The Palm Branches – a Picture of the Wonderful Salvation by Christ’s Life
“Seven steps led up to it, and its archway was in front of them; and it had palm trees on its gateposts, one on this side and one on that side.”Ezekiel 40:26
“There were beveled window frames in the gate chambers and in their intervening archways on the inside of the gateway all around, and likewise in the vestibules. There were windows all around on the inside. And on each gatepost were palm trees.”Ezekiel 40:16
If you desire to enter into the temple compound through this glorious gate, you will not only pass through guard chambers and windows shedding light on you, but you will also pass by pillars on both your right and left sides adorned with palm branches from the bottom all the way to the top – what a magnificent sight it must be!
But rather than just beholding the splendor of the temple in amazement, we must see how we can experience these small, yet important details today. As we know, every word in the Holy Scripture is important and profitable for us and reveals more concerning God’s Son and His church to us.
What is the Spiritual Meaning of Palm Trees?
To understand the spiritual meaning of palm branches, let us take a look at the event that occurred in the verse below:
“The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: ‘Hosanna! “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!” The King of Israel!’”John 12:12-13
To fully understand this event, we must know that the Jews during this time were eagerly waiting for the Messiah, who would save them from the hands of the Roman regime. It was on this day that they recognized Jesus from Nazareth as the true Messiah who would deliver them (though in the end He saved them not as they had expected). Full of joy, they took the branches of palm trees and welcomed their King to Jerusalem crying out, “Hosanna!”, which comes from Hebrew language meaning, “Save, now!”
This shows us that palm branches are a picture of salvation.
How Can I Experience the Palm Branches of this Gate?
In the temple we can see that the whole pathway through the gate is lined with palm trees on both sides, meaning that our way in Christ should be filled with the experience of God’s salvation. According to our traditional Christian concepts, we would just adorn the entry with palm trees and say, “Once you are saved, you are saved forever!” This is true with respect to the eternal judgment, but being saved once does not suffice to transform our entire being. We still need so much salvation in our daily conduct; we need many more experiences of these wonderful palm trees.
Paul the Apostle described this experience of salvation in his epistle to the Romans:
“For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”Romans 5:10
Praise the Lord! The initial reconciliation to God is not the only salvation that He has prepared for us, but God wants to save us much more. I desire more salvation!
Paul says that this progressive salvation is by Christ’s life. The death of Jesus Christ is not sufficient to transform us. By His death, you are reconciled to God, but only Christ’s resurrection life in you can transform and save you to the uttermost. The palm trees on the gate show us that followers of Christ must continually experience this wonderful life!
The sin which so easily ensnares us always brings forth death in our life (James 1:15); but praise the Lord, the palm trees show us that if we have a desire to go on with the Lord, He will strengthen us by His life to save us from any spiritual death (Ps. 68:21)
The Goal of Our Salvation
Here is a quick view of God’s goal for the believers:
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands.”Revelation 7:9
John sees a great multitude before God’s throne. How did they get there? They were raptured – these are ones who are redeemed by the Lord – those who have died and who are living, who followed Him wherever He went and eagerly expected His return. At God’s appointed time, they were transformed in the twinkling of an eye and were taken from the earth.
A distinguishing characteristic of this multitude is that they all hold palm branches in their hands. This is very astonishing! They seized the opportunities to be saved to the uttermost and have the palm branches as a sign in their hands.
This salvation is complete, because the palm trees adorn the 12 pillars in the gate – in the Bible, the number 12 signifies completion and perfection (Rev. 21:12-21).
Praise the Lord for the palm branches! May we all have many experiences of God’s salvation in our daily life!