John Plunkett

December 22nd 2018

The English word “anoint” and its derivatives -- anointing, anointed, etc. appear 151 times in the King James Version.  That is 133 times in the Old Testament; but only 18 times in the New Testament.

In the sermon time today, I’d like us to do a Bible study on the subject of anointing -- concentrating on the 18 New Testament appearances of the relevant words.

General Background

For some general background, quoting from Easton’s Bible Dictionary, we see that:

• The practice of anointing with oil was common among the Hebrews,

• The act of anointing was significant of consecration to a holy or sacred use -- hence the anointing of the high priestand of the sacred vessels of the tabernaclke and temples,

• The high priest and the king were thus called "the anointed," 

• Anointing a king was equivalent to crowning him,

• Prophets were also anointed,

• The expression "anoint the shield" in Isaiah 21:5 refers to the custom of rubbing oil on the leather of a shield, so as to make it supple and fit for use in war,

• Anointing was also an act of hospitality, 

• It was the custom of the Jews to anoint themselves with oil as a means of refreshing or invigorating their bodies,

• Oil was used also for medicinal purposes; it was applied to the sick and also to wounds,

• The bodies of the dead were sometimes anointed,

• The promised Deliverer is twice called “the Anointed” -- or "Messias" -- the Greek version of the Hebrew "Messiah" -- because He was anointed with the Holy Spirit.

Greek Terms

Now, as we’re concentrating on the New Testament anointings, let’s look at the six different Greek words used there.  

But first, because it was just mentioned in the Easton’s Dictionary article, let’s look at the word "Messias" -- the Greek version of the Hebrew "Messiah" -- the Anointed One.

Messias is only used twice in the New Testament; and only in John’s gospel account.  The idea of the Messiah is usually rendered as the word "Christos" (Strong's 5547) -- from the Greek verb "chrio" -- to anoint.  

In our English language Bibles, Christos is usually anglicized as "Christ" -- which we have traditionally thought to be Jesus' "surname."

When Jesus was first calling His disciples, they knew that a special “Anointed One” had long been prophesied: 

John 1:41:
{Andrew} first found his own brother Simon, and said unto him, “We have found the Messias,” which is, being interpreted, the Christ.

The Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well also knew of those prophecies of an “Anointed One”:

John 4:25:
The woman said unto Him
{Jesus}, “I know that Messias is coming, which is called Christ: when He is come, He will tell us all things.

The Hebrew word Messiah is only used twice too -- in Daniel 9:25-26.

Now let’s take a quick look at the six Greek words translated as the English verb “anoint”: 

1. Aleipho (Strong's 218) is rendered nine times as anoint and/or one of its derivatives.  It stems from the common Greek word for oil, which is elaion (Strong's 1637) -- which, in turn, stems from the same root as elaia (Strong's 1636), which is the origin of the words olive oil, olives, olive tree and olive berries.

2. Murizo (Strong's 3462) only appears once and is, of course, a totally different word than aleipho.  Murizo stems from the noun muron (Strong's 3464), which means ointment and is related to the Hebrew word mowr (Strong's 4753) which is the same as the Greek smurna (Strong's 4666 myrrh) -- hence the town of Smyrna that is mentioned in Revelation 1:11.

I get the idea that, with aleipho, a person is anointed with simple olive oil, whereas, with murizo, the person is an-ointed with some kind of oint-ment.

3. Chrio (Strong's 5548) appears five times and, as already mentioned, is the origin of the Greek word “Christos” and the English "Christ"

The 4th, 5th and 6th Greek words are extensions of Chrio:

4. Epi-chrio (Strong's 2025) only appears twice.  
is a very common Greek preposition and can mean on, in, upon, unto, to, at, by, before, over, against or across.  
So, the idea of epi-chrio is to spread upon or to anoint something upon something else -- again implying an an-oint-ing with an oint-ment.

5. Eg-chrio (Strong's 1472) pronounced eng-chrio is only used once.  The "eg" prefix is another common Greek preposition and can mean in, by, with, among, at, on or through.

6. Chrisma (5545).  This is actually a noun rather thana verb as all the others are.  It is rendered twice as anointing and once as unction.  The extended Greek meanings show that it is anything smeared on something, an unguent -- an ointment that was usually prepared by the Hebrews from oil and aromatic herbs. 


Now let's go through our eighteen New Testament “anoint” scriptures -- 
sorted by their various types, kinds and purposes.

Anointing for Refreshment

The only scripture we have that mentions this type of anointing is this one -- from Jesus:

Matthew 6:
16:  Moreover, when you fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast.  Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.
17:  But you, when you fast, anoint
{aleipho} your head, and wash your face;

This kind of self-anointing sounds very foreign to our modern, western ears; but, as mentioned earlier, it was practiced by the Jews, and may still be by some Arabians today.  

