Message: < previous - next > : Reply : Subscribe : Cleanse
Home   : November 2007 : Group Archive : Group : All Groups

From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Nov 2007 18:05:19 -0800
Is This Prophetic?....

-Matthew Kalman, SF Chronicle. (Jun 12, 2005). 

It has five leaves, stands 14 inches high and is nicknamed 
Methuselah. It looks like an ordinary date palm seedling, but for 
UCLA- educated botanist Elaine Solowey, it is a piece of history 
brought back to life. Planted on Jan. 25, the seedling growing in 
the black pot in Solowey's nursery on this kibbutz in Israel's Arava 
desert is 2,000 years old -- more than twice as old as the 900-year-
old biblical character who lent his name to the young tree. It is the 
oldest seed ever known to produce a viable young tree. 

The seed that produced Methuselah was discovered during 
archaeological excavations at King Herod's palace on Mount 
Masada, near the Dead Sea. Its age has been confirmed by 
carbon dating. Scientists hope that the unique seedling will 
eventually yield vital clues to the medicinal properties of the fruit of 
the Judean date tree, which was long thought to be extinct.... 

The Judean date is chronicled in the Bible, Quran and ancient 
literature for its diverse powers -- from an aphrodisiac to a 
contraceptive -- and as a cure for a wide range of diseases 
including cancer, malaria and toothache. For Christians, the palm 
is a symbol of peace associated with the entry of Jesus into 
Jerusalem. The ancient Hebrews called the date palm the "tree of 
life" because of the protein in its fruit and the shade given by its 
long leafy branches. The Arabs said there were as many uses for 
the date palm as there were days in the year. Greek architects 
modeled their Ionic columns on the tree's tall, thin trunk and 
curling, bushy top. The Romans called it Phoenix dactylifera -- 
"the date-bearing phoenix" -- because it never died and appeared 
to be reborn in the desert where all other plant life perished. 
Now Solowey and her colleagues have brought this phoenix of the 
desert back to life after 2,000 years. 

The ancient seeds were found 30 years ago during archeological 
excavations on Mount Masada, the mountaintop fortress on the 
shore of the Dead Sea where King Herod built a spectacular 
palace. When the Romans conquered Palestine and laid waste to 
the Temple in Jerusalem, Masada was the last stand of a small 
band of Jewish rebels who held out against three Roman legions 
for several years before committing mass suicide in A.D. 73. 
Archaeologist Ehud Netzer found the seeds, which were identified 
by the department of botanical archaeology at Israel's Bar-Ilan 
University. Then they were placed in storage, where they lay for 
30 years until Sallon heard about the cache. "When we asked if 
we could try and grow some of them, they said, 'You're mad,' but 
they gave us three seeds," she said. Sallon took the seeds to 
Solowey, who has cultivated more than 3,000 date palms and 
rarities like the trees that produce the fragrant resins frankincense 
and myrrh. Solowey admits she was skeptical about the chances 
of success with this project. "When I received the seeds from 
Sarah, I thought the chances of this experiment succeeding were 
less than zero," said Solowey, cradling the precious seedling in a 
specially quarantined section of her nursery on the kibbutz. "But 
Dr. Sallon insisted and I took this very seriously. Lotus seeds over 
1,000 years old have been sprouted, and I realized that no one had 
done any similar work with dates, so why not give it our best shot 
-- and we were rewarded." 

"It's certainly the oldest tree seed that's ever been sprouted. 
Wheat seeds from pharaohs' tombs have been sprouted, but none 
of the plants have survived for very long. Before this, the oldest 
seed grown was a lotus from China, which was 1,200 years old," 
she said. "I'm very excited. I wasn't expecting anything to happen. 
I'm really interested in finding out what the DNA testing is going to 
show. I know that date seeds can stay alive for several decades. 
To find out that they can stay alive for millennia is astonishing." 

... When the Romans invaded ancient Judea, thick forests of date 
palms towering up to 80 feet high and 7 miles wide covered the 
Jordan River valley from the Sea of Galilee in the north to the 
shores of the Dead Sea in the south. The tree so defined the local 
economy that Emperor Vespasian celebrated the conquest by 
minting the "Judea Capta," a special bronze coin that showed the 
Jewish state as a weeping woman beneath a date palm. 
Today, nothing remains of those mighty forests.... 

The ancient Judean date, renowned for its succulence and famed 
for its many medicinal properties, had been lost to history. Until now.

~Matthew Kalman, SF Chronicle Foreign Service. 
SOURCE:  www.sfgate.com