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Olive Oil - Food Fit for the Bride of Christ
Olive Oil and Israel, historical overview
Olive oil has a long, ancient and rich history down through the millenia of time. Archaeological historians date the connection between olive oil and Israel to at least 1200 BC if not even as far back as 1400 BC for not only Israel, but the ancient Canaanites as well. Olive presses and storage vats have been uncovered all over the land of Israel, and most notably along the sea coast. By the time Ezekiel was prophet in Israel, the production of olive oil had become a national export to surrounding lands and entire villages had been built around the industry. However, the way Ezekiel mentions the oil in chapter 16 coincides with historical observations that such presses were not everywhere in Israel, and nor was the oil necessarily available to all classes of society, either due to lack of an olive press in the home, or lack of ability to buy it from other villages. It wouldn't be until after the Romans took over Israel that the plentious nature of the oil would reach to every home no matter their class.
But inspite of whether or not the common Hebrew could access the oil or not, it was common to the nation of Israel and featured highly during festivals, ceremonies, and at the King's table. It is even listed among the "Species of Seven" as scholars have come to term the seven major crops that have existed in Israel from antiquity to present day.
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The olive tree itself one that grows well in rocky, desolate, and often arid or drought-like conditions. To this day the Italians, now the ones famous for olive oil around the world, have sayings about this very ability. It is almost impossible to kill an olive tree by natural means as a result and the oldest known olive tree in Israel is over 2200 years of age. The leaves of the olive branch have graced many garlands and diadems around the Middle East, being the leaf of choice for the Greeks when creating winners' crowns in their yearly celebrations. It was an olive branch that the dove brought back to Noah when God finally gave permission to rest the ark and disembark.
Consequently, the olive branch has come to mean peace and prosperity.
Olive Oil on Amazon?
What does this mean for the Bride of Christ?
The symbolism here is deep. Offering olive oil to the Bride of Christ as part of her daily food suggests many things.
First, it says she has persevered. No matter what has been thrown at her, she has stood the test of time and flourished even under the harshest circumstances. Governments and other religions down through time have tried to stamp out Christianity and Judaism wherever it's been found. But instead of wiping out those of the Faith in the One True God, the Church has gone underground and flourished. In fact it was by such persecution that the Early Church spread out from Jerusalem and into every corner of the Roman Empire at that time. The church has gone through many changes, iterations, and found itself struggling not merely with outside attacks but with internal divisions as well. Indeed, the Church has suffered much over the centuries, but it will remain, and Christ will be returning for those who have stood fast through it all.
Second, the Brid of Christ is of the highest nobility, a royalty whose Provider owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and for whom nothing is lacking. She is given the best provision money both can and can't buy by Her Lord and King, Jesus Christ.
Third, the Bride of Christ will live in peace and prosperity in her new life at the right hand of the Heavenly Bridegroom. Her earthly life may have been full of trials and struggles, but hers is a life of peace and abundance. This is not necessarily speaking of material abundance as some would have the reader to believe. But judging from the description of the New Jerusalem, it will one day appear to translate into that on the other side of time.
Fourth, just as olive oil has been used down through the centuries in hygeine, health, and medicinal uses, so God says that He will offer a balm in Gilead. Healing only comes from God, and oil is symbolically representative of the Holy Spirit. The Bride of Christ has access to the oil of the Spirit poured out on Pentecost. Christ gives the parable of the 10 virgins awaiting the call that the Bridegroom is coming. When that call goes out, 5 have their lamps filled with oil, they trim them, and away they go. But the 5 foolish virgins try to borrow oil from the 5 wise, and are then told to go out and buy more oil. They are shut out from the feast because you cannot buy the Holy Spirit.
The call is going out. The Bridegroom is coming. But only those who have surrendered to the Lordship of the Holy Spirit in their lives and allowed Him to prune them and cleanse sin away from their lives will be able to enter into the Marriage supper of the Lamb.
How an ancient olive press worked
© 2013 Marilynn Dawson