The Green Tree Prophecy
Sunday, July 21, 2013 10:00 PM
The activities of Jesus Christ recorded in Matthew 21:18-26:2 transpired within the course of a single day. "And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these words, he said unto his disciples, Ye know that after two days the passover cometh, and the Son of man is delivered up to be crucified." On the very day of our Lord's crucifixion, Jesus issued one final, and very curious, prophecy to the people of Jerusalem. "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For behold, the days are coming, in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the breasts that never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?" (Luke 23:27-31).
This prophecy of Jesus Christ makes sense only within the historical context in which we find it. It was pronounced at Jerusalem upon our Lord's contemporaries, along with their children. "The true beginning" of the Jewish Revolt began one week prior to the Green Tree Xylophory of A.D. 67. According to Josephus, this week in Jerusalem was seven days of "perpetual slaughter," with seditious Jews butchering their fellow Jews. Just one week into this revolt, some Jews had already concealed themselves in subterranean vaults (Wars II, xvii, 5f.). They hoped the earth would hide them "from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb" (Rev. 6:15-17). But if this was the case of the Jews at the beginning of this unprecedented "time of trouble", one could hardly imagine the condition they would be in at the end of this forty-three month period. The Temple was destroyed on the 10th of Ab, just five days prior to the Dry Wood Xylophory of A.D. 70 (Wars VI. iv. 5). By that time, some of the daughters of Jerusalem were reduced to eating their own children, in fulfillment of the dire prophecies of Moses (Wars VI. iii. 4; Deut. 28:52-57). Following this terminal Dry Wood Xylophory, the Jewish metropolis would only survive about three weeks. On the road to the cross, our Lord had every reason to tell the Daughters of Jerusalem, "Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children." This simply echoes his earlier lamentation. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Matt. 23:37-39). -DEL