What is Anointing Oil?
The primary purpose of anointing oil in the Bible was to set someone apart, such as the Aaron and his sons for the priesthood. It showed that the anointed person was holy unto the Lord. God instructed Moses on how to make a holy oil to use only in the Tent of Meeting. A person could be sanctified and set apart to be a king as well. Such was the case with numerous kings in the Bible. Perhaps the most well-known story was when the prophet Samuel anointed the youngest son of Jesse, King David. Prophets were anointed consecrate them and set them apart for their special calling too. Elijah famously heard the still, small voice of God. The voice of God instructed him to anoint Elisha as prophet in his place.
Anointing oil also served as perfume in the Bible. Native olive oil would be mixed with imported aromatics to provide a pleasant aroma on wearer’s clothes, hair and skin. The bride in the Song of Songs describes the perfumes both she and her Beloved wear. In the book of Psalms 45 we read that God’s garments are perfumed by myrrh and aloes. The wise men brought expensive perfumes from the east to present to Jesus, the newly born King of the Jews, Jesus.
Anointing oil was used to prepare the dead for burial. Mary came to the table where Jesus was eating and anointed him with spikenard. Jesus said of her “She has come beforehand to anoint my body for burial.” When Jesus died, we read that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus brought a hundred pounds of aloe and myrrh to anoint Jesus’ body according to the custom of the time.
The final use of anointing oil in the Bible is for anointing the sick. The book of James instructs the ailing believer to call for the elders of the church for prayer and anointing with oil in the name of the Lord. We are promised that the prayer of the righteous will be heard.
Anointing oil has varied uses in the Bible. It is used primarily for consecration and worship, but can be used for adornment, or for prayer and healing. When you anoint yourself with biblical prayer oil, you are joining in with the prophets, priests, kings, and humble saints who have gone before you.