The Tree of Life
INTRODUCTION: The tree of life is mentioned ten times in the Bible. Notice the distribution:
- Three times in Genesis (Genesis 2:9; Genesis 3:22, 24) – in the Garden of Eden
- Four times in Proverbs (Proverbs 3:18; Proverbs 11:30; Proverbs 13:12; Proverbs 15:4) – as a type of the fruit of the godly life
- Three times in Revelation (Revelation 2:7; Revelation 22:2, 14)
The tree is mentioned three times in the Garden of Eden, but it is lost because of the fall of man. However, it is mentioned three times in the New Jerusalem as restored to its rightful place in the midst of paradise.
The tree is mentioned seven times in the Old Testament—a number revealing God’s perfect work. It is mentioned three times in the New Testament—a number revealing God’s perfect being.
First, we will look at the tree of life lost in Genesis and the tree of life regained in Revelation. You will see that there is even a parallel with the verses concerning what is taught about the tree in both chapters. Jesus Christ is certainly restoring that which was lost (Luke 19:10).
Then, we will look at the application of the tree of life in our own lives as given in Proverbs. The four mentions in Proverbs deal with the life of the godly man on earth and the fruit he bears. This is significant, since four is the number of the earth. It also matches the river in the Garden of Eden that parts into four heads in order to water the earth.
- IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN
- The Position of the Tree - Genesis 2:9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
- The Produce of the Tree - Genesis 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
- The Permission to the Tree - Genesis 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
- IN THE NEW JERUSALEM
- The Position of the Tree - Revelation 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.
- The Produce of the Tree – Revelation 22:2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
- Abundant – twelve manner of fruits
- Unfailing – yielded her fruit every month (Psalm 1:3)
- Healing – for the healing of the nations
- The Permission to the Tree - Revelation 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 THE LIFE OF THE SAINT
- Wisdom - Proverbs 3:18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her. (with verse 13 - Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.)
- Righteousness – Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
- Desire Accomplished - Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. (See also Proverbs 13:19 - The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.)
- Good Speech - Proverbs 15:4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit. (See also Proverbs 16:24 - Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.)
CONCLUSION: God will restore all that was lost in the fall of man. But we can typically experience the tree of life today. The life of God in us should bring life to those around us. Consider 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 - For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?