Significance of Olive tree in the Bible. What does an olive tree symbolize.
Olive Tree is a symbol of peace, fertility, wisdom, prosperity, health, luck, victory, stability and tranquillity.
The olive tree has a fundamental role in the mythical origin of the city of Athens. According to legend Athena, the goddess of Wisdom, and Poseidon, the god of the Sea, disputed over the sovereignty of the city. The Olympian gods decided that they would award the city to whoever produced the best work.
Poseidon, with a stroke of a trident, made a horse grow out of the rock and Athena, with a stroke of the spear, made an olive tree sprout full of fruits. This tree got the sympathy of the gods and the new city received the name of Athens.
Due to this myth, in ancient Greece the olive branch represented victory, in fact wreaths of olive branches were awarded to the winners of the Olympic Games.
The Bible is full of references to the olive tree, its fruit and oil. For Christianity it is an emblematic tree , since Jesus used to meet and pray with his disciples in a place mentioned in the Gospels as Gethsemane, located on the “Mount of Olives. ” We can also remember the story of Noah, who sent a dove after the flood to find out if the waters had withdrawn from the face of the Earth. When the dove returned with an olive branch in its beaks, Noah understood that the waters had receded and peace had been restored . Hence, peace is symbolized by a dove carrying an olive branch.
Olive branch Bible verse
The olive was one of the most valuable trees to the ancient Hebrews. It is first mentioned in Scripture when the dove returned to Noah’s ark carrying an olive branch in its beak.
Genesis 8:11, NIV: “When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth.”
In the Jewish religion it is oil that plays an important role as a symbol of Divine Blessing . In the Menorah , the seven-branched candelabra, the Jews use olive oil . The ancient Hebrews used the oil for religious ceremonies, sacrifices, and even to anoint priests.
For Muslims, the olive tree and its oil are allegorically related to the Light of God that guides human beings . After the conquest of Al-Andalus, the Muslims found many olive plantations and soon discovered the benefits of this tree and its derivatives. In addition, they brought innovations to agriculture, in fact, the word oil mill (currently, the place where the olives are brought for transformation into oil) comes from the Arabic al-masara, the press .
Symbology of the olive tree and its fruit
- Longevity or immortality: the olive tree can live more than 2000 years, it is able to withstand very adverse conditions: cold, snowfall, heat, droughts etc. and still bear fruit. Its leaves are constantly renewed and it responds very well to grafting. For all this it is also a symbol of resistance.
- Healing: the olive tree, its fruit and the oil were always considered to have medicinal properties, many of which have been demonstrated with scientific evidence. In fact, in all the civilizations mentioned above, oil is used to treat certain diseases and, as well as, for beauty and cosmetics.
- Peace and reconciliation: as we said before, the dove with the olive branch has remained an undeniable symbol of peace. In fact, in some flags of countries or organizations we can see an olive branch, perhaps the one that sounds the most to you is the flag of the United Nations. Also in the Aeneid it is told how Virgil uses the olive branch as a symbol of reconciliation and agreement.
- Fertility: for the Hellenes, the descendants of the gods were born under the olive trees, so women who wanted to have children had to sleep under their shade. In fact, science is currently investigating whether the consumption of olive oil benefits, among many things, the increase of fertility.
- Victory: Athena pays this tribute to him by emerging victorious from the struggle with Poseidon and, as we have mentioned, the olive crown was formerly given to the victors of the Olympic Games. This custom has been preserved over time and we can see how not only in the games the winners are awarded the olive crown, but also in other sports such as cycling or motorcycles
The olive tree is used figuratively in the Bible as a symbol of productivity, beauty and dignity. (Jeremiah 11:16; Hosea 14: 6.) Their branches were among those used in the cottage party. (Nehemiah 8:15; Leviticus 23:40.) In Zechariah 4: 3, 11-14 and Revelation 11: 3, 4, olive trees are also used to symbolize the “anointed” and “witnesses” of God.
From the mere beginning of creation in the book of genesis, the Olive Tree has been of great significance far beyond its fruit. It was an olive branch that the dove brought to Noah in the ark.
It was the first tree to sprout after the Flood and gave Noah hope for the future. Gen. 8:11
In the Middle East, the Olive tree with its fruit and its oil has played a significant role in the daily lives of people and was part of the requirements of their primary diet even for the poorest.
The oil Olivo is mentioned many times in the Bible as fuel for lamps and for uses in the kitchen. Ex. 27:20, Lev. 24: 2 It had medicinal purposes as well as oil for anointing in consecration ceremonies Ex.30: 24-25. It was the raw material for the manufacture of soap as it continues today.
Olive tree in Bible
The olive tree was undoubtedly one of the most valuable plants in biblical times, as important as the vine and the fig tree. (Judges 9:8-13; 2 Kings 5:26; Habakkuk 3:17-19.) It appears at the beginning of the biblical record, because, after the Flood, an olive leaf that carried a dove told Noah that The waters had withdrawn. (Génesis 8:11.)
