Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13, Leviticus 8:9-12, Genesis 28:10-22, and Leviticus 8:10-11. Who or what is anointed in these passages? What does the anointing oil mean when it gets poured onto certain people, objects, or places?
Read Exodus 30:22-33 to see a recipe for anointing oil. These specific plants are not mentioned in the Eden narrative (Gen. 2), but they connect to Eden symbolically as lush, beautiful, and good garden plants. What point is God making? Why instruct the people to use Eden-like plants to make anointing oil?
Read Genesis 2:4-17 and notice the analogy between water and God’s Spirit as the fundamental sources of life. Take a look at Isaiah 32:15-18 and Isaiah 44:2-4. How does Isaiah draw on this analogy?
How does Jesus’ baptism (Mark 1:1-15) act as his “anointing” if there is no oil present? After the water and Spirit “anointing” in Genesis 2, other anointings always happen with symbolic oil. But Jesus’ baptism scene is different—he gets anointed with water and Spirit like the human in Genesis 2. Why does this matter? How does it help us better understand the act of anointing a person?
Read Acts 2:1-21. The specific word “anointing” does not show up in this story, but the description of the event in the larger context of the Bible tells us that this is an anointing of the 12 apostles. What are Jesus’ apostles anointed with, and how would you describe the significance and purpose of this anointing?
There's a ritual in the Bible involving fragrant plants and spices that make a rich oil to pour on special objects or people. This is called anointing oil.
And its meaning is rooted in the story of the garden of Eden, where God provided water for the dry land and formed the human, filling him with his Spirit.1
This is the first anointing.
The oil is a liquid symbol. It’s the water of life and God’s Spirit combined together, used to mark a person or a place as a bridge between Heaven and Earth.
Anointing in the Hebrew Bible [00:42-01:30]
During his wilderness exile, Jacob had a dream.
He sees a stairway leading up to Heaven. When he wakes, he anoints the stone on which he slept and called the place “House of God,” a place where Heaven and Earth are one.2
The Israelites built the tabernacle in the wilderness. When it was completed, they anointed the tent with oil, marking it as a place where God’s heavenly presence has come down to Earth.3
Israel’s priests and their kings were anointed with oil to set them apart as leaders, to mediate God’s heavenly wisdom to the world.4 But they rejected God’s wisdom. They led with violence, leading to ruin and exile.
The Anointed One [01:31-02:42]
Their failure created hope for the ultimate anointed one, one anointed not merely with oil but with water and Spirit—not merely a bridge to Heaven, but Heaven itself come to Earth.
More than a name, “christ” is a title. It means “anointed one,” the new human, the ultimate priest, the cosmic king, God’s heavenly life coming into our world in a new way—a surprising way.
And after Jesus rose from the dead, he spread his anointing out into the world through his followers, Christians, from the word "christ," anointed ones who follow the Anointed One, people marked by God’s Spirit so that more and more of Earth can be filled with the life of Heaven.