Studies in the Scriptures
Zion's Watch Tower
CHURCH’S SHARE IN PENTECOSTAL BLESSING
"Ye have an unction from the Holy Spirit, and ye all
The Lord’s anointed people have much advantage every way. But their anointing does not permit them to know all things at the present time, as the Common Version translation declares; for the Apostle Paul himself tells us, "Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." (
.) What St.
John wished to impress upon his hearers is that whoever has received the anointing of the Holy Spirit has received a blessing of which he has evidence and assurance. He is not left to mere imaginings respecting his anointing by the Lord. The word unction, used in our text, is not common today. Therefore the Greek original is better rendered anointing, as in the Revised Version. The thought is the same, however—that of softening, smoothing, oiling—that which characterizes true Christians.
In the Scriptures various expressions are used to represent the blessings of the Lord conferred upon His consecrated people at Pentecost and throughout this Gospel Age. Sometimes these expressions refer to the different phases of the operation of the Lord through His Holy Spirit upon His people. Consequently these different expressions represent different viewpoints merely.
For instance, we read that the early Church was baptized with the Holy Spirit; that is, they were immersed in the Holy Spirit—for the entire room in which they were sitting was filled with the Spirit of the Lord, from which a share of blessing, an unction or anointing, was imparted to them. Again, that influence referred to in the Scriptures as a begetting of the Holy Spirit pictures to our minds this same influence or unction or anointing from on High as the beginning of a new life, a new nature.
This same unction or influence is also referred to as our quickening—another representation of the development of the new life in us as New Creatures. But the clearest and most beautiful illustration of the Holy Spirit’s influence upon the people of God during this Gospel Age is that of our text—the anointing. This is the figure or symbol by which the Lord foreshadowed this blessing in the types of the past. The Church which He is calling out from the world to be heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord, if so be they suffer with Him, is promised a share of their Lord’s glory as kings and priests unto God during the Millennium.
They are promised that the work of the Lord begun in them at the time of their anointing of the Spirit, their begetting of the Spirit, will be finished or completed in the First Resurrection. The message is, "Blessed and holy are they that have part in the First Resurrection; on such the Second Death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years."—
THE TYPICAL ANOINTING
Looking back into the Mosaic Law, which St. Paul assures us was "a shadow of good things to come" (
), we find that the high priest of Israel was anointed with an especially prepared anointing oil, and that this anointing constituted the Divine evidence of his call to the priestly office. The oil was of peculiar composition, olive oil being the basis, with perfumes, etc., added; and the Israelites were not permitted to compound a similar oil, to the intent that it might be shown typically that the Holy Spirit thus represented is different from everything else in the world, and that its anointing or authorization is superior to any other.—
When the high priest was consecrated to his office, the anointing oil was poured upon his head. (
.) In the antitype the Lord Jesus, the Head of the Anointed
Body, received the anointing of the Holy Spirit at His baptism—at the very time of His consecration to sacrifice, at the age of 30 years. The anointing oil poured upon Aaron’s head is described by the Psalmist prophetically as running down from his head even to the skirts of his garments. (Ps. 133:2.) Thus is pictured the complete Christ, Head and Body; and thus we are shown that the same anointing which came to the Head at His baptism must ultimately extend to the very last members of the Body of Christ, down at the close of the Gospel Age. The fact that the Body receives of the anointing of the Head is also illustrated in the type; for the under priests, sons of Aaron, did not receive the anointing directly, being reckoned as members of Aaron’s body.
So with the Church of Christ, the anointing of the Holy Spirit, which came to our Lord at His consecration at Jordan, continued with Him during His ministry, and was perfected in Him at His resurrection. Not until He had ascended on High and had appeared in the presence of God for the Church did He receive permission, authority, of the Father to communicate the Holy Spirit to all who had consecrated themselves as His disciples, His members. (
.) The same Holy Spirit which He had Himself received of the Father at His consecration He now communicated to His followers. It was represented in the anointing oil poured upon Aaron’s head and flowing down to his shoulders and over his body. This same anointing of the Holy Spirit has continued throughout this Gospel Age—not that there is a new Pentecost for each individual member of the Body of Christ, but that whoever through faith and consecration becomes a member of the Anointed Body comes under this unction, this anointing, which has continued to be upon the Church throughout this Age, and will continue until the last member of the Body has made his calling and election sure to membership in The Christ.
As Aaron’s call to the office of priesthood was signified
by the anointing oil, so with our Lord at His anointing at Jordan, and so with all the members of His Body as they come into fellowship with Him. Their receipt of the Holy Anointing is their call to the Lord’s service here and hereafter—a service of suffering, self-denial, etc., in the present time, but a service of glory and honor hereafter. St. Paul declares, "No man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that was called of God, as Aaron was." (
.) As our Lord Jesus could not, and did not, anoint Himself, and constitute and authorize Himself to be a priest, so likewise not one of His followers could make himself a priest unto God. No one can have a right to serve in the capacity of a priest unless he be anointed of the Holy Spirit; and as our text declares, all who have been thus anointed know it.
ISRAEL’S KINGS TYPICALLY ANOINTED
Because our Lord and His Church are to be God’s representatives, not only in the priestly office, but also in the kingly office during the Millennium, therefore this was also typed. The kings of Israel typified the King of Glory; and of David and Solomon it is written that they "sat upon the throne of the Kingdom of the Lord"—typically. In due time, antitypically, The Christ, the greater David, the greater than Solomon, shall sit upon the Throne of His glory; and before Him shall be gathered all nations, whom He shall separate—the sheep from the goats—during the Millennial Age. This great King of the incoming Age was typified by Melchizedek, who had centered in him both the kingly and the priestly office; for it is recorded that he was a priest upon his throne (
.) Similarly The Christ of glory, Jesus the Head and the Church the Body, will be the enthroned Priest; or, as expressed under another figure, "we shall be kings and priests unto God, and shall reign on the earth."—
To show that the Anointed Company would exercise
the ruling authority as well as the priestly functions, the Lord so arranged the type of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that every one who served as king of Israel should be anointed with the holy anointing oil—typical of the Holy Spirit—the same oil that was used in the anointing of the high priests. This type is made still more luminous when we remember that David was anointed to be king over Israel when he was but a lad—many years before the death of Saul. No priest, however, could be anointed until the time of the beginning of his priesthood.
The antitypical teaching of this fact is that Christ and His followers are to begin their work as priests immediately after they receive their anointing. From that moment their sacrificing should commence and should continue until the consummation—even unto death. But the same anointing which they have received as respects the kingly office has a future fulfilment.
Our Lord was anointed to be a King, but He did not at once assume kingly functions. Likewise we, as members of His Body, the Church, have in our anointing of the Holy Spirit a recognition of our coming kingship and joint-heirship with Him, if we remain faithful. But we do not as yet enter upon any ruling mission. That kingly and authoritative work is reserved until we shall have been changed to His image and likeness at the First Resurrection. Then, raised in glory, raised in power, raised spirit beings and thus made like Him, we shall be sharers of His glory as the Priest upon the Throne—the antitypical Melchizedek.
WHY THIS SUBJECT IS LITTLE UNDERSTOOD
However it may have been in the days of the Apostles under their direct and correct instruction, we may be sure that there is a great deal of uncertainty upon this subject today, on the part of very many Christian people respecting their having been begotten of the Holy Spirit.
That is to say, some who have been thus begotten do not know it, are uncertain of it. This should not be, and
would not be if it were not for the confusion of mind which has come down to us from the Dark Ages respecting the Holy Spirit of God. Some of the most devout of the Lord’s people have been confused by the errors of the Dark Ages which teach that there are three gods; whereas the Bible distinctly enunciates that there is but one living and true God—the Father, of whom are all things; that there is one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things; and that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit or Power or Influence which proceeds from the Father and from the Son—the influence or power with which we are anointed.—
Not a text of Scripture anywhere declares a trinity of gods. The unity between the Father and the Son is distinctly declared to be that of mind, purpose, will, not that of person. The ordinary superstition that there are three gods who are one in person seems too absurd for discussion. If three, how can they be one? If one, how can they be three? But when we take the Scriptures as they read, then we obtain a reasonable, proper conception of the subject. Our Lord Himself assures us, "My Father is greater than I;" "The Father sent Me;" "I ascend to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God." When we then come to consider the anointing which came upon the Church at Pentecost and has continued with it ever since, we find nothing that is absurd or unreasonable, but quite to the contrary. This is the anointing which the Father gave to the Son at His consecration, and which the Son was permitted to extend to all who by consecration became recognized as members of His Body, His Church.
The absurd and confusing thought which perplexes so many minds is the thought that the Holy Spirit is another god, who stays with us and enters into each one of the Lord’s consecrated people as a person. Thus the Holy Spirit as a person is supposed to inhabit thousands, yea, millions of people! To any proper mind there is
something altogether incomprehensible in this teaching.
As soon as we imagine one complete person so divided up as to inhabit millions of other persons at the same time, we have destroyed all personality. The Scriptures call for no such absurdities, but tell us plainly that the Holy Spirit is the influence or power from the Father and from the Son by which we are anointed, consecrated, recognized as the Lord’s people, members of the Body of Christ, the Church of the living God.
For centuries this doctrine of the Trinity was supported by one text; namely,
, which now all scholars of all denominations acknowledge to be spurious.
Only within the last century have many of the old manuscripts of the Bible been found; and this text is not in any of those written prior to the seventh century. The evidence is so unquestionable that the learned men who translated the Revised Version of the Scriptures, although all Trinitarians, omitted this verse entirely, recognizing that it was fraudulent, introduced with a view to proving the doctrine of the Trinity at a time when that doctrine was gaining ascendancy and found itself handicapped by the fact that there was no statement of Scripture in its support.
GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT EVERYWHERE
The Scriptures do not teach Divine Omnipresence, as some have assumed and others have declared. Not a word in the Bible from first to last makes any such statement or gives ground for any such inference. What it does teach is much more reasonable and consistent in every way; namely, that God is not everywhere present, but that Heaven is His Throne; that our Lord Jesus is not everywhere present, but that He has sat down with the Father in His Throne of Heavenly glory. But the Scriptures plainly teach that both the Father and the Son are representatively present in believers through the Holy Spirit—the holy influence, the power of God, which is everywhere present.
However difficult it may have been to realize this in the past, some of our modern inventions should help us greatly to appreciate the declaration of the Holy Writ to this effect. For instance, in my Study there is a long-distance telephone, over which at times I speak to people at great distance in a manner that only a few decades ago would have been considered impossible. Thus I can know definitely what is occurring in another city at a given moment just as well as if I were on the spot and could see with my own eyes. Can humanity under Divine guidance attain such a proficiency in the use of the elements of nature as to possess such a knowledge of things of this world; and shall we suppose that He who formed the ear and the eye, and who gave us our intelligence, is not able by powers of His own to know what is occurring in any part of the Universe as He may please?
What is this power by which the Lord knows? someone may ask. We answer, the Holy Spirit, Holy Power, Holy Influence. Still another illustration of our times enables us to grasp in some degree an appreciation of the Lord’s greatness and His ability to know through His Holy Spirit; namely, wireless telegraphy. And we are even told of a new invention of wireless telephony! How wonderful it seems that even without a wire without any direct connection, we should be able to communicate at a distance! Even likenesses are transferable after this manner! Again we ask, What shall we say of the Almighty and His Holy Power, by which He can know not only of our words and deeds, but also of our very thoughts and the intents of our hearts? Surely we may well bow in humble reverence before this great Divine Power of God! But we only confuse ourselves if we think of the Holy Spirit as another God, limited as to personal presence to one spot at one instant. Let us take God’s Word, God’s way, and free ourselves from the troublesome confusion of the Dark Ages, which finds no support in the Word of God.
"ANOINTING FROM THE HOLY ONE"
Be it noted that our text does not declare that we are anointed WITH the Holy One, as though the Holy One became the oil, or influence; but that it teaches clearly that the anointing which we have received came from the Holy One—as the Apostle Peter explains, from the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ. Again, we recall St. Paul’s statement that all things are of the Father through the Son. Our begetting to the spirit nature is of (or from) the Father, but by (or through) the Son. The anointing which we have received, we have already seen, was typified or pictured in the anointing oil of old, and signified a Divine blessing to the Lord’s Priesthood, who ultimately shall be kings, joint-heirs with our Lord Jesus in the Kingdom.
This holy anointing implies a power and authority; and again we use an illustration. Let an electric car represent a justified believer in the Lord Jesus; let a dynamo suitably connected with a trolley represent our consecration; let a wire represent our Lord’s gracious promises given to His disciples when He ascended on High, after having told them to tarry at Jerusalem until endued with power from Above. The car standing with the trolley on the wire and with the motor properly connected, etc., will represent the Christians at Pentecost before the Holy Spirit came upon them.
In this picture Heaven itself would represent the power house; and the turning on of the electric power would represent the shedding forth of the Holy Spirit.
When it came, it operated upon all who were in contact with the wire; and none others. Such were moved, energized, by the Spirit, the influence, the power from God, and spoke in His name—sometimes in one demonstration and sometimes in another. But in every case the Holy Spirit was the invisible power, however differently it may have operated in various cases and for various reasons; and in every instance the maintenance
of the power of the Holy Spirit upon the individual was dependent upon the continued contact of his faith—just as the relationship of the car and its motor to the current was dependent upon a trolley connection, which well represents faith. Break the connection, break the faith; and the power is gone.
So thus, only as we abide in the Lord through faith, only as we continue to recognize Him as our Head and to heed His Word and to hold fast to the precious promises therein, can we maintain our relationship to the Holy Spirit which He has set forth for all who are of this way.
As the electrical current will not take the place of a trolley or of a motor, so the Holy Spirit in us will not take the place of faith or of consecration. But if faith and consecration are in proper order, the Holy Spirit will quicken or energize them for the service we desire to render and the confidence we are seeking to enjoy.
THE EFFECT OF THE ANOINTING
As already intimated, the effect of the anointing will be to energize us in the Lord’s service. Our contact with the Lord and His Holy Spirit will not only quicken our mortal bodies, but energize our faith also, and day by day will open wider and wider the eyes of our understanding, that we may be daily the better able to comprehend the lengths, breadths, heights and depths of the Divine Character and Plan, that we may rejoice therein.
To the Jew this olive oil used in the anointing had a very wide range of usefulness. It served him as a food often, instead of butter. It served him as a medicine. It served for a light. In general, olive oil, olive berries and the olive tree were the symbols of peace. In considering olive oil in connection with such an anointing, therefore, we have several very beautiful and forceful thoughts as respects the blessing conferred by the anointing. In harmony with this, the Holy Spirit is represented as being not only an anointing for our priestly service of
sacrificing now and for our glorious service of the future as kings with our Lord, but also a peace-producing and light-giving influence. And is this not the effect of the Holy Spirit upon all who receive it? Does it not tend toward the enlightenment of our minds, on account of which the Apostle declares of the Anointed Company that they have the spirit of a sound mind? (
.) Is it not in line with this thought that he assures}s that in proportion as we receive more and more of this Holy Spirit, this anointing influence, it will produce in us the peaceable fruits of righteousness and will grant to us that, the eyes of our understanding opening wider, we shall be able to comprehend with all saints the lengths, the breadths, the heights and the depths and to know the love of Christ which passeth all human understanding?
This influence or power with which we are anointed is designated a Holy Spirit or influence, a spirit of love.
Thus it is contrasted with the worldly spirit of selfishness and sin. The latter is of the earth earthy; the former is Heavenly. The latter is common to the natural man in his fallen condition; the former is granted only to the New Creature in Christ Jesus. The latter is a spirit of ambition, envy, hatred, malice, strife; the former is a spirit of joy, peace, benevolence, goodness, mercy, brotherly-kindness, love. Oh, how different are these two spirits! The spirit of envy is not a person; nor is the spirit of love a person. But the father of envy and of murder, the one from whom this spirit first emanated, is Satan, who was a murderer from the beginning. On the other hand, the new mind, the Holy Spirit which we have received from the Father through the Son, is similarly not a person, but an influence. O blessed influence! Let us be more and more filled with it. As the Apostle urges: "Be ye filled with the Spirit."—
The Apostle James points out that this Holy Spirit which the Lord’s consecrated people have received is one of wisdom, that it brings blessings which the worldly
spirit of selfishness, strife, cannot bring. The one, he declares, is Heavenly, holy; the other is earthly, devilish.
He explains that the wisdom which comes from Above is first pure, then peaceable, easy of entreatment, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, without hypocrisy. (
It has a smoothing, oiling, unctuous effect upon all who receive it. They become more and more like their Father in Heaven. True, there are some differences of natural disposition by which some are less hindered than are others from receiving the Spirit of the Lord in large measure.
In proportion as we had been able to discern sin and to reject it from our hearts, in that proportion we were able to receive the spirit of holiness appreciatively; and this of course was in different measures as we differ one from the other according to our natural constitutions through heredity. Hence the Apostle Paul exhorts us to be filled with the Spirit—an exhortation which may apply to us all the time. Just as the motor in the car must be connected with the live wire by the trolley, so we should ever be in contact with the Lord and His precious promises. Otherwise we lose the power; we lose the assistance; we lose the strength and grace necessary for our aid, comfort and development.
The Apostle furthermore urges that we put off, empty ourselves of our natural tendencies received through heredity. We are to put away all these: Anger, wrath, hatred, envy, strife—works of the flesh and of the Devil.
In proportion as we realize that these are contrary to the Spirit of the Lord, and in proportion as we desire to be filled with that Spirit, will be our earnestness in putting away the wrong spirit, the wrong condition—in emptying our hearts of the things pertaining to the perverted flesh, that they may be filled with the things of the Spirit of God, that we may be sanctified and made ready for the Master’s use in the service of the present time as well as in the future glory.—