Sermons

Summary: The palm branch was a symbol of triumph and victory in Roman times. The willow represents weeping, sorrow, difficult times. When you come into my presence the Lord said He wanted you to bring a palm branch in one hand and a willow in another.

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We need to begin by looking at the context this verse is set in. This is part of the ceremony concerning the Feast of Tabernacles. This festival, which was instituted in grateful commemoration of the Israelites having securely dwelt in booths or tabernacles in the wilderness, was the third of the three great annual festivals, and, like the other two, it lasted a week. It began on the fifteenth day of the month, corresponding to the end of our September and beginning of October, which was observed as a Sabbath; and it could be celebrated only at the place of the sanctuary, offerings being made on the altar every day of its continuance. The Jews were commanded during the whole period of the festival to dwell in booths, which were erected on the flat roofs of houses, in the streets or fields; and the trees made use of are by some stated to be the citron, the palm, the myrtle, and the willow, while others maintain the people were allowed to take any trees they could obtain that were distinguished for verdure and fragrance. While the solid branches were reserved for the construction of the booths, the lighter branches were carried by men, who marched in triumphal procession, singing psalms and crying "Hosanna!" which signifies, "Save, we beseech thee!" (Psalm 118:15, 25, 26). It was a season of great rejoicing.—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

The feasts and festivals of Israel were community observances. The poor, the widow, the orphan, the Levite, and the sojourner or foreigner were invited to most of the feasts. (From Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

There is a good deal of symbolism associated with willows. The Westernized thought of weeping willows as a symbol of grief most likely originates from a Bible verse, “By the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the willow-trees we hung up our harps.” (Psalm 137)

The palm branch was a symbol of triumph and victory in Roman times. The Romans rewarded champions of the games and celebrated success in war with palm branches. Early Christians used the palm branch to symbolize the victory of the faithful over enemies of the soul, as in the Palm Sunday festival celebrating the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. In Christian art, martyrs were usually shown holding palms representing the victory of spirit over flesh, and it was widely believed that a picture of a palm on a tomb meant that a martyr was buried there.

{The palm tree was symbolic of victory; the willow of weeping; the myrtle of joy; the olive of anointing.}

When you come into my presence the Lord said He wanted you to bring a palm branch in one hand and a willow in another.

Why would God have a person come with a palm branch in one hand and a weeping willow in the other?

He said come in and rejoice with both of them in your hand in my presence.

The palm branch represents the blessings of God as it stands upright into the sunshine with its arms waving up toward heaven in victory. It represents joy, prosperity and victory. [The palm is a figure of the righteous enjoying their deserved prosperity (Psalm 92:12), —New Unger's Bible Dictionary Palm branches are a symbol of victory (Rev. 7:9).—New Unger's Bible Dictionary]


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