WAS JESUS CRUCIFIED ON A DOGWOOD ? – LEGEND OR MYSTERY OF “THE RED HEIFER”

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Ephesians 2:6-10 KJV

As Easter is fast approaching us, I often wondered what the cross that Jesus was crucified on was made of.  I always heard it was Dogwood, but as I searched I found out other wise. But it is in awe that whenever Easter is, whether it falls in the month of March or April, the dogwood blooms always around Easter. I found this article and found it interesting and thought I would share it with you.


Legend of the

Dogwood Tree:

True or False ?


Quick-read this article:
There is a beautiful story about the dogwood tree being the wood used for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The story, generally told at Easter when the dogwoods flower, adds that Christ caused the flowers of the dogwood to be a reminder of the cross on which He died. He allegedly did this by giving the flower two long and two short petals, and to have what look like nail prints on the petals to remind us that Christ suffered on the cross with nails through His hands. The story is quite remarkable, but unfortunately the legend is not true.

Trunk of dogwood tree Cornus floridaTHERE is a commonly told story that the dogwood tree was chosen as the wood for the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified.

The 3-verse story goes like this:

The Legend of the Dogwood

“When Christ was on earth, the dogwood grew
To a towering size with a lovely hue.
Its branches were strong and interwoven,
And for Christ’s cross its timbers were chosen.

“Being distressed at the use of the wood,
Christ made a promise which still holds good:
‘Never again shall the dogwood grow
To be large enough for a tree, and so,
Slender and twisted it shall always be,
With cross-shaped blossoms for all to see.

“’The petals shall have bloodstains marked brown,
And in the blossom’s center a thorny crown.
All who see it will think of me,
Nailed to a cross from a dogwood tree.
Protected and cherished this tree shall be,
A reflection to all of my agony.’”

Pink dogwood

The pink dogwood is said to represent the blushing of shame for shedding innocent blood. The weeping dogwood represents a heartfelt cry over this tree’s being used to crucify Christ.

Reminders of God

Dogwood pink flowerGod has placed many reminders on earth that should cause us to glorify Him for His wonderful greatness, mercy, and love. Dogwood flowers can do just that.

But we should keep in mind that there is nothing in the Bible about Christ being crucified on a dogwood tree. There is not even any mention of dogwoods in the Bible, even though the word was in use at the time the King James Version was produced in AD 1611.

And there is no reputable record anywhere that Christ cursed the tree from which the cross was made to cause it to shrink forever after, or that He changed the appearance of the flowers to remind us of His death on the cross.

In fact, the only records we have of anything Jesus Christ ever said are in the Bible. The only tree the Bible records Him as cursing (for want of a better word) was the fig tree in His illustration of the importance of faith (Matthew 21:18-22). And that was a single tree that had no fruit — it did not affect the whole species or genus of fig trees down through the ages worldwide, as the dogwood story does.

Consider also that Christ knew He would die on the cross to pay for the sins of mankind and was willing to do this. Why then would He be “distressed at the use of the wood”? That doesn’t make sense.

Legends sell

We spoke to a guide at a large city botanic gardens, who told us that guides often repeat or embellish stories about plants in the gardens to make the visit more memorable for visitors. Legends sell. Many plants have stories associated with them, but reliable information on the origin of the stories is hard to find. People repeat them without checking their accuracy.

The dogwood legend almost certainly originated in North America — it fits the flowering time, the language, and the American folk-myth style.

We could find no reference to the dogwood legend before the 20th century. It appeared in The Victoria Advocate newspaper on Sunday April 18, 1954 (page 3B), and obviously had a history before this, but we could find no ancient records of it.

Dogwoods don’t grow in Israel

To further check an essential detail of this story, we contacted the Information Center at the Ministry of Tourism in Israel to find out whether dogwoods actually grow in Jerusalem, Israel, or the surrounding areas.

Their reply?

“No, the dogwood doesn’t grow naturally in or near Israel. It is native to Europe, eastern Asia, and North America only.”

Gospel in the flowers?

Certainly some of the ingredients of the dogwood story can be used to remind us of Christ’s death on the cross: The petals in a shape of a cross, the centre as the crown of thorns, and the holes at the petals’ edges can remind us of the nail prints in Christ’s hands.

But we should never attribute the words or the curse to Christ when the evidence for this does not exist.

 

In my opinion, without going into too much detail, it is generally accepted among Christians that the Jewish sanctuary and it rituals pointed towards the coming messiah, Jesus. With that in mind, while I was studying the book of Numbers, chapter 19, about the “Red Heifer” and the “water of cleansing,” it says, “This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:” Numbers 19:2 KJV  A heifer is a young cow that has never borne a calf. God directs that a red heifer be found that was unblemished, with no defect, and that had never had a yoke upon it. “The priest is to take some cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool and throw them onto the burning heifer” Although, it’s not a definite answer, and it’s not what is important when speaking of what Jesus did for us, I believe this may have been the Biblical indication that the cross was probably some type of cedar. When the heifer was killed, it was first taken outside the camp. Jesus, too, was led outside the walls of Jerusalem to die. The Bible says, “For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.” Hebrews 13:11-12 KJV  Then the heifer was burned completely, while Eleazer tossed cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet material into the fire. These are the same three materials used in the cleansing of the leper, which we examined back in Leviticus 14. The Bible says, “And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper; Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:” Leviticus 14:3-4 KJV  Notice the three materials present at the death of the heifer: cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet. As we learned in our study of the cleansing of the leper, the wood represented the cross, and of course hyssop was present at the crucifixion, when we read in the Bible, “Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” John 19:29-30 KJV  But what does the scarlet represent? When twins were being born to Tamar, we read in the Bible it says, “And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb. And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first.” Genesis 38:27-28 KJV  In the book of Joshua, we read that Rahab hid the two spies in her house before the destruction of Jericho. The Bible says, “And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear. Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee. And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him.” Joshua 2:17-19 KJV  So in Joshua 2, the scarlet cord was an escape from death and a mark of deliverance. And in Leviticus 14, the bird from the heavens was fastened to the wood by the scarlet string. All three of these foreshadowing’s point to Jesus Christ, He is the firstborn from the dead, He is our escape and deliverance from death, and these were the things that held Him to the cross. You can read the Bible several times and you can interpolate however you want, it only matters when you finish reading the Bible and the outcome is the same, that Jesus Christ is Our Savior. So why not open your heart up today before it is too late, because He is the One that died on the cross and shed His blood to pay for your sins so that you could have that free gift of eternal life. Amen

By: Jeff Ellinger

 

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One Response to WAS JESUS CRUCIFIED ON A DOGWOOD ? – LEGEND OR MYSTERY OF “THE RED HEIFER”

  1. Rose says:

    …I believe in God and all its unconditional love and if were open to receive and reveals to us in nature. Hope faith and forgiveness…the tales of the Dogwood tree….just like the one set of footprint in the sand is when he carried you thru. You will know it and feel it speak to your soul and awaken you. Not all of God’s plan is revealed in the Holy Bible its the experiences that we must go thru with Him and never lose faith and remind us of his love struggles and patience’s just like the phases of the Dogwood tree blooms.

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