Was the tree of life a symbolic tree or an actual one? 

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Was the tree of life an actual tree?

The tree of life was an actual tree that the Lord placed originally in the garden of Eden. The Bible tells us, “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:8-9). 

God gave the tree of life a supernatural quality. Its fruit was a for death and its leaves were for the preserving of life. Although, the other trees of the garden were “good for food” and could sustain life, the tree of life was different than the others by its extraordinary powers that enable people to “live for ever” (Genesis 3:22).

After the fall

Adam and Eve fell into sin when they ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:6). Consequently, The Lord said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” (Genesis 3:22). The statement that the eating of the fruit of this tree would enable man to “live for ever” shows that the tree of life was not symbolic. It was an actual tree but entirely different from the other good trees in the garden of Eden.  

The Lord wanted to prevent humans from continuing to eat of the fruit of the tree of life lest they become immortal sinners. “So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24). Thus, the fruit that gave immortality could now do humans only harm. Immortality in a state of darkness, would only bring eternal misery. And this was not God’s plan for men. Clearly, denying humans access to this life-giving tree was an act of mercy. 

The tree of life in God’s eternal kingdom  

The tree of life will again be seen in God’s new kingdom at the end of time. And those, that remain faithful to God, will be able to eat of its fruit. John the Revelator tells us, “In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:2, 14). There will be a constant abundance, sufficient to satisfy all the life needs of the redeemed throughout eternity (Ezekiel 47:12).

Today, no one can comprehend the great wonder, glory and happiness of God’s kingdom of glory – the eternal home of the saved. All such knowledge is far beyond anything that people may know apart from the gospel of Christ. The Bible declares, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Therefore, may we remain faithful to God and walk in His steps that we may be counted worthy to eat of the fruit of the tree of life.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team 

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