Copyright © 2013 Robert B. Thompson. 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.

There were many trees growing out of the ground in the garden in Eden.

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)

In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. After years of thought, I have come to the conclusion that the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil are allegorical. They are not trees at all, but tell us about the plan of redemption.

Without doubt, the Tree of Life is the Lord Jesus Christ. He appears also in the Heavenly Jerusalem.

Man is created in two stages. First, man is an intelligent animal, made in the image of God. He can think, see, hear, imagine, and can make moral judgments. He can contact God through prayer. But his life is in his blood, as is true of major animals. The life of blood is temporary and corruptible. It is but the first stage of man’s life.

When man partakes of the Tree of Life, the Lord Jesus Christ, he receives the Life of God. He now is human as a human is meant to be. He still can think, see, hear, imagine, and can make moral judgments. He still can contact God through prayer. In fact, when the Life of God comes to fullness in him, his life no longer is found in blood. His life now is the Spirit of God, as is true of the greatest of all the trees of life—the Lord Jesus Christ.

When man arrives at maturity, he is a life-giving spirit, a tree of life, just like His elder brother, the Lord Jesus.

So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. (I Corinthians 15:45-49)

Unlike blood, the Life of the Spirit of God, that by which Jesus lives, is not corruptible. It is eternal life. However, the important aspect of eternal life is not its duration, it is its quality. It is the holy Life of God. It is an endless source of righteousness, love, joy, and peace. It is to be truly alive, not just plodding along as is true of us while we are housed in a flesh and blood body.

The question is this: if the Tree of Life is not an actual tree growing out of the ground, but an allegorical expression, how would Adam and Eve eat from it? They would come to Christ, who was given to walking in the garden, and ask Him to bless them.

How would the nations of the earth eat from Christ and the members of the Royal Priesthood, at the time of the new sky and earth? They would come to Christ, or to a member of His Bride, and ask for eternal life.

Today we come to the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. Then the Holy Spirit places a portion of the body and blood of Christ in us.

If we then are following Christ diligently, every time we find that we are behaving in an evil manner, we confess and renounce the evil. Immediately we are forgiven and cleansed from this particular evil, and the Spirit of God places within our personality an additional portion of the Life of God.

This is what it means to have Christ, the Resurrection, formed in us. If we thus pursue eternal life, the time will come when this Life of God redeems from death our mortal body.

Adam and Eve did not partake of the Tree of Life, of Christ. Therefore, they remained in animal bodies with a flesh and blood nature, and consequently were deceived.

But what about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? This is the eternal moral law of God. It also is Christ. He is the Word of God from the beginning. He understands good and evil.

Adam and Eve did not partake of the Tree of Life. The Life of God was not in them. Eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil brought death to them. It made sin more sinful. The Law is the strength of sin. As Paul said, “When the Law came, sin revived and I died.”

But Hebrews tells us that to grow in Christ is to grow in the ability to distinguish between good and evil.

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 5:14,15)

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil enables the believer to distinguish good from evil. Therefore eating from this tree is necessary if we are to understand the teaching about righteousness. This much is clear.

Well, then, what was the problem in Eden? The problem was, Adam and Eve had not partaken of the Tree of Life. If they had, they would have understood how to cope victoriously with the problem of nakedness.

So, what about today? Today God does not begin with showing us the evil in our nature. He begins with the Tree of Life. He gives us the assurance of sins forgiven so we can cope successfully when we are made aware of the evil in us.

For the two thousand years of the Christian Era, God has emphasized coming to Christ for the forgiveness of sin. He has given us to eat from the Tree of eternal Life. We are established in this truth.

Now we have come, in the program of redemption, to the awareness of evil. This is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement. The Holy Spirit is making us aware of the evil that is in us.

Behavior after behavior is pointed out to us. We never before realized that this evil was in us. I heard a distinguished minister years ago tell how he had planted his front yard in grass. The ground had been prepared and had been freshly seeded. In the morning he looked out his front door and the neighbor’s dog had torn up the yard, attracted most likely by the smell of the manure. This experienced minister of the Gospel became so angry he began to swear. Then he caught himself and said, “Thank you, Lord. I did not know that was in me.”

