Sunday, March 15

a taste from the tree of life

By Bethany L. Mureșan

Super-foods, energy supplements, protein powders…why do people go for them? It is part of a quest for enhanced quality of life. If we have more energy, strength, and vitality, we will be better equipped to face each day. But this leads to the question—why do we feel that we are not able to achieve optimal performance levels? What makes us look for some secret boost? It all traces back to the Garden of Eden. There was a very special tree in that garden—a tree planted by God Himself, one that would perpetuate life indefinitely. However, in Genesis 3:22–24, we read that man was no longer allowed to partake of that life-sustaining fruit. “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 forever: 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” (Genesis 3:22-24). Today, we no longer have access to that physical tree, so people try their best to find “superfoods.”  But still, despite all the health practices possible, each and every person is eventually faced with the reality of imminent death.

In spite of humanity’s dire situation after sin, God has granted us hope. Revelation 22:14 promises, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” If we are found faithful, we will no longer be barred from partaking of that life-giving fruit. 

Now, imagine if you were offered a chance to taste this fruit. A super-food that is not only delicious but also offers properties, which if eaten daily, would give you life forever. It gets even better—not only does it prolong life, but also enhances quality of life to the best attainable level. Would you be interested in trying it? I sure would.

Well, guess what? You have the chance! Did you know that? In fact, everyone has been given the chance. Unfortunately, though, not everyone appreciates this opportunity. “Some who profess to have true religion sadly neglect the guide-book given by God to point the way to heaven. They may read the Bible, but merely reading God’s word, as one would read words traced by a human pen, will only give a superficial knowledge. Talking of the truth will not sanctify the receivers. They may profess to be working for God, although were Christ among them, His voice would be heard, saying, ‘Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.’ Such cannot know what true religion means. 

“‘The words that I speak unto you,’ said Christ, ‘they are spirit, and they are life.’ Jeremiah testifies to the word of God, saying, ‘Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart.’ … If this word is enshrined in the heart, it becomes the treasure-house of the mind, from which we bring forth things new and old. We no longer find pleasure in thinking of the common things of earth, but say, ‘Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.’

“‘Search the Scriptures.’ No other book will give you such pure, elevating, ennobling thoughts; from no other book can you obtain a deep, religious experience. When you devote time to self-examination, to humble prayer, to earnest study of God’s word, the Holy Spirit is near to apply the truth to your heart. As you feed upon the heavenly manna, you will find comfort and joy, and will be inspired to tell others of the wonderful experience you have received. 

The Bible, and the Bible alone, is to be the rule of our faith. It is a leaf from the tree of life, and by eating it, by receiving it into our minds, we shall grow strong to do the will of God. By our Christlike characters we shall show that we believe the word, that we cleave to the Bible as the only guide to heaven. So shall we be living epistles, known and read of all men, bearing a living testimony to the power of true religion”1

The Bible is a leaf from the tree of life. It brings us spiritual nourishment—nourishment that will prepare us to eat of the tree of life in Heaven. But if we want to receive the benefits, then it is not enough to just talk about the Bible’s wonderful properties. We need to eat it. As we eat it, we will realize that the spiritual “junk food” we have been “eating” is not even good. When we assimilate the Bible by partaking of it, it then becomes a part of us and imparts to our “cells” the strength we need to do God’s will.

What do we need to do in order to be blessed by this? “Let all bear in mind that the tree of life bears twelve manner of fruits. This represents the spiritual work of our earthly missions. The Word of God is to us the tree of life. Every portion of the Scripture has its use. In every part of the Word is some lesson to be learned. Then learn how to study your Bibles. This book is not a heap of odds and ends. It is an educator. Your own thoughts must be called into exercise before you can be really benefited by Bible study. Spiritual sinew and muscle must be brought to bear upon the Word. The Holy Spirit will bring to remembrance the words of Christ. He will enlighten the mind, and guide the research.”2

The best super-food protein shake will not give you those muscles you want unless it is combined with exercise. It is in the spiritual life. We have to take our Bibles as an educator—as our personal trainer. This is the way that we can make progress in our lives. God wants to do great things for us—with us.

