To listen to the audio teaching that corresponds to this articled use the audio player below or right click to download it to your computer.
Pomegranate trees or bushes are common in Yisrael and the Middle East and are long lived. Some have been documented as living more than 200 years. They produce fruit that is round, about the size of an orange with leathery skin. When ripe they are a deep crimson red shade with blushes of gold. To me they are the royalty of fruit because each pomegranate wears a lovely crown (calyx) on the blossom end.
When we cut into the pomegranate we find that the unusual fruit inside is protected by white spongy pith. Beyond the pith we find many sections, some say eight to twelve in all. Each section is packed with glistening red arils that look like beautiful rubies or gem stones. These arils are translucent capsules, each one filled with a sweet-tart juice and a tiny, pearl colored edible seed.
The pomegranate is very beautiful to look at and delicious to eat but it’s also loaded with health benefits. Research has shown that pomegranates can lower high blood pressure, reverses plaque buildup in the arteries, lower the risk of heart disease, help to prevent blood clots and bad LDL and help to prevent osteoarthritis. There is also research that pomegranate juice can overcome viruses, the common cold, candida, and has had effect on some cancer cells.
One of the Seven Species
Pomegranates are one of the foods mentioned in Deuteronomy 8:8 and they are referred to being one of the Seven Species. When the spies returned from spying out the Land (Num. 13:24) they brought large grapes and pomegranates and figs to show the abundance that they discovered there. In Deut. 8:8 we find what Jewish tradition has referred to as the 7 species; wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and honey (dates.)
Deu 8:6 -8 “Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey;”
Let’s pause here in reading these scriptures.
I believe that all seven of the foods mentioned in verse 8 have many health benefits that man is only now discovering. During this year (2012) I intend to study the topic of the Seven Species and each one of the foods mentioned. I will be gleaning insight from the Scriptures and also looking for evidence that they are really health boosting and health promoting foods. As I study this out I will present each of these foods in future teachings.
Pomegranates in Scripture
The word pomegranate in Hebrew is: Nmr Nfmr rimmon rimmon (Strongs #H7416) and it means: a pomegranate, the tree from its upright growth, the fruit and its many seeds.
There are 25 verses in scripture that include the word rimmon – pomegranate and the first occurrence, is always significant. We find it in Exodus 28:33 & 34 where Yahweh is giving the instructions for the design of the cohan gadal (high priest) ephod. It was to be a blue garment, made of linen that would fit over his head. And all along the bottom of the hem they were to make pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet threads or material. I visualize these as tassels that hung free at the bottom of the hem. Between each pomegranate they were to hang a golden bell and these were to completely encircle the hem of the robe.
This photo of the hem of the robe is from Mishkan Ministries, a traveling biblical museum displaying representations of the Tabernacle (Mishkan) and all that goes with it. I encourage you to visit Dr. David Hamilton’s website to get a glimpse of the beautiful tabernacle items that he has made. His study and work is truly inspiring and you can find it at Mishkan Ministries. I would further encourage you to make a financial gift, as you feel lead, to help him continue to carry out this wonderful ministry. Aaron the High Priest was to wear this garment when he went into the Kadosh Kadosh (Most Holy) Place before Yahweh and when he came out, so that he would not die.
I think the design that Yahweh gave, is very beautiful and I have wondered about the pomegranate tassels and bells for years. Why did Yahweh instruction those specific items and that they should hang down at the hem so that Aaron would not die while serving before Him?
As with all of scripture there are many layers of meaning, here is just one viewpoint. It is understood in Hebraic thought that the pomegranate symbolizes the Word of the Lord Yahweh, His Torah. The pomegranate is divided into sections which hold the fruit. Some say that there are twelve sections; with each section representing one of the twelve tribes encamped around the Tabernacle of His Glory. Twelve also represents the complete and full House of Yisrael (Yuhuda and Yisrael together.)
The sections are full of white, pearl-like seeds. Hebraic tradition teaches that the pomegranate fruit has 613 seeds, representing the 613 commandments in Torah. The commands are instructions that Yahweh gave to his children so that they would grow to walk in His character not that of the pagan nations around them.
Carl and Julie Parker, explain, “Each white seed is incased in a sweet, red juice that represent the sweet, purifying redemptive work of the blood of the Lamb, Yeshua. That in His fruitfulness, each and every law that YHWH gave would be like sweet nectar to our soul.”
Subsequently, the pomegranates can represent the House of Judah, the keepers of the good news of Torah, while the bells can represent the House of Israel, keepers of the good news of Messiah. When the two come together in unity they make a beautiful sound. If you have only bells without pomegranates (or, Torah), Paul said you are likened to a clanging cymbal. If you have only pomegranates (or, have only the Torah) and no bells (no Messiah), then it is like you are walking around with Torah and no sound, for Torah without Messiah is dead. So pomegranates and bells work together to make a beautiful sound!
Many have speculated about the bells, saying that they were there to ground the High Priest and to protect him from static electric build up and that it would kill him, while walking in the Holy of Holies – perhaps but we don’t really know.
The following is an excerpt from one of Cowper’s poems entitled “A Living and a Dead Faith’:
With golden bells, the priestly vest,
And rich pomegranates border’d round,
The need of holiness express’d,
And call’d for fruit as well as sound.
Wonderful Poms for the Fall Feasts
The Fall months are the time when pomegranates are in season because of this they are frequently include in the Fall Feast celebrations. There are many wonderful sweet or savory dishes that include pomegranates, their juice or arils. Try including some this year when you are celebrating…
Yom Terruah – both apples and pomegranates are a welcome treat at the dinner table. Whether you are drizzling sliced apples with bee honey or Pomegranate Syrup (recipe below) they are delicious. Many families look forward to cakes and deserts topped with Pom Syrup or baked with the juice or arils inside.
Sukkot – is the time of the year when all the crops and fruits have or will soon be harvested. Many people make arrangements of pomegranates and the 3 branches mentioned in the Torah (Willow, Myrtle, and Palm) to place on their tables. Some people hang pomegranates and other fruits (fresh and artificial) from their Succah and they eat foods that include pomegranates.
Special thanks to Rebecca Totillo for her insights on pomegranates in her book, Fragrance of the Bride.
For Recipes and Suggestions for Including Pomegranates with Meals, follow our link: Pomegranates – Edible Ruby Recipes
You may also be interested in our recipe for an exfoliating skin scrub using pomegranates and other simple ingredients, many of which may already be in your kitchen: Prepare the Bride – Exfoliating Skin Scrub
 © 2007 Sheepfold Gleanings: Tetzaveh/You Shall Command by Carl and Julie Parker
Do you have additional information to share with us about pomegranates in Scripture or more health benefits? Please share, we’d love to know more.