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On the Symbolism of Trees


volgadon

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As there have been some recent threads on the symbolism of trees in the ancient Near East, I thought I would post the following quote by the late Nahum Sarna, no fly-by-night biblical scholar.

Now it is well known that throughout the ancient Near East from Mesopotamia to Egypt, as well as in the Aegean and Minoan areas, the phenomenon of the sacred tree existed- not necessarily as an object of worship in itself, so much as the locus of a numinous presence. It was, therefore, an ideal place for theophany and worship. The tree served as a medium of oracles and revelation.

"Genesis 21:33: A Study in the Developement of a Biblical Text and its Rabbinic Transformation." J Neusner, E.S. Frerichs and N.M. Sarna, eds., From Ancient Israel to Modern Judaism. Intellect in Quest of Understanding. Essays in Honor of Marvin Fox. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, pp. 69-75.

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As there have been some recent threads on the symbolism of trees in the ancient Near East, I thought I would post the following quote by the late Nahum Sarna, no fly-by-night biblical scholar.

Note that the ceiba tree, (the Mayan tree of life) corresponds to the Mayan temple, as both represent the continuum (revelation) between the subterranean and the unseen heavenly realms (including the earth and sky realms in between). They were often found at the center of Mayan villages.

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Elder Bednar gave us a teaching in our recent stake conference, about the Christmas tree. "I know, it's a pagan symbol" and all that, he said - not to go there. In 1 Nephi 8, the tree symbolizes something. Comparing with

1 Nephi 11:21-25 ...Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?

And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.

And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most joyous to the soul.

And after he had said these words, he said unto me: Look! And I looked, and I beheld the Son of God going forth among the children of men; and I saw many fall down at his feet and worship him.

And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God.

we can realize that the tree symbolizes Christ.

He also brought in some teachings on the symbolism of light. "Now. You'll never look at your Christmas tree the same way again", Elder Bednar said.

Wood

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I was just reading in 1 Ne. last week and made a note in the margins of my scriptures that said 'importance of trees?' because it suddenly struck me how much trees prominently figure in the symbolism of the gospel.

I had never seen anyone anywhere address it and had sort of put it on the shelf to study later. It was so great and surprising to see it mentioned on here.

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Jacob and Paul sure got into the Symbolissom of the trees. Then there is the whole Orchard parables of Jesus. The Candle abras were also symbols of trees in the temple as well. Then theres Arron's Almond branch that budded. Moses throuwing the branch into the bitter waters and curing them. His staff turning to a snake. Snake being lifted up. Christ being hung on a tree.

Trees are symbolized through and through in the gospel.

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I have a scholarly article somewhere around here that talks about Abraham and his oracular tree as well. Utterly, incredibly fascinating. I also have read in Coomaraswamy's works of the inverted tree and its symbolism with Yggdrasil, and the Tree of Life in other scriptures. The Gnostics claim that Mary actually BECAME a tree, which idea Dan Peterson noted in his phenomenal study "Nephi and his Asherah" (yet another tree!)......

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I also have read in Coomaraswamy's works of the inverted tree and its symbolism with Yggdrasil, and the Tree of Life in other scriptures. The Gnostics claim that Mary actually BECAME a tree...

Per Nordic belief, the first man and woman were trees.

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As there have been some recent threads on the symbolism of trees in the ancient Near East, I thought I would post the following quote by the late Nahum Sarna, no fly-by-night biblical scholar.

"Genesis 21:33: A Study in the Developement of a Biblical Text and its Rabbinic Transformation." J Neusner, E.S. Frerichs and N.M. Sarna, eds., From Ancient Israel to Modern Judaism. Intellect in Quest of Understanding. Essays in Honor of Marvin Fox. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, pp. 69-75.

I would think that most if not all cultures saw within the tree a salvific quality given the protection it obviously allowed early man where he practically lived in the tree for protection and food. Aside from that the tree, at least in Mesopotamian as well as in Semitic religious tradition, has come to represent God.

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And then there's Ezekiel 15, which says something about taking two "etz" and writing on them. Etz means tree, log, lumber, wood, stick, and anything else of like ilk. We who know realize that the two trees are the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

Who would know better than a guy named Etz ?

Wood

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BTW, Kerry, you must have missed it, David bokovoy started a fantastic thread a few weeks ago, reevaluating DCP's article on the asherah. You've missed a LOT of good threads, actually. That should keep you busy(er) for a while. =)

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Elder Bednar gave us a teaching in our recent stake conference, about the Christmas tree. "I know, it's a pagan symbol" and all that, he said - not to go there. In 1 Nephi 8, the tree symbolizes something. Comparing with

we can realize that the tree symbolizes Christ.

Wood

As i see it Christ is the Fruit of the Tree.

In the same way that God answers Abraham's offer of his son with the sacrifice of his only begotten, the Tree of Knowledge

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