The Early Riser
AMONG the fruit trees of the Mediterranean area, the almond tree is one of the most striking. In late January or February—well before most of the other trees—it awakens from its winter lethargy. And what an awakening! The whole tree is clothed with a mantle of delicate pink or white blooms, the latter resembling somewhat the white hair of the elderly.—Compare Ecclesiastes 12:5.
The ancient Hebrews called the almond tree the “awakening one,” alluding to its early flowering. This characteristic was employed by Jehovah to illustrate an important message. At the start of his ministry, Jeremiah was shown in vision an almond shoot. What did it mean? Jehovah explained: “I am keeping awake concerning my word in order to carry it out.”—Jeremiah 1:12.
Just as the almond tree ‘awakens’ early, so Jehovah had figuratively been “getting up early” to send his prophets to warn his people about the consequences of disobedience. (Jeremiah 7:25) And he would not rest—he would ‘keep awake’—until his prophetic word was accomplished. So it was that in 607 B.C.E., at the appointed time, Jehovah’s judgment came upon the apostate nation of Judah.
God’s Word predicts that a similar judgment will come against the wicked system in which we live. (Psalm 37:9, 10; 2 Peter 3:10-13) Referring to such judicial action, the prophet Habakkuk assures us: “For the vision is yet for the appointed time . . . Keep in expectation of it; for it will without fail come true. It will not be late.” (Habakkuk 2:3) The beautiful almond blossom reminds us that Jehovah will keep awake concerning his word in order to carry it out.
[Picture Credit Line on page 32]
Pictorial Archive (Near Eastern History) Est.