Should Christian use essential oils? What does the Bible really say about essential oils AS WE KNOW them today?
This certainly is a controversial subject. I’ve had people write me and say they can’t use essential oils because they are new age, tell me that only some companies are suitable for Christian folk, or just plain state that medicine is more “holy” than natural solutions. Today, I want to give you my perspective, as a Christian, and hopefully demystify some of the issues surrounding essential oils use.
The First mention of oils in the Bible is in Gen. 37:25. After that, there are many, many references to essential oils in the Bible. Now, keep in mind, the Bible implies a lot about essential oils and aromatic plants, more than it outright explains. It seems that most people were very familiar with them, such as we would be with a lot of over the counter tools that we use today. We might write a history of our family, but never include instructions for using first aid anointment, because we “know” how to use it—it’s a given in our culture.
Here are some terms used in the Bible:
Ointment (balm, gum, spices, anointing oil)
(An oily or unctuous substance, usually compounded of oil with various spices and resins and aromatics, and preserved in small alabaster boxes or cruses, in which the delicious aroma was best preserved. Some of the ointments have been known to retain their: fragrance for several hundred years. They were a much-coveted luxury, and often very expensive. –ED.)
- Cosmetic . –The Greek and Roman practice of anointing the head and clothes on festive occasions prevailed also among the Egyptians, and appears to have had place among the Jews. (Ruth 3:2)
- Funereal . –Ointments as well as oil were used to anoint dead bodies and the clothes in which they were wrapped. (Matthew 26:12)
- Medicinal . –Ointment formed an important feature in ancient medical treatment. (Isaiah 1:6; Jeremiah 8:22; John 9:6; Revelation 3:18) etc.
- Ritual.–Besides the oil used in many ceremonial observances, a special ointment was appointed to be used in consecration. (Exodus 30:23,33; 29:7; 37:29; 40:9,15) A person whose business it was to compound ointments in general was called an “apothecary.” (Nehemiah 3:8) The work was sometimes carried on by woman “confectionaries.” (1 Samuel 8:13)
- Various fragrant preparations, also compounds for medical purposes, are so called (Exodus 30:25; Psalm 133:2; Isaiah 1:6; Amos 6:6; John 12:3; Revelation 18:13).
We actually know more about how oils were used in the Biblical culture from reading other ancient texts. For example: the Egyptian embalming process included Cedarwood, frankincense, myrrh, rosemary, juniper and cinnamon. In the New Testament, sandalwood (aloes) was also common for burial. The woman who anointed Jesus feet used “costly perfume” which in that day was essential oil before we had ways to produce chemicals in a lab.
But, let’s back up for a moment, and think foundation-ally. Essential oils were designed by God; they are the “lifeblood” of the plants that HE created. Furthermore, it indicates in Ez 47:12 and Revelation 22:2 that God intended or intends plants to be used for wellness. This includes dried herbs, tinctures, essential oils–and yes–when needed, medicine.
Since God created plants, and essential oils come from plants, essential oils are NOT new age, or satanic. They are CREATIONS OF GOD.
With the foundation in place, now we can examine where the New Age influence comes in, and if it impacts whether we should, or should not use essential oils in Christian homes.
Mis-Belief #1 Essential Oils Contain God.
False! Essential oils are not little molecules of God. Anyone who says this have a false belief. They are creations of God, but they do not contain God. All healing comes from God. This is where it gets tricky to understand… how does all healing come from God, yet certain substances seem to produce XYZ reliable results? The power is not in the essential oil, but in God. God created the earth and all that it contains. He set up laws, and workings within the earth, and gave each thing a purpose.
Mis-Belief #2 The Medical System is More Godly than Natural Solutions
The church in general has buried it’s head and refused to have anything to do with a lot of natural solutions. We rely on science and logic to treat things that plague us instead of seeking God. This is a very sad mis-belief.
The medical field has been a wonderful gift to mankind and if I was in a car accident, I wouldn’t want someone standing over me with essential oil…I want a paramedic!
The problem comes into effect when we place all our faith in a man made system. Our wellness should never be 100% in the hands of another human. We should take responsibility for our own health! WE should not be surrendered to a secular health care system that tells us what to do like robots, but should be seeking God’s healing through prayer and healthy lifestyles as He told us how to live.
Mis-Belief #3 Essential Oils Are New Age
Piffle farts! We already established that God created plants, and He owns all creation. There is no way that essential oils in and of themselves are New Age. Christians need to stop being so terrified of a BIG devil and acting like they have a small God. God is so much greater than anything counterfeit, He is REAL. He is TRUTH. You are not going to be accidentally drawn into the occult by using essential oils. As Christians, we should not be allowing the New Age movement to take and twist what God created to be good for people.
And as to what company you should buy your oils from? You can make a stink about that when you stop shopping at the local grocery store that sells pornographic magazines, and start shopping at only Christian owned stores who only buy from suppliers who are also Christian. Sorry, just not valid argument unless you’re willing to carry it all the way.
How SHOULD Christian be using essential oils?
The Bible clearly speaks of prayer AND anointing with oil. The fascinating thing about what we read in the Bible, and all the ways God told the Israelites to conduct themselves, is that today, Science and practice prove there was reason for everything God commanded. For example; the washing that God commanded kept His people from getting a lot of disease. We know that today, and practice it in all hospitals now. For that reason, I have to assume there is something important about the combination of praying and anointing with oil.
One of the ways I use essential oils is by waiting on the Lord in prayer. Ask Him to show you what to use, how to use it, etc.. Learn more about what is found in nature. Learn more about His foods that He created for us to sustain us. It’s all about God, not about becoming “pharmacists” of essential oils. The separation of God from medicine is a deadly mistake!
Anointing is mentioned 156 times in the Bible, (usually referring to oil, but occasionally to mud, or a spiritual anointing). Anointing oil always contained aromatics, if not 100% aromatic. The word “Anoint” actually means to “cover, rub, or smear the head or body with oil.”
And not just people were anointed with oil, but also things in the temple, food, shields (Is 21:5).
We can anoint each other and pray, anoint our doorposts and pray, anoint ourselves while praying… etc…
Am I against science? NO! Not at all! I think God hid things for us to discover! But we as Christians should not rely on science, or believe that science provides all the answers to life. Science should no become a false God. Christians should not DEMAND evidence from science. Science cannot explain God, but we believe in God…we cannot expect science to explain life. We are not above those in the Bible who worshipped idols…When we do not seek God first for healing, but look to someone on earth to fix our issues, are we not the same Essential oils and herbs also have the potential to become an idol.
Most important point is this; Seek God FIRST.