When I think of putting oil on my head, I think of the use of the hair oils and Brylcreem that were commonly used by many men of our parents’ generation.  But, I wonder if we took this piece of Jesus’ advice on our fast days, in addition to washing our faces (and showering as most do), if we also anointed our heads with olive oil, would we feel refreshed?  It's probably worth a try!

Anointing House Guests and the Dead

As we move into this next section, we find a mention of the hospitable anointing of house guests in the Jewish world of Jeus' human lifetime, and its perhaps surprising link with the anointing of the dead:

Luke 7:
36:  And one of the Pharisees desired Him
{Jesus} that He would eat with him.  And He went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.
37:  And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment
{Hebrew "muron" -- Strong's 3464},

The previous context verses (e.g. verse 11; Matthew 11:20-24) tell us that this took place “up north” in Galilee.

38:  And stood at His feet behind Him weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed {aleipho} them with the ointment {muron}.
39:  Now when the Pharisee which had bidden Him saw it, he spoke within himself, saying, “This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that touches him: for she is a sinner.”
40:  And Jesus answering said unto him, “Simon, I have somewhat to say unto you.”  And he said, “Master, say on”… 
Verse 46:  My head with oil you did not anoint
{aleipho}: but this woman has anointed {aleipho} my feet with ointment {muron}.

Although I don’t want to get into all the fine detail on the proofs of this, this was not the same anointing as the much later one that is mentioned by the other three gospel writers, which we’ll come to shortly.

I find it interesting, though, that Jesus had three anointings: one way back in prehistory (which we’ll also come to), the one we just read about, relatively early in His ministry, and this one, shortly before His death:

Mark 14:
3a:  And being in Bethany …

Bethany is “down south” -- just outside Jerusalem -- not “up north” in Galilee!

3b: … in the house of Simon the leper…

This was a different Simon than the Pharisee in the Luke 7 account.

3c: … as He {Jesus} sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment {muron} of spikenard very precious; and she broke 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
{muron} 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 you her?  She has wrought a good work on me.
7:  For you have the poor with you always, and whensoever you will, you may do them good: but me you have not always.
8:  She has done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint
{murizo} 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 has done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.”

John’s account of this same anointing adds a few more details:

John 11:2:
It was that Mary which anointed
{aleipho} the Lord with ointment {muron} and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)

John was referring here to the same anointing as that mentioned by Mark.  Continuing in chapter 12:

John 12:
1:  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
{muron} of spikenard, very costly, and anointed {aleipho} the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment {muron}.
4:  Then said one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray Him,
5:  "Why was not this ointment
{muron} 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 has she kept this.”

Why was Mary inspired to do this shortly prior to Jesus’ death?

Perhaps because of the critical timings that very special year of: 

Mark 16:
1:  And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint
{aleipho} Him {Jesus, of course}
2:  And very early in the morning the first day of the week
{Sunday Abib 18}, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
3:  And they said among themselves, “Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?”
4:  And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
5:   And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a “young man” sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
6:  And he said unto them, “Be not affrighted: you seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: He is risen; He is not here: behold the place where they laid Him.”

So we see that, although all things had to be fulfilled, the "normal," traditional anointing of Jesus’ body had not been possible at the normal time.

Anointing for Physical and Spiritual Healing

This is likely the best-known type and purpose of anointing.

Mark 6:
7:  And He
{Jesus} called unto Himself the twelve and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits…
Verse 13:  And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil
{aleipho elaion} many that were sick, and healed them.

I fnd it interesting that this “tour of duty” was long before the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples (on the Feast of Pentecost following Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension).

We see from this account that anointing the sick with oil -- likely olive oil -- was the method used -- and of course approved -- by Jesus at that time.

However, in our next “anointing” scripture, we see Jesus healing a man by anointing him with something other than oil -- actually, quite a surprising kind of “ointment”:

John 9:
1:  And as Jesus passed by, He saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2:  And His disciples asked him, saying, “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3:  Jesus answered, “Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him”…
Verse 6:  When He
{Jesus} had thus spoken, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and He anointed {epi-chrio} the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
7:  And said unto him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, ‘sent’).”  He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

8:  The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, “Is not this he that sat and begged?”
9:  Some said, “This is he”; others said, “He is like him”; but he
{the formerly blind man} said, “I am he.”
10:  Therefore said they unto him, “How were your eyes opened?”
11:  He answered and said, “A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed
{epi-chrio} my eyes, and said unto me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash’: and I went and washed, and I received sight”…
Verse 13:  They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind.
14:  And it was the Sabbath Day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.
15:  Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight.  He said unto them, “He put
{Greek: epi-tithemi} clay upon my eyes, and I washed, and do see.”

Why did Jesus use this clay/mud "ointment" made with His own saliva for this remrkable healing?

