Given for the Saints at Medicalodge, Neosho, MO, on 9/29/02
"Yet I know that the touch of his Spirit never leaves you, and you don't really need a human teacher. You know that his Spirit teaches you about all things, always telling you the truth and never telling you a lie. So, as he has taught you, live continually in him" (I John 2:27, Phil).
Each of us is on a journey through life back to the Father who created us in His image and likeness, and who predestined us to be conformed to the image of His dear Son (Rom. 8:29). God allows me to write, not so I can enlighten the world, but so He can enlighten my world. My journals are a way to process what He shows me along the way. Many readers have been gracious enough to report to us that our writings affirmed what the Spirit has shown them as well, proving that God never just does one thing. He does three or ten or a thousand things at one time, in the twinkling of an eye, in the depths of Spirit, so that eventually, when the processing is finished, the final lesson completed, we will know as we are known. In all things good and bad, I give the glory and the responsibility to God, by whose grace we all walk the walk through the kingdom, along the path I have come to call The Glory Road. Because so many of you have shared your experiences with us, it is clear that a goodly number of God's children are traveling along with us. Since those who went before cannot be made perfect until we are (Heb. 11:40), we take our traveling instructions very seriously, knowing that He who began a good work, will complete it in us and through us (Phil. 1:6).
You'll notice that I said, "walk the walk," and left out the phrase, "talk the talk," for it is the talk amongst some of the Saints which is my topic today. Having passed through different religious experiences, I perceive that each denomination tends to believe that the light the Father has given them is all there is. Thus, the Fundamentalists and Evangelicals seem content to follow the 5 steps (or 4 or 10, depending on the group) to salvation, focusing on man's behavior and response to God, rather than the Father's eternal plan from before the foundation of the world. These dear brethren have elevated the bible to the godhead, speaking in stentorian tones of "The Word," when clearly, only Christ Himself is entitled to be called, "The Word of God" (John 1:1,14; Rev. 19:13). Because there is so much emphasis on the written letter among these Saints, I never heard the word "anointed," until I was called into a Charismatic fellowship, where it was used a great deal. The word "anoint" is a verb whose meanings include: 1. "to apply an ointment or oily liquid to, by rubbing or sprinkling. 2. to consecrate or make sacred in a ceremony that includes the token applying of oil."
The ritual application of oil in the Old Testament was a shadow of the Holy Spirit being poured out upon all people (Acts 2:17). When Jacob left home, heading toward Haran, he spent the night in a certain place, where in a dream, he saw a ladder reaching from earth to heaven, with angels ascending and descending upon it. The Lord stood above it and announced Himself to Jacob, proclaiming the same blessings which He had given Abraham, and Isaac, i.e., to give the land to their descendants, which would be as numerous as the dust of the earth, and in whom all families of the earth would be blessed. He further promised to bring Jacob back to the land he was leaving, and to stay with him until everything He had pledged was accomplished (Gen. 28:10-15). "Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the LORD is in this place; and I did not know it." And he was afraid, and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven." So Jacob rose early in the morning, and he took the stone which he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of the city was Luz at the first" (Gen. 28:16-19, RSV). Jacob anointed with oil the stone upon which he had rested his head, and then stood it up like a pillar, a common ritual that ancient peoples used to sanctify a place. We see the same idea today when people mark the place where someone died with a cross, candles, and flowers.
Later, Moses was instructed by the Lord, "And you shall put them (the priestly garments) upon Aaron your brother, and upon his sons with him, and shall anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests" (Ex. 28:41, RSV). Many scriptures attest to the importance of the anointing oil. Everything in the tabernacle was anointed with oil and/or sprinkled with blood for cleansing, from the tent itself, to all the utensils, and all the priests who served there, This is also a beautiful picture of Christ, our High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, who sprinkled or anointed the heavenly utensils with His own blood, "For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf" (Heb. 9:24, RSV). Through the eternal Spirit, He anoints our lives.
In the instances I have given here, the word "anoint" is used as a verb, implying action. Today, we hear people using the word "anointed" as an adjective, e.g., "He is an anointed writer," or "the meeting was anointed," or the "speaker was anointed." That indicates that the reader or the participant sensed or felt the presence of the Lord, and in fact, popular usage has made "the anointing (oil)" synonymous with the Holy Spirit. We remember that Jesus stood up in the midst of the congregation in His hometown of Nazareth, and said that Isaiah 61:1, was fulfilled in their hearing (Luke 4:16:21). "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound." In the Old Testament, the Spirit did not dwell within men, but was given for special tasks, as seen in the provisions God gave Moses for building the Tabernacle. The Spirit came upon certain men "in whose heart the LORD had put wisdom, even every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it" (Ex. 36:2, KJV).
The common usage today of the word "anointed," is that while everyone has the Holy Spirit, a special measure has been given for the task at hand, and just as on the Day of Pentecost, when every man heard Peter in his own language, the anointing cuts both ways: upon the speaker and upon the listeners. Have you ever heard people go on and on about their opinion that either a man or a writing or a meeting is "anointed," but when you experienced it yourself you were disappointed? I have, just recently, as a matter of fact. Because I was left high and dry in my soul and spirit in a recent meeting we attended, I asked the Lord about what happened there. He showed me that when someone describes an event as "anointed," it is because He has opened their eyes and ears to hear something they need to hear from the vessel He has chosen in that hour. Since we are in different places in our walk, we do NOT all perceive an event or speaker the same way. Our social and religious upbringing colors our perspective, and it is filtered through our personalities as well. Lenny is a right brained, mystic; I am a left brained intellectual, with mystical overtones. Though we don't experience the world the same way, we cherish our differences, which enhance rather than diminish us.
