The olive harvest begins towards the end of October and continues about six weeks until the first week in December. On the biblical calendar, this falls after the Feast of Tabernacles. This is interesting because the Feast of Tabernacles is the feast at the end of the harvest. It, like the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Weeks, is a pilgrimage feast.
Exodus 23:15-16 NKJV 15 "You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt; none shall appear before Me empty); 16 "and the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread begins the harvest season with the barley crop, the feast of weeks continues it with the wheat crop and it culminates with the fruit of the vines and tress at the Feast of Tabernacles. So what is the deal with the olive harvest? Why is it after the Feast of Tabernacles?
Let’s look at the symbolic meaning of the olive tree and its crop. To start with, the word olive is the Hebrew word tiz Zay-yith. It is related to the word fz, ze’ev #2099 with means brightness. This makes sense since one of the primary uses of olive oil is fuel for oil lamps particularly the temple menorah. The word picture for the olive is “the weapon in the hand of the covenant.”
The olive tree is the symbol of Israel.
Jeremiah 11:16 NKJV 16 The LORD called your name, Green Olive Tree, Lovely and of Good Fruit. With the noise of a great tumult He has kindled fire on it, And its branches are broken.
A green olive tree is a righteous Israel. Yeshua called himself a green olive tree at his crucifixion referring to his own death.
Luke 23:28-31 NKJV 28 But Jesus, turning to them, said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 "For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!' 30 "Then they will begin 'to say to the mountains, "Fall on us!" and to the hills, "Cover us!"' 31 "For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?"
We said one of the main uses of the olive crop is for oil for lamps. The oil used for the menorah in the tabernacle had to be prepared in a specific way. It was to be beaten into a fine consistency.
Exodus 27:20 YLT 20 `And thou--thou dost command the sons of Israel, and they bring unto thee pure beaten olive oil for the light, to cause the lamp to go up continually;
Yeshua is, of course the light of the world! When He comes to reign, there will be no need for light from the sun. The light of the lamb will fill the earth.
But, let’s get back to the timing of the olive harvest and the connection with the feasts of the LORD. We saw that each of the pilgrimage feasts is connected to a harvest. The first two are connected with the harvest of grain, the last with the harvest of grapes. What do all three of these harvests, the grain, the grape, and the olive, have in common? They are all “messianic” crops. The presence of the blessing of these three crops describes the richness of the messianic age. Jeremiah writes that when Israel is once again in the land and walking with God, they would receive the blessing of the grain, wine, and the oil.
Jeremiah 31:12 BBE 12 So they will come with songs on the high places, flowing together to the good things of the Lord, to the grain and the wine and the oil, to the young ones of the flock and of the herd: their souls will be like a watered garden, and they will have no more sorrow.
Grain is used to produce bread. It speaks of life. During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Yeshua taught that a kernel of grain must fall to the earth and die to bring forth new grain.
John 12:24 BBE 24 Truly I say to you, If a seed of grain does not go into the earth and come to an end, it is still a seed and no more; but through its death it gives much fruit.
The grape harvest is a harvest of judgment. This judgment can be good or bad. The grape harvest is the time of God’s wrath, but it is also a time of celebration.
Revelation 19:15 BBE 15 And out of his mouth comes a sharp sword, with which he overcomes the nations: and he has rule over them with a rod of iron: and he is crushing with his feet the grapes of the strong wrath of God the Ruler of all.
Proverbs 3:9-10 NKJV 9 Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.
So, we see a progression: New life is given at the spring feasts with Yeshua’s death and resurrection. Judgment comes at His return at the Feast of Tabernacles. This is a time of joy for all who believe! What follows? The olive harvest! To understand the significance, let’s look at three signs Yeshua displayed as a testimony to His identity.
The first sign is turning water into wine at a wedding celebration.
John 2:3-9 NKJV 3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine." 4 Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come." 5 His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it." 6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, "Fill the waterpots with water." And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, "Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast." And they took it. 9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom.
John 2:11 NKJV 11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
The next sign was to heal the son of a nobleman.
John 4:47-54 NKJV 47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 Then Jesus said to him, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe." 49 The nobleman said to Him, "Sir, come down before my child dies!" 50 Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your son lives." So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. 51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, "Your son lives!" 52 Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him." 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, "Your son lives." And he himself believed, and his whole household. 54 This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.
The third sign is not labeled as such, but when we see the reaction of the people, we recognize it as the third sign. Yeshua multiplied the bread and the fish feeding the five thousand.
John 6:11-15 NKJV 11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost." 13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world." 15 Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.
Their response was to try to make him king! He turned water into wine which involves the grape. He multiplied the bread which involves the grain. But where is the olive? Oil is used to anoint a person for a specific task. In particular, it is used to transfer or confer authority. Aaron and his sons were anointed as priests; kings were anointed at their coronation. Joshua was anointed at the transfer of authority from Moses to him. The title “messiah” is the Hebrew meshiach #4899 meaning “the anointed one.” When Yeshua healed the nobleman’s son, He spoke words of healing with authority and the nobleman believed. When see this same word of authority when Yeshua healed the centurion’s son.
Matthew 8:8-10 NKJV 8 The centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9 "For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." 10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!
The centurion recognized Yeshua’s authority to heal!
Oil is not only associated with authority to act is also associated specifically with the act of healing. James tells us that when we are sick, we are to call for the elders and be anointed with oil.
James 5:14-15 NKJV 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
So what is this time of the olive harvest? It is the time of Messiah! Yeshua is the weapon in the hand of the covenant. The first appearance of a word is often important in the Bible. What is the first appearance of the olive? It is after the flood when Noah sent out the dove to see if the waters had receded from the earth after God’s judgment.
Genesis 8:10-12 NKJV 10 And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark. 11 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. 12 So he waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove, which did not return again to him anymore.
This was before God told the Israelites to renumber the months, so with Tishrei as the first month, the dove returned with the olive on the 17th day of Elul right before the fall feasts begin. On the 24th, Noah again sent out the dove and it did not return. Seven days later, on the first of Tishrei, Noah removes the cover from the ark!
Genesis 8:13 NKJV 13 And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, that the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and indeed the surface of the ground was dry.
Tishrei 1 is also the Feast of Trumpets which kicks off the feasts of Yeshua’s return. It is the time of Messiah!
During the time of Messiah, there is healing for the land and people. Ezekiel writes of the water that flows from beneath the threshold of the temple.
Ezekiel 47:8-9 NKJV 8 Then he said to me: "This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. 9 "And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes.
There is light to the world.
Isaiah 9:2-4 NKJV 2 The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined. 3 You have multiplied the nation And increased its joy; They rejoice before You According to the joy of harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4 For You have broken the yoke of his burden And the staff of his shoulder, The rod of his oppressor, As in the day of Midian.
Isaiah 60:3 NKJV 3 The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.
Isaiah 2:3 KJV 3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
What festival follows the Feast of Tabernacles? The Feast of Hanukkah! It is a reprise of Tabernacles, celebrating the rededication of the temple and observing the Feast of Tabernacles because they were unable to do so at the time commanded by God. The dedication requires oil—oil for the lights of the temple menorah. The lighted menorah has become the symbol of Hanukkah! The light of the world has come!
Shalom and be blessed
Dan & Brenda Cathcart
© 2014 Moed Ministries