In I Samuel 10:6 the prophet told Saul, just after his anointing that he would be turned into “another man,” that the Spirit of God would come upon him, and that the Lord would be with him. Sure enough, in the next paragraph we find Saul being filled with the Spirit of God, prophesying, and sacrificing, just as the prophet had foretold.
This is a relatively obscure passage in the life of Saul. We often remember his anointing, but so many times I have overlooked the events that immediately followed it. As I studied it this time, though, for our Digging Deep study, it struck me that some of the same terminology used at the time of Saul’s anointing is used in the New Testament to surround the baptism of those who would be Christians.
When we are baptized we are transformed into new men. We are no longer the old men, but we rise from those waters as new men or new creatures.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (II Corinthians 5:17)
Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: (Col. 3: 9,10)
When I am baptized, I become “another man”.
In Acts 2, when the first gospel sermon was preached, Peter said that the gift of the Holy Spirit would be given at baptism, words reminiscent of the promise Samuel made to Saul.
Then the first thing Saul was commanded to do following this transformation was to sacrifice to God. Similarly, our transformation and our sacrifice are linked in Romans 12:1-2:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service.
And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Of course I am not at all sure that this is a foreshadowing of New Testament baptism. I’m intrigued by the similarities, though. One thing I’m sure of is that we are anointed:
II Corinthians 1:21 says “Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God…”
If God anoints us and we become priests (and we do, as per I Peter 2:5-9) then at what point do we become such? We would have to conclude that we become priests when we become Christians. At what point does that occur? Well, of course we contact the blood of Christ and get into Christ at the point of baptism (Galatians 3:27, Romans 6:3,4). So, logically, if we become priests when we are anointed and we become priests when we are baptized, then the baptism and the anointing would happen at the same moment.
After studying this account, I find significance in the fact that the Old Testament priests were sanctified and ceremonially cleansed in their anointing.
And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office (Exodus 28:41).
Over and over, we find the words “anoint” and “sanctify” together. The anointing and sanctification occurred simultaneously for the cleansing of the priests. Can it be that the waters of baptism are the “oil” of our anointing today; that we are ceremonially cleansed for the priesthood in that anointing; and that sanctification occurs at the moment of baptism? I believe so. I praise God for sanctification, anointing, cleansing, and for the priesthood that is blessed far beyond the Levitical order. Our high priest is not merely a man. Our high priest is Jesus the Christ! May we show forth his praises until He comes!
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light…(I Peter 2:9)