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

 

 

 

 

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