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Yah'shua (Jesus)




    I Choose to Live
    Part 6: Choosing the Tree of Life

    Sabbath Day Sermon, Saturday 20 November 2004

    Click here for more information

    Click here for Part 5

    Long ago, at the dawn of time, there were two trees called the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life, that stood in the Garden of Eden. They represented then - and still represent today - two different ways of life, two different intellectual paradigms, two different spiritual universes.

      "Yahweh-Elohim planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground Yahweh-Elohim made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" (Gen.2:8-9, NKJV).

    Although this was earthly Paradise, one of the trees had a rather nasty inhabitant, and was deliberately allowed there by the Creator so that man would have a genuine choice between the two trees. Please note well that the serpent or Satan inhabited the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Specifically, the 'Tree of Knowledge' - the 'Tree of Gnosis' or of 'Knowing'. This Knowledge or Gnosis (from which we get the word 'Gnostic' - those who believe in salvation by knowledge) is contrasted sharply with the Tree of Life. It is the opposite of the Tree of Life and therefore may rightly be termed also the Tree of Death:

      "And Yahweh-Elohim commanded the man, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 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'" (Gen.2:16-17, NKJV).

    The fruit of the Tree of Knowledge brings death, and the fruit of the Tree of Life speaks for itself. When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the Tree of Death they died spiritually inasmuch as they became cut off from Yahweh-Elohim, and they became mortal, to die physically at the end of their life-span.

    You will notice that Adam and Eve were permitted to freely eat of the Tree of Life which was located in the very centre of the Garden. It was placed in the heart of Paradise so that it could presumably be found easily and also to indicate what the centre of their spiritual universe was supposed to be. Without it, they would have perished, since it was the source of their life. And indeed they were subsequently denied it after they chose the Tree of Death - for we read:

      "So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life" (Gen.3:23-24, NKJV).

    In other words, these Malakim or angels were placed in the path to prevent our first parents gaining access to the Tree of Life and to Immortality again.

    This does rather place an interesting twist on the meaning of the words 'mortal' and 'immortal'. Western (Catholic and Protestant) and Eastern Orthodox Christianity both teach that the soul or spirit of man is immoral, whereas other groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, Churches of God, Christadelphians, and many Messianic Jews teach that the spirit, like the physical body, is mortal. But both are wrong. If Adam and Eve were immortal before the Fall, why did they need the Tree of Life? Why should its fruit be important to them? And why does the Tree of Life exist in the New Jerusalem - in the Paradise to come - if after the resurrection we are immortal? I take it no one denies that we will be 'immortal' after the resurrection, but what exactly does that mean? And why the need for the Tree of Life again as it was in the Garden of Eden? So that we are in no doubt, let us read one of those passages of scripture that speaks of it:

      "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of Elohim and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of Elohim and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads" (Rev.22:1-4, NKJV).

    For those of you who might be tempted to read the scriptures on the Tree of Life literally, this will probably seem very strange, for this Tree of Life has some remarkable abilities. For one thing, it is simultaneously on both sides of the 'River of Water of Life' as well as being - at the same time - located in the middle of the 'Street of Gold'. A strange and amazing tree indeed that it can have three different locations at the same time! Yet it is there, and it is clearly necessary for the welfare of immortal, resurrected man. It produces 12 different crops of fruits, one each month, and its leaves have some kind of mystical herbal properties. Indeed, they are for the healing of the nations.

    It is not my purpose to examine what is a very deep subject that would take weeks to expound on, but I do want everyone to clearly understand this one thing: that the Tree of Life was not a literal tree such as you might find in a forest, park or even in your own garden, and neither was the Tree of Death. And if you have followed my sermon series two years ago called A Garden of the Mind you will recall that trees are biblical symbols of people. Only in this case, these trees represent more than mere mortal men - they are emblematical of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) - who is the Tree of Life - and Satan who is the Tree of Death. And these two beings are the diametric opposite of each other - the one the embodiment of goodness, holiness, righteousness, and everlasting life - and the other of evil, filthiness, error and eternal death.

    There were many trees in the Garden of Eden, were there not? And did not Yahweh-Elohim say that Adam and Eve could partake of all of them except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? This means, simply put, that Eden was not merely a garden in the traditionally and literally understood sense of the word, but also the abode of Divine Beings. Our first parents were given the right to seek knowledge, understanding, wisdom, holiness - indeed, all that is of Yahweh-Elohim - from the divine Malakim - but they were not allowed to consult Satan. They had the free choice to do so but so long as they stayed away from Lucifer, no harm would come to them, and they could continue partaking of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) who, we learn from Scripture, was "slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev.13:8, NKJV). And what was the "foundation of the world"? The Creation. You see, the Messiah has always been the Messiah, and even before He became a human being, He was Elohim - God. He was always the Tree of Life. And He was in the centre of man's existence. He was not an afterthought following the Fall - not a remedy with no function before Satan messed everything up - He was present and central to Yahweh's Created Order from the very beginning.

