Why is there an anointing for blessings of healing?

Earliest Bible Reference

Anointing has always been a part of Judao- Christian beliefs.   Jesus Christ was referred to as the Mesiah in Hebrew which means “The anointed one” In fact the very name Christ comes from the Greek word Christos which also means anointed one.


The use of olive oil in blessings dates to the old testament and was first mentioned in Moses time. When olive oil was used to anoint the tabernacle, the ark of the testimony, Aron, and his sons.  “Moreover the Lord spake unto Moses, saying…  And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil… And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony… And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.  And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, this shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations.” (Exodus 30: 22-31)

Anointing Kings and Prophets

Oil was also used through out the bible to anoint both kings and prophets.  Samul the prophet used oil to anoint Saul as captain over the armies.  “Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?”  (1 Sam 1:10 ) Samual again used oil to anoint David to replace Saul as King “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.   Elijah also anointed Hazeal and Jehu to be kings and Elisha to succeed him as the prophet.  “And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.” (1 Kings 19:15-16

Use by the Apostles in the New Testament

James makes it very clear that the Elders of the church used olive oil to anoint and heal the sick: “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.” (James 5:14–15.)

Medical use in Christs Time

Christs parable of the good Samaritan makes it clear that the Jews used olive oil for medical purposes believing that it had healing and or antiseptic qualities.  In the parable of the good Samaritan poured oil and whine in the wounds of the injured Jew.  “And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.” (Luke 10:34)

Symbols and Use Today

Today we continue to use olive oil to anoint and bless the sick even though through modern science we have much more effective ointments to prevent infection and promote healing.  So why are we still anointing with oil?  The answer is because it’s symbolic.  In the church, we have many symbols used in ordinances to represent other things.  Baptism for example has many symbols ; baptism by submersion being laid back into the water is symbolic of being laid down into the grave, our former sinful self being crucified with Christ and laid in the grave. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”(Romans 6:3-6)  Being raised up from the water is symbolic of being born again and the beginning of a new life “That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory; “ (Moses 6:59)  The water also inwardly represents washing away our sins as water is outwardly used to wash our bodies and cleanse them of dirt.  In partaking of the sacrament we see the symbols of bread and water; Water symbolizing the blood of Christ which was shed for our sins and the bread symbolizing the body of Christ which as we eat becomes a part of us.  There are many other sacred symbols in the church many in the temple.  So what is the symbolism behind olive oil?  Find out in my next article: “Why is olive oil used for the anointing and blessing of the sick?”

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