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IN THE SCRIPTURES

In the Old Testament of the Hebrew Bible (Gen 8:11), Noah was given an olive branch by a dove after the great flood as a symbol of peace and love of God. In the book of Exodus, Moses explains that God expected olive oil to be used in various rituals that were performed by the priests of Israel. Olive oil was used as an anointing oil to be poured over the heads of Kings and priests that acknowledged their authority as an agent of God.  Many other references to olives are given in the Bible.

In Psalms 52:8 “But I am like the green olive tree in the house of God, I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.”  Psalms 128:3, "Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house; your children like olive plants all around your table."  Finally, Jesus was to spend his last day praying at the Mount of Olives garden of Gethsemane, in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. Jesus was arrested there, tried, convicted, crucified and later ascended to heaven, after his resurrection from the tomb.

The most striking use of the image of the olive tree in the Bible is in Romans 11 where Paul describes the relationship between Israel and the Church. In fact, the entire three chapters of Romans 9-11 are focused on this topic and culminate with the olive tree image. Accoring to Paul the olive tree represents the covenants and promises to Israel, growing from its holy Root, which is the Messiah, the Word of God.