).The Malvaceae are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Malvales. The Hypericaceae are similarly classified, but in the order Theales.

Historical Information: This flower from the region of Sharon in Israel is actually not a rose, but is part of the hibiscus family. Its blooms are nonetheless beautiful and glorious, just as Isaiah depicted the millennial reign when the Bride of Messiah shines forth in all the radiance of her heavenly glory and beauty.

The Hebrew word sharon means “a plain or a level place.” The Plain of Sharon is the coastal plain between the mountains of central Palestine and the Mediterranean Sea, north of Joppa to Mt. Carmel. The area is mentioned in Acts 9:35 in conjunction with the town of Lydda, which is about eleven miles SE of Joppa and is called “Lod” in the Old Testament (1 Chronicles 8:12). Modern Israelis have reverted back to the Old Testament name. This town is located in the midst of the Plain of Sharon. This area was proverbially fertile and known for its flowers. The “rose of Sharon” is found in the Song of Solomon 2:1. Therefore, we can surmise that the rose of Sharon flower is named for the district of Sharon.

 The NIV uses a footnote that says, “Possibly a member of the crocus family.” Therefore, the “rose of Sharon” is not really what we would classify today as a “rose,” but it could be a plant similar to the hibiscus or it could be a crocus or tulip.

Some Bible expositors see the rose of Sharon as Christ and the lily as the church, His bride. Some of the early church fathers were fond of this analogy as well. There are some parallels that may be drawn between Christ and the rose of Sharon, but most of them fall apart when we realize the rose is not a rose at all, but a crocus or tulip. In addition, the church is never portrayed as a lily in the Bible. In fact, the word “lily” doesn’t even appear in the New Testament. Some say that because the rose of Sharon grows in dry, unfavorable conditions, it symbolizes Jesus coming from the root of Jesse and David (Isaiah 11:1; Revelation 22:16), but labeling the house of Jesse and David as “dry” has no basis in Scripture, either. Of course, Jesus is as lovely and fragrant as a rose, but that is insufficient to definitively identify Song of Solomon 2:1 as symbolic of Christ.


John 12:3 “Then Mary took a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.”

Definition: Named for several plants; The biblical spikenard, or nard, was a costly aromatic ointment, preserved in alabaster boxes, whose chief ingredient is believed to have been derived from Nardostachys grandiflora (or Nardostachys jatamansi), a plant of the family Valerianaceae. Such was the precious box of ointment that Mary Magdalen broke over Jesus’ feet. The American spikenard, or Indian root, is Aralia racemosa, of the family Araliaceae. The fragrant rhizome of both of these plants is still sometimes used medicinally. The false Solomon’s seal, of the family Liliaceae (lily family) is sometimes called wild spikenard. Spikenards are all classified in the division Magnoliophyta but differ in the classes, orders, and families to which they belong.

Historical Information: Spikenard, a rare and costly fragrant oil, was used by Mary of Bethany to anoint the head and feet of the Messiah two days before His death. It speaks of the Bride’s extravagant adoration of & intimacy with the Bridegroom, in total abandonment, without regard to cost.

Song of Sol 1:12 “While the king sits at his table, my spikenard sends forth its fragrance.”

 While they appear, at first glance, to be the same incident (both in Bethany just before Christ’s crucifixion), there are differences in them (e.g. Mark has it two days before Passover, after the Triumphal Entry; John has it six days before Passover, before the Triumphal Entry) that indicate that it occurred twice, perhaps the second woman doing it after hearing of the first one, or the first woman, Mary the sister of Lazarus, doing it twice.

John 12:1-10 “Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom He raised from the dead.2.There they made Him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with Him.3.Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.4.Then saith one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray Him,5.Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? 6.This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.7.Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of My burying hath she kept this.8.For the poor always ye have with you; but Me ye have not always.9.Much people of the Jews therefore knew that He was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom He had raised from the dead.10.But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death”

In Mark’s account the woman is unnamed, and she anointed Christ’s head with the spikenard, rather than His feet as in the above account by John. In this incident more than one person complained that it was a “waste of money,” while in John’s only Judas Iscariot is said to have complained. The accounts also indicate that John’s occurred at the house of Martha and Mary, while Mark’s occurred at the house of Simon the leper. Overall, the differences strongly indicate not Biblical contradictions, but two somewhat similar, but different, anointings.

