Deuteronomy 21:22-23 “If anyone is found guilty of an offense deserving the death penalty and is executed, and you hang his body on a tree, 23 you are not to leave his corpse on the tree overnight but are to bury him that day, for anyone hung on a tree is under God’s curse. You must not defile the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.” (HCSB)
Today is the last post about trees. (Plus you’ll probably see a couple more posts since I’m trying to catch up from sick days and finish the 60th on Christmas Day.)
I couldn’t neglect this prophecy as the final one. During the days of Moses and the giving of the law, God made certain points clear. One here was that hanging on a tree was a sign of God’s curse and that a body on a tree bore God’s judgment.
Years before the Romans even thought of crucifixion, God knew how his son would die. The two large beams of wood that made up this torturous method of death were even called the ‘tree’ in the slang of the day.
Before Jesus could be the new tree that beckoned the nations, before he could grow from the cedar of Abraham, before he could grow out of the root of Jesse, before he could become the long-awaited branch of David, he needed to satisfy the payment for God’s curse upon the tree of man.
As Simeon said, Jesus will be a sign. That sign, like the snake Moses lifted in the desert, will be something that people can look to if they want healing. They aren’t forced to. They must choose to. If they look and accept, the sign of the cross will be a blessing to them. If they oppose it, becoming swords to pierce the souls of believers, their hearts will be revealed by the same God they revile.
The apostle Paul said it best when he quoted from Deuteronomy. (Galatians 3:11-14, HCSB) Now it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous will live by faith. But the law is not based on faith; instead, the one who does these things will live by them. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, because it is written: Everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed. The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles by Christ Jesus, so that we could receive the promised Spirit through faith.
A Sixty-Day Countdown to Christmas