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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Almond flowers in the Bible: Do you know what they look like?


petals forward
Originally uploaded by curiouskiwi.

Exodus 37:17 He also made the lampstand of pure gold. He made the lampstand of hammered work. Its base, its stem, its cups, its calyxes, and its flowers were of one piece with it. 18 And there were six branches going out of its sides, three branches of the lampstand out of one side of it and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side of it; 19 three cups made like almond blossoms, each with calyx and flower, on one branch, and three cups made like almond blossoms, each with calyx and flower, on the other branch—so for the six branches going out of the lampstand. 20 And on the lampstand itself were four cups made like almond blossoms, with their calyxes and flowers, 21 and a calyx of one piece with it under each pair of the six branches going out of it. 22 Their calyxes and their branches were of one piece with it. The whole of it was a single piece of hammered work of pure gold. (ESV)

I was reading this recently, and realized that I didn't have a clue as to what almond flowers looked like. So I searched Flickr for photos. I found a lot of them. One was by curiouskiwi (who, as the name suggests, lives in New Zealand). I had had corresponded with her before, and seen her contributions in the help forum, so I asked her permission to use the photo above, which she graciously gave. (For some reason, her title doesn't show up. It is "petals forward.") You should be able to see as many of her photos as you want through the link given.

The English Standard Version of the Bible allows quotation in blog use, if referenced as I have done, in case anyone wonders.

Many of you will recognize the resemblance between the almond flower above, and apple, cherry, blackberry, and other members of the Rose Family of flowers. Members of this family have petals in fives, or multiples thereof, and the petals are separate from each other.

The calyx of a flower is the sepals, taken collectively. Sepals are usually green, and are usually outside the petals. There are five of them in almond flowers, and they are shorter than mature petals. If you look closely, you can see one or two of them between the petals of the flower above. (Clicking on the photo above should lead you to a larger version of the photo, if you are interested.)

There are a few other references to almonds in the Bible. The most notable is Numbers 17, which tells the story of Aaron's rod, which miraculously budded and bore fruit, signifying God's choice of Moses and Aaron for leadership.

This is one of an occasional series, based on my daily reading from the ESV Bible. The most recent post is here.

Thanks for reading, and thanks again to curiouskiwi and the ESV, also to an anonymous reader for a correction. Any blame or liability accruing to this post is mine, not theirs.

14 comments:

Julana said...

It is fascinating that the Bible is so rooted in the warp and woof of history, geography, and the real world.

Linda said...

Thanks for sharing the photo and related info. I was curious to find a picture of an almond flower and learn more information, having read about the biblical significance of almond flowers in a Bible study by Beth Moore (Living Proof Ministries/Houston, Texas)titled "A Woman's Heart: God's Dwelling Place" (particularly Session 5 on the DVD). Thanks to you for richly adding to my study.

Martin LaBar said...

I'm glad you found this post. Thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

Its Numbers 17 not Leviticus 17

Martin LaBar said...

Thank you, anonymous, whoever you are. I'll fix it.

Anonymous said...

YOurs was interesting, but what I am wondering is the significance of the almond. Not only did Aaron's rod bud and bloom it produced fruit--the almond.
Knowing God never wastes a word what is the significance of the almond? In today's healthy foods it is listed as having healing powers.

Martin LaBar said...

Thank you, anonymous. Perhaps God never wastes a word, but we don't always understand them, even so.

Term papers said...

Your Almond flowers in the Bible look awesome. just curious to know the procedure for creating it in your blog. Thanks for sharing it.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks for asking, Term Papers.

They are awesome. I can say that because I didn't take the photo, as the blog indicates.

I am a Flickr member, and Flickr allows you to add photos to a Blogger blog (and Blogger allows this, too.) Basically, you go to the Blogger html option, when you are creating or editing a blog post, and paste in the URL of the photo. This should work with more than Flickr. Flickr has a "blog this" option for members, too, but what I use is the All Sizes button, and go to the size I want, and copy and paste it in. I may need to adjust the pixel dimensions so that the photo fits in the blog well.

One advantage of doing this is that such photos don't count against your Blogger upload limit.

That's probably more than you wanted to know.

I asked permission of the photographer before posting this.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

If you count yhe cups, calyx and flowers each as one ornememt or decoration it is astounding what you find when you add up the ornements on the left and the middle (39). Then total the right side (27). This was an awsome revelation for me. After all it is a lamp

I believe the lamp in the center represents Jesus. This is a visual representation of the written word as well as the living word.

I'm sorry I can't help with the significance of the almond.

Martin LaBar said...

Hmmm. 39 and 27? Interesting. Thanks, Anonymous.