Mark 14:1-9 “After two days was the Feast of the Passover, and of Unleavened Bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death.2.But they said, Not on the Feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.3.And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on His head.4.And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?5.For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.6.And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? She hath wrought a good work on me.7.For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but Me ye have not always.8.She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.9.Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.”


Proverbs 7:17  “I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.” 

 Definition: There is something about the anointing of the ingredient of cinnamon in the holy anointing oil that imparts a boldness of passion that causes us to be empowered for Christ today.  

Directions are here given for making the holy anointing oil, and the incense to be used in the service of the tabernacle. To show the excellency of holiness, there was this spiced oil in the tabernacle, which was grateful to the sight and to the smell. Christ’s name is as ointment poured forth, Song of Sololmon 1:3, and the good name of Christians is like precious ointment, Ec 7:1. The incense burned upon the golden altar was prepared of sweet spices. When it was used, it was to be beaten very small; thus it pleased the Lord to bruise the Redeemer, when he offered himself for a sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savour. The like should not be made for any common use. Thus God would keep in the people’s minds reverence for his own services, and teach us not to profane or abuse anything whereby God makes himself known. It is a great affront to God to jest with sacred things, and to make sport with his word and ordinances. It is most dangerous and fatal to use professions of the gospel of Christ to forward wordly interests. The fruit and coarser pieces of bark when boiled yield a fragrant oil. It was one of the principal ingredients in the holy anointing oil (Exodus 30:23 ). It is mentioned elsewhere only in Proverbs 7:17 ; Revelation 18:13 . The mention of it indicates a very early and extensive commerce carried on between Palestine and the East.

 The ointment or oil was used to anoint the tabernacle of the congregation, the ark of the testimony, the table and all the vessels, the candlestick, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt-offering, etc.

Cinnamon was regarded as among the “chief spices.” The silent yet spicy fragrance of cinnamon in the holy anointing oil would act as the yoke destroyer and the high priest set apart for the service of God would act as an intercessor for the world. That the ingredient cinnamon was that part of the holy anointing oil that represented the warfare for souls.  This ingredient would destroy the yokes of bondages through intercession for the world to receive Christ today.



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 What is an Anointing Oil?

The Hebrew word for “anoint” is mashach, which means to smear, rub, cover, or massage with oil, and in some cases it means “to pour oil over the head or body.” Interestingly, the English word for “massage” is quite similar in meaning and pronunciation. Our English word “anoint” is derived from the ancient Latin word inunctus, which means to smear with oil. It shares the same root as the ancient Hebrew word mashiach for “Messiah” and the ancient Greek word kristos for “Christ” which literally means “anointed one.” In the New Testament, the Hebrew word Messiah only appears twice in John 1:41 and John 4:25, while the Greek word kristos or “Christ” which means “anointed one” is used 361 times. Other words and phrases used in the Scriptures such as anointing oil, ointment, spices, incense, perfumes, odors or sweet savors, aromas, or fragrances, all imply essential oils.

Yeshua (Jesus) was more accurately referred to as Jesus, the Anointed One, by his followers. In Acts 4:26 (NIV) it reads, “The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one.”

In Jesus’ first public reading of the Torah recorded in Luke 4:18, he quoted Isaiah 61:1 in declaring Himself as the Messiah: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.”

Other Hebrew words commonly used in reference to anointing include meshach which means oil, mishchah which means anointed or ointment and moshchah which means consecrated portion. The New Testament Greek words for “anoint,” arechrio, means to smear or rub with oil, and by implication, to consecrate for office or religious service, whileandaleipho means to anoint.

