Posted by: jiminmontana | February 1, 2012

Object Lesson “Pomegranate”: the Bloody, Living, pungent “Word of God”

BLESSING SAID BEFORE TORAH STUDY

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, asher kideshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu la’asok bedivrei Torah.

“Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Ruler of the universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to engage in words of Torah.”

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Pomegranate is a strange fruit, isn’t it? Thick skinned. Sweet. Sour. Hard to eat – messy and stains your clothes permanently. Powerful, pungent flavor. Nutritious “superfruit”. Blood-red juice. Seeds that are individually wrapped in clear capsules. White septum connecting it all together. Fruit that ripens at the onset of Winter. Stains hands, lips and teeth.  (Big thanks to Alfred Edersheim‘s life of writing about all things Jewish)

THE WORD OF GOD

Tradition has it that pomegranate is God’s object lesson which points to the Word of God. As with any parable, consider the natural qualities of the fruit that we can study and understand, then transfer those insights to our limited understanding of “God stuff”.

But first, let’s establish that the Bible has quite a bit to say about pomegranate and its mandatory use in the complex Jewish worship system as God required it.

The costume of the Jewish High Priest

Exd 28:31-35 ESV – “You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. 32) It shall have an opening for the head in the middle of it, with a woven binding around the opening, like the opening in a garment, so that it may not tear*. 33) On its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, around its hem, with bells of gold between them, 34) a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, around the hem of the robe. 35) And it shall be on Aaron when he ministers, and its sound shall be heard when he goes into the Holy Place before the LORD, and when he comes out, so that he does not die.

Cohen’s Garments

Pomegranates were native to the Land of Canaan, one of the blessed “Seven Species”

Num 13:23-25 ESV – And they (the Israelite spies) came to the Valley of Eshcol and cut down from there a branch with a single cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a pole between two of them; they also brought some pomegranates and figs. That place was called the Valley of Eshcol, because of the cluster that the people of Israel cut down from there.  At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land.

Belt Buckle for “mossad”

Deu 8:7 ESV – For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills,  a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey,

These are the “Seven Species” of Israel (Hebrew: שבעת המינים, Shiv’at Ha-Minim).

Eva’s love at first bite?

Pomegranates adorned the two entry pillars in the Temple which Solomon built

 1Ki 7:13 ESV – And King Solomon sent and brought Hiram from Tyre. 14) He was the son of a widow of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in bronze. And he was full of wisdom, understanding, and skill for making any work in bronze. He came to King Solomon and did all his work. 15) He cast two pillars of bronze. Eighteen cubits was the height of one pillar, and a line of twelve cubits measured its circumference. It was hollow, and its thickness was four fingers. The second pillar was the same. 16) He also made two capitals of cast bronze to set on the tops of the pillars. The height of the one capital was five cubits, and the height of the other capital was five cubits. 17) There were lattices of checker work with wreaths of chain work for the capitals on the tops of the pillars, a lattice for the one capital and a lattice for the other capital. 18) Likewise he made pomegranates in two rows around the one latticework to cover the capital that was on the top of the pillar, and he did the same with the other capital. 19) Now the capitals that were on the tops of the pillars in the vestibule were of lily-work, four cubits. 20) The capitals were on the two pillars and also above the rounded projection which was beside the latticework. There were two hundred pomegranates in two rows all around, and so with the other capital. 21) He set up the pillars at the vestibule of the temple. He set up the pillar on the south and called its name Jachin, and he set up the pillar on the north and called its name Boaz.

2Ch 3:15-17 ESV – In front of the house he made two pillars thirty-five cubits high, with a capital of five cubits on the top of each. 16) He made chains like a necklace and put them on the tops of the pillars, and he made a hundred pomegranates and put them on the chains. 17) He set up the pillars in front of the temple, one on the south, the other on the north; that on the south he called Jachin, and that on the north Boaz.