The common olive tree of the Bible was one of the most valuable trees in the ancient world. Today, in some parts of the Holy Land, twisted grey trunks with their stiff branches and leathery leaves are the only considerable trees insight and are found in picturesque groves in the Shechem Valley, and in the Phoenician plains from Gilead and Moré, to mention only a few prominent places. It reaches a height of 6 to 12 m.
The olive tree (Olea europaea) abounds on the slopes of the mountains of Galilee and Samaria and in the central plateaus, as well as throughout the Mediterranean region. (De 28:40; Thu 15: 5.) It grows on rocky and greasy soil, too dry for many other plants, and can withstand frequent droughts. When the Israelites left Egypt, they were promised that the land they were going to was a land of “olive oil and honey,” with ‘vines and olive groves that they had not planted.’
(De 6:11; 8: 8; Jos 24:13.) As the olive tree grows slowly and it may take ten years or more to begin to produce good crops, the fact that these trees were already growing on the ground was an essential advantage for The Israelites This tree can reach exceptional ages and produce fruit for hundreds of years. It is believed that some of the olive trees in Palestine are millenary.
In the Bible, the oil olive tree represents the Spirit of God. I Jn. 2:27 And as for you, the anointing which you received from The abideth in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you; but just as his anointing teaches you about all things, and it is accurate and not a lie, and as he has taught you, you remain in Him. He
had a special bond with royalty when used as an element to anoint kings. I Sam 10: 1, I Kings 1:30, II Kings 9: 1,6.
In the times of the Old Testament, there was so much oil olive tree in Israel that King Solomon produced for export. I Kings 5:11 tells us that Solomon sent the king of Tyrus 100,000 gallons of oil olive. In the Temple of Solomon, the cherubim of the ark were made of wood of the olive tree and covered with gold. I Kings 6:23. And the interior doors of the Sanctuary were also made of olive wood.
The Mount of Olives, in the eastern part of the Old City of Jerusalem, was full of olive trees, it was there that Jesus spent most of his time with the disciples. The Garden of Gethsemane which is located in the lower part of the mountain in Hebrew literally means “olive press”
In the Middle East, the Olive Trees have grown in large numbers. They are known for their resistance. They grow in very various conditions – on rocky soil or very fertile soil. They can face the hugging summer sun with little water; they are almost virtually indestructible. Ps 52: 8 But I am like an olive tree green in the house of God; In the mercy of God, I trust forever and ever.
No matter what the conditions are: cold, hot, dry, wet, stony, sandy, the evergreen olive will live and produce fruit. It is said that you can never kill an Olive Tree. Even when you cut or burn it, new shoots will emerge from its roots.
Scripture passages remind us that just like the olive tree, regardless of the conditions of life, we must stand firm in the presence of God. –Always green (faithful) and bearing fruit.
They can grow from the root and last up to 2000 years; it takes up to 15 years to give your first good harvest depending on your growing conditions, in drought conditions it can take up to 20 years for the first fruits. They do not provide high yield when grown from the seeds. Just as the vine requires “mother root” so does the olive tree.
They are very prolific when they are grafted to an existing root. You can graft another tree from a one-year-old bud and graft it into its bark and become a branch. Once the branch has grown enough, it can be cut in sections of 1 m. and be planted in the ground, and it is from these plants that excellent olive trees can be grown.
The very interesting point is that this branch that has been cut and then grafted comes to produce much more fruit than if it had been left intact.
That reminds us of what the Bible says; The natural branches symbolize the people of Israel. Those who turned away from that relationship with God were torn apart. Christians are wild branches that were grafted between natural branches to share with them the root and sap of the olive tree, which God has established. But if some of the branches were torn apart, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted between them and were made a participant with them of the rich sap of the olive root, Rom. 11:17, 19, 24.
Jesus is what could be called the mother root, which is referred to by the prophet Isaiah, Is. 11: 1,10.11 (speaking about Israel and the return of the branches that were torn off and grafted into its natural trunk)
1 And it will sprout a shoot of the trunk of Jesse, and a stem of its roots will bear fruit.
10 It will happen on that day that the nations will go to the root of Jesse, which will be set as a sign for the peoples, and their dwelling will be glorious. 11 Then it will happen on that day that the Lord has to recover again with his hand, for the second time, the remnant of his people that have been left of Assyria, Egypt, Patrons, Cush, Elam, Sinar, Hamat and from the islands of the sea.
The tree olive tree can live for thousands of years and is an excellent example of perseverance, stability and abundant fruit. We are linked to Israel through the root, and it is like our “family tree.” Ours in Christ cannot stand alone if it is not supported by that tree.
In Isaiah 11:10, we learn that the “Root of Jesse” and the old olive tree are one and are the same.
In the book of Revelation, 22:16, I am the root and offspring of David, the bright morning star. The root of the tree is the Messiah, whom we Christians know as Jesus.