What is the tree of life according to the Bible?

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The Bible tells us that at the creation of the world, God planted a garden eastward in Eden. And He made many trees that were pleasant to the sight and good for food (Genesis 2:8,9). One of the trees was called the tree of “life,” which literally means, “the life,” hachayyim. This tree was “in the midst of the garden” (v. 9).

God gave this tree a supernatural quality. Its fruit was a cure for death and its leaves were for the preserving of life and immortality. Although, 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). In eating of the tree of life, Adam and Eve were to have the chance of showing their trust in God as the sustainer of life.

Tree of knowledge of good and evil

However, there was another tree that was significant to the tree of life. This was “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” The name of this tree signifies that the tree could not provide any and every kind of knowledge, but only a certain sad knowledge of “evil” in contrast with “good.”

“And the LORD God commanded man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16,17). This command was the test of Adam and Eve’s faithfulness to God.

So, when Adam disobeyed God and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:1-19), he lost his blessed state and was sentenced to eternal death for the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

Separation from the Tree of Life

Then God 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”— therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 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 3:22-24).

After sin, it became necessary to stop man from eating of the fruit of the tree of life so that he will not become an immortal sinner. Thus, the fruit that gave immortality could now cause him only agony. For immortality in a state of sin and endless misery, was not the life that God intended for man.

Forbidding mankind access to this life-giving tree was a deed of divine mercy which Adam may not have fully comprehended then. But in the new earth, he will understand and be grateful for God’s kindness. And there, he will eat forever from the long-lost tree of life which will bear twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month and its leaves will be for the healing of the nations (Rev. 22:2).

Reuniting with the Tree of Life in heaven

John in the last chapter of the book of Revelation wrote, “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” (v. 14). It will be the redeemed privilege to eat of the tree of life and to enjoy everlasting life with Jesus Christ (v. 2).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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