What we as Christians have entirely missed concerning TREES in Scripture… and why we may never look at a TREE the same again.
Man’s Literal View
A TREE. Seems simple enough, right? We see them everyday as they blend in continuously with the landscape and become an all-too-familiar part of our daily routine. Yet man’s mental interpretation of a TREE is only limited by one’s imagination. And what one person sees, may not be equal to another’s.
To some, a TREE might appear only as an obstruction to be cut down and removed. To others, it may serve as a place of rest from the scorching sun on a hot summer day. Still to another, a TREE may set a visual picture of a monumental oak towering solitaire against a cloudless skyline. Drawn in by its beauty and splendor, its existence might weave a narrative of Creation, an event clutching the attention of anyone who beholds. Visualizing one TREE being created after another, a Garden called Eden quickly comes forth in a masterful design which could only be fashioned by God Himself, the Creator of all things. Suddenly, our vision is encapsulated by a lush orchard filled with foliage and fruits of all varieties as the fragrance of blossoms and flowering TREES fills our senses.
By itself, this tranquil backdrop automatically paints an image of a spiritual place unlike any other. We can almost touch the richness of beauty that dwelt within God’s Creation in the Beginning. And although this picturesque stage places our thoughts and perceptions inline with the heavenly, its dwelling place holds tight to the physical, especially knowing that Satan lurks hidden within one of those TREES holding that forbidden fruit. So within this tangible dwelling, is this physical garden a literal picture of what God wants us to see, or does He have some deeper intent within this message?
The Spiritual View
To better explain, a TREE’S description, no matter whether portrayed by a believer or non-believer, always tends to equate to the same value. Similar to what we might find in the confines of our own backyard, a Christian and a skeptic might both envision a physical TREE popping up out of the earth with its branches sending forth shoots and birds nestled in its foliage. And sure, if we’re the least bit spiritually inclined, we may even throw in a message on how TREES bring forth both good and bad fruit. And who knows? Even the non-believer may be able to connect, having eaten both varieties.
Still, that deep spiritual message is most times lost. We see a literal TREE, composed of leaves and bark, with little implication relating toward us or regarding the spiritual. Even with the Creation account, we see a 6,000 year old story where we can pass the downfall of mankind and the forth coming onslaught of sin onto Adam and Eve, never realizing that we, too, may be tempted by Satan who is wrapped around a similar TREE holding out that same enticing fruit.
Needless to say… through all of this, TREES are somehow lost in the mix. They pretend some variable which can either be left in, or taken out, nearly existing as an unimportant element, while having no worth or purpose within a story. But just as with any other word God has included in Scripture, that TREE has a much deeper message than what we may at first realize. Along with the fruit that they bare, TREES weave a strong foundational core of faith and represent a spiritual life-giving force (Prov. 15:4, Rev. 2:7).
Yet even when we’re armed with this awareness, it’s easy to trip over stumbling blocks if we fail to pay attention to what’s being said. For example, a blind man may see “men walking as TREES” as divulged in Mark 8:24, but a question better asked, do we? Or do we just pass over this verse and pretend it doesn’t exist?
Fully aware that God does not waste our time or place senseless content within His Word, should we consider this piece of information worthless? Should we dismiss God’s Word, stating that men couldn’t possibly be represented as TREES? And in going further, could we eliminate the fact that TREES spoken of elsewhere, such as in Revelation 8:7, or 9:4, could have anything to do with men? Or do we deem ourselves more intelligent than God, asserting that the comments of some blind man babbling aimlessly should never have been allowed in God’s Holy Book?
Gearing and placing these concepts in line with the Old Testament claims even more difficult. Instantly, our brain freezes up and becomes paralyzed in our old ways of thinking. A TREE, once again, registers as only a TREE, and no longer do we follow the same trend of thought or gauge the message in the same manner taught within the New Testament. Possibly even worse, we altogether forget or dismiss what Paul states in Rom. 16:25, that Jesus’ purpose was to reveal mysteries since the Beginning. And in the same sense, we might fail to realize that TREES may be part of that mystery. Going back to the Beginning, we may also loose sight of a simple message concerning Adam and Eve, and that the reason why they were expelled from the Garden was due to their sin in choosing the fruit of both “good and evil”, a characteristic known as serving two masters (Mat. 6:24).
The Tree of Knowledge
On this point of Creation, there’s additional information of importance regarding TREES that may have originally escaped our attention. It seems a TREE comprises either a blessing or a curse. A blessing in providing life… or a curse who’s destiny results in death (Gen. 2:9, Gen. 2:17, Gen. 3:17, Gen. 3:22). And though at first this seems to be a tangent when tied to knowing TREES are men, the core of this lesson works in harmony to establish that TREES (men) can give forth knowledge in the form of teaching which can be either good or bad.