Jer 52:21-23 ESV – As for the pillars, the height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits, its circumference was twelve cubits, and its thickness was four fingers, and it was hollow. 22) On it was a capital of bronze. The height of the one capital was five cubits. A network and pomegranates, all of bronze, were around the capital. And the second pillar had the same, with pomegranates. 23) There were ninety-six pomegranates on the sides; all the pomegranates were a hundred upon the network all around.

Often mentioned in the Song of Songs

Sgs 4:3 ESV – Your lips are like a scarlet thread, and your mouth is lovely. Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate behind your veil.


Sgs 4:13 ESV – Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates with all choicest fruits, henna with nard,
Sgs 6:7 ESV – Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate behind your veil.
Sgs 6:11 ESV – [She] I went down to the nut orchard to look at the blossoms of the valley, to see whether the vines had budded, whether the pomegranates were in bloom.


Sgs 7:12 ESV – let us go out early to the vineyards and see whether the vines have budded, whether the grape blossoms have opened and the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love.


Sgs 8:2 ESV – I would lead you and bring you into the house of my mother– she who used to teach me. I would give you spiced wine to drink, the juice of my pomegranate.

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It being established that pomegranate is mentioned in Scripture (and more importantly the IDEA of pomegranate being used symbolically in Scripture) —  let’s consider the physical nature of that wacky fruit, its nutritional aspects, and tie it all into this idea that Pomegranate is God’s object lesson to teach us about the Word of God.

NUTRITION: Pomegranate is considered to be one of the most healthful fruits you can eat. It appears on the coats of arms of {link} the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Physicians of London and is the logo for the Millennium Festival of Medicine.

Royal College of Physicians

Pomegranate is considered a SUPERFRUIT. Beyond flavinoids, the fruit contains phytonutrients that we humans really need to survive. (Please allow my degree in Cellular Biology to serve you here.) Pomegranate is loaded with antioxidants (polyphenols) which are able to donate an “extra” electron to a radicalized molecule (usually oxygen) which will have “unnaturally” high chemical reactivity in our bodies, causing damage.

Considered to be the primary cause of aging in skin, free radicals bond to collagen molecules, making the molecule less flexible and distorting its shape which leads to wrinkles and sagging – in general, a less cohesive skin quality. More importantly, radicalized molecules screw up the process of DNA replication by reacting chemically with too much power – considered to be a leading cause of cancer.

Having an abundance of antioxidants in the body at all times to “calm” these wild molecules is extremely important and can only be done by having a diet rich in these nutrients.

The Word offers a similar “nutrient effect” on our souls. Something we cannot make for ourselves, we need the Spirit to impart a curative effect in who we are as humans. We all have these “problemed” or “radical” aspects of our natures which have a malignant quality. Being a result of the Fall, these “free radicals of the soul” are in a state of LACK. Just as a radicalized oxygen atom needs one more electron to restore its full quota, each person has areas in the soul that are lacking a full measure of health.  This lack makes us dangerous and hurtful to all.  And we cannot fix ourselves.

Don’t make me crawl over there!

However, like eating nutritious antioxidants, we need to latch onto the Transcendent source of wholeness – which is Holiness. Prayer helps. Godly fellowship helps. But how can we know what proper prayer really is without the Word to guide us? How can we know what godly fellowship really is without the transcendent Truth to light the way? We need the Word.

Our God is always waiting for us (although he is the King of the universe, He is – sadly and amazingly! — just like the Humblest of Servants) that we should ask and receive. The Word has all the “extra electrons” you or I could ever need to calm and resolve those “free radicals of our souls”. The Great Physician is ever the Gentleman, and He will not force His way into your life (or a certain area of your life) without your permission and request.

TOUGH SKIN AND STAINS: Pomegranate is by no means a “soft fruit”. It’s not easy to open a pomegranate. You really do need a tool. If you use your hands alone, you are in for a big mess and much of the fruit’s juice will be wasted. A little paring knife is not much help; you need a heavy chef’s knife to start the process. Watch the video here of the proper way to cut open and eat a pomegranate.