“Let small companies assemble in the evening, at noon, or in the early morning to study the Bible. Let them have a season of prayer, that they may be strengthened, enlightened, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. … Angels of God will be in your assembly. You will feed upon the leaves of the tree of life. … Christ will come into your hearts. It is by this means only that you can maintain your integrity.”3

There’s also the benefit of doing this together with others. You can help keep each other motivated and accountable. Spend time studying the Bible with your church friends. Read the Bible by phone with your best friend. Cherish morning and evening worship with your family, if you have the blessing of a family that fears God. Listen to an audio Bible on your way to work or school. All these are ways that you can eat of the leaves of the tree of life. Thus, you will gain strength to maintain your faith in a world that is becoming faithless.

Remember, we mentioned earlier that by partaking of God’s Word now, we would gain access to eternal life? In John 17:5, we are told the following: “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” By reading the Bible, we are getting to know Christ, who “… is the source of our life, the source of immortality. He is the tree of life, and to all who come to Him He gives spiritual life.”4

No matter what is going on in your life, you can always be benefitted by a taste from the tree of life. Wherever you find yourself on the Christian road, the Savior is there for you. He is longing to show Himself to you, as the one true Answer to every question, every concern, and every challenge. The way He talks to you, the way He strengthens you, is through His Word. “In the Word the Saviour is revealed in all His beauty and loveliness. Every soul will find comfort and consolation in the Bible, which is full of promises concerning what God will do for the one who comes into right relation to Him”5

Do you want to make progress? Do you desire success? What is your life’s goal—your dream? The King of the Universe wants to help you achieve that. There are so many books in this world that will not help you get there. But there is one that will—a guidebook that outlines the principles to achieving success and finding meaning in life. A perfect Author, who never gave anyone wrong advice, inspired this book. The secrets it contains have worked for centuries.

We are given a description of those who utilize the assistance offered them by way of this tree of life: “Some are constantly partaking of Christ’s flesh and blood. They eat the leaves of the tree of life. They are constant learners in the school of Christ. They make daily progress in goodness, and gain an experience which fits them to labor for the Master. Their influence is a savor of life unto life. So spiritual minded are they that they readily discern spiritual things. The Bible is their study. Magazines, newspapers, and books which treat of nothing heavenly or divine have no attraction for them. But the Word of God grows constantly more precious to them. God draws near and speaks to them in language which cannot be misunderstood”6

Have you ever wondered why there are so many things people do not understand? Maybe they are not looking for answers in the right place. There is only one Infallible source of truth. The Word of God is powerful. Its power is life-giving. “The word of God is as the leaves of the tree of life. Here is met every want of those who love its teachings and bring them into the practical life”7

If we truly appreciate the gift God has given us, we will love the Bible. But just like foods that are good for us … we might not find all that appetizing to start with. Maybe our palette has been perverted by all the junk food we have eaten. However, as we partake of this “superfood”, our taste will begin to change. We will start feeling the benefits. The nutrition will reach our bodies and give us the strength we need to achieve true success—prospering in this life and more importantly, fulfilling the prerequisites to enjoy the eternal world to come. What a precious opportunity!

“With the word of God in hand we may draw nearer, step by step, in consecrated love to Jesus. As the Spirit of God becomes better known, the Bible will be accepted as the only foundation of faith. God’s people will receive the word as the leaves of the tree of life, more precious than fine gold purified in the fire, and more powerful to sanctify than any other agency8  

As we receive the Bible as our guide in life and allow ourselves to be transformed by it, we will become sanctified—in other words, we will become overcomers. And the promise to the overcome is found in Revelation 2:7: “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” 

Revelation 22:1–3 pictures what that place will be like as follows: “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him.” 

My wish and prayer is that we can reach that land where there will be no more curse and where we will eat of the fruit of the tree of life! Until then, let us be feasting on God’s Word.

  1. The Review and Herald, May 4, 1897.
  2. The SDA Bible Commentary, [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 989.
  3. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, p. 195.
  4. The Review and Herald, January 26, 1897.
  5. The SDA Bible Commentary, [E. G. White Comments], vol. 5, p. 1124.
  6. Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 155.
  7. Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 352.
  8. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 192.