VIDEO The Vital Difference between Gift and Anointing

The Vital Difference between Gift and Anointing


In many circles the word anointing (or anointed) is used to refer to servants of God who are able to minister to others with supernatural power. It may involve preaching and teaching, prophesying, or healing the infirm and demonized. Such servants of God may also said to be gifted by the Holy Spirit to minister with such power.

There is a definite confusion between gift and anointing here which has led to the possibility of deception within the Church. In Matthew 24 Jesus warns us, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” (NIV)

Charisma vs chrisma

gift of the Holy Spirit to minister to the body of Christ as taught in I Corinthians 12 is charisma in the Greek text. In the seventeen New Testament verses where the word charisma is found, it is used to refer to either God’s gift of salvation to believers or to a gift given to us by which we can minister God’s grace to other people.

By contrast, the word “anointing” in the New Testament is chrisma in the Greek—according to Strong, the special endowment of the Holy Spirit. Although in form it is very similar to charisma, the word is different in meaning and found only twice in the New Testament.

1 John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.

1 John 2:27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

We see that in each instance the word refers to an anointing on believers which teaches us about all things in order for us to know the truth. It clearly does not refer to an anointing on us to minister to others in preaching or in prophecy or in healing with supernatural power.

Therefore gift (charisma) and anointing (chrisma) are different from one another. The former is very definitely something given to believers for ministry to others. The latter is clearly not.

How about the word “anointed”?

There are five New Testament instances of the word “anoint” in its verb form chrio in the Greek.

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,

Acts 4:27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.

Acts 10:38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

Hebrews 1:9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”

2 Corinthians 1:21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

We notice that in four of the five instances, the word anointed (or anointing) refers directly and solely to the Messiah Jesus Christ who was specially endowed by the Holy Spirit to heal, deliver, and save. The sole exception to this is in 2 Corinthians 1:21 where believers are anointed (with the Spirit) as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. It does not refer to any disciple or servant of God being anointed to minister to others with supernatural power in preaching, prophecy, or healing and deliverance.

So far in this study, therefore, we do not see the words “anointing” (chrisma) or “anointed” (chrio) being used to refer to believers being enabled to minister to others.

“To oil”

There remain two instances in the NIV New Testament where the verb “anoint” is found.

Mark 16:1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.

James 5:14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.

The Greek word used here is aleipho, meaning “to oil” in the physical sense with actual oil. It is not related in meaning to the words “anointing” or “anointed” which we have been studying.

Preliminary conclusions

Based on our study so far, we see that scripturally speaking the words “anointing” (chrisma) and “anointed” (chrio) should not be applied to disciples or servants of God who have been given a gift (charisma) to minister to others.

Why should we be concerned about this seemingly negligible difference? It is because of the deception which Jesus warned would overtake many in the Church.

Matthew 24:5 “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” (NIV)

Here Jesus commands us to watch out so that we are not deceived by the many who will come in his name and claim to be the Christ. This verse as it stands makes little sense. This is because any servant of God who comes to us in the name of Jesus claiming to be the Christ will be promptly rejected by the Church. He will in fact deceive no one. In line with this, there is no one in the mainstream Church today who actually claims to be the Christ. But Jesus warns us that there will be many. How can we understand his warning? It is vital that we understand it properly in order that we will not be among the many who will be deceived in the last days. The answer is that we may have misunderstood what Jesus actually meant.

Deception in the Church

In Matthew 24:5 the Greek word for “Christ” is Christos in the Greek. The root of the word Christos is the word chrio which as we have seen means “to anoint.”

Therefore Christos literally means “anointed.” Verse 5, therefore, can also be translated: “For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am (the) anointed,’ and will deceive many.”

As justification for this alternate reading, there is a verse in the NIV which refers to Christ and renders the word Christos as “Anointed One” instead of “Christ.”

Acts 4:26 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.

Interestingly, when Jesus teaches about his Second Coming in Matthew 24, he never refers to himself as “Christ.” He consistently refers to himself there instead as “the Son of Man.” (The same thing is true of the parallel passages in Mark 13 and in Luke 17 & 21.) Whenever Jesus uses the terms “Christ” or “Christs” as rendered by the NIV in Matthew 24, he in fact is referring to a false Christ or false anointed one. He makes a clear distinction and puts distance between “Christ” as rendered in the NIV and “the Son of Man.”

This is consistent with the possibility that incidences of the term “Christ(s)” in Matthew 24 should instead be rendered “anointed one(s)”— as in “false anointed ones and false prophets”.

