Let’s take a look at the first book in the Holy Bible…Genesis. Adam and Eve were placed in a garden. There is no mention of Adam and Even being placed in a shelter or even the mention of a shelter. I believe that when God created the heavens and the earth everything was perfect. There was no rain..it came up from the ground to nourish every living creature. There was no rain coming from the sky. I believe the weather was always perfect. Sunshine, no weeds, no pestilence, no wild winds, no storms, and all animals were vegetarians. There would be no need for a shelter. God was the provider for all of their needs in that first paradise. God placed them out-of-doors, in a natural setting among the flowers, shrubs, grasses, and trees as their dwelling place.
Now lets try to imagine how this perfect place looked and better yet smelled? Have you even been in a meadow where the sun is shining and there are fragrant blossoms blooming. You walk past a pine tree and take in the aroma. Just imagine this as your everyday experience. Among the pleasant, rejuvenating things we like about being close to nature are the smells of plants – the perfume of the honeysuckle, the smell of fresh grass, or the soothing fragrance that wafts from the needles and bark of cedar, juniper, spruce, and fir. ALL of these aromas come from essential oils, broadcast by plants as their means of communication between themselves, the animal kingdom, and people. Perhaps a lesson to be learned from the story of creation in Genesis is that God intended that we live in an environment permeated with the gentle scents of essential oils.
Science has proven that these natural aromas are more than just pleasant smells. They are emotional, spiritually, mentally, and physically healing. God has not only permeated the aromatic molecules of these plants with the power to heal, but also nurture and preserve our health when we are well just by breathing them, even in the smallest quantities. Even when we do not think we can smell a particular aroma, the molecules of oils are still in the air, administering therapy to us. So Adam and Eve would have been surrounded by these aromatic oils in the air 24/7/365 and receiving their therapeutic properties constantly. When we are around these plants and essential oils we are doing the same for our body.
In Ezekiel 47:12 and Revelation 22:2 it is suggested that God gave us the natural herbs and their extracts, to be our medicines. As for science and the art of aromatherapy, it shows that the inhalation, application, and ingesting of essential oils are for healing and wellness. It shows that God was the first aromatherapist – long before the word or concept was articulated by humans. And since He placed Adam and Eve in this beautifully perfect garden, it tells me that He intended his creation to live and breathe the oils of plants gently floating in the atmosphere continuously night and day. God’s original plan was that his children be in contact with essential oils – living and breathing in their presence throughout our lives.
Jesus was given gold, frankincense and myrrh at his birth. Let’s take a look at what these gifts may have signified or been used for. The Magi (three wise men) brought to Jesus these gifts on Epiphany…or 6 days after the birth of Jesus. According to the gospel of Matthew (2:11) these valuable items were a standard gift given to honor a king. Gold is a precious metal with a significant value, but what are frankincense and myrrh? According to Simon Cotton for Chemistry World, frankincense and myrrh are sap, drawn from the Boswellia sacra and Commiphora trees. Frankincense was often burned as an incense, while myrrh made its way into medicine and perfume. So really, these saps were worth just as much as gold.
But with more than just aromatic compounds, frankincense and myrrh have interesting medicinal properties. Scientists have suggested that the gifts of the magi were a bit more practical—even medicinal in nature. Researchers at Cardiff University have demonstrated that frankincense has an active ingredient that can help relieve arthritis. I am sure the magi knew of the healing properties of Frankincense and that is why it was given to Jesus. I wish I could go into further detail of what all these oils have been proven to help with but I cannot. But you can do the research to find out…just say “Hey Google…” and you’ll find the answers you are looking for.
At the end of Genesis it references essential oils in yet a different context… their use in death. When Joseph was reunited with his family he gave them a place to live in Egypt in the Land of Goshen. When his father Jacob (or Israel) dies, Joseph had him treated like royalty and embalmed. In Genesis 50:2, it tells of the Egyptian embalming process for important persons, such as the father of a ruler like Joseph. They were to apply a variety of essential oils. These would always include cedarwood, frankincense, and myrrh. Other oils know to have been used for embalming were rosemary, juniper, cinnamon and sandalwood (Aloes, John 19:29). This embalming process took 40 days.
At the end of Jesus’ life he was about to be hung on the cross when he was offered wine. Here’s the interesting part…it was not like the wine of today. Essential oils are found in the circulating juices of plants, which are technically called “oleo-gum-resins.” Following strict scientific definitions for the term, the “resin” part of the fluid is alcohol soluble, from which medicinal tinctures can be obtained. Tincture of benzoin is one of these, derived from the oleo-gum-resin of onycha. (Exodus 30:34) In biblical times the gum was sometimes extracted by the alcohol in wine. The Romans often added the oleo-gum-resin of myrrh to wine, which helped prevent it from vinegarizing (turning sour) and better yet also provided a narcotic to deaden the pain. Wine laced with myrrh helped Roman soldiers endure the discomforts of military life. Shepards would also partake in this wine to help them get through while sleeping outside. This is the wine that was offered to Christ before he was nailed to the cross (Mark 15:23 23 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.).
There are around 1100 indirect and direct mentions of essential oils use in the Bible. These oils have been used for thousands of years. They are tried and true products that were created for our use. So I would suggest we create our own Eden. No, I’m not suggesting we give up the comforts of our homes with heating and air conditioning and protection from the elements and animals…our living situations have greatly changed since sin entered the world. God gave us the knowhow and abilities to create our own shelters to keep us safe…but we can create our own Eden like environment within our homes in which we live and breathe. By using and diffusing pure essential oils in our homes and businesses, and as we travel, we can create an atmosphere permeated with the healing oils of Eden and enjoy the advantages of modern technology as well.
If you want to know more about what essential oils are or how you can use them you can pop on over to my facebook page “Way Of Life Oilers” and catch a free class called Essential Oils 101 where all your curiosities will be addressed and questions answered. Or just simply make a comment below and I’ll get back to you.
Based on Strata, “The Magi’s Gifts—Tribute or Treatment?” Biblical Archaeology Review, January/February 2012