Preparation for Service
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Exodus, chapter 25, beginning with verse 1:

Exodus 25

1And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.
3And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass,
4And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair,
5And rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood,
6Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense,
7Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate.
8And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
9According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.

Notice verse 6:

Exodus 25

6Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense,

Notice particularly the phrase, “spices for anointing oil”.

Turn to chapter 30 of the book of Exodus and notice the paragraph which begins with verse 22:

Exodus 30

22Moreover the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
23Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels,
24And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin:
25And 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.
26And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony,
27And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense,
28And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot.
29And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy.
30And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office.
31And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations.
32Upon man's flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you.
33Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people.

We have completed our study of the construction of the tabernacle, we have completed our study of the construction of all the pieces of furniture, and we have noticed in detail the instructions related to setting up the tabernacle, taking it down, and making it possible for it to move. The one thing further that we need to consider is the preparation of the tabernacle for service, or the preparation of the tabernacle for usefulness, and that one thing we call to your attention in the reading of this passage of Scripture.

Set Apart for Special Service

If what we are to discuss did not transpire, then the tabernacle was no different from any other building. Turn, please, to chapter 25, where, you will remember, we find listed the stockpile of all the materials that were gathered together before the construction of the tabernacle was actually begun. We call to your attention verse 6 in which it is stated that all the spices for the anointing oil should be gathered together even before the construction of the tabernacle was begun. We emphasize that because the anointing oil was not an afterthought of God. God knew even before the construction of the tabernacle that if the anointing oil were not made available, the building and those who worked within it would be no more than ordinary, and God deals in the extraordinary.

We have been looking at all these things from the standpoint of their symbolic significance, and the key to the symbolism of the anointing oil is found in its use. Glance back at chapter 30 and notice verse 26. After the anointing oil was compounded after the art of the apothecary, Moses was instructed to anoint the tabernacle of the congregation, the ark of the testimony, the table and all its vessels, the candlestick, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offerings and all its vessels, the laver and the base of the laver. In verse 29 we are told why this was to be done:

Exodus 30

29And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy.

When we were studying the furniture of the tabernacle, we said that the Ark of the Covenant was no more than an ordinary chest, somewhat like a cedar chest or storage chest that you might have in your homes even today. But it also was anointed with this anointing oil. It became a holy object; it became something different; it was set apart for a special purpose.

Look at verse 30:

Exodus 30

30And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office.

Aaron and his sons, until they were anointed with the holy anointing oil, were ordinary people; after they were anointed with the anointing oil, they were separated unto the Lord, and they had the privilege of ministering unto Him. Think with me: All of these things and all these people were useless for the Lord's work until the holy anointing oil was applied. Think with me still further. All these things were dead, as far as their usefulness was concerned, until the holy anointing oil was applied.

Significance of the Oil

Turn, please, to chapter 2 of the book of Genesis, as I remind you that the reason I have emphasized this as I have is to illustrate the meaning of the holy anointing oil. The holy anointing oil was representative of that which gave life. The holy anointing oil was representative of that which created usefulness:

Genesis 2

7And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

This verse of Scripture declares that man is a tripartite being; he is body, soul, and spirit; but did you notice what it was that made man different from the dirt upon which he stood? It was the breath of God. If God had not breathed into man which He had formed out of the dirt that is under our feet, he would have been inactive and helpless. What was it that made man useful? The breath of God. The word “breath” in the Old Testament is the same word for “spirit”.

Turn, please, to Ezekiel, chapter 37, to the story of the regathering of the nation of Israel to the land of Palestine in the end time. The regathering of the nation of Israel is presented under the symbolism of a human body. The first thing Ezekiel saw when God drew his attention to the valley was a valley full of dry bones. In verse 4, God said, “Prophesy over this valley of dry bones and see what happens,” and Ezekiel did. In verse 6, sinews formed, flesh was formed over the sinews, and skin was formed. God promised to put into that body the breath of life.

