4. The Olive Harvest
Updated: Sep 2, 2022
This is the fourth Harvest.
This is similar to the wheat and the tares. It's been happening for awhile but the largest harvest is yet to come!
Possibly ends around Elul 29 (see calendar on Home page, desktop only) or the next Solar eclipse, Spring 2024.
What is it?
In Israel, there are three main "feast" days that are associated with three main Jewish holidays:
Barley = Passover = harvested in early Spring = the overcomers
Wheat = Pentecost = harvested in early Summer & Fall = main body of believers
Grapes = Tabernacles = harvested in mid-late Summer = hastening/unbelievers
Olives = Fall Harvest = Olive Press/Preserved or Scattered (connected with the Grapes)
The Olive Harvest represents the Atonement, stability, peace, immortality and the "olive symbolizes the eternal link between man and the earth." The olive tree can live almost indefinitely, even through flood, drought, sometimes even fire. Some olive trees that are still alive have been dated back to when Christ walked the earth about 2,000 years ago! The roots of the olive tree are thick and grow deep. The leaves of the olive tree do not turn or fall. They are evergreen. The "first fruits" of the olives could also be offered at the temple altar.
Olive branches were used as a wreath upon the heads of those getting married or on the bulls that pulled the carts of "first fruits" to the temple. The dove brought Noah a branch of peace from the olive tree. Olives had many uses besides food. Olives were made into olive oil which was used for sanctification (we use it for priesthood blessings,) rituals, balm of Gilead and to light their lamps. The olive "mash" or pulp that was left over after making oil was also used for light. This pulp was able to stay lit for many hours. Christ is our light. The word "Messiah" means "anointed one." To anoint was to use olive oil.
In Israel, olives are harvested for about 2 months starting in early Fall before the the Festival of Trumpets and last for the duration of the next few Jewish holidays after that. Olives are harvested in a few different ways. They place nets on the ground, below the tree. Then they pluck, use rakes on the branches, beat the branches with a rod and then physically shake the try as much as they can. This process represents the pain Christ went through on His way to the cross, and as He carried out the Atonement in a grove of Olive Trees (thus He himself was the olive tree.) In Aramaic, the word gethsemane means “olive press.”
In Jewish culture, olive oil represents purity as well as the outpouring of the Holy Ghost as said by Rabbi Cahn. We know that in the last days, the pure remnant of the church will have the Holy Ghost with them but he will be completely taken away from the world because of its great wickedness.
Before one can make olive oil, olives must first be harvested. Before Christ can put the church through the great Olive Press, He must first harvest the olives. This portion of the olive harvest is actually the same as the grape harvest. In Isaiah 63:3-4 and D&C 88:106, Christ says he has "trodden the wine-press alone," but the wine-press and the olive-press merge in allegory.
Truman G. Madsen who gave a fireside at BYU said, "It is one thing to take off one’s sandals and trample the grapes in the stone vat. It is another to be trodden upon, trampled, crushed until the very tissues of the heart cry out for relief and release and until “mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own” (D&C 88:40), “that he may know, according to the flesh, how to succor his people.” He is talking about Christ, of course. Christ was the ultimate olive "first fruit" sacrifice, so not only has he trodden the wine-press alone, he is also referring to himself as undergoing the olive-press; bleeding from every pore in that olive grove called Gethsemane.
Allegory of the Olive Tree
In the book of Jacob we have the "dreadful" chapters where he goes on (and on) about this olive grove with the master and his servants. Many Saints skip these chapters (I'm guilty of that!) However, when we go back, re-read and really examine this area, we find it rife with symbolism that tells the story of Israel through the ages, the earth's final destination, and the love that God has for them.
In this story, the tame olive tree, Jacob says, represent the house of Israel. This tree becomes old and starts to decay. The Lord of the vineyard (another reference to the merging of grapes and olives) does all he can to keep the tree healthy and bear good fruit. Here, God represents the master of the vineyard, decay is corruption or sin, and good fruit represents the righteous remnant. However, Jacob also talks about this master having a chief and his servants. The chief is Christ and His servants are the Prophet and Apostles.
Jacob's allegory is split into 7 sections.
1. The master sees his olive tree grow into a bad decay (David, Saul's time?). In effort to save the tree, the master cuts off the decayed branches and digs about the soil to add nourishment. It works a little bit as evident by a new growth. However, now the top of the tree begins to rapidly decay.
