Cherries are not frequently mentioned in the Bible, but there are a few significant symbolic meanings that can be drawn from the cherry’s attributes and the contexts in which cherries are referenced. For believers interested in Biblical symbolism and imagery, understanding the deeper spiritual meanings behind fruits like the cherry can provide valuable insights for faith and life.
As a sweet, bright red fruit with a pit, the cherry lends itself to rich symbolic meaning in the Biblical texts where it appears. Specifically, the cherry can represent several concepts:
- Sweetness, joy, and satisfaction
- The redemptive blood of Christ
- Sin, temptation, and loss of innocence
- Spiritual fruitfulness and righteousness
By looking at the contexts surrounding the cherry in Biblical passages, we can better understand the layered spiritual meanings and lessons God intended us to draw from this fruit. Though not the most commonly referenced plant, the cherry underscores important biblical themes related to righteousness versus sin, redemption, and spiritual nourishment.
For believers interested in living out their faith with greater intention and understanding, recognizing the symbolism of the cherry is valuable for appreciating the Bible’s teachings on holiness, redemption, and fruitfulness.
- The cherry can represent sweetness, joy, and satisfaction
- It can symbolize the redemptive blood of Christ
- It can also represent temptation, sin, and loss of innocence
- The cherry can symbolize spiritual fruitfulness and righteousness
- Though not frequently mentioned in the Bible, the cherry reinforces important biblical themes
Sweetness, Joy, and Satisfaction
One of the most prominent symbolic meanings of the cherry in the Bible is its representation of sweetness, delight, and satisfaction.
In Proverbs 24:13-14, the eating of honeycomb and honey is contrasted with the sweetness of finding wisdom: “My son, eat honey because it is good, and the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste; so shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul” (NKJV). Here, the pleasant sweetness of honey – which would have been a rare treat in ancient Israel – is compared to the joyful satisfaction of attaining wisdom.
Similarly, the sweetness of a ripe cherry can be seen as symbolic of the joy and contentment that comes from righteousness and godliness. The tender flesh of the cherry represents the spiritual nourishment and pleasure that believers can experience by pursuing divine wisdom.
Later in Proverbs, an immoral woman is described as one whose lips “drop as honeycomb” and whose mouth is “smoother than oil” (Proverbs 5:3 NKJV). Yet her end is “bitter as wormwood” and “sharp as a two-edged sword” (Proverbs 5:4).
Here, the brief sensual pleasures promised by folly and sin are contrasted with the lasting damage and bitterness they bring. The sweetness of the cherry or honeycomb when first tasted represents fleeting temptation, while the core truth and nourishment come instead from righteous wisdom.
The Redemptive Blood of Christ
In addition to representing fleeting worldly pleasure and temptation, the crimson color and juice of the cherry can also symbolize Christ’s redemptive blood sacrificed for humanity’s salvation.
In Isaiah 1:18, God promises: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (NKJV). Scarlet and crimson were colors associated with luxury and sin in ancient cultures, and here God uses them to describe the stain of transgression.
The vivid crimson juice of a cherry when crushed powerfully evokes the imagery of this verse – of something scarlet transformed white and cleansed by the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ. Like Communion wine, the cherry’s red juice represents the washing power of Christ’s sacrificed blood, making scarlet sins “white as snow.”
The cherry’s pit can also carry meaning related to Christ’s death on humanity’s behalf. In John 12:24, Jesus says: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” (NKJV).
A cherry pit, like a grain of wheat, must be buried in order for the fruit to emerge. This reinforces the biblical theme of redemption and resurrection following death and sacrifice. The cherry pit’s cycle of burial and fruitfulness symbolizes Christ buried in the tomb before His victorious resurrection.
Temptation, Sin, and Innocence
Though cherries’ sweetness can represent the joy of wisdom and righteousness, their juicy red flesh can also symbolize temptation, sin, and loss of innocence.
In 2 Samuel 6:19, David has the people gather for feasting and offerings when the Ark of the Covenant enters Jerusalem: “Then he distributed among all the people, among the whole multitude of Israel, both the women and the men, to everyone a loaf of bread, a piece of meat, and a cake of raisins” (NKJV).
Here, David offers the people three celebratory foods – meat, bread, and raisin cakes. Some translations render the final item not as raisin cakes but as “a cake of dates” or even “a cake of figs.” Figs in the Bible are often tied to sexuality and sensuality, sometimes in negative contexts.
If the food distributed was fig cakes rather than raisins, it may connote temptation and sensual indulgence entering Jerusalem along with the Ark. The cherry’s luscious red flesh can similarly symbolize Loss of Innocence and the introduction of temptation or sin.
This symbolism returns in Revelation 18:3, where Babylon is condemned for its decadence and commerce: “For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury” (NKJV).
The extravagance and sensuality of ancient Babylon is repeatedly linked in the Bible to indulgence, exploitation, and moral degradation. The cherry’s crimson richness evokes the tempting luxuries and decadence for which Babylon became infamous across the ancient world.
Spiritual Fruitfulness and Righteousness
Despite also representing temptation and sin, the cherry can symbolize righteous fruitfulness for believers who walk the narrow path.
In John 15:1-8, Jesus declares Himself “the true vine” and His father “the vinedresser” who prunes the vine so it bears good fruit (John 15:1-2 NKJV). Christ says of His followers: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NKJV).
Pruning vines to maximize fruitfulness was a common practice in ancient vineyards. Here, Christ teaches His disciples the importance of abiding in Him – the true vine – in order to bear righteous spiritual “fruit.”
As a sweet and nourishing fruit producing seed inside, the cherry perfectly encapsulates the concept of spiritual fruitfulness developed in this passage. For believers who righteously abide in Christ, the cherry symbolizes the abundant spiritual fruit they can produce.
For a fruit not excessively referenced in the Biblical texts, the cherry possesses a diverse array of symbolism that informs important Christian themes around temptation, redemption, decadence, and spiritual fruitfulness.
The cherry’s association with pleasure and indulgence evokes how believers are tempted by fleshly desires and sin. Its crimson color represents the redemptive blood of Christ, cleansing away sin’s stain. And its juicy, seed-bearing flesh signifies the abundant spiritual fruits borne by walking closely with the Lord.
By unpacking the biblical contexts related to the cherry, Christians gain a deeper appreciation for scripture’s layered meanings. Even for obscure plants like the cherry, God provides symbols and metaphors that enrich understanding around central topics like sin, salvation, and righteousness.
For believers interested in pursuing a faith-filled life, recognizing symbols like the cherry assists in extracting biblical truths that can be applied on a practical spiritual level. Though they may seem mundane objects to the secular eye, plants and foods in scripture frequently point to profound allegorical truths when inspected closely.
The cherry’s various connotations reveal the elegance of God’s Word, and how even a humble fruit can convey multiple layers of significance. By peeling back these layers of symbolism, Christians can reap a bounty of insight into scripture’s richest spiritual meanings.