After verse 7, Ezekiel obeyed God's command. In verse 8, he beheld a perfect man, but one without life.

Ezekiel 37

8…lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.

Then in verse 9:

Ezekiel 37

9Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind [unto the Spirit], prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
10So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.

What made the difference in this man, symbolically speaking? The breath of God, the Holy Spirit.

Symbolism of the Holy Spirit

Turn, please, to the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1, and recognize that the Lord Jesus Christ had gathered unto Himself a number of disciples with different backgrounds, different ideals, different personalities, unrelated to themselves or to Him–utterly helpless in every sense of the word. In verse 8 of chapter 1 the Lord Jesus Christ said:

Acts 1

8But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

You will recognize that the thing that makes the difference in the lives of men is the Spirit of God. The thing that made the tabernacle different from an ordinary building was the anointing oil. The thing that made Aaron and his sons different from ordinary people was the anointing oil. We should see that, in our symbolism, the anointing oil is representative of the Holy Spirit as He is manifested in the Spirit-filled lives of believers. Since we have been noticing the types in the Lord Jesus Christ, the truth is there also that the anointing oil is representative of all the manifestations of the Holy Spirit as they were portrayed in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus Anointed With Oil

Turn, back, please to Psalm 45, and notice how the Spirit of God emphasizes that very truth in an Old Testament picture of the Lord Jesus Christ:

Psalms 45

1My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

Then the Psalmist uses his tongue to say wonderful things about the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice the paragraph which begins with verse 6:

Psalms 45

6Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
7Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee [Jesus Christ] with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Notice what we are reading: Just as Aaron and his sons were anointed with the holy anointing oil above all the rest of the Israelites, so the Lord Jesus Christ was anointed with that same oil, called here the “oil of gladness”, above every other person.

Look at verse 8. After he had been so anointed, the Psalmist said:

Psalms 45

8All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia…

Let us stop there. The comma should be a period, because it is not that the myrrh and the aloes and the cassia were in the ivory palaces; they were in the anointing oil. The new statement is, “Out of the ivory palaces you have come, whereby oil hath made thee glad.”

Did you notice the similarity? The anointing oil with which the Lord Jesus Christ was anointed in Psalm 45 was made up of practically the same ingredients as the anointing oil with which Aaron and his sons were anointed. So you see why this anointing oil was typical of the anointing of the Holy Spirit in the life of Christ and in the life of the believer also.

The Fruit of the Spirit is Love

Turn, please, to Galatians, chapter 5. This is a familiar passage of Scripture. It discusses the matter of a Spirit-filled life and the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit. Notice verse 22:

Galatians 5

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

This verse of Scripture says, “the fruit of the Spirit.” It does not say “fruits”; it says “fruit”. The fruit of the Spirit is love. Theologians have tried to explain this by saying that it is a cluster of fruit, like a bunch of grapes, or it is part of the fruit, like the segments of a grapefruit; but I suggest, and I believe it is amplified in the Word of God, that the fruit of the Spirit is love. There is only one fruit of the Spirit; it is love, but it is manifested in joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, and faith. I think you will see this if you will read carefully chapter 13 of I Corinthians.

The Base of Olive Oil

As we recognize in our study of the anointing oil these attributes and characteristics of the Holy Spirit, notice that the ingredients of his holy anointing oil consisted of one thing that was a base and four things that gave the base fragrance. Notice in Exodus, chapter 30, verse 24, the very last statement, “…and of olive oil an hin.” The anointing oil was made out of an hin of anointing oil. A hin was six pints. The olive oil was poured into a container which held six pints. Those of you who have been noticing with us the numerology in the Scriptures remember that six is the number of men, and this will all illustrate what the Holy Spirit is able to do through an ordinary man.

Olive oil in the Scriptures is always used as a type of that which sustains life, a type of that which brings forth the possibility of life. In view of everything we have noticed thus far, can you not see why olive oil should be chosen as a base for this anointing oil? Keep in mind that in the creation of man, in the book of Ezekiel, in the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit is that which engenders life, that which engenders usefulness. Olive oil is intended to represent that very thing.