Both ends of the fruit need to be cut away. Then score the skin of the “seed-apple” into four quarters. Then put the fruit under a large bowl of water and carefully break it up into four workable pieces. Take a piece and carefully, but firmly, work your thumb between the rind and the seeds. The seeds will begin to fall out and sink to the bottom of the bowl and very little of the juice will be lost. Rolling the blobs of seeds between your fingers will release them as individuals, and the little guys will also sink. What floats on top is the bitter pith of the pomegranate which can easily be removed by decanting off the extra water above.

Each seed is surrounded with juice, but because each seed and its juice is encapsulated in a transparent skin, the water stays clear and no juice is lost. Without a bowl, many of the seeds would land on the ground. Without the knife, many of these capsules would be ruptured and the juice would be lost to you. Worse, you would be wearing it. The juice stains natural fibers with a permanent red or purple hue. Your hands will get over it, but skin will be stained for at least a day. A wooden cutting board is a mistake.

Don’t try to come at the Word of God with only your natural powers of understanding. Your Fallen, human spirit can never understand or appreciate the things from Above. It is only the Redeemed life that can apprehend the Truth. (And who can comprehend it fully?)

The knife we require is, again, the Spirit of God.

Eph 6:13-20 ESV – Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Hbr 4:12-13 ESV – For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

From these key verses, we can now that the Spirit of God is all about the business of piercing, cutting and dividing asunder.

This Sword really is a dangerous thing.  It is understandable why so many souls hate it.  Why are we surprised?

SWEET AND SOUR: A big swig of fresh, undiluted pomegranate juice will knock your socks off! It is an acquired taste. Some people can’t handle it. It is almost impossible to find pure, unadulterated juice in the store. Not many people want it. But it is sweet and it is really good for you, so it’s found everywhere, but not in its natural form.

That’s how it is with the Word and much preaching today. It’s all over the place, but often watered down and “flabby”.

Rev 10:10-11 ESV – And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. 11) And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”

The Redeemed prophet, St. John, received the Word and was initially elated. What a joy that must have been to receive communique directly from none other than the Resurrected High Priest from Heaven, the “angel of the Lord” so often met in the OT.  John’s heart must have jumped a beat. You and I have received just the script of his narrated experience.

But then the realizations came to him. The realizations of what all this would mean – the consequences. At this point in the Revelation, there are a LOT of crazy-bad days on the horizon for the world of men. Suffering is assured, or God’s a liar. We read of the Fall of mystery-Babylon and how much pain the hearts of men can endure while remaining aloof from the Lord.

Rev 18:2 ESV – And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.
Rev 18:7 ESV – As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, ‘I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.’
Rev 18:8 ESV – For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”
Rev 19:1 ESV – After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
Rev 19:2 ESV – for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”
Rev 19:17 ESV – Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God,
Rev 19:18 ESV – to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.”


Rev 19:21 ESV – And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh
.

about to be eaten

Yep.  ALL the birds.

This is a passage that most people want to avoid. It’s a message from God about judgment and gore. And the multitude of glorified Saints in heaven are totally JAZZED about it! It’s both a sweet and a sour passage – and that’s just the way it is. So everyone stop perforating your Bibles and start to study the whole thang!  (me, too)  When we finally obtain the “mind of God”, we will know that everything He ordains in this life (Noah’s Flood, the Crucifixion, and our trials) really are all for the Good.

It is very unnatural for me to call that day “Good Friday”. What a terrible travesty, that the only Innocent Life in the history of the world should die so horribly. But what comfort this black day gives for Sinners like me. The sweetness and the sourness are inseparable. They are one and the same.  Hallelujah!

TOO MUCH? Too much of a good thing is still too much. Those suffering from constipation will find a ready cure in too much pomegranate juice. Quaff a pint of pure juice and catharsis is assured.

