Shadows of Messiah – The Dogwood Tree

Shadows of Messiah - Dogwood tree

The dogwood tree blooms each year in April, a month which displays the death and resurrection of Messiah Jesus.  Each Spring, the white flowers/leaves which bloom on the dogwood tree remind mankind of the crucifixion.

It is believed the dogwood tree gets its name from the Old English ‘dagwood’ as its hard wood was used to make daggers and arrows.  The Old English word ‘dag’ meant to “pierce or stab”.  The English word ‘dagger’ traces back to the Hebrew word דקר ‘daqar’ which means to pierce, stab or thrust through.  This is the word used in reference to the piercing of the Messiah.

Zec 12:10  And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced {דקר ‘daqar’}, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

Isaac Mozeson also associates the word ‘dagger’ with the Hebrew word is דק ‘daq’ which literally means small or thin but is related to a dagger as דק ‘daq’ also means thin or sharp as a dagger.  Jeff Benner defines דק ‘daq’ as a ‘defective spelling’ of the Hebrew word דך ‘dakh’ which means to crush into smaller pieces.  This further connects the word(s) דק ‘daq’/דקר ‘daqar’ to the crucifixion of Messiah as Isaiah 53:5 speaks of Messiah being bruised for our iniquities.  The Hebrew word translated as bruised is דכא ‘daka’ which comes from the root word דך ‘dakh.’

Isa 53:5  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised {דכא ‘daka’} for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

In Christian legend, it is said that the dogwood tree was the source of the cross made in the crucifixion of Jesus.  In the story, after the crucifixion, Messiah changed the dogwood tree to its current form and embedded within the leaves of the tree a picture of the crucifixion.  Its understandable how this legend came about as the white bracts (modified leaves) of the leaves are cross shaped with rusty, blood-stained indentations at the ends with the center of the leaves/flower picturing His crown of thorns.

“In Jesus’ time, the dogwood grew
To a stately size and a lovely hue.
‘Twas strong and firm, its branches interwoven.
For the cross of Christ its timbers were chosen.
Seeing the distress at this use of their wood
Christ made a promise which still holds good:
“Never again shall the dogwood grow
Large enough to be used so.
Slender and twisted, it shall be
With blossoms like the cross for all to see.
As blood stains the petals marked in brown,
The blossom’s center wears a thorny crown.
All who see it will remember Me
Crucified on a cross from the dogwood tree.
Cherished and protected, this tree shall be
A reminder to all of My agony.”

Another belief is that the dogwood got its name from the fruit which was called ‘dogberry’ as the dog had implications of being cheap or inferior, as in the phrase “fit for a dog”.  The Hebrew word for dog  (כלב ‘kelev’) is a combination of two words.  כל ‘kol’ meaning ‘all’ and לב ‘lev’ meaning ‘heart.’ This is the exact nature of a dog as it an animal of emotion full of love, loyalty and courage.

The English word ‘cleave’ comes from כלב ‘kelev’ which means a dog.  This is the nature of dogs to cleave to their masters.  Cleaving is linked to love.

Gen 2:24  Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife and they shall become one flesh.
Deu 11:22  For if keeping you will keep this command which I am commanding you, to do it, to love Jehovah your God, to walk in all His ways, and to cleave to Him,
Deu 30:20  to love Jehovah your God, to listen to His voice, and to cleave to Him. For He is your life, and the length of your days so that you may live in the land which Jehovah has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give it to them.
It is interesting to note that cleaving to Him is linked to listening to His voice.  Again, this is the nature of dogs, who better than any other animal will take commands from people…obeying the voice of their master.

dogwood 2

The English word love traces back to the Hebrew words לוה ‘lavah’ and לב ‘lev.’  The Old English ‘lufu’ is the source of  ‘love’ from ‘leuf’ which means ‘beloved.’  In Latin ‘libido’ is desire from ‘leubh’ which means to care for or love.

This word לוה ‘lavah’ is seen in Genesis 29:34 where Leah conceives and gives birth to Levi (לוי)whose name comes from לוה ‘lavah’ meaning to cling or join as she hoped ‘my husband will be joined to me.’  לוה ‘lavah’ is also seen in Isaiah 56:6 which has a fascinating connection to the current study.

Isa 56:6  And the sons of the alien who join themselves on Jehovah to serve Him, and to love the name of Jehovah, to be His servants, everyone who keeps from defiling the sabbath, and takes hold of My covenant:
Isa 56:7  even them I will bring to My holy mount and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted on My altar, for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the peoples,
Isa 56:8  states the Lord Jehovah, who gathers the outcasts of Israel; I will yet gather beside him his gathered ones.  {The gathering of the outcasts is likened to a Shepherd gathering His sheep as seen in Ezekiel 34:11; 37:24}
Isa 56:9  All beasts of the field come to devour, all beasts in the forest!
Isa 56:10  His watchmen are blind; they all do not know; they are all dumb dogs; they cannot bark, dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber;  {Note the connection to dogs in application to the false shepherds who have led Israel astray Jeremiah 23:2-4; Ezekiel 34:2-12}
Isa 56:11  yea, dogs greedy of soul; they do not know satisfaction. And they are shepherds; they do not know to discern; they all look to their own way, each one for his own gain, from his own end, saying:
Isa 56:12  Come, and let me bring wine, and let us gulp down fermented drink; and tomorrow shall be as this day, great, exceedingly abundant.

לב ‘lev’ means heart and is also linked to love.

Son 4:9  You have ravished My heart, My sister, My spouse; you have ravished My heart with one of your eyes, with one chain of your neck.
Son 4:10  How beautiful are your loves, My sister, My spouse! How much better are your loves than wine, and the scent of your ointments than all spices!

This is the nature of our pet dogs. All heart…Unconditional love…This is the love of our Lord.
1Jn 4:8 The one who does not love has not known God, because God is love.
1Jn 4:16 And we have known and have believed the love which God has in us. God is love, and the one abiding in love abides in God, and God in him.

The love of God was manifested in the crucifixion.  The Hebrew word for love is אהב ‘ahav’ which is consists of the letters  אב ‘av’ which means father and the middle letter ה ‘heh’ which has the meaning of revelation.  The Father revealed.  In ancient Hebrew, the letter ה ‘heh’ was depicted as a man with outstretched arms, like unto Messiah on the cross. How was the love of the Father revealed?  Through the giving of His only begotten Son on the cross as an atonement for the sins of mankind (John 3:16).

Related Studies:


Shadows of Messiah – Trees

Shadows of Messiah – Spring

Daily Tidbits 4/1/14 – April

Daily Tidbits 4/10 – The Crucifixion

Biblical Definitions – Love


Shadows of Messiah book 3

blessing 4



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