The primary purpose of anointing oil and its use with a priest or the objects used in the tabernacle or temple was to make them qodesh or “set apart”– most holy as described in Exodus 30:29.
While the Holy Anointing Oil was originally used exclusively for the priests and the articles used in the Tabernacle, later it was extended to include prophets and kings (1 Samuel 10:1).
Certain restrictions outlined in the Torah regarding its usage included:
- It was forbidden to use the Holy Anointing Oil on an outsider (Exodus 30:33)
- It was not to be used on the body of any common persons (Exodus 30:32a)
- Israelites were forbidden to duplicate any like it, nor were they allowed to use the specific formula outlined in scripture for personal use (Exodus 30:32b)
Jim Lynn, author of The Miracle of Healing In Your Church Today (Trafford Publishing), states that the Tent of Meeting in Old Testament scriptures served as a type, or pattern and shadow, of the real Church to come (Hebrews 10:1). When God gave instruction for anointing the Tent of Meeting with specific essential oils, he was in effect giving instruction to anoint the Body of Christ (Ephesians 5:29-30). Years later in the New Testament, when Mary anointed Yeshua’s body in John 12:1-8, she physically anointed what the Old Testament priests could only symbolically anoint, as the forerunner of Christ’s Body (1 Corinthians 6:15).
Under Old Testament law, no layperson could touch the holy oil used for anointing the Tent of Meeting because of its sacredness. Yet here is Mary, a layperson, anointing Yeshua with a whole jar of precious oil and wiping his oil-soaked feet with her hair.
Lynn states, “What Mary did, she did for herself. But God used the occasion to enjoin (bless) man’s flesh with the flesh of His own Son: Something that had not happened previously. Mary’s anointing of Jesus bonds all of humanity to the ultimate sacrifice Jesus Christ paid for our physical and spiritual healing (Isaiah 53:4-5).
“God stipulated healing oils be used in the Tent of Meeting because He ordained them to be the natural counterpoint of Christ’s healing ministry (Acts 10:38). Israel (Jacob) called them the ‘best products of the land.’ When Jesus Christ, centuries later accepted Mary’s anointing of healing oil, He confirmed the sacred, healing role essential oils hold for us today.”
Lynn believes that it is important for people who use essential oils to understand why they were acknowledged in Holy Scripture and used in the disciples’ ministry of healing the sick (Mark 6:13). Lynn writes, “God has blessed essential oils and their use for healing, because they symbolically and physically bond mortal, corruptible human flesh to incorruptible, divine, eternal flesh in Jesus Christ and serve as a reminder that it is God who is our Healer (Exodus 15:26).”