THE CROWN OF ANOINTING
Copyright © 2015 Robert B Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers
My apologies to Oliver Lee Ellenwood, from whom I heard the expression “The Crown of Anointing” many years ago.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. (Isaiah 61:1)
It is my understanding that Jesus of Nazareth is named “Christ” (anointed with the Spirit) because He has the Spirit of God without measure. His disciples are called “Christians,” perhaps meaning “little Christs.”
For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. (John 3:34—KJV)
If we are to understand how Jesus did the things He did and spoke the Words He did, we must recognize it was because God has given Him the Fullness of God’s Spirit.
I suspect that the Christian churches do not make more of an impact on the world than they do because they often operate in terms of human abilities rather than by the Spirit of God. Why is this, do you suppose? I think it is the natural tendency of human beings to trust in themselves rather than in God. The local church is faced with the problems of the salvation of souls, the spread of the Gospel, paying for the building, sending out missionaries, and various other responsibilities. How are we to do all this? Since our reputation is at stake, we endeavor to gain as many members as we can—if for no other reason than to pay the bills. If we are not careful, the desire for a large church can persuade us to use human means to attract people.
Also, we may be reluctant to tell people on Sunday morning that they must deny themselves, take up their cross of deferred desires, and follow the Master diligently, obeying Him in all He requires. We may be under the impression that if we tell the congregation of the exact demands of Christ, we might not add worshipers as rapidly as we may wish. Thus, the very force that eventually may attract people, the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, is removed from the assembling and we join the ranks of the powerless churches of believers who often become little more than a social group in the community.
All of us in America, every assembling of Christians, should pray that God will send His Spirit upon us. In addition, each Christian family, if it is to survive the coming persecution in America, must draw closer each day to the Lord Jesus until they can hear His voice and know what they are to do.
The following verse tells us how to gain more of the Spirit of God.
We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him. (Acts 5:32)
To those who obey Him. I believe that the problem with many of us today is that we are trying to do the work of Christ without Christ. I suspect that we do not believe Jesus actually will lead us step by step each day. We may claim, “Our work is God’s work” and proceed to do that we think is a good idea.
How many people, including ministers, are waiting and listening to Jesus to find out what He really wants us to do? I think it may be common for ministers to tell us that the Bible informs us of all we need to know. Our task is to just do what it says. If that sort of thing were true, then the Jews, having the Scriptures, would have had no need of prophets, would they?
I may be incorrect here, but I believe the Bible is not so much a record of people reading the Scripture and doing what it says, as it is a record of God leading individuals to do what He desires at any given moment.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways. (Hebrews 1:1)
Is God in our day actually speaking to the American religious leaders, or are they just imagining what God is thinking and saying?
I know when I pray for God to revive America, He says that I had better pray for myself and my loved ones that we will draw closer to Jesus, if we hope to stand and assist those in need in the coming days of Divine judgment upon the United States. The implication is that this nation has crossed the line in regards to sin! Is this true?
We need the crown of anointing of the Spirit of God. We will have this only as we obey God strictly at all times in every circumstance. Also, Jesus told us in the Bible, we should pray without ceasing for the Spirit.
I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. (Luke 11:8)
The Lord is telling us (above) we should persist in praying for the Holy Spirit, and if we do, we will receive the answer. In any case, we need to persist in prayer at all times until we are certain that we are where we are supposed to be, and doing what we are supposed to be doing. If we are to receive more of God’s Spirit, we must hear from Christ! The Apostle Paul made an interesting statement:
But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. (Romans 8:9)
When speaking in tongues first came to be part of our worship, the idea was voiced at times that if someone did not speak in tongues, he did not have the Spirit of God. The old-time “Pentecosters” used to insist that people did not have the Holy Spirit until they were baptized by the Spirit and spoke in tongues. You probably are too young to remembers those days. I personally have been “in Pentecost” since the late 1940’s. I am here to say that some believers who spoke in tongues years ago do not have the Spirit of Christ today. I know this because they do not show the fruit of the Spirit in their behavior. They are filled with hate, misery, and worry, instead of love, joy, and peace.
