The Essence of Pomegranate in Scripture: Ruby Red Seeds of Love
God is love, and God loves ruby red pomegranates! If I were the designer, I would incorporate what I love. First mentioned in Exodus, pomegranates were included in God’s design for the priest’s robe. Embroidered around the hem in blue, purple, and scarlet, pomegranates were displayed among the gold, jewels, and engraved pieces vital and significant to the priestly garment.
“Make pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn on its lower hem and all around it. Put gold bells between them all the way around, so that gold bells and pomegranates alternate around the lower hem of the robe. The robe must be worn by Aaron whenever he ministers, and its sound will be heard when he enters the sanctuary before the Lord and when he exits, so that he does not die.”
Listen closely…do you hear the gentle tinkling of the gold bells between the pomegranates? Incredible love and utmost respect accompanied him as the priest entered the Holy of Holies. The presence of the God who loved all mankind resided in that exact place. The sight and sound pleased and glorified the Father.
The history of pomegranates dates back to 3500 BCE, making them one of the first cultivated fruits. Attached to that history is a treasury of fact and lore. Pomegranates appeared on Jewish coins, Solomon fashioned his crown like one, and 200 of them were carved on each colonnade of his temple. In mythology they represented permanency of love. Each fruit contains many seeds – some legends say 613 – significant of the number of commandments of the Torah; and others believed 840, symbolic of fertility. Another analogy promoted their im- portance as fertility of the mind with thoughts on what is pure, love- ly, and of good report. The last analogy resonates very much with these words from the Apostle Paul:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
(Philippians 4:8-9, NIV)
In Christian art, the pomegranate symbolizes the greatest gift of love: Christ’s resurrection and its promise of eternal life and love – for- ever in heaven. Spanish missionaries brought pomegranate trees to the new world centuries ago. The real value of the fruit, however, was lost until very recently, when their sweet-tart taste and powerhouse of vitamins and antioxidants were rediscovered. “Poms” may help to support a healthy heart. The ruby red color is attributed to love, and usually the first one we choose to symbolize the heart.
Bathsheba proclaimed the noble woman’s value far above rubies. All connected to love and God’s love, Solomon elevated the ruby red pomegranate to top position. Not just heading the columns of the temple or his own head, it claimed the top spot of Solomon’s Locked Garden. The very first fruit of the Spirit is Love.
Solomon declared that all the other fruits are the outgrowth of her branches – her Godly love courageously and lavishly shared with him and with others. The Apostle John confirms just how much God loves us and His desire for us to love one another.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
(1 John 5:6-14, NASB)
The Apostle Paul wrote a whole chapter to the Corinthian church explaining what love is and is not. He ended the focus like this:
“Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
(1 Corinthians 13:13)
Solomon bookended his list with the two essences representing the Holy Spirit’s fruit of love and of self-control. Self-control enables and encourages us in all the fruit in between – the ones that demonstrate our love for God and others. Reaching out in love to another requires courage to be vulnerable. Will we be loved in return? Will we be rejected? Will others scoff at our well-intentioned acts of love? Solomon’s bride held no exemption card. Kudos to Solomon, he looked for and exclaimed the very best in her, citing her, not just as an example of love, but of every single fruit growing in the Holy Spirit Garden.
Cutting open the pomegranate exposes its hundreds of seeds like ruby jewels of love. We can choose to keep them for ourselves, or share.
Sharing produces returns on our investment, while hoarding leaves us wide open to egotistical and overindulgent behavior.
Fear and vulnerability threaten to paralyze our attempts to share our love. Sometimes we wonder what love might look like in a given situation. Like the pomegranate filled with seeds, the Holy Spirit fills our hearts with love – seeds of joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and faithfulness. His work in us, supplies us with courage to face life’s realities head on. Possessing the fruit of self-control – sitting at the far end of the list, coupled with the fruit of love, ensures we are enabled to express and share the other fruit as the moment requires.
For Your Valentine —
This post is excerpted from The Essence of Courage: Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit in Solomon’s Locked Garden and in Your Heart — Volume 1 of the three-Volume, Cinnamah-Brosia’s Inspirational Collection for Women. They are available in both print and most all ebook formats.
The Essence of Courage by Lynn U. Watson, Copyright 2016.