Welcome to the powerful journey of discovering the deeper spiritual meaning to the olive tree. Throughout history it has been one of the most symbolic, most valued and useful trees in Israel. We are continually introduced to the Holy Spirit through symbolic representation:
• a dove bringing the olive branch for Noah, signifying a new beginning
• olive oil in the lamp stand in the Holy of Holies, signifying continued need for truth and light
• David anointed as king, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him for strength
• The oil in the virgin’s lamps, signifying the continual need for the Holy Spirit and
• Oil used in ministry, signifying the power of the Holy Spirit in healing.
The significance of anointing
Joel prophesied that in the latter days there would be an out pouring of the Holy Spirit and in Hebrews 1 we read that God anointed Jesus with the oil of gladness.
The key to walking in the Spirit is abiding in Christ. Anointing with oil can bring to remembrance God’s promises of His anointing over our lives and power available to us through His Holy Spirit. “Now He who has established you in Christ and anointed you is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” 2 Cor 2:20.
The ‘anointing oil’ we have received is the Holy Spirit. “But the anointing which you have received from Him, abides in you and you do not need that anyone teach you, but as the same anointing teaches you, concerning all things…and just as He has taught you, you will abide in Him” 1 John 3:27.
Throughout Scripture we notice how the anointing, represented by the Holy Spirit, provides us with authority, power, insight and divine leading towards accurately executing the Will of the Father.
Why olive oil?
In Exodus 30, we read about two highly valued and sacred mixtures of anointing oil and incense which God instructed for use in the Tabernacle. The holy anointing oil was mixed with olive oil and was given to us as a prophetic fulfilment of the Holy Spirit and our dependency upon Him to be ministers of grace. The incense was a symbol of our expression of worship before God. The distinction is the anointing oil was given to us for our benefit, and incense is representative of our worship offered up to God.
The Bible mentions the word ‘oil’ 191 times. Olive oil has been used as a healing ointment for many centuries. It is mostly combined with aromatic and volatile essential oils which have smaller molecules and penetrate the skin easily.
However, carrier oils, such as olive oil, are less fragrant and serve as a base for essential oils. They enhance the penetration and efficacy of aromatic essential oils. This is symbolic of how God intended for us to live our lives dependent upon the Holy Spirit, who gives us the ability to demonstrate the fruit and gifts of the Spirit. The disciples were asked to tarry and wait for the Holy Spirit to come, before they could be of any use. We too become of no effect if we try and live in the flesh and not by the fullness and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
What does the olive oil and the olive tree symbolise?
The olive tree can live on forever because it continues to shoot new growth; they seem to die, but then they send new shoots up from the roots of the old tree. In some trees, there are very old portions in the middle, while new growth twines itself around the outside. Thus the tree is regenerated! It is a picture of the eternal, never ending supply of provision we have in Christ through the sweet, gentle abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. The olive tree is slow growing and requires years of patient labour, much like our sensitive and intimate relationship in Christ.
The Garden of Gethsemane
Jesus chose the Garden of Gethsemane, which means ‘wine or oil press’, surrounded by trees which continually sprout new life, to spend His final hours in prayer before His crucifixion. Perhaps their mute witness to eternal life encouraged Him. This garden became the ‘altar’ of surrendering His Will to the Will of His Father. Jesus embarked upon the most challenging path anyone could ever imagine as He came to the oil press and allowed every drop of His own Will to be surrendered to His Father.
As Jesus said, “not My Will, but Thy Will be done”, He revealed to us how we can experience a victorious and joyous life. Jesus laid down His own Will and embraced His Father’s Will and so can we by the power of the anointing.
The Holy Spirit will continually reveal Jesus to you and the illuminating revelation of your position of righteousness in Christ is increased as you abide and remain filled.
The spiritual significance of oil
The Hebrew word for ‘olive tree’ is ‘es shemen’ which means tree of oil from the root word to shine or cry out aloud with joy; the word for ‘olive’ is ‘zayith’ which means ‘yielding illuminating oil’. God has called us to be continually immersed in the ‘oil’ of His anointing and joy, so that we remain steadfast in the Truth of Jesus and His unmerited favour towards us as the Bride of Christ to be a house of light to the nations. Nothing of eternal value is accomplished by man in his own strength.
We are to reflect the perfume of God to the world…
When you come into His presence, He perfumes you with a fragrance of triumph. This fragrance never leaves you because it is His Son’s fragrance and He promises to never leave you nor forsake you. The anointing of the Holy Spirit is a supernatural release of power and authority to perform all God has entrusted upon you to do. This anointing is for His glory and to the work of His Kingdom.
by- Naomi Sheneberger