Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

This blog is a chapter from my forthcoming book, All The Trees of Frankincense, hopefully, available in the spring of 2018.

all the trees cover

Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh ~ The Gifts From the Magi

It is during the season of Christmas the most famous of frankincense and myrrh scriptures is brought to light. Churches, malls, and homes decorated with a stable and three kings kneeling to present their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ Child. The rest of the scene has Mary holding the child and Joseph looking on with camels, donkeys, and sheep to add to the humble setting all the while the star is brightly shining. And to add to the scene we have a few shepherds with their staffs and a host of angels.

When we moved to North Carolina, in November 1990, our fifth child was three weeks old. On our first Sunday in our new town, we walked into a church with our tribe. As we were departing this lady came up to us. She was overjoyed and very excited to meet us. She looked at Hannah and said “There’s my baby Jesus! We don’t have to use a doll this year.” After talking with her we found out that she was the Children’s Church Director. So, David was Joseph, I was Mary, and Hannah was Jesus that year. The Children’s Church surrounded us as angels gazing down on us and the notable wise men giving us the treasure chests of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

nativity

The three gifts were of great symbolic significance as well as of a valuable commodity. Gold represents a deity, myrrh is suffering, and frankincense is worship. In my Precious Oils Study of the Fragrances of the Bible, I expound on the symbolic meanings of these treasures.

Precious Oils Study Cover

Let’s look at some key points that lead up to the presentation of the gifts that set the stage for the gifts.

In Matthew 2:1 we find the introduction of the “wise men” from the east. The original word is magi, from which comes our word magician. Today magician is used in a negative way, but that wasn’t the original definition. Wise Men were philosophers, priests, or astronomers who scholars tell us lived chiefly in Persia and Arabia. They were men of integrity and devoted to their higher learning and calling of their vocations; astronomy, religion, and to healing and medicine. These men were highly esteemed by the Persian court and other countries from where they resided.

Verse 2 asks “Where is he?” and then they say, “born of the King of the Jews”. We need to stop and think about a few things. During this period of history, there was a deep expectation that some remarkable person would appear in Judea, perhaps even “The Messiah”. People were looking for the fulfillment of Daniel 9:25-27. With hopeful hearts, they knew that the period was approaching when he would appear. Although this king would be temporary, a great expectation that he would deliver them from Roman bondage was deep in their hearts. Many Jewish families, at that time, lived in Egypt, Rome, Greece and other Eastern countries. They carried the history, and prophecies of their people, written on scrolls, in every place they lived so naturally there was a great expectation that some remarkable person was about to appear just as they read.

“From the East” can show us two thoughts, the first is the country of from where they were from, or it could mean that from where they were traveling from, perhaps the east/west ancient trade route over land. At this point of the story we don’t know they have “gifts”, but as we read in the next verse we find that they were brought to Jerusalem under the guidance of “His Star”. Commentators enlighten us with these thoughts.

Among the ancients, the appearance of a new star or comet was regarded as an omen of some remarkable event. Many such appearances are recorded by the Roman historians at the birth or death of distinguished men. Thus, they say that at the death of Julius Caesar a comet appeared in the heavens and shone seven days. These wise men also considered this as an evidence that the long-expected Prince was born. It is possible that they had been led to this belief by the prophecy of Balaam “There shall come a star out of Jacob,” Numbers 24:17. What this star was is not known. There have been many conjectures respecting it, but nothing is revealed concerning it. We are not to suppose that it was what we commonly mean by a star. The stars are vast bodies fixed in the heavens, and it is absurd to suppose that one of them was sent to guide the wise men. It is most probable that it was a luminous appearance, or meteor, such as we now see sometimes shoot from the sky, which the wise men saw, and which directed them to Jerusalem. It is possible that the same thing is meant which is mentioned in Luke 2:9; “The glory of the Lord shone round about them”, a great light appeared shining on them. That light might have been visible from afar, and might have been seen by the wise men in the East.            Barnes Notes of the Bible.

“This glory of the Lord” is the same as a “great” glory – that is, a splendid appearance or “light.” The word “glory” is often the same as light as found in I Corinthians 15:41; Luke 9:31 and Acts 22:11. The words “Lord” and “God” are often used to denote “greatness” or “intensity.” In the Word, we find “trees of God” meaning great trees; “hills of God,” high or lofty hills, etc. So “the glory of the Lord” here means an exceedingly great or bright luminous appearance perhaps not unlike what Paul saw on the way to Damascus.

As we continue to expound verses one and two we find another reference “In the East”, which is not the same as “From the East”. “In the East” does not mean that they had seen the star to the east of themselves, but that, when they were in the East, they had seen this star as it was in the direction of Jerusalem and must have been west of them. This could be translated, “We, being in the East, have seen his star.” It is called his star because they believed it indicated the time and place of his birth.

HIs Star and Wise Men

To worship him does not mean that they had come to pay him religious homage, or to adore him They regarded him as the King of the Jews as there was no evidence that they supposed that he was divine. Their tribute was to honor him as a prince or king, not as God. Worship implies no more than this. It means to prostrate oneself before another; to fall and pay homage to another. This was the mode in which homage was paid to earthly kings, and this they wished to pay to the new-born King of the Jews. We find the same meaning of worship in Matthew 20:20 and 18:26; Acts 10:25 and Luke 14:10. Webster defines worship as “to respect, to honor, to treat with civil reverence’.

Thayer’s Greek Definition is.

1) to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence

2) among the Orientals, especially the Persians, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence

3) in the NT by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether to express respect or to make supplication

3a) used of homage shown to men and beings of superior rank

The Strong’s Concordance describes further. G4352

proskuneo   pros-koo-neh’-o

From G4314 and probably a derivative of G2965 (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand); to fawn or crouch to, that is, (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore): – worship.

As I would very much like to continue the rest of the passage verse-by-verse, I’ll share the story in a nutshell.

Herod, the king HEARD the wise men, He got super agitated because “he was king”. He may have ranted so much it could be the reason that we read “and all of Jerusalem with him”. He gathers the Sanhedrin DEMANDING them to tell him where this king had been born. The scribes, without hesitation, told him what the prophet Micah had written in Micah 5:2

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. 

