The Alabaster Box
As I’ve mentioned before probably on more than one occasion, the main negative of the message of Universal Salvation is that it breeds complacency in those who embrace it. This is a valid criticism by those who do not believe in Ultimate Reconciliation. It might be helpful to bring to remembrance that Jesus and the apostles also believed in Universal Redemption, but that did not stop them from entering into the “works prepared in advance for us to do.” They laid down their lives and Jesus asks the same of all His disciples for all ages including our own.
“Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them.”
2 Timothy 1:7-8 “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord...”
I am afraid persecution, the cares of the world and the knowledge that no one is going to be burned alive in Hell has made most of us in the message of Universal Salvation lethargic, complacent and unmotivated to “pour out our lives for Christ and those He died for.”
Doug Fortune writes:
“So many are content to be 'alabaster boxes' containing the fragrant ointment of Christ (Christ in you, the hope of glory – Col. 1:27), believing that their destiny is to be attractive vessels in the Kingdom. Beautiful and costly as it may have been, would there be any mention in the Scripture of the woman and the alabaster box, had it not been broken open and poured out? Would we have even known what was really inside the alabaster box, had it not been broken open and poured out? What if the alabaster box had been empty? Herein lies the key, for it was the ointment on the inside that was costly and precious... and so it is with us.”
We desperately need the Anointing that comes with the Anointed One. Nothing else will stir us up to do the works prepared in advance for us to walk in. Lord Jesus, please create the conditions to break us, your people, open. We so desperately need your Spirit if we are ever going to impact this world in a significant way. --Gary Amirault
THE ALABASTER BOX
By Doug Fortune
"There came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on His head... And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? She hath wrought a good work on me... she is come a forehand to anoint my body to the burying." – Mark 14:3,8
As we continue to explore the Breaker arising within a people, let us consider this beautiful prophetic illustration of the Breaker at work in our lives the most obvious aspect of this account is the breaking and pouring, but let's look at the setting of the story for a moment. According to the text, it was just before a major Feast wherein all were to make the journey and appear before the Lord in Jerusalem; "After two days was the feast of the Passover, and of unleavened bread..." (Mark 14:1) "Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year. Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread…" (Exodus 23:14-15) "Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose..." – Deut. 16:16
So, where do we find Jesus at this crucial time of preparation before the Feast, and also this crucial time in His life and ministry, as He is to be crucified in just a few days? Rather than in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of religious activity in Jerusalem, we find Him outside of Jerusalem in the village of Bethany. Seen from a distance, the village of Bethany has been described as "remarkably beautiful, the perfection of retirement and repose, of seclusion and lovely peace." (Easton's Bible Dictionary) Bethany means 'house of dates' in Hebrew, and of course dates and figs were some of the primary fruits of that region. Perhaps the presence of the Lord in our lives is to be found outside of the busyness of religion, in a fruitful place of rest... resting in the knowledge that "the works were finished from the foundation of the world." – Heb. 4:3
This fruitful place of rest is also in a place that most people would not deem as desirable though... "In the house of Simon the leper." (Mark 14:3) Leprosy, just the thought of it sounds awful, and in literal reality it is a tragic disease. In the spiritual application, I have always heard it preached in the negative sense, equating leprosy with the effects of sin. This is certainly a common and valid interpretation, but for our purposes here, let's look at it in a different light for a moment. I am by no means an authority on the subject of medicine and disease, but it is my primitive understanding that leprosy begins with specks on the eyelids and on the palms (Easton's Bible Dictionary) and some of the symptoms of leprosy cause one to lose sensitivity or feeling in the externals of the body and causes a loss of flesh as it works inward to the bones. In addition to the traditional interpretation, could this also conversely be a picture of the workings of the Spirit within us? A picture as He removes the veil from our eyes (eyelids) to reveal who we really are in Spirit, that we are the apple of His eye (Zech. 2:8), that He has indeed graven us upon the palms of His hands. (Isaiah 49:16) As we begin to really SEE who we are in Christ, we lose sensitivity or feelings for the external things in life and the flesh-life erodes from our character. This happens in the 'house of Simon'; the name Simon means 'hearing', it is from the word shama which means 'to hear intelligently.' Yes, we must hear and understand who the Father says we are; "For He hath made Him to be sin (a sin offering) for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Cor. 5:21) Let us venture out from the busyness of religion to the place of rest in Him, where we lose our affections for the externals of the flesh-life, hearing only the word of destiny that the Lord has spoken concerning us.
“There came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on His head...” (Mark 14:3, 8) Alabaster is a beautiful stone that resembles marble, but is softer in its texture, and hence very easily wrought into boxes or vials for containers. These boxes or vials were then filled with varieties of oils and sealed until their time of use. So when it says 'she brake the box', it is most likely speaking of breaking the seal to open the container, rather than actually breaking the alabaster, which would be difficult at best and quite messy if successful.
