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

April 6, 2011

“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

 


CHRISTY NOCKELS – “HEALING IS IN YOUR HANDS” – ( PASSION )

March 23, 2011

BEING PATIENCE WHILE BEING WITH A PATIENT OR BEING A PATIENT !!!

February 28, 2011

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus.”

Romans 15:4-5 KJV

What a tongue twister for the title of my blog today. The reason for it being called,  PATIENCE/PATIENT, is because my grandson had surgery this morning. It was just a simple out patient surgery on his ears.  He had to have tubes put in them for he was continually having ear infections. So here is one PATIENT or Being With a PATIENT. As far as the PATIENCE goes, that is where I come in. I contentiously pray to God to help me with my PATIENCE, and I am getting better at it. You see with an early appointment at 7:00 this morning, you would think things would be a little faster since it is just the start of the day for the Doctors. But to no avail, we still played the old waiting game while Noah, my grandson was very irritable and cranky along with loud crying. So the 7:00 turned into 8:00 this morning. So my PATIENCE was starting to wear thin and Satan was trying his best to get at me, but I was able to control myself. While I was there at the hospital it gave me a chance to visit my uncle Charles, who was in intensive care, and this is the second PATIENT. After a short visit with him to make sure he was going to be okay, I managed to give him a Tract that I had made. And I also wanted to make sure that he knew Jesus Christ in his heart and knew Him as his Savior and He alone would help him through this difficult time. The bible says, “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”  Mark 11:24-25 KJV  For the morning went and Noah’s surgery was a success and hopefully my uncle Charles will get better soon. All left now is just keep praying to God and thanking for the many blessings He gives us. And also to pray for the healing process for both of the PATIENTS. The bible says, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8 KJV  If God the Father is the same today as He was yesterday – and if He was healing people back in the past in the Old Testament days – then this means that He can and will continue to heal today. This is why divine healing is still for everyone in this day and age. The gift of healing did not stop after the first set of apostles left the scene. So with God in you life all things are possible. So don’t wait any longer if you don’t have Jesus Christ in your life. Put your Trust and Faith in Him now, because He is the one that put all of our sins on the cross to pay our penalty so that we could have the free gift of eternal life. Amen

By: Jeff Ellinger

 


A FIRM HANDSHAKE WITH A WARM SPIRIT AND A BROAD SMILE

February 27, 2011

The best thing about Sunday is going to church

Today in Church wasn’t much different as usual, but I took notice to some of the handshakes. As an usher I normally stand at the back of the Church before the service starts and greet people as they come in. Everyone has different emotions as they walk in. Some of them give you a smile, some a nod, some no expression at all. But most of them shake your hand and greet you with a smile and sometimes start-up a brief conversation. For some reason today I got a lot of FIRM HANDSHAKES. This tells me a lot about people and the Church. The Unity of the Church. The definition of unity is being in agreement, harmony, the state of being united, peace, solidarity, and wholeness. Unity is one of the highest priorities of a Church. Everyone acting the same way in a worship service does not necessarily constitute unity. More accurately this would be uniformity. The bible does not state that we must all act the same way in a group worshiping setting. It’s okay to desire and express your love to God in a demonstrative way. But sometimes things are like a clock pendulum and sometimes it swings to far in one direction. Some people are rebellious to certain changes in Church. Like if your Church decides to go with a contemporary style service, as through new songs and such, rather than the traditional style with the older songs that they may have grew up with. The Church is only trying to reach out to the younger generation and grasp their attention with the contemporary style. This still concerns me with to older generation in their stubborn way. It’s my opinion, remember I said “My Opinion”, that the Church should mix it up a little to remedy the solution of both the young and old. The bible says, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before” Philippians 3:13 KJV What Paul is stating here is, turn your back to sin, greed, negative influences,and emotions of the past, but only to pursue the goal to know Christ. It all boils down to the word, UNITY. The main purpose is to worship and pray in unity to God as a Church family in the house of the Lord. Another good scripture to relate to this is, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14 KJV  So in other word, as long as the Church is a good bible teaching Church, and they teach about Jesus Christ, there is only one goal. And that goal is believing in Jesus Christ and having Him in your heart as your personal Savior. And everything else seems just trivial, not important or very little importance. So if you don’t know Jesus Christ in your heart and have Faith and Trust Him to be your personal Savior, now is the time. Don’t wait any longer because with Jesus in your life things seem to go so much smother and He is always with you to lead you. Amen

By: Jeff Ellinger


TRANSGRESSION, TO BRING IN EVERLASTING RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND TO SEAL UP THE VISION

February 23, 2011

Today’s Devotional


Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”

Daniel 9:24 KJV


Thoughts on Today’s Verse…..

