Grain, Wine and Oil

I have been meditating on Joel chapter 2 over the last couple of days. What a great chapter of scripture it is. Like Numbers 11 (another of my favourites) it is a prophetic declaration of Pentecost and God's desire to fill all his people with an abiding anointing in the Holy Spirit.

There is plenty of other stuff in this chapter to get your teeth into too. There is the great promise of restoration: "I will restore the years the locust has eaten." And the signs in the heavens and on the earth (I'm still chewing over "blood, fire and billows of smoke" — fascinating imagery that I haven't worked out the full significance of yet. Answers on a postcard if you have any ideas — or just leave a comment below!)

But the thing that spoke to me from the chapter today was the great promise of abundant blessing: "I am sending you grain, new wine and oil, enough to satisfy you fully." Grain speaks of financial or material blessing (Lk 17:35 Lk 12:18, 2Co 9:10, 1Ti 5:18 etc) Wine speaks of the joy of life (Ps 4:7, Jer 48:33, Ecc9:7 etc) and oil speaks of the anointing of the Spirit (1Sa 16:13, Isa 61:1 etc, etc) It is thus a reflection of God's will to abundantly bless every area of our lives: materially, emotionally, and spiritually. Everything we need to be fully satisfied in life is found in God. He doesn't frustrate us (unless it is to provoke us to move on in his purpose for our lives) but he wants to satisfy us fully; to give us the desires of our hearts.

This theme of a blessing of grain, new wine and oil is one that reoccurs in scripture:

Ps 104:15 Wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.

May you know the Lord's abundant blessings in every area of your life today! Our God is good!


Matthew said...

Blood and fire immediately make me think of Moses and Elijah - these were 2 of the miraculous signs they worked respectively. And as these 2 men appear in type in Revelation 11 as the 2 witnesses (figurative of the prophetic church) and work signs of blood and witholding rain (another Elijah speciality) this would seem to tie-in.

I'll leave the billows of smoke to someone else!

Chris HH said...

Interesting, Matthew!

I had seen the connection between the fire and the billows of smoke (as the signs of the Spirit that led the people through the wilderness) but I hadn't seen the connection between the blood and the fire.

Now just need something to tie all three together! ;-)

Chris HH said...

Another two places where fire and billows of smoke are mentioned are: Sinai (Ex 19:18) and the altar of incense (Lev 16:13).

Both have to do with the awesome presence of God.

...come to think of it: doesn't blood, fire and billows of smoke represent the means by which the high priest could enter before the most holy God and not perish?

Might have something here! This is the same presence that is poured out freely on the day of Pentecost which Peter says fulfills the Joel 2 prophecy.

Ian said...

Hi Chris,
I don't profess to be a great Bible scholar (yet!) but Joel 2:25 does have a special meaning for me - it is the word brought to me by Steve at my Baptism in March and subsequently given to me again 1 month later by someone from another Church 150 miles away.
I prefer the New King James version
"So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust,
The consuming locust,
And the chewing locust"

Anna said...

hey chris! late comment but anyway very interesting! the grain image was wat caught me bcoz i had actually come across that a couple of times when i was going thru the prophets for my hs essay and always wondered wat it would refer to bcoz it was close to any ref. to the hs. so grt. and yeah! how does Luke 17:35 tie in with the image of grain standing for financial blessing? plz dont mind my novice questions

Chris HH said...

Hi Anna, thanks for the comment.

Sometimes grain is just grain! You have to be careful in exegeses that you don't see symbolism where none is intended. But equally you have to be careful in books like Revelation or Daniel, that you don't take things literally where they are intended to be symbolic.

Oh, and one further thing. Sometimes things can be both literal and symbolic! And even things which are symbolic need not always be symbolic of the same thing. (Take the symbolism of "yeast" in the gospels for a good example.)

How do you know which is which? First the context: Prophetic writings are heavy with symbolism. Parables on the other hand are generally intended to convey one main truth, and are not "allegories" where every detail is symbolic. Historical accounts are obviously literal, but may also contain prophetic symbolism behind the literal events.

Ultimately you have to weigh whether reading something as symbolic fits with the rest of scripture: does it illuminate a clear teaching of scripture you find elsewhere? And does it "feel comfortable" — this is a little hard to pin down, but what I mean is, you should never try to force the Word of God to say something it never intended to say.

...so a very long answer to a short question. I don't think "grain" in Luke 17:35 is symbolic of anything, and certainly not of financial blessing... but there may be revelation there I haven't seen.

Hope that helps.

Anna said...

hey chris! but if tht was the case why did u put it along with the 'financial blessing' interpretation bcoz i didnt quite get how the grain image in luke tied in with the interpretation of financial blessing. n e way thnk you for the reply

Chris HH said...

Ooops!! Well spotted Anna! I hadn't realised I had quoted that verse! I meant Lk 12:18 not Lk 17:35; I read the wrong reference from my concordance!

Weekend Fisher said...

Hi there -- really late comment but I only came across your blog today.

On the grain and wine, these are often associated with Christ/Messiah's blessing, just as the oil is consistenly associated with HS blessing. Jesus says he is the seed of grain that falls to the ground, the Lord of the Harvest, the bread of life, the true manna ... and then there's his Supper.

Take care & God bless

Chris HH said...

