Addendum 1 to Interpretation: The Flow

By Lee Y. Martin, Ph.D., ©2002

 

 

 

Oil Is For Anointing

Olive Branch...

 

 

Anointing in Scripture is a symbolic act of setting something apart for God's use. The act of anointing with oil signifies that whatever has been anointed has been consecrated or wholly devoted to the service of God. Under the Old Covenant, it could never be returned or retracted once dedicated without penalty. God purposed the requirement of sanctifying things to demonstrate to men how far they had fallen from their originally created purpose of glorifying and fellowshipping with a holy God. As a consequence of the fall, man's heart became "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked" [Jeremiah 17:9], and there was no way he could know just how far short of the glory of God he was. Thus, God instituted the act of sanctification using holy oil to show the difference between the holy and the profane.

 

 
Holy Oil
God commanded that only pure beaten oil from the first crushing of olives be used in religious ceremonies.
 

'Beaten' oil was derived from beating olives in a mortar with a hand-held pestle. This oil was light in color and considered the best. The olives were then heated and pressed using a squeezing device, which produced a second grade of oil darker in color that was used for other purposes. A third pressing of the pulp produced an even lower grade of oil. Hence, olives were crushed three times to obtain three grades of oil. Keep this in mind.

Exodus 27:20
20 And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.

From the above we understand that pure oil was from the first pressing by hand and was appended 'beaten' to distinguish that the best clear oil was used in the service of God. Everything devoted to His service had to be the best without any impurities mixed in. Sacrificial animals could not have any blemishes, and the oil poured on them in their dedication to God at the altar had to be 'beaten' oil.

Only consecrated priests belonging to the high priestly family of Aaron could minister in the sanctuary. It was their jobs to daily light the perpetually burning lamps in the candlestick in the holy place, and it was their jobs also to daily offer incense on the golden altar of incense in the sanctuary. Incense represents prayers [Revelation 8:3,4]. In the Old Testament priests offered incense to God on behalf of the people, and the priests were to ever stand in the gap mediating between man and God. The oil used in the lampstand for light was pure oil; and holy anointing oil was made with pure beaten oil mixed with pure spices. The incense for the golden altar of censer that was before the Ark of the Covenant behind the veil, was made from a formula using pure spices as well. "And he made the holy anointing oil, and the pure incense of sweet spices, according to the work of the apothecary" [Exodus 37:29]. Everything exposed to God had to be pure, consecrated and/or devoted because God is holy. Fire destroys impurities and God is a consuming fire [Deuteronomy 4:24; Hebrews 12:29].

 

 

A Lamb For An Offering

 

 

Outside the sanctuary, there was one requirement that only the high priest could perform, that of offering the daily sacrifices.

Exodus 29:38-42
38 Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually.
39 The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even:
40 And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering.
41 And the other lamb thou shalt offer at even, and shalt do thereto according to the meat offering of the morning, and according to the drink offering thereof, for a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
42 This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee.

 
The Perfect Lamb
This daily sacrifice pointed to the coming sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, which would bridge the barrier separating men from God. The morning sacrifice was made at 9:00 am and the evening sacrifice was made at 3:00 pm., the very hours that Jesus hung on the cross. On Passover day, however, the high priest had a third sacrifice to make at 12:00 noon in addition to the daily two. This made three lambs that were offered on that special day pointing to the fact that there would be three men to die hanging on crosses on the day of Jesus' crucifixion.
 
After the lambs were cut into four quarters, they were placed on the altar with its head, making five pieces in all. Is it happenstance that four soldiers divided Jesus' garments into four pieces at the foot of the cross casting lots for his tunic so as not to rend it [John 19:23,24]? The law required that the high priest never rend his outer garment called a tunic. This item of clothing had its neck collar reinforced to keep him from tearing it because tearing one's clothes was a sign of bereavement or grief. We will get back to this shortly. For the moment, the five pieces of Jesus' garments equated with the five parts of a lamb's sacrifice.

