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The Almond Orchard

High in the mountains of Judea, northeast of Jerusalem, there is a Jewish village reclaimed out of nothing but rocky soil. It is named Ma’ale Michmas. Clear providential direction led to this place as the site for an Almond Orchard in memory of the founder of this ministry called “Bible Light”– Elmer Josephson (Hebrew spelling Elmar Ben-Yoseph).

Why Michmas?
I made contact with Yehudit Tayar, spokesperson for “Yesha” at their Jerusalem office. “Yesha” is the Hebrew acronym for “Judea, Samaria & Gaza”. Yehudit, a mother of five in her 40’s, is well known by those in the area and by all of us interested in Yesha. She took me in her specially-equipped car to the mountains northeast of Jerusalem. We bonded in heart and mind as we drove through the area. Conversation was interrupted from time to time by calls on her cellular phone, by stopping to give hitch-hiking soldiers a lift and calling to report an abandoned car on the side of the road.

Many years before, Elmer had been asked to help find a name for a new settlement in the area. His Bible research came up with the name “Michmas”. The name indeed later became what is now called Ma’ale meaning “from the heights of”, Michmas meaning “hidden treasure”.

This Jewish village in the Bethel area is on a high lookout point. It nestles in the mountains on the border of Benjamin and Ephraim – with a panoramic view of breath-taking beauty of other restored villages and Jerusalem in the background. In the Spring, lilies of the field bloom in abundance among the rocks. On a high hill is a memorial to Danny Frei, a Jewish young man from the U.K. who lived at Ma’ale Michmas. Danny was defending his family when he perished at the hands of a terrorist invading his yard. His wife and one year old child survived the attack, but not Danny nor the baby in his wife’s womb.

It seems fitting that the almond orchard be planted high on this mountain at Ma’ale Michmas.

Why Almonds?
Jeremiah related in chapter 1, “Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, ‘Jeremiah, what seest thou?’ And I said, ‘I see the rod of an almond tree.’ Then said the LORD unto me, ‘Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten [watch over] my word to perform it’.” (Jeremiah 1:11-12)

He watches over what He has promised and will hasten to do it – suddenly fulfilling it. The almond, then, represents the Word of God and especially what He has to say about this land, this people, this time in history.

The almond is high in nutritional value. It is an excellent source of protein (which means ‘that which is first’) – to our physical bodies. And in <->put<->ting God’s Word FIRST at the top of our day, we find our source of strength spiritually, emotionally and mentally. The word in Hebrew for almond is sheked which means “industrious, to guard and watch over, diligence, studious, perseverance, take good care, to be alert, zealous, wakeful.”

During a time when the position of High Priest was being contested, God told Moses to bring a rod for each tribe into the tabernacle. The rod of Levy was to have Aaron’s name on it. The rods were laid before the ark in the tabernacle of the congregation. The next morning, “Behold the rod of Aaron [the High Priest]...was budded and brought forth buds and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds” (Numbers 17:8).

Aerial view of Ma’ale Michmas. The location of the Almond Orchard is indicated by the circle. It is on the left of the entrance into the settlement.

The almond and the almond rod are both symbolic of God’s Word. “Buds, blossoms and [the fruit] almonds” speak of all the seasons of the almond tree. God’s Word is operative in every season.

Are YOU going through a special season in your life right now? His Word is not only your guide, but your comfort and strength. Spend choice priority time there and you’ll discover the secret: “Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these [personal needs] will be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).

Hebrews 11:11 says, “. . . he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh!”

The almond orchard in Elmer’s memory is a witness to his righteous life and a testimony to his God-given gifts – plus a continuation of his ministry. His whole being, all the time I was privileged to know him, was dedicated fully to God and His Word, and DOING it, especially as it concerned God’s people Israel and the Land of Israel. His definition of wisdom was, “knowing what God is doing in the world and going with Him.”

The misunderstanding, the hatred, the violence these settlers in Ephraim live through daily are all symbolic of spiritual warfare going on. All the world vent their displeasure in some manner against Jewish settlements in these mountains. But “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about His people from henceforth even FOR EVER” (Psalm 125:2 - Read the whole Psalm to see who wins!) Satanic forces would destroy Jerusalem and her mountains if it were possible, and turn them into an enemy concentration camp. The innocent Arab women and children also greatly suffer. (Many “Palestinian Arabs” are living in daily terror of their own countrymen.)

Part of the young Almond Orchard.

Why the Mountains?

  • Because they represent God’s promises of deliverance. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth GOOD tidings, that publisheth PEACE; that bringeth GOOD TIDINGS OF GOOD, that publisheth SALVATION [deliverance of every kind to all nations]; that saith unto Zion, Thy GOD REIGNETH.” (Isaiah 52:7 – and again may we ask that you read the WHOLE chapter. It throws a lot of light on present day developments.)

  • It was on these mountains God made the promises of the everlasting Abrahamic covenant, which were repeated to Isaac. Jacob received the confirmation during his “ladder” dream in this very area.

  • This is the backbone of Israel – THE HEARTLAND OF the country.

God’s Word concerning Israel gets clearer each passing day. We are in a war of light and darkness. Where do we stand on this issue? None of us can be neutral. If we are not for these settlers, we are against them. They daily risk their lives. The least we as believers from the nations can do is put some of our dollars where our mouth is – and in so doing we are giving witness and testimony that we believe God when He said, “I will hasten my word to PERFORM it” (Jeremiah 1:12).

Send at least $15 “in memory of”, or “in honor of” someone – or just because you want to do it for yourself. Bible Light will give you a certificate suitable for framing. Nothing is taken out for office expenses (not that they don’t exist!) but all goes as designated. We are very grateful for the computer skills of Terry and Toni Distin (husband and wife team) who typeset and format the Bible Light On the News, and prepare the beautiful tree certificates.

“Is There Not a Cause?”
The trumpet calling watchmen-for-the-mountains has been blowing loud and clear, especially since the infamous handshake on the White House lawn. When the final blast of the trumpet sounds, will we be found faithful? (I Thess. 4:15-18).  -