And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 23, Number
In this issue:
Joe R. Price
The apostle John wrote, “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.” And again, “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you; and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” (1 Jn. 2:20, 27)
What is this “anointing” John says Christians have from God? Does it have any bearing and application for you and me?
Those who assert miraculous gifts and powers of the Holy Spirit in this modern age claim an “anointing” that has been popularized by Benny Hinn and similar purveyors of prophetic powers in our time.
“Anointing” in the New Testament is from the Greek word chrisma, to rub, smear; “an unguent or smearing, that is, (figuratively) the special endowment (“chrism”) of the Holy Spirit,” (G5545). To help us understand how Hinn and the Charismatic movement use this word, consider Hinn’s description of his personal anointing when he was 11 years old. He reported that
“suddenly my little body was caught up in an incredible sensation that can only be described as ‘electric.’ It felt as if someone had plugged me into a wired socket. There was a numbness that felt like needles – a million of them – rushing through my body.” (Good Morning Holy Spirit, p. 22, cited in “The New Anointing,” Let Us Reason Ministries).
On the Larry King Show, Hinn described the anointing he experiences, preaches, and promotes:
“Now here we are, human beings you know, made out of dust and God will touch the body with His power. It’s just like touching electricity, you know. It could throw you. It could also kill you if there’s too much of it…I grew up in the Catholic schools, so I was religious, but really not a Christian like I am now. Then while asleep my body filled up with like electricity, just like somebody plugged me into a socket and I froze. I just couldn’t, I, I could not move. And then appeared the Lord. [He] Smiled at me, did not say a word. He was wearing a white robe” (Ibid).
Like many other experiences claiming a divine source, there is no Bible basis for his claims. The time of miracles has ended (1 Cor. 13:8-10). He experienced something, but it was not the Holy Spirit. Lying wonders and unrighteous deception are the work of Satan and attend those who do not believe and love the truth of Christ, the gospel (2 Thess. 2:9-12). We are warned to withdraw from “men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain” (1 Tim. 6:5).
Rejecting the errors of the Charismatic movement, we are still left to arrive at the scriptural understanding of the “anointing” in 1 John 2:20, 27. Perhaps it will help to review the practice of anointing in the Bible briefly.
The use of oil for daily hygiene was common in the ancient East (Ruth 3:3; 2 Sam. 12:20). In addition, to anoint someone with oil gave them refreshment and was a mark of hospitality (Ps. 104:15; Luke 7:46). Finally, people used oil to anoint people for health benefits (Mark 6:13; Luke 10:34).
The religious use of oil is mentioned often in the Old Testament. For example, sacred things were anointed with holy oil, such as the tabernacle and its furnishings: “You shall consecrate them, that they may be most holy; whatever touches them must be holy” (Exod. 30:29, 22-29, 31-33). This anointing identified and consecrated things for holy use.
People were anointed in the Old Testament. (1) Priests were anointed to consecrate their service before God on behalf of the people ((Exod. 30:30; 40:13-15; Lev. 8:12, 30). (2) Prophets were anointed as God’s inspired spokesmen (1 Kings 19:16; Ps. 105:15). (3) Kings were anointed (1 Sam. 9:15-16; 10:1; 16:1, 12-13; 2 Kings 9:6). To anoint a person indicated they were set apart for a divinely assigned work.
The most notable figure to be anointed is Christ (“the Anointed One,” Ps. 2:2; Isa. 61:1; Jn. 1:41). Appointed by God, Jesus Christ was designated and set apart for his holy work as High Priest, Prophet, and King.
Just as the holy anointing oil was an outward display of God’s appointment in the Old Testament, Christ was anointed with the Holy Spirit and power. “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” (Acts 10:38). Isaiah prophesied that “Spirit of the Lord” would be upon the Messiah “because he has anointed me to preach the gospel…to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty…” Jesus claimed this prophecy was fulfilled in Him by His words and His works (Luke 4:18-21; Isa. 61:1-2).