    Adam and Eve needed Yah'shua (Jesus) in the Garden of Eden just as we need Him today. But when they chose another path - Satan's path - the path which is a Knowledge (Gnosis) of Good and Evil instead of Pure Life - they were barred from the source of that Life by the two cherubim with flaming swords. They were thrown out of Eden and into a barren world after the likeness of the serpent.

    The Tree of Life - Yah'shua (Jesus) - and the Tree of Death (Satan) - are very different ways of living. Satan's seduction was knowledge - Gnosis - the ability to know as the Elohim (God) but without the benefit of the life-principle. Man is mortal - always and forever - always has been, and always will be. There are, however, two different kinds of mortality. There is that mortality which existed in Eden and which will exist in the New Jerusalem, the Paradise of Elohim, and throughout eternity, and there is the mortality which is in the world. Satan cannot give life - he only steals it. Adam and Eve had Eternal Life at their fingertips, as the resurrected shall in the post-Millennial world. We are immortal only as we partake of the Tree of Life, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). In other words, I suppose you could day that we can become conditionally mortal as Adam and Eve were, provided we are in Christ. It is Christ who is unconditionally immortal, not us, and even He is conditionally mortal in another way, because He is of the Father, Yahweh, who is the One Most High, without beginning or end. Our endlessness is only a reality if we are a part of, and in, the Endless One Himself. And that is why we must cling on to Christ forever. There is no way we can ever hope to be independent of Him and hope to live. For Yah'shua (Jesus) is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (Jn.14:6, NKJV). He is the Way - the Path - Torah, He is the Truth, and He is the Tree of Life. And He has 12 fruits, one in each month.

    For five weeks now we have been looking at 'choosing life'. We have been looking at deliverance from death. And I suppose you are wondering why I have spent so much time talking about the Trees of Life and Death today. Well, they are critically important both in deliverance as well as living the Christian life, for far too many Christians are partaking of the Tree of Death as though it was something all right. Without knowing it, they are acting like Gnostics and Satanists.

    Last week in our Deliverance Room chat some demons manifested in a woman we were helping find her freedom in Christ. They immediately started offering me esoteric knowledge in a subtle way to put us off - Tree of Death - so we turned to the Tree of Life and started proclaiming Yah'shua (Jesus) and His Victory over Death and Satan. This drove the demons away and those who were being oppressed were relieved. Those of you who were present will remember this well.

    Last week we looked at manipulation and control as weapons of the enemy to deny a soul life and I explained that in order to choose life we must not run away from the truth but stand our ground and make ourselves vulnerable in our hearts. It takes courage to sustain relationships, to stand and become a punch-bag for the anger and hate of others and not run away and hide. It takes someone in Christ to keep one's heart open all the while demonised people are lacerating it with sharp words. We must forebear the murderous things we know are in those we love (Col.3:13). Yes, mortality is a hard place to live, even for those who are deeply in Christ, and sometimes - unfortunately - we run away and hide.

    I wonder if any of you have used silence as a weapon of manipulation and control? Just frozen up and pursed your lips, not saying a word when someone is talking to you, in order to 'punish' them? I know what it is like to be on the receiving end of that - I had a wife who remained coldly silent when I was pleading to her to share what was on her mind and in her heart. The cold shoulder treatment is painful indeed. True, there are times to be silent, as Yah'shua (Jesus) was before Pilate, when people are trying to make us slip or say things to incriminate us - then it is right to be silent. But to use silence as a weapon against someone, this is not of Yahweh. Done too often, being silent and uncommunicative can become a bad habit and unconscious. And sometimes people are silent because of naked fear, like the bird paralysed before the snake. Emotions can be boxed in, imprisoned, for fear of ridicule, contempt, or whatever. And this fear can cause a person to run. And where do such people hide? In all sorts of things: in office duties, social obligations, church functions, visits to friends, duties to parents - anything to get away from a person who controls and manipulates. That is why so many husbands stay away from home or stay as little in it as they can.

    We must keep ourselves open to life - to the Tree of Life - and allow ourselves to be vulnerable. People who have been hurt fear closeness - for it means the possibility of being hurt again, so they have boundaries around themselves which says to people: "Come no closer!" And if people persist in coming closer, it triggers a flee response.

