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The Garden and the Gospel

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UNDERSTANDING THE GARDEN ACCOUNT

THE TREES

“…out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree…” Gen 2:9

 

If we then are to understand the purpose of what God commanded, we first must have some insight into what “the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” represented, and why man was forbidden to eat of this fruit only. To begin with, what, symbolically, did the trees of the Garden represent? The Scriptures in this case, and in many other instances, gives us the answer—they represented knowledge. In the trees of the Garden, God withheld nothing from man of which man would ever be capable of understanding and using for his good. Nothing was restrained from man upon which he could build and create as the overseer of God’s world. The Garden was, as it were, a great library of knowledge from which man could partake and assimilate into his life and world. Indeed, there are many similarities between the Garden and libraries, and between trees and books. (1) Books are made from the pulp which comes from trees; and the pages of a book are many times called leaves. (2) Books have covers and bindings to protect the contents or pages. Trees have bark which protects the inner life of the tree. (3) Books tell stories and record history. The rings of a tree can record how old a tree is, whether it was a rainy year or not, and whether there were any catastrophes, like fires. (4) The leaves of the tree, using sunlight, along with water and minerals gathered by its roots from the earth, have the ability to make food and to store it for future use. Books contain knowledge and that knowledge is stored in its pages. By reading books, man’s intellect is fed. By the light shining into man’s mind through books, by the living water of his communion with God’s Spirit, and by assimilating what he sees in the world around him, man himself can produce intellectual food. This increase of knowledge is then stored back into books for others to feed upon. (5) Trees also produce fruit, “whose seed is in itself,” to reproduce its kind upon the earth. From books, fruit is produced in the life of man in the form of thoughts and ideas. These ideas lead man to create or to do what he now sees as something desirable, profitable, and honoring to God. Therefore, the fruit of books is new ideas and inventions. (6) Libraries, in which many books are stored together, are like a garden. They are quiet places where we go to rest and refresh ourselves, and to gather intellectual food. (7) In a library we find books on almost every conceivable subject. In the Garden of Eden God provided man with the knowledge of every concept that man could possibly use.

Gen 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9
And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Gen 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

Psa 119:103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
105
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Prov 8:12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions

Even the Gospel, which is revealed in God’s Word, is contained in a book. The Bible contains the knowledge of God concerning salvation and other spiritual insights that are for man’s benefit. Like trees which cast forth their seeds, the seed of the gospel is spread throughout the earth. Some of it lands on stony ground, or hard and resistant hearts where the fowls—the devils—quickly steal it. Other seed finds soft and accepting hearts that have been plowed by God to receive the Gospel message. When watered by the Spirit of God and warmed by the sunshine of God’s grace, it springs forth into new life. Newly sprouted roots now begin to extend into the depths of God’s resources where they find the nutrients for growth and the seed soon becomes a young tree—a growing believer. As the tree matures it brings forth fruit, becoming a planting of the Lord that is used to spread forth the seed to others.

1 The 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

Mark 4:3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.
5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:
6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
8 And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.
9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Col 1:5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:

1 Pet 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.
And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
39 (But this spake he of the Spirit
, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

2 Cor 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Col 2:6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

Man himself is referred to in terms of a tree. His mind is like a great root system gathering intellectual food and storing it for later use. Then, when that knowledge is needed, it is brought forth to produce fruit in man’s life. Also, as a tree takes in the nutrients in the soil to grow, so man’s body has the ability to produce energy by using the sugars and minerals in the food he eats. By utilizing this energy in profitable ways he produces the fruit of his labor which may be a physical, artistic, or an intellectual work. A godly man is continually watered by his union with the Living Word and produces spiritual fruit that is profitable to himself as well as honoring to God. Ungodly men are like trees that have no nourishment, but are dead and dried, which have no purpose but to be burned in the fire.

Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Isa 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Eze 17:24 And all the trees of the field shall know that I the LORD have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the LORD have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the LORD have spoken and have done it.

Dan 4:20 The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth;
21 Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation:
22 It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth.

Luke 3:9 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

The nation of Israel is also referred to as a tree planted by the Lord. Symbolically, it was represented by two different kinds of trees—the fig and the olive. The fig tree represented the physical descendants of Abraham or the nation of Israel. To them was committed the Old Testament Law, the Covenants, and the Temple worship, as well as being the nation through whom the Messiah would come. They were nourished by God’s presence and blessings, being planted in the Promised Land where they were meant to grow, spread forth, and become mighty as God’s chosen nation. They were intended to bear fruit in bringing glory to God’s name by their association with Him; but tragically, they only brought disgrace and dishonor to His name. Metaphorically, when Jesus came to the fig tree on His way to Jerusalem, He found no fruit on the tree and pronounced an end to its usefulness—thus signaling the end of the Old Testament Covenant and God’s purposes through Israel. Prophetically however, at the time of the Messiah’s return to the earth, the nation will rise again and become a part of the end time events.

