Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Command the children of Israel that they bring to you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to make the lamps burn continually.” (Leviticus 24:1-2)
The seven branched lamp stand, the menorah, was to burn perpetually which is to say at all times and without interruption. The importance of this is accentuated when one realizes that the menorah, among other things, represents the people of God at large. In fact, contrary to popular opinion, the Menorah — not the Magen David (Star of David) — is the national emblem for the state of Israel. The point, then, is the command for the Menorah to burn perpetually hints at the purpose for God’s people — to be a light to the nations.
In the days of the Sanctuary, the responsibility to carry out this command was given to the priests. However, the duty to bring “pure oil of pressed olives” was given to the people at large. Without the oil, the priests would not have been able to perform their duty, which in turn implies that Israel could not serve her purpose. In short, everyone who was part of the larger community of believers had to do their part for the entire congregation to function as it was supposed to.
Today it is no different; we are all given the mandate to be a light to the nations and we must all do our part so that the Body of Messiah functions as it should. Therefore, just as the rendering of the pure olive oil was a community responsibility in times past, each of us are responsible to render “pure oil” in our lives. By that I mean, if we are to produce good fruit in our lives and, consequently, the fuel for the light, we must be squeezed and pressed. Just as Messiah went into the Garden of Gethsemane (“place of olive press”) before fulfilling His earthly mission, we also must allow the Father to squeeze and press our lives in order that “pure oil” is brought forth. It certainly isn’t an enjoyable process, but in the end, light will shine forth in and through us to the glory of our Father in Heaven.
Blessings and Shalom,