    Had it ever occurred to you that Adam and Eve partook of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil out of fear? - the fear of growing up and missing out on something important - some knowledge, some understanding, some way of controlling life which Yahweh was holding back from them? Didn't Satan lie to them and imply that Yahweh was afraid that they would become like Him and no longer have an unrighteous 'advantage' over them? Yes, Satan played on their fears - the fear to 'miss out', the fear that maybe Yahweh was, after all, not acting in their best interests, but was keeping them tied down to a life of boredom and mediocrity, whereas Satan was offering them something much better - something exiting and thrilling? Isn't that how demons deceive us into falling into sin? Saying that we don't know what we're missing, that God is a killjoy? Oh yes, and they use others to say these things to us. 'Come on,' they say, 'have a drink!' 'Come on, let's go to bed and I'll show you something really great that you'll never forget.' 'Come on, steal it, they'll never know.' So we succumb to fear - the fear of missing out, the fear of being denied something which we believe is 'rightfully' ours - the opportunity to do whatever we want without rules or fences, forgetting that Yahweh's rules and fences are for our protection, not because He is a killjoy. And, yes, there are lots of fences because Satan has lots of diabolical weapons and temptations.

    Perhaps, then, the thing that led Adam and Eve to 'take the plunge' and eat of the forbidden fruit was the fear of standing open or 'naked' to life, the fear of trusting Yahweh blindly, the fear of becoming daily something new, the fear of change - the fear of a way of life without carnal handles or crutches, leaving as our only option complete and utter trust. Isn't that a fear that Satan plays on all the time? The fear of having nothing solid under our feet, no safety-net that we can see with our eyes? Oh yes, that is precisely what he does - all the time! He wants you to believe that child-like innocence and trust - the stuff of the Kingdom of Heaven - is something inferior and immature! Satan wants you to 'grow out' of such pure things and become a 'man of the world', someone who has experienced sin and has gained knowledge from it. I knew a women who, when she turned away from Christ and stopped trusting Him, who deliberately went about 'testing' all the commandments, especially those which said, "Thou shalt not ..." She wanted, as she claimed, to 'find out for herself' - she wanted to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of the Good and Evil and become like God Himself. Only, dear friends, it doesn't happen. Satan lied. What, instead, did they discover? "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked" (Gen.3:7, NKJV). They were uncovered, unprotected.

    And that's one of the reasons so few come to this Church - they are afraid. They fear the truth. They have been educated by the secular world to apply the scientific method - to test, test, and keep on testing. To be sure, there is a righteous way of testing, but you can never find Yahweh that way. To know Yahweh, you simply have to open your heart and trust Him - not to a guru, or a pastor, or a teacher - but to God Himself.

    Yes, Satan's way seems "desirable to make one wise" but it doesn't work - it just brings corruption and emptiness. Was Solomon wise at his death bed? He scorned the Most High, he who had so much wisdom in the beginning, and was seduced by the dark side. He stupidly though the gods of the other nations could teach him something that Yahweh had denied him. Foolish man. For through Life - the Messiah - comes all knowledge, understanding and wisdom sufficient to make a man or woman whole and complete. There are some things best not known. Why should we want to know everything? What advantage is there to such knowledge? There are things I have learned I wish I never had. And I am sure every man and woman could say the same thing.

    Satan appeals to that in man which fears vulnerability. His servants are cold and hard - demons turn off emotions and make a man turn to brain-power alone. But life does not come out of the brain. Whence does Yah'shua (Jesus) say it comes?

      "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38, NKJV).

    The brain is merely a processor of data - life does not flow out of it. Life flows out of our heart - our bowels. That is where our compassion and love are located, not in the little grey cells. You see, people often hide behind cleverness. They compensate for a lack in heart by appealing to others through their brain-power. Brilliant people are captivating. To be intelligent is surely a good thing but intelligence in a cold heart can lead to much evil. What is more important is a warm heart. Didn't Adam try and use his little grey cells to conceal his sin? "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate" (Gen.3:12, NKJV). Adam was being intellectually devious - you gave me the woman, and she made me eat - i.e. God was to blame! Adam spoke as the devil there, a real Satanist-in-the-making - run away, don't take responsibility, shift the blame. It is flight and burial again - running away from the truth, burying your heart. And it's not just weak people who do this, everyone does it! It is a fruit of the carnal man - the same fruit Satan offered our first parents. Running away is the sinful inclination of all of us, if we yield to it.

    What must we do? We must choose, again and again, day after day - every day our lives - to be open to life - to the Tree of Life, to Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). We must choose Yahweh, choose risk, choose to be vulnerable, and to pay the daily price of mortality. It may not be easy, but it is the only way to a full and complete deliverance. Amen.

    This page was created on 7 January 2005
    Last updated on 7 January 2005

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