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Spiritual Significance of Spikenard in the Bible


Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.

- John 12:3

Spikenard is a costly spice which comes from a very rare plant and is usually blended with olive oil for anointing acts of consecration, dedication, and worship.

The word "spikenard" in Hebrew is Nard and means "light." Interestingly, the message delivered in 1 John 1:5 talks about the nature of the Father, who is visible in Heaven by the pure, uncreated light of His nature. Yeshua Himself shared in this glory at the Mount of Transfiguration when the divine light was visible as He transfigured in a whiteness which was beyond any earthly whiteness as described in Mark 9:3. Soon, His bride will share in this glorious apparel as our wedding garments, mentioned in the book of Revelation. Revelation 19:8 says: "And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints."

In Greek, the word for "spikenard" means "genuine and pure." In John 12:3, the Bible tells how spikenard was used to anoint Yeshua, the pure and spotless Lamb, just days before His death and burial:

Then Mary took a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.

Mark 14:3 tells us of another woman who came, having an alabaster flask of very precious oil of spikenard. After she broke the seal and poured the oil on Yeshua's head, some of the disciples were very indignant with the "waste" of costly oil, as it may have cost this woman as much as a whole year's wages. But Yeshua rebuked them and said she had done a good work, for He knew His life would soon be broken, just like the alabaster jar filled with the costly scent. Not a drop of her extravagant act of worship was wasted in His eyes. Yeshua said her deed would be remembered wherever the Gospel would be preached.

Whisper words of adoration, shout praises to His name-for every silent bowed knee or shout from the hilltop reaches His throne. Worship extravagantly! God doesn't see it as a waste and the Messiah won't leave us alone to "waste away" either. Instead, the oil-symbolic of the inner working of the Ruach Ha Kodesh-has been poured out for us, so we can live a life that is rich with a sweet, heavenly fragrance. As believers, we must worship Him with a pure, genuine heart of devotion and worship.

Solomon prophesied a thousand years earlier of this momentous event. Song of Solomon 1:12 says, "While the king [sitteth] at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof."

In this verse, the King is sitting, which is symbolic of His finished work at Calvary's tree. He is inviting her to come and join Him at the marriage supper feast. The bride's fragrance emanates out of her spirit in worship and adoration for the King's provision. This is a heavenly fragrance we should all possess.

For more information about spiritual significance of the fragrances of the bible, visit our website at or purchase a copy of Rebecca's book, The Fragrance of the Bride online at bookstores everywhere.

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Rebecca Park Totilo’s flair and passion for life bursts into living color when she writes. As an award-winning publisher author of over 34 books, she has been spoken to millions via television, radio and live appearances. Her credits include working as a contributor writer on two best-selling series ("Quiet Moments with God" and “Stories for the Teen’s Heart”) which sold over one million and five million copies respectively.  She is also a freelance writer for several national magazines including Christian Parenting Today, Discipleship Journal and Woman’s World. Rebecca's photography work has appeared in numerous national magazines such as Woman’s World, Sports Spectrum, Evangel, and Sharing the Victory.

Rebecca is a homeschool mom for 20 years and serves as president of Rebecca at the Well Foundation. Please visit her websites at: and

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