Revelation 22:2: “On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.”

In the beginning God planted beautiful, fruit-bearing trees meant to be enjoyed. Sadly, one of the trees became deadly to mankind, namely, the ominous tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God issued a stern warning to stay away from that particular tree (Genesis 2:16):

“You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden – except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”

We know how the story goes. The fruit of that tree was consumed anyway introducing death to creation. Thus it gained the bad reputation of a tree bearing the fruit of death.

Let’s pause here for a minute and think about what this tree stands for. Obviously it does not mean pursuing knowledge equals evil. There is a vast array of knowledge to be gained – not the least of which is getting to know people. Some English Bible translations employ the verb “know” when it comes to intimate relations between a man and a woman (Genesis 4:1):

“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, ‘I have gotten a man from the Lord.’”

Children are born as a result of Adam “knowing” his wife. Another prominent example of knowledge pursuit in the Bible is King Solomon’s desire for wisdom and understanding. At the onset of his reign he asked God for discernment to govern the nation of Israel wisely and the Lord gladly granted his wish.

So apparently, there is good knowledge and bad knowledge. The opening chapter of the book of Proverbs, largely authored by King Solomon, says to this effect (Proverbs 1:7):

“Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge.”

Fear of the Lord puts God in the middle of all aspects of life. We love Him, we walk with Him and we explore with Him. God will reveal things unknown to us. I believe that all great scientific discoveries are based on divine revelation. Although knowledge in itself does not kill us, attempting to know better than the Lord unfortunately does. 

In the book of Deuteronomy the prophet Moses talks about the death penalty, specifically execution on a tree (Deuteronomy 21:22-23):

“And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God.”

The fact that God initiated a law to ensure proper treatment for people on death row shows that He cares for criminals and intends to protect their rights. Paying last respects to an executed person by providing a grave is an act of decency. But there is more.

I believe the Law of Moses requesting to remove a dead body from the tree was also written in anticipation of Jesus’s execution. Approximately 1400 years later the Son of God was killed, His hands and feet nailed to a wooden beam. A law-abiding Jewish citizen, Joseph of Arimathea made sure that the Lord was taken off the cross and placed into his tomb. Jesus emerged from there three days later – resurrected from the dead. He would become the one and only antidote to death, saving God’s creation from corruption. Jesus turned a tree of death, the cross, into a tree of life.

Metaphorically speaking we are like trees and if our roots dig deep to get to know the Lord we turn into the tree as described in chapter 22 of John’s book of Revelation. Growing on both sides of the river, we bear fruit in and out of season and our leaves are used to bring healing to the world – which is what God’s peacemakers are called to do.

Isaiah 43:16,18-19: “This is what the Lord says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

In a time of need, Jacob (one of the many descendants of Abraham) had to move his entire family to Egypt. There he was received with open arms. One of his sons – Joseph – had become an influential man in Egypt, which is why Jacob’s family was treated with much respect. Unfortunately, 400 years later all of this was distant memory. The tides had turned against them. Feeling threatened by Israel’s explosive population growth, Egypt forced them into slave labor.

It was time to leave Egypt.

Israel’s exodus from Egypt was no minor feat. In order to arrive at their destination – a region southeast from the Mediterranean Sea – they had to go through treacherous desert terrain and get past the Red Sea. With the Egyptian army on their heels, the Red Sea quickly turned into a death trap. There was simply no escaping the Egyptians.

And Israel cried out to the Lord.

All of a sudden, right before their eyes the waters began to recede until a pathway opened right through the Red Sea. Led by Moses, the Israelites followed the new pathway. With their children, their livestock and all of their belongings they walked to the other side by foot. Meanwhile, the Egyptians in hot pursuit of the Israelites were dumbfounded at the sight. After a moment of hesitation they too entered the sea bed to catch up with them, but they did not get very far. When the last Israelite had safely arrived on the other side, the Red Sea moved back in with pounding waves and drowned Pharaoh’s army.

A day of tragedy and triumph, it was on this occasion that the nation of Israel was born, a pivotal moment in human history.

And yet, referring to this day the Lord now says: “Forget this miracle at the Red Sea! This is nothing compared to the miracle that is about to happen.”

If every piece of information on the internet was a tree, we would have an endless forest of information right at our fingertips – but how do we crash through the surface and get to the bottom of things? – To cut through a sea of data, we need to remember that one tree matters most to humanity: the tree Jesus was nailed to.

Back in Paradise, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil offered the fruit of death. On Golgotha, the tree Jesus was nailed to stands for victory over death and offers the fruit of Eternal Life. Just as much as the tree of knowledge blew everything apart, Jesus’s death and resurrection picks up the broken pieces and puts everything back together. I believe Prophet Isaiah was right. This outstanding miracle easily dwarfs the event at the Red Sea.

Looking at the Tree of Life, Jesus draws every human being to Him and brings peace to a broken world.


“In all the good times I find myself longing for change and in the bad times I fear myself.
I’m off the deep end, watch as I dive in
I’ll never meet the ground
Crash through the surface, where they can’t hurt us
We’re far from the shallow now!”

Lady Gaga, Andrew Wyatt, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando