Practical Lessons on the Experience of Life, by Witness Lee

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It is hard to find a message in today’s Christianity about the inner anointing. We do have this term, and we do realize that Christ’s name means the Anointed One, but the inner anointing has been almost entirely neglected. What is the inner anointing? Just as the inner life is God Himself within us as life, the inner anointing is God Himself moving, working, operating, and adding Himself within us. The anointing is an inclusive term, because it is God Himself. As we have pointed out, the Old Testament was called the law and the prophets, because at that time there were these two main ministries. The ministry of the prophets covered more than the ministry of the law, because the prophets’ ministry included the law. If a person went to a prophet, many times the prophet would tell him something according to the law and condemn or justify him according to the law. The law, however, did not include the prophets. The sphere of the law was narrow, while the sphere of the prophets was wide, including everything. In the same way, the sphere of God as the law of life is narrow, but the sphere of God Himself working, moving, and operating within us as the inner anointing is very broad, including everything. Because the anointing is so inclusive, we must use many words to describe it: operating, working, moving, acting, and energizing.

Why does the Holy Spirit in the New Testament refer to the operating of God within us as the anointing? Grammatically speaking, this word is a gerund, a verbal noun. It is not just anoint but anointing, denoting an action, as in moving, adding, and operating. The main element of the anointing is the oil. In type, when a person was to become a priest or king, he had to be anointed with the anointing oil. Not only persons used by God, but the tabernacle itself and all the furniture and utensils in it, which were brought into the presence of God, had to be anointed. The operation to anoint persons and items was the anointing.

The ointment typifies the Holy Spirit of God. Luke 4:18a, as a quotation from Isaiah 61:1 says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me.” From this we can see that the ointment is the Spirit, with which God anointed Christ. In addition, Hebrews 1:9, quoting Psalm 45:7, says, “God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of exultant joy above Your partners.” This means that God gave the Spirit to the Son. On the day Christ was anointed by God, the Spirit of God descended like a dove and came upon Him, not in part but as a whole (Matt. 3:16). You and I enjoy the Spirit in part, but Christ enjoyed the Holy Spirit in full, as a whole. By all these verses, we are clear that in typology the oil, or ointment, typifies the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the third person in the economy of the Godhead. Without the Spirit, God the Father and God the Son could not reach us, because the Spirit is the final person in the Godhead. We may illustrate this by the way I touch a brother not with my shoulder or hand directly, but with my fingers. My fingers are a part of me, so for my fingers to touch the brother is for me to touch him. The Father is in the Son, the Son is the Spirit, and the Spirit comes to us. Who is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is the very God who reaches us. For God the Father to reach us, He has to reach us in the Spirit, and for God the Son to reach us, He has to reach us as the Spirit. Without the Spirit, there is no direct relationship between us and the Father and the Son. It is in the Spirit, through the Spirit, with the Spirit, and by the Spirit that the Father in the Son reaches us. Therefore, the ointment is the very Triune God, and the anointing is this Triune God, who is life to us, moving, working, acting, operating, and energizing within us.

If I anoint a brother with ointment, the ointment becomes a part of him and is one with him. If the ointment is red, for example, the brother will be all red after I anoint him. If the ointment has a sweet smell, the brother will be the sweetest smelling person in the room. Within you and me there is an anointing work. This anointing is like painting. If I paint someone, he becomes a painted person, full of paint. His color will be the color of the paint, and his smell will be the smell of the paint. He becomes a painted man, a man mingled with the paint. Who is the “paint?” God Himself is the paint, and He is also the painter. His work is a work of painting. God paints us with Himself.

As we have said, the more I come to someone and do the work of painting him, the more paint he will have. He will be a painted person, a person mingled with paint. He and the paint become one. Originally the paint was in a can, but now the paint is on him and mingled with him. Many of the furnishings in the tabernacle were overlaid with gold. That overlaying was a kind of anointing, with gold as the “paint.” God’s painting, however, is to paint us not outwardly but inwardly. God is the paint, and He is the painter. He paints us with Himself.

The basic principle of God’s economy and His work is to mingle Himself with us. On the one hand, He is life within us; on the other hand, He is the paint, the ointment within and without. When God paints us, anoints us, with Himself, whatever He is becomes our element, and His essence and substance become our essence and substance.

(Practical Lessons on the Experience of Life, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)