Then Herod had a secret meeting with the wise men; he wanted to know when the star had appeared giving him insight on the approximate age of the child in which scholars tell us that he was around two years of age. Herod sent them out to search for the child and told them when you find him send someone to tell me. After the meeting with the king, the wise men departed. Then the same star shone brightly leading them until it was over the child.

The joyfulness was great among them as they went into the house seeing the child with his mother and gave homage to the child, presenting him with the precious and sacrificial gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

In a dream, the wise men were told not to return to Herod and departed another path back home.

Now, this takes us a few moments to ponder the gifts that are only mentioned in Matthew’s account. But first I want to share a “thought”, not from anything I read but just as I was thinking and writing this for you.

So, I had a thought about Luke 2 who tells us more of the story; there was “no room in the inn”, shepherds herding their flocks and “the angel of the Lord”. Do you think that “his star” from Matthew was “his angel” as often people have described angels as being “light”? And perhaps the wise men heard of the taxation and perhaps is why the wise men gave sacrificially of the precious gifts.

Back to the precious gifts given. Perhaps the offerings of gold, frankincense, and myrrh were given as they were the most prized gifts from the country that the Magi (or wise men) were from.

Much speculation has occurred for centuries of what the gift of gold was and is debatable. The precious metal of gold is very possible, but perhaps not. In Scripture, we find several words for gold as well as the metal mined from many surrounding nations. As I’ve studied I often wonder if the “gold” given to the Christ child was coins or something of a golden nature such as this plant-loving apothecary tends to think.

In Biblical Archeology Bible History Daily (12/02/2017) they write this, in which had me thinking perhaps my train of thought was on the right path.

Still, others have suggested that the gifts of the magi were a bit more practical—even medicinal in nature. 

I’ve read a few thoughts where something “golden” could have been the “gold”. Some think it was turmeric. Others suggest that it was the Balm of Gilead. All were (are) “medicinal” but personally, I rather doubt that they were the most valuable non-coin in those days.

While I am not ruling out that the “gold” could have been gold coins, I’m presenting something else that I’ve been teaching since I wrote my Precious Oils Study in 2008 that the “gold” given by the wise men was possible a wood called “oud” (a/k/a “Aloes”).

The wood is dark to golden colored and its cost is more than gold.  Around the world, the wood is known as Gaharu, Jinko, Aloeswood, Agarwood, Eaglewood or Oud.  It is valued in many cultures for its distinctive fragrance and has been called the “Incense of the Kings.”

aloeswood

Aloes (aloeswood) is not the Aloe Vera that we think of from the desert cactus but from a specific tree that was (and still) used as incense by itself or in a blend as well as in designer perfumes such as Giorgio Armani’s Oud Royal and Tom Ford’s Oud Wood.

Aloeswood/Oud is the resinous heartwood from the Aquilaria agallochum plant. The time-honored fragrance is of continued great interest to me considering ancient cultures used it and we find it in Torah. Oud is extracted from decayed wood and found in countries of the east; Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, China, Siam, and Northern India. The tree grows to the height sometimes of 120 feet. This species is of a great rarity even in India. There is another and more common species, called by Indians aghil, whence Europeans have given it the name of Lignum aquile, or eagle-wood. The aroma is amazing. We can purchase the rare essential oil by itself, but be prepared a few drops will cost you more than pure rose oil. The wood, as an incense, is also pricey, but is affordable and used for meditation and religious purposes, mainly in the Arab world.

Oud is believed to be one of the most expensive aromas in the world. Both the resin and the wood are equally treasured. One drop of the Oud CO2 can add a depth, unlike other plants to your hand-crafted perfume blend. The aroma is like a blend of cedar and sandalwood, but with subtle fragrance notes of roses and balsam. Totally intriguing and mysterious.

Another conviction that it was possibly “aloeswood” in this scripture verse is because we first find the plant mentioned in the Torah, written Lign Aloes in the goodly tents of Jacob. (Numbers 24). And it’s interesting that Solomon wrote another “aloes, frankincense and myrrh” verse that I’ll expound upon later in this book.

Be it gold coins or aloeswood all represented wealth then, as well as today.

Frankincense and myrrh haven’t changed much in the years past, and both are written in the Torah. The first account of myrrh is in Genesis 37 with the caravan of Ishmaelites carrying it with other choice products from an eastern region called Gilead. The first account of frankincense is also found in Torah (Exodus 30) as an ingredient in the Holy Incense. Later in this book, we examine the healing properties of these resins.

Frankincense and myrrh are both aromatic gum resins and were heavily traded on the ancient trade routes of land and sea and the use of them in the ancient culture of Egypt are well documented.

Now, “why these gifts”?  One thought I have goes back to the taxation when Joseph and Mary had to go to The City of David. As the story continues in Matthew 2, verse 13 we read the wise men departed, then the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream telling him to go to Egypt. If at that time, they hadn’t paid their taxes they could, and they would have “travel money” as Egypt was not their homeland, they would be foreigners and needed provision to live there. In ancient Egypt, massive quantities of aromatics were consumed. The precious resins of frankincense, myrrh, and other aromatics were in great demand. Is it possible that the wise men’s gifts were the riches they needed to survive in Egypt until Herod died?

Oh, and about those wise men, there probably were more than three, there may have been a dozen or a hundred, we don’t know. With the possibility of encountering robbers or wild animals, safety in numbers was “wise”.

frankincense burning II

Cynthia Hillson’s ministry, Precious Oils Up On the Hill, brings fragrances written in the Bible to life.  She has been married to David for 37 years. They are the parents of six children and grandparents to seven.

Precious Oils Up On the Hill® is the ministry Cynthia began in 1991 after a three-day encounter with the Holy Spirit where she was instructed to “anoint the nations” and “prepare the Bride”. Cynthia is a Modern Day Apothecary who teaches about Biblical fragrances for personal delight, physical health, and spiritual growth. Cynthia lovingly calls her books and workshops a “Show and Smell” ministry. For more information go to http://www.TheFragrantBride.com.

