Dr. Peter J. Williams once wrote a masterful thread on the topic of the change of the meaning of the word “tree” over time. It is worth the read and I don’t wish to lose it. So, I’m sharing it here:
'Tree' is a significant word in the Bible, occurring at its beginning & end.
But the meaning of the word 'tree' is not as obvious as it seems.
— Peter J. Williams (@DrPJWilliams) November 2, 2018
But the meaning of the word ‘tree’ is not as obvious as it seems.
Now it’s one of those thingummies that generally sticks out of the ground.
Earlier it meant that *and* the substance ‘wood’.
In other words, the cross is not just metaphorically described as ‘tree’. It is ‘tree’.
Using this broader, older understanding of ‘tree’ we’re able to link a wider array of biblical passages symbolically to the cross.
However, it’s the broader meaning which we need to remember. To paraphrase Galatians 3:13:
‘Cursed is anyone who hangs on wood or a tree.’
The cross is a symbol of death, but also a tree of life.