The Rod of an Almond Tree in God's Master Plan
The following review of The Rod of An Almond
Tree by Lynn Leslie appeared in Jan/Feb 1998 issue of the Christian
Conscience magazine and on the Messengers of Messiah website. It is superficial
and deceptive. For an in depth analysis of Peter Michas' heretical and
Kabbalistic interpretation of Scripture, please read the
Watch Unto Prayer
of this book.
This is the book review of your book that my husband Lynn wrote which will
run in the Jan./Feb. 1998 Christian Conscience.
Hebrew roots & trees
The Rod of an Almond Tree in God's Master Plan, by Peter A. Michas, with
Robert Vander Maten and Christie D. Michas 1997, WinePress Publishing,
Like a lot of folks I enjoy a good detective story. It's fun to exercise
the brain as I review the facts presented by the author and try to determine
the final outcome based on what I know of those facts and any pattern(s)
they represent thereby filling in the blanks. Peter and Christie Michas,
along with Robert Vander Maten use similar deductive techniques to fill
in the blanks for the Greatest Story Ever Told.
We already know the outcome, God's redemptive work for mankind was completed
with the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary. But
was it really on a man-made cross where Jesus suffered and died or was
He literally hung on a tree as the Bible says? And if so, what kind of
tree was it and where was it located? How much of the story we think we
know so well is clearly stated in the Bible and how much is based upon
the traditions of men? And why does it matter, anyway?
It matters because, as we contend for the faith day-in and day-out, we
can demonstrate that the prophetic patterns and timetables presented in
Scripture clearly confirm that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. This
is not only useful for helping us to increase in our personal faith and
knowledge of God, but also for attempting to convince non-believers that
God really is who He says he is.
So how well have Michas et al. filled in the blanks? Quite well, actually.
Starting with the premise that God's plan should be examined within its
Hebraic context (after all, the Old Testament is a compendium of Hebrew
law and culture, and the Gospels of the New Testament were written by Jews
about a Jew in a Jewish culture), the authors look not only to the Bible,
but also draw upon an assortment of other references of Jewish history
and tradition. These include, among others: the Talmud, a collection of
rabbinical laws, law decisions and comments on the Mosaic law; the Gemara,
the second and supplementary part of the Talmud; the Midrash, a rabbinical
commentary that studies and interprets the legal, ethical and devotional
aspects of Scripture; and The Torah Anthology, an encyclopedia of Jewish
In keeping with the Hebraic character of the book, the authors frequently
refer to Jesus the Messiah by His Hebrew name, Yeshua HaMashiach. They
trace God's plan for Him beginning in Genesis and thoroughly explain within
the Hebrew context His fulfillment of God's Law as the ultimate Passover
Lamb. Along the way we are treated to a myriad of details relating to God's
Master Plan, including: the location of the Garden of Eden; the historic
significance and role of the Mount of Olives; the kinds of trees that were
the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life (the book's
title gives you a clue here); and the hidden meaning of Pilate's inscription
placed above Christ at His crucifixion (there's more to it than just the
words Pilate used). There are a great many more details, but you need to
read the book to experience them for yourself.
You might think that this is merely another recitation of the same old
Bible prophecies of the Old Testament which predict the coming Christ.
But it is much more than that. For example, we know that Abraham took his
son, Isaac, to a place to be sacrificed as God commanded, an event that
foreshadowed God's sacrifice of His only Son. However, do you know how
closely the former parallels the latter? Did you know, for example, that
Isaac was not a child, as is so often depicted, but was rather a young
man in his thirties who voluntarily allowed his father to bind him for
the sacrifice? And that the altar upon which Abraham was to offer Isaac
was located on the same site as Christ's crucifixion-the Mount of Olives?
Or did you know that the Garden of Eden was located where Jerusalem now
stands and that Mount Moriah and the Mount of Olives have been holy sites
since long before the establishment of the city of Jerusalem, actually
dating to when Adam and Eve lived in the Garden? (Wait until you read what
could be found at these two sites at the time the Garden of Eden was located
These and a host of other fascinating details of God's plan are presented
convincingly throughout the book.
Obviously, the Michases and Vander Maten are left open to criticism for
relying on extra-biblical references in order to delineate God's Master
Plan. However, they do an excellent job of resting on the ultimate authority
of the Bible in making their case. Where the Bible is silent on a given
topic, they make deductions based upon and within what the Bible says elsewhere
without contradicting it. Where the Bible clearly speaks, that is what
they rely upon. Their presentation is both thought-provoking and compelling
and a must-read for anyone desiring a more thorough understanding of God's
provision for the redemption of His fallen creation.
After reading this book, you will be convinced that God has a clear and
definite plan for redeeming his creation (humankind) and that it is plainly
laid out for all to see. You will also have a greater appreciation for
the Jewish feasts and festivals and how they symbolize the finished work
of Christ. Will it challenge your traditional views of the crucifixion,
resurrection, and ascension of Yeshua the Messiah? Most certainly. But
ask yourself this question: Do I want to reject the commandment of God
and keep my own tradition, thereby making the word of God of no effect
(See Mark 7:9 & 7:13), or do I want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt
that God has a plan that affects me and what that plan is? As Robert Vander
Maten says in his preface to the book, "If God felt it was important to
structure times, events, and places so precisely to point to His Son, I
do not believe it is within our right to alter them so as to accommodate
our traditions. We must make the change-not God!" ?
- Lynn D. Leslie
The book is available directly from Messengers of Messiah, PO Box 125,
Troy, IL 62294, 618-667-1022. Messengers of Messiah International Ministries,
headed by Peter A. Michas, is a Hebraic Roots ministry that strives to
impart a deeper understanding and foundation in God's Word while maintaining
a balance in the believer's walk. Peter Michas runs a Bible question and
answer loop on the Internet; contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Messengers of Messiah has a web site at http://www.ezl.com/~peterm