I was thinking on Friday about a discovery/connection I found as missionary reading about the Priesthood ordinance of consecrating oil. In the instructions, contained in the missionary handbook and the handbook of instructions for the church, it states that “One or more Melchizedek Priesthood holders must consecrate olive oil before it is used to anoint the sick or afflicted. No other oil may be used” (emphasis added). I thought about that one morning in my personal study, pondering the reasons why specifically olive oil was required. I reflected on the symbolism of olives in the scriptures: the olive leaf the dove carried back to Noah’s ship, bringing hope and comfort and deliverance; the parable/allegory of the olive tree and the family of Israel, in which all that are lost shall be gathered again; the mount of olives where Christ taught, and which also contains the garden of Gethsemane (meaning “oil press”) where He suffered and atoned for the sins of the world. In all accounts, the olive, to me, symbolizes Christ’s love and the eternal possibilities and hope that He brings into our lives. It is a reminder that He holds all powers of healing, whether physical, spiritual, mental, or emotional.
In my curiosity as I revisited this thought on Friday, I started to read about the uses of oil in temple rituals in the Old Testament. One verse that stood out to me was Leviticus 14:28:
And the priest shall put of the oil that is in his hand upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the place of the blood of the trespass offering (emphasis added)
Of course, this spiked my curiosity again, recalling that olive oil is a symbol for Christ. I thought about the night He was betrayed, how Christ healed the right ear of the servant who had come to arrest Him. I thought about the wounds still present in our Risen Lord’s otherwise perfected hands and feet. Wounds He has retained as a reminder to each of us we are not alone in anything we go through (see Jeffrey R. Holland, “Teaching,
Preaching, Healing,” Ensign, Jan 2003, 42, or Book of Mormon Student Manual: 3 Nephi 11:14-17).
These are the kinds of adventures we can have all the time as we study the scriptures. They truly talk of Christ, rejoice in Christ, preach of Christ, and prophesy of Christ (see 2 Nephi 25:26). Sometimes it feels like the end of Tangled, when Rapunzel finally learns who she is, and starts to see the suns all over her room and her paintings.
That is the spiritual eye-opening we can have as we learn more about Christ. As we look for it, we will start to see the Son everywhere, not just in ancient texts, but in the world all around us, in all we do, and may even (hopefully) find traces in ourselves.