God in His goodness created wholesome food to sustain, nourish, and heal our physical bodies. Part of this diet includes “every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you” (Genesis 1:29).[i] When Ezekiel saw a vision of water flowing from the Temple, he observed “all kinds of trees for food … and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing” (Ezekiel 47:12). John the Beloved saw a similar vision and stated, “The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2).
Since ancient times, people have recognized the medicinal uses and healing qualities of fruit, seeds, and leaves from plants and trees. When the Good Samaritan had compassion on the injured man, he poured olive oil and wine on his wounds (Luke 10:34). Isaiah instructed others how to make a poultice of figs to heal a boil (2 Kings 20:7). The ancient Egyptians poured red wine over flesh wounds because the pigments in the grape skins contain antiseptic chemicals that help fight infection. Other medicinal plants named in the Bible include fig, hyssop, mandrake, myrtle, date palm, pomegranate, garlic, cedar, and more.
When the LORD brought the Israelites into the good land, Moses described it as “a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey” (Deuteronomy 8:8). Date honey is rich with disease-fighting antioxidants. Dates are high in fiber and contain significant amounts of potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, and vitamin B6. Additionally, pomegranate trees produce fruit that is loaded with important nutrients such as vitamins C and K, as well as folate and potassium. This impressive fruit and its seeds are king among the plant kingdom and have potent anti-inflammatory properties that have been helpful with such ailments as heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure. The antibacterial and antiviral properties in pomegranate may also help with gum disease and yeast infections. Certainly, our Father has placed important healing elements for us in the fruit and leaves of trees!
Further, trees are the oldest living things on earth. They remove carbon dioxide from the air, store carbon in their wood and soil, and release oxygen into the atmosphere. Trees help prevent flooding and soil erosion, attract birds and other wildlife, regulate temperature extremes, and create beautiful forested areas. Water evaporation from trees (called transpiration) has a cooling effect on the air temperature. Green grass and trees impart a sense of well-being and help reduce stress. The psalmist said that in the days of the Kingdom “all the trees of the forest will sing for joy” (Psalm 96:12). And of the land of Israel, Isaiah prophesied:
“The glory of Lebanon will come to you,
The juniper, the box tree and the cypress together,
To beautify the place of My sanctuary;
And I shall make the place of My feet glorious.” (Isaiah 60:13)
As a result, Israel is now planting a variety of trees such as oaks, junipers, pistachio, sycamore, olive, and more to beautify their nation. The Jewish National Fund has planted over 240 million trees to help transform the barren hills into lush green forests again. So, Israel is beautifying the sanctuary of the LORD and making His footstool glorious.
[i] All Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB1995).