From one end of the Word to the other, we find mentions of oil. But what kind of oil were they using? And what makes oil so important?
Join us as we discover the biblical importance of oil and how it can benefit us today!
The Importance of Oil
In the Word, we find that oil can be used for a great many things. There was oil for anointing, oil for incense, oil for light, oil for sacrifices, oil for eating, and even the spiritual oils of joy and gladness. All of these oils played important roles, portraying heavenly and earthly value—acting as a ‘pathway’ to Heaven’s blessings, a gift from Heaven, and a valuable resource.
“Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering… oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense;”
—Exodus 25:2, 6
“Also you shall take… one loaf of bread, one cake made with oil, and one wafer from the basket of the unleavened bread that is before the Lord;”
Oil is mentioned over 200 times in the Word and is featured in both the Old and New Testaments—from Genesis to Revelation!
In fact, the first mention of oil in the Word was when Jacob slept at the place he renamed Bethel. There, he had a prophetic dream—of a ladder going to Heaven and the Lord speaking to him. When he awoke, he took the stone he had slept upon, and set it up as a pillar—a monument—pouring oil on it to consecrate the place as God’s house (Beit-El)…
“Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.’ …‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!’
“Then Jacob… took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it.”
Oil for Anointing
As with the first mention of oil in Genesis 28:18, oil was—and is—often used for anointing… a way to set apart what is holy and chosen by God from what is not, and sanctify.
“…And the Lord said, ‘Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!’ Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David…”
—1 Samuel 16:12-13
Oil was used to anoint Aaron and his sons, who were appointed as priests for the people of Israel.
Oil was used to anoint kings, such as David, who were chosen by God.
And—while not the same type of oil—oil was used to anoint Jesus… to prepare Him for the burial to come.
“…when Jesus was in Bethany… a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head… But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, ‘Why this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.’
“But… He said to them, ‘Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me… For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial.”
—Matthew 26:6-10, 12 (emphasis added)
In each use, the goal was always the same: to set apart for God, and strengthen the connection to God for His purposes. To break yokes. To bring forth healing, kingship, priesthood, sanctification.
Oil of Light
“…command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually. In the tabernacle of meeting, outside the veil which is before the Testimony…”
Oil was commonly used as a source of light for centuries. Yet, in God’s Word, it is often more than a mere source of light… it was used as a teaching tool by Jesus and even as light in holy places, such as the oil made according to God’s commands for light in His earthly Temple.
“…the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.”
“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all… arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough… but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
“Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’”
—Matthew 25:1-4 and 6-12 (emphasis added)
Yet, oil that was burned did not stop there. In the Old Testament—while not done for physical light—there were many offerings to God that were made with oil… and while the Levites—who were chosen of God—were given a portion so that they might serve God alone, most of the oil would be burned on the altar of the Lord. Bringing a spiritual light to God’s children.
Oil for Eating
Throughout the centuries, oil for consumption has been an important commodity on earth. It could be used to make bread, cook, or dip food in… and was a valuable and highly prized commodity—one which could be used to feed a family by its use or sale.
“So Elisha said to her, ‘…Tell me, what do you have in the house?’ And she said, ‘Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.’
“Then he said, ‘Go, borrow vessels… from all your neighbors—empty vessels… And when you have come in… shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.’
“So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her… when the vessels were full… she said to her son, ‘Bring me another vessel.’
“And he said to her, ‘There is not another vessel.’ So the oil ceased. Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, ‘Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.’”
—2 Kings 4:2-7 (emphasis added)
Olive oil in particular, due to the ability for olive trees to grow in the Promised Land, was greatly prized. And this oil, particularly olive oil, could even be used in certain circumstances to repay debts, instead of coins, silver, or other precious metals.
Today, olive oil is still used in many cultures and dishes around the world and is typically viewed as one of the healthier options. And while most of us view places like Italy as the best olive oil producers in the world, Israel is quickly producing some of the best olive oil available. Fulfilling the promises of God’s Word.
Oil has been an important commodity since biblical times… echoing God’s blessings, promises, and great love!
“…rejoice in the Lord your God… The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.”
Today in Israel, olive trees are being planted from one end of the country to the other—from the desert to the valley, and beyond. All the places where Jesus once walked, and will walk again, are coming to life through this planting in preparation for the return of our Messiah.
At My Olive Tree we are blessed to be a part of this preparation… and the sight of all these developing projects is incredible!
The knowledge that these projects are giving beauty and jobs for GENERATIONS to come, while ALSO fulfilling biblical prophecy AND preparing the land for the return of Messiah… well, that is extraordinary!
We thank you for being a part of answering God’s Kingdom call; may you be richly rewarded in Yeshua’s Name!