This is possibly one of the most abused passages of the old testament. As you read through the passages (9:24-27) There are a number of important facts about the first section of this prophecy.  First, some have argued that the text is not speaking of years, but weeks or months. The Prophecy is stated as there are three things that are negative and the last three are positive. This is stated in verse (9:24) Also this Prophecy states that it has to be fulfilled and completed on time as it says in the bible, “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Daniel 9:26-27 KJV  There are six infinitives that tell us when the seventy weeks that have been decreed for Israel and Jerusalem will be fulfilled in history. These six goals are 1)  to finish the transgression, 2)  to make an end of sins,  3) to make reconciliation for iniquity, 4)  to bring in everlasting righteousness, 5) to seal up the vision and prophecy, and 6) to anoint the most holy. Before we can decide when these six items will be fulfilled, we must first find out their purpose. 1) to finish the transgression, which means, Here it has the idea of “firmly restraining the sin.” In this context it is “the transgression” which is being firmly restrained. 2) to make an end of sins, This is the second goal to be completed at the end of the 70 weeks. The phrase “to make an end” means to shut, close, seal, hide and the word for sin in the Hebrew Old Testament means  “to miss the mark, to be mistaken”. So basically the verse  means to put a close on all your mistakes. 3) to make reconciliation for iniquity, which is third goal, means  being restored to God for your unrighteous action or conduct. 4) to bring in everlasting righteousness, the first of three positive statements. The first three events prophesied in Daniel were largely negative, that is, a taking care of a negative situation, our sin. For God to do His work, He must first rectify the mess we have made.  5) to seal up the vision and prophecy, It means to shut up, to “seal up”. The sealing up of vision and prophet is both a blessing and a curse, depending on the recipient. Consider (Isaiah 29:9- 16) KJV.  I know this is a long passage, but it is very helpful in showing us what the “sealing up” means for those who do not “take care how they hear” the Word of God. 6) to anoint the most Holy, God did hear what we have all done with items of lesser importance: When we are done with it, we tear it in half. But God’s temple was replaced with a better one: Our Temple is Jesus. To be more precise, we who are in Christ Jesus are part of His temple, the body of Christ. These facts need the interpretation to include also Christ’s second coming, because only then does Israel as a nation turn to Christ. So now is the time for you to turn to Jesus Christ and open your heart and repent. For He is the one that paid the penalty for your sins on the cross so that you could have eternal life. Amen

By: Jeff Ellinger

Today’s Prayer…..

Dear Heavenly Father, please bless me and help me not fall into transgression and to follow your laws and not commit sin. As long as I have you in my heart O Lord I know you will comfort me as I try to be righteous towards you every day. Amen


LIFE IS A JOURNEY-WHAT PATH ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE ?

February 18, 2011

Are you on the right path ?


Life today is very difficult, especially during these tough economic times. But the real question is, are you on the right path? A lot of people come to a crossroad in their lives, and have to make a decision to choose which path to take. Some paths are straight and clean and look so easy. Other paths look small and crooked and look very difficult to take because of the rocky conditions and look like impossible to take. It is so easy to just take the easy route. This path looks so easy and promising with little or no challenge. This path is the path that Satan wants us to take. He paints us a pretty picture, but Satan is a master of deception and he wraps his temptations in glittering tinsel, but beneath the tensile is a terrible reality. The reality of sin and poison consequences. Satan likes to confuse people that he doesn’t exist, but he is real and very powerful. If you follow his path it will only lead to our disaster. Make sure you take the right path. It may seem hard and impossible, but if you have Faith in God, He will help guide you through the rough times, no matter how hard it is. Whether it is pain or great difficulty or whatever crisis you are going through, God loves you and He will be there for you.The bible says, “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.” Proverbs 4:14-15,19 KJV Don’t just follow the easy path because others do. Just the temptations alone are enough to try you, but put your trust in God. Don’t turn your back on Jesus Christ and go down the wicked path. even though it may seem easier, stop Satan from controlling your life. Instead put your life into Christ’s hand, and let Him take control of your life. Because the wicked path of Satan will only lead to your life’s destruction and death. The bible says, “Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked.” Exodus 23:1,7 KJV In other words, don’t follow the evil crowd because they will never reach the promise land and will never receive God’s fullest blessings. It is not to late to get on the right path. Anytime you are on this path you will always struggle, but if you have Faith it will get you through. your life will change for the better and you will have something to look forward to. Life is always a challenge, but if you leave it into God’s hand you will travel the good path a lot better. The bible says, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Phillippians 3:13-14 KJV  So don’t be deceived by the pleasures of the moment or fight the temptations on your own. Don’t be misled down the wrong path by simply following after the wrong crowd by peer pressure. Turn to Christ, and put your Faith in Him, and then nothing but good will happen. You will be more realistic in your choices and about what path you will take. The bible says, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 KJV So why not put your trust and Faith in Jesus Christ your Savior and ask for repentance before you get cut off forever from God and from eternal happiness. Amen  By: Jeff Ellinger


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