Why are Almond Branches Important to God

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Bodhi_tree_foster_botanical_gardens_hawaii

Bohdi Tree courtesy of Nagytibi  with Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

Bohdi Tree is a sacred fig with heart shaped leaves. Three religions claim it Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. Many meditate around the tree to get in touch with their spirituality.  Themes of this run in my novel “The Grand New Delhi Escapade” and my second novel set in Hyderabad. As humans we need symbols to reach our spiritual self. The caution becomes not to make the symbol the GOD or gods (as India says). As stated in the first blog on trees Christians harp on the tree in the Garden of Eden. We seem stuck there. Maybe because as women we repeatedly each generation repeat the sin of Eve over and over again. I catch my self doing that and I hate myself for it every time since it started the process of humans to be out casts from paradise. That sin has never gone away or been solved. it plays out in our relationships  and our self images. More trees of spiritual significance exist besides those two trees named. Since we can not go back and undo Eve’s sin just maybe we can move forward to some of the other trees. We may find the beginning path of redemption there.

Jeremiah and Almonds

Almonds_macro_3

Via Wikimedia by Daniel Schwen

Jeremiah became known as the weeping prophet. He asked questions and then he lamented. Jeremiah lamented a lot since people sinned a lot. Born in a priestly family he gets chosen for prophet hood and the trouble began. He goes around pointing out the truth. People rarely want the truth. They often want the lie like Eve did. Eventually the lie lines up with other lies and builds an infrastructure of destruction that tumbles nearly everything good into chaos. The worse thing it does is burns out and uses up good people who care. During Jeremiah’s time and prophecy that is what happened. The lies all caught up to the institutions and everything fell apart. You cannot fix a lie. You get rid of it.

In the first chapter of Jeremiah, he and God known as the Eternal have a chat. Jermiah 1:11-13

The Word of the Eternal came to me.

Eternal:What do you see, Jeremiah?

Jeremiah: I see the branch of an almond tree.

Eternal: That’s right. From this know that I am watching over My Word until it is accomplished.

Why are Almond Branches so Important to God

Rose_ringed_Parakeet_in_bitter_Almond

Via Wikipedia by Jonathan Cardy

First off in the original language of Hebrew this set of verses has a word play going on. The word “almond” and “watching” are similar in Hebrew. Here the almond becomes a symbol for watching. Aaron’s rod in Numbers 17:8 had almond blossoms and it resurrected the priest of God. Parts of the candlestick for the ark of the covenant were made of almond by Moses. Almond trees symbolize awakening and spring. The Lord is letting Jeremiah know that He has spoken and will be the one guiding the application and accomplishment of what HE has spoken.

 

Jewish Symbolism

This is before Christianity so put your Jewish mind on. Almonds are eaten on Tu B’shevat which is the holiday that marks the new year for trees. The trees represent tithes. Later in Deuteronomy 20:19 trees represent a man in the field.

Conclusion

almond joy

Via Wikipedia  by Evan Amos

No specific New Testament verse says almond tree or almonds. You could speculate that the fruit on the tree in Revelation may be almonds. Almonds have spiritual significance and are associated with priests. Meditation under an almond tree is acceptable.  The next time you eat the candy “Almond Joy” know you are participating in a Jewish tradition.

 

 

Trees

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In my second novel draft  religion plays a more distinct role.  Sharlene and Sajiv begin to discuss more in depth his atheism and her Methodism. Sharlene fills the need to go back to church. Sajiv agrees to take her. In America an atheist would not be likely to do that but in India it is common. An atheist can explain scripture and religion to you as well even if it is the Christian faith. Then tell you what part they agree with and what part they do not agree with.

