In Judaism there are 4 New Years Celebrations:
- First of Tishrei –Rosh Hashanah (New Year cycle – celebrates the creation of the world and advances the year)
- First of Nisan – (Beginning of Spring and starts the religious feast cycle- Connected to the beginning of the Israelites as a nation after the Exodus)
- First of Elul – New Year for animal tithes (No longer observed)
- The 15th of Shevat – Tu B’Shvat (New Year of the Trees)
The First Of Three Mysteries
Tu B’shvat or literally translated the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat is not an official biblical holiday but the Bible infers much about this time just before Spring that initiates the Season of Harvest. One must search the scriptures and find the deeper things in His Word. Deep calls unto deep and it is deep within the ground at the darkest time of the year, that the very seeds that have fallen and found their way into the earth, completely die, breaking open to reveal the cosmic potential of God’s power and gift to mankind. The new seed imbued with miraculous infinity to live and produce begins its search for the sun. Unseen to the eye, but growing and thriving, this new life is racing for the surface where the living creation called man dwells. If evidence of the new plant breaks forth any day before the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat and the 15th of Shevat the year before it is marked and counted as a one year old tree.
The day of Tu ‘B’Shvat is a birthday for trees. It is significant in the calculation of a tree’s age and the consumption of its fruit.
When you come into the land, and have planted all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as uncircumcised. Three years it shall be as uncircumcised to you. It shall not be eaten. 24 But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, a praise to the Lord. 25 And in the fifth year you may eat its fruit, that it may yield to you its increase: I am the Lord your God. Lev. 19:23-25
The Jewish people celebrate this New Year’s Day by eating the seven species of food indigenous to the Land (barley, wheat, grapes, figs, dates, pomegranates and olives). These foods are considered miraculous fruit that came forth from the Earth because our Creator made a covenant with His new nation, Israel to send the right amount of rain at exactly the right time.
For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and (date) honey; A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass. Deut. 8:7-9 KJV
This delicious collection of seven delicacies is called a Tu B’Shvat Seder Platter. An eighth food, the almond, was also added by the rabbis. Modern science calls these particular foods “super foods” filled with healing qualities of nutrition and health; high in antioxidants, high-density lipids and vitamins and minerals.
Seed producing trees are the source of wellness and nutrition to man (marpe in Hebrew). They are the Creator’s gift of food and medicine.
The Second Mystery of Trees
The second connection between God and his creation becomes apparent in a symbolic and allegorical kind of way.
Messiah uses the analogy of trees regarding who He is and who his covenant people are in Him.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” John 12:24
Christ is called the First Fruit from the dead because like a seed that dies then breaks open from the ground He taught that He too would die then produce a great harvest. (John 12:23-25, 1 Cor. 15:20)
The Third Mystery – The Prophetic
But it is the third mysterious connection of God and the trees described by the prophet Zachariah that is the most profound. The Bible uses the metaphor of trees to describe the nations in the End of Days. The phrase “End of Days is used to describe the Hebrew words acarit ha yamin. What is not apparent in English is inferred in the deeper meanings of Hebrew as an end of an “era” and that era is the age of man’s governance.
Zachariah describes a vision of the future:
On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shevat the Lord came to Zechariah : 8 I saw by night, and behold, a man riding on a red horse, and it stood among the myrtle trees in the hollow; and behind him were horses: red, sorrel, and white. 9 Then I said, “My lord, what are these?” So the angel who talked with me said to me, “I will show you what they are.” 10 And the man who stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, “These are the ones whom the Lord has sent to walk to and fro throughout the earth.” 11 So they answered the Angel of the Lord, who stood among the myrtle trees, and said, “We have walked to and fro throughout the earth, and behold, all the earth is resting quietly.” 12 Then the Angel of the Lord answered and said, “O Lord of hosts, how long will You not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which You were angry these seventy years?” 13 And the Lord answered the angel who talked to me, with good and comforting words. 14 So the angel who spoke with me said to me, “Proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “I am zealous for Jerusalem And for Zion with great zeal. 15 I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease; 16 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord: “I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; My house shall be built in it,” says the Lord of hosts, “And a surveyor’s line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem.”’ 17 “Again proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “My cities shall again spread out through prosperity; The Lord will again comfort Zion, And will again choose Jerusalem.” Zech. 1:7-17
The Myrtle trees where the horses are running to and fro, are symbolic of the nations. It appears that the report that the nations are at ease causes a response from the Angel of the Lord that reveals the anger of God concerning the nations. It is also apparent that the situation on Earth must change in order for the Lord to do what must be done to set up His Kingdom reign from Jerusalem, the city where He has chosen to place His Name.