Matthew 24:24 For false Christs [or false “anointed ones”] and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.

Today in certain circles, many claim or are said to be “anointed” to minister to others as Jesus did—teaching, prophesying, healing the sick, or casting out demons. But this terminology is not at all in accordance with New Testament Scripture. As we have seen earlier, the correct terminology for referring to this is “gifted” (charisma) by God to minister to others—not “anointed” (chrisma). The root of the word charisma is charis in the Greek. According to Strong, charis carries the meaning of “acceptable, benefit, favor, gift, grace (or gracious), joy liberality, pleasure, thanks.” It does not refer to the anointing or to the special endowment of the Holy Spirit which is on Jesus Christ alone to save us. What about the similar but contrasting word chrisma?

According to Vine’s Dictionary, by contrast, “the Old Testament most commonly uses the Hebrew word mashach to indicate “anointing” in the sense of a special setting apart for an office or function. …The New Testament title of Christ is derived from the Greek Christos [derived from chrisma] which is exactly equivalent to the Hebrew mashiach… So the term Christ emphasizes the special anointing of Jesus of Nazareth for His role as God’s chosen one.”

Therefore the terms “gifted” and “anointed” carry quite different meanings and should be not confused with one another. We can definitely be “gifted” to minister to others, but not “anointed” to minister. Luke 9 and 10 also indicate that disciples have been given power (dunamis) and authority (exousia) over disease and demons in the context of preaching the gospel. But only Jesus Christ was anointed by the Holy Spirit to heal, to deliver, and to save us from our sins by his death on the cross.

Could Jesus be warning us about certain “anointed” ministers who will come in his name and deceive many?

Supporting evidence

Some servants of God who emphasize “the anointing” in their ministries will have practices and supernatural manifestations accompanying them which are not found in Scripture. Examples of this, among others, are the appearance of gold dust and gemstones in their meetings.

Some of these ministers moreover place undue emphasis on receiving offerings and on personal material prosperity.

2 Peter 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you… 2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up…

1 Timothy 6:5 and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

We must therefore be careful and exercise discernment when ministers come in the name of Jesus and claim to be “anointed” or have “the anointing” to minister to us. Our spiritual antenna should go up especially when they spend excessive time hawking their books and tapes and CDs and taking offerings in high-pressure fashion to finance “ministry” accompanied by a lavish lifestyle.

Matthew 7:15 Watch out for false prophets. …22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

What a difference a single alpha can make

Outwardly, charisma and chrisma would appear to be very similar, differing only by the single Greek letter alpha. Unfortunately—almost “deceptively”—they are unrelated. Could this be how the confusion and resulting deception began years ago, albeit perhaps through well-meaning believers?

Anointing vs. Gifting || Christine Caine at WorshipU On Campus 2018



When You’re Not Chosen

Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias. Acts 1:26

My friend’s Facebook post announced he had finished a project. Others congratulated him, but his post knifed my heart. That project was supposed to be mine. I had been passed over, and I wasn’t sure why.

Poor Joseph. He was passed over by God, and he knew why. Joseph was one of two men in the running to replace Judas. The disciples prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen” (Acts 1:24). God chose the other guy. Then He announced His decision to the group, when “the lot fell to Matthias” (v. 26).

As the disciples congratulated Matthias, I wonder about Joseph. How did he handle his rejection? Did he feel jilted, wallow in self-pity, and distance himself from the others? Or did he trust God and cheerfully remain in a supportive role?

I know which option is best. And I know which option I’d want to take. How embarrassing! If you don’t want me, fine. Let’s see how you do without me. That choice might feel better, but only because it’s selfish.

Joseph isn’t mentioned again in Scripture, so we don’t know how he reacted. More relevant is how we respond when we’re not chosen. May we remember that Jesus’s kingdom matters more than our success, and may we joyfully serve in whatever role He selects.

By Mike Wittmer

Today’s Reflection

How do you feel when you’re not chosen or are left out? How could your attitude be hindering you from seeing God’s direction for your life?

Listening to our Appetites

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

What words would you say describe our society? Materialisticsensual,impatientindulgent, undisciplined—these are just a few. We’re also a “have it now” culture. Satan specializes in presenting us with opportunities for instant gratification while promising that indulging our appetites will bring us satisfaction.

Human appetites in themselves are not sinful. In fact, they’re God-given. However, because we are human, we can’t always trust them. When our appetites have complete authority, we’re in trouble. The apostle Paul likened the Christian life to that of athletes who are so focused on winning the race that they devote every aspect of their lives to that goal.

