The Adoration of the Magi


ARE ESSENTIAL OILS BIBLICAL?
I wanted to address a question I get fairly often today as a pastor, and that is: Are essential oils biblical? To answer that question, I will use a couple of references. One, of course is the Bible and the other is a book by an amazing man, David Stewart, PHD, titled: Healing Oils of the Bible. And his book, if you haven’t read it, can be easily found on Amazon and/or other bookstores.

Healing Oils of the Bible
First, I want to tell you a little bit about the beautiful biblical painting. When you examine it closely you will see that there are three incense censers that were used to get the essential oils into the air for aromatic use. The original painting depicts the historical scene of Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus and three wise men. Stewart adapted the cover of his book from a portion of this painting by the Italian master, Carlo Dolci (1616-1686), entitled “The Adoration of the Magi.” So that the details could be seen more easily, Stewart chose to include only two of the wise men, with a note stating that there was a third wise man just off to the right. Dolci was one of the most famous artists in his day. He painted many religious scenes and was a master of detail.

Okay, let’s get back to the three silver and gold vessels intricately painted into this historical scene. These are incense censers. And in biblical times hot coals were placed in the bottom of the censers with frankincense, myrrh, onycha, galbanum, balm, and other aromatic gum-resins heaped on a concave metal depression near the top. Amazingly, you can see that there are little chunks of the oleo-resins of frankincense and myrrh piled on top of all three of the censers. Of course, we know through scripture, that the gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh were brought to the Christ child by the Magi. Censers are mentioned 20 times in the Bible. For a couple examples, take a look at Numbers 16:46 and Revelation 8:3-4.

David Stewart studied theology, philosophy and English literature. He also studied chemistry, biology and the social sciences. His Master of Science and PHD degrees were in geophysics. Before the writing of his book, Stewart was a part-time United Methodist pastor, which I found very interesting. He served three small churches in rural Missouri. And the interesting thing is that the last six months of his pastoral appointments overlapped the first six months of my 20 + years as a pastor - in the same denomination - and one of the churches I'm serving right now has "Stewart" in it's name! So, we have a special connection there. Looking at the dates that he served, and seeing that he was a part-time pastor, I am assuming that he was a "local pastor" at that time. Which means that he carried the title "Reverend" during the years that he was under appointment, unlike ordained ministers who carry the title "Reverend" for life.

Stewart served three small churches. And looking at his tenure, more than likely he served in two appointments, one was probably in a single church and the other was possibly in a two-point charge, which means he was the pastor of two churches at one time, like me - at the time of the writing of this article.

Stewart was a very intelligent man. He received a diploma as a doctor of natural medicine and lots more… I could go on and on. You can find more about him in the "About the Author" section of his book. Needless to say, Stewart was a great man and he made an amazing contribution to the world when he wrote the book: Healing Oils of the Bible.

Healing is a holistic spiritual term

In his own words Stewart exclaims: 

Healing is a holistic spiritual term, not a medical one. The ancient priests and prophets, as well as some physicians of the Bible, anointed people with oil and prayed with them for their spiritual purification, moral repentance, and healing. So did Jesus. So did his disciples. And so, did the Christians of the early church. The point is this: essential oils are a gift from God to us. They are special. And they have been a gift too long ignored and misunderstood (Introduction: xv-xvii)

You will be absolutely amazed to see how many references there are to oils in the Bible. And if you would like to know more about specific biblical references and the ways many of these oils were used in ancient times, join our community, Joy, Balance and Peace. I currently have five videos on the subject and will be adding more. 

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