Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Baptism, filling or anointing?

G Campbell Morgan distinguished these biblical concepts with the phrase "one baptism, many fillings, constant anointing." It is a very apt summary of scriptural teaching. This morning I was reading the first couple of chapters of 2 Samuel and noting David's attitude to and experience of 'anointing'. Even though Saul had long lost his communion with God David insists that Saul is the Lord's anointed. 2Sam 1:16. In the lament that follows he says that Saul died 'as though he had not been anointed'. (KJV) In the next chapter David himself is anointed King over the tribe of Judah.

David, in fact, was anointed three times; once by Samuel 1Sam 16:13, once by Judah 2Sam 2:4 and once by the whole of the nation 2Sam 5:3. So what does 'anointing' signify? Pentecostal/charismatic usage is to regard 'an anointing' as a temporary resting of 'power' on a speaker or a singer, but this is not the way the Bible uses the concept. The first Bible anointing is of a 'stone'! Gen 28:18. The stone did not have special powers after this event but had been recognised and set apart from all the other stones with a unique destiny.

This is the true Biblical concept, someone is identified and specifically recognised as having a unique role. In that sense David was 'anointed' by Samuel as God's representative and later that 'anointing' was endorsed by Judah and finally by Israel. However, David was God's 'anointed one' from the day that Samuel consecrated him as such. In the Old Testament the high priests were 'anointed', so were kings. Sometimes prophets were anointed but the central thought is of 'identification' and 'authorisation' rather than an endue of power. Anointings and baptisms are quite different; anointings come 'on' people, baptisms submerge people.

Jesus of Nazareth was 'anointed with the Spirit' at Jordon, not 'baptised with the Spirit', although many confuse the two. In John's first letter we discover a distinctive New Covenant truth; "But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will* abide in Him." 1John 2:27. The anointing, as with all the blessings of the New Covenant, has been internalised. It abides 'within'. God's Spirit bearing witness with our Spirit that we are children of God now instructs us in the manner of our living and believing. It is 'the anointing' now, Christ's own gift to the whole family of God's people, not a sudden flush of eloquence but an abiding Spirit who identifies us as God's 'anointed ones' and leads us out into our destiny.

3 comments:

KingJimmy said...

Good thoughts Ron. Though I sometimes am guilty of using the word "anointing" a bit more loosely than your word study shows we should use it, I think the idea of "anointing" goes a slight step further than what you explore here. I think the word as used in Scripture ultimately becomes tied to Messiah. When we are not careful, we speak of "anointing" so loosely, and rip it from what ultimately becomes its Messianic and prophetic significance. We make it into something that is nothing more than a flash in a pan experience instead of being grounded in the calling of Christ.

When I think of the word "anointed," I generally think of Psalm 2, and how the world has taken it's stand against the Lord and His anointed. To me the word is used more as a term associated with God's "choice" and being "chosen." Anointing is such a specific thing. You anointing a specific someone or something. That one is singled out and thus "chosen" for that anointing. Ultimate this is tied into Christ, who is the "anointed one," the beloved, whom God has chosen.

Therefore, we should be more jealous and guard this word from its flippant use, even from our own lips, knowing such usage ultimately undermines it's larger Messianic context and usage. As Art Katz said, there are some words that we should salivate over and guard with a fierce jealousy, knowing that to damage their usage is to cheapen the faith. He was specifically talking about the word "apostolic." But, I think words such as "anointing" would qualify as well.

Many blessings,

Jimmy Humphrey
I Am A Disciple

John and Grace Miles said...

Ron I have to question the idea that the coming of the Spirit to Jesus at Jordan was not a Baptism. The scripture never calls this coming of the Spirit an annointing - though I have no objection to this description. However, the whole context of this is Baptism. The scripture's key phrase in understanding this episode is "On whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining..." It is the 'Remaining' that is important. Here is the contrast with the Old Covenant temporary and external annointing, with the New Covenant Baptism which is internal and not temporary, and indeed the very reason Christ came. Thus the Son of Man at His Spirit Baptism became the prototype (firstborn of many) for all believers. The Spirit could only take up permanent residence in the heart (spirit) of Christ because it was without sin and achieved this through supernatural birth to begin with. So the pattern for us is removal of sin by the blood of Christ, the entrance of the Spirit into our cleansed heart, bringing in the life of Christ. This is the one baptism - a supernatural birth. I love the words at the beginning of 1 Cor. 10. They (God's people) were Baptised into Moses (the Mediator of their covenant) In the cloud (the Spirit) and in the sea (death and resurrection). Perfect OT picture of one baptism. I can see no other adequate reason why Jesus chose water baptism with John for the time of the coming of the Spirit into Him, other than to tell us loud and clear that the coming of God's Spirit into the heart of a man is a BAPTISM.The baptism of/in the Holy Spirit.

Ron Bailey said...

Hi John, I think you are mistaken. Jesus of Nazareth was 'anointed' at the Jordon. This seen in his clear testimony of Luke 4:18 and frequently later Acts 4:27, 10:38. It was his public acknowledgment that he was the Father's chosen son.

If you understand that Baptism in Spirit effects a change in nature you will see that the Jordon event could not possibly have been a 'baptism'. Christ's nature never had any need of change in the way that ours does. The public acknowledging of sonship altered the outworking of his relationship to the extent that previously he had been under the authority of Mary and Joseph but from this point he never again obeyed Mary but only his heavenly Father.

Baptism in Spirit is also destructive as the ancient OT baptisms of the Flood and the Red Sea were. It is this element of the destructive power of Spirit baptism in the metaphor of the fire that destroys the chaff that has been lost to pentecostal and charismatic theology. Spirit baptism does not just effect a new birth it effects a full end to the rebel spirit that had remained in man. Christ had no rebel spirit and no need for a new beginning in his disposition or nature. Consequently his receiving of the Spirit was not a baptism but an anointing.