Precious Oils Logo 3 Feb 2012

 

 

 

 

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All the Trees of Frankincense

This is the intro to my new book, All the Trees of Frankincense, the garden project that I am involved in Israel as well as the spring tour to Israel in 2019.

 

Dear Friends,

Holding in your hands is another Precious Oils Study where I have spent untold hours researching one of the few Biblical plants that mesmerize us today, olibanum, a/k/a frankincense or Boswellia. In Arabic frankincense is lubān (Arabic) and in Hebrew we find Levona. לבונה

Frankincense is a sacred plant that is well-documented in Scripture, 23 times in the KJV. Frankincense is first mentioned in Exodus as one of the ingredients of The Holy Incense and was an intricate part of worship in The Tabernacle in the Wilderness by itself. Frankincense was a gift to the infant Jesus (Luke 2), yet we find it included in the list of worldly goods in Revelation 18. In Song of Songs, we find frankincense as a hill with myrrh being the mountain three times in this most excellent of all songs. (See my Precious Oils Study of the Fragrances of the Bible for insight on the mountain and hill. See my Ketoret study for insight on The Holy Incense)

In ancient Egypt, Frankincense was esteemed by the Queens as a perfume and a cosmetic. While the queens adored the resins of frankincense, myrrh, and other fragrant plants for cosmetic purposes the priests used frankincense for purification and religious rites. From my studies I found that myrrh and other plants were used for embalming, Frankincense was used during mortuary rituals and in ceremonial purification. Many religions still practice the burning of frankincense today.

As I pondered details how I wanted to unveil All the Trees of Frankincense I felt that I needed it to include my present focus in Israel as well as keep the core principle of my Precious Oils ministry by bringing the plants and fragrances of the Bible to life through print, lectures and aromatic products.

The first part is this teaching booklet which follows the pattern of how I have introduced other teachings throughout my ministry. I begin by writing a mini-teaching or a brief study in booklet form and then I wait for feedback to decide if I should take it further. When I started compiling notes for this project I began with a few pages, now it’s grown into two, three-inch binders. I also have a few rare books to cite that I unearthed at The National Library in Jerusalem and a local seminary library where I’ve sat for way too many hours mining gems for you. So, it won’t be hard to make this project a “real book” for those who desire to learn more about this intriguing plant.

Frankincense is a plant shrouded in myth and legend. The history of the ancient cultures of Egypt, Greece, Rome and The Holy land who used the resin for religious (and other) purposes dates back 5000 years. Today there is a deep need within mankind to return to the ancient paths that include not only eating plants but using them for medicine, cosmetics, and perfumes, worship, and pleasure.

You will often hear me say that today we have science on our side that affirms the health and well-being one can obtain once we get back to nature and every green herb that was given to us that is recorded in Genesis. Today our modern availability of pure essential oils is the easiest and can often be a cost-effective way to use precious plants.

Prior to the invention of distillation, by Arabic physician Avicenna in the 10th century, plants were infused in oil, steeped as a tea or burned as incense, this was the norm; all these methods were effective. Today, there seems to be an essential oil craze that has happened over the last ten or so years, yet there is a ripple that is emerging; a desire to go back to using plants. I have found using the plant in its non-essential form has found a renaissance in my own life; it’s like I’m going back to a time when things were simpler. I strongly believe that essential oils are one modality of healing, not the only modality, but one.

Avicenna’s work left us valuable written documents including his description of 800 plants and their effects on the human body. While today it seems more probable that he did not discover the process of distillation, but rather perfected it as archaeologists have found some very primitive distillation equipage that dates from before Avicenna’s lifetime. But, he is still the one that is credited as the father of distillation because he made it work. And, lucky for us, that through the ages science and technology have perfected distillation techniques and equipment that has afforded us to reap the benefits of our modern-day distillation of plants. You know, it boggles my mind that I can carry a small bottle of essential oil that can heal mind, body, and spirit and at the same time I humbly consider how much plant matter a farmer must grow to allow me to do so.

It is to our advantage that we have a growing number of scientific studies that offer us hope in many diseases that plague us today. As I researched PubMed.gov I was amazed to find frankincense studies under different search words. (There were 544 citations just in the word “frankincense”.)  Much of the current studies are for cancer (brain, breast, prostate, skin, and lungs) and inflammation.

It is imperative that we keep these studies in perspective of how they are performed, most always in Petri dishes. In this publication, I chose a few abstracts that caught my eye that uses our modern delivery system of pure essential oils of frankincense. One should also take note that the anti-inflammatory healing property of frankincense is found in the resin only, not the essential oil as many have been led to believe. Look for Boswellia at your pharmacy. Many have found that found that the Boswellia supplements to help with arthritis and other inflammatory issues. (You can also purchase myrrh in capsules. For an in-depth study of myrrh please refer to my Esther’s Days of Purification book,)

The second reason for this project has really wound my clock perhaps like no other in my lifetime. Yup, even more than being a grandma . . .  Well, almost, I love being “Grandma”.

My Precious Oils ministry is designating a “tithe” of all sales of “All the Trees of Frankincense” that will be given to support a desert garden project in Israel that I’ve been asked to be part of. It is a huge honor and wasn’t something I was looking for, and I didn’t even know the future project existed when I first went to Biblical Tamar Park in March 2014.

The story how I got there and my purpose of finding a quiet place to write one of my forthcoming books is totally another story. On my first night at Tamar park an opportunity to attend a spice conference, just a few meters down the road, was given. Of course, I couldn’t say “no”.  You see, around 2005 I began spending a few extra days after my groups departed to continue my education and exploration of the ancient frankincense and spice routes through Israel. It was in 2008 that I had to get to Petra, in which I did. I’ll reserve my camel riding on the ancient trail story a few years later for another time.