Hosea 8.12 said...

[Post 1 of 2] After earnestly studying the cycle of the almond tree over the past year, we share the following:

In the Word of God, people are compared to trees. Please read into the following parable: The almond tree is known as the watchful tree and is the first of the fruit trees to awaken from its winter slumber. Upon awakening, it clothes itself in white garments. Following pollination, firstfruits begin to emerge from the calyx and hastily grow over a course of weeks; in the Middle East a few of these firstfruits are handpicked (chosen) during this 1st harvest. The others remain on the tree to mature in the summer heat; the heat withers the flesh and exposes the seed inside. At the final harvest (2nd harvest), the tree is beaten causing the seed to fall to the ground. The almond tree is a humble tree; with the exception of the blossoming, it has no comeliness nor form nor greatness about it. There is nothing that makes this tree desirable except for what is gained at the final harvest - after it is beaten: a seed known as one of the world’s healthiest foods.

According to the Word of God, the almond tree is associated with the priesthood and righteousness: Aaron’s rod (branch), the lampstand in the holy place (menorah), Jeremiah's vision, Mountain of Almonds (Mt. Sinai in Midian).

Visualize Moses and Aaron (the ones sent to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt) holding onto a rod (branch). As long as they were holding on to the branch, they were able to perform signs and wonders (Aaron's branch is later revealed as a blossoming almond branch). As long as they were holding onto the branch, the waters obeyed them. Through the branch in their hand, salvation was brought to the children of Israel. They were brought to Mt. Sinai in Midian also known as Mountain of Almonds (Jabal al-Lawz). There are prophecies of a Righteous Branch who would come forth (Isa 11, Jer 23, 33, Zec 3, 6). When the Righteous Branch walked on the earth, He performed signs and wonders. The waters obeyed Him. He brought salvation. If we hold on to the Righteous Branch, then we receive salvation and shall also be able to perform signs and wonders.

Regarding the timing of the exodus…something we were to remember for generations to come forever: It is interesting to note that the time that the dead and the living (dead bones of Joseph and the living children of Israel) were brought out of Egypt was on the 1st Day of Unleavened Bread during the month of Abib. Abib may indeed correspond to the awakening & blossoming of the almond tree. There is mention of another time the dead and living will be brought up. (Remember that our Heavenly Father follows cycles and patterns.)

(continued in next post)

Link to presentation detailing the cycle of the almond tree: http://www.righteousbranch.org/prodigy-of-the-almond-tree.html

Hosea 8.12 said...

[Post 2 of 2] Consider the menorah: a golden blossoming almond tree. However, instead of producing the fruit of an almond, the menorah produced the fruit of light. The Righteous Branch said that He is the light of the world. Like the center branch on the menorah, if we are a branch that is grafted into Him, then we shall also produce the fruit of light. (Thy Word is a lamp to my feet and a light unto my path.)

Consider Aaron's rod (branch): it budded, blossomed and yielded ripening almonds. This signified who the Most High chose to come near and serve Him. The almond tree can produce sweet or bitter almonds. Sweet almonds are known as one of the world's healthiest foods. Bitter almonds contain poison that may produce death if too many are ingested. In the Word of God, rebellion (unfaithfulness, disobedience) is associated with bitterness (see Strong's H4784, H4805). Faithfulness and obedience seems to be associated with sweetness as "Thy Word is sweet as honey". If the priesthood is sweet or faithful, they will lead the people to walk in faithfulness to the commands. If the priesthood is bitter, they will lead the people astray and cause spiritual death. As King & High Priest in the order of Melchizedek, the Righteous Branch will establish the kingdom of God on the earth…a government administered in justice and righteousness.

It seems that the blossoming of the almond tree marks the beginning of the cycle of a year as the light of dawn marks the beginning of the cycle of a day. Everything in the Word of God revolves around agricultural cycles. The timing of the awakening or blossoming of the almond tree is towards the end of the winter season (the night season). The Bridegroom comes like a thief in the "night". Like the almond tree, we are to remain alert and watchful...which is what the word for almond means in the Hebrew. And the shape of our eyes gives us a hint as to what we are to be watching! Also consider that the Righteous Branch is called the Prince of Peace. As the white blossoms fall to the ground 5-14 days after awakening, it is as if they are laying down a white carpet for the coming of a Righteous King. (the season of winter is a season of peace.)

May each of us continue to grow in grace and knowledge of The Righteous Branch...remain watchful and alert…and produce the fruit of light!

Link to presentation detailing the cycle of the almond tree: http://www.righteousbranch.org/prodigy-of-the-almond-tree.html

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks for your extensive comments, Hosea 8:12.