THE ANOINTING OINTMENT
Finally I realized that we have a clear picture of this distinction between the Spirit and the Spirit of God in the Old Testament. To comprehend an abstract term like the Spirit is not easy; but by means of this picture I was greatly helped.
Spices Added to the Oil
I came in my reading to Exodus 30, where Moses was commanded to make an oil of holy ointment (Exo. 30:22-26). The ointment, I read, was made of a hin of olive oil with four spices added to it. Oil, as I had known for many years, is a type of the Holy Spirit (see Psa. 45:7; Isa. 61:1). When the four spices were mingled with the oil, it became a compound ointment, no longer plain oil. We could say that before the spices were blended in, the ointment “was not yet”! There was only the olive oil. It dawned on me that here was a picture of how the Spirit of God became the Spirit. How excited I was to see this! Before the Lord’s death and resurrection, the oil of the Spirit of God lacked the myrrh of Christ’s death and the cinnamon of its sweetness; it lacked the calamus of His resurrection and the cassia of its sweet flavor. When the Lord in resurrection became the Spirit, to the Spirit of God were added these elements of death and resurrection. Do you see how much richer this ointment is than the plain olive oil?
Believers throughout the generations have been deprived of an adequate understanding of the Lord as the Spirit, and of the Holy Spirit, and of the Spirit of God. The Father and the Son, it was generally believed, were Persons. Until over a century ago, however, the Spirit was commonly regarded as only a power, or an instrument, or an influence, rather than a Person. In Romans 8:16 and 26 the King James Version has “the Spirit itself” rather than “the Spirit Himself.” To translate this pronoun as neuter is an indication that the translators did not regard the Spirit as a Person.
After the Lord’s resurrection, the Spirit of God became the Spirit. Besides being referred to as the Holy Spirit, new terms are used from this point on: a life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45); the Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:7, Gk.); the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9); and the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:19). The Spirit of God, or the Holy Spirit, today is the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the One who was incarnate, who died, and who was resurrected.
A Bountiful Supply
This enriched Spirit, Philippians 1:19 tells us, has a supply. The word supply in Greek is difficult to translate; it is more accurate to render it “bountiful supply.” In ancient times the Greeks had singing groups, whose leader was required to furnish the singers with whatever they might need, whether food, drink, clothing, or musical instruments. From him came “the bountiful supply”! When Paul wrote this word, he was in a Roman prison. He said that he would be saved through the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Whatever he needed, this Spirit would supply.
Let us go back to the anointing ointment. One of its spices is myrrh, which denotes the death of Christ. Cinnamon, another of the spices, refers to the fragrance of that death. Calamus, the third spice, is a reed that grows out of muddy places. It typifies the Lord’s resurrection. Cassia, the last spice, belongs to the same family as cinnamon and speaks of the fragrance of the resurrection. In ancient times it was used as repellant, especially for snakes. In the resurrection there is no place for Satan, the old serpent; he and his demons are repelled.
This ointment, with all its spices, is to be your bountiful supply in daily life. In it are found patience, humility, love, wisdom, and holiness. The sweetness of the spices will chase away all the demons.
(Life Messages, Vol. 2 (#42-75), Chapter 25, by Witness Lee)