Among the many uses of olive oil in ancient times was its use as an anointing oil. In fact, olive oil continues to be prominently used in religious ceremonies in the Jewish and Christian churches to this very day.
The Bible describes many of the types of uses of olive oil, specifically its temple uses in Exodus.
Why use olive oil for anointing? There were a variety of reasons.
First and foremost, olive oil had a tremendous symbolic value to the Hebrews. It could indicate honor and joy. If you poured oil on another person’s head, you were wishing them happiness. This is described in numerous Psalms, such as Psalm 23, 92, 45, and 104.
Olive oil was also a symbol of life. A person who recovered from leprosy had to place olive oil on his or her right ear, right thumb, and right big toe after placing blood on each of those places. The oil would then be poured over the leper’s head as a sign of atonement before the Lord, a ceremony that is described in full in Leviticus 14. Jewish tradition indicates to us that the oil was symbolic of the leper coming back from “the dead,” as leprosy was essentially a death sentence and forced people to live a life apart from the rest of society.
Oil was also used for anointing because it was a symbol of divine blessing, which God would deny to all who were unfaithful (as described in the books of Micah and Joel).
Perhaps most important for the process of anointing, olive oil was also symbolically linked to the coming of the Spirit of God. God’s Spirit bestows the “oil of gladness” on all who morn, according to the Book of Isaiah. Therefore, anyone who is anointed in anticipation of a special task, an appointment, a baptism, or a confirmation is having the Spirit of God bestowed upon them. It is a way to equip the anointed one with the authority needed to fulfill a calling or a specific responsibility. Kings, priests, holy things, and holy places are all anointed, granting them with the Spirit of God.
My Olive Tree creates its own anointing oil, The King’s Oil, made from olives grown in our olive tree groves. For more information about the biblical history of using olive oil for anointing purposes, or to place an order of our own anointing oil, please contact us today.