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Honey - Food Fit for the Bride of Christ
Honey's Controversial Nature
Honey has been extolled and written about since records have ever been kept, the oldest of which come from ancient Egypt and ancient China. These records are not so much about the gathering of wild honey, but the care and keeping of the honey bees themselves. Wild honey was gathered as well, but it is an interesting discovery to learn that beekeeping is at least 5,000 years old in some places around the globe.
The composition, breakdown, and benefits of honey receive contradictory treatment depending on who you go to for such information. There are those who say it is no different than sugar and a potential health hazard. There are those who say it is a complete food due to its amino acids, vitamin profile and complexity of it's sugar content. However there are more voices in scientific circles promoting the benefits of honey than those who aren't. It is known however, that pasteurizing honey can remove the benefits otherwise available in raw honey. So it may be that the detractors are looking at pasteurized as opposed to unpasteurized honey in their assessments. These same people claim no difference than man-made syrops using similar sugar breakdowns in their composition. Once again, nothing beats what God created nature to manufacture on it's own.
It is an interesting observation that then as now, honey in ancient times was both plentiful as it was costly. While it appears to have been available for the average middle-class on up to the wealthy, there is archeological and historical evidence that not everyone had access to it, and it was called by at least one ancient poet, Homer, as "liquid gold".
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Honey's Apparent Historical Controversy
This observation then, of honey being gathered both in the wild and through the keeping of bees, would contradict or perhaps call into a question a relatively new assessment that when God called the land of Canaan, "a land flowing with milk and honey", that honey itself was not meant, but date syrup was meant instead. Now it is highly possible that date syrup was indeed created from the dates that grow there, and it is possible that the people of that day may have given it the same label as real honey itself. But God is not One to confuse or betray His own people, nor lie to anyone that something is other than it is. To use the term "honey", was to use a term the Hebrews were already aware of having come from Egypt, and they'd know what to expect when the spies entered the land for the first time. There is no indication that the honey in Egypt was made by crushing dates, so the Hebrews would understand God's terminology to literally mean "honey", and not date syrup. This author has yet to dig up certifiable evidence of this apparently new claim about this phrase in Scripture. For the purposes of this discussion, we are using the literal definition of honey as it is prepared by and gathered from bees in their honey combs. Elsewhere in Scripture, King Saul's son is accused of eating honey from a honeycomb against his father's wishes, and references to honey and the honeycomb are made elsewhere in Scripture as well.
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What this means for the Bride of Christ
The sweetness, healing properties, and value of this naturally-created syrup known as honey down through the ages of time, carry a fair depth of meaning for the Bride of Christ. First off is the value, once again we see that God will spare nothing to meet the needs of the joint heir to the throne with His Son, Jesus Christ. She is nobility after all, having been grafted into the vine and as far as God is concerned, deserves nothing but the best.
Secondly, the healing properties of honey must be stressed. The Bride of Christ has been through much and not always come out the other side unscathed. To the contrary, the Bride of Christ both within and without, has been the subject of much pain, consequences of choices gone wrong, and attacks from in and outside the church. She is in need of healing, of cleansing, and of restoring.
Lastly is the sweetness and general nutritional benefit of the honey. We are told in the Scriptures to taste and see that the Lord is good, that He is sweeter than honey straight from the honeycomb. We are also told that to dwell on God's Word is sweet to the soul, and as we know, man cannot live on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
This glance at honey concludes Ezekiel's list of food that God deems fit for the Bride of Christ. Fine flour, oil, and honey. She does not feast on coarse dry meal, but dines on the Word of God brought to life by the Holy Spirit and meditated on to receive the sweet revelation intended to bring nourishment, cleansing and healing to our lives.
How to bake an ancient Roman honey cake
© 2013 Marilynn Dawson