Maybe He just didn’t have access to any olive oil at the time, which can easily happen, as any modern minister will tell you.

But did Jesus actually need that clay/mud “ointment” to effect that healing?  We might also ask whether or not Jesus and His Father needed the olive oil that the disciples used -- and which we use -- in their and our anointings?

Of course not!  But I believe that both Jesus’ spittle-clay-mud "ointment" and our anointing oil is symbolic; and perhaps in different ways.

Although the blind man that Jesus healed in John 9 was chosen for this very special purpose and although neither he nor his parents had committed any specific sin that had caused his lifelong blindness, the disciples were evidently correct in their understanding that most -- if not all -- sickness, disease and injury are the results of "physical  sins" -- i.e. broken physical laws of God.

The physical “ingredients” of the clay/mud “ointment” that Jesus used in this healing were, therefore, likely very significant.

Perhaps the dirt of the “ground” mentioned in verse 6 is symbolic of such physical sins.  Perhaps Jesus’ saliva -- that small amount of water that came out of His mouth is symbolic His Holy Spirit and of our calling by the Father via our initial acceptance of the Word of God that also came/comes out of Jesus’ mouth.  i.e. the first steps in the forgiveness/atonement process.

Also, the blind man's washing in the deep water of the Pool of Siloam is
perhaps symbolic of the second step in the forgiveness/atonement process.  i.e. The burying and washing away of sins in the waters of baptism.


Jesus must have told His disciples to use oil to anoint when He sent them out “on tour”; and through James, He has told subsequent eras of His ministers to do so -- including the ministers of our era today:

James 5:
14:  Is any sick among you?  Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil
{aleipho elaion} in the name of the Lord: 
15a:  And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up…

Please notice that it is the Lord and the prayer of faith that will save the sick and raise them up.  Not the oil!  And not the minister!  According to the Lord’s perfect will, of course!

15b: … and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
16:  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

This is probably the best-known "anointing" scripture in all the Bible.  It’s the one that all ministers quote whenever they anoint someone for illness or injury.

We could take up a whole sermon on the detail of the words of this short passage alone -- asking and answering questions such as:

 • Is healing guaranteed following an anointing?

• If it is, why do so many Church of God members continue in sickness and die?

• What does sin have to do with physical sickness?

These and many others are all good questions for another sermon at another time.

But before we move away from Jesus’ anointing of that blind man, let’s look at what might be its spiritual anti-type -- in yet another anointing scripture -- here in Jesus’ well-known, corrective instructions to His church in Laodicea:

Revelation 3:
17:  Because you say, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing”; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind and naked:
18: I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint
{eg-chrio} your eyes with eyesalve, that you may see.

The symbolic ointment that Jesus prescribes in this case is called eye-salve.  The Greek term is kollourion (Strong's 2854) which was a specialty preparation composed of various ingredients and used as a remedy for tender eye-lids.

The Laodicean church  has multiple spiritual problems -- one of which is spiritual blindness (another topic on which whole sermons could be preached).

The Greek verb used here for anoint is eg-chrio (1472).  What is interesting about this verb, as used by Jesus here, is that it means to rub in or to besmirch oneself.

Most of the previous anointings we've looked at were done by someone other than the anointed person.  In this case though, Jesus is exhorting His Laodicean brethren to anoint themselves!  To anoint their own blind eyes!

This, I believe, is another proof that Jesus and His Father have not "done it all for us"!  

Most of it?  Yes!  99.9999999% of it?  Yes!

But there’s still that 0.000000001% that they want us to do ourselves!  And that 0.000000001% of whole New Covenant “package” must be a full 100% of our own effort throughout our whole Christian lifetime!  Our part constitutes the “working out of our own salvation” as admonished by Paul in his letter to the Philippians.

Anointing with the Holy Spirit

Let’s move on now to the anointing with the Holy Spirit -- beginning with the anointing of the human Jesus with His own Holy Spirit -- as prophesied in Isaiah 61:1-2 and quoted by Jesus in:

Luke 4:18:
The Spirit of the Lord
{Isaiah's “LORD/YHVH”} is upon me, because He has {already -- past tense} anointed {chrio} me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind {as we just read about in the book of Revelation!}, to set at liberty them that are bruised…
Verse 21:  And He began to say unto them, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”

The scriptures strongly indicate that the human Jesus was pre-anointed -- or fore-ordained -- way back in prehistory -- both by His Father and by the LORD/YHVH -- in effect, by Himself! 

I Peter 1:
19:  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot:
20:  Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times, for you,

Jesus’ anointing with the Holy Spirit can also be considered as His anointing -- or ordination -- as the King of kings -- and as the great High POriest of the Melchizedek priesthood (Hebrews 5:6-10; 6:20).

