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Anointing, in Holy Scripture, is either, I. Material—with oil—or II. Spiritual—with the Holy Ghost. I. Material.—

1. Ordinary. Anointing the body or head with oil was a common practice with the Jews, as with other Oriental nations. Deut. 28:40; Ruth 3:3; Micah 6:15. Anointing the head with oil or ointment seems also to have been a mark of respect sometimes paid by a host to his guests. Luke 7:46 and Ps. 23:5. 2. Official. It was a rite of inauguration into each of the three typical offices of the Jewish commonwealth. a. Prophets were occasionally anointed to their office, 1 Kings 19:16, and were called messiahs, or anointed. 1 Chron. 16:22; Ps. 105:15. b. Priests, at the first institution of the Levitical priesthood, were all anointed to their offices, Ex. 40:15; Num. 3:3; but afterwards anointing seems to have been specially reserved for the high priest, Ex. 29:29; Lev. 16:32; so that “the priest that is anointed,” Lev. 4:3, is generally thought to mean the high priest. c. Kings. Anointing was the principal and divinely-appointed ceremony in the inauguration of the Jewish kings. 1 Sam. 9:16; 10:1; 1 Kings 1:34, 39. The rite was sometimes performed more than once. David was thrice anointed. d. Inanimate objects also were anointed with oil, in token of their being set apart for religious service. Thus Jacob anointed a pillar at Bethel. Gen. 31:13; Ex. 30:26-28. 3. Ecclesiastical. Anointing with oil is prescribed by St. James to be used for the recovery of the sick. James 5:14. Analogous to this is the anointing with oil practiced by the twelve. Mark 6:13. II. Spiritual.—

1. In the Old Testament a Deliverer is promised under the title of Messiah, or Anointed, Ps. 2:2; Dan. 9:25, 26; and the nature of his anointing is described to be spiritual, with the Holy Ghost. Isa. 61:1; see Luke 4:18. In the New Testament Jesus of Nazareth is shown to be the Messiah, or Christ, or Anointed, of the Old Testament, John 1:41; Acts 9:22; 17:2, 3; 18:4, 28; and the historical fact of his being anointed with the Holy Ghost is asserted and recorded. John 1:32, 33; Acts 4:27; 10:38. Christ was anointed as prophet, priest, and king. 2. Spiritual anointing with the Holy Ghost is conferred also upon Christians by God. 2 Cor. 1:21. “Anointing” expresses the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit upon Christians, who are priests and kings unto God.