I have been so blessed to read about the river of the water of life and the tree of life in the beginning of the Bible and then at the end of the Bible. In the book of Genesis, a life-giving tree was created for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. ‘And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ (Genesis 2:9).
But, after the fall, Adam and Eve were sent away from the Garden of Eden and not allowed to go near the tree of life (Genesis 3:22-24). If they had eaten from the tree of life after their sin, they would have been forced to live forever in their fallen state. But in Father God’s mercy and love, human beings became mortal so that they could be redeemed through Jesus’ death on the cross and then enter eternity without their sinful nature.
Ezekiel had a vision of a future glorious temple in which there was once again a river of the water of life and trees providing food and healing. ‘And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing’ (Ezekiel 47:12).
Each of us now have the knowledge of good and evil, and free will to choose God’s way of salvation through Jesus Christ. We can choose life, not death, blessing, not curse. In the book of Revelation, we find the holy city of the New Jerusalem, where the curse of Genesis Chapter 3 is reversed. On either side of the river of the water of life is the tree of life. Its fruit and leaves bring life, health, and blessing, undoing the consequences of the fall.
Yet, in this present age, I believe there is not only the tree of life for us, representing eternal life in the future, but a tree of life, together with fresh streams of living water from the Holy Spirit (as promised by Jesus in John 4:10-14 and John 7:38-39). The Book of Proverbs describes godly wisdom as ‘a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed’. (Proverbs 3:13-18), and ‘The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise’ (Proverbs 11:30).
The prophet Jeremiah has these encouraging words: ‘Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit’ (Jeremiah 17:7-8).
So, it’s reassuring to know that I can grasp hold of blessings in this earthy life by trusting in the Lord, by being spiritually wise, by understanding the truth in His word, and by doing my best to obey His instructions. I really do want to be like a tree of life planted by the stream of the water of life.
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