In the New Testament, there are two instances of believers being “anointed” by the Holy Spirit or believers having an “anointing”.
2 Corinthians 1:21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
1 John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. …27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him.
2 Corinthians teaches us that God has anointed us as a “seal of His ownership on us.” It is a “deposit guaranteeing” our heavenly inheritance to come. Every born-again believer is therefore anointed by God. Moreover, 1 John 2 teaches that every believer has an anointing to “know the truth” since “his anointing teaches you about all things.” These two anointings are clearly for every believer in the body of Christ, not only for specially-chosen ones. Apart from these two instances, there are no other references in New Testament Scripture to believers being anointed by the Holy Spirit.
Interestingly, however, in quite a few circles in the Church today it is taught that there are various other anointings available to believers for the purpose of blessing others. There are anointings to preach, to teach, to prophesy, to minister healing, to worship God, to save souls, etc. There are newer anointings even to make money and become rich so as to bless others. There are anointings for gold dust and gemstones during meetings. And the variety of such anointings appears to be increasing over time.
Moreover, such anointings are not given to all believers, but limited only to certain specially-chosen servants of God for blessing others. Naturally, we covet such anointings because in such a way we will be able to bless others. If other believers want the special anointing we have, they are encouraged to attend our meetings and to “sow” into our ministries with generous seed offerings. Perhaps it is no wonder that the teaching on anointing is unusually popular today in some circles of the Church.
What does the New Testament teach?
New Testament Scripture, however, is totally silent on such anointings for blessing others. In the New Testament there are only two anointings given to the body of Christ, as we have seen. These two anointings are not for us to bless or minister to others. Rather, we can say that they minister to us. They guarantee our heavenly inheritance, and enable us to know all things by teaching us—as we have seen above.
But today there is a very heavy emphasis on “the anointing” in the ministries of some servants of God, especially those from a charismatic tradition. If we believe in the authority of Scripture and therefore desire to follow it closely, then we must exercise caution and discernment in this area. We must be careful of heavy dependence on something which is not at all mentioned in New Testament Scripture. Much of the popular teaching on anointing is taken from the Old Testament—which is essentially a shadow which has been fulfilled in the New Testament through Christ. He alone is anointed to bless, heal, and save us.
A stern warning from Jesus about the last days
Finally, there is a cryptic warning from Jesus concerning the last days which we need to understand more clearly.
Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (KJV)
Taken at face value, this warning does not make much sense. Any person or servant of God who comes to us claiming to Christ will be promptly rejected by born-again believers. We know that when Christ comes, it will be like lightning which flashes from the east to the west. No one or very few will be deceived by some charlatan who claims to be Christ the returning King.
But the literal meaning of “Christ” in the Greek is “anointed.” Therefore verse 5 can be rendered: “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am anointed; and shall deceive many.”
This rendering makes much sense. Many servants of God today come in Jesus’ name claiming to be anointed. And many sincere believers are following them. Perhaps what Jesus told us would happen in Matthew 24 is now taking place before our very eyes.
So therefore let us remember what Jesus warned us: “Take heed that no man deceive you.”
Let us pray to the Lord and ask for His anointing to know the truth in order that we may not be deceived during these last days by false anointed ones.