Friday, March 27, 2009

Apple's Bad Rap

We all remember the story of how Eve gave Adam the apple and they ate the forbidden fruit. Wait a minute; how did the apple get into the picture? It certainly did not come from the Bible. So where did it come from?

Recently I have been reviewing some of the children's bibles around our church. Each of which contain some type of image showing Adam and Eve under an apple tree. Some showing red apples while others show some green and yellow or golden apples in the tree. Where does this come from? Correct me if I am wrong, but my bible does not mention the word apple or apple tree.

But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”
Gen 2:16-17 (NLT)

So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.
Gen 3:6 (NLT)

Sorry the word apple is not in the above scriptures. So why are all the illustrations of the event set under an apple tree? The scriptures say fruit. It could have been any kind of fruit. So why is the apple so prevalent in our understanding of this critical event in human history?

The technical answer: Etymologists, one who studies the origin and historical development of linguistic forms, would say that the word apple is a generic word for the word fruit. If true, you could say that each time you see the word fruit you could replace it with the word apple and be correct. OK, nice but I am not buying it. Take the potato for example. It is also known as the apple of the earth. The French name for it is pomme de terre. The word pomme is from the Latin word pomum which means fruit and/or apple. If the apple is the symbol of the fall of man then we should see references to that effect throughout the bible? Just the opposite it is true. Examples can be found in Proverbs 7:2, 25:11, Psalm 17:8 and others.

So where did the story of the apple tree come from?

Scary version: In Greek mythology The god, Zeus is to marry Hera. Mother Nature, also known as Gaia gives the new married couple a gift. A tree of golden apples in a garden which is guarded by a serpent. A serpent who never sleeps.

What kind of fruit was it then?

My personal theory: Let us jump forward into the New Testament.

In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up.
Matt 21:18-19 (NLT)

Here we find the only destructive miracle performed by Jesus. Many commentaries will state that this is a lesson for the people of Israel. They were growing but not bearing any spiritual fruit. Therefore they would be cursed. Sure I agree with the lesson. Why was a fig tree chosen? If the symbol of the fall of man is an apple then why not an apple tree to be cursed? It would have made more sense and emphasized the symbol of the fall. Now let us jump back to the Old Testament.

At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
Gen 3:7 (NLT)

The scriptures tell us they sewed fig leaves together not apple leaves. Another question I have in this particular verse are the words “eyes were opened.” Opened to what? Well that is another article to write about. Back to the subject at hand.

The word apple first appears in Deuteronomy 32:10 in the King James version of the Bible. The verse does not contain a negative connotation of the apple or an apple tree.

Sorry in my opinion, the forbidden fruit was not an apple nor an apple tree. I guess that would mess up good old American marketing about give the teacher an apple. I am sure Apple Computer has no desire to change its logo to a juicy gooey fig. In fact how many teachers would like to receive from their students a bowl of figs?

When we study the Bible we need to also study what is not in the scriptures to better defend the faith.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

What To Do When Your Friends Abandon You

It happens. We do not want to admit it. We do not want it to ever happen but it does. I am sure you have heard the following as many times as I have. When you need help is when you really find out who your friends are. Actions speak louder than words. God’s Word gives us great counsel.

Putting confidence in an unreliable person in times of trouble is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot. Prov 25:19 (NLT)

There is no doubt in my mind that all of us have been on both sides of this dilemma. We never wish to abandon or hurt somebody's feelings especially that of a friend. Yet we cannot avoid that feeling of bedrail or abandonment. When we are pushed our gut reaction is to push back. If we do not push back and keep it all inside a greater battle within grows to a point like a boiling teakettle. If it is not allowed to let off a little steam a greater explosion is certain. In my experience, when you have this ticking time bomb within you it is best to avoid contact with others and seek the only one who can help you. God.

Christians are not bullet proof. We are not perfect in fact just the opposite is true. It is realizing our weakness and sin that point us to Christ. For some strange reason the world thinks that the children of God have it easy that they have no worries or doubts. That their problems are trivial. Their relations with others are perfect and free of conflict. They have God and that is all they need. You know something, they are right. All we need is God. Perhaps it us that just do not see it. We are so close to the forest that we fail to see the trees. Let alone take the time to admire the beauty of God’s creations.

So what do you do when friends abandon you? Pray for them. Let’s be honest about it. We become so burning mad that prayer is the last thing on our minds. It should be the first thing in our hearts. Again God’s Word gives us great counsel.

Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.
Prov 27:6 (NLT)

Do the wounds just go away? No, like any injury it takes time to recover. The scars remain. It is easy to become bitter. Yes, you will be cautious the next time. Let us tell it like it is. You will be doubtful next time. Doubt is a weapon of the Devil.

The Devil was having a yard sale. There were many items on display for sale. Yet one in particular in the back had a large sign on it stating, “This item is not for sale.” Of course everyone who came to the yard sale asked about this particular item. When asked the Devil explained that this was his favorite tool. He called it “Doubt.” He went on to explain that he uses it to pry open men’s hearts. Once he is able to that he can fill them with what ever he wants.

The best weapon the Devil has is a friend specifically a Christian friend. When the evil one can get one Christian fighting or angry with another the Devil is winning.

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