The Tree of LIFE

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QUESTION: What is the tree of life? What did it symbolize? Does it still exist?

ANSWER: Adam and Eve, soon after their creation, had an important decision to make that centered on a special tree. What was at stake was literally life or death to them. The test placed before them involved whether or not they would eat of the tree of good and evil he placed in the middle of Eden (Genesis 2:9).

Eating from the tree of good and evil (Genesis 2:16 - 17, 3:3, 11) symbolized man deciding for himself, apart from God, what was right and wrong (living by his own rules). Eating of the tree of life (Genesis 2:9, 3:22 - 23) symbolized having faith in the Eternal and deciding to live based on his judgments and rules.

Our first parents choose to believe Satan's lies and live their lives based on their own standards (human reason and emotions). Soon after they ate from the tree of good and evil they were tossed out of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:23). A powerful cherub with a flaming sword was placed in front of the tree of life in order to prevent anyone from eating its fruit (verse 24).

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Why did God have this symbol protected to bar anyone from coming near it? The implication of Genesis 3:22 is that eating of its fruit would have enabled Adam and Eve to live forever. Because, however, they had rejected God's way, such an existence (like that of Satan and his demons) would only have been filled with frustration, misery and pain.


Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden
Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden
Jan the Elder Brueghel, 1610s

What happened to the tree of life after the sin and banishment of our first parents? Although the Bible is silent on its fate, it was likely destroyed, with the rest of Eden's garden, during the great flood that covered the whole world (Genesis 7:17 - 23).

Will the tree that brings life reappear, in one form or another, in the future? The Biblical answer is yes! It is directly mentioned three times in the Book of Revelation. The first reference occurs when God promises access to it to any of those in his prophetic churches that are faithful to him (Revelation 2:7). The Eternal then promises that his creation of a New Jerusalem, which will become the new location of his throne, will have within its walls the tree of life (Revelation 22:1 - 2).

The last mention of this unique tree, which will bear fruit during each month of the year (Revelation 22:2), is found in the final chapter of Scripture. Verse 14 of chapter 22 states, "Blessed are those who keep His commandments, that they may have the right to eat of the tree of life . . ." (HBFV). This shows, beyond a doubt, that God's commandments not only are in affect today but also will continue to be the standard the righteous will live by for all eternity!

Additional Study Materials
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What is the mark of Cain?

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