Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Tree of Life

This morning we looked at Revelation 2:7 which says, 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. I remember when I was in Bible College, I had a teacher who used to tell us that the reason God gave us one mouth and two ears was so that we would listen twice as much as we talk.  That is very true.  What the Lord is saying is that we would all be wise to listen to both the compliments paid and the warnings given to this first church of Ephesus. They were complimented for their great work, love, labor, patience, and because they hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans. However, they were warned because they had left their first love. We would all be wise to take those compliments and warnings to heart.

If we do listen, we are told that God will give us the opportunity to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God.  The first place the tree of life is mentioned in the Bible is in Genesis 2:9 where it says, And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground--trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam was later told by God that he could eat of everything in the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16-17).  The implication is that he could have chosen to eat of the tree of life, but when given the option, choose not to do so.
Instead he chose to eat of the one tree God told him not to. Isn't that just like us? You tell a child to do a hundred things but one, he will chose the one. It's his rebellious nature that he inherited from you. You received it from your parents and they received it from theirs. It goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden.

What if Adam had chosen the tree of life first? He would have lived forever! But no, he chose to rebel and do exactly what God told him not to and ate of the tree of knowledge. It cost him paradise and his life. He and Eve were expelled from the garden because God did not want to allow them to turn and then take of the tree of life and live forever in their fallen sinful state. That's the first time we see the tree of life in the Bible, but not the last.

Where is the tree of life now?  We were just told in Revelation 2:7 that it is no longer in the Garden of Eden but in the paradise of God.  That's not the Garden of Eden, but Heaven.  We are told this again in Revelation 22:1-2 where it says, 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  2  down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. And then again in Revelation 22:14 it says, Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.

Today, we have the same choice set before us: death or life.  Unfortunately, Adam's rebellion has already infected us all for it was passed down to us. However, there is a way of escape. We can still take of the tree of life through Jesus Christ. Jesus said in John 11:25-26, Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26  and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" If you do, you'll live forever!

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