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Sign of the Almond Tree

Sign of the Almond Tree

Further Thoughts on Tu B'Shevat...

The almond tree has special significance for Tu B'Shevat. The word for "almond" is shakeid (שָׁקֵד), which comes from a root that means to "watch" or "wake" (i.e., shakad: שָׁקַד). The almond tree is the among the first trees to "awaken" from its winter sleep... We therefore eat almonds (שְׁקֵדִים) on Tu B'Shevat to celebrate the return of spring.  In the Scriptures there is a play on words regarding the use of "almond" and God's "watchfulness" (i.e., faithfulness): "And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 'Jeremiah, what do you see?' And I said, 'I see an almond branch (מַקֵּל שָׁקֵד אֲנִי ראֶה).' Then the LORD said to me, 'You have seen well, for I am watching (כִּי־שׁקֵד אֲנִי) over my word to perform it'" (Jer. 1:11-12).

The blooming branch of an almond tree is breathtakingly beautiful - so much so that the LORD decorated the Menorah (מְנוֹרָה) with oil cups (i.e., gevi'im: גְבִעִים) in the shape of almond blossoms (Exod. 25:33-34; 37:19-20). Indeed, the Menorah itself is a symbol of the "Tree of Life" (עֵץ־חַיִּים) and therefore it is fitting to consider it during Tu B'Shevat as well. For more information about this, click the image below:


 

Finally, some have said that Aaron's rod (מַטֵּה־אַהֲרן) - the staff he used to perform signs and wonders during the Exodus - was made from a branch of an almond tree.... Recall that during the incident of Korach's rebellion, Aaron's rod budded, flowered and produced almonds overnight (Num. 17), which was symbolic of the power of the "resurrected priest of God" that was coming...



 

Just as God exclusively chose Aaron to minister before Him, so Yeshua was the exclusively chosen to be the greater High Priest of the New Covenant.  Regarding His priesthood "after the order of Malki-Tzedek," the author of Book of Hebrews wrote: "No one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was" (Heb. 5:4). And just as Aaron's lifeless rod miraculously brought forth life, Yeshua's cross -- likewise made of wood -- also "budded and produced blossoms" after His resurrection from the dead. Yeshua went into the sanctuary made without hands and there offered his blood to procure for us an everlasting atonement. His sacrifice as our High Priest gives us life from the dead! Under the terms of the Sinai covenant, "Aaron's rod" was a picture of God's authority and judgment, just the Messiah's cross and resurrection vindicates God's exclusive choice of Yeshua as our Mediator before God. Those who reject His choice will ultimately share the same fate as those who partook of Korach's rebellion (Jude 1:11).

Yeshua (alone) is Adonai Tzidkenu (יְהוָה צִדְקֵנוּ), "the LORD our Righteousness" and Tzemach Tzaddik (צֶמַח צַדִּיק), God's "Righteous Branch." Praise His Name forever.

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