The Tree of Life
By Michael Ladda
What can we learn about the tree of life from scripture? There are more references to the tree of life or a tree of life than we might be aware of.
(Revelation 2:7) 7He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes I shall give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of Elohim.
The tree will be in the future paradise of Elohim. We also know that it was in the midst of the garden of Eden:
(Genesis 2:9) 9And out of the ground YHVH Elohim made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, with the tree of life in the midst of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
And if one ate from it, they would live forever:
(Genesis 3:22-24) 22And YHVH Elohim said, “See, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever...” 23so YHVH Elohim sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken, 24and He drove the man out. And He placed keruvim 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.
There is a reference to a tree of life in Proverbs:
(Proverbs 3:13-22) 13Blessed is the man who has found wisdom, And the man who gets understanding; 14For the gain from it is better Than gain from silver, And its increase than fine gold. 15She is more precious than rubies, and all your delights are not comparable to her. 16Length of days is in her right hand, Riches and esteem in her left hand. 17Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. 18She is a tree of life to those taking hold of her, and blessed are all who retain her. 19YHVH founded the earth by wisdom; He established the heavens by understanding; 20By His knowledge the depths were broken up, and clouds drop down dew. 21My son, let them not depart from your eyes; Watch over sound wisdom and discretion; 22Then they become life to your being and an adorning to your neck.
Wisdom is a tree of life and connected with long life. Wisdom is further defined in Job and Psalms:
(Job 28:28) 28And He said to man, ‘See, the fear of YHVH, that is wisdom, and to turn from evil is understanding.’
(Psalm 111:10) 10The fear of YHVH is the beginning of wisdom, all those doing them have a good understanding. His praise is standing forever.
The fear of YHVH is also defined in proverbs:
(Proverbs 14:27) 27The fear of YHVH is a fountain of life, to turn away from the snares of death.
(Proverbs 8:13) 13The fear of YHVH is to hate evil. I have hated pride and arrogance, and the evil way, and the perverse mouth.
So, wisdom, the fear of YHVH, and hating evil are all like a tree of life and also a fountain of life.
(James 3:17) 17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
Wisdom is connected to many good things from the Spirit, including good fruits.
The Fruit of the Righteous
This is connected back to a tree of life in Proverbs:
(Proverbs 11:30) 30The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who is winning lives is wise.
(Isaiah 3:10) 10Say to the righteous it is well, for they eat the fruit of their doings.
This good fruit, the fruit of righteousness, is our deeds, what we do.
(Philippians 1:9-11) 9And this I pray, that your love might extend more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10for you to examine the matters that differ, in order to be sincere, and not stumbling, until the day of Messiah, 11being filled with the fruit of righteousness, through Yeshua Messiah, to the esteem and praise of Elohim.
The fruit of righteousness comes through Yeshua Messiah. It is also connected with discernment and diligent examination of different matters of morality.
(Hebrews 12:11) 11And indeed, no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but grievous, but afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
The fruit of righteousness comes from being trained by Elohim’s discipline.
A Desire Come True
(Proverbs 13:12) 12Expectancy drawn out makes the heart sick, but a desire come true is a tree of life.
(Proverbs 13:19) 19A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools.
What greater desire does humanity have than to enter eternal life in the kingdom of Elohim? Those who will not turn away from evil, will not have their desire fulfilled.
A Healing Tongue
(Proverbs 15:4) 4A healing tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it crushes the spirit.
(Proverbs 12:18) 18Rash speaking is like piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise is healing.
Our words are connected to the tree of life. What are we speaking to others? Words of life to build each other up? Words that heal the weary? Or are we speaking rash words, harsh words, to tear each other down?
The River of the Water of Life
(Revelation 22:1-3) 1And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of Elohim and of the Lamb. 2In 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. And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3And no longer shall there be any curse, and the throne of Elohim and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.
The tree of life is on either side of the river of the water of life that flows from the throne of Elohim. There are twelve fruits yielding its fruit every month and the leaves are for the healing of the nations.
(Revelation 21:6) 6And He said to me, “It is done! I am the ‘Alpha’ and the ‘Omega’, the Beginning and the End. To the one who thirsts I shall give of the fountain of the water of life without payment.
This water of life cannot be bought, it is a free gift from Elohim.