Along these same lines, Scripture flawlessly demonstrates this wide spectrum of good and evil concerning TREES numerous times. For instance, while Proverbs 3:13-18 endorses a TREE of LIFE as something desired, Jeremiah turns the tables in Jer. 10:8, speaking of foolish people whose TREE is a teacher of vanities. And despite the fact that Jeremiah’s reference includes a word which is most times translated as “wood” or “stock”, it is the exact same word as TREE.
• Jer 10:8 At the same time, they are foolish and unthinking. Their stock (TREE) is a teacher of vanities.
Nebuchadnezzar’s Tree of Pride
Another account of a bad TREE details a story told in Daniel 4:4-37. At first, it’s hard to wrap our mind around what this great and mighty TREE is all about. But if we’re willing to investigate and follow along to the end, we soon understand that Nebuchadnezzar’s TREE relates to his pride (Dan. 4:22) and a lack of humbleness before God (Dan. 4:37).
But this story does not speak solely of Nebuchadnezzar’s vanity and arrogance due to a lack of knowledge concerning God. Nor does it imply that Nebuchadnezzar was an unbeliever, disassociating himself entirely from God. Instead, it revolves around him hearing God’s Word and pretending to work toward an ethical lifestyle, but ultimately failing at commitment.
Nebuchadnezzar’s continual interest in asking Daniel for Gods’ Truths (Dan. 4:18) shows evidence of his faith-based roots. Yet his failure to heed Daniel’s warning or to give compassion to the needy (Dan. 4:27) show his lack of concern. Instead, he reverts to his old ways and continues to sit upon his throne as that great TREE blossoms in the wrong direction.
Overcome with pride due to his own self-accomplishments (Dan. 4:28-30), Nebuchadnezzar is quickly removed (Dan. 4:31) and that TREE which he insubordinately established is cut down (Dan. 4:14, Dan. 4:23). Only after recognizing his wrongdoings and finding humbleness would Nebuchadnezzar finally praise God (Dan. 4:37) instead of praising himself.
The Tree of Life
As seen, TREES come in all shapes and varieties. Whether it be Satan enticing us in the Garden, Nebuchadnezzar boasting, or a warning given by Jesus relating to a withered Fig (Mat. 21:19), each relates to a person and an action. Every single one encompasses a distinct individual—possessing a God-given choice of freewill—and a purpose in expressing that will.
And as there are many TREES to eat from (Judges 9:8-15), God has allowed them all to exist. Each one can be chosen and sought after as the governing dictator of faith and that ultimate king of anointing knowledge… that is, if we so choose. But as seen, not all TREES are equal, nor is their fruit. Only One results in LIFE… and that TREE of LIFE is Jesus. Only He is guaranteed to be that One and Only TREE to hold the True Testimony of God. And for those seeking God’s eternal shores, no other teaching or TREE of man could ever suffice (1Thes. 2:13).
Following the roots of that TREE of LIFE from the Garden (Gen. 3:24) all the way to its finality in Rev. 22:14, we finally come full circle in knowing that only by heeding God’s Commands, can we eat of the good fruit. That spiritual TREE of LIFE is our pathway to the other side of the cherubim’s sword of judgment and our only means back into the dwelling which God has established.
Gen 3:24 And he cast out Adam, and settled him before the paradise of the delicacy, and ordered the cherubim, and the flaming [broadsword turning], to guard the way of the Tree of Life.
Rev 22:14 Blessed are the ones observing His Commandments, that their authority will be unto the Tree of Life, and by the gatehouses they should enter into the city.
The TREE of LIFE given by Jesus serves as a demonstration of His deep love for God and for us, as mankind, in teaching and doing God’s will. It also serves as a reminder of the horrendous evils of the world—to crucify God’s Son upon the same TREE (Acts 5:30, Gal. 3:13) of LIFE of which He had given His life. Yet as disciples, this task is also ours. For upon that anointed OLIVE TREE of GOD we are engrafted in for the same purpose (Rom. 11:17-24). And by administering those leaves of healing (Rev. 22:2), we give God’s testimony unto others.
Visualizing the entire picture of how each of us nurture deeply rooted viewpoints and beliefs, there can be nary a doubt, we are all TREES. And unless we, as God’s children, have carelessly become a TREE which is withered and barren, each of us is capable of producing fruit. The question we might want to ask ourselves though is this. What type of fruit do we produce, and how much of our TREE are we willing to give in telling others of the TREE of LIFE?
May God's Peace reach all...
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