In Deuteronomy 20:19, God told man not to cut down the trees. He said, “The tree of the field is man’s life.” From Genesis to Revelations, we read of trees. I have enjoyed a study of them.
From the substance of trees, we derive food, fuel, and shelter; from their grace and enduring beauty, we draw inspiration and spiritual quickening. Wood is one of man’s best friends, it held him in his cradle, was in the framework of the bed he slept on, from the log on the hearth it gave him warmth, it was the roof over his head for shelter, and it will make his last home. It is even in the page he is now reading. The mightiest of all trees is the giant sequoia that grows on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains. I have seen them and marvel at their size and beauty.
Genesis 2:9 tells of trees God planted in the Garden of Eden: two were vital for man: the tree of Life, for man’s good; and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, whereby the Devil defeated man. In following verses, He told them they could eat of every tree, except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and if they ate of it, they would die. Some very good marks were in the Tree of Life: it was planted by God; it was pleasant to the eye; it was good for food; it was in the midst of the Garden. Also it bore twelve manner of fruits, it had fruit every month, its leaves were for the healing of the nations (Revelations 22:2). This tree is guarded by two forces: the cherubim which are a type of God’s servants, and by the Flaming Sword, which is the Word of God (Gen 3:24). The twelve fruits it has for man to feed on are the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatians 5:22). Also Ephesians 5:8-9: light, righteousness, and truth. Two verses in Revelations tell us who can partake of this Tree of Life: Rev 2:7: “to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the Tree of Life,” and Rev 22:14: “blessed are they who do His commandments that they may have right to the Tree of Life, and may enter in through the gates to the City.” Rev 22:2 may seem confusing, this tree being on either side of the River, but to me it’s so clear. We partake of it on this side in life, and on the other side after death. What bountiful provision our God has made!
With all these references, there can be no doubt that the Tree of Life is a type of Jesus. He embodies it to perfection. One might get a wrong conception from Genesis 3:24 that poor man could no longer partake of this blessed tree, and of course there are some stipulations: first, man must listen to the cherubims (the plural of cherub, a type of God’s 2 person ministry on earth). Many souls find this hard to accept. But it is God’s simple, yet effective, and forceful message. Also, man must come under the flaming Sword (note Hebrews 4:12), they must accept His word. As John said, “His commandments are not grievous.”
There are 7 marks to this flaming Sword: it is quick, or living, it’s powerful, woe be to the man who dares oppose it, it’s sharper than any man can hone a two-edged sword, it’s piercing, it divides asunder the soul and spirit, it is a discerner of the thoughts of man. I can’t read others’ thoughts, but it can, and it knows the intents of the heart. With these 7 marks in mind, one can easily see we must come under that Flaming Sword.
Psalms 104:16 says, “The trees of the Lord are full of sap.” I love that verse. The writer was referring to the Lord’s people – they are like the trees that have the life-giving sap in them, which is like a plumbing system, through which the sap runs from the root hairs to the very topmost branches, collecting moisture and food nutrients. A force called ‘transpiration’ pulls the water up to the leaves. Oh, to have the mighty yet simple power the tree has, obtaining moisture and food for our souls, giving us life.
No wonder God was specific to our common grandparents as to what tree to partake of. I love the Tree of Life, Jesus, and want to partake of Him, realizing the many blessings that come from this blessed Tree.