The Expository Files


“I Will Grant to Eat of the Tree of Life”
“….which is in the Paradise of God.”

Revelation 2:7

(First of Seven in Series)

Ever since the beginning, there have been successes and failures when it comes to how men and women have approached their relationship with God. Not all of the failures failed due to idolatry or atheism. Adam and Eve disobeyed the commandment of God; Esau sold his birth right; King Saul decided it was better to sacrifice unto God than to actually obey Him; and Judas sold out the Redeemer. Those who failed did so for a reason. Those that succeeded did so for a reason. Success or failure do not happen in a vacuum. Neither “just happens.”

The problems are often caused by a lack of dedication or love. This leads some to try to simply do as little as possible. Others simply put off needful changes or obligations. Sometimes it is a matter of ego. Some have failed because they have allowed themselves to be deceived by others into believing something false. Some have simply not taken the time to prepare for a successful life of true faith.

But, enough about failure. Let's look at success. Lets' talk about overcoming the world. Let's consider what we, in Christ, receive if we overcome. We have good reason to have confidence in His teachings about this. He has overcome the world and in this we have confidence and peace (John 16:33).

Looking at His words about it, He said, “To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.' (Revelation 2:7).

The Tree of Life: Forfeited for Sin
I do not know if there was a literal tree with green leaves of chlorophyll that produced oxygen and took in carbon dioxide and water and nutrients from the soil through its root system. It certainly was a unique tree, different than all other trees. The Bible calls it a tree, and so it was, of whatever sort. It was last seen by human eyes in the garden of Eden and its fruit was immortality. It shared a place in the middle of the garden with the tree of knowledge, also a unique tree (Genesis 2:9; 3:22-24).

The consequences of disobedience had already been stated by God, and one of those consequences was death (Genesis 2:16-17). Obviously, then, the fruit, or benefit of the tree of life would no longer be accessible if man sinned, and man did sin. I believe that probably all who read this already know this part.

On the day of disobedience, man, male and female, died spiritually because of their disobedience, and became mortal due to the consequence of being separated from the tree of life (Genesis 3:1-6; 19). Death, though, was and is a blessing in disguise, as we shall see, though it may be difficult to accept death being a blessing in any sense.

This is because that apart from mortality, there could be no redemption. Perhaps this is why the angels that fell have no redemption or hope. They are lost forever. But because of human mortality, you and I have hope. How so?

God's Son would become a man, so He could die, so we could live. As death enters the picture, God assures the woman Eve that her descendant (Jesus) would be bruised by the serpent (Satan) but Satan would be crushed by Him (Genesis 3:15). Man suffers physical death due to the fall, a curse, but through the curse comes a blessing. The Perfect One will become flesh and die for our sins, so that we might live.

14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,
15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.
16 For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham.
(Hebrews 2:14-16; see vss 12-17)

Now, we are told in our text that to those who overcome, access to the tree of life will be regained. It is ironic that the blessings of Christ, including access to the tree of life, is made possible by a cursed tree-the cross upon which Jesus shed His blood for us (Galatians 3:13,14; Acts 5:29-32).

Now the Tree of Life is in Heaven

In our text, heaven is referred to as “The Paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7). Revelation pictures heaven both as a beautiful city as well as a wonderful garden (Revelation 22:1-5). Death loses its sting for those who overcome (1 Corinthians 15:20-26; 54-58). This is because we have access to the tree through Jesus and the power of the resurrection. We should also recall that being raised with him spiritually is necessary to be raised to eternal life. This occurs when we are baptized into Him (Romans 6:3-5; 8-9).

The Tree of Life For Those Who Overcome
There quite simply is no way to overcome other than by faith in Jesus. The Scriptures state “and this is the victory that has overcome the world -- our faith.” (1 John 5:4). We must overcome the evil one (1 John 2:13-17). Practically speaking, this involves putting away sin and living our lives for the Father's glory. It would include: Having a profound reverence for God's word as He has given it (Revelation 22:18,19).

As the Book of Revelation draws to a close, the tree of life is mentioned again. Further described, we are shown that it offers perpetual sustenance and healing as symbolized by 12 kinds of fruit, the tree yielding its fruit every month. All things pertaining to the gift of eternal life are provided on a perpetual basis and the healing refers to release from all the wounds from our sorrows, pain, sin and losses as they cease their hurting forevermore (Revelation 22:2).

Overcoming by faith means being steadfast, diligent and dedicated. When the love of the world, or the things in the world, is too strong, it will diminish from our putting the necessary attention toward living for Christ each day. It may well cause us to fail, just as it did Adam and Eve in the garden. It is to those who overcome that Jesus promises access to the tree of life.

By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 18.1; January 2011