That’s how we’re called to live, yet we lack the power to do so in our own strength—and sometimes the motivation as well. For this reason, we need to rely on the Holy Spirit within us. If we yield our lives to Him and obey, He will be our strength, and we can say no when fleshly desires feel overpowering (Gal. 5:16).

Another key to success is keeping our focus on the eternal instead of the temporal. Many decisions that seem mundane are, in fact, spiritually significant. Are you indulging an appetite that could result in the sacrifice of an imperishable reward in heaven?

When the enemy tempts us, he tries to keep our attention on our desire and the pleasure of indulgence rather than on the eternal rewards and blessings we’re forfeiting. Just remind yourself how quickly immediate gratification wanes and how long eternity lasts.

Messages from the Messiah’s Life: The Ministry of the Forerunner

“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3)

John the Baptist is one of the most unusual men recorded in the Scriptures. He was “filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15). No other person is so honored other than the Lord Jesus Himself. John lived “in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel” (Luke 1:80) and was known for eating “locusts and wild honey” (Mark 1:6).

In spite of his different lifestyle, he was commissioned by God to operate “in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17). In fact, Jesus said, “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11).

He preached to “all the land of Judaea” (Mark 1:5) that they should bring “fruits meet for repentance” (Matthew 3:8), but his primary mission was to identify the Messiah. At the baptism of Jesus, John boldly confirmed this, announcing: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

As John’s intense popularity and notoriety as a prophet began to wane, he knew that “[Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Yet, when he saw his key disciples leave and attach themselves to Jesus, John began to wonder if this carpenter from Nazareth was the one “that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:3).

That doubt vanished when he was reminded of the stunning miracles Jesus did. To His growing followers, Jesus said: “This is Elias, which was for to come” (Matthew 11:14). HMM III

Yes, Faith Must Be Demonstrated

For by [faith.] the elders obtained a good report.

—Hebrews 11:2

The lesson that comes to us through the many dramatic illustrations of faith in Hebrews 11 brings us back to my earlier statement: Faith in God is to be demonstrated, not defined. Just as God’s church demonstrates Christian love, this demonstration of godly, humble faith is God’s ideal for His church.

It is not enough for preachers in their pulpits to try to define love. The love that God has promised must be demonstrated in the lives of the believers in the pews. It must be practiced as well by the man who occupies the pulpit.

We should put the matter of faith in that same category. God wants His people, including the ministers, to demonstrate all of the outworking of faith in their daily lives and practices.   JAF008

Lord, the pattern set forth in Hebrews 11 seems so unattainable! Strengthen me by Your Spirit to be able to demonstrate this type of unshakable faith. Amen.


God hath commanded thy strength

Thy God hath commanded thy strength, strengthen, O God, that which Thou hast wrought for us.—Psalm 68:28.

Fear not, nor be dismayed; be strong, and of good courage.—Joshua 10:25.


Then combat well, of naught afraid,

For thus His follower thou art made;

Each battle teaches thee to fight,

Each foe to be a braver knight,

Armed with His might,

J. H. Bohmer, 1704.


Henceforth my soul should fight with the prestige of victory, with the courage that comes of having striven and won, trusted and not been confounded.

Juliana H. Ewing.


They have had their victories; and when the stress is hardest, it is wise to look back on these for encouragement, as songs of joy and triumph bring strength and support along a way beset with pain and sorrow and disappointments; which, when seen in their true proportions, are only as faint specks showing in a universe of infinite light.

Laurence Oliphant.


Blessings In the Home

He blesseth the habitation of the just. Prov. 3:33

He fears the Lord, and therefore he comes under the divine protection even as to the roof which covers himself and his family. His home is an abode of love, a school of holy training, and a place of heavenly light. In it there is a family altar where the name of the Lord is daily had in reverence. Therefore the Lord blesses his habitation. It may be a humble cottage or a lordly mansion; but the Lord’s blessing comes because of the character of the inhabitant, and not because of the size of the dwelling.

That house is most blest in which the master and mistress are God-fearing people; but a son or daughter or even a servant may bring a blessing on a whole household. The Lord often preserves, prospers, and provides for a family for the sake of one or two in it, who are just persons in His esteem, because His grace has made them so. Beloved, let us have Jesus for our constant guest even as the sisters of Bethany had, and then we shall be blessed indeed.

Let us look to it that in all things we are just — in our trade, in our judgment of others, in our treatment of neighbors, and in our own personal character. A just God cannot bless unjust transactions.