Can you get too much of the Word?

Of course you can. That’s why I am not a big advocate of the annual push to “read the Bible through in a year”. How can anyone really read and apply eight chapters of Scripture in one sitting? I know that I can not do it.

The Word so often needs time to “ferment” inside of us to really change us. Over and over, we learn that the proper method is to “meditate” on the Word, as a cow chews the cud. We need to “ruminate”.

This is gross, but a cow has four stomachs – needful to properly digest tough, fibrous forage of the field. This is coming from a farm-raised guy here, so know that cattle tend to graze in the morning while it’s cool and there may be some dew on the ground. The fodder goes into the first stomach where it is held. Once full, cattle lounge around together in the shade and ruminate. Proper amounts of “cud” are called up – back into the cow’s mouth – and chewed some more. Digestive enzymes are incorporated and then the mouthful is swallowed into stomach number two which permits complete digestion.

When really learning Scripture, it’s a process of assimilation. And so many of those passages are “tough” for us to assimilate. Bible study needs to include memorization in the brain, but – certainly – application to the soul. The Word of the Spirit comes at us as ink on a page – as “words”. Those words are transformed into the Word when the Spirit is involved and FAITH is added. When the words become the Word, that’s when the Lord is working on us (through the Spirit) and our human spirits are inspired to make our languishing souls become righteous (we are being sanctified). This transformation is also a goal of preaching. Both the speaker AND the parishioner have responsibility in this transformative process at church services.

Considering the costume of the Jewish High Priest

Tradition (reliable) has it that there were seventy-two (72) pomegranates and the corresponding number of bells made of gold (source, Edersheim’s “Temple: Its Ministry and Services”). This dark blue ephod was outer-wear, worn outside the white linen tunic which all priests wore and was unique to the high priest. Also, the ephod was not low to the ground, but ended just below the level of the knees. Being made of pure gold, the bells would have been rather fragile. Moreover, the sound that emanated from the lower part of the priest’s body as he walked would have been rather mellow – not at all the higher pitch of a brazen material.  It is supposed by many that the fabric pomegranate next to each bell served as the “knocker” — that a gold knocker to swing and chime from inside each bell was not the means of sounding the bell.  This would have made the sound even more mellow and soft, even though the pomegranates were sewn very tightly.

Those who were outside the Most Holy Place on the annual Day of Atonement would listen for the sound of those golden bells as the High Priest performed the duties of his office. Much more importantly, God, Himself, would hear this soft sound of gold – and not strike a Fallen man dead upon this mortal’s requirement to enter the throneroom of God on earth.

Gold was the only metal that God would accept.  Gold is the metal which represents Divinity.  It is a truly “precious metal”.

It does not tarnish.  It remains beautiful, timelessly.  And it is highly malleable and ductile, even as the Lord has gone to great lengths to make us acceptable unto Himself through the Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Ascension of the Afikomen.  Ultimately, only the absolutely Perfect Man can enter that Courtroom with no fear of Wrath.  Because of His uniquely wrongful death (being Innocent), He is able to provide atonement for all of us.

Paul’s letter to the Romans includes this concept, pairing the idea of “walking” with the idea of “a good message”:

Rom 10:15 NKJV – And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

Again, this pairing is clearly made in the letter to the Ephesian church:

Eph 5:15-17 ESVLook carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

The King James uses the phrase, “See then that ye walk circumspectly”.  Although it’s not exactly paired to the Greek idea of “with care”, I like the notion of a “circular” concern as the HP would have had for the bells encircling the hem of his ephod.

Here we see that “how one walks” needs to be based upon wisdom – upon the known “will of the Lord”.  And the Redeemed soul can only obtain that from a prayerful study of the Word.

