One of the first signs of spring in Jerusalem is the bursting forth of almond blossoms. The flowers are a joyful reminder to most of the Lord’s faithful rebirth in the earth each spring. The beautiful flower laden branches cheer the soul as they catch the brilliant spring sunlight and dance as the warming breezes blow. They seem to appear almost overnight.
Isaiah 61:11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
In scripture there is a flower featured on the menorah–the lamp stand that stood in the holy place representing the presence of God. It was never to be allowed to be extinguished. The instructions for creating the menorah speak of branches, knops, bowls like almonds, and flowers. (Exodus 25:31-40) It seems obvious the flowers would have been almond blossoms. (knops are ornamental knobs–pomegranate like decorations) Some believe this flower was a reminder of the budding of Aaron’s rod in Numbers 17. Aaron’s rod budded, blossomed and even yielded almonds overnight. This sign showed God’s choice of Aaron’s tribe alone as priests. Because only God can give life, those in opposition were silenced. Later this rod was housed in the Ark of the Covenant–a constant reminder of God’s promises to spring forth in their season–His timing. It also represents annihilation of the opposition–evil influences and ultimately evil itself.
Bet-El, or Bethel–house of God, was previously called Luz (Hebrew for almond tree)–a city of flourishing almond trees. This is where Jacob received the dream of the ladder to heaven with angels ascending and descending (Genesis 28:11-22). It seems significant that the Lord would choose to speak his promise to Jacob while sleeping with his head on a rock in this place. Jacob also vows to make the Lord his God after this encounter–the encounter terrified him. We know that Jacob possessed God’s favor after this and his enemies were subdued—with no great effort on Jacob’s part.
The almond blossom, a singular manifestation of the glorious presence of God, is His sign to us of the springing forth of His soon coming Kingdom. Indeed, the Kingdom of God has already been manifested on the earth in the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and then further expanded as the disciples received the manifestation and power to continue its expansion on this earth at Pentecost. Gross darkness may be appearing all around us today, however the Lord’s Light and Life is expanding exponentially–we only see through a glass darkly (1 Corinthians 13:12). The enemy trembles as the Kingdom of God is manifesting in our lives and is dawning in the areas we take authority over.
Here in Israel where almond trees are frequently found, their budding is a recurring sign of hope for the Orthodox Jews who are very familiar with these Old Testament scriptures. Hope in God’s ability to restore and renew, and of God’s judgment on those opposed to His plan. The almond budding and blossoming brings hope and joy to all who pass by, unaware of the sign the Lord is giving them. We as believers should not just idly pass by without notice. God is speaking, He will soon thunder. We must take thought, cooperate in prayer, and praise for His soon return and the continual expansion of His Kingdom until then. If we want to see His Glory, we must open our spiritual eyes.
Such a simple, beautiful, yet powerful sign–the almond is beginning to blossom.
Jeremiah 1:11-12 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree. Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.