the anointing of the holy spirit - implications and abuse

The Anointing Of The Holy Spirit, Its Implication and Abuse Among the Pentecostal

The anointing of the Holy Spirit is the impartation of the ability of the Holy Spirit into our lives to do His work. It is a great experience that sees the people of God do great things through the supernatural power of God. However, the anointing has been abused among the Pentecostals.

The anointing of the Holy Spirit is the impartation of the ability of the Holy Spirit into our lives to do His work. The scripture tells us the story of those used of God and how they were anointed. Some of them include:

  • Aaron and his sons were anointed to be priests (Exodus 30:30; Leviticus 8:12).
  • Moses had an anointing of God’s Spirit upon him (Numbers 11:17).
  • Joshua had the anointing imparted upon him through the laying on of hand (Deuteronomy 34:9).
  • Saul was anointed to be king (1 Samuel 10:1).
  • David also was anointed to be king (1 Samuel 16:13).
  • Jesus who God anointed to manifest His Messiahship on earth (Acts 10:38).

When we avail ourselves to Him, He puts into us His ability to do His work. The impartation of His ability into our lives to do His work is called ‘the anointing’.

A study of each man of God in the Bible would reveal very clearly that God expects everyone He uses to receive His anointing. Whether the work is that of a workmanlike Bezaleel, a deacon ministering in the church, or an apostle like Paul (Exodus 31:2,3; Acts 6:3; 2 Corinthians 1:21). On the other hand, every work done by men without anointing has been rejected by God. Saul, who was anointed only as a king, was rejected by God when he offered the burnt offering. This is because he was not anointed as a priest (1 Samuel 13:9-14). King Uzziah also tried to be a priest and judgment fell on him because he did not carry the priestly anointing (2 Chronicles 26:18).

Therefore, the anointing of the Holy Spirit is important for the effective delivery of God’s work among believers. The Pentecostals are known to believe in the anointing, which differentiates them from the orthodox. However, cases of abuse have been observed in recent times among the Pentecostal churches. Hence, this paper would unravel the implication of anointing and its abuse among Pentecostals.



Defining The Anointing of the Holy Spirit

The outpouring or baptism of the Holy Spirit in the process of anointing a believer by the Holy Spirit. This is an empowering experience distinct from baptism into the body of Christ. In this baptism, Christ is the agent and the Holy Spirit is the medium. This baptism is usually indicated through speaking in an unknown tongue followed by other manifestations of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

A Dove representing The anointing of the Holy Spirit
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The anointing upon our lives is increased measure upon measure, as we prove faithful to the anointing. The fullest potential of the anointing we can aspire to in whatever office we stand in is the anointing without measure – the same as the anointing upon Jesus’ life. That means if God called you to be a prophet aim to reach the measureless anointing in that office, if God called you to be a teacher, aim for that. Seek the anointing upon your life to increase until it is measureless.

The Manifestation of the Anointing

We can define and understand the anointing by watching its manifested work upon the lives of those it comes upon. Bezaleel and Aholiab received special skills in metalwork, jewelry, and embroidery (Exodus 31:1-6). Note how God attributes their ability, and those with them, to His anointing (Exodus 31:6). Moses and the seventy elders received special ability to govern and lead Israel (Numbers 11:16, 17, 25). Joshua received special wisdom (Deuteronomy 34:9). David’s special ability as a mighty soldier and warrior came from the anointing upon his life (2 Samuel 22:33-35). It was not a natural ability but it was a supernatural impartation that trained his hands for war and his arms to bend a bow of bronze.

Elijah and Elisha received the power to work miracles through the anointing upon their lives (2 Kings 2:9, 14). Daniel received supernatural understanding and wisdom through the anointing upon his life (Daniel 5:11). Jesus began His miraculous ministry after receiving the anointing upon His life (Acts 10:38).

The Need for God’s Anointing

If the church of Jesus Christ today would seek to do His work by His anointing, we could turn this world upside down and right side up for Jesus. Jesus made it imperative for His Church to receive His anointing before they went out to minister (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-9). When His church was persecuted, they prayed for a greater anointing of boldness and received it! (Acts 4:29-31). The anointing imparted was so great that even the house shook.

The world cannot be evangelized without the power and anointing of God. Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you shall receive power to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8). Paul said that the Gentiles were obedient to the gospel through the mighty signs and wonders God did through him by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:19). It was after Paul’s and Barnabas’ testimonies of God’s power working among the Gentiles confirming the gospel that settled the issue of the Gentiles in the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:12,13).

Products of Anointing

Jesus Himself told the Jews that if He did not do the works He did among them, they were not obligated to believe in Him (John 10:37). However, having seen the works He did, He told them that at least they should believe in Him because of the works (John 10:38).

