The History of Consecrated Oil

As holders of the Priesthood, one of the greatest blessings offered is the ability to perform sacred ordinances through the authority of God. Our loving Father in Heaven has restored certain truths regarding the proper method of how to perform such ordinances, for example the usage of consecrated oil in the use of healing the sick and afflicted. There is a deep and rich history that surrounds the usage of such oil, with its use being dated back to the Old Testament. In order to gain a stronger understanding of the importance and meaning of consecrated, here are some facts about its history you may not know.

Consecrated oil was used to anoint kings and prophets

One of the earliest recorded usage of consecrated oil was when it was used to anoint kings and prophets who were invested with power, received divine approval, and were consecrated to their holy callings. Samuel used oil when he anointed Saul a captain over the Lord's people in Samuel 10:1.

Priests who ministered in the temple also used olive oil as a part of their ritual offerings.

The use of olive oil for medicinal purposes

The use of olive oil for medicinal purposes was first illustrated in the parable of the good Samaritan, which states he bound up the wounds of the assaulted man by "pouring oil" (Like 10:34).

Although Jesus healed many people without anointing them with oil--sometimes even healing people without touching them--it was a general practice for priesthood holders in the church to anoint the sick with oil. While performing their first missionary labors, the Twelve Apostles "anointed with oil many that wee sick, and healed them" (Mark 6:13).

Why oil is used in administering to the sick

First and foremost, we use consecrated oil because the Lord has commanded us to do so. The scriptures give us some indication though as to why the Lord has directed us in this way.

Anciently, oil pressed from olives was considered the cleanest, clearest, brightest-burning, longest-lasting of all animal and vegetable oils. It was also the purest of oils and was thus appropriate for holy anointings. President Joseph Fielding Smith said, "We find through all the prophetic writings that olive trees and olive oil are emblems of sacredness and purity."

We may not know exactly when oil was first used in priesthood ordinances, but it is clear that the pattern was instituted by the Lord, and priesthood holders follow this same patterns as priesthood holders did anciently. Through anointing with oil and the prayer of faith, the Lord is able to bless the lives of all of His children.

On LDS Bookstore, we have a variety of oil vials and pocket ordinance cards. Click the link here to see our full selection of items.