Message 18 - By Jerry D. Green

Which Tree are You Of?


This message is about two trees that grew in a garden called Eden. For fallen man that wonderful garden ceased to exist (as such) about six thousand years ago but the two trees of the garden are with us to this very day. The names of the two trees are “…the tree of LIFE…” and, “…the tree of KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL…, and, their effect upon mankind is the same today as it was (and could have been) in the garden of Eden. If Adam and Eve had only partook of “…the tree of LIFE…, instead of “…the tree of KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL, they would have LIVED forever in the abundant life of God (Genesis 3:22; John 10:10), instead of in sin, and suffered the consequences thereof, which is eternal death. I’m sure most readers are familiar with the story in Genesis 3:1-7, how “…that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan…” (Revelation 20:2) deceived Eve into partaking of the fruit of “the tree of knowledge of good and evil,” and how she gave the fruit to her husband Adam, and he partook also. And just as God had said, “…in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die; they both died that day, although it was first (and immediately) a spiritual death (Genesis 2:17). Not only did THEY die that day, but “…by (that) one man (Adam,) SIN entered into the world, and death by SIN; (also, because of Adam’s transgression) …death passed upon all men, for…all have SINNED (being born of SIN; the same fallen sin nature as Adam; Romans 5:12). Life or death to them, depended entirely upon which tree they ate of, and does until this day. If we continuously eat of “…the tree of LIFE…,” we will “…LIVE forever” in abundant life, but if we eat of “…the tree of knowledge of good and evil,” we shall “…surely DIE.”

What are these two trees? “…The tree of KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL” is a tree of the “…law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2; any and all religious law [or laws] of men, are of sin and death). These laws can be oral, written, or implied; but it is also the law of an old sinful nature, which is within the heart of every man, woman, boy, or girl that has ever been born of the seed of Adam (which produces an “…old man…” of sin) (Romans 7:22-23). And because the very nature of man is corrupt, everything man produces is corrupt. “…We are all as an unclean thing, and all (of) OUR (the old man’s) righteousnessES (plural; all of our “good,” including our “good” works, which emanate from the old man; the old tree; not our righteousness, for we have none) are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities (sins), like the wind, have taken us away” (Isaiah 64:6). Here is something very hard for most people to understand. All of the Adamic man’s righteousnesses and/or goodnesses “…are as filthy rags….” The tree of death is a tree of the knowledge of both good and evil, but even the good of this tree is death. Life issues only from the tree of life (Jesus Christ; Galatians 2:19-21). Most religious people spend all of their time and energy continually plucking the evil fruit, from what they believe to be, their good tree. They are forever pruning, grooming and dressing their tree. Some get their tree looking pretty good, but it is still a tree of death. “O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away” (Hosea 6:4). This is the goodness of all who are of the old Adamic tree; the old sin nature.

What is the answer for this old sin tree? God spoke through Isaiah of the new creation which was to come, saying, “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called TREES of righteousness, the PLANTING OF THE LORD, that He might be glorified” (Isaiah 61:3). John the Baptist, prophesying of Jesus and the gospel of Him which was (at that time) yet to come, said “…Now also the axe is laid unto the root of the (tree, and) trees: therefore every tree which bringeth NOT forth good fruit (and that’s every one of us before going to the cross with Jesus; before true salvation; before being truly born again of God) is hewn down, and cast into the fire” (Matthew 3:10). This is the very essence of the work of the cross. For by it, was all mankind “…crucified with… (Christ), that the body (the whole) of sin… be destroyed, that henceforth we… (would) not serve sin. For he that is dead is FREED FROM sin (Romans 6:6-7). The old sin TREE (our old sin nature) is cut off at the roots and cast into the fire; destroyed; put away in Christ (Romans 6:6; Hebrews 9:26). The death of the cross with Jesus, is the only possible way for a person to ever be FREE from sin as well as religious law. It is also an absolute prerequisite for resurrection. There can never be a new, resurrected life (raised again “…in newness of life… in Him…”; Romans 6:4-6; John 1:4; II Corinthians 5:21; a new man; a new tree) except there first be a death. We must know absolutely, as Paul did by revelation knowledge, that we were and are “…crucified with Christ: nevertheless… (we) LIVE; yet (it’s) not… (us that LIVE), but (it’s) Christ (that) LIVETH in… (us): and the LIFE which… (we) …now LIVE in the flesh… (these natural, physical, mortal bodies, we) …LIVE by the faith (the true gospel) of the Son of God, who loved… (us), and gave Himself for… (us) (Galatians 2:20). Praise be to God!, crucifixion (death) with Jesus Christ is the only possible answer for the old sin tree and the only way man can ever be partaker of His resurrected LIFE (our tree of righteousness).