Through the years, as I researched and explored the ancient trails, I happened upon some interesting maps and found out that although “Hazeva” wasn’t on the UNESCO list of Incense Routes (Desert Cities in the Negev), the map clearly showed that it was. As I researched I found that the current location was known by several names; (Ir Ovot, City of Oboth, Tamar Fortress or Hatzevah Fortress and Biblical Tamar Park), so of course it became a “must-do” on my “incense/spice trail bucket list”, and it was part of my journey in life to get there in spring of 2014.

Biblical Tamar Park is a national park of Israel located about an hour south of the Dead Sea. The history of Biblical Tamar is inspiring. Over the years, excavations have unearthed thousands of years of history (from Abraham to the Roman Period) as well as British and modern Jewish presence when there was a kibbutz. The Israel Museum is housing over 25,000 artifacts that were found through the years from the excavations. For extensive information on this 55-acre national park and Blossoming Rose please go to their website http://www.BlossomingRose.org. Better, please visit when in Israel, you won’t regret it.

Biblical Tamar Park has become a destination for thousands each year to learn of their Jewish heritage. One of the interesting historical facts about the site is it was one of the 42 stops that the Children of Israel traveled as they sojourned in the promised land. (Odvot was the name of the location found in Numbers 21:10-11, 33:43-44 and the kibbutz that was once was there.)

Remember the spice conference that I “just-so-happened” to be invited to attend, well it had great significance. The main topic that brought hundreds from around the world to the Arava desert was a piece of pottery that had been found. This sherd signified that the Queen of Sheba very well may have slept within meters of the conference venue as the claim was being offered that she was from Yemen and had traveled this portion of the frankincense trail on her way to Jerusalem to meet Solomon and “prove him with hard questions”. The conference was being held on the path that she may have taken, and the organizers of the conference wanted to give her heritage to Yemen, not Ethiopia. While that debate continues, the conference was one way to share the pottery finding as “fact”.

To continue my story, a few weeks after I returned home from my first visit to Tamar, Dr. Coxon, the Director of Biblical Tamar, contacted me, he was curious about my Precious Oils ministry, and he wanted feedback of how I liked the park. He also found out that “someday” I would love to volunteer at the park in which I did when I returned in the fall of 2014 to cook for groups that stay at this very special place. I have since returned to cook for groups, this fall will be my 7th.

As we got to know each other Dr. Coxon strongly felt that I was to be a part of the next phase of the park, a vision that was part of the larger plan of Tamar Park. As I read his e-mails and the vision of the Garden of the Ages, I was in tears. Not just a few, but buckets. I felt the healing balm of the Lord gently reminded me that all the years I have devoted to studying the plants of the Bible, sharing with others through my projects and products were going to be used to bless Israel in a very unique way.

Well, the timeline to begin the gardens begins with much joy this fall (2017) as we begin planting the first of seven gardens that will bless Israel for generations. We are planting ancient trees of myrrh, frankincense and the balm of Gilead, the first 50 of the planned 150 trees in The Garden of Moses.

David and I are extremely excited that we will be putting our hands in the dirt to begin the first phase of The Seven Gardens of the Ages. But just planting a tree doesn’t end once you plant the tree, you need to keep it watered; this isn’t a small expense in Israel. And, this is where I’m reaching out to you that you consider help fulfill the Garden of the Ages vision and purchase your frankincense essential oils (and related products) where you will be sowing seed into the gardens, even if you can’t put your hands in the dirt yourself, which takes me to the third portion of All the Trees of Frankincense.

I’ve been a tour hostess to many, many small groups to Israel since making my first journey in 1999. It is now my desire to take my love of Israel and to perfect the journeys by bringing plant-loving groups to this very special land be it your first time, or your 10th. (Fall 2017 is my 36th visit to the land.)

My tours will include many sites of importance to those of Christian and Messianic faiths. I will also give you an opportunity to meet some of my Israeli friends. The core value of these friends is that we all have a love of the plants. Many of them have businesses centered around health and healing with native plants including distilling essential oils, making wine and producing quality olive oil and teas. Prayerfully consider coming with me to experience Israel in this special way in the spring of 2019. (for more information E-mail ApothecaryMamaCynthia@gmail.com.)

The flora and agriculture of Israel is a wonder to behold as the fulfillment of what we read in the well-known scripture of Isaiah 35:1 & 2.

The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God.

This continues to unfold today, but it really began when the Jewish people began to return to their homeland, especially over the last century.

Mark Twain, who visited Israel in 1867, described Israel as a desolate country – devoid of both vegetation and human population:

“….. A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse…. a desolation…. we never saw a human being on the whole route…. hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.”                                    Innocents Abroad 1869

The modern farms are the result of the Jewish people preparing the desolate land that Twain wrote about. I’ve seen a documentary (old black and white) that shows families preparing the fields. From children to the elderly everyone is picking up rocks clearing the ground so the mules could plow. The documentary continued with seed sowing, weeding and picking fruit. Today as one travels throughout Israel we marvel at the vast fields of products that not only feeds the homeland but many European countries and Russia yearly.

As Isaiah prophesized, Israel continues to bloom, and blossom, from the north to the south. The greening of the desert with the gardens at Biblical Tamar Park is a part of fulfilling the prophecy.  Even more so as I reflect on another of Isaiah’s words found in Isaiah 51, verse 3.

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places, and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

The word for desert in Hebrew is interesting; we find many meanings. Two signify locality; Negev and Arava. What a “coincidence” that Biblical Tamar Park is in the “Arava” desert. . . the “desert” found in Isaiah 35:1 and 51:3. This is of prophetic significance!! The Arava is a region, a narrow strip of desert land that is located below sea level just south of the Dead Sea. (Once you hit sea level you are in the Negev desert.) Both Scriptures point to a time of joy, and rejoicing!

For those who have followed my work, you know my heart is to bring Scripture to life through my “Show and Smell” ministry. My “All the Trees of Frankincense” project comes from one of my favorite scripture passages in the Song of Songs 4:12-15.

A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard, Spikenard, and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices: A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.

Frankincense is a gift to mankind and sad-to-say there are reports that some varieties of the plant could become extinct. If frankincense does become extinct it will be a great loss to our children and grandchildren. I consider myself to be one of many who lives today to be bringing awareness of the importance that frankincense is a tree that is worth the effort to preserve, and plant.

