The Tree of Life imagery began in Eden and has become a universal symbol. This symbol has become highly adjustable to convey certain truths.
In Eden, and the Book of Revelation, it represented the healing and resurrection of mankind. In Alma 32 it was a seed planted in the heart of the faithful that would bring forth the fruit of Eternal Life.
The prophet Zenos adjusted the Tree of Life imagery into, or applied its symbolism to an Olive Tree, which can represent an individual, family, tribe, or nation, as in the case of the parable of the Olive Tree found in Jacob 5 & 6.
In the Book of Creation (Sefer Yetzirah) Abraham described the Tree of Life as having ten emanations (fruit) known as Sephiroth. Jewish Mysticism teaches that some of the Sephiroth are on one side of the tree (branches), and some are on the other, and they are in fact opposing forces (for example, Justice and Mercy). That between them on the trunk of the tree are certain sephiroth that reconcile the opposing forces.
The center and primary reconciling sefira is “Tiferet” which is Hebrew for “Beauty.“ But it means more than beauty, it means reconciliation, atonement, balance, and peace. Tiferet is the stalk or the trunk of the tree. It is the symbol Christ.
In Hebrew the letter “vav” is thought of as a nail that ties things together (it is shaped like a nail). Tiferet is symbolized by the letter vav. It is the nail in the tree, that is associated with Christ, that reconciles things, to bring about salvation and exaltation.
With this learning of the Jews in mind, what must have went on in the minds of the Disciples when Jesus said He was the True Vine? He was saying that He was Tiferet.
If it is an Olive Tree, a Vine, a Sycamore, or a Cross, because they are all the same thing, Jesus the Messiah can today show you the token of the Vav in His hands.
We will get to the Tetragrammaton another day.
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