The Book of Revelation has piqued people’s curiosity over the years. It speaks about things that we long to know: the end times and life after death. Our text for provides us with a description of what life will be like in heaven after our present world is destroyed. I’m not going to give a detailed description of what life will be like in heaven. What I will say with great confidence, however, is that eternal life in heaven with God will be amazing and blissful. And the amazement and bliss will go on forever and ever without end. Now that is definitely something to look forward to, especially when this life can be a big pain at times.
What I would like to talk about is the tree of life that will be found in heaven and what that means for us. At one time the tree of life was here on earth, if you remember. It was located in the Garden of Eden. But then it disappeared. It is only at the end of time that it will reappear.
The tree of life was located in the Garden of Eden. It was one of the trees that Adam and Eve could freely eat from. The only forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They weren’t even allowed to touch it; otherwise, they would die. That’s what God had told them.
Events in the Garden of Eden unfolded rather tragically. Instead of listening to God, Adam and Eve thought it might be worthwhile to listen to the serpent, who told them that they wouldn’t die. God was just simply hiding a secret from them and wasn’t being truthful with them. So, Adam and Eve listened to the serpent, instead. Immediately, their eyes were opened when they ate the forbidden fruit. Fear came upon them. Instead rushing out to meet God as He was walking in the garden, they hid themselves. The relationship between God and Adam and Eve, and all of mankind for that matter, had changed for the worse.
One of the first things that God was concerned about was the tree of life. If Adam and Eve were allowed to eat of it, they would be cursed forever. They would be locked in this sinful world forever. They would have to live in a fallen state forever. So God appointed an angel to guard the tree of life in order to prevent anyone from being able to eat from it. And, of course, Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden. They lost paradise.
The famous English poet, John Milton, who lived in the seventeenth century, wrote Paradise Lost, an epic poem about this tragic event and how God was justified in His punishment of mankind. If you get the chance, you might want to read it if you haven’t. Some of Milton’s insights might help us to better understand the drama of what happened in the fall and the key characters involved. Adam and Eve’s fall was a very tragic event that affected all of mankind.
The tree of life disappeared from off the face of the earth, as did the Garden of Eden. No mention is made of the tree of life again until the Book of Revelation, in connection with God's paradise.
One of the features of life with God after this world is destroyed is the tree of life. It will once again stand in God’s paradise. At that time, however, a cherubim will not stand guard with a sword preventing access to it. Everyone will be able to enjoy its fruit. The curse on mankind will have been lifted. We will live in an exalted state forever. Nothing will ever change that reality. There won’t be a serpent there to tempt us. All forms of temptation will have been removed. So there is no need for us to fear the possibility of falling into sin and so be prevented from eating the fruit from the tree of life.
The tree of life will last forever. Do trees around here last forever? No. They die after a certain time. And the fruit they produce isn’t always the best. I’ve seen many apple trees infested with bugs that render the fruit no good. If we want to reap a decent apple crop we usually have to spray the trees with pesticides which may be harmful to us. But it’s often times the only way to preserve the fruit of the tree.
We won’t have to spray the tree of life with pesticides. The fruit will always be delicious and abundant. We won’t have to wait for the season of fall to come before we can enjoy the fruit. Apple trees, on the other hand, produce fruit in the fall. We have to wait for the tree to produce its fruit. We can’t pick apples all year round. But that won’t be true with the tree of life.
If some of us are worried that we won’t be healthy enough to pick the fruit from the tree of life, we need not worry. Our arms will be strong enough to reach out and grab a piece of fruit from the tree of life. Our health will not be an issue. And never will it be.
The tree will never need to be pruned. Don’t we prune our trees and bushes, especially if we want them to grow properly? The process has to be repeated. One pruning is never enough. We won’t be occupied with pruning the tree of life. It will forever provide food to us.
Adam and Eve lost paradise as a result of their disobedience. They were deprived of the tree of life. But a day is coming when the tree of life will be restored in paradise. And we have Jesus to thank.
God first promised to send Jesus already in the Book of Genesis. As God was pronouncing the punishments on the serpent and Adam and Eve for their disobedience God promised to send a Savior. Right after they sinned, God was gracious enough to give them a future hope in Jesus. Only through Jesus would Adam and Eve be able to partake of the tree of life.
It’s only through Jesus that we will able to take of the tree of life. There is nothing that we can or could do to win God’s favor and be accepted into His kingdom. Only God can do that, and He did so through His Son, Jesus.
God has restored paradise to us. Believe it or not, John Milton also wrote a poem entitled, Paradise Regained. In that poem he sets out demonstrate how God reversed the effects of sin. It’s a beautiful end to a tragic beginning. What mankind messed up, God fixed through Jesus.
Aren’t we glad that when, let’s say, we messed up at work someone came along and fixed what we messed up? Maybe we wrecked a machine and a mechanic had to come and repair it. Weren’t we relieved? Maybe we made a bad decision which cost the company we work for some money, but our boss came along and told us not to worry. He was able to reverse the damage we caused. I think all of us are grateful when someone gets us out of a bind, aren’t we?
Are we grateful that Jesus got us out of a bind? It was a pretty awful bind that we were in. Being on the road to hell with no hope of a future with God is about as bad as it gets. However, God had mercy on us. He got us out of the terrible bind we were in and fixed what we messed up when we sinned. Now we will one day enjoy the fruit from the tree of life, all because of our Savior, who died and rose from the dead for us.
I hope I’ve piqued our curiosity today. I said the Book of Revelation raises our level of curiosity about the end times and the life to come. Our text mentioned the tree of life which will be found in heaven. We will be able to partake of the fruit that grows on it. It is a symbol of God’s life giving power. I hope the tree of life raises our curiosity about what it is going to be like living in heaven forever with one another and our Lord.
When we experience a bad day think of the tree of life, and remember that the hardships and troubles we encounter now won’t last forever. A day is coming when we all will be sitting around the tree of life, savoring its fruit, never more plagued by the temptation to sin and rebel against God.