Remarkably, John the Revelator describes Jesus as a living tree providing life for all in the midst of the new earth. In some ways, we can experience a similar offer in the book of Genesis at the Garden of Eden. The tree of life is the icon, the symbol of eternity, wholesomeness, and the emblem of reward as a result of obedience to the father.
The source of food here is not a literal symbol, yet that which is born of manna, the same as Christ demonstrated he was the bread of life.
Jesus stated: I eat meat which you know nothing about but out of every word of God which proceeds from the mouth of God.
We can also see the tree in this situation as a tree of genealogy. Numerous scriptures in the Bible describes God speaking to trees and as trees speaking to other trees. Even our own modern day version in reference to trees is such whereas we speak of this is our genealogy.
Whereas Adam and Eve rejected God’s word in the garden, henceforth we were all banned and in a way made mortal by virtue of death. Men being man rejected God’s law in the presence of God’s life: the tree.
It really is no different today for we continue to reject God’s law even as we reject his son Jesus. The penalty for rejection is the same today as it was then. Rejection equals death. Acceptance equals the tree of life.
Hence, the nature of man has remained the same since Adam and a consequence of sin also remains. The consequence was death then and death now.
The tree of life then equaled eternity. And Jesus today also equates the tree of life.
Whereas Jesus is our tree of life and in spite of Him we continue to sin.
With these identities we cannot expect anything different than what we see by our own experiences. And this is true either inside the church or outside the church.
And where they should not be it was the same inside the garden of Eden. And it was the same for we were in the same then as we are now. Where Adam was offered the tree of life, we are offered another tree Jesus. In both cases God expects obedience. As far as we know, Adam had but one law to obey and he failed.
The expectation with Jesus is that we no longer fail, that in spite of our flaws we can overcome our imperfections by virtue of his spirit.
So then the question remains… Are we fighting inside the Gates of Eden orare we outside and without… With a flaming sword pushing us away?
Truly this could be determined by how we treat the least of these as expressed in Matthew 25 through 26. For it comes down to a question of who we know and in turn by how we are known.
Jesus exemplified this term by a fig tree. When that figtree failed to produce, it was cursed withered and died.
Where do we stand in our obedience? Where are we in terms of our distance to the tree of life? Are we inside the garden of Eden or simply another voiceless champion silent alongside the road for those who beg for the mercy of God. In the end, I would hope at least that all Christians are gathered together around the tree of life would a report of good news… All holding hands and in one voice, shouting the proclamation of Jesus Christ through the evidence of the works of his church. And there we come to know Jesus as we should inside that garden as we experience each other face-to-face knowing each other through obedience.