My son Elder Himmer, who is serving in South Korea, sent me a few questions this week. The provided answer is to the question about the difference between the Garden of Gethsemane and Golgotha. This post addresses Gethsemane.
Jesus approached death on three occasions, the Garden of Gethsemane, the scourging, and on Golgotha. In Gethsemane He experienced death symbolically, however, no human can bleed at every pore and live. During the scourge, any human would have died. On the cross he permitted himself to die.
In Gethsemane, he typed of the olive. Under extreme weight and pressure, the olive yields up valuable fluid. Under extreme weight and pressure, Jesus bled from every pore. In Israel, the Olive tree reigns supreme, there is no equal. It is first mentioned in connection with the flood, the dove was released by Noah and returned to the Ark with an olive leaf in her mouth (Genesis 8:11). Therefore, the dove and the olive branch signify continuing life and peace.
- Olives are picked individually; Christ’s love is individual.
- Gethsemane means oil press, an agriculture meaning symbolic of the Atonement. The final hours of Jesus mortal life were like an oil press.
- Just like the fluid of the olive is pressed out by intense pressure of a crushing stone; Jesus life was harvested in Gethsemane and he was bruised (Isaiah 53:3) and his life fluid, or his blood was pressed out by the crushing weight of sin and the extreme pressure of spiritual agony.
- The olive pulp is bitter and removed during the pressing process; sin is bitter and the effects of sin were removed or pressed out (D&C 19:16-19) in the Gethsemane press.
- The processed olive oil is sweet; nothing is so sweet as being freed from sin (Alma 36:21).
- The initial color of olive oil is red when first pressed; the blood of the Savior and his interior clothing was red when he bled from every pore (Luke 22:44).
- As with the first advent of the Savior to earth, so is this symbolic of His Second Coming when His outer garment will be red (D&C 133:46-50).
- The process of the olive press is to increase pressure; so too, the pressure of Gethsemane increased with each subsequent prayer and the longer he was in Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36-45).
- The pure oil of the olive was used for healing to the physical body in the ancient world (Luke 10:34); the greatest healing ointment of all was the Atonement.
(Andrew C. Skinner, 2002. Gethsemane)