I hope that you pray about joining Precious Oils on our tours, by purchasing your frankincense essential oils and related products or donating to the project. Your support will plant and water trees and bring awareness and education of the precious plant of frankincense, and all the plants that will be part of The Gardens of The Ages for generations to come.

With love,

Cynthia

Our products and donations for Israel are in our shopping cart www.Shop.TheFragrantBride.com

All the Trees of Frankincense book will be available in Spring of 2018

 

 

 

 

First-Aid Kits for Israel

Dear Friends,

In a few days I will be departing for Israel for another volunteer assignment. While this journey is devoted to me cooking for groups in the desert at Biblical Tamar I know in my heart that I must continue to take blessings to Israel each and every time I go.

This will be the second time I’m taking these First-Aid kits. 25 of these kits fill one suitcase quite well.

first-aid-kits-for-israel-being-packed

Each kit contains a variety of gauze bandages and tape, bandages, antibiotic cream, pain-relievers and tea tree and lavender essential oils etc.

Donations are needed to help cover the costs of blessing Israel with the kits. These 25 kits will be going to a community that “just-so-happens” to have 25 families.

Online donations can be made through our web site www.TheFragrantBride.com with the PayPal link.

To give by check please make your check out to Liberty Ministries, Inc. Memo Israel 2016

Mail to Cynthia Hillson  PO Box 2036  Cornelius  NC  28031

This picture is from a delivery I made in June 2016.

first-aid-kits-delivered-june-2016

When given lemons make lemonade or take First-aid

life_gives_you_lemons

 

Dear Friends,

Since last November, just days after returning from Israel, I’ve had my share of lemons given to me . . . Seems like a whole grove of them in the area of my health.  Not to bore you all the details that started with the surgical removal of an abscess from a root canal that I had over three years ago. Then it was determined at my yearly physical, and a few more doctor appointments, that I need a hysterectomy but it had to be delayed because I was bitten by a spider the day after my physical. Four of the six bites had to be surgically removed which delayed the hysterectomy as it couldn’t be done until the spider bite incisions were closed, and there was new, pink skin. All of these issues had me at the pharmacy a lot. I had to take antibiotics for weeks. And then there was the surgical wounds as I used boxes upon boxes of 4” rolled gauze and lots of medical tape as I had to change bandages four times a day in the beginning, and then twice daily thereafter. All I can say it’s been a journey.

In February I looked beyond my automatic reach for the gauze and tape and saw a possible way for me to take the “lemons” and make lemonade and to share “lemonade” with Israel with “First-Aid”.

LemonadeII

Walgreens had the most amazing “Build Your Own” first aid kit. Normally you would have to purchase three of the featured products and you would get the empty red case “free”. If you didn’t buy the products, they had a price for the case.

first aid bag 26 april 2016.png

On the day that I discovered them they had a markdown sign of $1.49 instead of the $4.99. I grabbed one and took it to the counter to have scanned. Bingo!! The markdown price was correct and you didn’t have to buy the featured items. I went back and grabbed the remaining five because I thought they would be a wonderful item to fill and take to Israel when I go late May and early June.  For those who don’t know me is through the years I have transported suitcases upon suitcases of medical supplies for Vision for Israel and other ministries, as well as individuals. One trip I carried a whole suitcase of nothing but surgical needles, another trip I transported boxes of gauze just like I had been using. 

Where we live we have two Walgreen’s. I promptly went across town and there wasn’t any of the red bags. That didn’t stop me to continue my search so off to Statesville and Troutman where I found bags at each location. Over the next few days I was in and out of nearly every Walgreens within a 30 to 40-mile radius. At one location as I was standing in line with a “motherlode” of bags the lady in front of me turned around and said “At first I thought you were holding a baby, but I see you must be preparing for something”. I said “No, not personal preparation but for others. I take benevolent items to Israel and I am gathering as many of the bags as I can find to fill them with basic medical supplies to take when I go there this spring.” She asked if I could go to the dollar store to get the stuff in which I replied that you can’t buy everything there and you have to go other places for supplies. She smiled, and then it was her turn to checkout. As she finished her transaction she got $20 change. She turned around and put it in my hand, looked at me and told me she wanted to help.

Here’s the picture of the red bags that I’ve gathered, three paper boxes full. The bags are empty and need to be filled. The picture really doesn’t show the neat little pockets under the items on the right of the filled bag to help you keep organized.

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My ministry finances are always limited, David and I will do our best to fill as many of the bags as possible; but perhaps, you may want to help in this mission in which you can do any of the following.

  • Prayer for me to wisely distribute the bags throughout Israel. I can think of a dozen places that I could take them. Also, the “Message Stones” that I wrote about in a previous blog is still on my heart to take this journey.
  • Send supplies to my home. (129 Fesperman Circle Troutman  NC  28166). I can send you a list of the items that I want to put in there but the picture gives you an idea of the items. It is amazing how much the bags can hold.
  • Donate funds for me to purchase the items and for the extra luggage to transport an extra suitcase, or two. You can donate by check (Tax Deductible USA) and Send to Cynthia Hillson PO Box 2036 Cornelius, NC 28031. Please memo Israel 2016 on your check and make it out to Liberty Ministries, Inc.

 

Thank you for your support to take these “First-Aid” kits to Israel. And, it’s not too late to join me on this journey, or the one I will be doing in the fall.

In His Service,

Cynthia

 

Precious Oils Up On The Hill®

PO Box 2036

Cornelius, NC  28031

PreciousOils@aol.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Message Stones

Today I have a “story” that I need to share that has transpired over the last few weeks. I hope you have a few moments to read.

In mid-November I had returned home from Israel where I had been a volunteer cooking for groups (another story . . . another time). I had only been home for a few days and a friend contacted me. Actually Jack and I became friends through one of his daughters, Jessica, and my daughter Hannah who have been buddies since they were like in 3rd grade, now they are in their early 20’s. Jack said he had something that he wanted to give me.

