Eternal life through the tree of life

Jesus made a remarkable promise to the church of Ephesus, 

‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To him who overcomes I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’  Revelation 2:7

We read about the Tree of Life next in the future New Jerusalem,

‘Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life….’  Revelation 22:1-2

So according to Jesus, the New Jerusalem is the Paradise of God.   God introduced us to the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, 

‘Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there He put the man He had formed….  In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.’  Genesis 2:8-9

What are the similarities between the Garden of Eden and the New Jerusalem?  They are the only two places mentioned in Scripture where God and man were in close fellowship with no sin that interfered.  In the first instance of the Garden of Eden, 

‘…the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day….’ Genesis 3:8 

That was the time they daily conversed with God.  Then, after an interlude of thousands of years, God finally accomplishes His goal, to be among His beloved people, 

‘…I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them.  They will be His people and God Himself will be with them and be their God.’ Revelation 21:3

That will be the eternal situation in the New Jerusalem.  Those whose names are written in the Book of Life will always see God’s face.  They will love and cherish Him and have fellowship.  And the source of sin, that ancient serpent called the devil or Satan, will be confined in hell.   He will no longer be able to harass God’s people.  And, in case we forget, at God’s right hand sits our beloved Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, the cherished Son of God. 

The most controversial sentence ever written

The first verse in the Bible is a short and powerful sentence:

‘In the beginning God [Elohim, the plural form of God] created the heavens and the earth.’  Genesis 1:1

Scripture is the link between the invisible and the visible, between the supernatural and the natural.  This first verse explains it: an invisible powerful God created the heavens and the earth.  We know about it because we have the truthful Word of God.  This means that the Holy Bible, the Word of God, is man’s precious revelation from an Extraterrestrial God about Him and why He created the universe.

What do we deduct from this very first verse?

(Do not forget that we are privileged to have the rest of the Bible’s 66 books to fill in the gaps of the short creation account.)

We know from history that this verse has generated the most heat ever in families, societies, countries, and the world at large.  Why?  Its claims sound a bit like science fiction.  Could there be a real God who created the universe in six 24-hour days?  All of it?  No wonder it is often regarded as ‘myth.’

God is not alone in the creation business.

Actually, He was not alone all along since He is eternal.  He was never created.  As said, the word for God in Genesis 1:1 is plural.  We meet the Holy Spirit in verse 2, ‘…and the Holy Spirit was hovering over the waters.’  In addition the New Testament gives more information about the third person involved in the creation: Jesus. 1

Time began with creation.

Before that, there was no time.  It is logical, since the sun and moon function as time keepers.  Also, there was besides the Trinity, nothing else.  No space, no matter.  Hebrews 11:3 tells us, ‘By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.’ 

It introduces God’s creative abilities.

This first verse in Genesis that introduces God’s creative abilities, is proof that the Holy Spirit inspired Scripture.  Moses (regarded as the writer of the Pentateuch) grew up in Pharaoh’s court in Egypt.  The Israelite slaves spent many years building store cities, pyramids, monuments, et cetera.  Moses understood very well that construction takes time.  So creation of the physical universe in six days does sound a bit far fetched.  Yet he wrote inspired by the Holy Spirit.

The first creation prepares us for another creation.

‘Behold, I will create a new heavens and a new earth.  The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.’ 2   This first creation is just a prototype.  The real thing is coming.  It will be preceded by a massive fire such as the world has never seen.  It will destroy every element of the natural universe, ‘…The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare….  That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.’ 3   Then God will create the ‘final’ one.  The new heavens and earth will be supernatural and eternal.  Therefore there will be no need for the elements that make up our present natural universe.  The coming miracles are a ‘fact.’  We don’t need to doubt it.

  • Countless billions of people will be resurrected.  ‘Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.’4  Only the God that Genesis 1:1 introduces, has the ability to do that.  It calls for a powerful Lord to first create the universe from nothing, then destroy it by fire and again make something completely new.
  • The new heaven and earth will be made of something we don’t know.  It will not consist of atoms, molecules, et cetera.  It will be ‘God stuff.’  Revelation 21 does talk of gold, precious stones, the street of gold, the water of the river of life and the tree of life.  Yet they will be eternal and never wear out.
  • Jesus’ resurrected body is flesh and bones (no blood) and already exists for 2,000 years.  Does He have DNA?  Nobody knows.  1 John 3 tells us that we will be like Him.
  • The world pokes fun at the ‘pie in the sky’ we expect.  Yet the pie in the sky will be the New Jerusalem.  It will descend out of heaven.  The throne of the Father and the Son will be in the New Jerusalem and billions of resurrected saints, together with the holy angels, will serve God.
  • What a wonderful future waits for God’s loyal, faithful followers.  And where did this wonderful adventure or journey begin?  With Genesis 1:1,  ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’  Glory, glory to our King, is all we can exclaim!

Conclusion

It is important to know that Genesis 1:1 is true.  Scripture hangs on it, God’s reputation rests on it, and the hope of billions of Jesus’ followers are based on it.

PS!

Who created God?

To answer it, we rely on Scripture.

It tells us that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit existed eternally.

We know that everything that was created has to have a cause.

God is uncreated, so He has no cause, nobody created Him.

The universe came into existence, so it has a cause.  The cause is God.

References

  1. John 1:3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16; and Hebrews 1:2
  2. Isaiah 65:17
  3. 2 Peter 3:10,12
  4. Daniel 12:2
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