Summary: Our blessed hope; the restoration of access to the tree of life!
Today, as we continue our examination of the Second Coming of Christ, we will look at a Scriptural motif which has long arrested my attention in study and my heart in worship of the Triune God of all glory and grace. We will consider the
Tree of healing found in the book of Revelation chapter 22. It is my aim here this morning, to make clear the case that it is the very same tree which is found in Genesis 2:8-10; the Tree of Life. The primary purpose of Christ’s return is not destruction, but restoration. The primary cause of His come is not to destroy the earth or its life, but to usher in the eternal reign of Christ and His Kingdom.
The flood of Noah’s day purged the world of human sin, but that purgation did not last, because Satan and his influence on this world were allowed by God to continue, though not unabated by the Holy Spirit. When Christ shall return to establish His Kingdom, however, Satan’s influence shall cease and unlike in Noah’s day where sin eventually, and not long after, returned, upon the return of Christ all death and sorrow, all suffering and mourning, shall be washed away.
It shall be washed away in the flood judgment of God where His judgment shall rest not primarily upon mortal man but upon that great ailment of mankind, sin, pain, sorrow, suffering and death. Our great hope hangs upon the branches of a great tree. The fullness of our joy resides in the healing power of that same tree and the greatest gift of God is the restoration of our access to it; the Tree of Life.
In the garden we lost access to the tree of life because of sin; grace is the cure.
Consider, for a moment, the eucalyptus tree. It seems especially adapted to antidote the gaseous effects of a polluted atmosphere. It is the loftiest timber tree of Australia; it grows especially in malarious districts, sometimes to a height of five hundred feet. It absorbs moisture to a very remarkable extent, and grows with extraordinary rapidity, covering vast barren districts with a huge forest in a few years. And you may enclose seed enough in an envelope to plant an acre. How like the blessed Gospel, making the tree of life to grow in the worst moral marshes, rapidly, beautifully, gloriously covering the deserts with the foliage and fragrance of heaven! And you may distribute the seed so easily and cheaply.
In the Garden humanity had received the beauty of the gift of perfect connection with God. The Bibles tells us that Adam and Eve walked with God, spoke with Him, and fellowship with the creator of the universe; perfectly, in wholeness.
Sin was the decision of man to turn its back on God’ law and thus, His perfect provision as well. The tree of life, the tree of eternal connection and eternal life was removed from humanity. Adam’ choice to taste of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was more than simply the choice to taste of the fruit of a particular tree, but it was his choice, on behalf of all humanity to choose self-will over God’s will, to choose his own way rather than God’s perfect way.
In the Garden, after the great fall of man into sin and self-will, one of a couple of themes we will focus on today, the tree of life was removed from our access. In the new heaven and new earth, the age which is yet to come when our Lord shall return to this earth to destroy sin, pain, and death, the tree of life shall be given to us; access restored according to the divine sovereign-will of God.
Our two major themes this morning will the self-will of man and what it has wrought and how it continues to plague humanity corporately and every person individually and sovereign-will of God who, according to His divine purpose has chosen to redeem His elect, those called according to His purpose, those who hear the call of God and sense the movement of the Holy Spirit in their hearts and respond rightly, according to the gift of faith.
Mankind has long suffered from the consequences of self-will, the wretched self-seeking self-exalting self-serving will of man. Upon the examination of the first of today’s passages of Scripture we find a clear and precise definition with regard to the current state of affairs on planet earth, humanity, and within my very heart.
The Genesis account of the creation of the universe and the fall of humanity into sin provides the most legitimate, harmonized, trustworthy, clear, and honest account and explanation of man’s design, purpose, problem, and future available on this planet. When taken at face value, the description of man’s creation, fall into sin, and God’s offer of redemption has the “ring of truth.” In philosophical terms, it corresponds well with reality. It makes sense. It jives with experience.