In the Old Testament the first person who was anointed was Aaron, the High Priest, and then his sons were anointed as priests (Exodus 28:41). The practice of using a special oil to anoint people as a sign that they were set apart by God for a certain purpose began with the first priests under the Law of Moses, but the idea of anointing reached all the way back to Jacob at Bethel when he poured oil on a rock and renamed the place “House of God” in Genesis 28:18-19.
The priests were not the only people to be anointed and Jacob’s pillow rock was not the only thing anointed. In fact anointing is mentioned over 150 times in the Bible, though not always with oil and not always for the purpose of consecration to God. Judges 9 first mentions the idea of a king being anointed during the telling of an allegorical story, and in 1 Samuel 2 Hannah sings a song of prophecy looking forward to a time when the Lord would have a king as His anointed one. Later her son anoints the first king over Israel, Saul, in 1 Samuel 10:1.
In 1 Kings 19:15-16 we read of the third category of person who was anointed. Elijah was to anoint Elisha to take his place as a prophet of God. Not every prophet was God’s anointed messenger, and not every priest or king was anointed with God’s approval, but those He anointed were special. None were as special; however, as His own Son whom He anointed prophet and priest and king. He certainly had good news to proclaim. Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”
The only question for us is: Have I made God’s anointed my prophet and priest and king?