Jack arrived at my store, Bernice’s Tea & Spice in downtown Mooresville. We greeted one another and he asked me to come and see what he had as he was cleaning out his garage in preparation to move. I was a bit taken back when I saw the container after container of “message stones” and asked where he had gotten them.

Jack has a heart of gold and is part of the fund-raising committee for The Dove House, a Children’s Advocacy Center located in Statesville, NC that serves child victims of sexual abuse and their non-offending family members. He told me that a man had donated the stones for one of their fund-raising events and these were “leftover” and asked if I could use them.

As I picked a few of them up I remembered something I had done a number of years ago on one of my trips to Israel. I had designed a “Shalom, Shalom” message stone and gave out a couple hundred in the Jerusalem March and everywhere my steps walked in Israel that year.

Orginal Shalom Shalom Message Stone I designed (left), company currently makes the one on the right.pngThe picture shows the original stone I designed on the left (crazy that I kept one in my desk as a memory) and the one that the company now sells on the right.

Of course I had to say “Yes” as I thought how the Lord works in multiplying the little things into more than we can even ask for. This time it was in not only a couple hundred stones but thousands as there were more than a dozen plastic shoe boxes filled with about 400 to 600 stones in each box. That’s a lot of stones.

Message Stone Bins 400 to 600 per bin.png

We unloaded his car and I piled the stones in my shop and thought “Well, what am I going to do with these?”  I walked next door to my shopkeeper neighbor friend whose business, The Rustic Key re-purposes items and gave her an overflowing shoe-box full of them. My husband I glued about 300 to magnets to give to our customers, but we still had boxes of stones.

Message Stone Magnets.png

 

So, I hand-wrote a sign and set out a few buckets in front of my shop, each day replenishing the shoe boxes. Over the last 4 weeks little-by-little the stones were being taken from people who walked by.

Stone Messages Outdoor Sign 2015

Here’s a few of the messages of the glass and pewter stones. I’m sorry that I didn’t take pictures of all the messages of them as we had larger pewter ones and another glass stone that said “faith”.

Stone Message Stones Dec 2015

Pewter Message Stones

We’ve had a number of people step into our shop and ask if they could pay for the stones, and of course I can’t take their money as they were a gift that was intended to be a blessing to anyone who took one or two, or even a bag or two for themselves, and to share with others.

I’ve many stories of people who I’ve talked to about the stones . . . mostly me saying take as many as you like and point to the piles of shoe-boxes of them in my back room. But we need to share a few stories.

I had one woman come in my shop holding a handful of the stones to thank me. As she was talking she said with all of the craziness in the world the messages are important and how everyone needs hope and love, especially today. She asked if I was a “Believer”, in which I said “Yes, I believe in every word written in the Bible”. She said that she knew it when she walked in. I handed her a plastic bag and invited her to take as many stones as she wanted.

What happened last week is the reason I am taking time to share one important story, and really opened my eyes how being a willing vessel to share the message of hope and love in what seems to be a small way really has the opportunity to impact far wider than I could ever fathom.

It was last Thursday afternoon, Dec 10th. I watched out the window as a man took his selection of stones. He knocked on my window to show me his bag.  I smiled and waved and didn’t give any thought to his gratitude as dozens of people have, but I remembered his countenance and smile; it was full of joy and hope.

The next day another storekeeper friend, Pam from Pearls, stopped into my shop; she‘s also a Believer. Pam began to talk. She said “Cynthia, I’m not sure if you understand what is going on with those message stones that you are giving away.”  I told her yeah I had an idea because of the many conversations that have transpired over the last few weeks. Then she said again, “I don’t think you understand.”

I continued to listen as she took me back to the day before by saying this. “You know the homeless man?” I said “The one that walks his dog?” She said “No, not that one, the other one” . . . “Okay, I know who you are talking about. He picked up stones yesterday and knocked on my window to thank me.” She said “Yes, him”! Pam had “just so happened” to walk outside as he was kneeling down and filling his bag of stones and became happier and happier with every one he put in his bag. Pam spoke to him and shared with me what he told her. She said that he was so happy and told her “Do you know I have many friends who are so depressed this time of year? (Of course we know he meant in the homeless community in our town.) He told Pam that he was going to give them the stones and tell them never to give up; there is hope, love, friendship, faith and someone loves you.”

As she shared the story I understood why he was almost glowing as he waved his hand and smiled at me . . . and how he was taking a small message written on a stone to others.  I would never be able to reach the homeless community in our town as it is quite hidden but we know that there are many, including about 60 children according to a current awareness that a local church is educating our community of and their campaign to build a new shelter for the homeless.

I’m down to one shoe-box of stones; I am sure they will be gone by the end of the week. Quite timely I believe as Christmas Eve is this coming Thursday evening which even to those who don’t celebrate the holiday have to agree that a very special holy hush and reverence for the season can touch the hardest of hearts, and it does.

I’m also thinking of the many, many lives that have been, and will be touched because of the generosity of a man who first gave the stones, and how the message of faith, hope and love will be a light and a reminder to many this holiday season from the hundreds of hands who picked up the message stones in front of a little shop over the last few weeks. I’m also thanking my Jewish friend, Jack who told me that I was the first person he thought of to take the stones to.

Now, more than ever, the world, but especially Israel, needs the Hope of the Season, and the Shalom, Shalom that the one who is the Hope of the World brings to all of His Living Stones.

As I looked for my original “Shalom Shalom” stone today I’m also being nudged that I am to take the “Shalom Shalom” stones again to Israel next spring. I’ll be posting more about the tour that I am planning late May and early June in 2016 and how you can be join me in a blog over the next few days.

With Love,

Cynthia

 

 

My Volunteering to Israel Fall 2015

Sylvie and Cynthia with gleaned grapes for Groups Fall 2014 Biblical Tamar

Cynthia and Sylvie with grapes gleaned Fall 2014 at Biblical Tamar Park

Dear Friends,

I’m returning to serve at Biblical Tamar Park located south of the Dead Sea in Israel for the tour and work groups that are scheduled in October and November 2015. My plans were to serve only in October but things have changed with the need of me being head cook through mid-November. Here are the details.

