Olive Oil

Part of the beauty of the Olive Tree consists in its greenness, it is always green; few trees that bear fruit are like the Olive in this respect. (5)

Olive oil is produced by growing olive trees [see graphic above], harvesting the olives (at around September time frame), crushing them with an oil press, and collecting the golden juice. This process started about 5000 years ago, and its popularity and worth have increased ever since. Olive oil was used as cooking oil, food, lighting fuel, soap making, religious ceremonies, and medicinal use.  Its production was one of the major sources of income in Israel over thousands of years, including in modern times when olive oil is an essential ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine. During the Roman and Byzantine periods, the number of oil presses was in the thousands; many farmers had their own private installations, and larger public industrial complexes generated a vast amount of olive oil. (3)

“The olive oil production process was based on two major steps. The first step involved crushing the olives using a crushing stone and then collecting them into a basket. The second step is done on another installation: the basket is pressed with force, extracting the oil out of the crushed olives and collecting the juice into a storing vat. There were different types of machines that were used to crush the olives and then press the oil out of the crushed olives. They differed in their size, method of operation, use of human or animal power, infrastructure, and capacity. Most of the oil presses had a single crushing stone and basin, and one or two pressing devices.” (3)

The olive crusher (graphic above) used a large rolling stone to crush the olives.  The stone was held upright by an axis, which was connected to a long handle. The handle was pushed by humans or animals. The mashing stone rolled along a cavity on the circumference of the base, crushing the olives. The crushed olives would then be collected into a basket and then further processed by the olive press. (3)

The olive press device was the second step in olive oil production, where the crushed olives were pressed with force in order to extract their juice. (3)


“This is a typical lever-based oil press (see graphic above) which was in use in the Biblical periods. Later the oil press evolved into other types of machines. In this oil press, a stone weight was tied to the edge of the wooden lever, pushing the lever down. The use of a lever exerts a large force over a small distance. The force of the lever pushed a flat stone down on a basket, which contained the olives. The stone squeezed the basket, extracting the precious olive oil unto the round grooves of a basin stone. The juice flowed down along these grooves, out through an outlet in the basin, and down into a collecting vat. The olive juice contained water and oil. After a few days, the lighter oil in the juice floats above the water, and it is then collected and stored in jars.” (3)

In biblical times there were three pressings of olives during this process, each with a unique application:  

  • First Pressing Oil – Used in lamps of the temple to provide light (Exodus 27:20), the anointing oil (Exodus 30:24, James 5:14), and for meal offerings (Leviticus 2:4-10),
  • Second Pressing Oil – Used as a medicine for healing (Isaiah 1:6, Luke 10:34),
  • Third Pressing Oil – Used to make soap, by mixing with an alkali, for cleansing (Job 9:30. Jeremiah 2:22. Malachi 3:2).

Typological Meaning of Olive Oil in the Menorah

Typological Meaning of Olive Oil in the Meal Offering

Olive oil was also used for incense in the Hebrew sacrificial and offering ceremonies (see table below).

The bread dough for a Meal Offering (1) was to be mixed with olive oil, beaten and pounded (1) into the desired shape, and then baked in an oven.

If it was an unleavened “cake,” it was to be “mixed with oil”.  If it was an “unleavened wafer”, it was to be “anointed” with oil.

  • “Mixed with oil” is a picture of Jesus who was born without sin and filled to all fullness with the Holy Spirit.
  • Smeared with oil is a picture of Jesus “anointed with oil,” upon coming up out of the waters after being baptized by John. At that time, The Holy Spirit rested ON HIM (poured over Him as oil) without measure! 
You love justice and hate evil. For this reason God, your God has anointed you with the oil of joy, elevating you above your companions. (Psalm 45:7 NET)
You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness. So God, your God, has anointed you over your companions with the oil of rejoicing.” (Hebrews 1:9 NET)
And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 13:52 NET)

The very same force that energized Jesus and gave Him life can energize us and give us life; the very same force that caused Jesus to be fruitful can cause us to be fruitful, as long as we abide in the vine and receive the oil. What a wonderful wonderful lesson! (4)

Feasts, Festivals, and Important Occasions of the Biblical Covenants Series:
– The Spring Festivals:
– Seven Church Conditions during the Times of the Gentiles:
– The Fall Festivals:
  • The Feasts of Israel – Trumpets
  • The Feasts of Israel – Atonement
  • The Feasts of Israel – Tabernacles

(Peace, Wholeness, Success)

Dear friend, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. 
(3 John 1:2 NET)

(1) Select the link to open another article in a new tab with additional information.



(4) Rogers, A. (2017). Study of the Tabernacle #5. In Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive (Ex 25:31–37). Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust.

(5) Keach, B. (1856). Tropologia: A Key to Open Scripture Metaphors (p. 680). London: William Hill Collingridge.

Hal has been teaching the Bible for over three decades. Presently, He desires to honor Jesus Christ through this Internet teaching ministry, thereby glorifying the Heavenly Father in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. He believes, second to cultivating his relationship with God that raising his family unto the Lord is the most significant task for him while on Earth. Furthermore, Hal believes that being a successful leader in the church or workplace is no substitute for failing to be a successful leader at home.

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