As soon as the high priest had completed severing the lamb and performing the ritual in the specified manner, just before burning it, he was questioned by his aids as to whether every jot and tittle of the law had been performed. When he affirmed that he had, he would say in Hebrew 'nigmar' - 'it is finished' - meaning that the offering was complete and done in the prescribed manner. The high priest who did the offering of the sacrificial lambs and performed all the rituals associated with it spoke the final words 'it is finished' after raising his hands toward heaven. In Addendum 2, the high priestly function will be looked at more closely.

 

  Anointing Oil
 

"And this is the offering which ye shall take of them…oil for the light, and spices for anointing oil, and sweet incense…" [Exodus 25:3,6]. The anointing oil was used for dedicating articles of furniture and vessels used in the temple rituals as well as for consecrating priests, kings, and probably prophets for service to the Lord. The incense was to keep a sweet smell in the holy place and was a formula that more than likely masked stale odors in dead air space. The ascending smoke from incense burning at the golden altar signified that God accepted the prayers of His people.

"Oil of holy ointment" was made using pure beaten oil mixed with four spices each of which denoted some aspect of the Lord Jesus: 1) Myrrh was a powerful pain killer associated with death or dying; 2) sweet cinnamon and 3) sweet calamus symbolized that Jesus was a "sweet savor" offering to God; and 4) cassia was used because of its preservative qualities (Egyptians used it extensively for embalming). These five substances made up the holy oil which the high priest was in charge of. In fact,

Numbers 4:16
16 …to the office of (the Aaronic priesthood) pertaineth the oil for the light, and the sweet incense, and the daily meat offering, and the anointing oil, and the oversight of all the tabernacle, and of all that therein is, in the sanctuary, and in the vessels thereof.

The above listed the exclusive business of the high priests who had to be in the bloodline of Aaron. If any person copied the holy oil or the sweet incense formula for personal use, they would be 'cut off', i.e., destroyed, from the presence of the Lord forever. Things that were established by God as most holy were not to be trifled with. He needed a way to make men understand their completely depraved condition; so, ordinances disclosed the seriousness of encountering a holy God. It is difficult for people today to grasp the nature of absolute things because we live in a world of relativity, which Einstein and others after him have thrust upon the human condition. I doubt if we will ever recover the sense of spiritual absolutes so long as permissiveness and tolerance are the guiding stars directing the affairs of men. 'Exclusivity' is a social behavior devalued today. Yet, inopportunity to choose one's cultural norms and moral values is an infringement on the basic human rights put forth in the document which declared the United States' freedom from old world ties.

 

 

Oil of Gladness

Holy Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit and was never used where there was mourning. "…(A)nd put on now mourning apparel, and anoint not thyself with oil, but be as a woman that had a long time mourned for the dead…"[2 Samuel 14:2]. High priests could not rend their clothes nor shave their heads for the dead as the Egyptians.

Leviticus 21:10
10 And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes;
Keep in mind that priests were not to tear their garments, which was a sign of mourning. They were forbidden to mourn because they acted as stand-ins for God who was never sad or unhappy. Being a symbol of power, happiness, and prosperity, the holy oil that was used with which to consecrate high priests could not be besmirched by grief. Recall that after God destroyed Aaron's two oldest sons when they offered strange fire at the altar of incense, Moses warned Aaron and his two remaining sons not to "…uncover…your heads, neither rend your clothes, lest ye die…" [Leviticus 10:6]. Why? Because the holy anointing oil had been poured upon them, and it was serious business to flaunt God's ordinances. God was in the process of teaching people about His holiness and the graveness of dealing with absolutes.