I spent all of February in Israel with Dr. Coxon, President of Blossoming Rose Israel & USA, and his work team just as I did in the fall of 2014 by cooking for groups from around the world as well as the volunteer work teams. It was in Feb that I committed to spend October at Tamar as the “Head Cook” for the Dutch, South African and Finnish groups scheduled to be at Tamar as well as welcome the work teams that will be working and completing exciting projects at this park this fall. These projects include the construction of Abraham’s Tent and The Tabernacle of Moses model display. Scheduled is the completion of the British Building and its educational display . . .  all are very exciting projects! It is an honor that I can serve the workers, many who have devoted 20 to 30 years of their lives to blessing Israel to make Biblical Tamar Park a National Park of Israel and an educational site where Israeli’s and tour groups can learn of seven periods of Jewish History in one place. The park is nearly completed and its next phase, the Garden of the Ages, is part of my future as the seven gardens are part of the next phase of Biblical Tamar Park!

Now, the reason for me to write you today is tell you that my plans to serve at Tamar had to be changed around late August. There was a couple, and another woman, who were scheduled to take the “cooking baton” from me the first of November for a large American tour group as well as the work teams that have more than enough projects to accomplish in their service to Israel. I’m a firm Believer in God giving each one us our talent and gifts. In the spring of 2014 when I told Dr. Coxon that I could cook for 2 to 200 little did I realize that I had a gift that was needed at Biblical Tamar Park? I’ve served at Tamar twice (Oct/Nov 2014 and Feb 2015) with my “cooking gift”. I’ve come to learn that it was something that was needed many years ago. A few of the volunteers have shared their stories over the years how they would come to Israel twice a year to work on the park and had to share the cooking duties as well as do the job they are gifted in, like electrical and other work in the caravans making them pleasant for the tour groups that stay at the park. Or, rock work using a skill they have learned from the IAA (Israel Archeological Authority). Some volunteer their time just to prune the palm trees with a chain saw and to rake the grounds so when tour buses and car loads of people enter the park they see a clean and well-maintained site. In addition there are a whole host of other projects that has taken a mound of sand that was discovered 30 years ago to a park of historical importance in Israel’s past . . . and in its future.

The “cook shortage” is two-fold. First, the Head Cook, Louise, and her husband Jack, have been cooking and a vital part of Tamar for over 20 years. Jack’s health has greatly diminished since I met them last year, so they won’t be able to travel. Amy, who was to help Louise and Jack had an emergency surgery on her neck; she also has been told that she can’t travel. Dr. Coxon, and his son hoped that I could do one of two things; the first to make plans to be in Israel for 7 weeks. That was impossible as that is too long of a time to be gone from my family and commitments. The second is for me to go to Israel for 2 weeks, come home for 2 weeks and then return for 3 weeks. In other words buy a second airline ticket, in which I don’t have funds for and put on a credit card. In the 30 journeys that I’ve been to Israel, God’s people, and my Precious Oils ministry, has always met the need to travel and bless Israel in ways that only God in heaven knows.

My first journey this fall is September 28 to October 10; the second is October 24 to November 14, 2015.  Dr. Coxon (Founder and President of Blossoming Rose) and his son, Rob (who’s in line to be the next President) have told me that I’m a “lifesaver” to Blossoming Rose during this season of a cook shortage.

My need of funds is about $2000 which is the cost of airfare, travel insurance and transportation to and from the park. If you find it in your heart to donate to my ministry, I’d be so grateful.

To learn more where I’m serving at this “gem in the desert” go to www.BlossomingRose.org. Here you will find mission statement and past newsletters that share the story of Biblical Tamar Park. You will also find a pdf version of the brochure as well as information how you can be part of the volunteer teams, or even take a group to spend an unforgettable experience at this very special place. There is also a number of articles online that share historical information, one is this informative article.

http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/tamar/Biblical_Tamar.pdf

Thank you for sharing your time in prayer, and your finances in blessing Israel.

With love,

Cynthia

Tax deductible giving is as follows.

Send to:

Cynthia Hillson

PO Box 2036

Cornelius, NC  28031

Please make checks payable to Liberty Ministries, Inc.

Memo: Hillson Missions ~ Israel

The Garden in the Desert Project Update January 2015

What can I say as I sit at my computer this morning, 1 January 2015? But oh, my, I’m leaving for Israel in one month, for a month, to serve as Head Cook at Biblical Tamar Park, study at Hebrew University and write about the ancient secrets and modern uses of the plants of the Bible, and Antiquity.

For those who want to read a few of the things that I experienced during the six weeks I spent in Israel in Oct & Nov 2014 I can e-mail or snail mail it to you. E-mail PreciousOils@aol.com. In the subject line write Biblical Tamar Update and either send your snail mail or postal mailing address. Here’s a portion of that letter.

The vision of Biblical Tamar is in part the reason I volunteered at Biblical Tamar; it is called The Garden of the Ages @ Biblical Tamar Park. It is part of the responsibility of park completion given to Blossoming Rose, from the IAA (Israel Antiquities Authority). After I returned home in March Dr. Coxon and I had e-mail and phone conversations so I knew the importance of spending time to interact and hear the vision of Tamar from him, and to walk the land. I captured short videos of Dr. Coxon as a group of us walked with him from one end of the 55 acre park, to the other, showing us the boundaries and explaining the future plans of the park that will include 20 of the acres as The Garden of the Ages. The park’s boundaries are to be marked with trees and are the first important step of the gardens so the park’s boundaries are clear as construction of two hotels is beginning soon. Israel depends on tourism and highlights 31 regions where tourists can go. Biblical Tamar is located in the region known as “The Arava”. There are many Biblical references of the past, and the future of the Arava. Tamar is named as one of the future borders of Israel (Ezekiel 47). The seven periods of history represented at Biblical Tamar, as well as the location of the oldest tree in Israel, is bringing busloads of people to this very special site. The Arava has a new welcome center located less than 10 minutes away. They’ve produced a movie that introduces people to the rich resource and history of The Arava. The ancient jujube tree (the oldest tree in Israel) located at Biblical Tamar is shown often in the movie. The welcome center shows how The Arava crops are an important portion of the economy of the region and how Europe benefits from the fresh food that is being grown there.

