It is profitable to ponder God’s role as vine-dresser, and the agricultural metaphors of the branch, the tree, and the pruning, and the fruit.
I was listening to a sermon about us being the branches connected to the vine, (John 15:4). We had a rain-wind event here and a tree in the yard lost a good portion of itself. Can this branch produce any fruit? No. Apart from the tree, it can do nothing. That is any lost person who is apart from Jesus and any saved person operating in the flesh and not the Spirit.
In addition to the branch, I was also thinking of the agricultural metaphors of vine, tree, branch, fruit, and then…I started thinking about the Tree of Life.
I like trees, and I love the Tree of Life. I like thinking about God’s tree, the life He gives us, and the tree of life in Heaven we will see. Here are some mentions in scripture of the Tree of Life. It is mentioned in Genesis and Revelation (nice bookends), and also in other places.
The Tree of Life defined:
One of two trees situated in the centre of the Garden of Eden. It is also mentioned in Revelation, where it symbolises life and salvation. [Manser, M. H. Dictionary of Bible Themes]
The tree of life as a metaphor:
Pr 15:4 See also Pr 3:13-18; 11:30; 13:12. [Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes]
The Tree of Life described:
Some people wish they had a tree which grew money, but there is an even better tree—the “tree of life.” The term in Greek, xulon zōēs, denotes “a tree that gives life”—that is, eternal life (John 20:31). This tree symbolizes the eternal life God has made available to humanity. We see this tree in the very beginning of the Bible and at the very end.
The “tree of life” was placed by God in the midst of the garden of Eden (Gen. 2:8–9). God told Adam that he could eat from every tree of the garden except the “tree of the knowledge” of good and evil (Gen. 2:16–17). When Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were expelled from the garden lest they “take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever” (Gen. 3:22). The Genesis narrative suggests that God intended the “tree of life” to provide Adam and Eve with a symbol of life in fellowship with and dependence on Him. Human life, as distinguished from that of the animals, is much more than merely biological; it is also spiritual—it finds its deepest fulfillment in fellowship with God.
The book of Revelation contains the only references to the “tree of life” in the New Testament (Rev. 2:7; 22:2, 14, 19). The Bible begins and ends with a Paradise in the midst of which is a “tree of life.” The way to the “tree of life,” which was closed in Genesis 3, is open again for God’s believing people. This was made possible by the second Adam, Jesus Christ. He died on the cross for the sins of all humanity—from Adam to you and me. Those who have washed their robes in the blood of Christ (Rev. 7:14) and have sought forgiveness of their sin through the redemptive work of Christ, receive the right to the “tree of life” (Rev. 22:14), but the disobedient will have no access to it. This tree will give constant, continuous life to all who partake of it, for it symbolizes the eternal life of God made available to redeemed humanity. [Carpenter, E. E., Holman Treasury of Key Bible words]
And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:9)
And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” (Genesis 3:22)
After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:24)
through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:2)
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. (Revelation 22:14)
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise. (Proverbs 11:30).
The Garden must have been so beautiful. I can’t wait until all is restored (Isaiah 51:3). Heaven where the Tree is must be so majestic. What the tree symbolizes is even more wonderful- eternal fellowship in righteous and holy life with God. Thank you, Lord, for all you have given us now and all we have to look forward to, forever.
The Tree of Life in art:
In Gustav Klimt’s famous mural, The Tree of Life … signifies the connection between heaven and earth and the underworld. For Klimt’s admirers, the mural also has another significance, being the only landscape created by the artist during his golden period. Klimt used oil painting techniques with gold paint, to create luxurious art pieces during that time.
The concept of the tree of life is illustrated by Gustav Klimt’s painting, in a bold and original manner. The swirling branches create symbolism, suggesting the perpetuity of life. The branches twist, twirl, turn, spiral and undulate, creating a tangle of strong branches, long vines and fragile threads, an expression of life’s complexity. With its branches reaching for the sky, the tree of life roots into the earth beneath, creating the connection between heaven and earth…While the artist uses a richness of symbols, gold for paint and other luxurious techniques to illustrate a magical world, the presence of a single black bird draws the viewer towards the central part of the painting. The black bird is a reminder that everything that has a beginning also has an end, as black birds have been used as a symbol of death by many cultures… (source)