Friday, August 12, 2011

What is small and round and green and known the world over?

(Taken from "Strange Facts About the Bible" by Webb Garrison)

Olives grow only in comparatively narrow geographical bands. Small variations in temperature and annual rainfall are sufficient to make a region barren of olive trees. As a result, there are only a handful of countries that can produce the olive for commercial purposes. Yet, because of the Scriptures, every person in the world - even those who have never seen an olive tree - knows the significance of an olive branch.

Genesis 8 describes how God flooded the world because of the wickedness of mankind - only saving Noah and his family. When the floods abated, Noah sent out first a raven to see if it was safe to leave the Ark. Then he released a dove who returned to the Ark empty handed at first, but on the second release, the dove brought back an olive leaf. To Noah this symbolized the end of God's wrath and the beginning of peace - it was safe to open the door and view the cleansed world.

So today - the olive branch is universally recognized as the symbol of peace and reconciliation. It has been depicted in countless paintings and described in poems written in every major language of the world.

Gentle Readers - Peace and Hope for you.