From Our Pastor's Desk

Israeli researchers grow new date plants from 2,000-year-old seeds By STUART WINER and SUE SURKES

     Israeli researchers revealed Wednesday that they successfully grew extinct date plants from ancient seeds found at archaeological sites in the Judean Desert. Six saplings have sprouted from ancient kernels gathered at Judean archaeological sites; scientists hope to pollinate female plants and produce fruit. Dozens of seeds were gleaned from archaeology collections gathered at locations in the Dead Sea area, including the Masada hilltop fortress built by King Herod the Great in the first century BCE and the ancient site of Qumran, famous for the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the 1940s.

Six saplings grew from 32 seeds sown and the plants have been dubbed Adam, Jonah, Uriel, Boaz, Judith, and Hannah. 

“Germination of the 2000-year-old seeds of Phoenix dactylifera from Judean desert archaeological sites provides a unique opportunity to study the Judean date palm, described in antiquity for the quality, size, and medicinal properties of its fruit, but lost for centuries,” the researchers wrote in a Science Advances journal.

“The Kingdom of Judah (Judea) in the 11th century BCE was particularly renowned for the quality and quantity of its dates,” the researchers noted. “These so-called ‘Judean dates’ grown in plantations around Jericho and the Dead Sea were recognized by classical writers for their large size, sweet taste, extended storage, and medicinal properties.”

Date palm cultivation in southern Mesopotamia began over 6,000 years ago and exiles returning after the collapse of Babylonian empire in 539 BCE “may have brought this specialized knowledge and selected cultivars back to Judea,” the researchers speculated. The dry conditions in the Dead Sea region could have helped the seeds survive two millennia without losing their ability to grow. “Low precipitation and very low humidity around the Dead Sea could have contributed to the longevity of the ancient date seeds,” the researchers said.

Dr Elaine Solowey, Director of the Center for Sustainable Agriculture in southern Israel, who in 2008 successfully germinated a 1,900-year-old date palm seed that took the name Methuselah after the long-lived Biblical character, said that while Methusela germinated in just six weeks, this latest batch of seeds took up to nine months. “You have to hydrate them very gently,” she said. “If you just dump them in water, you’ll probably kill them, if they’re alive”…she planted them in sterile soil, locked them in the greenhouse, and “just hoped. I only had one chance with each seed.”

She named the first one to germinate Eve, but had to change that to Adam after genetic tests revealed the seedling to be a male. Adam, now 4 ½ ft high and Jonah have already produced flowers. Judith, and Hannah are the great hopes for supplying dates. They will be fertilized by Methusela.

“Dates were an enormous export from Judea and they were famous,” Sallon noted. “Herod even used to present them to the emperor in Rome every year.”

Methusela, Adam, Jonah and Hanna have been planted out at Kibbutz Ketura. The others are still in the greenhouse. “Methusela has grown into a big boy,” said Solowey. “He’s around 4 ½ ft high and very stout.” 

Psa 92:12-14  “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;”

Pastor Homer S. Hutto


Winter 2019-2020 Introduction

Unit 2 Letters to the Thessalonians

     Jesus is coming soon! While this is great news to the Christian, the same statement will be met in a very different way by those who do not know Christ--- from indifference to outright rejection and mocking. Why? Because while the gospel gives hope and transforms the lives of Christ's followers, it is greeted with apathy or even animosity by many who do not know Christ.

     this contrast is clearly evident as you study the letters of Paul the apostle to the church in Thessalonica.   This body of believers was largely made up of new believers, prompting a strong need for teaching. Christ's return was a major topic, partly due to questions and misunderstandings among the congregation. 

   However, the letters also address a number of issues surrounding the life of the Christian, and provide timeless principles to impact your life today just as effectively as Paul's teachings impacted that original church in Thessalonica.

     The unit begins with an important, foundation truth: God has entrusted you, as a servant of Christ, to live out and proclaim the gospel. Through the course of this lesson, you will have opportunity for self-examination. By looking at how Paul conducted his ministry, you will be challenged to make the gospel known through your life as well. 

     Lessons 9 and 11 are especially relevant with regard to how the world responds to your faith. Resistance to the gospel is on the rise around the world. For many Christians, living out the faith is a danger to their livelihood or even their personal safety.  You may never encounter such dangers, but you do need to be prepared to take a stand for Christ no matter the response.

     Lesson 10 and 12 deal specifically with questions surrounding Christ's return.  Bible prophecy is sometimes difficult and confusing, and these lessons can help you tell the difference between Biblical teaching and human opinion. Note that these lessons are taught within the context of teaching on holy living, for the two are connected.  Christ calls us to live for Him as we await His return.

     The unit closes on an uplifting note, contemplating God's faithfulness and our confidence in Christ.  Lesson 13 looks at spiritual disciplines like prayer and righteous living, especially as these things take place in the church, the Body of Christ. As you move through the lesson, and even the unit, Pray for your church as, together, you live for God and preach the gospel while awaiting Christ's return.



Unit 2: Letters to the Thessalonians


Lesson 10 Holiness and Hope

February 2, 2020

Lesson 11 Children of the Light

February 9, 2020

Lesson 12 Overcoming Satan's Schemes

February 16, 2020

Lesson 13 Kept by God's Power

February 23, 2020

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