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Bible Gem 1260 - If this happens when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry? (Luke 23:31)

August 27, 2019


Last Gem I gave you some quotes from the Bible and some idioms in English which involve "green" and "dry". It is to do with the points of comparison. As I have been teaching Deeper Bible students, when you encounter a word picture or comparative use of a word you must work out what quality or special feature of the word is in focus. Did you find out what Jesus is meaning? He is making an allusion to a passage in the Old Testament. Did you find it? I gave you a clue. But I must confess the clue was buried in the midst of host of other quotes. Maybe you missed it. Go back and have another look.


In fact there are numbers of ways you can find the link to the allusion. If you have a good a Study Bible you can simply look down at the footnotes to Luke 23:31. The footnote or the chain reference to this verse will tell you where to look. Another way you can find the link is simply by doing a search for "green" and "dry" in a concordance or an electronic Bible. Yes it is true there are many references to "green" and to "dry" in the Bible. To make matters worse the point of comparison for both "green" and "dry" keeps changing. But there are only two references to "green and dry" together in the one verse. Look again for the "clue" I gave you in Gem 1259. Admittedly it is hidden among the quotes for the day but it is there staring you in the face. Go look at that verse in its context. And make sure you look wide enough. Find the sense unit. 


I will leave you to do it before I continue. Why do I do that? For two reasons.

1) To give you the time to fish for yourself and not simply be given the link. I am more interested in helping you to be able to do it for yourselves and not simply just "tell you the answers". 


2) To give you the personal excitement of finding something significant in the pages of the Bible. When you find the connection for yourself I guarantee you it will encourage you to look deeper for more of these. They are there to be found. 


So for that reason I have decided to give you another few days to find the link and then work out what Jesus is doing. Hint: it is not a case of simply finding the verse which I have given you already. It is a case of putting the context together to understand what is being said and how it links with the passage in Luke 23 what we are investigating. You will need to read the wider context to find it. 


Otherwise what happens is we come up with ideas or solutions out of our own thoughts or ideas. Rather what we have to do is to discover Jesus' perspective or the biblical perspective. That is far more useful to us. That's what we need to discover.  What was the intention of the speaker or the writer in the context in which the statement was made?   


I think I have given you enough clues and suggestions for you to find the gold to help you to understand exactly what Jesus meant when He said, "For if these things are done when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?" 


Many have pondered this passage and come up with all sorts of options for what it might mean:

  1. Green wood doesn't burn easily. 

  2. The green wood represents Jesus and the dry wood his opponents - Romans, Jews, Pharisees.

  3. Green is a metaphor for Spring time and life returning.

  4. Dry is a metaphor for sin and judgement.

  5. Jesus is the green wood of fruit bearing.

  6. The dry wood is a metaphor for fruitlessness. 

  7. It's a metaphor for springtime (life) and winter (death). 

  8. The times of the Gentiles is like the life of the tree in duration. Here today, gone tomorrow.

  9. In spring they will oppress others but in the autumn when the wood is dry they will suffer judgement.

  10. Jesus crucifixion is likened to the dry wood and His resurrection will be like green wood.

  11. Men can burn dry trees but only God can burn green trees.

  12. Israel and Rome are being compared with forests: Israel is about to be burned by the Romans. 

Do these solutions satisfy you? These are merely the opinions of men. What we need is God's opinion on all of this. What is the biblical perspective? What did Jesus mean when he said it? 



I want to be so full of God that when a mosquito bites me, it flies away singing "There's Power in the Blood."


If lawyers are disbarred and clergy defrocked, then doesn't it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed?


Man cannot live by bread alone. He also needs a roll of duct tape and a can of WD-40.


If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry?


Scientists turned back time and ended up with emit.



You can tell can't you that I have run out of Green and dry sayings. 



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