“As they led Jesus away, they grabbed Simon, a man from Cyrene, as he was coming in from the country, and they put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd of people followed him, including some women who kept mourning and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, "Women of Jerusalem, stop crying for me. Instead, cry for yourselves and for your children, the time is surely coming when people will say, 'How blessed are the women who couldn't bear children and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' Then people will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us!', and to the hills, 'Cover us up!' And if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?" (ISV)
Keeping the scripture in context, let's review the scenario that was taking place. Here Yeshua (Jesus) was making His way to be crucifed and He is warning the women about the destruction that is about to come upon Jerusalem in the near future (66-70 AD). He warns them that instead of crying and mourning for Him they need to be crying and mourning for themselves and their children because the destruction that is coming upon Jerusalem will be so great and violent that people will be crying out for God to kill them suddenly by letting the mountains fall on them or the hills to cover them up quickly in death. History tells us that Jerusalem and her inhabitants had about 3.5 years of horrible war where even the women ate their own children. It's destruction was not quickly, which is less painful and brings less torment, but it was a slow and horrible destruction.
Yeshua had warned Jerusalem that He would have loved to have spared them by taking them "under His wings like a mother hen does her chicks but they would not" – Luke 13:34. They were a rebellious and sinful generation; specifically the leaders. When leaders are corrupt it flows down to the vast majority of the people.
What does the statement about the green wood and the dry wood have to do with the rest of what was being said? The green wood represents the righteous and the dry wood represents the unrighteous. A green tree or plant is alive and well watered but a dry tree or plant is thirsty for water and dead. When a person burns a fire it is the dry wood that they want because green wood does not burn well. Dry wood quickly burns up but green wood smolders and takes a very long time to burn or is still around after the fire goes out.
Likewise, Yeshua is making the point that if He, being righteous (green), is having judgment and death come upon Him in this brutal fashion, how much more is going to be done to Jerusalem who is a dry piece of wood and filled with unrighteousness.
Deuteronomy 29:18-20 in the Complete Jewish Bible brings the point of the green and the dry out perfectly as being a righteous or an unrighteous person or persons.
"So let there not be among you a man, woman, family or tribe whose heart turns away today from ADONAI our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Let there not be among you a root bearing such bitter poison and wormwood. If there is such a person, when he hears the words of this curse, he will bless himself secretly, saying to himself, 'I will be all right, even though I will stubbornly keep doing whatever I feel like doing; so that I, although "dry," [sinful,] will be added to the "watered" [righteous].' But ADONAI will not forgive him. Rather, the anger and jealousy of ADONAI will blaze up against that person. Every curse written in this book will be upon him. ADONAI will blot out his name from under heaven. “
Looking at the context of this passage we find that a well watered person (righteous) soaks in the Teachings and Commandments of Yahweh and obeys, while a dry (thirsty-sinful) person disobeys His Teachings and Commandments yet wants to be counted amongst the righteous. However, Yahweh declares that no such thing will happen. Instead, every curse written in the Word of Yahweh (Torah) will come upon this person and his name will be blotted out from under Heaven. His name will be blotted out of the Book of Life.
Ezekiel 20: 47-48 speaks to us of this scenario once again:
“say to the Negev forest: 'Hear the word of ADONAI. Adonai ELOHIM says, "I will light a fire in you; it will devour every tree in you, green and dry alike; a blazing, unquenchable flame that will scorch every face from the Negev to the north. All humanity will see that I, ADONAI, lit it; it will not be put out."'" (CJB)
His judgment always leaves behind a living remnant. The Old Testament (TaNaKh) shows us this plainly. The green (righteous) may be scorched in the flame but the dry (sinful) get burned up. This applies both physically and spiritually.
Judgment is once again coming, as promised, upon this earth. Will you be a green tree or a dry tree? When the judgment of God falls the dry will be consumed but the green will still be around when the fires go out. In Revelation 6:16 the same statement is made about the people crying out for sudden destruction versus what is coming:
“They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!”
Prepare while there is still time! Get well watered!