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The Grape Vine

8th October 2007, hej

 

7) Israel and the grape vine leaf.

One can think too much and see more meaning perhaps than there is intended. There is, for example, a whole field of study of the meaning of the number of Hebrew letters in the text of the scriptures. This may be the case regarding the minute study of the grape vine leaf.

When the leaf of a grape vine is examined, and laid flat its structure or ribs forms a figure with 6 divisions with a 60 degree angle between the ribs. The first branch of a rib in self similarity tends to also be at 60 degrees. Snowflakes have such a six sided structure. However there are five ribs to the leaf. The stem is attached to the back of the leaf just as a flower is, yet, the leaf is not divided into six ribs, instead the first and the fifth rib grow a more complete leaf to meet over the absent rib. A vine leaf is merely a flat collector of sunlight and moisture, there is no reason why it should have such a particular and complex structure. Why not evenly space the five ribs, like a flower?

In the scriptures six is the number of mankind.

Man was created in the sixth day, and six days were appointed for labour (Exodus 20:9). Cain's descendants are to 6 generations, Noah was 600 years old in the year of the flood (Gen 7:11). Pharoah took 600 chariots to follow Moses. The sixth commandment relates to murder of mankind. Six cities of refuge were appointed for manslaughter (Numbers 35:15). Goliath was recorded as having 6 pieces of armour. Revelation says that 666 is the number of a man (Rev 13:8).

Five is the number of grace.

There are five sacrifices in Genesis 15:9 for the covenant (Heifer, goat, ram, dove, pigeon). Yahweh changed Abram's name to Abraham by adding the 5th letter of the alphabet with a numerical value of 5, the fifth book of bible is about grace. The fifth commandment is to honour one's father and mothers and is the first commandment with promise. When David met Goliath it was with 5 stones. The promise of Leviticus 26:8 is that five would chase a 1000, and Yeshua of five loaves produced 12 baskets of fragments.

And five was the number of redemption.

And for those that are to be redeemed...of the firstborn of the children of Israel, which are more than the Levites; Thou shalt even take five shekels apiece by the poll, after the shekel of the sanctuary shalt thou take them: (the shekel is twenty gerahs:) (Num 3:46-47 KJV)


Five was associated also with the grape vine. Those that would be left would be as 4 or 5 on the outer fruitful branches.

Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof, saith the LORD God of Israel. At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel. (Isa 17:6-7 KJV)


Time and time again the measurement of five or fifty or five hundred appears in the tabernacle and the temple. Five again appears in Ezekiel's temple measurements. This Designer likes five. But for the curtain in the forefront where people entered the tabernacle there are six curtains. Except the sixth is doubled, which means that the sixth is hidden behind the fifth.

And thou shalt couple five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves, and shalt double the sixth curtain in the forefront of the tabernacle. (Exo 26:9 KJV)

The pattern of the vine leaf is exactly this. There is a place for six but we see five. The symbol Israel in modern times has chosen for itself has six sides. The symbol of the ancient nation and on the shoulders of the military also implies six sides. However, the sixth is absent in the symbol of the grape vine leaf.

Once man is taken away there is grace. And the grace comes through the death of a man, who used as a symbol of his death the fruit of the grape vine. He used the symbol of wine, as Yahweh's service seems to have always involved offerings of wine. Noah, of all the crops he could grow, first chose grape vines to make wine. And it says even before the law of Moses that Yahweh was served with bread and wine.

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. (Gen 14:18 KJV)

Certainly wine was offered with most sacrifices under the law pointing to an association. Bowls for the wine of the drink offering sat with the shewbread on the table in the first Tabernacle and later the Temple (Exodus 37:16).

The leaf of the grape vine producing the wine associated with redemption has a structure with five lobes, which are abundantly shown and a sixth which is implied but absent. On the basis that Yahweh knew He would provide a redeemer right from the foundation of the world, it is possible Yahweh designed the leaf of the plant that He made to show the principle of grace. Especially as He ordained the fruit to be the symbol for grace, as something poured out and given in His worship. He made that with a blood-like coloured juice. The grape vine is appropriate as a symbol of Israel as it is through Israel that grace or redemption is offered (John 4:22, Isa 49:6, Gal 3:16, Romans 11).

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