Palm Branches remind us our earthly "tents" will one day be "mansions"

     Why Palm Branches? When Jesus rode in to Jerusalem they waved and laid palm branches on the road before Him. True, they are a naturally made pennant banner, fit for "fans" of Jesus to wave. And in the spring warmth/heat, they also are fit for fans to wave to beat the heat. (Okay, don't groan, I promise no more puns...this devotional gets better.)

     For the next two Sundays, in observance of Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday, we are taking a break from BELIEVE (the book) to concentrate on some “beliefs” we have that are not necessarily stated in our study on “BELIEVE.” This Sunday, April 9, we are at the mid-point of the final third section concentrating on ten virtues of our faith. I suggest that we look at the prophetic return of Christ and the seven “virtues” of God proclaimed by those with palm branches in Revelation 7:9.

     I use the word “virtues” in quotes because we typically think of virtues as being for people and not the Lord. Thematically, we are discussing the human virtues in chapters 21 through 30, so what better time to discuss the morally praise-worthy attributes of God?

Lesson for Adults

Palm Sunday, April 9, 2017

25.5 Seven Key “Virtues” of God

---------------------------------Key Question---------------------------------
How do worship attributes of God relate to and reflect in me?

-------------------------------Key Idea---------------------------------
By faith and obedience, God’s glorious attributes can be reflected into virtues in my life.

-----------------------------------Key Verse---------------------------------
Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, ​​Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, ​​Be to our God forever and ever. ​​Amen.”
Revelation 7:12

Background of Palm Branches and Palm Sunday
     Palm branches are prophetic of the first and second comings of Christ; that is, palm branches were used in the Triumphal Entry of Christ to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, just a week before His resurrection nearly 2,000 years ago. Also, palm branches are prophetically stated in Revelation 7:9 as being held by those who will be delivered from the Great Tribulation, just prior to Christ’s Second Coming. 

     The Old Testament prophecy can be found in Leviticus 23:40, where the Israelites were to initiate the feast of booths or tabernacles in September by taking palm branches as a symbol of rejoicing and triumph:

“‘And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days.”

     Dr. Henry Morris, a prolific Biblical scholar of the early 20th century, said the Feast of Tabernacles has great prophetical significance. As the seventh and final of the Levitical feasts, “The Feast of Tabernacles speaks of the coming eternal rest in the holy city when ‘the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people’ (Rev. 21:3)”. 

     The gospel of John records the people in Jesus’ day taking specifically “palm branches from palm trees” for His triumphal entry on the Sunday prior to His crucifixion. It appears to be a significant parallel, particularly noted by the Apostle John, who wrote both the final gospel and the final book of the New Testament.

     Palm branches remind us of the temporary tabernacles or “tents” we currently have (that is, our bodies) and that these bodies will someday be replaced with a permanent dwelling. In a sense, Christ dwelling in us is a temporary dwelling in our mortal, finite, feeble bodies. At the end of Peter’s life, he twice referred to his body as a “tent” (2 Peter 1:13, 14), the same word he used when he wanted to build a tabernacle for Moses and Elijah at the Mount of Transfiguration (see Matt. 17:4). 

12 For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things,
though you know and are established in the present truth.
13 Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent,
to stir you up by reminding you,
14 knowing that shortly I must put off my tent,
just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.
15 Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you
always have a reminder of these things after my decease.

     Both the Feast of Tabernacles in Leviticus 23:40 and the Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday cause us to look forward to Jesus’ second coming, as seen in Rev. 7:9. In that passage, it says that a “great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues,” will be in heaven before the throne of God and before Jesus, the Lamb of God.

     Also, those people will be clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands. Like at the Triumphal Entry, where the people shouted “Hosanna,” or cries for salvation, the people in heaven who have come out of the Great Tribulation (see Rev. 7:14) are also proclaiming triumph to God for the “Salvation of our God.”

    As you prepare for Palm Sunday, rejoice and give thanks to the Lord for His Salvation. 


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