According to Rev. 6:3-4 God sends a red horse to the Earth to take away peace (that is the ease of the nations) and thus ushering in what is called the “Tribulation”.
The Four Horns
The prophet Zachariah gives some important information to the world about a group of voices that have a strong and overwhelming degree of power over the land of Judah.
Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were four horns. 19 And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these?” So he answered me, “These are the horns that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.” 20 Then the Lord showed me four craftsmen. 21 And I said, “What are these coming to do?” So he said, “These are the horns that scattered Judah, so that no one could lift up his head; but the craftsmen are coming to terrify them, to cast out the horns of the nations that lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it.” Zechariah 1:18-21
There is a group of nations that formed a coalition after the Madrid Conference in 1991. This coalition is called the Middle East Quartet, sometimes called the Diplomatic Quartet or simply the Quartet. It is a foursome of combined nations and international and supranational entities involved in mediating the Israeli–Palestinian peace process. The Quartet comprises the United Nations, the European Union, The United States, and Russia. As we get closer to the end time events this group is more than suspicious to be what the Bible calls The Four Horns.
Why would God want to bring terror to these nations concerning Israel? When it is time God promises to judge the nations that “came against Israel”. He declares that anyone who tries to move the boundaries of this City and this Land that He has covenanted with will be crushed.
God Fulfills the Prophecy
Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see a branch of an almond tree.” 12 Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My Word.” Jer. 1:11-12.
God declared to the young Jeremiah that he would be a prophet to the NATIONS. The Lord goes on to show Jeremiah a boiling pot (that is angry nations) that will spill forth or invade from the north to Israel and God will judge them.
It is interesting to note that the almond tree is the first of all trees to blossom and yield fruit in the spring. The interesting clue of this passage in Jeremiah is the word play that God uses and can only be understood by the original Hebrew text in the words Sheked and shoked which in English means almond and to perform respectively. Yeshua is also known as the Branch (Zech. 6:12) and just as He performed or fulfilled the prophetic Word concerning the redemptive work on the cross in His first coming, He will, with out a doubt, fulfill the work of judging the nations and setting up His government and Kingdom from His Holy Mountain in His second coming. He will rule the nations with a rod of iron and that is with absolute authority (Rev. 12:5, 19:15). The voices and powers of the nations will no longer govern and police Israel but on the contrary, His Word will go forth from Zion and all nations will learn His ways (Is. 2:3).
The Head of Nations, Israel
It is clear that God uses the metaphor of trees to represent governments. He will soon right the Head of Nations, Israel by His Kingdom reign. Man’s governments have miserably failed. We all wait with great anticipation for the Messiah to come and establish a true government on His own shoulders and the age of man’s government to end.
Thus says the Lord God: “I will take also one of the highest branches of the high cedar and set it out. I will crop off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and will plant it on a high and prominent mountain. 23 On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it; and it will bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a majestic cedar. Under it will dwell birds of every sort; in the shadow of its branches they will dwell. 24 And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the Lord, have brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree, dried up the green tree and made the dry tree flourish; I, the Lord, have spoken and have done it.” Ez 17:22-24
The government of Messiah will be established while the Beast and the false prophet are done away with.
And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. Rev. 19:19,20 KJV
Signs in the Heavens
God says He will use the sun, moon and the stars for signs. (Genesis 1:14)
An interesting phenomenon has happened on Tu B’Shvat 2018 (Jan. 31, 2018). A blood moon appeared in the sky and will again appear on Tu B’Shvat 2019 (Jan. 22, 2019). A blood moon will also occur in the summer on Tish B’Av, 2018 (July 22, 2018). This summer appearance in the sky occurs halfway between the two blood moons of Tu B’Shvat 2018 and 2019. Tish B’Av mean the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av and is the day of that both Jewish Temples were destroyed.
The Trees That Heal
There will be a time after the Messiah fulfills His second coming that God will create a new Heaven that is married to the Earth. It will be then that He will heal all the nations and the world will be at peace forever.
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. Rev. 22:1-3
What great plans God has for those who love Him. What awesome promises await those who are looking for His return.