As far as people having the Spirit of Christ who do not speak in tongues, I am sure there are many. However, I believe if they will conduct a regular prayer session with the Lord every day, they may find themselves speaking in tongues during one of their times of prayer, whether they like it or not. It is just not that difficult. If you are prayed up, obeying Christ in everything that you know, and feel a little urge to speak in tongues, then launch out. God will not give you something of Satan if you are asking for more of His Spirit! After all, to the early believers, as recorded in the Bible, speaking tongues was the evidence that the believer had received the Spirit of God.
When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. (Acts 19:6)
I pray in tongues often, and it is a tremendous blessing to me. I first spoke in tongues in a bus station in San Bernardino, late one Sunday evening, trying to get back to Bible School. I am such a cerebral person, God had to get me completely distracted before He could start me speaking in tongues. That was about 70 years ago.
However, tongues are not something to be argued about. If the thought of tongues is not a blessing to you, then forget about it. But make sure you are walking close to the Lord Jesus and obeying Him scrupulously at all times!
Prophecy is to be preferred over tongues in the assembling of Christians, except when unbelievers are present. But I must say, I never heard anyone prophesy in the assembling who did not speak much in tongues during private devotions.
From my point of view, I believe it is helpful to speak miraculously in a foreign language when people to whom that language is native are present. This is what took place at the birth of the Christian Church.
A second purpose for speaking in tongues is as a witness that the speaker has been filled with God’s Spirit. As I said previously, old-time Pentecostal preachers insisted that an individual did not have the Spirit of God until he or she spoke in tongues.
An example of tongues as a witness of the Spirit is as follows:
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. (Acts 10:44-46)
“Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?” (Acts 11:16,17)
A third purpose for speaking in tongues is to build up the believer. I think of this as a gift of the Spirit for personal prayer.
He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. (I Corinthians 14:4)
When we pray often in tongues as we go about our business, or during our prayer time, we strengthen ourselves in Christ.
It is possible that in the distribution of the gift of tongues, the Holy Spirit will emphasize known languages to a believer. To another, it will be a sign of actually being filled with the Spirit, as in the house of Cornelius. To a third, it is for spiritual strengthening. I know this distribution of tasks is true in the gift of healing. One believer will have a ministry to an injured spine. Another might have a gift to heal the blind. And a third might have an unusual ability to heal cancer. So it is not impossible that the Holy Spirit, when assigning tongues, stresses one or another area of blessing.
I would like to make an additional comment about the third area—the gifts of tongues in the building up of the individual. Please examine carefully the following passage:
Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people, to whom he said, “This is the resting place, let the weary rest”; and, “This is the place of repose”—but they would not listen.
So then, the word of the Lord to them will become: Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that; a little here, a little there—so that as they go they will fall backward; they will be injured and snared and captured. (Isaiah 28:11-13)
That this portion of Isaiah indeed is referencing speaking supernaturally in the other tongues that are part of the new covenant, is set forth in the following passage:
In the Law it is written: “With other tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers. (I Corinthians 14:21,22)
As I see it, Isaiah is telling us that speaking in tongues is at least one of our ways into the “rest of God.” The rest of God is treated in Hebrews chapters three and four. I believe the rest of God is parallel in meaning to the “waters to swim in” of Ezekiel chapter 47. It is the place where we have passed through the judgments of the Spirit and now are living wholly in the Life of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross. (Ezekiel 47:5)
Life in the Fullness of the Spirit is attained to by rule upon rule, rule upon rule, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little. Little by little the Spirit of Christ captures us until we fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
I do not believe falling backward, being broken, and snared, and taken, makes too much sense to the readers until they begin to experience the life lived in the Spirit. It is to be filled with all the Fullness of God as our physical energy and strength begin to be diminished, due to an affliction or some other reason! Older people know exactly what I mean.
