A Tale Of Two trees: Tree Series Part 1 of 7

Genesis 2:16
“16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may FREELY EAT; 17 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.”

 

God planted countless numbers of wonderful trees in that garden of long ago, all of them pleasant to the eye and good for food.  But the Holy Spirit specifically singled out two trees: The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and The Tree of Life. Why call attention to these two? That is what we are studying!

The Knowledge Of Good And Evil.

I’m sure most of you have heard more than once the story of our first parents eating the forbidden fruit. For some reason, everyone thinks it was an apple. I’m not sure where they go that idea. It was probably a fig they ate, a topic we’ll discuss later on in this series.
Notice the Holy Spirit doesn’t say, “The TREE of good and evil.” He says, “The tree of the “KNOWLEDGE” of good and evil.”  Now, I can understand why God wouldn’t want us to know all about evil, but why would the knowledge of good be a bad thing?

History Is “His Story.”

The Bible, first and foremost, is all about One Person:  Our Lord Jesus Christ:  His beauty, His glory, His humanity, His Divinity, and His finished work.  The Holy Spirit, our Master Storyteller, throughout the entire Bible, shows us these things in stories, types, shadows, names of people, places, things, and even numbers  over and over and over.

(For more on the meaning of numbers in the Bible, follow the link below:

https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/03/20/bible-numerics/)

Four Layers.

Our Father loves to hide wisdom and wonderful truths about His Son in Bible texts. The Holy Spirit inspired God’s the Jewish secretaries of the Bible to write these things down for our learning and blessing.

There are many ways to study God’s word.  The Jewish rabbis have identified four layers that I won’t go into here.  They are discussed in great detail in the article below for anyone who would like further study:

https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/06/26/eutychus-the-story-behind-the-words/

Themes, Types, And Shadows.

Throughout the Bible, there are many themes, the main one of course being the story of Jesus; then Israel, and the Church. Underneath them all is a running undercurrent that the Holy Spirit also reiterates again and again:  GRACE IS SUPERIOR TO THE LAW.

(For the Law was given by Moses; but grace and truth CAME through Jesus Christ. )
 –
As for types and shadows, these two trees are a depiction of LAW and GRACE, grace being the Person of our Lord Jesus.
In the garden, of course, they didn’t have the Big Ten.  There was only one law: “Don’t eat from the tree:  The Tree of the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil.”  Now, you’d think that with only one law, it wouldn’t be all that hard to obey, would it?  But what did they do?  They disobeyed and ate from the forbidden tree.
Why did God even put the two trees in the garden at all?  Because He gave man free will to choose for himself.  But if he was able to eat “FREELY” of all the trees, there is nothing to choose.  Without choice, he could not exercise the free will he was given.

The Strength Of Sin Is The Law.

Why God does not want us to have the “KNOWLEDGE” of good and evil? Wouldn’t it be good for us to know the difference? Wouldn’t we be better off knowing? Then we choose good and shun evil, right?

Well, apparently not.  That is why He told them NOT to eat of that tree.  The sad fact of the matter is that, when man gets the “Knowledge” of good and evil, more often than not he chooses evil.  That’s why Paul informed us, via the Holy Spirit, that “The strength of sin is the law,” (1 Corinthians 15:56.)

If you are justified by the Law, all you need to to do to be FOREVER condemned to hell is to have one wrong THOUGHT and you’re toast!  

The devil comes to each of us and uses the law to try to either condemn us or tempt us to do wrong.  In the garden, he came to Adam and Eve and tempted them with the only law in existence at that time. He made God seem stingy for withholding the one tree from them.


Well Church, we are living in the days after the Ten Commandments. Now, our enemy has a whole lot a material with which to tempt people.  The purpose for which the Law was given was to show us how sinful we are, the futility of trying to obey it, and our desperate need for a Savior!

God Found Fault With The Law.

Tell me:  What man or woman could ever go through his or her entire life and obey the Law perfectly?  NOBODY!  One fearful thought, one little hint of worry, one deceitful or lustful thought AND IT’S OVER because in God’s economy, the thought is the deed.  NO WONDER HE WANTED TO REPLACE THIS COVENANT!!!  {See Hebrews 8}

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Think about it:  When you tell a child, “Don’t eat any cookies before dinner,” what’s is the next thing you catch them doing?  Reaching into the cookie jar.  We never seem to grow out of this tendency.  Tell people what NOT to do, what do they end up doing?  What you told them NOT to do.

