(Ver 2.1) This is Part 7 in a study series on the subject of Understanding Genesis 3. It is also a continuation of the last lesson concerning the Tree of Life introduced by God in Genesis 2 & 3. If you have not read the Genesis 3 lesson series from the beginning I might suggest that you go and start with verse 1 and read Part 1 first. If you have not read this current subject on the tree of life from the beginning I would suggest that you go and start with “Part 6” first before you study today’s lesson. Studying the Bible is one of the greatest challenges we will ever face in life, God who is a Spirit writes us a book about both natural and spiritual things and we have to be smart enough to discern which words are speaking of which. This is by far one of the greatest challenge and the trickiest methods that God has implemented in this Book to conceal the truth. You can clearly see that God calls spiritual things and natural things by the same name and that He rarely ever tells you which one He is talking about. In my last blog I introduced you to some more complex subjects found in the Bible. We began trying to figure out if the trees in the garden in Genesis 2 and 3, were physical fruit trees or were just symbolic representations of spiritual truths. I am a firm believer that these trees, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life were symbolic spiritual representations. I have a number of reasons for this logical deduction based upon many verses that I have already given to you and then some more we will discuss today. In my last lesson on this subject I also showed how that God places a Cherubim to guard the way to the tree of life and how God was not keeping the way from the man, but from another spiritual being, someone who was interested in obtaining its power and benefits. If you understand compass directions and reading maps you can understand what I showed you last time about the differences between east and west.
Next I also took you to Revelation and showed you in the last chapter the clear reference to the tree of life. It is funny how things from the beginning are repeated in the prophecies of the end. It seems to me that God must have wanted it (the tree of life) to play a major role in His plan if it ends up the way it started. We can see that this information found in Revelation 22 seems to imply we are that tree, that produces fruit and drinks from the river of life flowing from the throne of God, but that is my opinion. Today I want to go through other scriptures found in the Bible that describes this tree. These are the verses that represent God’s commentary on the subject so I place great value upon them. Hopefully we can, by searching the Bible see who or what this tree of life is and who God was keeping from it. If you search your Bible using your computer you will discover around 11 verses that contain a direct reference to this “tree of life”. These three words occur, four times in Genesis, three times in Revelation and four times in Proverbs. It is absolutely fascinating what these verses say to us. We will start with the last verse in the Bible about this tree.
Rev 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
In this verse that is written to the church it declares that those who keep God’s Words may have the right to the tree of life. The word “right” here is a very interesting word because it means authority, power, and liberty. But more than that, it can refer to someone who is a potentate, magistrate and superhuman. These are all terms of royal sovereignty and ruler ship; terms given to kings for example. I believe what God is saying is that He wants it to end how it started, but without the influence of evil. To me it goes along with Genesis where God said that Adam could stretch forth his hand (power) and take from the tree of life. God intended the man to eat from this tree of life from the beginning, but Adam made the wrong choice. Now let’s go to the first occurrence in Revelation and see what that verse says to us. Here we find Jesus speaking to the church:
Rev 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
You see some more valuable information given to us. Jesus is speaking directly to the church and He tells us, that whoever overcomes, to him will be given to eat from the tree of life. Overcoming implies an enemy or opposition force that is opposing us, trying to keep us from eating and partaking of that which was promised. The prize of winning this battle or contest appears to be us eating from this tree of life. That sure seems to be the reward for overcoming these evil forces of opposition. Finally, we see the location of this tree given again. This time it does not contain any reference to or is any way associated with the Garden of Eden. Even though we do not know the actual location of this tree of life we can clearly see its relationship being repeated with it being in the “middle” of the paradise of God. Adam, when God told him of this tree said it was in the middle of the garden. So what was this garden? Where is this paradise? What does it mean to be in the middle? I feel that the term middle could be a symbolic reference to someone who is well centered. Not into the extreme of this or that, but one that holds on to a well-balanced understanding of God’s Word. Of course this is my opinion again and I would hope that you can at least understand how I arrived at that opinion. I would also make this suggestion for you to consider, Jesus when asked about the Kingdom of God always told people it is not here and it is not there, but the Kingdom of God is within you. People wanted to focus on outward things and God wants us to focus on inward things. Inward things would be things associated with the heart and the spirit of man. Keep that in mind when trying to figure out where this paradise of God is located. I believe that God’s garden is within us. We are the garden of God that produces the precious fruit that God places such great value upon that He purchased it with His shed blood.
