What It Means to Eat from the Tree of Life

Wim Malgo (1922-1992)

An interpretation of the last book of the Bible. Part 17. Revelation 2:5-7.

The Lord Jesus is searching for us and calls to us, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Rev 2:5). Then it grows dark. Do you notice how the lights are going out around you? Do you see how it’s growing dark? Repent and do the first works!

The imperative to repent is expressed in this first missive and in the subsequent ones using the words, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (vv. 7, 11, 17, 29). That means: whoever—as a born again person, as a member of Jesus’ body—has the inner ability or disposition to hear what the Lord says, should truly hear. In other words, he has the responsibility to follow what he has heard and understood.

Immediately afterwards, the Lord makes this first promise of overcoming: “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (v. 7b).

This first promise to the overcomer takes us back to paradise and the tree of life. After Adam had eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he was driven out of paradise so that he wouldn’t eat from the tree of life: “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Gen 3:22-24).

From this, we see that this shielded/hidden tree of life is the source, the primordial fountain of eternal life. The fruits of this tree nourish eternal life. So that Adam should not eat of it after his fall and live forever on earth, God drove him out of paradise, because death was the payment for sin. Here the overcomers are now told that they will eat from the tree of life. In other words, you will have “eternal life abiding in” you (1 John 3:15).

Isn’t the phrase “eternal life” sufficiently clear that it is an endless life? Without a doubt! Here, however, we are directed toward the tree of life. It’s mentioned three times in Revelation (2:7; 22:2, 14). If the overcomer is promised that the Lord will give him food from the tree of life that is in God’s paradise, and that he will have eternal life in Him, we must note the following: eternal life is called “eternal” because it stretches from eternity past to eternity future; it is the life of God that has been revealed in Jesus Christ, who is God (John 1:4; 5:26; 1 John 1:1-2). This eternal life of God, which was revealed in Christ, is given to everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus through the rebirth. The person who is born again acquires it because of the Word of God through the Holy Spirit.

In order to grasp this overcomer’s promise even better, we have to distinguish that this eternal life that the believer receives is not a new life, but only new in the sense that it is possessed by man. It is life that was “in the beginning.” And this life of God that the born-again one receives is an inseparable part of the life that was in Christ Jesus from eternity, and is eternal. This is what the Lord meant when He said: “I am the vine, ye are the branches” (John 15:5); or through Paul: Christ is the head, and we are the body (Eph 1:22-23; 4:16).

So, eating from the tree of life means: eternity with the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why it is so important that we overcome. This is the only way we will one day be allowed to eat from the tree of life. Then we will live from eternity to eternity before God and the Lamb. The cross of Calvary, on which the Lord Jesus poured out His blood, has become the tree of life for us!

Midnight Call - 03/2021

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