There are hundreds of plants mentioned throughout passages in the Bible, and 7 of those are found in Deuteronomy 8.8:
- Grapes (grapevines)
- Olive trees (olive oil)
- Dates (honey)
The reason they are still significant today is because…
- They give us a glimpse into the past and God’s original design of the land
- They help us know how to plant for the future
- They give us clues about how the people of the Holy Land lived and thrived in the arid environment
- They are often used to symbolize concepts and relationships between God and His people, as well as how they related to one another
- They give us insights into the culture of ancient biblical times
Plants and crops are often used in the Bible to symbolize provision. Just like in any ancient civilization, if your land was producing a plentiful harvest, you didn’t have to worry about not having enough to survive. Thus, plants also represent life.
We see from the creation account in Genesis that plants were created before man:
- “Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth’; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was So the evening and the morning were the third day.”—Genesis 1:11-13 (emphasis added)
- “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’ And God said, ‘See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.’… So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”—Genesis 1:26-29, 31 (emphasis added)
Note the dominion man has over life on earth, and the instruction to subdue it. This does not mean to do as we please… but rather, to bring it under control. Not for selfish gain, but to harness its potential—so that it may be multiplied and used for the greater good of all.
The 7 Species: Wheat, Barley, Grapes, Figs, Pomegranates, Olives, and Dates (Honey)
“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land… a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey.”—Deuteronomy 8:7-8
The 7 species were a sign to the ancient Israelites that God would provide for their every need. When sharing in the harvest of these crops, they would also share in the nourishment the crops produced. These plants were staples in Israelites’ diet of the day.
What do the 7 Species in Deuteronomy Symbolize?
Wheat and Barley were made into bread, which relates to the later teaching that Jesus is the Bread of Life.
- “… ‘My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ Then they said to Him, ‘Lord, give us this bread always.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.’”—John 6:32-35
Grapes were made into sweet wine that brought joy. They were a symbol of a healthy land, and the wine they produced was often part of celebrations.
- “And they served drinks in golden vessels, each vessel being different from the other, with royal wine in abundance, according to the generosity of the king.”—Esther 1:7
Pomegranates, also known as “grained apples,” were not only used in making a refreshing juice drink, but also used to adorn the robes of priests. Some even believe it was the pomegranate that Adam and Eve tasted when they took from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
- “And upon its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet, all around its hem, and bells of gold between them all around: a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe all around.”—Exodus 28:33
Figs and Date Honey added sweetness to their diet. They were a delicacy in the land. We also know the land was “flowing with milk and honey” (see Exodus 3:8).
This fact indicates the land itself was dripping with sweetness and plenty. The Lord was gracious enough not just to meet their needs, but to provide more than they could ask for. Honey was also used to promote health and healing.
- “My son, eat honey because it is good, and the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste…”—Proverbs 24:13
Olive trees produce the olives that were pressed and made into oils that were used for cooking, soapmaking, and anointing.
Olive trees are likely the most well known of biblical plants as they represent God’s relationship with His chosen people, the Israelites, and how the Gentile nations were grafted into the olive tree through Jesus. They also symbolize peace, which is why the olive branch is an emblem on the Israeli flag.
- “And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports”—Romans 11:17-18
- “It shall come to pass in that day that his burden will be taken away from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil.”—Isaiah 10:27
As you can see, the 7 species are still significant today. They are a physical representation of the restoration plan God has for His land and His people. They are a picture of blessing that is available to us all. And My Olive Tree is planting the 7 species just outside of Jerusalem!
This booklet uncovers the mysteries of the King’s Oil in Exodus 30 and provides a deep dive into how the King’s Oil is a tool that empowers you to break free from any yoke that holds you back.