THE TREE OF LIFE (Genesis 3:22) One of the MOST significant symbols in the entire Bible. Was placed for the EVERLASTING benefit of man. Ultimately, the tree of life is found as a comforting feature. OUTLINE OF STUDY Man’s Primitive State The Garden: Man’s First Home, Our Heavenly Home Purpose of the Tree of Life MAN’S PRIMITIVE STATE It was God’s will and purpose that man should be very happy and that he should occupy a very high, honorable, and influential position in the scale of creation. From the fact that he was made in the image and likeness of his Creator. From the extent of man’s dominion. From the fact that for man’s special benefit the whole earth was provided. – That which was first in design was really last in execution. From the special provisions of Eden. – All that was pleasant to the senses. – Tree of Life/Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil. The Garden: Man’s First Home Our Heavenly Home Paradise on earth. Supplied all of man’s needs Lost due to sin – but not all was lost because God had a Plan. A plan that would restore FELLOWSHIP with Him. The Garden was the perfect environment for God and man to have fellowship. The sinless nature of man made his communion with the almighty, righteous God possible. Once man lost innocence, he also lost the blessing of fellowship with God. The fellowship desired by God required a choice by man. God provided the opportunity for man to choose his fellowship. God placed two trees in the middle of the garden to signify the critical point of fellowship with God. Man made his choice. The Garden’s environment was lovely & beautiful. Provide man with joy. All that was pleasant to the senses. Tree of Life. Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Garden of Eden provided everything man needed. Even the choice to demonstrate his willingness to remain in fellowship with the righteous God. Temporary or Eternal? Garden environment was crated by God to be perpetual. God’s omniscience knew sin would come. Planned the magnificent Scheme of Redemption before the foundation of the world. This plan would restore Eden and return man to God’s original state (FOREVER). The Scheme of Redemption is God’s plan to restore the garden, fellowship, and access to the tree of life! Type Antitype Objects in the Garden Genesis 2:9-14 Tree of Life Gold, Bdellium & Onyx stone River of Life Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil THE CHURCH IS THE GARDEN OF EDEN From the Garden of Eden, God supplied all of man’s needs. – This beautiful garden was God’s first hint of the spiritual paradise He would make in order to supply all the spiritual needs of mankind. God calls the Church a spiritual Garden of Eden (Isaiah 51:3) Isaiah 51:3 New King James Version (NKJV) 3 For the Lord will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the Lord; Joy and gladness will be found in it, Thanksgiving and the voice of melody. Isaiah prophesied that at the first coming of Christ, God would make Zion (Israel) a place of beauty just like the Garden of Eden. He gave us a spiritual Eden that is priceless with beauty beyond compare. It is the place where we dwell spiritually with God today! (Relationship/Fellowship) HE GAVE US THE CHURCH! Revelation 21-22 Gives us a picture of our spiritual Eden in physical terms. Rev. 2:7 – “paradise of God” By closely examining the characteristics of the Garden of Eden and applying that symbolism to the church, we can learn much about how God views the church in which Christians spiritually dwell today. Relationship between God & Mankind God walked and talked with Adam & Eve (Gen. 3:8) When they sinned, this close relationship with God was broken. As Christians dwelling in the spiritual paradise of God, the church we are in that close relationship with God. – 2 Corinthians 6:16 2 Corinthians 6:16 New King James Version (NKJV) 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them Relationship/Fellowship And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Just as Adam & Eve walked and talked with God in the garden of Eden, Christians now walk and talk with God in SPIRITUAL Eden, the Church of the Living God! “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (I John 1:7) Adam & Eve had a choice in Eden to follow God or listen to the serpent. In the church today, man still has that choice. – Do we eat of the tree of life and live forever? – Do we eat of the forbidden fruit an lose our spiritual life? THE TREE OF LIFE Located in center of garden. Capable of sustaining the physical lives of Adam & Eve for all eternity. God had provided a way for man to live forever in his presence. Since we can no longer return to the original Eden to eat of that physical tree of life, WE MUST HAVE ANOTHER TREE! JESUS IS OUR TREE OF LIFE! Christ is standing today in the midst of Eden, the Church. “Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.” (Ezekiel 47:12) – Revelation 1:13 “and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.” Just as the purpose of the tree of life was to provide eternal physical life for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Jesus provides eternal spiritual life for all who walk with Him in spiritual Eden. Garden of Eden/The Church of Christ Garden provided close relationship with God. As Christians dwelling in the spiritual paradise of God, the church, we are in that close relationship with God. Adam & Eve had a choice in Eden of whether to follow God or listen to the serpent. Christians have the same choice today in the Church. Access to the “Tree of Life” We must be in the Church to eat of this tree of life. – Revelation 22:14 “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.” When we obey God, we enter through the gates of our spiritual Eden and eat of the spiritual tree of life, which enables us to live spiritually forever. The old question as to whether one must be a member of the church to be saved should be answered once and for all. We must continually eat of this tree of life. Today if we keep ourselves in a proper relationship with God, we can continually eat of our spiritual tree of life. We are human however and sin. Danger of being expelled. (Heb. 10:25; Rev. 22:19) We have a spiritual tree of life that will give us eternal life in a heavenly home far beyond anything imaginable on this earth. As members of the church, we can constantly eat of this spiritual tree of life which will enable us to live forever in a perfect spiritual home. PURPOSE OF THE “TREE OF LIFE” LIFE & DEATH The typology of the tree of life is used to communicate the disastrous effect of sin. Essence of Life & Death. Life = Union Death = Separation Kinds of Life & Death Man may be alive in one sense but dead in another. – Matt. 8:22; Eph 2:1-7; I Tim. 5:6 Physical life exist when the physical body is united with the life giving agent. – Ecc. 3:19-21; James 2:1-4 Spiritual life exist when the soul is united to its life-giving agent. – Eph. 2:1-3 What kind of death was involved in the penalty of Eden – Physical? Spiritual? Both? The Penalty was Spiritual Death Not Physical Adam & Eve died spiritually the moment they transgressed God’s commands (Eph 2:1ff) A consequence of their spiritual death would be the physical death. THIS MEANT THEY LOST ACCESS TO THE TREE OF LIFE! The Tree of Life symbolizes the lost blessing of Eden, while at the same time also symbolizes God’s amazing grace! This symbol gives mankind an absolute promise by God that the life experienced in Eden's splendor (which was at one time lost because of man’s freewill choice) will be restored (by the freewill choice of one man). Antitype: Revelation 2:7; 22:4,14 Encouraging Aspect of the Tree of Life Located in the center of God’s abode. Available only to those innocent of sin. Offers to mankind the greatest inheritance. Typifies full restoration and union with God. Offered as a reward for the faithful. Presents a contrast between Heaven’s abundance and Earth’s meagerness. Review of the Tree of Life The elements of the heavenly joy are foreshadowed by the tree of life that stood in the garden of Eden. Three points that a study of the tree of life bring to the forefront: Realize that death has entered into the world, but we do not have to remain dead in trespasses and sin. Remove death by finding life in being born again into the body of Christ. Remember the blessed feast from the fruit of the tree of life awaits all who are righteous.