(Isaiah 48:18) 18If only you had listened to My commands! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
A symbolic river of peace to those who listen to the commands of Elohim. Here is where things get interesting:
(Ezekiel 47:1-12) 1And he (the angel showing Ezekial the vision) turned me back to the door of the House. And look, water was flowing from under the threshold of the House* (meaning the Temple) toward the east, for the House faced east, and the water was flowing from under the right side of the House, from the south of the slaughter-place. 2And he led me out by way of the north gate, and took me round on the outside to the outer gate facing east. And look, water trickling out on the right side. 3As the man went out to the east with the line in his hand, he measured one thousand cubits, and he made me pass over into water, water to the ankles.
4And he measured one thousand and made me pass over into water, water to the knees. And he measured one thousand and made me pass over, water to the loins. 5And he measured one thousand, a stream that I was unable to pass over, for the water had risen, water to swim, a stream that is not passed over. 6And he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?” And he led me and brought me back to the bank of the stream. 7When I returned, then look, along the bank of the stream were very many trees on one side and the other. 8And he said to me, “These waters are flowing toward the eastern country, and go down into the Aravah, and enter the sea, being made to flow into the sea, and the waters shall be healed. 9“And it shall be that every swarming creature, wherever the stream goes, shall live. And there shall be very many fish, for these waters shall go there, and they are healed. And wherever the stream flows all shall live. 10“And it shall be that fishermen stand along it, from En Gedi to En Eglayim, being places for spreading their nets. Their fish is to be of the same kind as the fish of the Great Sea, very many. 11“Its swamps and marshes shall not be healed, they shall be given over to salt. 12“And by the bank of the stream, on both sides, grow all kinds of trees used for food, whose leaves do not wither and fruit do not fail. They bear fruit every new moon, because their water flows from the set-apart place. And their fruit shall be for food, and their leaves for healing.”
Again, we see this water flowing from the House which is a reference to the Temple, from the set-apart place. Instead of being called by the Hebrew word for a river, it is called a stream, which is more like a torrent of water. There are trees on either side of it, the waters heal, the leaves of the trees are for healing, they bear fruit every new moon meaning month. Very similar to (Revelation 22). Then it changes focus to the inheritance of Yisrael and those who sojourn with them:
(Ezekiel 47:13-14) 13Thus said the Master YHVH, “This is the border by which you inherit the land, according to the twelve tribes of Yisrael, two portions for Yoseph. 14“And you shall inherit it, each one the same as his brother. For I lifted My hand in an oath to give it to your fathers, and this land shall fall to you as your inheritance.
Next the new borders of Yisrael are laid out and the allotment of the tribes. Skipping down to (verse 21):
(Ezekiel 47:21-23) 21“And you shall divide this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Yisrael. 22“And it shall be that you divide it by lot as an inheritance for yourselves, and for the strangers who sojourn in your midst and who bear children among you. And they shall be to you as native-born among the children of Yisrael – with you they have an inheritance in the midst of the tribes of Yisrael. 23“And it shall be that in whatever tribe the stranger sojourns, there you give him his inheritance,” declares the Master YHVH.
This section of Ezekiel describes a future time, after the description of the coming Temple is given and the water flowing from it being surrounded by these trees, we see sojourners inheriting the land, being as native born Yisraelites. Interesting.
Also prophesying of a future event, Zechariah was inspired to write:
(Zechariah 14:8) 8And in that day it shall be that living waters flow from Yerushalayim, half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western sea, in summer as well as in winter.
Since the tree of life is interconnected with the river of the waters of life or living waters, let’s look at some references from Yeshua about living waters:
(John 7:37-39) 37And on the last day, the great day of the festival, Yeshua stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me, and let him who believes in Me drink. 38“As the Scripture said, out of His innermost shall flow rivers of living water.” 39And this He said concerning the Spirit, which those believing in Him were about to receive, for the Set-apart Spirit was not yet given, because Yeshua was not yet esteemed.
