Summary: This section of scripture assigned to me tonight describes what could be called the “new Eden.” What the first Garden of Eden was supposed to be is fulfilled here. What Adam and Eve would have had if they had not fallen is what is, here, given to God’s pe
MAGIC CITY LECTURESHIP
Evangelist Herman E. Wesley III
A Tree for the Healing of the Nations
In the wonderful, redemptive and powerful name of Jesus, I am glad to be here in Birmingham, Alabama tonight, and I am glad to have been invited, after all these years, to participate in the rebirth of the MAGIC CITY LECTURESHIP, laboring this year under the theme associated with II Chronicles 7:14:
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
To brothers Moss, Clark, Bush, and the other preachers, church leaders and members of the Birmingham churches, I want to thank you for this invitation. The subject assigned to me tonight is lifted from Revelation chapter 22, verses 1-2, and it reads this way in the King James Version...
Revelation 22:1-2 (King James Version)
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
My subject assigned is: A TREE FOR THE HEALING OF THE NATIONS.
This section of scripture assigned to me tonight describes what could be called the “new Eden.” What the first Garden of Eden was supposed to be is fulfilled here. What Adam and Eve would have had if they had not fallen is what is, here, given to God’s people. Adam and Eve lost Paradise; here, God has remade it.
The context of this particular passage would have us to know that an angel was giving a guided tour of the new Jerusalem to John the Revelator, and this angel in this guided tour showed John a pure river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, coursing down the center of the main street. The water of life is a symbol of eternal life. You might remember that Jesus used this same image with the Samaritan woman in (John 4:7-14). It pictures fullness of life with God and the eternal blessings that come when people believe in him and allow him to satisfy their spiritual thirst. The Garden of Eden, described back in Genesis, also had a river running through it that watered it (Gen. 2:10). In both the Old and New Testaments, water pictures salvation and the refreshment of the Holy Spirit. As a matter of fact, Ezekiel’s vision also had a river with trees growing along it (Ezekiel 47:1-12). God in Christ, who is the water of life (John 7:37-38), is the source of this constant stream of blessing and refreshment for his people. This river flows down the middle of the main street of the city and is freely accessible to everyone.
Now, brethren, I know that tonight my lesson is not going to be hermeneutically perfect, but it will be doctrinally sound. I don’t have your usual, customary three points...just two...somebody ought to say Amen! That doesn’t mean the sermon will be short...it just means that my points are gonna be long! I really need to talk about two trees tonight...this tree, and another tree...cause if we don’t get the right understanding and relationship with the other tree, we won’t ever have to worry about being in the presence of this tree. Ya’ll got 21 more minutes for me?
I. THIS TREE, GOOD FOR THE HEALING OF THE NATIONS.
But then, there’s this tree. This tree of life in our text tonight can be compared to the tree of life in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9; see also Ezekiel 47:12.) You may remember that there were two significant and notable trees there: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is interesting that the wrong tree captured their attention. They had access to eternal life, but they wanted carnal knowledge...but isn’t that how life is? After Adam and Eve sinned, they were forbidden to eat from the tree of life. But because of the forgiveness of sin through the blood of Jesus, there will be no evil or sin in the new Jerusalem. Believers will be able to eat freely from the tree of life when sin’s control is finally destroyed and our eternity with God is secure. This tree (one tree or many trees) grows on each side of the river and bears twelve crops of fruit, with a new crop every month. Adam and Eve had been cut off from the tree of life because of their sin (Genesis 3:22-24); now the tree has fruit available for everyone—fresh fruit, not just once a year with a dry time in between, but new fruit every month.