THE INGREDIENTS OF THE COMPOUND OINTMENT
The Old Testament gives us the pictures, whereas the New Testament gives us the definition and description of these pictures. Let us consider the picture of the ingredients of the compound ointment in Exodus 30. The olive oil is the base, and it is mixed, blended, and compounded with four spices: myrrh, cinnamon, calamus, and cassia.
Olive oil, according to typology, signifies the Spirit of God (Isa. 61:1; Heb. 1:9).
All good Bible students and teachers recognize that myrrh is a type of the death of Christ with all the sufferings which Christ passed through in His death. When Nicodemus helped to bury Jesus, he buried Him with myrrh and aloes (John 19:39).
Myrrh comes from an aromatic tree. This tree drops its juice either as the result of being cut or through some kind of natural opening or incision. It smells sweet but tastes bitter. Today we smell Christ’s death, but He tasted death. Christ tasted death for us and its taste was bitter, but to us His death smells sweet. Myrrh signifies the suffering death of Christ.
Fragrant cinnamon is extracted from the inner part of the bark of a certain tree. It not only has a distinctive flavor but also can be used to stimulate a weak heart. Cinnamon signifies the sweetness and effectiveness of Christ’s death, which is so effective in healing us.
The third spice is calamus. Calamus is a reed which grows and rises up out of a marsh or a muddy place. Even though it grows in a marsh, it is able to shoot up into the air. Calamus signifies the rising up, the resurrection, of Christ.
The fourth spice is cassia. Cinnamon is from the inner part of the bark, and cassia is from the outer part. It is also a sweet and fragrant spice. In ancient times cassia was used as a repellent to drive away insects and snakes. Thus, it signifies the power, the effectiveness, of Christ’s resurrection.
These four spices were added into the olive oil. Therefore, the death of Christ with its sweetness and effectiveness and the resurrection of Christ with its power were added to and compounded with the Spirit of God.
(The Experience of Christ as Life for the Building Up of the Church, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)