The first olive harvest and the extraction of the precious olive oil is a time of celebration among Israeli Arabs since time immemorial. Arab communities celebrate by gathering as families, friends, and communities to enjoy a lovely meal together and to enjoy the yield of the olive tree.
Olive oil is used for many important purposes like cooking, salad dressing, preserving, as well as anointing oil in churches. Olive oil also carries great significance in Biblical events, especially when Jesus was suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion. Gethsemane is pronounced as “Gatshmanim” in Hebrew which means “olive press.”
The suffering and pressure that Jesus was enduring in Gethsemane can be likened to olives being ground and placed under tremendous pressure until the oil within is released. Jesus’ suffering in the garden was so intense that He ended up sweating blood while in prayer to the Father.
During the production of olive oil, there are three phases during the extraction process. In Biblical times, the first pressing of the olives produced the highest quality oil, which was then used for service at the temple. During the second pressing of the olives, a half-ton of additional pressure was applied to the olives, and that oil was used for cooking purposes. The third and final phase involved applying another half-ton of pressure to the olives, and the oil that was produced during this phase would be used for lighting lamps.
We see this prophetic picture fulfilled as Peter denied Jesus three times. This “process” of Peter’s denial produced the Peter that we have come to know through his mighty exploits, like on the day of Pentecost, the miracles he performed, and through his epistles.
We also celebrated this wonderful harvest feast at Home of Jesus the King Church by having a delicious breakfast together with our church members. We enjoyed lovely Middle-Eastern cuisine together, along with freshly extracted and homemade olive oil. We ate together, enjoyed fellowship, and spent time in prayer thanking God for His provision.