2. The master is grieved. He orders the servants to trim the top branches of the tree and cast them into the fire. Twice more in this section, the master shows his love for this tree by his grief at such an action. This could be representative of Israel being destroyed and taken captive by the Assyrians and Babylonians. Yet the master has prepared for this to happen and has taken a few young branches and has them grafted onto the trees in the "nethermost" part of his vineyard. Many Israelites were taken captive and carried throughout the lands round about.
Now, the master also had his servants graft a branch from a wild olive tree onto the old tame original tree in hopes that the healthy branch would save the tree. The Assyrians eventually brought gentiles to the northern land of Israel who adopted Israel's religion. They were known as the Samaritans.
3. After a long period of time, the master comes back to his vineyard and finds that the old tame tree brought forth good tame fruit despite the wild branch and that its roots grew strong. Perhaps this represents the tremendous growth of the church during and after the Saviors mortal life? Many gentiles and Samaritans were converted and lived the "gospel as though they had been born of Israel." Says Ralph E. Swiss.
The master reveals that the grafted branches from section two were put in the poorest area (wicked) but they still grew some fruit (the righteous perhaps of Nineveh and Babylon). He said there was a third spot of ground which brought fruit. Then a fourth spot was good ground, was nourished for a long time but still brought forth good and bad fruit but ultimately decided to wait a little longer before he destroyed the bad (perhaps the Nephites and Lamanites?)
4. The master comes back after a long period of time to see his vineyard in complete decay! The trees produced lots of fruit but non of it was good. The tree in the fourth spot had so many bad fruit that it made the good fruit wither away. This sounds like the great apostasy where the gospel was completely lost and the Holy Ghost was taken away.
The master weeps and asks his servants several times if there was anything more he could have done to save the trees. “Have I slackened mine hand, that I have not nourished it? Nay, I have nourished it, and I have digged about it, and I have pruned it, and I have dunged it; and I have stretched forth mine hand almost all the day long, and the end draweth nigh.” (5:47.) Such anguish!
5. The master ultimately decides to spare the trees a little longer instead of burning them. He has his servants to restore the natural branches back to their parent trees (restoring the Jews back to Israel?) In order to do this, the servants trim back the worst of the decay to make room for the branches. Even more servants are found to accomplish this great task (I think this represents Joseph Smith and the Restoration.)
6. After another period of time, the master comes back to his vineyard and sees that the fruit is good and is no more corrupt. He blesses his servants and the servants are eager to "lay up" the fruits for a long time. The master tells them that this will be the last time they labor in the vineyard (this is very clearly the Millennium.) A few different chapters in Revelation show the angels begging God to let them reap the harvest and God tells them that it is not time yet.
7. Here the master tells his servants that there will be a time when there will once again be bad fruit in the vineyard but that he will separate the good from the bad and then burn his vineyard to cleanse it (after the Millennium.) Here I think it is worth noting that this section should be number 7. The number 7 represents perfection or completion. It is often referred to as God's number and after the Millennium, the earth goes through its last cleansing and is made into a perfect Celestial realm.
Why is this allegory important?
We are the fruit. We get to choose to either be the good fruit or the bad fruit. We see what happens ultimately when we choose to be the bad fruit. The bad fruit gets cut away (separated) and burned. In the last days which are upon us now, the Lord will soon clean His house first.
More importantly we see just how loved we really are by that Almighty being. How he weeps and grieves for those who fall and stray into the corruption of sin. We also see a correlation between section 6-7 and the end times, that is, what process unfolds when the grape and the olive harvest is finished, to the end of the olive press and when Christ treads the wine-press alone - or when the wicked are destroyed and the world is cleansed.
Christ ever labors on our behalf to bring us to the fruitfulness of the gospel. He continuously gives us "second chances." He is continuously stretching forth his arms to us. Will we not run to Him? He is our peace and our safety. He is the anointed oil of the immortal olive tree in whom we can be blessed with that balm of Gilead for our souls. He is the olive wreath upon our heads, and the light of our life, through His everlasting gift of Atonement.
Now that we know the next sign to look for, read on to understand how important it is to make it through the Olive Press which will ultimately determine where we are during the Tribulations (or the first part of the destruction of the wicked.)
It is also time to focus on being physically and spiritually prepared. Make sure to take a look at the Readiness Checklists!