As High Priest, He gave and received His human self the authority to preach -- to preach the gospel, deliverance, etc., as He mentioned in His Luke 4 quote of Isaiah 61.

None of this leaves God the Father out of the picture, of course:

Acts 4:
24:  So when they
{the Christian companions of Peter and John} heard that, they raised their voice to God {Theos -- the Father in this case} with one accord and said: “Lord {Greek: Despotes}, you are God {Theos}, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them…
Verse 27:  For of a truth against your holy child
{Greek: pais: servant} Jesus, whom you have anointed {chrio}, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together.”

And later, from Peter:

Acts 10:38:
How God
{the Father} anointed {chrio} Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God {the Father!} was with Him. 

Not just with Him; but in Him!

And again in this amazing passage:

Hebrews 1:
1:  God
{the Father}, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
2:  Has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed
{tithemi} Heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds…
Verse 8:  But unto the Son
{Jesus} He {the Father} says,
“Your throne, O God
{the Greek "Theos" here is Jesus!}, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of your kingdom.
9:  You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even your God
{the Father}, has anointed {chrio} you with the oil {elaion} of gladness above your fellows {both angelic and human!}.

Yes.  Even though the human Lord Jesus was relatively weak compared with His former self as the LORD/YHVH, He still possessed great power
through His Father being with Him and in Him -- throughout His human lifetime and through the unlimited portion of the Holy Spirit that He possessed:

John 3:34:
For He
{Jesus} whom God {the Father} has sent speaks the words of God {the Father}: for God {the Father} gives not the Spirit by measure {unto Him -- Jesus}. 

Although the words "unto Him" do not actually appear in the Greek, they may be implied -- both grammatically and logically from various scriptures, including the "earnest" verses which we will come to shortly.

The astonishing truth here is that, although the human Jesus’ portion of the Holy Spirit was "without measure" and although our portions are measured -- i.e. just an “earnest” or down-payment -- for now at least -- still, we too have been anointed with that very same Holy Spirit that our Father anointed Jesus with:

II Corinthians 5:
4:  For we that are in this
{limited, bodily} tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
5: Now He that has wrought us for the selfsame thing {i.e. our mortality being swallowed up by eternal life} is God
{the Father}, who also has given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.

At the time when our mortality is swallowed up by eternal life, we’ll be un-burdened, our physical limitations will be taken off us, and our earnest of the Holy Spirit will be replaced by a full, un-limited amount.

Backing up to chapter  1:

II Corinthians 1:
21:  Now He which establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed
{chrio} us, is God {the Father};
22:  Who has also sealed
{Greek: sphragizo} us and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

Our anointing with the earnest of the Holy Spirit in effect seals us -- with the indelible seal authenticity as true Christians.

Yes.  We’re sealed, as long as we continue to do our part and as long as we continue to fulfill our side of the New Covenant "bargain" and as long as we endure to the end.

Here are a few more scriptures that mention these same concepts:

Ephesians 1: {Paul was writing here about Jesus, of course}:
13:  In whom you also trusted, after you heard the Word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in whom also after you
{initially} believed, you were sealed with {sphragizo} that Holy Spirit of promise,
14:  Which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory. 

Jumping down to chapter 4:

Ephesians 4:30:
And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed
{sphragizo} unto the day of redemption.

So, the limitation of the amount of Holy Spirit we’re given is only for the time being -- until the day of our “redemption” -- i.e. the time of the First resurrection -- at which time our mortality will be swallowed up by eternal life!


Please note that the “us” and “we” mentioned so often in Paul's epistles does not mean that these wonderful promises are only to Paul and his associated apostles and ministers; but rather to all of Jesus’ brothers and sisters -- past, present and future -- including you and me:

I John 2:
20:  But you have an unction
{chrisma: anointing} from the Holy One {Jesus}, and you know all things…
Verse 27:  But the anointing
{chrisma} which you have received of Him {Jesus} abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing {chrisma} teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it {Holy Spirit} has taught you, you shall abide in Him {Jesus}.

Of course, John was not saying here that, once we’ve first been baptized and received the Holy Spirit, Christians don’t need any teaching by any fellow-human-beings.  No.  Many scriptures tell us that we must continue listening, reading, studying, learning and growing in grace and knowledge.

Rather, John is telling us here that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit -- yes, both in teacher and listener is what enables Jesus to abide in us -- and enables us to abide in Him -- and enables us to understand spiritual things that were formerly incomprehensible to us.

So, to summarize, in this Bible study on the subject of anointing, we’ve looked into:

• The various Greek words,

And in Bible times:

• Anointing for physical refreshment,

• The anointing of house guests’ heads and feet,

• The anointing of the dead,

And in all New Covenant eras, including our own:

• Anointing for physical and spiritual healing,

• Anointing with the Holy Spirit.