1st September 2017

Considering the Lily 

“I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.”
Song of Songs 2:1 (ESVUK)

What did the first flower look like?

Biblically speaking, flowers would be included in the “plants yielding seed” on the third day of Genesis 1:11, and there’s no record if any species appeared first and, if so, which one it was. For scientific evolutionists, the first flower is also a bit of a mystery, and recently a research team speculated that the first flower was probably a type of lily or magnolia.

It’s been estimated that in ancient Palestine there were probably between 2,000 and 2,500 indigenous species of flowers, and yet few of them are mentioned in Scripture. One layer of interpretation of the Song of Songs is that it is an allegory about Christ and the Church, which would mean that a Lily of the Valleys and a Rose of Sharon are metaphors for Jesus. The Hebrew word used for lily is shushan, meaning “whiteness”, and it was probably used as a general name for several flowers, including tulips, irises and crocuses. The decorative shapes of the lily’s buds and petals were the inspiration for the ornate temple pillars and for the brim of the priests’ “molten sea” in Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 7:22, 2 Chronicles 4:5). Flowers, of course, are seasonal and are referred to elsewhere in the Bible in the context of the fragility of life. Jesus, however, our eternal Lily of the Valleys, continues to bloom and to be fragrant no matter what the season.

In the Song of Songs 2:11-12 there is a passage which points to flowers as the hope for new life: it reads, “behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth”.

I see hope for all of us in this passage. The winter of this present evil world will come to an end, something wonderful will happen, and the flowers of new life will open in magnificent bloom, when Jesus, the glorious Lily of the Valleys, appears. 

Thank you, Father, for Jesus and for the eternal hope we have in him. In his name.

Study by James Henderson


About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.

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