Let us look at two passages of Scripture relative to that. Turn, please, to the book of Genesis, chapter 8. Chapters 6-8 tell us the story of the flood. Noah, not knowing whether the flood waters had abated, sent out of the Ark various fowls that he might find whether or not the flood waters had gone. Notice verse 10:

Genesis 8

10And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;
11[Notice carefully] And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.

Noah knew then that it was safe to go out on the earth because there was that upon the earth, indicated by the olive leaf, that would sustain life. The other side of the picture, to indicate the significance of the olive, is found in the book of Habakkuk, a very precious little book in the Old Testament. Turn with me, please, and notice chapter 3, which is a prayer of Habakkuk in regard to his dependence upon God. Habakkuk had spent time with God and God had said, “Habakkuk, trust Me.” Habakkuk replied in the words which are found in verse 17:

Habakkuk 3

17Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
18Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

Habakkuk said, “Though the olive harvest shall fail…” What did he mean by that? “Though there is no way to make a living, though there is no food to eat, though there is nothing to sustain life should it come to that,” he said, “I will still trust God.”

We should see from these passages of Scripture that olive oil is representative of the Holy Spirit which sustains life. Olive oil is not an attractive thing; it has no fragrance. Here again is a perfect example of the Holy Spirit because no man has seen the Holy Spirit. It is like the example that Jesus gave of the wind: You cannot tell whence it cometh or whether it goeth (John 3:8). The only way the world will see the evidence of the Holy Spirit is to see that evidence in the life of a believer. That is the only way.

Spices In the Oil

Back in Exodus, chapter 30, God ordered that into the olive oil should be placed four spices. The Hebrew word for “spice” is a word that speaks of fragrance. Olive oil has no attractive fragrance, but when the spices were added, the fragrance was there. You might come upon a puddle of olive oil and pass it by unnoticed, but after the spices were added, you could not come close without knowing that it was there. The Holy Spirit is not as evident in our lives as He ought to be. Many times people can keep company with us and not know the Holy Spirit is indwelling in our lives. The reason is that no spices are there. There is no fragrance of the Holy Spirit in our lives. When the spices are added, the evidence of the Holy Spirit is certain.

Did you notice how many spices were added? In Galatians, chapter 5, verse 22, there are nine words used to describe the fruit of the Spirit, but in Exodus, chapter 30, there are only four. I wonder why. I think it bears out what I said to you a little earlier: The fruit of the Spirit is love. Your manifestations of love are given to us in the spices that were added to the anointing oil. If you examine the nine words that describe the fruit of the Spirit, you will find that all of them fit into these four. Thus is the Scripture accurate.

Love Manifested Through Sorrow

Let us see how this works out, keeping in mind that four is the number of the earth. The Holy Spirit was sent to this earth for a witness, and the only way He witnesses is through you. He does not witness through the storm; He does not witness through acts of nature. He witnesses through individuals whom He fills. Let us look at Exodus, chapter 30, and notice verse 23:

Exodus 30

23Take thou also unto thee principal spices,…

Right away we learn that we will not be talking about all the spices that were available–just the principle ones, the best ones, those that would best show forth the fragrance that God wanted.

Exodus 30

23Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels,…

So, the first spice that God ordered which should be a part of this anointing oil is myrrh. “Myrrh” is a translation of the Hebrew word which means “bitter”. It is used fourteen times in the Scriptures, more times in the Song of Solomon than in any other book. It is used more often in relation to love than in any way. You ask, “Bitterness and love—is there any relationship?” Yes, for sometimes the only way we will ever see a real manifestation of love is through heartbreak and sorrow. What does the Scripture say? God so loved the world that He created the stars and the moon and the sun? God so loved the world that he provided a beautiful place in which to live? No, that is not what it says. “God so loved the world that He have His only begotten Son” (John 3:16). God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, God gave us all we need physically. No, what does it say? “God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). The supreme proof we have that God loves us is that Christ died for us. Love is manifested sometimes through heartbreak.