Other terms such as anointing and ointments are also interchangeably used throughout scripture further obscuring its meaning. For instance, in Song of Solomon 1:3, the Hebrew word for anointing is shemen, which means fat or oil, as a staple, medicament or unguent, and for anointing. However, the King James Version translates the Hebrew word shemenas ointment: “Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.”

As stated earlier, to be anointed, among other things, is to be set apart and made sacred or consecrated – which is to be dedicated to God for service. It also means to be imparted with grace and enabled with gifts for His divine purpose. The words anoint, anointed, and anointing appears over 156 times in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

Another term frequently used in scripture to describe oil for anointing was “precious ointment.” Psalm 133:2 describes the anointing of Aaron with “precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments.” The words “precious ointment” indicates that this was not just olive oil but pure essential oils such as those used in the holy anointing oil.

Anointing My Head

“Thou anointest my head with oil…” Psalm 23:5

David probably wrote these words while resting beneath a palm as he watched his sheep. A common practice in the Middle East among shepherds like David was to pour an aromatic oil made of olive oil and other gum resins on the sheep’s head to keep lice and other insects and parasites from getting into the sheep’s wool. If they got near the sheep’s head, the insects could burrow down into the animal’s ears and kill them. The anointing oil protected the sheep by causing their wool to become slippery, making it impossible for insects to get near the sheep’s ears. David understood this and hence, the reason for anointing becoming symbolic of blessing, protection, and empowerment.

Two Types of Anointing:

The Bible dictionary mentions two types of anointing: with oil or by the Holy Spirit. This, in turn, has caused some confusion and misunderstanding of what anointing is, because many Bible translators used the words anoint and oil interchangeably as synonymous verbs. For example, in Isaiah 21:5 it reads in the King James Version:

Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield.

While in the New International Version, Isaiah 21:5 reads:

They set the tables, they spread the rugs, they eat, they drink! Get up, you officers, oil the shields!

Many readers do not realize how anoint and oil are integrally related and go hand in hand. Dr. Dominic N. Allotey, author of The Mystery of the Anointing Oil writes, “There is a powerful connection between the anointing oil and the anointing of the Spirit.” He states that anointing with oil serves as a strong weapon to obliterate yokes and heavy burdens, and empowers people to prosper and walk in victory. He adds, “The anointing oil is the medium through which the power of the Holy Spirit is released. When this is done, the oil ceases from its natural use, for supernatural and spiritual purpose.”

When an individual is anointed with oil, they are set apart for victory, favor, success, greatness and supernatural increase. And, it is the anointing oil that makes this difference. Through scripture, it is the act of anointing with oil that demonstrates this.

In passages of the Bible that refer to being anointed by the Holy Spirit, the act of anointing with oil was most likely practiced. The usage of anointing by the Spirit is mentioned ten times throughout scripture in the following passages:

  • Psalm 2:2

  • Lamentations 4:20

  • Ezekiel 28:14

  • Habakkuk 3:13

  • Zechariah 4:14

  • Luke 4:18

  • Acts 4:27

  • Acts 10:38

  • 2 Corinthians 1:21

  • 1 John 2:27

Anointing oil is empowered by the Holy Spirit and is the tangible manifestation of the presence of God that should be respected. For those who desire the power of God in their life and want to see oppression, sickness, or disease destroyed, being anointed with oil will restore health where there was once sickness, wealth where there was once poverty, and freedom from bondages such as addictions so that they can live a victorious life.

Anointing oil, however, should not be considered a “magic bullet.” A person cannot expect positive results from being anointed with oil if they are not living a consecrated life. This doesn’t mean perfect, but one that is striving toward growth and maturity. If you have expectation for great things, there are many different situations and circumstances for using anointing oil. Every facet of your life can be impacted by using anointing oil.

Dr. Allotey states, “There is something mystical about the anointing oil that cancels out man’s natural limitations and inabilities and catapults him into a realm of limitlessness and unparalleled excellence. The anointing can take someone who is experiencing stagnation and serious financial setbacks, and mold him into a champion, and a mighty man of wealth and power. The ministry of the anointing oil empowers you to the extraordinary, so that which is impossible becomes possible with little human efforts.”

