Tale Of Two Trees: Tree Series Part 1

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.  Our first parents had the whole world all to themselves with everything they could ever want or need. For some reason, The Holy Spirit specifically singled out two different trees: The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and The Tree of Life. Why call attention to them?  Come and see!

The Knowledge Of Good And Evil.

Most of you, no doubt, have heard the story of our first parents eating the forbidden fruit.  I’m not sure where that idea came from that the fruit was an apple since it was probably a fig, a topic we’ll be discussing in detail later on in this series.
Notice the Holy Spirit doesn’t say, “The TREE of good and evil.” He calls it, “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.”

Before we discuss the “why” of that knowledge, we need to understand the following information which will help explain God’s reasoning. First and foremost, the Bible 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, shows us these things in stories, types, shadows, names of people, places, things, and even numbers, telling the matchless story of this wonderful Jesus over and over and over.

(For more on the meaning of numbers in the Bible, you may follow the link below to a short series on that topic:

Secrets In Bible Numbers Part 1.

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 also many ways to study God’s word.  The Jewish rabbis have identified four layers called, “P’shat, Remez’ D’rash, and Sod.”  These four are another topic in and of themselves that are discussed in great detail in the article below for anyone who would like further study on that topic:

Eutychus And 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.  It is also a narrative about the nation of Israel as well as the Church. Underneath all of these topics is a running undercurrent that the Holy Spirit re-hashes again and again:  GRACE IS SUPERIOR TO THE LAW. 🙌🏻💖 

The stories we have all heard still, of course, teach many lessons about living well in God’s world and with our fellow human beings that are still relevant.

(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 GRACEgrace being the Person of our Lord Jesus.  At this time, they didn’t yet have the Big Ten. That came some 2500 years later.  In the garden, 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?  Yep: They did exactly what they weren’t supposed to and ate from the forbidden tree. 🤦🏼‍♀️
Why did God put these two trees in the garden in the first place?  Because He had given man the free will to choose for himself.  If he was able to eat “FREELY” of all the trees, there would have nothing from which to choose.  No choice = No free will.

The Strength Of Sin Is The Law.

So why does God 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 would  choose good and shun evil, right?  We’d all like to think so but, apparently, that isn’t true.  That’s why He told them NOT to eat of that tree in the first place. Talk about Pandora’s Box!

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

The devil takes the law and uses it against us, trying to either condemn 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.

We are living in the days after the Ten Commandments. Our enemy now has lots of material with which to tempt people.  You see, 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!  That it does very well.

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; no mistakes in thought, word, or deed?  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}


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 humans never seem to grow out of this tendency.  Tell people what NOT to do, what do they do next?  Whatever you told them NOT to do.

Don’t get me wrong:  Teaching right from wrong is important.  But never forget that in our flesh dwells no good thing.  We just can’t do it on our own.  We have no power.  We need a Savior.  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.”

These are actually godly, well-meaning people:  Pastors, theologians, parents, and teachers who are trying to produce holiness and right living in their people.  Their big 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.  They are, in effect, telling people to eat of the wrong tree.  This sabotages their own efforts and that of their people in their efforts to live holy lives. 😓

Definite Article.

God told Adam and Eve not to eat from “The tree: THE is a 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.  Here are a few examples:

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 or destroyed 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, you may follow the link below:

The Bronze Serpent: [נחשת] Nachoshét

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 chooses good.  He is the only One Who can handle the law.  You and I cannot.  Yet to this day we still think we can!  We’re still looking to our performance, not for salvation necessarily, though some think good works are how you keep your salvation (it is NOT).  The trouble is, we are looking AT US instead of TO HIM.

Jesus Plus NOTHING.

There is only one way to truly become conformed to His image: WE ARE TRANSFORMED BY BEHOLDING JESUS…..PERIOD. Full stop.  There isn’t any mention of “US” in there. It is 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 as did Adam and Eve except that today, when you choose the wrong tree and you are saved, Jesus has paid your debt because of THE TREE OF LIFE.  You don’t go to hell, hallelujah! 😁  You end up in heaven!  Thank God we no longer have to suffer eternal consequences. 

Sadly though, Christians can unwittingly find themselves under the curses in Deuteronomy 28 by trying to DO the 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.

You may follow the link below to Part 2 if you wish to continue this series.  We’ll be studying what trees have to do with meditation!:

Meditate: [הגה] Hagah: Tree Series Part 2

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