© 2000 Walter E. Gast
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Oak
The oak is a pagan symbol adopted by Christians to represent steadfastness and endurance, especially in the face of persecution. The oak was one of the trees traditionally believed to have provided wood for the cross.

Oil
Oil was used in the Old Testament as a sign of consecration to the Lord. It was symbolic of God's call and empowerment of persons for specific tasks. In a New Testament context, oil represents the Holy Spirit Who indwells believers and seals them in Christ.

Lev. 8:10 Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and everything in it, and so consecrated them. 11 He sprinkled some of the oil on the altar seven times, anointing the altar and all its utensils and the basin with its stand, to consecrate them. 12 He poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron's head and anointed him to consecrate him. 13 Then he brought Aaron's sons forward, put tunics on them, tied sashes around them and put headbands on them, as the LORD commanded Moses. (NIV)

1Sam. 10:1 Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul's head and kissed him, saying, "Has not the LORD anointed you leader over his inheritance? (n) (NIV)

Ps. 89:20 I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him. (NIV)


Olive
The olive branch is widely recognized as a symbol of peace. In the story of the Great Flood, a dove returned to Noah with an olive branch to let him know that the flood waters had abated, and that the episode of God's judgment was over. The olive tree produced great quantities of oil, itself a symbol of the Holy Spirit and His anointing, as well as of consecration to the Lord.

Gen. 8:10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. (NIV)

Lev. 8:10 Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and everything in it, and so consecrated them. 11 He sprinkled some of the oil on the altar seven times, anointing the altar and all its utensils and the basin with its stand, to consecrate them. 12 He poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron's head and anointed him to consecrate him. (NIV)


Ox
The ox is a symbol of strength, service and patience. It was sometimes used in Renaissance art to represent the nation of Israel. A winged ox is a symbol St. Luke because of his emphasis on Jesus' sacrifical atonement. (See also Eagle.)

Matt. 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (NIV)