1. THE TREE OF LIFE
a. Where do we first learn of the existence of the tree of life? Genesis 2:9. What restriction, placed upon our first parents, shows that access to the tree of life was conditional? Genesis 2:16, 17.
“In order to possess an endless existence, man must continue to partake of the tree of life. Deprived of this, his vitality would gradually diminish until life should become extinct.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 60.
b. Describe the test to which Adam and Eve were submitted, after which they were debarred from eating of the tree. Genesis 3:22–24.
“The first great moral lesson given Adam was that of self-denial. The reins of self-government were placed in his hands. Judgment, reason, and conscience were to bear sway.”—That I May Know Him, p. 14.
2. THE SOURCE OF TRUE KNOWLEDGE
a. What does the tree of life represent? Through whom and how do we have access to the tree of life in a spiritual sense? Proverbs 3:13–18.
“The tree of life is a representation of the preserving care of Christ for His children. As Adam and Eve ate of this tree, they acknowledged their dependence upon God.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 988.
“Jesus Christ is to the world as the tree of life to which Adam and Eve had access in the Garden of Eden. When, by disobedience, the fallen pair were deprived of the fruit of this tree, they lost everlasting life. The tree of knowledge became a curse to them, not because of its poisonous qualities, but because of their act of disobedience. It was attractive to them; and in their great desire for it, they partook of it, and lost their purity and their allegiance to God. But Christ presents Himself as the Life-giver, the tree of life for the world. By feeding upon His flesh, and drinking His blood, our spiritual life is perfected.”—General Conference Daily Bulletin, March 6, 1899.
b. How are we to eat and share the fruit of the tree of life? Proverbs 11:30; 15:4. When we are working for souls, how do we show them the way to the tree of life? Daniel 12:3; Philippians 1:10, 11.
“[Jesus’ earthly] brothers . . . regarded the precepts of men more highly than the word of God, and they were greatly annoyed at the clear penetration of Jesus in distinguishing between the false and the true. His strict obedience to the law of God they condemned as stubbornness. . . . They recognized that His education was of a higher type than their own. But they did not discern that He had access to the tree of life, a source of knowledge of which they were ignorant.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 86.
“In Nazareth Christ announced that His work was to restore and uplift, to bring peace and happiness. He came to this world to represent the Father, and He revealed His divine power by giving life to the dead, by restoring the sick and suffering to soundness and health. He was in this world as the tree of life.”—The Signs of the Times, March 21, 1900.
3. THE TWO TREES IN THE NEW DISPENSATION
a. How can the tree of life be identified in the New Testament? 1 Corinthians 1:21, 30; Colossians 2:2, 3. What is the tree of knowledge of good and evil in our days? 1 Corinthians 1:20; Colossians 2:7, 8.
“The garden of Eden was not only Adam’s dwelling, but his school room. As in that school, so in the school of earth today, two trees are planted—the tree of life, which bears the fruit of the true education, and the tree of knowledge, yielding the fruit of ‘science falsely so called.’ All who have a connection with Christ have access to the tree of life, a source of knowledge of which the world is ignorant.”—General Conference Daily Bulletin, March 6, 1899.
“Christ’s teachings are to be to us as the leaves of the tree of life.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 5, p. 1135.
“The lessons drawn from the parables of our Saviour will be to very many as the leaves of the tree of life.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 475.
b. What does Jesus say to all those who want to live? Matthew 4:4; John 5:39; 6:63; Luke 11:28.
“The knowledge that comes from God is the bread of life. It is the leaves of the tree of life which are for the healing of the nations. The current of spiritual life thrills the soul as the words of Christ are believed and practiced. Thus it is that we are made one with Christ. The experience that was weak and feeble becomes strong. It is eternal life to us if we hold the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end.”—The Upward Look, p. 224.
“The word of the living God is not merely written, but spoken. The Bible is God’s voice speaking to us, just as surely as though we could hear it with our ears. If we realized this, with what awe would we open God’s word, and with what earnestness would we search its precepts! The reading and contemplation of the Scriptures would be regarded as an audience with the Infinite One.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 393.
4. A PROMISE TO THE OVERCOMERS
a. To what extent must we eat of the tree of life and stand firm in the truth to be overcomers? Matthew 24:13; Hebrews 3:6, 14; Revelation 2:10, 26.
“Must we wait until we are translated before we eat of the leaves of the tree of life? He who receives into his heart the words of Christ knows what it means to eat the leaves of the tree of life.”—The Upward Look, p. 224.
“After the entrance of sin the heavenly Husbandman transplanted the tree of life to the Paradise above; but its branches hang over the wall to the lower world. Through the redemption purchased by the blood of Christ, we may still eat of its life-giving fruit.”—Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 288.
b. What is the final reward of all who overcome? Revelation 2:7.
“[Revelation 22:1, 2 quoted.] Talk it, pray it, sing it, and remember that you must eat of the leaves of the tree of life here in this world, if you would know the healing power of the grace of God. When words are spoken that tempt you to feel provoked, ask the Lord Jesus to give you a taste of the healing brought by the tree of life. Get your mind on some subject of eternal interest, and it will be easy for you to keep still when you ought to keep still, and to speak when you ought to speak.”—The Review and Herald, July 20, 1905.
“Christ assured His disciples that He went to prepare mansions for them in the Father’s house. Those who accept the teachings of God’s word will not be wholly ignorant concerning the heavenly abode. And yet, ‘eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him’ (1 Corinthians 2:9). Human language is inadequate to describe the reward of the righteous. It will be known only to those who behold it. No finite mind can comprehend the glory of the Paradise of God.”—The Great Controversy, p. 675.
5. THE TREE OF LIFE FOR ETERNITY
a. Where is the Paradise of God today? Revelation 2:7. How did the apostle Paul describe one of his visions in which he was “caught up to the third heaven,” “into paradise”? 2 Corinthians 12:2–4. How will our first parents respond upon entering that place?
“Transported with joy, [Adam] beholds the trees that were once his delight—the very trees whose fruit he himself had gathered in the days of his innocence and joy. He sees the vines that his own hands have trained, the very flowers that he once loved to care for. His mind grasps the reality of the scene; he comprehends that this is indeed Eden restored, more lovely now than when he was banished from it. The Saviour leads him to the tree of life and plucks the glorious fruit and bids him eat. He looks about him and beholds a multitude of his family redeemed, standing in the Paradise of God. Then he casts his glittering crown at the feet of Jesus and, falling upon His breast, embraces the Redeemer.”—The Great Controversy, p. 648.
b. How does the Bible describe Eden restored? Revelation 22:1, 2.
“In the Bible the inheritance of the saved is called a country (Hebrews 11:14–16). There the heavenly Shepherd leads His flock to fountains of living waters. The tree of life yields its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree are for the service of the nations.”—Ibid., p. 675.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
a. Why was humanity debarred from eating of the tree of life after sin?
b. What is the reward promised to all who teach the truth to others?
c. How can we eat of the tree of life today?
d. What promise belongs to those who will stand firm to the end?
e. What privilege will be restored to the people of God?