SYMBOL OF STABILITY AND SERENITY
The olive tree is noteworthy in the Bible for various reasons. The Bible mentions Olive Tree over 25 times, while the oil is mentioned about 160 times. For the ancient Hebrews, the olive tree was one of the most valued.
When a dove returned to Noah’s ark with an olive branch in its beak, it was the first referenced in Scripture. Since then, the olive branch has been a symbol of “peace” worldwide, and we frequently hear the statement “offering an olive branch” to someone else as a wish for peace.
The olive tree was a significant feature among the flora of Canaan when Israel captured it. It’s been called a land of olive oil. The early Israelites relied heavily on the olive as a source of income. It was tithed together with the rest of the land’s output.
The olive tree, scientifically known as Olea europaea, is a multi-branched evergreen with a knotted trunk, smooth ash-coloured bark, and silvery green oblong leathery leaves. Around the beginning of May, mature, cultivated olive trees reach a height of 20 feet or more and produce tiny yellow or white blooms.
The tree’s fruit, Olives, begins to develop when the blossoms fall. The fruit transforms from green to a rich, blue-black or dark green hue when the olives are fully developed and picked in early October. Olive trees provided food, lamp oil, medicine, anointing oil, sacrificial oil, and timber for furniture in the ancient Near East. The olive tree is a very slow-growing plant that takes years of careful effort to attain full fruitfulness. The olive tree, which thrives in the Mediterranean environment, plays a crucial part in the region’s economy. The olive oil produced by the exterior, fleshy part of the oval-shaped fruit is highly valued. Olive oil is also beneficial to one’s health.
Since Noah’s flood, the olive tree and olive branch have been symbols of peace and reconciliation. The olive branch signified new life blooming on the planet when the dove gave Noah a plucked olive leaf in its mouth. The olive tree was still alive and well, and it was growing. The dove’s olive branch promised humanity a fresh beginning, peace and reconciliation with God, regeneration, and restoration. The olive tree’s slow and steady growth also denotes stability and serenity. In the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, some of the world’s oldest olive trees can still be found.
In the Bible, the blooming olive tree signifies beauty and plenty. The tree’s fruitfulness and capacity to grow resembles a righteous person, whose offspring is described as vigorous young olive trees. Olive oil was also used for kings’ anointing and coronation, giving it a symbol of power. Because it was employed as a container for a blend of spices that made up the holy anointing oil, olive tree oil is symbolic of the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
The process of smashing and crushing olives to make olive oil also has spiritual significance. Jesus Christ was beaten and crushed on the cross so that Holy Spirit would be poured out on the church after his ascension to heaven. The Holy Spirit is God’s olive oil, and Jesus Christ is God’s olive tree. It is believed that Christ’s agonising prayer took place at Gethsemane, an area with numerous olive trees and a name that means oil press, right before His arrest was not a coincidence. God uses the image of an olive tree to remind His people of their covenant bond with him. God’s people are pictured as the olive tree, while God is depicted as farmers.
Although the olive tree is native to the Mediterranean, the majority is now found in Africa. The olive tree’s ability to produce sprouts at its base is one of its distinguishing qualities. Olives are now often cultivated on grafted stock, which entails selecting a fast-growing rootstock and inserting a high-quality scion.
On the other hand, Olives were frequently cultivated directly from the sprouts in Biblical times. The olive farmer would carefully pluck sprouts from his best trees and place them in areas where they would be carefully cared for, “Your sons will be like olive shoots around your table,” according to Psalm 128:3, which may be a reference to this technique.