There are a lot of projects to complete at Biblical Tamar Park before the gardens can be planted, and of course being in the Shmita year allows for  planning needed for the 20 acre project with a landscape artist.

You can be a part of the volunteer work team(s) that I will be cooking for in February, and in the fall. Volunteer duties to fit your gifting are available!!  You also can be a part by helping with the needed finances to complete the current and future projects of Biblical Tamar. If any of you reading this love Israel, Biblical History and are of a willing heart you can be a part of Biblical Tamar Park! Info posted at the end of this blog.

Personally I wish my ministry had the finances to sponsor one of the last two historical periods that have been unearthed at Biblical Tamar. The one most suited for Precious Oils to sponsor is the Fifth Historical Period ~ 675 to 1916 ~ The Arab period, which was the longest occupation of Biblical Tamar. You may be asking “How does this “fit” with Precious Oils?” It does in an amazing way. Let me share this from the Nov 2014 Biblical Tamar newsletter written by Dr. DeWayne Coxon, President of Blossoming Rose.

The Arab Period, was during the years that the Muslims controlled all of the Middle East. Tamar was a vital link for the camels when the desert caravans hauled spices, precious ointments, and Eastern goods to the Mediterranean Sea and on to Europe. Water was the commodity that was critically needed by conquering armies who controlled Tamar. The largest spring in the entire Arava was here at Tamar. The rushing streams were perfect for providing water for the camels and other animals that sought the cool shade in a very hot desert.

The Desert Caravans were of great importance to carry the spices and resins through Biblical Tamar.  I wrote this statement in my book, Esther’s Days of Purification.

The Arabs controlled the ancient spice markets of yesterday. Today, the prized myrrh and frankincense is still grown in the Arab world. Take note, the price of these essential oils are on the rise due to the unrest in many portions of the world where they are harvested. Building up your own arsenal of these precious oils for your health and well-being is recommended as they may become difficult in the future to obtain.

Are you aware during the Roman and early Arab periods of time 3000 tons of frankincense resin was transported on this ancient trail? Resin, my friends, not essential oils as the big mlm companies want you to believe. The ancient secrets of the value of not only the frankincense resin, but other resins, spices and other plants that were transported on the ancient trails is note-worthy. I look forward to sharing many new projects that my ministry of Precious Oils will be publishing in 2015 to teach you of these plants. I am also honored that I’ve been asked to be a member of the planning, planting, and maintenance committee of The Garden of the Ages @ Biblical Tamar Park.

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The picture is the camel trough and is amazing to think that thousands of camels would have been watered here at Biblical Tamar. It is even thought that the Queen of Sheba’s “great train” rested at this historical site.

While I want to write more today, I must get on with my day. I have a lot of things to do to prepare for my upcoming journey to Israel, but I want to share one more picture with you.

DSCN2477

These aren’t just “rocks” they are part of the ancient incense road of great importance that is part of Biblical Tamar Park in Israel. I can only tell you that as I walked this ancient trail last fall a whole new aspect of why Precious Oils is associated with Biblical Tamar came to life. I’m writing about the plants, resins, spices and trees that were transported on this ancient trail, some of the cargo may surprise you. I will be highlighting them through my www.ApothecaryMama.com blog over the next few weeks, so stay tuned. 🙂

The Ancient Secrets and The Modern Uses of the Plants of the Bible has been an on-going passion of mine. Honestly, I believe that the Lord “hand-picked” me and took note of my heart over the last 23 years since Precious Oils began. Last year, as Precious Oils began our 24th year, I sensed that the Lord was directing my steps into a special time, and into my (our) future. I pray that those of you who are reading this will join with me in 2015, and beyond as we will continue to bless Israel and educate the generations to come through the Precious Plants and Oils of the Bible.

As I prepare to go to Israel finances are needed for my journey (yes we pay to volunteer), to pay for the extra luggage of the things I take to bless others in Israel as well as finances and volunteers are needed for Biblical Tamar. Here’s how you can help.

Tax deductible giving is possible for Cynthia’s upcoming journeys to Israel. Please make checks out to Liberty Ministries, Inc., memo Israel 2015. Send to Cynthia Hillson, 107 Bradberry Street, Mooresville, NC 28115. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions!!

To learn more about Biblical Tamar Park, and how you can be a part, visit their web site www.BlossomingRose.org. Contact them to get on their newsletter mailing. Donations for the projects that will be worked on in Feb 2015 are needed, and welcome. At this time formal donations for the garden development and the trees/plants has not begun.  If anyone wants to volunteer when I am at the Park either in February or in the fall of 2015, opportunity is available to you. Contact Dr. Coxon through the web site or by mail, 4707 Indian Lakes Rd, PO Box X, Cedar Springs, MI 49319 and he will find a place for you to use your gifts and talents at Biblical Tamar.

If you want to surf the web about the park be sure to search “Ancient Haseva (Hatzeva) [Biblical Tamar] in Israel” One other note, on the web, Bible Walks, is a wonderful explanation of what has been uncovered at Biblical Tamar Park. http://www.biblewalks.com/Sites/BiblicalTamar.html. Biblical Tamar Park truly is an amazing place, and I pray that you will one day be able to visit and learn of the past, as well as enjoy the gardens that will soon be planted.

 

Want to hear more about The Garden of the Ages @ Biblical Tamar Park? Cynthia will come to your group to further share the exciting vision of The Garden of the Ages @ Biblical Tamar Park as well as the ancient plants that were transported on the trail. I will be in Texas in March, during Purim, sharing at a Women’s Conference.

With Love,

Apothecary Cynthia Hillson

rose II

Precious Oils Up On the Hill ®

PO Box 2036 Cornelius, NC 28031

Web site www.TheFragrantBride.com

E-Mail   PreciousOils@gmail.com

704-664-7971

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