Yeshua links rivers of living water flowing, to the Set-Apart Spirit, given to the believers. Could be a reference to Isaiah:
(Isaiah 44:3) 3For I pour water on the thirsty, and floods on the dry ground. I pour My Spirit on your seed, and My blessing on your offspring,
Yeshua also connects the living water to everlasting life:
(John 4:10-14) 10Yeshua answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of Elohim, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me to drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 11The woman said to Him, “Master, You have no vessel, and the well is deep. From where, then, do You have living water? 12Are You greater than our father Yaaqov, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle? 13Yeshua answered and said to her, “Everyone drinking of this water shall thirst again, 14but whoever drinks of the water I give him shall certainly never thirst. And the water that I give him shall become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
(Revelation 7:17) 17because the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall shepherd them and lead them to fountains of waters of life. And Elohim shall wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Yeshua is the one who leads us to these waters that give life and the Spirit. This all reminds me of my favorite Psalm:
(Psalm 1) 1Blessed is the man who shall not walk in the counsel of the wrong, and shall not stand in the path of sinners, and shall not sit in the seat of scoffers, 2but his delight is in the Torah of YHVH, and he meditates in His Torah day and night. 3For he shall be as a tree Planted by the rivers of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and whose leaf does not wither, and whatever he does prospers. 4The wrong are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind blows away. 5Therefore the wrong shall not rise in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6For YHVH knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wrong comes to naught.
So, while I believe there will be a physical tree of life and a physical river flowing from the Temple, this is also symbolic of our walk with Elohim. When we choose to walk in the ways of Elohim, and His Torah, we are the trees that drink the river of the spirit that yield good works. We will not die but prosper in our works in Elohim.
There is also a possible reference to the tree of life in (Revelation 22:19):
(Revelation 22:19) 19and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, Elohim shall take away his part from the Book of Life* (some manuscripts read ‘tree of life’), and out of the set-apart city, which are written in this Book.
What did we learn?
The tree of life was in the midst of the Garden of Eden. The tree of life is going to be in the paradise of Elohim. If you eat from the tree of life, you will live forever.
Wisdom is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her, it is life for your being. The fear of YHVH is wisdom. The hatred of evil is the fear of YHVH. So, the hatred of evil is a tree of life. The wisdom from above is full of good fruits.
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life. The fruit of the righteous is the fruit of our deeds, what we do. The fruit of righteousness comes through Yeshua Messiah. Discipline yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to us if we have been trained by it.
A desire come true is a tree of life. Those who will not turn away from evil, will not have their desire fulfilled.
A healing tongue is a tree of life. The wise have a healing tongue and don’t speak rash words.
The tree of life has twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree of life are for the healing of the nations. The tree of life is on both sides of the river of the water of life. Elohim will give us the water of life for free. The water of life flows from the throne of Elohim and of the Lamb.
Water comes from below the threshold of the Temple toward the east and the water flows down from below the south end of the threshold of the Temple, south of the altar. This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah and enters the sea at the Gulf of Aqaba (in Hebrew it is the Gulf of Eilat meaning gulf of a grove of tall trees); the sea will become fresh. Wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live. All kinds of trees will grow near this river and will bear fruit every month and the leaves will be for healing.
The land of Yisrael will be divided according to their tribes as an inheritance for Yisrael and for the sojourners and their children. The sojourners shall be as native-born children of Yisrael. The sojourners shall be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Yisrael. In whatever tribe the sojourner resides, there they shall be assigned an inheritance.
Yeshua said that whoever believes in him, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ speaking about the Set-Apart Spirit that we receive. Yeshua said we can ask of him living water that will become in us a spring of water welling up to eternal life. Yeshua the Lamb of Elohim will be our shepherd, and he will guide us to springs of living water, and Elohim will wipe away every tear from our eyes.
If we delight in the Torah of YHVH and meditate on His Torah day and night. We shall be like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that we do, we shall prosper.
If we desire the tree of life and living water, we must ask for wisdom from above, that comes through the Set-Apart Spirit and Yeshua Messiah. We will begin to hate evil and fear disappointing our heavenly Father. If we delight in His Torah and meditate on it, Elohim will discipline us by it, and we will bear the fruit, the deeds, of righteousness. We will be healed by it and speak with a healing tongue. Yeshua will be our shepherd and Elohim will wipe away our every tear. If we sojourn with Yisrael we will be given an inheritance among the tribes of Yisrael and be as native Yisraelites. We will be given eternal life, and we will be able to stand in the judgement with the righteous.