ACCESS TO THE TREE OF LIFE
Copyright © 2011 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
The Tree of Life is still in the middle of Paradise. The Bible says the person who overcomes is given the right to eat from this Tree. That is because there still are cherubim and a flaming sword guarding the way to the Tree of Life. We have the right to eat from Eternal Life only as long as we overcome the forces that would keep us from God.
ACCESS TO THE TREE OF LIFE
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. (Genesis 3:24)
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)
The Tree of Life is still in the middle of Paradise. But it is guarded by cherubim and by a flaming sword that flashes back and forth. If we would have the authority to eat from the tree of life we must overcome the forces of darkness that come against us.
We have to fight the good fight of faith if we would increase in eternal life.
As far as I know there are three kinds of life. By life I mean conscious existence. There is the life that controls the universe, the life by which the angels live, move, and have their being. This is the energy that will raise the bodies of the wicked from the grave.
Then there is flesh and blood life, the burning of cells in the presence of oxygen.
Finally there is eternal Divine Life. This is the Life that raised Christ from the dead. It is life filled with love, joy, and peace in the Presence of God.
We have changed the Gospel of the Kingdom to mean Christ died so we would escape Hell and go to Heaven when we die. There assuredly is a fiery Hell. There assuredly is a Heaven where God, Christ, the elect angels, and the deceased saints are residing at the present time.
But Hell and Heaven are not the issues of the Gospel of the Kingdom. The issue is eternal life. Jesus Christ came to bring us eternal life—life lived forever in our body in love, joy, and peace in the Presence of God.
The Lord Jesus Christ is Life. He is the Resurrection and the Life. He is the Tree of Life that is in the midst of the Paradise of God.
The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. (I John 1:2)
Let us think for a moment about the Garden of Eden.
There were two trees in the middle of the garden.
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. (Genesis 2:9)
We understand the above to be an allegory. The Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil do not grow from the physical ground.
The Tree of Life always is the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Word of Life.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. (I John 1:1)
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is just that—the knowledge of what constitutes good and what constitutes evil. In other words, it is the eternal moral law of God.
Notice that both trees were “pleasing to the eye and good for food.”
We have had, I think, a mistaken idea concerning the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It is not the tree of evil but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Eating this tree did not cause Adam and Eve to sin. Rather it made them aware of their shameful nakedness. Their sin was disobeying God. Isn’t that so?
The fruit of both of these trees is necessary if we are to be in the image of God. But the order in which they are eaten is crucial. We do not want to become aware of our sin until first we have been clothed and have partaken of Divine Life. Then we can cope with the judgment of sin successfully.
When we begin our life as a Christian we are not aware of the depths of sin in our personality. We may be aware some things we do are wrong, such as getting drunk or hurting people. Our conscience helps with this. But we have no idea of the extent of our sinful nature.
Remember, the Jews left Egypt under the protection of the blood of the Lamb. They had their conscience to guide them in daily behavior, to tell them right from wrong. But when they came to Mount Sinai and were given the Law, they understood much more clearly how God viewed right and wrong; sin and righteousness.
Adam and Eve were naked. God had in mind to clothe them, and He ultimately did.
The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21)
Let me say once more: eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil did not cause Adam and Eve to sin. Neither did it create within them the sinful nature which we have today. Rather the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil caused them to know they were naked, before God had a chance to clothe them.
God could not very well have created them from the dust with clothes on. So God intended to clothe them with skin. The Bible does not say God had to slay animals in order to obtain the material for clothing Adam and Eve. He who created the skin on animals certainly has the power to create garments of skin without harming an animal.
God understood that if they became aware they were naked they would hide from Him. The daily fellowship they must have had with God would be destroyed. Faith would leave and fear would enter.
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” (Genesis 3:10)
God knew this would happen, and this is why He warned them they would die. True death is separation from fellowship with God.
If Adam and Eve only had waited for God, He would have made garments of skin for them. Then they could have partaken of the Tree of Life, which would have provided them with the Divine Nature. Their bodies then would have been immortal.
There was plenty of time to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They would have been clothed, filled with God’s Life, and immortal. After this they could have been instructed in the eternal moral law of God.
This is what takes place when we receive Christ. God clothes us with the blood atonement. Then He begins to feed us with Divine Life. As He does, the Holy Spirit begins to form the eternal moral law of God in us.
We must be clothed in white garments. We must learn to live by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ. And the eternal moral law of God must be written on our mind and on our heart. Otherwise we are spiritually naked; we are without the Life of God; and we are bound in sin.
As to being spiritually naked:
I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. (Revelation 3:18)
As to being without the Life of God:
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. (John 6:53)
As to being bound in sin:
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. (John 8:34)
When we first come to Christ and receive by faith the atonement for our sins, we are clothed in the white robe of righteousness. As the Holy Spirit points out to us sins we are committing, we are to confess the sins, turn away from them with all the strength we have, and ask the Lord to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This is how we wash our robes and keep them sparkling white in the blood of the Lamb.
As we thus overcome the spiritual darkness that seeks to control us, we are given to eat of the flesh of Christ and to drink His blood. The flesh of Christ is our necessary food and the blood of Christ is our necessary drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. (John 6:54,55)
I do not know how the eternal Life of Christ was made available from the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. But I do know today whenever we choose to turn away from the desires of our sinful nature, deciding instead to do what is right in God’s sight, we are given to eat of the flesh and blood of Christ in the spirit realm.