To His disciples, Jesus said that if they had difficulty believing in His union with the Father, they still should do it for the sake of the works themselves (John 14:11). How important the works of Jesus were in His ministry! And to think that all His works resulted from His being anointed by the Father! (Acts 10:38). Surely, the anointing is an important factor to consider!

The anointing of the Holy Spirit always produces power. The word ‘power’ which is associated with the anointing comes from the Greek word ‘dunamis’ which means ‘ability. God’s ability is imparted through the anointing. Therefore we conclude by defining the anointing as the enablement or impartation of God’s ability upon an available and yielded vessel to fulfill and carry out His will and His work. This enablement and impartation will help those who have received it to do supernatural work even though they remain natural beings.

The anointing in itself is of heavenly materiality. It is a spiritual substance that inherently contains God’s power. Like electricity, it can be stored. The anointing in Paul’s hands was transmitted and stored in handkerchiefs and aprons (Acts 19:11, 12). Elisha’s anointing was still stored in his dead bones. There was enough stored power to raise a man from the dead (2 Kings 13:21). It can be transferred and imparted through the laying on of hands or cloth (Deuteronomy 34:9; 2 Timothy 1:6; 2 Kings 2:13, 14).

The Anointing can be measured

God told Moses that He would take the Spirit that was upon him and put the same anointing upon the seventy elders (Numbers 11:17). Here is an example of a man having a great anointing of the Holy Spirit, and a part of the power being taken from him by the Lord, to be divided and used to anoint seventy others (Numbers 11:25). The anointing can be measured. It was said of Jesus by John that He had the Spirit upon Him without measure (John 3:34). The word ‘measure’ being used here implies that the anointing had been given in measures to people before but now was given without measure to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Anointing And the Pentecostal Church

Origin of Pentecostalism

The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek name for the Jewish Feast of Weeks. For Christians, this event commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus Christ, as described in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. In Nigeria, AG was the foremost Christian mission that believed in the Holy Spirit and his work in men. Like other forms of evangelical Protestantism, Pentecostalism adheres to the inerrancy of scripture and the necessity of accepting Christ as personal Lord and Savior. It is distinguished by belief in the baptism with the Holy Spirit as an experience separate from conversion that enables a Christian to live a Holy Spirit-filled and empowered life. This empowerment includes the use of spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues and divine healing—two other defining characteristics of Pentecostalism. Because of their commitment to biblical authority, spiritual gifts, and the miraculous, Pentecostals tend to see their movement as reflecting the same kind of spiritual power and teachings that were found in the Apostolic Age of the early church. For this reason, some Pentecostals also use the term Apostolic or Full Gospel to describe their movement.

Pentecostalism emerged in the early 20th century among radical adherents of the Holiness movement who were energized by revivalism and expectation for the imminent Second Coming of Christ. Believing that they were living in the end times, they expected God to spiritually renew the Christian Church thereby bringing to pass the restoration of spiritual gifts and the evangelization of the world.

Believe in Baptism of the Holy Spirit

The AG and other Pentecostal churches believe in Baptism which is in three forms according to the description in New Testament:

Baptism into the body of Christ: This refers to salvation. Every believer in Christ is made a part of his body, the Church, through baptism. The Holy Spirit is the agent, and the body of Christ is the medium.

Water baptism: Symbolic of dying to the world and living in Christ, water baptism is an outward symbol of that which has already been accomplished by the Holy Spirit, namely baptism into the body of Christ.

Baptism with the Holy Spirit: This is an empowering experience distinct from baptism into the body of Christ. In this baptism, Christ is the agent and the Holy Spirit is the medium. While the figure of Jesus Christ and his redemptive work is at the center of Pentecostal theology, that redemptive work is believed to provide for a fullness of the Holy Spirit of which believers in Christ may take advantage.

The majority of Pentecostals believe that at the moment a person is born again, the new believer has the presence (indwelling) of the Holy Spirit. While the Spirit dwells in every Christian, Pentecostals believe that all Christians should seek to be filled with him. The Spirit’s “filling”, “falling upon”, “coming upon”, or being “poured out upon” believers is called the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Pentecostals define it as a definite experience occurring after salvation whereby the Holy Spirit comes upon the believer to anoint and empower him or her for special service. It has also been described as “a baptism into the love of God”.

Gifts of the Holy Spiritual

Pentecostals are continuationists, meaning they believe that all of the spiritual gifts, including the miraculous or “sign gifts”, found in 1 Corinthians 12:4–11, 12:27–31, Romans 12:3–8, and Ephesians 4:7–16 continue to operate within the Church in the present time. Pentecostals place the gifts of the Spirit in context with the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is the result of the new birth and continuing to abide in Christ. It is by the fruit exhibited that spiritual character is assessed. Spiritual gifts are received as a result of baptism with the Holy Spirit.