If Christians could see it this way, perhaps they would quit bickering about their diverse viewpoints. Many believers have no concept of how our cultural and religious backgrounds affect our perspective of truth. I have noticed that believers gravitate toward churches whose members are more like them. Some feel more comfortable in churches slanted toward the intellectual, structured approach to worship. Others disdain that formality as "not spiritual," and gravitate toward the feeling, even hysterical sensations of the Spirit. Still others pride themselves on being out of the box called church altogether, without realizing that they have become the very thing they are reacting against! Harry Fox gives the best illustration of church differences I've ever heard. He compares church order to the internal combustion engine. It takes both structure (the housing) and vitality (the fuel) to make it run. Some left brain churches are so structured that they have organized the Holy Spirit right out of their midst, leaving the members trying vainly to get nourishment from unchanging rituals. Right brain churches, on the other hand, may have so much vitality and so little structure that their services are only explosions of feelings, loud and colorful to be sure, but not accomplishing anything of spiritual substance.
In the meeting we attended, which was mostly vitality with very little structure, a woman declared, "We are the select of the elect." The hair stood up on the back of my neck, because anyone who feels that he or she has risen above God's elect because of superior dedication, commitment, or devotion or whatever else, has fallen out of the realm of what the scriptures teach, and into the arena of flesh, sectarianism, ego and pride, to name but a few of the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:26). I grew up in a church which proclaimed its superiority above all others, and can testify that such elitism is deadly to the soul, especially to the rest of God's children. People have been beaten down with sin consciousness and fear of hell to the point, where some cannot raise their chins off the floor, let alone see themselves seated in heavenly places with Christ. Describing oneself as, "the select of the elect" compounds the problem of low self esteem and self loathing.
The bottom line is this: are the elect of God saved, sanctified, justified, and glorified by their doctrine, by their feelings, or by the divine power of God? In an e-mail dialogue about this with John Gavazzoni, he commented, "I am extremely uncomfortable with any claim to election that bases itself upon subjective experience." He quoted the Apostle Peter's magnificent declaration, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied" (I Pet. 1:2, KJV). Then he articulated the truth upon which election stands: "One is elect according to how God knew him from eternity in Christ, not according to how he evaluates his own spiritual condition. The spirit of true election is that which says, 'Oh the wonder of wonders. He knew me and knows me in the perfection of Christ and I love to proclaim the Good News that the same is true of all.'" Amen and hallelujah!
God is the only one who can select or elect us! Here is Phillip's translation of I Peter 1:2: "whom God the Father knew and chose long ago to be made holy by his Spirit, that they might obey Jesus Christ and be cleansed by his blood" (I Pet. 1:2, Phil). Clearly, it is GOD who chose, destined and sanctified us. How then dare we glorify ourselves, our actions, our commitment or our dedication? Notice also that the reason we were chosen and known by God, was so we "might obey Jesus Christ and be cleansed by his blood." Nothing here suggests that we made a decision for Christ. He made a decision for us! If we were chosen by the foreknowledge of God the Father, then what is left for us to brag about? What in us sets us above God's elect? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
The idea of wanting to rise to the top of the elect reminds me of the mother of James and John, who asked Jesus if her sons could sit at His right and left hand when He came into His kingdom. After asking her if they could drink of the cup He was about to drink, He replied, "You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father" (Matt. 20:23, RSV). Of course, her request caused resentment and probably anxiety in the others, as statements of superiority always do. Jesus then explained the difference between the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world: "It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matt. 20:26-28, RSV). The way of the Cross is service to others. The remnant (elect) have always been chosen by God as the firstfruits of what He was doing at the moment, and they were called not to glorify themselves, but to serve others (Gen. 45:7). Ultimately, ALL are called and chosen, for He will gather up every crumb, leaving no one and nothing behind (John 12:32).
Each of us has the anointing of the Holy Spirit, not based upon how others see us, or upon our feelings, but because we are IN Christ and He is in us so that we may live an overcoming life: "the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Gal. 2:20, RSV). The Apostle John affirmed this truth. "As for you, you have an anointing from the holy One and have perfect knowledge. I have written to you, not because you are ignorant of the truth, but because you know it, and you know that nothing false comes from the truth" (I John 2:20-21, Wey). We know the truth because He who is Truth lives in us. Dear ones, we must listen to the beloved Apostle who said that if the anointing we received abides in us, then we have no need of men to teach us (I John 2:27). It follows then, that we must listen to the Holy Spirit rather than to our feelings or emotions or natural minds. Our confidence rests in Him, rather than in man. Nothing false comes from truth, and nothing true comes from a lie. Clearly, we must put aside the exaggerations of the flesh which pretend to tell us what is spiritual and what is not. We cannot understand spiritual gifts, the anointing, with our natural minds. It is only "by the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit" (I Co. 2:12-13). Paul said he came to them not only with words, but with power (I Thes. 1:5). Words are cheap and claims of superiority easily spoken, but the authority comes from God alone. When Jesus spoke, He loosed the power of almighty God which confirmed His words. He glorified the Father, never Himself. Father, help us to see that it is not by our might, or our power, not by our words or feelings, but by thy Spirit, saith the Lord. Amen. Jan Antonsson
Jan and Lenny Antonsson
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)
The Glory Road
We always enjoy hearing from you!
This page was uploaded to the web on 9/28/02
by Jan Antonsson, Webmeister
and last updated on 10/27/08.