This is why the Bible says we must overcome the lusts of sin is we are to have the right to eat from the Tree of life.
When we are clothed in the pure white robe of righteousness provided by the blood of Christ, and are choosing each day to put to death through the Spirit of God the deeds of our sinful nature, we are fed from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Growing in Christ means increasing in the body and blood of Christ, and increasing in the ability to judge between good and evil and in the willingness and strength to renounce and reject the evil and embrace that which is good. This is what it means to grow in Christ.
Notice carefully the following passage, for the Holy Spirit is emphasizing this today.
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:13,14)
“The teaching about righteousness.” In the churches of today the teaching about righteousness is, to a great extent, limited to imputed righteousness—the righteousness assigned to us when we place our faith in the atonement made by the Lord on the cross.
However, the theme of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is not imputed righteousness but actual righteousness of behavior. Imputed righteousness is to serve as a means of getting us started on the road to actual righteousness. It is not to be considered a permanent method of evading God’s plan to create us in His moral image. The Kingdom of God is the doing of God’s will, that is, actual righteousness. It is not righteousness ascribed to ungodly people!
The teaching about righteousness has to do with the daily practice of distinguishing good from evil. The churches of today are filled with spiritual infants who do not know the difference between good and evil. Divine judgment is lacking in our midst. Ignorance concerning good and evil is acceptable when we are newly born spiritually. But it is not acceptable when we are supposed to be growing to maturity.
The new covenant is not, as we teach today, a free trip to Heaven. The new covenant is the carving of the eternal moral law of God in our mind and in our heart. It is placed in our mind so we will understand it and in our heart so we will love it and obey it.
I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” (Psalms 40:8)
This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. (Hebrews 8:10)
You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (II Corinthians 3:3)
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh. This means He is the eternal moral law of God made flesh. Thus He is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, as well as the Tree of Life.
We are naked in the sight of God when we are not clothed in the righteousness of Christ.
We are dead in the sight of God when we are not living by the body and blood of Christ.
We are spiritual babies in the sight of God when we do not know the difference between good and evil; when we are not able to recognize the evil and renounce it vehemently; and not able to embrace the good and embrace it fervently.
The sinful nature, which we deplore, did not come from eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The sinful nature began when Adam and Eve disobeyed, setting their will against God’s will.
Cain and Abel were born outside of the Garden of Eden; outside of Paradise; outside of daily fellowship with God.
Cain and Abel both brought offerings to the Lord. But Cain did not offer his sacrifice with faith. His heart was wrong. When God reproved him, Cain did not learn from his chastening but permitted Satan to fill his heart with envy and murder.
It was at this point that the sinful nature began to gain control of people.
Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” (Genesis 4:6,7)
We must overcome sin through Christ. We must master it if we are permitted to go past the flaming sword and eat from the Tree of Life.
Perhaps we have thought of eternal life only in terms of living forever. Eternal life does include immortality in the body. But eternal life is not a ticket we are given when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, a ticket we are given so we will be conscious for eternity.
Rather, eternal life is a kind of life, like flesh and blood life. We have flesh and blood life in degrees, don’t we. There are sick people and healthy people. There are children and old people. There are those who are vigorous and others who tend to be excessively tired and weak. These represent different degrees of the force of flesh and blood life.
The same is true of eternal, Divine life. There are sick Christians and healthy Christians. There are baby Christians, and older Christians who have grown cynical and careless in their walk with the Lord. There are strong, healthy Christians and then those who continually are being taken captive by the devil.
All of these represent degrees of eternal resurrection life.
Paul urged Timothy to lay hold of eternal life. Timothy was a Christian at the time and had a portion of eternal life. Paul was exhorting him to press forward into more eternal life. God gives His Spirit to those who obey Him. If we want more of the Holy Spirit we must live a righteous life, obey God sternly, and ask for more of the Spirit. If we do these three things we will receive more of the Spirit, more eternal life.
The Apostle Paul was seeking to know the power of Christ’s resurrection, that is, to live in the fullness of eternal life. All of us ought to be pressing forward to this goal.
We are approaching an age of physical and moral horrors, We need to be filled with the Spirit of God if we are to survive the deceptions, pressures, and fears of the coming days.
Many of God’s people are deceived easily because they do not have enough of Christ in them. Christ is the Truth of God. When we are filled with Christ we are filled with Truth, and thus are able to escape the deceptions of Antichrist.
Eating of eternal life, of the body and blood of Christ, is something we are to do continually. We are to lift up the gates of our heart and invite the King of Glory, the Lord—strong and mighty in battle, to dine with us. We dine on His body and blood. He dines on our obedience and worship.
The point is, we do this continually, not just once in a while. Several times each day we face decisions of one kind or another. We are to use each point of decision as an occasion for turning to the Lord to gain His wisdom on the matter at hand. As we keep choosing Christ we keep being filled with His Life; we keep growing in the ability to reject evil and embrace good.
Being filled for eternity with the Spirit of God in spirit, soul, and body is part of our inheritance. Therefore we are to press into Divine Life each day of our discipleship. We do this by overcoming, through Jesus Christ, every form of evil that would attempt to distract us, to tear us down from our high place in God.
There are those who will multiply thirty times what they were given; some, sixty times, some, a hundred times. Today the emphasis is on the opportunity to reap a hundred times. If we are wise, we will look to Christ at every moment from now on so we do not lose any part of our assigned inheritance.
(“Access to the Tree of Life”, 3831-1)