And to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)
Setting aside the topic of tongues, for a moment, there is no such thing as a genuine Christian who does not have the Spirit of God. Why is this? Because Christ and the members of His Body constitute the Royal Priesthood of God. Every member of the Royal Priesthood has the crown of anointing of the Spirit of God. One cannot function as a priest of God apart from the Spirit of God.
Are there members of Christian churches who do not have the Spirit of God? Yes, there certainly are. They are not bad people, Nor are they attempting to deceive anyone. They like belonging to a Christian church. The enjoy the things the church does. Some of them are the most diligent workers of the church. Even their close relatives do not realize they have never met the Master.
In fact, I am not certain such people realize there is a great gulf between them and those members who have the anointing in themselves. They imitate what they see in others, even to attempting to give utterance in supposed prophecy. They remind me of the “palace prophets” who were in the employ of the kings of Israel. They prophesied mightily, but God was not with them.
So the king of Israel brought together the prophets—about four hundred men—and asked them, “Shall I go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?”
“Go,” they answered, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.” (I Kings 22:6)
But Ahab was killed in the battle. The Christian imitators pray vigorously for the needs of other people, but their prayers are not anointed. They may live a more righteous life than those who have the Spirit of Christ. Only a veteran of the cross can detect that the Holy Spirit is not present in their personalities.
God told Moses that every item of furniture in the Tabernacle of the Congregation had to be anointed with oil. In other words, only that which is anointed by the Spirit of God has eternal value in a Christian church service.
Take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and everything in it; consecrate it and all its furnishings, and it will be holy. (Exodus 40:9)
I suppose that the problems of the future in America, when it may cost our lives or the lives of our children to be known as a Christian, will separate the imitators from the true priesthood. Or, it may happen that many of them will actually become Christians and share in the Spirit of Christ, by asking the Lord Jesus to make the anointing of the Spirit true in their lives.
When the Spirit of God is dwelling in us, the moral image of God can be seen in our behavior. “Grace” is being offered today as a substitute for growth in righteous behavior. However, no amount of religious service will compensate for the lack of holy, righteous behavior.
Eternal love, joy, and peace are not the fruit of any Christian. They are the fruit always borne by the Spirit of God alone.
It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. (Psalms 133:2,3)
The Body of Christ is the Body of the Anointed One. The Anointing flows down from the Head, just as the priestly anointing of Aaron, the High Priest, ran down on the collar of his robes. Each member of the Body is anointed by the Holy Spirit and is to minister by the wisdom and power of the Spirit of God, just as the Head does.
If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:15-17)
The Holy Spirit of God resides in every true Christian, and will lead him into all truth if he will follow Christ patiently. I think people receive the Holy Spirit when they are born again. The indwelling of Christ and the Father are mentioned a few verses later, in John 14:23. I do not believe the two indwellings (John 14:15-17and John 14:23) are the same experience.
I said “when they are born again.” I believe we receive the Holy Spirit when we truly are born again.
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” (John 3:5)
What we of today refer to as being “born again” is actually conversion to the Christian faith. We confess our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, His blood atonement and His resurrection. It is a change in our beliefs. We call that religious confession, “being born again.” You know, we ought to think more about what we are declaring. We ought to know that a change in our religious philosophy is not birth, except in some figurative sense.
I know when and where I was born again. It took place after I had made a profession of faith in Christ. I was in Hawaii. I walked out of the Quonset hut. The whole world looked different. The stars looked different. I wrote to my mother in California to tell her about this experience. She wrote me at the same time. Our letters crossed in the mail. She had just started to get up in the morning. A “man” in white stood at the foot of her bed. She could see him only from the waist up. He said, “I have been reborn and renewed.” Then he disappeared.
My point is, being born again is a supernatural experience. It is not a theologic statement of faith in Christ. The statement of faith is absolutely necessary. But it should be accompanied by some kind of experience.
If, as I stated, the Spirit of God is given to us at that time, if we actually are born of the Spirit, then we should realize in some manner in keeping with our own personality and circumstances, that we have been reborn and renewed. Do you agree with that?