Don’t get me wrong, teaching right from wrong is important.  But in our flesh dwells no good thing.  We just can’t do it on our own.  We have no power.  We need Jesus!

Knowledge Vs. Discernment.

God does not want us to have the “KNOWLEDGE” of good and evil and look to ourselves to know what is right or wrong. He wants us to depend on Jesus in every situation and ask for the “DISCERNMENT” of good and evil, which comes from Him.  He wants our focus on Him, not on us and our knowing and our doing.

Eating From The Wrong Tree.

You hear a lot today about what’s right and what’s wrong from many different voices, both inside and outside of the Church:

“This is wrong behavior (or thinking) or that is wrong behavior (or thinking.)”  “You should do this, or you shouldn’t do that…..” And the ever popular condemnatory remark or observation that “This (or that) is the acceptable standard to which you have (or have not) lived up.”


Folks who say these things are actually godly, well-meaning people:  Pastors, theologians, parents and teachers.  They are trying to produce holiness and right living in their people.  The mistake is in trying to do so by imparting to them the knowledge of good and evil. But that is not what God wants us to do.  In effect, we are telling people to eat of the wrong tree, sabotaging their own efforts, that of their people and their individual purposes, unintentionally.

God told Adam and Eve not to eat from “The tree: Definite article.” So why are we trying to tell our people to eat from the same tree?  We are still getting the same WRONG results.  Throughout the scriptures, God is continually pointing us to the other tree, THE TREE OF LIFE, which is JESUS!

 

More Typologies.

Trees in the Bible are a depiction of the cross.  For example:


1) The burning bush before which Moses was told to remove his shoes.
This “TREE,” or burning bush, is a picture of the the menorah of Moses’ tabernacle.  The menorah is a typology of the Church, meaning those have been redeemed by the cross! That’s how we know his burning bush was most likely an almond tree–>It’s a picture of the Church on fire for Jesus!  We are on fire for God but we aren’t consumed by the fire!

2) At the bitter waters of Marah, what was Moses told to do?  The Lord showed him a TREE.  When he cast the TREE into the waters, the waters were made sweet,” in Exodus 15:25.  The bitterness was taken away. In the same way, the cross of Christ takes away our bitterness and turns it into sweetness.  He turns our sorrow into joy!

3) Then we have the  bronze serpent on a wooden pole.  Over and over in the Bible, the Holy Spirit is pointing, pointing, pointing.  He wants us to keep our eyes on the cross of Christ.  Of ourselves, we can do nothing; but we can do all things “THROUGH CHRIST.”  Look to Jesus to be healed!

(For more on the Bronze Serpent, please follow the link below:

https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/02/28/the-bronze-serpent-נחשת-nachoshet-2/)

 

 

Discerning Of Spirits.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about the GIFT of “DISCERNING of spirits.” In Philippians 1, Paul says, “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge {of Jesus} and all DISCERNMENT.”
DISCERNMENT of good and evil is not the same as the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil.”  They are 180° opposite.   One comes out of dependence on God; the other out of our dependence on self. In other words, “SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

It’s plain to see that only Jesus can fully KNOW good and evil and ALWAYS choose good.  He is the only One Who can handle the law.  You and I cannot.  Yet we still, to this day, think we can!  We are still looking to our performance, not for salvation necessarily, though some think good works are how you keep your salvation. The trouble is, we are looking AT US instead of TO HIM.

True Transformation.

There is only one way to become conformed to His image: WE ARE TRANSFORMED BY BEHOLDING JESUS…..PERIOD. Full stop.  There isn’t any mention of “US” in there. It’s Jesus…..PLUS NOTHING.

“By the law is the KNOWLEDGE OF SIN,” and “the strength of sin is THE LAW,” that is what applies to us. Grace–JESUS–is THE ONLY ANTIDOTE for sin.  

So you see, it is still quite possible to eat from the wrong tree, even though the first garden was ages ago.  We still face the same choice that Adam and Eve did, except that today, when you choose the wrong tree and you are saved, Jesus has paid your debt because of THE TREE.  You don’t go to hell, hallelujah!  You end up in heaven!

Thank God we no longer have to suffer eternal consequences. 

Unfortunately though, Christians can unwittingly find themselves under the curses in Deuteronomy 28 by trying to do works of the law.  This causes them to fall from grace.  (See Galatians 5:4)

Surprising but true:  Today, we still have the choice of eating from one of those Two Trees.

Follow the link below to Part 2:

https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/meditate-%D7%94%D7%92%D7%94-hagah-tree-series-part-2/

 

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