Are you eating from a tree of life?

The Word of God is the Gate to immense treasures in this life and the one to come.

1 Peter 1:3-5 says, ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you….’   To miss that inheritance is the most terrible tragedy that can befall anyone.  We learn how to claim our eternal inheritance in the Word of God, the revelation of God’s plan for man.  It is a reliable document, but there is a world-wide attempt to sow seeds of distrust in it.

The keys to our inheritance

  1. The keys to open the way to our inheritance are: wisdom, knowledge and understanding.  We call it the ‘small trinity.’
  2. God used those keys to create: ‘By wisdom God laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding He set the heavens in place; by His knowledge the deeps were divided and the clouds let drop the dew.’ 1
  3. We need those ‘keys’ in our ‘creation’ process to become new people in Christ.
  4. But the glue that keeps the small ‘trinity’ together is faith (‘…without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him’ 2).

How to acquire the keys 

  1. ’The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.’ 3
  2. Thus the command in Proverbs 2:1-6, ‘My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom, and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.  For the Lord gives wisdom and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.’  Then, 
  3. ‘…wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.  Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.’  4

The Bible calls these 3 keys, a tree of life

  1. ‘Blessed is the man who gets wisdom, the man who gains understanding for she is more profitable than silver, and yields better returns than gold….  She is a tree of life to those who find her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed.’  5
  2. We eat of it here (get knowledge, understanding and wisdom in the Bible) to eventually eat of the real Tree of Life in the New Jerusalem. 6  God banished Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden so that they could not eat of the Tree of Life and live forever in their fallen state. 7

Wisdom preserves life eternally, which money cannot do.

‘Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing and benefits those who see the sun.  Wisdom is a shelter, as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor.’ 8 

Conclusion

Knowledge, understanding and wisdom, held together by faith, are the 3 keys to the Kingdom.  The foundation of these keys is the 66 Holy Spirit inspired books that together form God’s wonderful Holy Book, the Book of all books!

References

  1. Proverbs 3:19-20
  2. Hebrews 11:6
  3. Proverbs 1:7
  4. Proverbs 2:10-11
  5. Proverbs 3:13-18
  6. Revelation 22:2
  7. Genesis 3:22-23
  8. Ecclesiastes 7:11-12

Some interesting tidbits about the Old Testament

The Jews believed firmly in the Shema, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.’ 1  So when Jesus said, ‘I and the Father are one,’ 2 they questioned Him.  Jesus answered, ‘… If He called them ‘gods’ to whom the word of God came – and Scripture [Old Testament] cannot be broken….’’ 3

#  Jesus declared:

  • The word (Word) of God is Scripture.
  • Scripture is the Word of God.
  • Scripture cannot be broken.

#  Why can’t Scripture be broken?

Besides that it is the Word of the eternal God, it must be available to all people in all ages.  It is imperative that people since about 400 BC (Malachi is the last book of Old Testament) have the same document that expresses the will of God.  The Bible is the map that shows the way to eternal life on the new heavens and earth.

#  Jesus never once doubted the Old Testament Scriptures,

When Judas Iscariot led the crowd, sent from the chief priests and the elders, to arrest Him, Jesus said, ’But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?’ Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, never doubted the truth and accuracy of the Old Testament.

#  It never once says the word of God came to Jesus.

The reason is that Jesus is God, revealed to us in the New Testament.  He is ‘the Word of God,’ according to John 1:1 &14 and Revelation 19:13, who spoke through the prophets in the Old Testament and the apostles in the New Testament, by the Holy Spirit.  So the word of God did not come to Him, He is the Word.

#  The Old Testament teaches about Jesus.

Paul wrote, ‘…from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures [Old Testament], which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.’ 5

#  God exalted His Word:

It is written, ‘…For you [Lord] have exalted above all things your Name and your Word.’ 6

#  What should our attitudes be?

Followers of Jesus who are filled with the Holy Spirit should have the same attitude as our Lord Jesus.  The Old Testament is the Word of God and thus important for us to hear what God says to us.

Conclusion

Let’s agree with the psalmist, inspired by the Holy Spirit, ‘I have put my hope in your word.’ 7

References

  1. Deuteronomy 6:4
  2. John 10:30
  3. John 10:35
  4. Matthew 26:54
  5. 2 Timothy 3:15
  6. Psalm 138:b
  7. Psalm 119:74, 81, 114, 147

What happens when you chop and change Scripture?

It is positively dangerous to tamper with the factual meaning of Scripture.

The Bible consists of 66 different ‘documents’ or ‘books.’  If they were inspired by the Holy Spirit they should show an order, logic and continuity.  If they don’t, why should we believe they had a common Author, the Holy Spirit?

#  Creation, an example of a repeated theme

Let’s test whether the creation account of Genesis 1 is a theme found consistently in Scripture.  These are a few examples of the many verses about creation:

  • Exodus 20:11, ‘For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them….’ 
  • Nehemiah 9:6, ’You alone are the Lord.  You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them.  You give life to everything….’
  • Proverbs 3:19-20, ’By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding He set the heavens in place; by His knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.’
  • Jeremiah 32:17, ’Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm.  Nothing is too hard for you.’ 
  • John 1:3, ’Through Him [Jesus] all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.’ 
  • Colossians 1:16 and Hebrews 1:2 repeat that Jesus is the Creator.
  • Revelation 10:6, ’And he [an angel] swore by Him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it….’
  • A few other verses are in Psalm 33:6; Psalm146:6; Psalm 148:5; Ecclesiastes 11:5 Mark 13:19; Acts 17:24; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Hebrews 11:3; 2 Peter 3:4 et cetera.

#  The pattern is clear throughout Scripture. 

God created.  If one denies God’s almighty power to create in six days, a big problem surfaces:

  • Isaiah 65:17 says, ’Behold I will create new heavens and a new earth.  The former things will not be remembered….’   It is a prophecy that points to Revelation 21:1, ‘Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.’  A new literal eternal heaven and earth is the hope of the followers of Jesus.
  • If someone changes Genesis 1, he/she has to change many other verses in the Bible that have to do with creation.  Where does it end?  If creation is not true, why is Jesus the Son of God, born of a virgin, resurrected from the dead, ascended to heaven?

Conclusion

God’s omnipotence is displayed in six days creation.  That same omnipotence guarantees the new heavens and earth for us.  It guarantees Jesus our Savior.  It is positively dangerous to tamper with the factual meaning of Scripture.