SHORT BIBLE STUDY: What does oil represent in the Bible

What does oil represent in the Bible?  Oil is mentioned over 200 times in the Bible. Often, it consists of a mixture of various ingredients. Particular oils were used for specific purposes. 

One purpose of oil was for anointing.  Anointing someone was to designate the spirit of God upon them.  When Aaron and his sons were selected as priests they had oil poured upon them as they were anointed.  

What does oil represent in the Bible? Objects in the Tabernacle had oil placed upon them to designate their holiness.  The Ark of the Covenant was used for this purpose. Oil was also used in the burning of incense in the morning and evening worship of Israel.

Medicines were oils. Frankincense and myrrh, two of the gifts presented to Jesus by the Magi, were used for medicine.  The Book of James in the New Testament has this word of advice to share about oil and healing.

“Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.”

What does oil represent in the Bible? Oil was used on the occasion of death as bodies were prepared for burial. The Gospel of John records how Nicodemus used oil to anoint the dead body of Jesus following his crucifixion.  A portion of scripture that is perhaps the best-known use of oil is the 23rd Psalm,

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
You prepare for me a table in the presence of my enemies:
you anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”