Spirit anointing

The Lord said to Moses, “Gather for Me [g]seventy men from among the elders of Israel whom you know to be the elders of the people and their officers; bring them to the Tent of Meeting (tabernacle) and let them stand there with you.  Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take away some of the Spirit who is upon you, and will put Him upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you will not have to bear it all alone. – Numbers 11:16-17

The Holy Spirit is one and indivisible. But in the language of Scripture “the Spirit” often stands for the charismata, or gifts of the Spirit, and in this sense is freely spoken of as belonging to this or that man. So the “spirit of Elijah” (2 Kings 2:9, 15), which was transferred to Elisha, as it were, by bequest. It was not, therefore, the personal indwelling presence of the Holy Ghost in Moses which God caused him to share with the seventy elders, for that can in no ease be a matter of transfer or of arrangement, but simply those charismata or extraordinary gifts of the Spirit which Moses had hitherto enjoyed alone as the prophet of Israel. It is strange that in the face of the clear teaching of St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 12, 13, and in view of such cases as those of Saul (1 Samuel 10:10; 19:93) and David (1 Samuel 16:13), any difficulty should have been felt about this passage. – Pulpit Commentary

 It may prove helpful to look at a parallel account of the transfer of prophetic authority in the amazing story of the transfer of spirit from Elijah to Elisha (II Kg. 2). Elijah’s called “a man of God” [ish elohim]. In Chapter 2, Elijah, sensing that his death is imminent, that God is about to take him up to heaven in a whirlwind, bids Elisha to stay behind. But the latter will not let go. The Disciples of the Prophets [b’nai neviim] know that the Lord is about to take away Elisha’s master. Elisha indicates that he is aware of this, but will not leave Elijah, though Disciples of the Prophets remind him at every turn that Elijah is about to pass away. The Disciples of the Prophets persist in witnessing whatever will take place between Elijah and Elisha. Perhaps they want definitive proof of succession. As if sensing that, Elijah asks Elisha: ‘What can I do for you before I’m taken from you?’ In the famous passage that follows, Elisha asks for a double part of Elijah’s spirit (2:9).

If there were any doubt in our minds as to whether or not the “Spirit” of the Old Testament were the same person as the “Holy Spirit” in the New, all we need to do is to read the inspired New Testament references to the Holy Spirit’s work in the Old Testament, both by God (cf. Matthew 22:43; Mark 12:36 

There is plenty of burden to go around, plenty of decisions that need to be made, plenty of hope that needs to be renewed, plenty of work that needs to be done. Would that all the people were empowered.


What’s So Great About the Anointing?



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