And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually. (Exodus 27:20)
The oil that was to be presented by the children of Israel, according to the Hebrew word used, was to be “clean, transparent” olive oil. It was to have no foreign substance or sediment within it, which suggests it was to be pressed, not crushed. Rabbinical sources teach that the olives were gently pressed and that only the first drops of oil were collected. In a sense, the oil that was to serve as the fuel for the light was the “first fruits” of those olives.
Considering that God’s people are to be the light for the nations, the picture that is presented in this is that, as a priesthood, we are to remain pure. We are not to be contaminated with the ways of the world nor allow our fleshly desires and inclinations to find its way into our service to God. Furthermore, the pure olive oil reminds us that, just as Messiah was pressed in Gethsemane (which is literally, “the olive press”), we must be willing to be placed in the Master’s press. By enduring the tests and trials He orchestrates and allows, we exude the pure oil He is looking for and that can serve as the fuel for the light that the nations need to see.
Our willingness to die to self, not only benefits us individually, but potentially brings light to others. When we are willing to live according to His standards and allow our flesh to be pressed, squeezed and denied its desires, we produce what is necessary for others to see the light that shines from within us and upon us. In our selflessness, we glorify our Father in Heaven and shine a light on the one and only path that leads to life.
Blessings and Shalom,