by: José Augusto de Oliveira Maia
English version by: Alberto de Oliveira Maia
English version by: Alberto de Oliveira Maia
Here we have one of the most popular expressions in the so-called Brazilian evangelical circles, i.e., those groups of people who call themselves evangelical for attending or being members of any of those many self-proclaimed evangelical churches in Brazil: the Lord's Anointed. Such a frequent expression in those lips, no doubt, requires a special attention from our side.
First, I guess it’s important to understand the meaning of the term “anointing”, without which there will be no “anointed”.
This term describes the practice of spilling some sort of oil on someone or something; this practice was very common in Middle East in ancient times; in biblical terms, the act of anointing someone or something is, in general, the separation of the anointed object or person to a religious or spiritual service (Exodus 30:22-28, 40:12-15); but we can also find other applications of the anointing act in the Bible, as quoted in James 5:14, about the anointing of the sick(1).
For the purpose of this study, we’ll focus on the separation of the anointed person to a service dedicated to God.
Who was the anointing directed to?
Among the examples of anointed people in the Bible, we can mention the priests of the Old Covenant, as Aaron (Leviticus 8:12), God's prophets like Elisha (I Kings 19:17) and kings such as Saul (I Samuel 10:1), David (I Samuel 16:13) and Jehu (II Kings 9:1-3). In case of kings anointing, there is an important detail: both David and Jehu were not the natural successors of the kings who were in power – Saul, in the first case, and Joram, in the second – they weren’t descendents of those kings; regarding Saul, he wasn’t succeeding any other king; but both were anointed by prophets of God, as a sign of God’s own choice on them to be kings of Israel.
David and the Lord's Anointed
Surely, the best well-known attitude of someone towards the Lord's Anointed was that of David to Saul; the brave warrior and shepherd of Israel had Saul in the hands twice, could have killed him and got rid of his hunting, but declined to do so (Samuel caps 24 and 26); his attitude is summed up in his sentence: "...I wouldn’t raise my hand against the Lord's anointed." (I Samuel 26:23, cf. 24:10,13). David spared Saul's life, but still made it clear that he expected God to judge between them, due to the unfair hunting from Saul towards him (24:8-13). David didn’t want to kill him, but he knew the wicked way of Saul, and called upon God’s judgment on him.
But Saul's attitude should also be noticed; even when he knew that David would replace him as the king, he went on hunting him, although he also knew that it would be a sin (26:21); he surely knew that Samuel had anointed David by God's command.
What can we learn from Saul? He was a Lord's Anointed who soon began to disobey Him (I Samuel 13:1-15), and therefore should be replaced; he disobeyed again the case of Agag and the Amalekites, showing that he had learned nothing from his first lesson (I Samuel 15); due to all these, the Spirit of God departed from that Lord’s anointed (I Samuel 16:14); instead of repenting and humbling himself before God, he envied David and sought to kill him in several opportunities (I Samuel chapters 18 and 19); a Lord's Anointed who, in his madness, killed the Lord's anointed priests at Nob and its people, who had nothing to do with his jealousy on David (I Samuel 22:6-19); a Lord’s anointed that, due to His silence, consulted a soothsayer (I Samuel 28:7 -10; cf. Leviticus 19:26, 31; 20:6, 27), as any pagan would do!
In fact, David didn’t need to lay his hands on Saul; God had already done that, because of his disobedience; God had already promised David to replace Saul on the throne by him (I Samuel 16:1-13), God no longer answered Saul (I Samuel 28:3-6), and finally, the tragic death of Saul came onto him by his own hands (I Samuel 31:1-4).
As for David, also a Lord's Anointed, he also needed to be rebuked, as in the case of his adultery with Bathsheba (II Samuel 11:12), but his attitude was very different from Saul’s! No Lord's anointed is free from sinning, the more to be rebuked!
The Holy One’s anointing
The Holy One’s anointing
Today, under the New Covenant, manifested in Jesus, God inspired the Apostle John and said to the Christ’s Church: "But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge" (I John 2:20); but whom John wrote to? Pastors? Apostles? Missionaries? No, his letter is not addressed to any specific group, but to Christ’s disciples, new-born children of God (John 3:3); which agrees with Paul’s words when he says: "Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.", and Peter’s when he says: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time" (II Corinthians 1:21,22; I Peter 1:3-5). Therefore, with great joy, all of God’s children may say: "We all are Lord’s anointed”.
Still today Saul has many followers; mercenaries who try to usurp the pastorship of God’s flock, lie from the top of their pulpits, proclaim themselves prophets, but cause revulsion in the eyes of God! Against these, the apostle Paul warned, saying: "I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard!" (Acts 20:29-31). Woe to these modern Sauls, who thinking themselves so special in their own blindness, reject the warnings that the Word of God raised up against them!
Saul's life gives us a painful lesson, but it yells to us loud and clear: woe to those who, clinging to a supposed title "Lord’s Anointed" because of its pastoral, episcopal and supposedly apostolic offices, make of their lives what pleases them, fill the Church of Christ with scandals and shame in the eyes of the world, and threaten everyone saying: "Woe to touch the Lord's Anointed!" If God gave you some anointing, this is not greater than the anointing given to all His children, created in Christ, and is not to be dragged through the mire of sin, blasphemy and arrogance; over those who act like without repentance the lesson and condemnation that fell on Saul.
(1) - ELWELL , Walter A. " Historical- Theological Encyclopedia of the Christian Church " - Translation of Gordon Chown - Ed Vida Nova - 1st edition , reprinted in one volume, 2009 - Volume 3 , pg . 588