His anointing “with the Holy Spirit and with power” identified Christ and set Him apart to the work He was given to accomplish (Luke 3:22; Jn. 1:29-34; 5:36-37). These verses do not say Jesus obtained His power from the Holy Spirit. It was the presence of the Holy Spirit and power with Jesus that showed He was the Anointed One, the Christ (see Jn. 5:36-37; Luke 5:17).
The pressing question is whether the apostle John said Christians are anointed with the Holy Spirit and power like Jesus. That is the claim made by charismatics like Benny Hinn. Are they correct? No. What, then, is our anointing?
The apostle John had just warned Christians not to love the world and to be aware that “many antichrists” had come (1 Jn. 2:15-18). These false prophets and teachers claimed to be anointed (approved and assigned) by God, but their manifest objection to the apostolic truth exposed their deception and their opposition to Christ (1 Jn. 2:19; 4:1-6).
In contrast to those who are against Christ in their words and deeds, Christians “have an anointing from the Holy One” so that we “know all things” (1 Jn. 2:20). We have been designated as holy, consecrated, and set apart through the gospel we believe and obey. “Sanctify them by Your truth; Your word is truth… And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth” (Jn. 17:17, 19). This prayer on behalf of the apostles finds similar application by Christ to every disciple when He said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:31-32).
Knowledge of the truth of Christ was sufficient to expose and resist the antichrists in John’s day (“you know all things,” 1 Jn. 2:20). It still is. The Gnostic deceivers offered secret knowledge that contradicted the apostolic truth “you heard from the beginning” (1 Jn. 2:26, 24, 21-23). Only by abiding in the revealed truth of Christ (which had been revealed by the Holy Spirit) would they “abide in the Son and in the Father” (1 Jn. 2:24). The same remains true for us today.
The anointing in 1 John 2:27 (1) Comes from God, (2) Abides in you, (3) Is absolute, rendering all other sources of knowledge unnecessary, (4) Teaches us concerning all things and is true, and (5) Has taught us. This anointing is not the person of the Holy Spirit. It is what the Holy Spirit gave us, the word of truth, the gospel of Christ (Jn. 16:8-15).
Christians are anointed with the truth. The Holy Spirit has given us the truth of the gospel by His power. God’s truth identifies us as God’s people and appoints us to serve God in holiness. Truth (1) Comes from God and sanctifies us (Jn. 17:17), (2) Abides in us (1 Jn. 2:14), (3) Is absolute (Jn. 14:6), (4) Teaches us all things (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3-4), and (5) Must be received and obeyed to abide in God (2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Jn. 2:3-6).
Christians abide in the Son and the Father as we abide in the truth (1 Jn. 2:24). Those who deny Jesus Christ are not anointed with truth (1 Jn. 2:21-23). We enjoy the eternal life promised us in the Son by continuing to abide in truth (1 Jn. 2:24-25; 5:11-13).
-The Spirit’s Sword (June 29, 2008), edited
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Celebrate Unchangeable Things
Scripture Reading: Psalm 97:1-6
Bible speaks of things that change: Life and death, youth and age, OT law
and priesthood (Heb. 7:12), at resurrection (1 Cor. 15:51), our minds (Acts
I. THE NATURE OF GOD IS UNCHANGEABLE, Mal. 3:6.
Example: God of Justice, Mal. 2:17 (Zeph. 1:12); Mal. 3:2-5; Ps. 89:11-14;
II. THE TRUTH OF GOD IS UNCHANGEABLE.
His Word Does Not Change, Matt. 24:35; Heb. 1:1-2.
III. THE PROMISES OF GOD ARE UNCHANGEABLE, Num. 23:19 (Psa. 50:21).
His Promise of Eternal Life, Titus 1:1-2. (Abraham, Heb. 6:13-20; David, 2
Sam. 7:11-16; Acts 2:21, 38-41)
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 08/09/2021
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA