By Charles H. Welch
This word is derived from
chrio, and allied with the
word Christ ‘the Anointed’, ‘the Messiah’. The word
Messiah is from the Hebrew (Dan.
9:25,26), the word
mashiach means ‘anointed’ (Lev. 4:3). The title of our
Lord ‘Christ’ is not exclusive to any one dispensation. He is Lord and Saviour
of all men and of all callings, but the use of the word ‘anointing’ when it is
applied to the believer is of more
restricted use, and its presence or absence indicates the character of the
dispensation that is in view and it is this aspect of the subject that must
claim our attention.
First of all we give a concordance of the two Greek words.
He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel.
Thy holy child Jesus, Whom Thou hast anointed.
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost.
2 Cor. 1:21.
And hath anointed us, is God.
Hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness.
1 John 2:20.
Ye have an unction from the Holy One.
1 John 2:27.
The anointing which ye have received.
1 John 2:27.
As the same anointing teacheth you.
It will be seen that four references speak of the anointing of the Saviour
and four of the anointing of the believer. Let us take the three references in 1
John 2. In the first place, is it universally true that every believer at all
times has this ‘anointing’? Does it refer to the experience of every believer,
or is there something special about it? One of the ways to arrive at an answer
is to consider the consequence of this anointing. Among other things it rendered
the possessor independent of ‘teaching’ for he ‘knew all things’. Another way of
arriving at the truth of any passage is to discover its place in the book as a
whole, in other words to note the structure, and so discern the scope (See
STRUCTURE). The simplified analysis is as follows:
A 1:1 to 2:17. ‘That eternal
life’. - A Person. The Son.
B 2:18-29. ‘Many Antichrists’.
‘Ye have an unction’.
C 3:1-24. ‘What manner of
B 4:1-6. ‘Spirit of Antichrist’.
‘Try the spirits’.
C 4:7-21. ‘Herein is Love’.
A 5:1-21. ‘The true God and eternal
life’. A Person. The Son.
The value of this analysis is immediately evident. We are dealing with a
particular experience, not one that is general and universally true of all
believers. The spirit and the teaching of Antichrist was to be met by the
supernatural gift bestowed upon the Church during the Acts period, as indicated
in 1 Corinthians.
‘ For to one is given by the Spirit the word of
To another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
To another faith by the same Spirit;
To another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
To another the working of miracles;
To another prophecy;
To another discerning of spirits;
To another divers kinds of tongues;
To another the interpretation of tongues’
(1 Cor. 12:8-10).
These are all ‘spiritual gifts’ (1 Cor. 12:1) and peculiar to the
dispensation inaugurated at Pentecost. This fulfils the promise of Mark
16:17-20, a promise abundantly fulfilled during the period of the Acts and the
‘unction’ especially referred to by John is that gift of ‘the discerning of
1 John 2:20 is the outcome of the warning given in the previous verses ‘it is
the last time’, ‘Antichrist shall come’, ‘they were not all of us’, ‘but ye have
an unction ... ye know’. Again as a preface to the next reference to this
anointing John says: ‘These things have I written unto you concerning them that
seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received ... ye need not that any
man teach you’. In the sequel, namely in 1 John 4:1-6, instead of speaking of
the anointing, John speaks of its practical outworking:
‘Try the spirits ... this is that spirit of
We pass from the epistle of John to the one occurrence of the word
‘anointing’ that is found in Paul’s epistles, and here again the larger context
must be considered first. 1 Corinthians 12, the all-covering words, ‘concerning
spiritual gifts’, would be as true in 2 Corinthians as they are in the first
epistle. The same Church, people and dispensation belong to both. In 1
Corinthians 1:6-8 we read:
‘Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in
you: so that ye come behind in no gift ... who shall also confirm you unto the
This ‘confirmation’ is particularly associated with ‘gifts’, ‘signs and
wonders’ (Heb. 2:3,4) and the same word that is used in 1 Corinthians 1:6 and 8,
is used in 2 Corinthians 1:21 where it is translated ‘stablisheth’:
‘Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ,
and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest
of the Spirit in our hearts’ (2 Cor. 1:21,22).
In Ephesians 1:13,14 we have ‘the seal’ and ‘the earnest’ but the external
confirmation and anointing is omitted. During the Acts period confirmation of
truth was miraculous, but with the
passing of Israel and the opening of the dispensation of the Mystery miraculous
gifts, signs, wonders, tongues and all the other ‘manifestation of the Spirit’
ceased. The presence or absence of ‘anointing’ in the epistles is a
dispensational index. (See