Finally, toward the end of that same letter, Paul wrote:

Eph 6:13-17 ESV – Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14) Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness 15) and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16) In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17) and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

Whereas the High Priest entered the throneroom of God with real trepidation (having a cord tied around his ankle so that his dead body could be safely retrieved in the even the Lord found unrepentant fault in him), the Redeemed saint today is beyond this dread. Read “Temple”, chapter sixteen, to learn how entailed this service was: the high priest washed himself many times, sprinkled blood some 43 times in differing manners, and entered the Most Holy Place exactly four times on that single day to perform various functions.  Unlike the HP, barefoot in the Most Holy Place, you and I will be on unhallowed ground out in the World which Satan calls his home — thus, we will need the right footwear.

Because the Blood has been shed once and for all by our True High Priest (of the Order of Melchezedek – not sinful Aaron who first made the Golden Calf), you and I are instructed to be BOLD, not fearful:

Hbr 4:14-16 KJV – Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Again:

Eph 3:11- 12 ESV – This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in Him.

Finally, let it be noted that Jewish tradition holds that the Pascal lamb of the first Passover in Egypt was roasted on a spit made from pomegranate wood, passing through the mouth to the vent. That lamb marked the salvation of the People from slavery in Egypt. The Lamb of God is our salvation from Sin and Death into a new Life that is born of the Spirit.

Blood at the four points of the Cross

Hbr 7:23-28 ESV – The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.

Edersheim points out that the Jewish high priest had to sprinkle the blood of the Atonement some 43 times, yet if one bit of blood had stained his clothing, that all would be for naught and God would not forgive the national sins of Israel for that year.

JEWISH TRADITION: Today, in Jewish culture, a Torah scroll is properly stored with a pair of hollow silver “pomegranates” called rimmonim placed over the two scroll handles on top.

rimmonim, “pomegranates” with silver bells & crowns

Also, a silver “yad” (right hand with finger pointing) is used when reading in public so as to keep ones place and not soil the scroll with a human’s touch.

Pomegranates were on the “tails” side of Jewish coinage after the successful Maccabean revolt:

Half-shekel coin after liberation

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LIFE: Each seed of the pomegranate is individually wrapped, yet part of a whole. Jewish tradition has it that a proper pomegranate will have 613 seeds, corresponding to the 613 rules in the Torah. (per Edersheim)

Lev 18:5 ESV – You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.

The Word does give us Life. And it is a whole. However, there is a strange challenge for us:

2Ti 2:15 KJVStudy to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

The Greek word here is ortho-tomeo – meaning “to cut straight” or “to divide correctly”. But the primary injunction is to STUDY. It is through hours of study over a lifetime of study that we learn how to correctly sort those parts of the Truth. There are individual “particles” of Truth that are interconnected. We have to learn where the associations are – how one part ties to another part.

And how pomegranates represent the Word of God.

GREAT WINE: I made a batch of pomegranate wine years ago and it was fantastic. Purple, sweet, sour, and bold – the best wine I had ever made. I’ve made pineapple, peach (never again – would not clarify), strawberry, and melon. Pomegranate is the easiest and best I know.

Sgs 8:2 ESV – I would lead you and bring you into the house of my mother– she who used to teach me. I would give you spiced wine to drink, the juice of my pomegranate.

When you and I praise the Lord in righteousness according to His Word, we are returning to Him the fruit of His salvation in our lives. No longer juice, this is the product of a fermentation within us that produces a joy-bringing concoction for our Groom’s delight. Unlike earlier passages, now the Bride has the fruit of maturity in the Word and is able to be unified with the King as His Queen and walk with Him as He desires: out of the wilderness.

by James Shaw Crompton

The Lord loves it when we “read” the truth of Scripture back to Him in praise when we are prayerful.  But it’s not just saying the truths back to Him.  It’s when you can honestly say that some aspect of His Nature (as revealed in the Word) has come through for you in real life, and the praise just comes out.  You say, “I knew it was true because it’s in the Word, but now I see it for myself.”  And in a manner of speaking, you join the prophet — and become a junior prophet as well.  As Moshe said,

Num 11:29 ESV – …”Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!”