We can now move to the only other direct references in the Bible to the tree of life and these are found in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs was written by King Solomon and holds great understanding and wisdom from God. This book contains extremely valuable spiritual information about which we need to better understand. I’m going to start with a verse found in the 11th chapter and it goes like this:
Pro 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
This verse speaks to us about fruit in relation to a tree of life. But did you notice where the fruit was and what type of fruit it is speaking about? The clear implication is given to us that this is a spiritual tree with spiritual fruit. The church is declared to be the righteous ones by faith, in the New Testament (Rom 10:10, 2 Cor 5:21), so we can claim this verse as applying to us directly with great confidence. If we are supposed to produce fruit unto God as it says in Romans 7:4, then what kind of fruit is this that God is looking for? We can clearly assume it is spiritual fruit and that spiritual fruit only grows on spiritual trees. This is the “fruit” of the righteous and this verse says this comes from a tree that has eternal life. I guess I paraphrased that verse a bit, but we will get there eventually so hang in there.
Pro 3:18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.
Here we have another verse which has great spiritual implications. This verse points us to the origin for the fruit that we are supposed to be producing. God’s words are declared to be the spiritual seeds of life. If planted in our hearts and watered correctly it will produce this spiritual fruit. In this verse in Proverbs God speaks about a woman who is symbolic of a spiritual force to be desired. This woman if you look at the context of the chapter is called “wisdom” and “understanding”. To have a sexual relationship with this woman is a covenant act of knowing her. God declares that by knowing “wisdom” and “understanding” you will participate in eating from the tree of life. It is a spiritual system of planting and reaping. God’s word contains all of the essential ingredients necessary to produce this tree of life. It actually says that by us knowing and understanding His word it would cause us to live and eat from the tree of life. But it really says more than that, it implies that we are the trees of life that produces the fruit for God’s glory. It is fascinating that we have read a couple of direct references to the tree of life and that these point us to spiritual things and not to any natural fruit trees in a physical garden. God did make the natural fruit trees, to help us to understand these spiritual concepts, but too many Bible teachers have ignored the spiritual things to focus only on the natural. Let’s continue in Proverbs to the next reference to this tree of life found in chapter 13:
Pro 13:12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
Pro 13:13 Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.
Pro 13:14 The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
Pro 13:15 Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.
These words again point us to spiritual things. In verse 12 it declares that “desire” is a tree of life. That to me is an interesting concept. If you look up this word in the Strong’s, we can learn that this word means “lust”. That implies there are certainly good and positive desires and things to lust after. Conversely it means there are bad or evil things that you should not desire to know or participate with. To lust after God and God’s Word are right desires that produce good results. By reading down to verse 14 we can see another reference to the waters of life that flow from God’s throne. These waters are again are God’s words and what He has spoken to us. So within the context of these verses we have a relationship established between the tree of life and God’s words. These are very awesome verses in Proverbs and we are at the last direct mention of the tree of life, given to us in chapter 15:
Pro 15:4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.
This is probably the most important of all the verses that we have seen so far on this subject. This verse informs us that the words coming out of our mouths produce this tree of life. You see just because God says something good for you in the Bible, does not mean that you have to accept it. You can say something totally opposite to what God has said and you will not benefit from what God has said in any way. What you say is far more important than what you can possibly imagine. What you say affects you personally more than it affects anyone else. What you say personally determines if you are saved or not. If you recall from another verse I gave in an earlier blog, also from Proverbs that says “death and life are in the power of the tongue” and then it says “those who love it will eat the fruit thereof”. We can clearly see that God has given us the choice to live or die based upon what we say. God’s spiritual system is a word based system. Everything that God has done has originated from His spoken words. God’s words have dominion over all other words, but yet they do not overrule the words that you speak. God’s words are ultimate truth, but your words are what are true for you. God does not force His will on anyone. Your will and your words rule your life and determine your destiny. The subject of words in the Bible is probably one of the most important subjects you can study and yet many ignore it and close their eyes to it. Just because you ignore the subject doesn’t mean your words are not working for or against you. The law of gravity works for you regardless of whether you understand it or not; if you do not believe in the law of gravity and step off a tall building you will find that your fall will be met with a disastrous end regardless of your beliefs. It is much better if you cooperate with the laws of nature than if you ignore them. This is the way of spiritual laws found in the Bible also. Be smart enough to learn about spiritual laws and then let them rule your life. Perhaps someday I will get into more depth on this subject of words in a future Blog. I hope that you have been challenged to see these spiritual subjects today in some new light and that they have become more real to your spirit. I have believe that I have given you sufficient evidence that the church is the ones who partake of the tree of life and produce fruit unto God. There are many, many more scriptures in the Bible that speak to this subject and further confirm what I have been attempting to say to you. If you can you should go and search for them and see what they say. God Bless!
If you would like to continue reading the Bible study series on Understanding Genesis 3 please continue to “Part 8“.