The Purpose of the Tree of Life in Heaven
“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”.Revelation 22:2
The tree of life was originally situated in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9). By eating from the tree of life, our original parents were to have the opportunity of expressing their faith in God as the One who provides and sustains life. To this end, God had bestowed on the tree a supernatural power. The statement that the eating of the fruit of this tree would enable man to “live for ever” (Genesis 3:22) shows that the value of this tree was entirely different from that of the many other useful trees of the garden. Its fruit was a cure for death and people would continue to live just so long as they should eat of it.
The twelve fruits (Revelation 22:2) show that there will be a constant abundance, sufficient to fill all the needs of the redeemed throughout eternity and will yield fruit every month, giving a variety of flavors for the enjoyment of God’s people. In Ezekiel 47:12, there is another reference to the tree of life: “Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.” This shows God’s character of love in that He provides good gifts in variety to His people (Luke 6:44-45).
The healing of the tree of life from its leaves is for the “healing of the nations.” It is not for the curing of diseases or repairing of physical health, as there will be no disease in Heaven. But these leaves will be for preserving and continuing the health of the people of God just as the tree of life in Eden’s garden was for the preservation of the health and life of our first parents, had they continued in a state of innocence. The purpose of this tree is to show the dependence of the redeemed on God for life.
The Bible states in Revelation 7: 9, 16, “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands… They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.”
This paints a picture that perhaps as God’s people come together under the shade of these leaves of the tree of life, the leaves provide a shade for them symbolizing that they will suffer no more under the oppression of this world, but may rest in God’s peace together as His people.
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In His service,