Sunday, May 20, 2012

Remember the Pomegranate!




Scripture

He also made two pillars for the front of the house, thirty-five cubits high, and the capital on the top of each was five cubits.
(2 Chronicles 3:15 NASB)
He made chains in the inner sanctuary and placed them on the tops of the pillars; and he made one hundred pomegranates and placed them on the chains.
(2 Chronicles 3:16 NASB)

 

Observation


The pomegranate appears several times in the old testament and its placement is interesting. Why include pomegranates hanging off the hem of a priests garment and now, while building the temple, why are there pomegranates as a part of the decoration?

 

Application

One of my favorite places in all the world is Armenia and I have been privileged to visit there on numerous occasions. I've always been curious about their attraction to the pomegranate. While there I am often served pomegranate, we drink pomegranate juice and the pomegranate is found decorating everything from china to fabrics. I was told that the pomegranate is a symbol of Armenia.

Because of the attention given to the pomegranate in Armenia, it strikes me every time I read it in the Bible. The Armenian people have such strong Christian and religious roots that their connections seem fascinating. Therefore I wanted to know why the pomegranate continues to appear in the Bible. It seems that there are several different theories. One is that the pomegranate is actually the fruit of which Adam and Eve eat in the Garden of Eden. Considering the fact that my Armenian friends are constantly reminding me that the Garden of Eden was in Armenia, this would be an interesting thought. Therefore, the pomegranate would be a symbol of the fall of mankind. Interestingly the word pomegranate from the Latin which means "seeded apple." In our ethnocentrism we have often made that apple a "red delicious" from the state of Washington found right there in the Garden! But wouldn't it make sense that it was a bright red "seeded apple" -- the pomegranate -- which is still found in that part of the world to this day! Therefore the pomegranate can serve as a reminder that mankind is in need of God.

Legend also tells us that when the Israeli spies went and checked out the land of Canaan they brought back with them all different kinds of produce from that land, and it included pomegranates. Now the fruit takes on an additional meaning. Not only is it a reminder that humanity needs God, but that God will provide. The land is full of God's promises, if only his chosen people will move forward in faith. Sadly they do not and that generation has to die off before they can enter the promised land and feast on the wonderful pomegranates.

Therefore the pomegranates in the Temple are a constant reminder to God's people. They are a reminder that they must continually turn toward God. They had turned away from him in disobedience in the Garden. They must seek the face of God on a daily basis. Also, as they feast upon the fruit they are reminded that it is God who has provided for them. God has brought the victories and the peace. God will continue to provide for them in the days to come.

We don't often fill our churches with symbolism these days. Maybe we're missing out on something! Maybe we need to have reminders around us, in the very ordinary things of life, that God has always been with us and has been faithful. Next time you go to the grocery story - remember the pomegranate; and remember there is a loving and faithful God who continues to reach out to all of humanity.


Prayer


Lord, thank you for your faithfulness day in and day out!

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