The Biblical Oil of Joy (or Gladness)

7:30:00 AM Laura at Fantastically Four 0 Comments

The Biblical Oil of Joy (or Gladness)

I didn't mean for this to be my first in-depth look at one of the infused oils in the Bible, but joy is SO compelling and this oil is so important that I'm really glad God brought this to mind as the one to begin with.

JOY. Everybody wants it, but there's a lot of confusion out there about what it is. Young Living's blend named Joy is a best-seller for a few reasons. It smells fantastic (many wear it as a perfume), and we love to use it to uplift spirits and add a little extra cheer our day. But where does true joy come from? I think the biblical oil of joy contains the answer.

While I've been familiar with the biblical oil of gladness, I don't think I ever realized until pretty recently that it's an actual, physical oil infused with myrrh and cassia. These oils are known for their spiritual significance, and are part of the recipe for holy anointing oil. But while the oil of joy is a real substance, it's also a powerful metaphor.

The Oil of Joy in the Bible

There are a few specific references to the oil of joy (or the oil of gladness) in the Bible. I love how these passages work together to provide a profound look at God's salvation plan in Christ and the inheritance of joy that he has for us.

The first time this oil is mentioned by name is in Psalm 45. This lovely wedding song focuses on a description of a groom whose lips have been anointed with grace. The metaphor of Christ and his church is so powerful. The whole thing is gorgeous, but here's the part I'd like to focus on...

Psalm 45:7-8 (NIV)

7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
   therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
   by anointing you with the oil of joy.
All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
   from palaces adorned with ivory
   the music of the strings makes you glad.
So the oil is used to set Christ above all others, and it contains myrrh, sandalwood (aloes), and cassia. This anointing oil and the way it blesses Christ is quoted almost word-for-word in Hebrews 1:9. But the context makes everything so clear. Here's a quick look. (Or read the whole chapter here.)

Hebrews 1:3, 8-9 (NIV)

3b The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

8 But about the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
   a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.

9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
   therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
   by anointing you with the oil of joy.”

I love that not only is Psalm 45 interpreted here so plainly, but that the oil of joy in particular is highlighted once again. This passage of Hebrews clarifies a lot for me, specifically that the oil of joy is used to bless and set Christ apart, to exalt him, and especially to usher in joy at the marriage of Christ with his bride, the church.

A famous reference to the oil of joy is found in Isaiah 61:3 (NIV).

3   and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
   instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
   instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
   instead of a spirit of despair.
First, it's important to understand that Jesus fulfilled this for every Christian today! This isn't some lofty description of heaven. It's our reality now. Jesus read this passage from Isaiah 61.

Luke 4:20-21 (NIV)
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

Second, there are several verses which indicate that during a time of mourning, oils (sometimes translated lotions) were not used (2 Samuel 12:20;14:2; Isaiah 61:3; Daniel 10:3). So the oil of joy is a powerful indication of God's blessing for us, and victory over sin and death. The oil of joy heralds in heavenly gladness that indicates our time of mourning is over! Our bridegroom is here and we are his.

Joyful Oils of Today

I don't think that the oil of joy is one that can be replicated, or really needs to be replicated. I'm discussing the biblical oil of joy for those who are curious, for essential oil lovers, for Christian aromatherapists, and for those who are wondering about the biblical use of essential oils.

The oil of gladness shows us that God loves symbolism, anointing with oil, and releasing his power (in this case, his joy) through that ritual. For those of us who love essential oils, just be encouraged to use any oil that you associate with joy on any occasion that you wish. Citrus oils like sweet orange, bergamot, and grapefruit, as well as florals like jasmine and ylang ylang come to mind.

Young Living's Joy is a lovely blend that includes several essential oils that are known to be uplifting. They may add value to your day or even help in cheering your spirit. I use essential oils in this way all the time, and I recommend it! Essential oils are a beautiful gift from God that can be used to honor him and enhance our lives. But, of course, don't expect to find actual joy in a bottle.

Where True Joy is Found

The biblical oil of joy wasn't just a pretty oil that was great for celebrating. It has potent symbolism and a direct link with Christ. He's always the one ushering in this joy.

If you're looking for joy, wondering where it comes from, the answer is in the word of God. Joy comes from our symbolic marriage to Christ in acceptance of his salvation. That's a joy that no one can take away and no temporary sadness can destroy.


All information on a drop of lavender is informative in nature and not to be construed as medical advice. I am not a doctor or medical professional, but I am passionate about aromatherapy and the safe use of essential oils.