It is evident even in the way in which this myrrh is obtained. Do you know how it is obtained? The bark of the tree that bears the same name is slit and the gum oozes out; from the gum of the tree is made the spice that lends the fragrance to the olive oil. Even that is used symbolically in the word.

An Appeal for Fellowship

Turn with me, please, to the Song of Solomon, chapter 5, and notice one illustration that will help us to understand this truth. The Song of Solomon is an allegory. That does not mean it is not true; it is the story of a love that exists between Christ and the individual believer. It is told in Oriental language, and some of it may seem rather strange to us; but as we analyze it, it presents a beautiful story:

Song of Solomon 5

2I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.

Let me suggest, and then you can see for yourself, that these are the words of Christ pleading for fellowship with the believer. Christ is saying to the individual believer, “Give me a little time; open the door; let me have some fellowship.” Actually they represent the words of Solomon to his bride. She responds in verse 3, just as we often respond to the appeals of the Lord for a time of fellowship:

Song of Solomon 5

3I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?

“Oh, I haven't got time! I have already gone to bed. I do not want to be disturbed.”

How often when the Lord has made an appeal for fellowship with you and with me, do we answer Him the same way? The Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts: “Read the Word.” “Oh, I'll read my Bible tonight; I don't have time this morning.” How often the Holy Spirit speaks: “Spend some time in prayer.” “Oh, I will tomorrow; I don't have time today.” What does the Lord do? Does He punish you? Does He rebuke you? No, He just manifests love from a hurt heart. Notice verse 4:

Song of Solomon 5

4My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels [my heart] were moved for him.
5I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.

You must understand the structure of the houses in that day. There was an opening by every door so that the members of the family or those close to the family could reach in and open the door and come in. The latch string was not on the outside; it was on the inside, but the hole made it possible for a person to open the door and come in.

This woman was lying there, too tired to get up and let her loved one in. She saw his hand come in and touch the doorknob, so to speak, and she thought, “Oh, he is coming in anyway.” But he did not; he took his hand away and went off. Then her own heart grieved her, and she jumped up and put her hand on the doorknob. When she took her hand away, her had was dripping with sweet-smelling myrrh. That was just what lovers always did; if they came to call on the one they loved and that person was not at home, instead of leaving a note saying, “I've been here; I love you; I will be back.”, they left some sweet-smelling myrrh. Thus this woman was reminded of how much her lover loved her.

So myrrh becomes inseparably related to love. What is the fruit of the Spirit? The fruit of the Spirit is love. Can you see now why God ordered that in the anointing oil myrrh should be one of the spices?

The Attraction of Love

Go back to Exodus, chapter 30, and notice verse 23:

Exodus 30

23Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much,…

The first ingredient was myrrh. The second ingredient was cinnamon. “Cinnamon” is spelled exactly the same in Hebrew and in English. There is no question about the spice that was meant. If you were to follow the use of this word through the Word, you would find that it, too, is associated with love, but it is associated with the attractiveness of love. Read Proverbs, chapter 7. You will find there how the lover makes the place of lovemaking attractive with cinnamon.

Just as certainly as myrrh is typical of suffering love, cinnamon is typical of that love which makes us attractive to the world. Do you ever accomplish anything by beating people over the head to persuade them to believe what you believe? You don't do you? But you do persuade them by loving them. When they understand that you have real love for them, there is something attractive about it that they cannot get away from.

Love as Strong as Death

Now notice in verse 24 in Exodus, chapter 30, the third ingredient which was added to the olive oil. There was myrrh, there was cinnamon, and in the last part of verse 23 there was calamus. This was a spice. It was fragrant, but the word “calamus” in the original tongue means “something that stands upright and is strong.” This particular spice received its name because the fragrance was so strong, so pungent, so piercing. It, too, in Scripture is related to love. It describes for us that love of the Holy Spirit that can withstand anything and everything.

