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What is the Anointing?

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And why is it so important.  Preachers refer to the anointing as though we all knew what it is when most of us don’t.   If you ever have felt the anointing or been influenced by it, you know it, but that does not help the uninitiated.  The anointing is when the Holy Spirit and the Word of God agree for the purpose of bringing  power to God’s people.

Let’s see the passage which tells us this. 1st John 5:5-7

This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth:[b] the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.”

There are different results when it is not present. When you are bored stiff in church, your mind wanders, you can’t remember what was said even after you leave the building. That is an indication that if the anointing was there you missed it. That is usually when the congregation is hearing the Word alone, without the spirit.

Legalism kills the anointing

Legalism, I think of sermons that rail against drinking, kill the anointing. Warning people about the dangers of drink is fine, but God is a problem solver; He spends more time telling you what good can come from a god-focused life, and a whole lot less about your sins.  And besides, you know what they are already.

Then there is the Spirit alone. That is when there is a lot of entertainment, great singing, maybe even banners and dancing, great talent, but you are not changed – just moved. Again, a failure of the Spirit and the Word to agree.

Or there is my friend Sharon. When the anointing falls, she starts crying and laughing at the same time. Then I start laughing because she is laughing and she says, “What is wrong with me” and I answer, “That is the anointing of the Holy Spirit.”


It happened recently when we had a short prayer. The woman whose sister was being prayed for was unmoved – but the two of us were. My conclusion, the person listening to our prayer does not know either the Word or the Spirit. That is, nothing has happened in her life to connect her to heaven. She may be a faithful church member (I don’t know) but nothing moved her spirit that day. On the other hand, the prayer WAS anointed so perhaps the woman in the hospital with cancer was moved, changed, and helped by God, and no matter – after all she was the one we were praying for, not her sister sitting right there.

Benny Hinn

On Benny Hinn’s program people walk up to him and a few feet away they fall over. That is the anointing. It happened when Jesus was in the garden and soldiers came to get him.

John 18:6 As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.

Jonathan Edward’s preaching in the 18th century was so powerful people would start crying and wailing over their sins, rushing up to the altar rail as he spoke. That was the anointing. I read his greatest sermon and not a tear. It happened only when this man was speaking and the anointing was on his words.

Billy Graham

When Billy Graham started preaching in the 1950s in England the newspapers over there objected to the playing of “Just As I Am” as he waited for people to come out of the stands and make a public declaration of Christ. The journalists said it is sentimental and annoying. So Graham stopped the song; after a few days the papers begged, “Bring back the music, we can’t stand the silence.” And the people came down anyway, music or no music. That was the anointing.


The anointing can happen when you hear a piece of music for see something that stops you cold.  In WalMart at Christmas time I stopped as I heard an angelic voice over the sound system, determined to know the name of both song and singer.  The singer is the anointed one, not necessarily the song.  I bought the CD!

Have you ever been in a group when someone came into the room and the entire atmosphere changed – immediately? That is the anointing. Musicians said that happened when Leonard Bernstein entered the concert hall.


It can also happen when you see a beautiful sight.  You stop the car and get a picture. Rainbow Mountain in China pictured above is called the most beautiful place in the world. (Most of the photos were off limits to the bloggers.)

It makes sense that God would put beauty like this in a nation that is officially atheistic.  The Bible says that we can know God exists by seeing his works of creation. (Acts 15:18) The Chinese are cut off from the natural knowledge of God so perhaps this relates for them.

The devil can anoint too.  When you stop cold for something evil, or even something you think might be good, a person perhaps and you think – that is the man (or woman) for me.  My good friend was so excited about a woman named Iris.  He had a dream about Irises.  Fifteen years after they married he was grousing to me about how unhappy he was in his marriage. It was his desire for a wife that drew him into that marriage, which he mistook for the word of God. The Bible says we are drawn away by our own lusts. (James 1:14)

A Demonic Anointing

One friend of mine was excited when she heard about reincarnation.  She immediately thought how much sense that made.  But that was a demonic anointing.  When you understand the true nature of the crucifixion all knowledge of reincarnation makes no  sense.  (It is also an impossible physiological situation too because it indicates bipolarity.)

Music, concerts, drama, magic shows, television, mobs and mob violence can all come under a demonic anointing as well.  Parents will say, “My daughter fell under his spell.” and that describes it. So many marches and protests are obvious hate-fests.  Reporters have asked, “What is this march all about?” and the marchers cannot actually tell you what they are there for.

Some believers come away from a stirring sermon or miracle service all praising the evangelist.  And yes God did something there but it is God who needs the praise, not man.  An anointing can deceive both the public and the person who shares that anointing.  He can believe he is much better than he really is. God continues to anoint people because they are getting his work done in the world.

Someday you will be reading the Bible and a scripture jumps out of the page to you. Ah ha, you think, that is God speaking to me personally. That is the anointing.

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