When I was kid, dry-roasted peanuts were all the rage. My grandmother would buy them as a treat for me from the local produce stand. They were still hot in the bag when they were handed to me over the counter. Today, almonds seem to have taken over in popularity. As a natural snack, they have even been certified “Heart-Healthy” by the American Heart Association. Glazed with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, almonds can be found at concession stands at fairs, concerts, and sporting events. I guess you could say that the almond is the new peanut. So what do almonds have to do with Jesus?
There is a powerful Old Testament story in Numbers 17 in which God gave an important sign to the Israelites. When others challenged Aaron’s God-given authority, the rods (denoting power) of each tribe were laid up before the LORD overnight. Aaron’s rod, for the tribe of Levi, blossomed and brought forth almonds. This was God’s sign that the tribe of Levi was chosen for the priesthood.
What’s more, the LORD instructed Moses to fashion the sacred lampstands in the tabernacle after the almond. (See Exodus 25:31-40.) The ornate oil bowls of pure gold were modeled after the calyx of the almond flower, with buds and blossoms on the branches. Since God is very purposeful in His details, there must be a spiritual parallel to bring Him glory.
I’ve found that the characteristics of the beautiful almond tree itself seem to correspond to the character of Jesus Christ. Here are just a few that I’ve noted.
- The bearing age is 3-4 years. Jesus ministered on earth for three years before bearing our sins on the cross.
- The fruit has a dry woody husk which splits in two halves as the fruit ripens. This is reminiscent of the two wooden beam of the cross.
- They have very deep roots and can produce nuts for up to 50 years. The Year of Jubilee was celebrated every 50 years, when slaves were set free. (See Leviticus 25.) Christ sets us free from slavery to sin – Hallelujah!
- Finally, the Hebrew name for the almond is “the watchful.” Christ’s ministers should exhibit vigilance and a natural goodness. As His royal priesthood, we must continue to watch diligently and wait for Christ’s return.
Now that’s heart-healthy!
Later this week: Pomegranates!
Denckla, Tanya. The Organic Gardener’s Home Reference: A Plant-by-Plant Guide to Growing Healthy Food. Pownal, VT: Garden Way Publishing, 1994.
Genesis 28:19; 30:37