The Believer’s Anointing in The Pentecostal

Brief Overview

There are three areas of anointing: the believer’s anointing, the ministerial anointing, and the corporate anointing. The believer’s anointing is the anointing within an individual. The ministerial anointing is the anointing upon an individual and the corporate anointing is the anointing upon a gathering of believers.

The believer’s anointing is the primary anointing. By this anointing, all other manifestations of the anointing are judged. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teaches you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him – 1 John 2: 27

I would say that the believer’s anointing is the most important anointing of all. All other anointings are built about and around this anointing. This anointing was not in manifestation in the Old Testament. It is a special anointing available only to New Testament saints.

The Importance of the Believer’s Anointing

It also works within the believer producing the Christlike character and all the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23). About 95% of all God’s leading of His people is through the inward witness, the anointing within. Even those called to the five-fold ministries are led 95% of the time by the inward witness.

Just because we are called to be apostles or prophets does not mean that we sit around waiting for a spectacular vision or manifestation to lead us. We are not living in the Old Covenant. We are living in the New Covenant. The primary way by which God leads His people today is by the anointing within.

The spectacular manifestations of the anointing have to be checked by the anointing within. The devil can give dreams, visions, impressions, or thoughts which are not from the Holy Spirit. The realm of the spectacular is subject to counterfeit. However, one manifestation that the enemy cannot counterfeit is the anointing within because it is inside our spirits. We should thus flow in the ministerial anointing using the anointing within as a steering wheel.

The relationship of the Anointing to the glory of God

The anointing of God is the tangible manifestation of God’s power while the glory of God is the manifestation of God’s person and attributes. Both are manifestations. Both are touchable. Both have degrees or levels of manifestation. Both are of heavenly materiality. Both are manifested together inseparably, just as God’s attributes and power are inseparable parts of His being. The manifestation of the anointing of God is in direct proportion to the manifestation of the glory of God.

When Moses asked to see God’s glory, God showed His divine attributes of mercy, grace, longsuffering, goodness, and truth (Exodus 33:18; 34:6). God covered Moses with His hand and showed the back parts of His glory (Exodus 33: 22, 23). There is a direct relationship between the glory of God and the attributes of God; the attributes of love and mercy. To move in the glory of God is to move in love and mercy.

Moving in love and power

We should learn to move in the realm of God’s glory just as we learn to move in the anointing. We should learn to develop in glory as we develop in the anointing. We have to develop the ‘love’ side as we do the ‘gifts side. Paul told the Corinthians to develop in the ‘love’ side so that the gifts present in them may edify, i.e. be more powerfully beneficial; otherwise, it amounts to wasted effort (1 Corinthians 13). It is like having firewood without the fire.

However, some develop in the ‘love’ side but have no understanding of how the gifts operate or manifest. They would fit Paul’s description of those ignorant of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1). It is like having the potential for igniting a fire but not having any firewood.

On the other hand, when we develop both sides together, we discover that there are many realms and degrees in the development of both together. We could have a stick on fire, a campfire, a bonfire, or a forest fire. There are many degrees and realms of moving in the glory of God and the anointing of God. The development of the glory of God in our lives would ultimately have to do with the alignment and tuning of our nature and attributes with the nature and attributes of God. Attributes of love, mercy, graciousness, truth, etc.

Abuse Of Anointing

Falling Under the Anointing 

As we look into the subject of falling under power, let us consider some fallacies first. Johann Melchizedek Peter said that he met an evangelist from India who had a common occurrence of this phenomenon in his ministry. Out of interest, he asked him his thoughts on why some fell under the power. Then he replied that those who fell had something wrong with them, thus they fell. Another evangelist also replied to the same question that those who fell were more yielded and sensitive to God while those who did not were resisting.

In the above two cases, we see that two people used by the same Lord Jesus Christ came to two different and contrasting conclusions on the same phenomenon. How is that possible? Both love the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet one said that there is something wrong when you fall; while the other said that there is something wrong when you stand. Both made the mistake of basing their doctrines and conclusions on experience and not on Scripture.

Scriptural explanations for falling

Upon studying the Scriptures, we can make the following conclusions on falling under the power.