Purpose of the Anointing Oil?

The primary purpose of anointing oil and its use with a priest or the objects used in the tabernacle or temple was to make them qodesh or “set apart”– most holy as described in Exodus 30:29.

While the Holy Anointing Oil was originally used exclusively for the priests and the articles used in the Tabernacle, later it was extended to include prophets and kings (1 Samuel 10:1).

Certain restrictions outlined in the Torah regarding its usage included:

  • It was forbidden to use the Holy Anointing Oil on an outsider (Exodus 30:33)

  • It was not to be used on the body of any common persons (Exodus 30:32a)

  • Israelites were forbidden to duplicate any like it, nor were they allowed to use the specific formula outlined in scripture for personal use (Exodus 30:32b)

Jim Lynn, author of The Miracle of Healing In Your Church Today (Trafford Publishing), states that the Tent of Meeting in Old Testament scriptures served as a type, or pattern and shadow, of the real Church to come (Hebrews 10:1). When God gave instruction for anointing the Tent of Meeting with specific essential oils, he was in effect giving instruction to anoint the Body of Christ (Ephesians 5:29-30). Years later in the New Testament, when Mary anointed Yeshua’s body in John 12:1-8, she physically anointed what the Old Testament priests could only symbolically anoint, as the forerunner of Christ’s Body (1 Corinthians 6:15).

Under Old Testament law, no layperson could touch the holy oil used for anointing the Tent of Meeting because of its sacredness. Yet here is Mary, a layperson, anointing Yeshua with a whole jar of precious oil and wiping his oil-soaked feet with her hair.

Lynn states, “What Mary did, she did for herself. But God used the occasion to enjoin (bless) man’s flesh with the flesh of His own Son: Something that had not happened previously. Mary’s anointing of Jesus bonds all of humanity to the ultimate sacrifice Jesus Christ paid for our physical and spiritual healing (Isaiah 53:4-5).

“God stipulated healing oils be used in the Tent of Meeting because He ordained them to be the natural counterpoint of Christ’s healing ministry (Acts 10:38). Israel (Jacob) called them the ‘best products of the land.’ When Jesus Christ, centuries later accepted Mary’s anointing of healing oil, He confirmed the sacred, healing role essential oils hold for us today.”

Lynn believes that it is important for people who use essential oils to understand why they were acknowledged in Holy Scripture and used in the disciples’ ministry of healing the sick (Mark 6:13). Lynn writes, “God has blessed essential oils and their use for healing, because they symbolically and physically bond mortal, corruptible human flesh to incorruptible, divine, eternal flesh in Jesus Christ and serve as a reminder that it is God who is our Healer (Exodus 15:26).”

What does Anoint Mean?

(How are People or Things Anointed? What does Anoint mean in the Bible?)

To anoint means to touch, rub, or smear with oil the subject of anointing may be a person or an object and the oil involved is holy from having been sanctified by a religious cleric at some point. The use of oil in this manner stems from the fact that scented oils were a luxury in the ancient world, so they were only used for special occasions including especially religious ones. They were also used for their medicinal qualities.

What Does it Mean to be Anointed?

Although anointing might occur in many different circumstances, the general meaning tends to be consistent: whatever or whomever is anointed is dedicated to the service of and obedience to God. They are sanctified, which means that they are made spiritually and ritually pure, a necessary condition for the service of God.

Why Were People Anointed?

The Bible describes many different circumstances where people and objects are anointed. It was common to anoint objects in a ceremony dedicating them to the service of God, for example the furnishings of the tabernacle. In Israel, the king was anointed with oil to signal his service to God and the people. Priests were anointed to signal their dedication to God.


And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.

Joshua 6:16
King James Bible

So Joab blew a trumpet, and all the people stood still, and pursued after Israel no more, neither fought they any more.

2 Samuel 2:28
King James Bible

They shouted out their oath of loyalty to the Lord with shofars blaring and rams horns sounding.

2 Chronicles 15:14

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