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My Personal Suppositions (danger! danger!) on “Pomegranate”

The Western depiction of an APPLE as the fruit of Original Sin likely originated due to the similarity of the Latin word for apple and evil.  “By eating the malum (apple), Eve contracted mālum (evil)”, is a pun of the Roman church.  This similarity in words has done a great job of screwing up our idea of what the fruit really was here in the West.

If I had to guess, I would agree with others that the pomegranate was that fruit of Original Sin – the forbidden fruit of the Garden that brought Death and gloom to the world. All speculation, but here are my (logical?) reasons:

First, the law cannot save us. IF – that’s a really BIG IF – we were able to perform the righteous requirements of the Law, we would not die. But it’s too late. Only Yeshua was able to live under the Law and really Live.

It is the LAW that actually kills those who try to be justified by their own merits.

Lev 18:5 ESV – You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.
Neh 9:29 ESV – And you warned them in order to turn them back to your law. Yet they acted presumptuously and did not obey your commandments, but sinned against your rules, which if a person does them, he shall live by them, and they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck and would not obey.
Eze 3:21 ESV – But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.”
Eze 20:11 ESV – I gave them my statutes and made known to them my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live.
Gal 3:12 ESV – But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”

Rather, the law exists to make us aware of our sin-nature. This is a requirement for our repentance and a blessed thing.

Rom 7:5 ESV – For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.
Gal 3:11 ESV – Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”

It is the LAW that actually kills those who try to be justified by their own merits.  It is the rock by which our souls are stoned.

by Annie Vallotton

Second. I opine that the fruit that brought death to us all was not the SOFT variety. Being Sovereign, He could have chosen a peach or a pear. Then, just a nibble and BOOM – instant Damnation! I just find so much Grace in the Word and such a protective quality in the Character of God that I am against that. And I find the revelation of human nature to be so depraved and recalcitrant as to believe that when Chava touched the fruit and did not die (as her superstitious mind had imagined), that she was inspired from Below to rip open the toughest nut in the Garden.  Again, my conjecture.

caliente in 1956

Third. I see the two new sinners with red hands, bespattered all over by the prohibited poison of their spirits. Stain that ran down their chins and to their elbows. It seems to me that they really did need to hide from the Lord — that their hands testified against them.  That they were the first to have the Blood on their hands.

Rev. 13:8 “…the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

John 15:7-8 ESV – If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

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NOTES:

*Caiaphas, the usurper of Annas who was the natural descendent of Aaron and the proper high priest, wrongly judged Messiah as guilty of blasphemy and worthy of death under the Law.  Yeshua preferred to remain silent at the trial, but Caiaphas must have been wearing the garb (containing the Urim and Thummim, or were those lost to Babylon?) of his office when he adjured Jesus to speak.  Reliable tradition has it the only the Jewish high priest had the authority to command a defendant to testify against his own innocence in court.  No pleading the 5th.

When Messiah answered, the enraged usurper did tear his robes (always illegal for the HP) and likely destroyed that ancient Aaronic garb, thus ending that era and ministry.  See Lev 21

——————-

Why brazen pomegranates on the two pillars?  Why not gold also?

The two pillars with pomegranates at the entrance of Solomon’s Temple were brass/bronze, not made of gold.  The golden bells at the hem of the High Priest’s robes were there to “remind” God that this sinful man was entering the holy Throneroom of God on earth because the Word of God had mandated it as necessary for the limited, annual atonement of the Israeli nation.  That — one day — the God Man would enter the Throneroom of Heaven to make that atonement complete.  Yeshua offers a pure incense (Intercession) from the golden Altar of a divine and human Life.

