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Ointment was a substance that got its name from what it was originally used for, anointment i.e. "an ointment" became anointment, which in practical terms generally meant the act of applying an oily liquid. The original Hebrew words of the Old Testament translated as ointment are (pronounced) mosh-caw, which referred to an anointment of consecration, roh-caw, which meant aromatic, as in an ointment, meer-cah-ath, which also referred to an aromatic ointment, and sheh-men, which was a rich oil - the term was sometimes used for olive oil. The Greek word of the New Testament that is usually translated as ointment is (pronounced) moo-ron; it referred to a perfumed oil. In the Bible, specific ointments were used for either holy or common medicinal purposes.

An Ointment

The holy anointing oil used in the Tabernacle and the Temple consisted of God-commanded ingredients mixed with olive oil. That particular composition was to be used for no other purpose i.e. "Upon 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" (Exodus 30:32 KJV)

The Two Witnesses

"Moreover The Lord [see YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD] spake unto Moses, saying, Take 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 [i.e. Sweet Cane, see also Calamus or Cannabis?] two hundred and fifty shekels, And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: And 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." (Exodus 30:22-25 KJV)

The people of Israel used various other ointments, some of which were quite expensive. In one of the better-known incidents of the New Testament, a woman anointed the Christ (she seems to have known that what she was doing was more than just an anointing of someone, it was symbolic of God's anointing of Him; she knew that He was the Christ, and Christ means Anointed One - see the Fact Finder question below) with very expensive ointment. One of the reasons that it's one of the more well-known incidents is because the Christ commanded it so - "Wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her" (in obedience to Him, this Daily Bible Study makes a reference to her about once a year). Based on other Scriptures, the woman referred to in Matthew's account was most-likely Mary, the sister of Lazarus.

"There came unto Him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on His head, as He sat at meat. But when His disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, He said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? For she hath wrought a good work upon Me. For ye have the poor always with you; but Me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on My body, she did it for My burial. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her." (Matthew 26:7-13 KJV)

It was because of an intended anointing of Christ's dead body, after He been in the tomb for over 3 days, that the women were the first to discover that the resurrection of the Anointed One (see the Fact Finder question below) had occurred. He was long-gone by sunrise that morning because the resurrection had occurred just before sunset the previous day (see Sun Worship to understand what day of the week that the crucifixion actually occurred, and why, as the Bible plainly states, the tomb was already empty, before sunrise, when the women arrived).

"And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: He is risen; He is not here" (Mark 16:1-6 KJV)

Fact Finder: What does "Messiah" mean?
See The Anointed One

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