Along the way it lead to the subject of trees. In India the bodhi tree is sacred. It is in the family of fig trees. Buddha became enlightened there and so did Vishnu. I started thinking where are the trees of Christianity. Much of Sharlene and Sajiv’s discussion center around commonalities. Does Christianity have a sacred tree? The one that comes to most people’s minds is the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden where Eve gives in to temptation and then leads the husband Adam down that path. Since they sin together ( in marriage it shows what a grand bond they have giving literal visual “for better or for worse”) become banned from the Garden of Eden.

More Trees

The tree theme does not end there. Take a drive through scripture not only do we begin with the tree as in fallen sinful humans, in Revelation 22:1 -3 the curse of Eden ends by a crystal river with the tree of life ( the other tree nearby in the Garden of Eden) with its every month of fruit and leaves that heal the nations. It was the other choice Eve could of made. You see she did have a choice, an alternative to take right in front of her.

THE Tree

In between the Genesis Tree and the Revelation tree a host of extremely important trees exist tied to important concepts and themes of the bible. One of the most important of which is Jesus hung on a tree. The cross was made of wood. Everything about the crucifixion is important and had spiritual meaning.  Though most all agree that the cross was made of wood, endless arguments exist on what kinds of wood. Wood comes from a tree. Why would God allow wood to help murder His Son? Everything negative about the cross became a positive grace invitation so how do trees fit in all that schema. Hanging from wood (tree) how does that translate to grace? Jesus was a carpenter, made his living from wood and He is murdered on wood.

You Study and Decide

This is what I discovered. The Hebrew word for a tree is עץ (eyts, Strong’s #6086).The word עץ is a parent root (a two letter root) from which a couple of other words are derived. The verb עצם (Ah.Ts.M, Strong’s #6105) means strong and mighty, as is a tree. Derived from this verb is the noun עצם (etsem, Strong’s #6106), meaing bones, the “strong tree” of the body. Also, the verb יעץ (Y.Ah.Ts, Strong’s #3289) means counsel, to give support to another as the tree trunk supports the branches and leaves. Courtesy of Jeff Benner at http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/  Strong’s is a recognized resource for deciphering Hebrew at many bible study sites.

This site shows the use of the tree in the New Testament

https://www.gci.org/jesus/risen3

Was Jesus hung on a tree?

The New Testament uses the word tree five times to refer to Christ’s crucifixion on a cross (Acts 5:30, 10:39, 13:29, Galatians 3:13 and 1 Peter 2:24). Most of the time, the noun stauros(stake) and the verb stauroo (crucify) are used in connection with Jesus’ death. These two words appear 74 times in the New Testament.

One of the five appearances of tree occurs in Galatians. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us,” wrote Paul, “for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree’” (Galatians 3:13). Paul was quoting a phrase found in Deuteronomy 21:23.

Paul was referring to the Torah’s prescribed form of execution by stoning for blasphemy and idolatry. After being stoned to death, the person’s body was hung on a tree to show that the individual was under God’s curse. To the Jews, hanging on a tree had become a metaphor for an apostate, a blasphemer or a person under God’s curse. That’s how the Jews viewed Jesus (John 5:18; 10:33; Matthew 26:63-65).

Me again.

God transformed hanging on piece of wood being a curse to hanging on a piece of wood becomes the act that saves humankind’s soul. We are protected and prosper with trees. Science confirms that environmentally. Every day when you see trees you are seeing living grace at application level given to us by a living organism found in the Garden of Eden ordained by God Himself. It facilitated the murdering of His Son and yet the tree of death rotted and turned to compost to become life for some other plant. Christ does not die but resurrects and you could say the cross did too in a different form in the ecosystem. Some plant some where has the basic essential chemical components of the cross since the planet reuses that.

Assignment

 

I took a course in the Methodist Church for using Social Media for church. I have to do blogs on it. The blog here will take a research tangent for a short time on Trees and Scripture which will give me the knowledge for a good debate between Sajiv and Sharlene about Bodhi tree and about all the other trees God uses to give us grace, our daily bread with the very air we breath, and keep our planet cool with the trees taking care of carbon dioxide.