THE OLIVE TREE - ISRAEL
The Olive tree is on of the five specie that grow in the land of Israel which are, the Pomegranate, the Fig, the Date Palm, Grape Vines and the Olive (Deut.8:8; Haggai 2:19; Joel 1:12).
By divine decree, the Olive tree has been chosen by Yahweh God as the national emblem of Israel as it characterises their qualities.
The trees grow plentifully around the countryside and are known for their tenacity, as they grow in almost any condition upon the hills or in valleys, in rocky or fertile soil. They are able to thrive in great temperature extremes of cold and heat with a minimum of water, and are virtually indestructible. There are some trees in the land which have survived being destroyed by invading armies, that are over 2,000 years old. Even when cut down or burned, new shoots will emerge from its roots. No matter what the conditions, the evergreen olive tree will live and produce fruit which is a source of food, light, hygiene and healing. Their habit of growth gives them a form of gracefulness and character which sets them apart from other trees.
The first reference in the Bible to the olive is in the Ark. It was an olive leaf that a dove from Noah's ark brought to Noah, “Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth” (Gen. 8:11).
From the beginning of civilization, Olives have been eaten as a Mediterranean staple food and olive oil has been used for cooking, in lamps for light (Ex. 27:20, Lev. 24:2), for medicine, and for anointing oil in religious ceremonies (Ex. 30:24-25)
Olive oil was so plentiful in Israel that it was one of the products regularly exported. Solomon sent the King of Tyre 100,000 gallons (378,533 liters) of olive oil (I Kings. 5:11).
It was in the Garden of Gethsemane (Gat Shemen, literally, the place of the “olive press”), where Yeshua spent much of His time in Jerusalem with His disciples. “Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him” (Luke 22:39).
The primary characteristics symbolized by the Olive tree is fruitfulness, faithfulness and steadfastness.
Psalms 52:8 says, “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercies of God forever and ever.” By means of His grace, we are sustained by His Presence to remain fruitful, faithful and steadfast.
Psalms 128:3 says, “Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house; Your children like olive plants all around your table.” Again, a prophecy of fruitfulness like the olive tree, sending up many shoots from the parent tree to grace their personal altar to the Lord. Coming from their base or root, it symbolizes the blessing of them reproducing their faith and works in their children.
It is in Jeremiah 11:16, that Yahweh identifies the Olive Tree as the symbol of Israel. "The Lord called your name Green Olive Tree, lovely and of good fruit."
Hosea prophesies that in the end-time Israel shall once again be restored and its "branches shall spread; his beauty shall be like an olive tree" (Hosea 14:6)
Paul also in the new covenant uses this same analogy for Israel (Romans 11:16-21).
Rom.11:16 "For if the Firstfruit is holy, the lump also is holy, and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 7 But if some of the branches (of Israel, the Olive tree) were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them, and became partaker with them of the root of the richness of the olive tree; 18 don't boast over the branches. But if you boast, it is not you who bear the root, but the root you.19 You will say then, "Branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in." 20 True; by their unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by your faith. Don't be conceited, but fear; 21 for if God didn't spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you."