Where is oil first mentioned in the Bible?
You find it in Genesis 28.
The passage is about God revealing Himself to Jacob and confirming the covenant (promise) He made with Abraham, Jacob’s grandfather. The promise was this:
God was going to have a chosen people, a people who God would make great.
God would grant the Promised Land to them, and He would bless them greatly. This nation would amount to the amount like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then his offspring could be counted. (Genesis 12:1-9, Genesis 15, Genesis 17.)
The passage begins with Jacob traveling to Paddan-aram to marry one of the daughters of Laban, his mother’s brother. After a day of traveling, Jacob decided to settle down for the day because the sun had set. He took one of the stones from the place to lay his head and sleep. He then had a dream. In his dream, Jacob sees something similar to a ladder or a stairway. It was set on the ground with its top reaching heaven, and God’s angels were going up and down on it. God was standing there beside him at which He confirmed His covenant with Jacob.
“After Jacob awoke early in the morning, he said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.’ Jacob was afraid and said, ‘What an awesome place this is! This is none other than the house of God. This is the gate of heaven.’ Then Jacob took the stone that was near his head and set it up as a marker. He poured oil on top of it and named the place Bethel.”
(Bethel means “a holy place.”Gen. 28:16-19
In the Bible, anointing with oil symbolizes consecration to God or being connected with God.
The act of anointing with oil is an external act of the body that goes hand in hand with the internal desire and faith to dedicate someone to God in a special way.
In the case of Jacob, he had a personal experience with God at the place where he fell asleep, and for that he consecrated the place with oil, because it connected him to God.
In James 5:14 it says,
When that sick person is anointed with oil, he or she is being set apart for God’s special attention and care.
Let’s relate this to something else to get a better understanding:
If someone helped you out when you were in real need, you in return may want to show them that your really are thankful by not just simply saying, “Thank you.” Instead, you give that person a gift which is an act that gives special attention and care to the person. The gift makes a connection with that person.
Essential oil is precious and expensive.
The kings who came to bear gifts to Jesus gave gold, frankincense, and myrrh! Two of those gifts were oil! They gave their best to the King of Kings! The oil was expensive like the gold, but it also symbolized the importance and seriousness of the occasion – the occasion of the Wise Men coming to worship the long-awaited Messiah – Jesus!
We can see that essential oil is an expensive and precious gift to be used for anointing. Did God create it for anything else?
God in His omnipotence also created essential oil for medicinal reasons as well.
“All kinds of trees providing food will grow along both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. Each month they will bear fresh fruit because the water comes from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be used for food and their leaves for medicine.”
Here you can see that God created essential oils for practical uses as well. Essential oils can heal, freshen, purify, and more.
The frankincense and myrrh that the kings gave Jesus had a practical use for them as well, and I am sure Joseph and Mary used them for practical purposes. If at all interested in some of their uses, check out Tips/Recipes.
For a more comprehensive list, check out Young Living Essential Oils.