The fresh olives fall onto large blankets spread below the tree. They are then gathered up and pressed with heavy stones to squeeze out all the bitter juices.
As part of the spiritual refining process, we also sometimes need to go through various trials and tribulations in order to squeeze out the bitterness within our hearts, so that the anointing may flow freely. Only then can we joyously bring healing and deliverance to others.
Oil for the Second Temple Menorah
When the courageous, Jewish freedom fighters, the Maccabees, reclaimed the Temple from the Greek/Syrian forces in the second century BC, its holiness had been completely defiled with idols—statues of Greek gods—and even with the blood sacrifices of swine.
The Menorah that God had commanded to burn perpetually before Him had been extinguished.
In order to restore the holiness of the Temple, one of the most important tasks the Maccabees set about to accomplish was relighting the Menorah; however, according to legend, they found only one vial of the precious olive oil—enough to last for one day.
The miracle of Hanukkah, which is celebrated each year in December, is that this little bit of olive oil lasted the full eight days, which gave them enough time to produce more pressed oil for the lamps.
What can we learn from this story?
One lesson seems obvious. We are to shine for the glory of the Lord and not allow the contamination and idolatry of the world to extinguish our light.
As well, there are times that each of us find, like the Maccabees, that our supply of oil is insufficient for our need.
When we draw close to God, we are continually filled by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), the giver of wisdom and special abilities. He will ensure an abundant supply.
“It is not by force nor by strength, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.” (Zechariah 4:6)
The Eternal Light (Ner Tamid), which was to be lit before the Lord inside the desert sanctuary, is perhaps also a metaphor for our own personal inner sanctity.
While our thoughts remain hidden and our actions are not known to all, God is continually present in our lives and sees all.
He wants us to put away sin and become clean and holy as He is holy, so everyone we meet can witness His holiness. Just as God’s Lamp burned inside the Tabernacle, His light should be burning brightly in the hidden places of our heart.
Holy Garments: The Armor of Light
“The LORD wraps Himself in light as with a garment.” (Psalm 104:2)
Parasha Tetzaveh describes the priestly garments (bigdei kehuna) that the priesthood is to wear when performing their duties in the Temple.
The kohen (priest) was required to wear a special head covering, pants, belt, and shirt—all white to represent purity. Each garment was designed to display the splendor, beauty and majesty of royalty.
Jewish tradition holds that when these priestly garments wore out, they were used as wicks for the Temple lamps.
Because Yeshua’s sacrifice gives us direct access to the throne of God, the apostle Peter states that Believers in Yeshua, Jew and Gentile, have a special status—a royal priesthood and a holy nation—and a specific task:
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
As royal priests, we are to be clothed in such a way that reveals a sense of awe, honor, and reverence for God. The apostle Paul connects our apparel with our behavior by telling us to put on the armor of light:
Let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah). (Romans 13:12–14)
How we appear on the outside is not what really counts; it is all about the condition of our hearts:
“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:14)
Indeed, the most beautiful attire is not found in designer clothes or the latest styles; it is the light of the Anointed One—Yeshua HaMashiach—shining from the inside of us for all to see.
This is the light with which Adam and Eve were clothed in the Garden. When we are clothed in His light, innocence is restored, and we are no longer alone since we have fellowship with God and one another.
“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Yeshua, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)