Since oil is a positive sign of happiness and prosperity, it follows the application of blood. First comes blood to propitiate God's holy righteousness in condemning sin, and then comes the oil as a symbol of joy and gladness. The Father said of His Son, "Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity, therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows" [Psalms 45:7; Hebrews 1:9]. Jesus willingly went to the cross knowing that in so doing He would be raising up a family for His Father's name. As sheep before the shearer is dumb, He never opened his mouth before his executioners [Isaiah 53:7]. Being the first high priest of the Levitical priesthood, Aaron was consecrated with holy oil before the blood was applied to his right ear, thumb, and toe [Leviticus 8:12] unlike his sons who had to be sprinkled with blood first [Leviticus 8:23ff]. Why? Because he was a type of Christ, the antitype and sinless One who needed no sprinkling for sin atonement, and who would eventually establish an eternal priestly line after the order of Melchisedec.

 
Consecration of the Final Sacrifice
Jesus' passion in the Garden of Gethsemane
 

Every time I reflect on Jesus' passion in the Garden of Gethsemane where He sweat drops of blood striving against disobedience to the will of God, I am awestruck. Do you remember that Gethsemane was located in an olive grove, the place where the 'Olivet' Discourse - His last teaching session - was given? How many prayers did He offer that night? Three! How many times are olives pressed? Three! What does Gethsemane mean? Oil-press! It is an Old Testament Aramaic word coming from two primary roots 'gath' [the vat where grapes were pressed with the feet] and 'shemen' [oil] - hence, Gath-shemen or oil-press.

Is it possible that the Holy Spirit was pressing out all attempts that Jesus might renege on His covenant with the Father? Drinking the cup of indignation against sin was a heavy burden to bear. After all, He had no sin and death was not required of Him. Paul remarked how he and his companions were "pressed out of measure" to the point where they had no strength and despaired even of life [2 Corinthians 1:8]. The word Paul used was one denoting a heavy burden or a great weight. Did not Jesus carry the burden of the weight of the sins of the whole world on his cross? He did it in his humanity that hungered and became tired like any other man. The payment had to be through His pierced pain prone flesh. To disobey the plan, however, would have constituted sin because He had covenanted with the Father to pay the price before the foundation of the world. Betrayal of the covenant would be disobedience! Wow! Was He striving against sin or was He not? He was pressed to the point that He "sweat… great drops of blood" [Luke 22:44] striving against the same sin of disobedience as the first Adam. Hebrews 12:4 supports this notion with the comment, "Ye have not resisted unto blood striving against sin." This has to be a direct reference to Jesus' passion in Gethsemane. Being God, He could have walked away - but He didn't. He could have said "I'll not pay" - but He didn't. He won the battle over sin because three times He said, "not my will but thine be done" [Matthew 26:39,42,44].

In reality, the Gethsemane ordeal was where the holy anointing oil was poured upon the sacrificial Lamb, where Christ our Passover was anointed for sacrifice [1 Corinthians 5:7]. The pure oil that was poured on the sacrifice symbolized the Holy Spirit under the Old Covenant, but in Gethsemane, a real anointing in the person of the Holy Spirit was pressing Jesus so hard that He sweat blood. The two of them - the Spirit and the blood - were working together testifying to the fact that this was the sacrifice that all previous sacrifices pointed to. Has it ever been recorded that someone "sweat…great drops of blood"? The Holy Spirit was pressing out life-sustaining blood to witness to this 'Day of Preparation' prior to the Passover that the final lamb was being prepared for sacrifice!

1 John 5:6-8
6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

The Bible calls Jesus the Word of God, and it also says that the church is "sanctif(ied)and cleanse(d)with the washing of water by the Word" [Ephesians 5:26]. Hence, the water refers to Jesus as well as the blood in verse 8 above. Nonetheless, water is also a symbol of the Holy Spirit because we are told that out of a believer's "…belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit which they that believe on him should receive…" [John 7:39]. Thus, we have a double meaning for the water in verse 8. "The water" witnesses doubly yoked with "the spirit…and the blood" and they all agree in one that Jesus' blood was pressed out of His body in the "'Garden of 'Oil-press'" testifying that He was the perfect sacrificial lamb of God without sin or blemish who offered Himself willingly to drink the cup of a holy and righteous God's indignation.

Please click "Addendum 2"to Interpretation of The Flow

 

 

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