So many are content to be 'alabaster boxes' containing the fragrant ointment of Christ (Christ in you, the hope of glory – Col. 1:27), believing that their destiny is to be attractive vessels in the Kingdom. Beautiful and costly as it may have been, would there be any mention in the Scripture of the woman and the alabaster box, had it not been broken open and poured out? Would we have even known what was really inside the alabaster box, had it not been broken open and poured out? What if the alabaster box had been empty? Herein lies the key, for it was the ointment on the inside that was costly and precious... and so it is with us.
The seal of our understanding must be broken that we can comprehend how costly and precious is the Ointment (Christ) within us, and that there is only TRUE value as the Ointment is poured out! “And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, ‘Why was this waste of the ointment made?’” (Mark 14:4) It would seem from His words that Jesus ascribes little value to the ointment as long as it is kept within the alabaster box; "And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? She hath wrought a good work on me." (Mark 14:6) Again, so it is with us, the Ointment, the anointing (Christ) within us is NOT just to be stored up for us personally, rather it is the very purpose of the anointing to be poured out.
How many times have we prayed, "Lord, I want more of You!" It is my belief that we already have all of Him we're going to get. "And of His fullness have all we received..." (John 1:16); "...the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all." (Eph. 1:22-23); "...that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God." (Eph. 3:19) The key to the abundant Life is not receiving more of Him, rather it is pouring out that which is already within. "For IN Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete IN Him." (Col. 2:9-10) The only way the Ointment can be poured out is by breaking the seal of our understanding, "For as he thinketh in his heart, so IS he." (Prov. 23:7) Yes, our perception and understanding of who we are determines what or Who we manifest. If my perception is that I am a needy and empty vessel (which I am in Adam), then I will have difficulty in pouring out the Ointment (Christ) upon others. I must understand that I am no longer IN Adam, I am now IN Christ, my life is hidden In Him, I am complete in Him, and I am filled with His fullness... all this for the purpose of pouring out the Ointment (Christ) within us.
“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” (Daniel 12:4) I believe that this is that day spoken of in Daniel, the 'time of the end'- not as in a cessation or stopping, but rather the 'end' as a completion, understanding we are complete in Him. This is a day of the seal being broken and the 'book being opened' and words of truth gushing forth. When that verse says 'many shall run to and fro', the Hebrew meaning is to push forth, to press onward. That, my friend, is exactly what is happening today as apostles, prophets, and regular folks like you and I are pressing forward in revelation and understanding... truly, the knowledge of who we already are in Christ is being increased!
“She is come a forehand to anoint My body to the burying.” (Mark 14:8) I don't know that the woman necessarily thought of her act as an anointing for burial, for her it was more than likely an act of worship. Jesus certainly saw it as an anointing for burial though. I find it interesting that the eloquent language of this verse almost totally cloaks one of the primary reasons for anointing with the spikenard. Normally this anointing was done AFTER a person had died, as we can read of in Mark 16:1, "And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him." Spikenard was very aromatic, and as we can read of it in John 11:39, something happens to a body after the person is deceased; "By this time he STINKETH: for he hath been dead four days." Obviously the body of Jesus did not experience any corruption, but I believe there is a prophetic picture here for us.
You see, as the Breaker (Christ) arises within us, breaking the seals of our understanding, there is a death that occurs as we let go of old paradigms and mentalities, and sometimes between the Second Day and the Third Day things can get pretty stinky! Thus, the reason for the Ointment! It is the fragrance of the anointing of Christ that sees us through as the 'tomb' of old paradigms we have buried becomes a 'womb' to birth a man-child.
Also let us remember that this Ointment, this anointing must be poured out. Some may try to embrace Third Day concepts mentally without pouring them out via a lifestyle of understanding that we are dead in Christ, we don't have any rights to a life of our own, and it is His Life being lived through us. Getting puffed up in knowledge and head-revelation with no REVEALation can be pretty stinky also (been there, done that,and gott the T-shirt too)! Then all you have is a religious looking alabaster box that's no good to anybody.
“She brake the box, and poured it on His head...” (Mark 14:3) Yes, she poured it on His head, and He is "the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all." (Eph. 1:22-23) That SAME anointing that is upon the Head flows down to the body, which is you and I.
As Cathy Walker, one of my favorite songwriters, so aptly states it in her song entitled 'The Whole House Is Anointed' –
"From the Head, Flowing down Anointing oil brings heaven down 'Till every part reveals His heart As he mingles our lives, We bring forth the fragrant Christ"
“The whole House is anointed, gathered into One. The hand of the Apothecary blends Head-spice into One. O the whole House is anointed, gathered into One. The hand of the Apothecary rubs His compound into the Son.”
(Copyright 1998 Cathy Walker- http://www.CathyWalker.com)
Let us press forward in revelation, allowing the Breaker to arise within us, breaking the seal of our understanding that the Ointment (Christ) within us may be poured out... that we may see BREAKTHROUGH in the heavens and on earth, that the nations be gathered to Him!