Weekend Fisher: Absolutely right; thanks for your comment.

Bread and wine definately speak of Christ and his covenant.

I wonder if wine and oil together are also significant? (Lk 10:34)

Tim Blake said...

I googled grain wine & oil and look what happens I end up in the blog of Chris Hamer-Hodges. It was encouraging to find your thoughts as I am preparing to call the Church to pray & fast next week. I found the passage to also have a literal significance in it's provision of the basic needs of this agrarian culture and found myself musing on what the parallel needs would be today. It was great to see you at Katherine Farrow's 40th- God bless the house of Hamer-Hodges.

Brad Clay said...

Then Nehemiah 10....
.......39 The people of Israel, including the Levites, are to bring their contributions of grain, new wine and oil to the storerooms where the articles for the sanctuary are kept and where the ministering priests, the gatekeepers and the singers stay. "We will not neglect the house of our God."

Now in return for his repeated compassion on us, time after time, we return to Him OIL,WINE and BREAD. especially those that serve the house of the Lord.

Thank you sir for your heart, for you have gladdened mine today.

blacktulipsjazz said...

goggled grain, wine & oil coz i missed my pastor's sermon on it last sun due to chix pox, unfortunately.

chanced upon ur blog & need to say that this is quite an interesting read! thx!

if u wont mind, i will put a link to your site on my blog. :)

Anonymous said...

i want to thank you for this blogpost as i have been trying to research what grain, wine and oil represents because my pastor preached about this last sunday and i had this feeling that grain wine and oil are not as literal as manna, grapejuice and anointing oil. so im really glad to have found this (even though this post is dated way back)!!! thank you :)

Chris HH said...

@blacktulipsjazz & serenemai:

Thank you both for taking the time to leave a comment. It's good to know that these old posts can still be a blessing.


Inbound links are always appreciated :-)

Meme said...

Thank you for posting about the grain, wine and the oil. In my studies over the past week I have ran across the new grain, new wine and new oil a few times and I wondered what was the significance of it. I am just now learning how to study the bible to teach the Word, so I tend to dig deeper to find the significance of things in the bible, especially in the OT. I will still talk to my Pastor about it, but what you wrote matches what I thought. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

The billows of smoke and fire cause me to immedietlly think of Moses and the children of Isreal; being led by the pillar of smoke by day and pillar of fire by night.....

Helen said...

Thank-you for your blog. I have been praying for my families salvation and God gave me Jeremiah as His word about bringing the family back to Himself and blessing them. It shared some light on the grain, new wine and oil.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your posts here. I would like to recommend using Biblestudytools.com and or Blueletterbible.com These online tools have greatly supplied the answers you are looking for. The Holy Spirit is our only guide in all truth. He will lead you in the Strong's Hebrew and Greek. The Bible's First Reference of any word is to be used in the context throughout the entire Bible. The smoke, fire and blood will be mentioned first in Genesis. It's context is how God and His Son made a Covenant with Abraham while he slept. The Covenant is between Jesus and our Father.

Anonymous said...

Thank you

Ana Lazar said...

I just recently came across your post while i was reading Numbers 28:26-31. In this particular text the "grain" is actually translated as "meat" in the sense of "feed" for humans. I find it interesting that there are quite a few explanations for "meat" in the Strong's Concordance. And the one in Numbers 28 is coded 3899 and 3898 which in Hebrew translates to: consume, devour, to feed on. So it's not actual flesh, but feed.
AND THIS is what got my attention and reminded me of John 6:53 where Jesus is talking about eating His "flesh", which we know He wasn't talking literal flesh, but that we are to feed on Him, get our nourishment and spiritual nutrition from and thru Him.
So when i read in Numbers about the "new grain", i understand it as the new spiritual feed we have through the new covenant provided by Jesus.
That is the harvest we are to enjoy, that is where we get our rest, and that is how and why we come together to worship (be thankful/grateful)

... now moving on to understanding the meaning and application of the bulls, the rams, the goat...

Joanne Perez said...

I was researching grain new wine and oil in the promises of God in Joel 2 as believing these promises for Jubilee for me and my family. I like the reference of grain speaking of a material blessing and new wine speaking of an emotional blessing and oil speaking of a spiritual blessing and this is the Trinity body soul and spirit and I love how the Bible ties everything together back to Jesus even in our blessings. The billows of smoke reminds me of 911 and the smoke coming out of the building and this reminds me of how God provokes us to turn back to him even through billows of smoke & fire like 911. I like the reference to the smoke as the pillar of fire lead them in the wilderness to God and the promised land which are the promises of God . And I like the comment of the smoke being in the tabernacle at the altar which is the presence of God . I like all the analogy of how God uses things to bring us back to him in repentance and then to give us the bread which is his word and provision and his promises of it . And these are the things that I'm claiming in Joel chapter 2 along with healing and complete liberation & set free indeed I am believing for me and my family as well as our country USA and all of our allies and the peace of Jerusalem. I like the reference to all these blessings being given at Pentecost and how Jubilee is like a super Pentecost when the Holy Spirit comes and gives us blessings not only for one year but also for the next 500 years for Jubilee not just 50 but 500 because of the four blood moons we had that only come every 500 years so I'm believing this to be a wealth transfer of all these promises coming upon those who turn back to God especially at such a time as this !