  • It is a side effect of the manifestation of God’s glory (2 Chronicles 5:14; Exodus 40:34, 35). God’s glory is tangible. Moses who had seen God’s glory could not physically enter the Tabernacle when God’s glory filled it in fullness. When Paul saw the glory of Jesus, he was struck down to the ground (Acts 9:3, 4; 22:6,7).
  • There is no Scriptural basis for establishing the spirituality of the individual by whether he falls under the power of the Holy Spirit or not. Holy men like Daniel fell under the power of the Holy Spirit (Daniel 10:7-9). Obedient prophets like Ezekiel have been slain under the power of the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 1:28b). At the same time, evil men have been slain under the power of the Holy Spirit (John 18:5,6). The people who came to capture Jesus were evil men motivated by the devil.
  • Not all who fell under the power of the Holy Spirit were changed or transformed in their lives. The men who came to capture Jesus were slain under the power when Jesus answered them but they remained unchanged in the evil pursuit to crucify Jesus (John 18:6:12).
  • Some received a special blessing and transformation. Paul received his call and his life was transformed after his Damascus experience (Acts 26:12-19). His life was motivated by the heavenly vision he saw in Damascus. Adam was put under the power of God to create a woman out from his rib (Genesis 2:21-22).

Discerning the purpose of an anointing

We must concentrate on the purpose of the anointing. Sometimes I have sensed a heavy anointing rest upon me. At that time, I knew that whoever I prayed for or called out would fall. I could just line them up and blow on them. But the Lord has taught me instead to wait on Him and listen to what He wants to do with that anointing and not what I want to do to establish myself. If we channel it properly at that time, we would see instant miracles. At such times, I have yielded to His instructions and have seen marvelous instant miracles. Now isn’t that better than just making people fall under the power? Remember the purpose that the Son of God is manifested is to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). The manifestation of the anointing is to destroy the works of the devil.

Areas of Abuse of Anointing

Some Pentecostal pastors abuse the anointing of the Holy Spirit in the following areas, which have subsequently made it difficult to discern the true anointing and the fake anointing, except after some time lag. Five areas of abuse and camouflage are:

Sexual abuse

Priests, ministers, church officials, and workers in the pretense of spiritual healing or prayer sexually molest children, ruin lives, and cause irreparable psychological damage.

Speaking in tongue

Speaking in tongue is good, however, some make noise rather than speak according to the direction of the spirit.

False Teaching

The bible teaches about the gifts of the spirit and that they are truly from God and are real and important. However, some pastors are teaching different things not specified by the Bible. This is called heresy, though Paul made mention of it.

Faking the Anointing

Acts 1:8 and 2:4 speaks of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. But many are faking the gifts of the spirit. Today in many circles some are faking the gifts of the Spirit in the name of the Holy Ghost. Many are not doing this intentionally; they just want to be used by God. They can’t discern whether it’s their spirit talking to them or if it’s the Holy Spirit.

The world cannot be evangelized without the power and anointing of God. Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you shall receive power to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8). Paul said that the Gentiles were obedient to the gospel through the mighty signs and wonders God did through him by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:19). It was after Paul’s and Barnabas’ testimonies of God’s power working among the Gentiles confirming the gospel that settled the issue of the Gentiles in the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:12,13).

Conclusion

The anointing of the Holy Spirit that God puts on His servants is such a precious commodity. God expects consecration from His vessel before He puts it upon them. Aaron was told that the anointing he received was so holy that he could not leave the tabernacle for seven days or he would die (Leviticus 8:33-35). When a sad event happened in his family, he was not even allowed to cry! (Leviticus 10:6). The anointing is holy!

Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, died because they abused the anointing by offering strange fire (Leviticus 10:1, 2). It probably had something to do with their drunken conduct because immediately after that God warned Aaron and his sons not to drink wine or intoxicating drink (Leviticus 10:9).

The anointing that God places on His vessels is so holy that God warned others against touching His anointed ones (1 Chronicle 16:22). God takes no pleasure in those who disrespect His anointing upon His vessels. Miriam learned it the hard way (Numbers 12:1-10). It is one sure way of making God angry.

God watches closely over His servants because of His vested interest upon them – the anointing of the Holy Spirit, a most precious substance and holy heavenly commodity. However, abuse always leads to destruction. In AG, anointing and the anointed is sacred and respected. AG negates the abuse of anointing by their pastors. I believe that they should speak up in the PFN to stop the areas of abuse.

Bibliography

Anderson A. An introduction to Pentecostalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2004.

Ellwood, Robert S., and Harry B. Partin. Religious and Spiritual Groups in Modern America, Second edition, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1988.

Feeney, James H. “The Purposes of the Anointing of the Holy Spirit.” Pentecostal Sermon Central.

Hyles, Jack. “The Anointing of The Holy Spirit.” Meet The Holy Spirit, Chapter 7. Jesus is savior Books, 2004.

Johann Melchizedek Peter. The Anointing of the Holy Spirit. Australia: Johann Ministries. 2014.

Klemp, Harold. The Secret Teachings, Crystal, Minnesota: IWP. Mentions Kirpal Singh. 1989.

Klemp, Sri Harold. “A Spiritual Exercise to Try.Eckankar Journal. 1996. Lane, David Christopher, The Making of a Spiritual Movement: The Untold Story of Paul Twitchell and Eckankar, Del Mar, California: Del Mar Press, 1990.

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