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. 

Is there still a tree of life?

In the Old Testament we read about the garden of Eden and the tree of life.  Genesis 3:23 says, ‘…So the Lord God banished him [Adam and Eve after they were disobedient and ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil] from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.  After He drove the man out, He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.’  What about it?

# Is there still a tree of life?

  • Revelation 22:2 says that the tree of life lines the great river that flows from the throne of God in the New Jerusalem.
  • However, that does not help us much, because we need to eat from the tree of life now to be able to live eternally then.  Fortunately Proverbs 3:13-18 tells us we can still eat of the tree of life, ‘Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding….  She is a tree of life to those who embrace her, those who lay hold of her will be blessed.’

#  Where does one find the tree of life?

Proverbs 2:1-5 says, ‘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 knowledge of God.’  The source of wisdom, knowledge and understanding is the Bible.

#  The tree of life (wisdom and understanding) is hidden in Jesus.

Paul wrote to the people at Galatia, ‘My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and understanding.’  Colossians 2:2,3

#  Jesus is the gate back to Eden.

We see the logic and beauty of Scripture in John 10:1-18.  Jesus said:

  • He is the Gate for the sheep [believers].
  • Whoever enters through Him will be saved.
  • They will find pasture as He leads them.
  • As the good Shepherd He knows His sheep and will lead them with care.
  • As the good Shepherd, He lays down His life for the sheep and takes it up again.
  • The fact that He took up His life again means He can lead all the sheep that came after Calvary.

Conclusion

Jesus Christ, the Cross, the opening of the gate to Eden and the tree of life, are all in one book: the Holy Word of God.  At Calvary, Christ combined the entrance back to God’s presence (after the closed gate to the garden of Eden separated us) and the tree of life (found in Scripture), so we can inherit it all one day in the age to come: glorious eternal life with our blessed Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

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
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