From this point forward we should live differently. We have just been born. In fact, I would say we have just been conceived, looking at it that way. It will be some time before Christ comes forth in us in a significant manner. But in order for Christ to come forth, we must obey the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. Not the Law of Moses, but the Law of the Spirit of Christ. This means that we must follow and obey Christ diligently at all times and in every circumstance!
There is a travail, as Paul mentioned (Galatians 4:19). Finally Christ
comes forth in us and is caught up to the right hand of the Father
So in every true Christian, not every person active in a Christian church, there is a crown of anointing. We cannot always see it, but it is there. If it is not, the individual is not of Christ, no matter how active he may be in “Christian” activities.
It is the crown of anointing that identifies us as members of God’s Royal Priesthood.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (I Peter 2:9)
God has called the Lord Jesus as a Priest in “the likeness of Melchizedek.” Since we are members of the Body of the High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, we also, by the power of the Spirit of God, are a priest after the order of Melchizedek, by the “power of an indestructible life.”
Just think of that! You may be a brand new Christian at the present moment. But if you follow the Lord Jesus Christ faithfully, obeying His commands at all times, you will be serving God and man as a priest for eternity. So it is written!
And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. For it is declared: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 7:15-17)
It is interesting to note that the Spirit of God came upon the Lord Jesus as a Dove, but on the disciples as tongues of fire.
Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.” (John 1:32)
They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. (Acts 2:3)
I think this was because the Spirit of Jesus is pure and there is nothing the Spirit of God could judge and condemn. But such was not the case with the disciples at that time. There is a baptism of blessing with the Spirit. There also is a baptism with fire, and each true Christian must experience that judging and cleansing sooner or later.
I mentioned speaking in tongues previously. On the Day of Pentecost, the tongues were known languages. I myself speak in tongues as a prayer language, and it is very helpful.
He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. (I Corinthians 14:4)
I speak in tongues in prayer about every day. I do not prophesy very often, although I have on occasion. There are others in the assembling who do, so the job gets done. Even though I realize what a marvelous help speaking in tongues in our private devotions is, I do not emphasize it often when preaching, just once in a while. The main burden of the Spirit at this time seems to be that of confessing and turning away from our sinful practices, as the Spirit guides and empowers us.
If an individual will be faithful to set aside a time for prayer each day, and ask the Lord politely for the ability to pray in tongues, I think it will not be long before this helpful ability is granted.
The fruit of the Spirit is the end product of a diligent Christian discipleship. We should be manifesting love, joy, and peace in our behavior. If instead we manifest hatred, misery, and worry in our behavior, then it is doubtful that we are truly born-again Christians, even if we appear to be able to speak in tongues.
Let each of us always keep in mind that our calling as human beings is to be in the image of God, showing forth the love, joy, peace, and other characteristics of God. God has given to His priesthood the crown of anointing so they can assist each one of us in bringing forth God’s character in our personalities and behavior.
Speaking of the ministry of Christ to the members of His Body, this is to prepare each member of the Royal Priesthood to bring the Presence and Life of God to the saved people of the nations of the earth:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:1-3)
When the Lord Jesus, through the ministries and gifts given by the Spirit to the members of His Body, has created “oaks” of righteous behavior, then He and His Body will, as I said, bring the Presence and Life of God to those people of the nations of the earth whom God has chosen to save to the new world of righteousness.
That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:21)
In this essay, I have written concerning the need each of us Christians has for thinking, speaking, and behaving in the Spirit of God.
There is another need, and that is for a universal outpouring of God’s Spirit on the Christians of the world. In time past, such outpourings have taken place in the United States in the New York Prayer Meeting, in Wales, in Indonesia, and many other places. We need a tremendous outpouring of God’s Spirit in America, as well as in other places where there are Christian believers. I am praying for such a visitation of God, and I hope you are too.
Dr. Robert B. Thompson
(“The Crown of Anointing”, 4262-2, proofed 20210903)