That is how we are to respond when the Spirit points out to us some of the evil that is in us. “Thank you, Lord, for showing me the darkness that still is in me.” Then we are to get busy and confess our sin to the Lord, and then denounce and renounce it with all our might. The next step is to ask Christ to help us never to behave like this even one more time—no, not for eternity.

When we are faithful in confessing and renouncing our sin, we are fed in the spirit world with a portion of the Life of Christ. We are given the “hidden manna.”

You can be practicing evil and not be aware of it. But when it is pointed out to you that you are doing evil, and you continue to do it, you are sinning. Prior to the particular evil being pointed out to you, you were protected by the blood of Christ. But now that you are aware of the evil in your behavior, and do not come to Christ for help in conquering the evil, you enter condemnation.

This is why God warned Adam and Eve not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God knew that the knowledge would serve only to separate them from their Creator.

There is much evil in all of us. When a specific behavior is pointed out to us, and we are diligent in renouncing it, the result is similar to being vaccinated with a live germ. Our body builds up a resistance to that particular bacterium. In this way we become immune to this disease.

Think of it this way. Let us say we have been lying. When the evil of lying is exposed, we ask Christ to give us victory over lying. Christ sends us the virtue that is in His body and blood. Now we can gain victory over the spirit of lying. Because we have had the disease, and now have overcome it, we have immunity to lying. A defense against lying has been formed in us.

It has been God’s plan from the beginning, and this is why He did not prevent Adam and Eve from sinning. God was preparing a vaccination for mankind, so that before He brought His Kingdom into existence, people would be immune to rebellion and sin, making possible the new world of righteousness.

The Tree of Life on both sides of the river in the Heavenly Jerusalem are Christ and His saints. The people who were saved from the nations can enter through the gates and receive the eternal Life of Christ. The Spirit and the Bride, which is the new Jerusalem, invite all to come and partake without cost of the Life of God.

But what about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Why is the eternal moral law of God no longer available to the nations of the earth? It is because this tree is now in the saints whose residence is the holy city. As they go forth to govern mankind, they will bring the knowledge of good and evil to the citizens of the new earth. The saints themselves are an iron rod of righteous behavior, having been formed in the fires of their earthly pilgrimage. They will govern the behavior of the nations.

There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)

How will a member of the nations eat from the Tree of Life? How will a saint communicate the Life of God to others? Perhaps by laying his hands on them. Perhaps by speaking to them the Words of God, just like today.

How will a member of the nations eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Perhaps through the teaching of the saints, aided by the Spirit of God. Also, iron discipline will enforce righteous behavior on the new earth.

As I asked above, how would Adam and Eve eat from Christ, from the Tree of Life in the midst of the Garden in Eden? Perhaps by coming to God, who was present with them, and asking Him to bless them with His Life.

How would Adam and Eve eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Perhaps by listening to some sort of personage who offered to make his hearers wise.

It is so today. There was and yet are all sorts of “trees” in our vicinity that are pleasing to the eye and good for food. There also are the two decisions in front of us. Will we devote our life to the pursuit of the true Life of God, or will we seek to pursue the wisdom and knowledge of a religion or philosophy that appears to be desirable and offers to lead us to pleasure and security.

The problem with eating from the Tree of Life is that it means abandoning a little bit at a time our animal life. We keep exchanging our soulish life that we might gain the Life of Christ. Our adamic nature is afraid of and resents the idea of giving up its own plans and ideas. It is afraid to trust God, not believing in His love and faithfulness.

But there is no other way to attain to the Life of Christ. Either we maintain our own way, or we accept the cross that is given to us and pursue the only One who can give us the Life of the living God.

It is obvious today that there is confusion concerning the problem of the practice of sin in the Christian life. Some are teaching that after we receive Christ as our personal Savior, there is no need to be concerned with whether or not our behavior is sinful. Christ has finished our judgment on the cross. Yet, such teachers must know from the Scripture that there is no sin in the Kingdom of God.

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

Those who practice sin will not be allowed to enter the gates of the new Jerusalem and partake of the Tree of Life or the River of Life.

Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (Revelation 22:15)

We understand that once we come to Jesus and place our faith in Him, the guilt of our sins is forgiven. But what about our behavior? Most of us sin occasionally. Does God not see our behavior? Do we continue without condemnation even though we have not forgiven those who offended us; are given to fits of anger; commit adultery or fornication; are proud and haughty; lie; steal; and use profanity to vent our rage?

Well, we might say that God overlooks such practices by Christians. But does He? Paul delivered the incestuous believer to Satan that his spirit might be saved. Does Paul in the New Testament say that God overlooks the sins of Christians?

And then what about when we die? When we pass into the spirit world, do the spirits we have not overcome during our lifetime pass with us into the spirit world? We know that sin began in the spirit world, not on the earth. Sin came down from the heavens and enticed Adam and Eve.

When Jesus confronts the believer who wasted his talent, does the Lord forgive the individual or remove his talent and send him into the outer darkness?

What Scripture tells us that when we die, we have no more to do with sin? Or does it say that our death is followed by judgment?

Will we appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ and give an account for our behavior, or, as is currently taught, are we excused because we have received Christ?

This is a question of extreme importance, because it appears most Christians in our day have been taught that once they receive Christ, they have no more to do with the guilt or practice of sin. Yet, the New Testament throughout warns us that if we continue to yield to our sinful nature, we shall reap corruption instead of eternal life.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7,8)

Is this passage speaking to Christians? There are many such verses in the New Testament. Yes, it is referring to the Christians in Galatia.

Does it apply today? I would suppose most of us would agree that Paul’s words are still in force.

Does it mean that if an individual who attends a Christian church acts in accordance with his sinful nature, he or she will reap corruption in the Day of Resurrection? I believe this is what the Apostle Paul believed.

But the church attenders of our day are not being taught this. This is a fact. In numerous instances, the Christian believers of our day are yielding to their sinful natures, supposing there will be no dreadful consequences.

What is to be done about this nationwide calamity? If I am understanding the Spirit of God correctly, we are facing chaos in America. There will be much shedding of blood. At that time there will be a genuine turning to the Lord Jesus, since the promised “rapture” did not occur.

I think numerous Christians will become aware that they have been sinning and will repent of their behavior. It may be true that we Christians will be persecuted, perhaps placed in the detention centers that our president is preparing. We may have to worship in secret, as is true in other countries of the world.

Then, the current jolly lawless grace and escape-by-rapture will be seen for the foolishness that they are. Maybe godly elders will surface who will point the way to the true Christ.

It is my prayer and hope that Christ will give one of His faithful servants a gift of such power that the person can go among the Muslim faithful and display the miracles that will cause them to turn to Christ. I believe this actually is going to happen, and a hundred million Muslims will turn their religious fervency toward Jesus Christ.

From the time of the rebellion of Satan, God has planned to make an end of sin and rebellion. We probably are about halfway through the program of redemption. When God has completed His work, there will be no more unrighteousness practiced anywhere in the creation.

The eternal moral law of God is the basis for the Ten Commandments of Israel. The Ten Commandments are an abbreviated form of the eternal moral law.

The new covenant, the Christian covenant, is the writing of the eternal moral law in the mind and heart of the believer in Christ. Each day there is some new precept to be addressed. Each day we interact with Christ so that the evil is removed from us and the eternal Life of Christ takes its place. This is the true Christian salvation. It is not our transfer from earth to Heaven. Rather it is a change of what we are as a person so we demonstrate the ways of Heaven wherever we are.

I do not believe that many of us American Christians, during the present period of time given to us to prepare ourselves, will take the utterances of today’s prophets seriously enough to turn from our self-serving ways and devote ourselves to the task of learning to follow Christ in cross-carrying obedience. But the day of moral and physical chaos we are rapidly approaching may urge numerous believers to turn to Christ and learn of Him.

The way of the eternal moral law is the only acceptable pattern of behavior for him or her who wants to be a friend and brother of Christ. To know Christ personally must become the first priority of each person who hopes to live victoriously in Christ in the coming days, and to help others to stand in victory throughout all that is to come upon us in America.

(“The Eternal Moral Law of God”, 4009-1, proofed 20210906)

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