Conversely, Korah intended to merit God’s favor when he offered incense from a brazen censer.  This was insulting to the Lord and Korah was dealt with in an extreme manner.  Brass is the counterfeit of gold.  It is God’s object lesson to depict Sin.  And it is always the metal of choice for dealing with Sin.   Everything in the Temples and Tabernacle that dealt with Sin was made of bronze.  (Korah’s primary sin was his evil desire to usurp Moshe.)  Much is made of Korah in Ginzberg’s “Legends of the Jews” — he’s a favored cautionary-tale.

Watch Your Brass!

Brass can take the Heat.  Unlike gold, brass is hard and inflexible — just like the Word when dealing with Sin.

When we wish to enter the Temple, it is only that the Word of God has dealt with us as Sinners.

When we wish to stand (as if where) in the portico of our Temple and properly deal with the Fallen world as we find it, we will be doing so between the two brazen pillars on either side.  Boaz means (in His strength) and Jachin means (Establishes).  The idea of “establishing” in Hebrew is an incomplete phrase and logically requires the notion of “a what?” and “a how?”  God establishes His Kingdom on earth (as it is in Heaven) according to His Counsel.  And only by the Strength of the Spirit.  Thus, Jachin’s full and “understood” name means, “He establishes (according to His Counsel)” as the Lord only does everything through the Word.

—————

Parenthetically, silver is the metal of Redemption.  The Redeemed saint is “semi-precious” in the economy of God.  (We do play second fiddle with Messiah as our Leader.)  Silver is depicts that reflective quality which you and I have:  the Source of our Joy is not within us, but (like the Moon) we are able to reveal to the World all the qualities of the God we know.  Others receive that revelation in a “second-hand” fashion at first.

Num 18:16 ESV – And their redemption price (at a month old you shall redeem them) you shall fix at five shekels in silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.

Half Shekel

1Pe 3:15 ESV – but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

So sorry to say that silver does tarnish to a black crud.  This “patina of the soul” tends to build up in the “scratches” and the “carvings” of who we are — our points of pain.  We must stay near the shop of our silverSmith to regain that polished and brilliant quality that is so often needful.  It is a process of loss to us as our substance is reduced by the friction of the cloth and the caustic dissolution by the Word.

I once polished the silverware for Mama — totally clean and like new for Christmas.  I couldn’t understand why she went bananas, but she was really mad at me.  Clean is good, right?  As an adult, I get it now.  A little patina does add “character”.  Strange, isn’t it, that even the Redeemed saints tend to prefer the company of other saints who are still retain an “interesting” and “human” quality of some remaining taint.  The “super-sanctified” person is often marginalized, even in the Church.    (The reason for this must never be spoken aloud.)  We tend to prefer a bit of patina.

Nice patina!

————————————————————————————————–

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/pomegranates-the-crown-jewel-of-the-fruit-world.html

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/how-do-you-eat-a-pomegranate.html

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/health-benefits-of-pomegranate-juice.html

http://www.templesanjose.org/JudaismInfo/Torah/Torah.htm

http://asweetlife.org/a-sweet-life-staff/tips/food-nutrition-tips/rosh-hashana-and-the-pomegranate/10045/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Jewish_Revolt_coinage

http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/lookupname?key=Edersheim%2C%20Alfred%2C%201825-1889

http://www.justluxe.com/lifestyle/dining/feature-1669267.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_of_the_knowledge_of_good_and_evil


Responses

  1. [...] for the comments, folks.  I am glad to know that the recent post on “Pomegranates” was a blessing to some of you.  It did take a bit of time to put it together, but I know [...]

  2. this is so fun! and awesome! good job!!

    • Thanks Kiare. I’m glad you are diggin’ it! The two most popular articles have been regarding the Parable of the Pearl and Legalism. I hope that you are blessed. Subscribe if you want notice of future articles.

      JimInMontana

  3. [...] perhaps we need to compare apples to pomegranates instead of apples to apples (this is opening up a whole other Middle Eastern synchronicity [...]

  4. [...] http://jiminmontana.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/object-lesson-pomegranate-the-bloody-living-pungent-wor… [...]


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