Turn, please, to the book of love in the Bible, Song of Solomon, and notice in chapter 8 one of the most interesting descriptions of love found either in or out of the Bible. It describes what love actually is:

Song of Solomon 8

6Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love [there is that calamus] is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
7Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.

You notice that it says that love is as strong as death. That is what God intended love to be. “Many waters cannot quench love.” When I deal with people having marital problems, sometimes they say something like this: “I did love him, but I don't love him now.” I always say, “Contrary to what you may think, if you don't love him now, you never did love him,” because true love, love that is given of God, cannot be quenched by many waters. Love does not die. By the grace of God I have had the opportunity of saving a great many homes because on the authority of the Word of God, I have convinced the individuals concerned that although they felt their love was dead, it was not. True love cannot die. Many waters cannot quench love.

I know that Hollywood and all the literature contradict me, but I am basing what I say on the Word of God. Love is strong, and particularly the love that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). That is why calamus was added to the anointing oil.

Humility of Love

Go back to Exodus, chapter 30, and notice the fourth and last spice that was added to the anointing oil:

Exodus 30

24And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary,…

Cassia–what is that? I think it is interesting that the Holy Spirit should put calamus and cassia together, for calamus speaks of that which is erect and upright and strong, and cassia speaks of that which is bent and stooped and crooked. The reason the spice is called by this name is that the leaves come from a plant that is stooped and crooked and bent down. Since we are relating it to the love which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, we would remind you that this speaks of the humility of love.

Examine in Galatians, chapter, 5, verse 22, the nine manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit, and you will find that each of the nine come under one of the four descriptions of love that we have been talking about, represented by the four spices in the anointing oil that was used by Moses to make the tabernacle and the high priest different.

Restrictions Concerning the Oil

Did you notice the prohibition that was added to the instructions concerning the anointing oil in verse 31?

Exodus 30

31And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations.
32Upon man's flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you.
33Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people.

There are two things to notice here. One is that this oil was never to be used on ordinary flesh. We would remind you that the power of the Holy Spirit is never poured out upon ordinary flesh, only upon those who are born again. The Holy Spirit has nothing to do with the unsaved, only with those who know Christ. And did you notice that if any man dared to imitate this holy anointing oil, he would be cut off from his people immediately? If any man dares to imitate with the works of the flesh the power of the Holy Spirit, he is making himself liable to the judgment of God.

This was very evident in the early days of the Church; God, in His grace, does not seem to make it so evident now, but do you remember Ananias and Sapphira? The Holy Spirit had shed abroad in the heart of Barnabas such a love for the cause of God that he sold all of his property and gave the money to the apostles for the furtherance of the cause of Christ. The Holy Spirit moved him to do that. He could not have done it in his own strength. Ananias and Sapphira tried to do in the flesh what Barnabas did in the Spirit. Do you remember what happened to them? They were stricken dead; they died by the judgment of God (Acts 5).

You remember that Peter visited Samaria and laid his hands on the believers there, that they might be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Another individual, Simon by name, tried to do in his own strength what Peter did in the Holy Spirit, and he failed miserably. Peter said his heart was full of iniquity, and pronounced the judgment of God upon him (Acts 8).

I think the same thing happens today when people try to do in the flesh what they ought to do in the Spirit. I marvel at the grace of God, that He does not deal with us more openly in judgment than He does. Many folk today are storing up for themselves the judgment of God because they are doing in the flesh what should be done only in the Spirit. I say to you with all sincerity that I am afraid of the energy of the flesh. That is why sometimes I move so slowly. I am afraid of doing in the flesh what ought to be done in the Spirit.

Anointing of the Priest

Read chapter 14 of the book of Leviticus and see how this holy anointing oil was used on the priest. They anointed the ear of the priest that he might hear the voice of God. They anointed the thumb of the priest that he might be able to do the work of God. They anointed the big toe of the priest that he might be able to walk in the path that God directed.


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