Psa 44:1 We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old.
2 How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them; how thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out.
3 For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.

Rom 9:4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came
, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

Luke 13:6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

Matt 21:18 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.
19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it,
Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

Luke 23:27 And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.
28 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.
29 For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.
30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.
31
For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

Luke 21:29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
31
So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.

The Olive tree, on the other hand, represented spiritual Israel or the true children of Abraham. They included all the Old Testament saints as well all the Gentile believers who would, through Christ, be grafted into that tree. In the days of the Tribulation, there would stand two Olive trees prophesying against the wickedness of the earth and calling the nation of Israel back to their God. Many believe that these are the return of Moses and Elijah, who being Israelites, were also a part of Spiritual Israel. Also, at the end of time, a remnant of the physical descendents of Abraham would be turned to Christ and be grafted back into the Olive tree. True Israel has always had its roots planted in the heavenly land of promise and been cared for and nourished by God Himself. It is in this tree that the true people of God are represented and will bear fruit, bringing glory and honor and blessings to God.

Rom 9:6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.

Psa 52:8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.

Rom 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.
20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.
24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits;
that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

Rev 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

Isa 24:13 When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done

Zech 12:9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
10
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

The last tree that we now mention before continuing on with our subject is the Tree of Life. It was said to be in the midst of the Garden—it took center stage, or the prominent position of all the trees that were there. If the trees represented knowledge, then we might deduce that this tree represented the secrets to life itself. While we are not talking about the eternal life of which God alone possesses, and cannot be duplicated—His name being, I AM THAT I AM, or He exists because He exists—and there is no knowledge or understanding that can explain why; we are suggesting that this tree represented the knowledge of created life. It contained the biology and mechanics of natural life as we know it, and how this life is brought about and sustained.

Gen 2:9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Exo 3:13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

The Bible even teaches that if man could have partaken of this tree, he could have lived forever in his fallen natural state. One can only imagine how wicked mankind would have become had he learned to cheat death and exist separated from God and all goodness. Hence, God drove man from this wonderful garden and put an angel with a flaming sword to keep man from re-entering this place of complete knowledge. What we suggest that this angel represented has been the scourge of the human race since the fall—war and destruction, and mans inhumanity to other men that constantly destroys any progress toward discovering this knowledge. The history of the human race has been of one great civilization after another, where tremendous advancements had been reached in the sciences even in the earliest ages. However, war and destruction from within and without destroyed those civilizations and much of the great strides that they had made. Today we see how close man is coming to discovering this knowledge. We now understand the genetic structure, learning what individual genes control, and have mapped the entire human genome. We have learned to produce mechanical organs, how to use transplanted organs, and we are looking into growing replacement organs to extend life. Modern men have even ventured into cloning whole animals, and it is only by social restraint that they have not yet cloned a human body. Medical advances have extended human life beyond the three score and ten that was once the norm, and have allowed men to live even into the nineties and hundreds. Yet even with all these great strides, man is not being drawn closer to God; but he is turning more and more to humanism and false philosophies such as evolution to explain the origin and purpose of life. However, again, wars are once more at our doorstep. Civil disobedience, rioting, civil war, terrorism, and nations rising against nations, now threaten to destroy again the great strides of mankind—keeping the way to the Tree of Life.

Gen 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24
So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Rev 6:3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.
4 And there went out another horse that was red:
and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

However, all is not lost, but one day after man’s sin and rebellion has been dealt with, God will create a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. He will also create a new garden where God and man can again walk together; and in that garden will again be found the Tree of Life, which will be freely accessible to redeemed man and be used for the “healing of the nations.”

Rev 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Rev 22:2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Metaphorically, the Tree of Life still exists in this present time for those who seek it. Through the Word of God, answers about life can still be found. The wisdom of God is available to all who search for it, and the Bible can still lead us to a long and productive life if we partake of its fruit. The Scriptures offer a treasure store of advice on how one should live and how to benefit the most from this life—physically, emotionally and spiritually. Although it does not reveal the secrets of eternal physical life, it does point the way to Him who offers to give us His life, which is eternal. Jesus is to those who lay hold upon Him, the Tree of Life. He is “the root out of a dry ground” who gives life to those who partake of Him.

Prov 3:13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
14 For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.
16 Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.

Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
13
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Prov 3:1 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:
2
For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.

Isa 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

Isa 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

Thus man was given a great resource upon which to build his life, to manage, and to shape the world over which he was made to have dominion. God gave to man all the knowledge which He possessed, and which man could ever have conceivably used. Therefore, the question might be asked, why did God even plant the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden, and then forbid man to eat of it? One answer might be that neither man nor Satan could accuse God of holding back from man any of the treasures which were His. It is often said that knowledge is power, but God was not using His superior knowledge to control man, or to manipulate him, or to lord it over him. Even this one tree, of which we speak, was there for man to look upon and admire; and if man would so choose to disobey, even to partake of its fruit.

 

 

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