Perspectives | 9 février 2020 | Derek Chittick

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dimanche 9 février à 8h45

Durée émission : 10 min

Espace spirituel anglophone

Anointed and Appointed.
Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I’m not very good on Facebook.

If you look at my profile, you’ll probably find that I’ve got loads of Facebook Friends, but you’ll also see that I hardly ever post anything, and usually miss seeing my friends’ posts! So, needless to say, I didn’t find the following information by myself; it was pointed out to me by someone else, by email. The Facebook post was by someone claiming to be a prophet, based in Aberdeen, of all places. It was a few days before the recent General Election in the UK, and Boris Johnson was visiting the Granite City. Our prophet friend met the Prime Minister at a private function, and apparently told him that he is God’s anointed person to take the UK out of the EU! There are other posts out there suggesting that Donald Trump is anointed by God to save the United States. It’s amazing what you can find on Facebook! As I thought about these claims, it made me go back to look at what anointing means, and how it ties in with our reaction to posts like these. The origins of anointing lie deep in the Old Testament, where it was initially the sign and seal of someone being set aside to the priesthood. The symbolism is of the Holy Spirit coming on someone to set them apart and to equip them for this ministry. So, Aaron and his sons, and all the priests after them, were anointed with oil at the outset of their ministry. It wasn’t enough to belong to the priestly family, you had to have the extra outpouring of the Spirit in order to function with the authority and approval of God. Similarly, when the first king of Israel was appointed, he was also anointed at the outset of his reign, to demonstrate the equipping of the Holy Spirit for this role as leader of God’s people. Every king after him received the same anointing, as indeed do the kings and queens of Britain to this day. It’s something that our current monarch has taken very seriously in terms of living according to her faith in the carrying out of her royal duties, and I think that the nation has benefitted from that.
Old Testament prophets, too, practised anointing as a sign of their commissioning and releasing for ministry. In each of the above cases, anointing was seen as the bestowing of a responsibility to bless and prosper the people of God. The fullest expression of anointing, though, is that of the promised Messiah, literally, the Anointed One. Promised throughout the Old Testament, he is the Servant of the Lord who will come and deliver His people from all that oppresses them and inaugurate the kingdom of God in all its fullness. Justice, peace and prosperity will flow out from His reign and all will be well for ever. And at this time in the church year, we look at the presentation of Jesus as the Christ, Greek for anointed, the One who comes to save all who will trust in Him. He demonstrated His anointing in His ministry of healing, teaching and miracles, and brought reconciliation and justice through His death on the cross. He will come again to fully establish His Kingdom at the appointed time. There is, however, another aspect of anointing. All the previous examples I’ve mentioned have to do with people who consciously believe in God and in His calling on their lives, but there are other examples of very different people who are described as anointed by the Lord. Perhaps the foremost of these is the pagan king Cyrus of Persia, who is called the Lord’s anointed by the prophet Isaiah. He is described as being appointed by God to decree the return of the people of Israel from exile to the Promised Land, after a period of 70 years. It would seem that his anointing was an unconscious one, and there is no record of him expressing any real commitment to the Lord God of Israel. He did, however, in common with the other anointed people, bring benefit and blessing to God’s people. A final example is perhaps more shocking. The prophet Habakkuk describes the Babylonians as ordained of God, appointed by Him, in their conquering of Israel and Judah, with their actions being the outworking of the judgment of God on His sinful people. There are several other examples in various other places, and none of this makes comfortable reading. It would seem that there can be an anointing of God for judgment as well as for blessing, distressing as that thought might be. Could it be, in our context, that Boris Johnson and Donald Trump could indeed be anointed by God, but for a very different purpose than that imagined by our prophet friend from Aberdeen? Given the moral and spiritual state of these nations and indeed the whole of Western civilisation, it seems to me to be a possibility! However, to end on a more positive note, the New Testament encourages believers to see ourselves as anointed by God in the positive sense of being appointed to be a blessing to our churches and communities, to bring the love of God and the message of the Gospel to those who are without hope, who are discouraged, distressed, bereaved and in need of guidance, support and love. Jesus is our example, and the Holy Spirit is the One who empowers us. His anointing enables us to make a positive different to the people around us, and hopefully to lead them to the Kingdom of the God
who loves them. That’s an anointing that’s worth having! Have a good week!

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