Unfortunately, this merger of business and faith is a flawed one. The oilman has based his venture on a misinterpretation of Deuteronomy 33:24, "Of Asher he said, 'More blessed than sons is Asher; May he be favored by his brothers, And may he dip his foot in oil'" (NASB).
In this passage, Moses pronounces prophetic blessing on each of the tribes about to enter the Promised Land. The error in interpretation is two fold. First, and most importantly, it misunderstands "oil" to refer to petroleum instead of olive oil, the most common form of oil used in the ancient world. Ancient peoples had virtually no use for petroleum, and most didn't even know it existed. But olive oil was a staple of society. It was used for many necessities of life, from cooking to personal hygiene. It could also be processed into things like luxury bath items. To see here a reference to petroleum is to introduce an idea utterly foreign to Moses and gives a sense to the passage that he did not intend. While it's true that biblical prophets did not always understand all that they prophesied, in this case, the imagery Moses used was readily understandable in his own day. It's not a cryptic image at all.
Second, it misunderstands the reference to Asher's "foot." This is not, as the oilman has supposed, a reference to the southernmost tip of Asher's tribal allotment. It's an actual human foot. In this dreamscape, Asher is dipping his foot in olive oil luxuriant which could then be rubbed and massaged in to soothe his foot. The image is one of abundance, ease, and peace. He has so much olive oil that there's plenty to use for pampering his feet. His feet need not be hardened and crusty from much toil and travel. Of course, Asher himself had been dead for several centuries. Moses is using his name to speak of his tribal descendants. The thought is that the people of Asher would one day enjoy tremendous peace, ease, and comfort.
What saddens me most about Zion oil is that this well meaning Christian businessman has invested almost three decades of his life and money from his own coffers and that of investors in a misunderstanding of Scripture. Unfortunately, he's not the only one to be taken in by this misreading. He's made the rounds on various Christian television networks where's he's been applauded as a man of conviction (which he is) and faith (which is partially misplaced). Even some well respected pastors have been caught up in this misreading of Deuteronomy.
For what it's worth, I do think that the richness of this passage is something yet to be fulfilled. The territory of Asher was rarely ever under Israelite control. Joshua's forces never took the territory, and it wasn't brought under Israelite control until another 400 years in David's day. And even then they didn't enjoy the sort of abundance of which this imagery speaks. As a premillennialist, I believe this prophecy will find its fulfillment in the golden age to come.
Don't get me wrong. In general, I support the nation of Israel. If oil is found there, it could potentially become a positive game changer in the region. But if they find oil in Israel, it won't prove that Moses prophesied it. The interpretation of this verse in Deuteronomy--and every other passage in the Bible, for that matter--needs to stand on its own.
And this interpretation is on slippery footing.