“For the law of the Spirit of LIFE in Christ Jesus hath made me FREE from the law of SIN and death” (Romans 8:2). Here’s the old sin tree being spoken of again; the old tree of the knowledge of good and evil, a tree of law, as well an old sinful nature. But thanks be to God and to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we are now made free FROM the old sin tree; the old sinful Adamic nature, which generates the old man of sin; plus, all of the old religious laws of Moses and of all other men’s religious laws of “…sin and death….” Being crucified with Jesus, and being “…justified by His blood…, we are now “…saved (‘…from wrath through Him…’) by His (resurrected) LIFE” (Romans 5:9-10), “…partakers of the divine nature… (II Peter 1:4); …new creature(s) …” in Christ Jesus; new creations in Him (II Corinthians 5:17).

This new tree of life, the new, divine, sinless nature (“…the Spirit of LIFE…”) that springs up within the new, truly born again child of God IS pure and holy. It is therefore sinless as well as eternal (I John 3:9). Yet, in spite of all this, we live in a religious world where Christian people are constantly taught that we are all sinners; that we all sin every day; and that we always will be sinners.  Because of this, we begin to examine our lives to see what our sin or sins of the day were.  I was angry with the children, and/or the spouse, and we had a dispute over something and now I’m condemned in my spirit.  Anger is an emotion but is not necessarily a sin. You may have had good reason to be angry with the child, or with the spouse; if so be your anger did not get out of control.  Or maybe you had opportunity to witness to someone and you didn’t take advantage of it; or maybe you were extremely impatient with someone today, and now you feel awful about it. Or, you know you shouldn’t have eaten so much; you know that it is a sin to overeat, and on and on it goes. Now a sinner hearing these things says, “You know, I may not as bad as I thought I was. After all, you Christians sin everyday just like I do; some even worse. I may drink a little but I don’t overeat. I may sometimes get angry and beat the wife and kids when I’ve had a little too much to drink, but at least I’m not a hypocrite like you Christians. Why do I need to get saved anyway; and from what? I’d still be a sinner just like you.

Well, I will tell you, NOT everything we do is sin; but the scriptures are very specific about some things that are sin. Here are some examples. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall NOT inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such WERE (past tense) some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (I Corinthians 6:9-11). And again, “…The works of the flesh (the old sin nature) are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and (all) SUCH LIKE: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things SHALL NOT inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21). If you are doing any of these things you can know for certain that you ARE a sinner and will be subject to the fate of  a sinner.

As truly born again children of God, we should be daily partakers of the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ for these are OUR “…tree of LIFE…, …OUR daily bread”; (NOT the sacraments; John 6:35-59). “…If any man shall take away from the WORDS… of the prophecy… of this book (Strong’s #975), God shall take away his part… (from) the *book (*Strong’s #3586 [or, TREE]) of life (See Note below.), and… (from) …the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book (Strong’s #975; Revelation 22:19).”

*Note! The word “book” is used three times is this verse. The first and third time it is translated from the Greek word, Strong’s #975. The second time it is translated from the Greek word, Strong’s #3586. Nowhere else in all the New Testament is this Greek word, Strong’s #3586, translated book, but is consistently translated TREE, WOOD, or a WOOD PRODUCT. Based on this, I believe the correct translation here should be TREE. Because of the interruption of this explanation, I will rewrite the verse (below), using the word tree instead of book in its second occurrence).

“And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the TREE of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:19). We should ever be partaking of our “…tree of LIFE…, for from this tree flows true righteousness; and only, true righteousness. In like manner, everything which flows from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, is evil (no matter how good it may seem), even as everything which flows from the tree of LIFE, good. Let’s just always be sure our fruit is the product of “our” tree of LIFE.

We may not have as much fruit on our GOOD new tree as we would like or should have (i.e., love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, [Godly] goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, etc.), but the fruit we do have is good fruit. Our goal should ever be to have more and more good fruit on our good tree; of our new tree.  Let us not forget that Jesus is coming for a “…glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27).  Let’s always be sure the old tree doesn’t sprout out again and begin to produce. If this happens the only answer is to, once again, get back to the feet of Jesus; back on the cross with the crucified Christ (Romans 6:6). “My little children, …sin NOT.” But “…IF any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous,” and the true gospel of Him (I John 2:1).

JDG Message 18 - Which Tree are You Of?






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