Wade E Taylor
“And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil… And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:9, 16-17
The Lord placed man in a probationary environment so he could be tested. To accomplish this, two trees were placed in the midst of Adam’s daily activities as the means by which this testing could be accomplished – the “Tree of Life,” and the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.”
These two trees were diversely different in their intent and purpose. Adam was told to freely partake of the one; but he was forbidden to eat of the other.
The Tree of Life relates to the spiritual life that the Lord had breathed into Adam. In order to live, it was necessary for him to partake of the Tree of Life daily. This established his full dependence upon his Creator. The other, the Tree of Knowledge, related to his natural life, which afforded him the opportunity to become independent from God.
A description of the “Tree of Life” is found in Isaiah, chapter 53, which reveals that Jesus is the Tree of Life.
“For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” Isaiah 53:2
Jesus is seen by fallen mankind as being a “root out of a dry ground,” having no form or comeliness that would make Him desirable. The beauty of Jesus is within, and is recognizable only through redemption and revelation.
The “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil,” however, is quite different. It is pleasant to the eye and is not only edible as food, but tastes really good. In other words, the way of the flesh is attractive to every aspect of the fallen human makeup, whereas spirituality is uninviting.
By divine design, there is a price to our being chosen by the Lord. Therefore, the Lord placed the beauty of spirituality within. It can be seen only by a spiritual perception that is given to those who truly desire the Lord. Therefore, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). By divine arrangement, it takes a determined effort to press through, and behold the beauty of the Lord. Few will pay the price of separation from the tree of knowledge in order to be chosen.
The enemy said, “You will not die, but you will become as gods being able to choose for yourselves” (Genesis 3:4-5). Eve “ate” this right to “self determination” and gave to Adam, who also partook. Today, we are yet paying a terrible price for mankind becoming “as gods” and ruling himself, apart from His Creator.
After their disobedience by partaking, the Lord came to walk with Adam, who hid from His presence. Adam said that he hid because he was “naked.” He had not lost his clothing, but rather, he lost the “Shekinah covering” that enabled him to abide in the manifest presence and glory of the Lord.
This Shekinah now became as a “flaming sword,” to keep the way of the tree of life. The Lord hindered Adam from partaking of the tree of life, and as a result, the process that leads to physical death set in; “lest Adam put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever” (Genesis 3:22-24).
Spiritually, Adam died instantly and lost the covering that enabled him to live in the presence of the Lord. Also, less apparent, he physically died within one day. Peter tells us that one day is as a thousand years. Adam, and all who followed him, died short of a thousand year day.
Adam and Eve “ate” the right to choose for themselves, which then became a part of them. The Lord slew an animal – the first application of blood redemption, and covered them with the skin of this animal. Their sin was forgiven, but what they had eaten remained in them – the right to choose for themselves.
Each of us has been born with this right of choice. When we accepted Jesus as our Savior, we were forgiven and we became a new creation, but this right to choose for ourselves remained with us. We gained it in the Garden of Eden and the Lord will not take it from us, but, we can give up this right to our own lives.
In the Year of Jubilee, slaves were set free. If they chose to remain a slave, their ear was placed on the post of a door and pierced (Exodus 21:6). Years ago, during a service in which this became a reality to me, I went forward to the pulpit and expressed my desire to give up the right to my own life. The edge of the pulpit suddenly became (to me) the post of this door, and I placed my ear on the edge of the pulpit and asked the Lord to pierce it. He would not take the right to my life from me, but He accepted it when I willingly gave it to Him.
More than once I have complained and said, “Lord this is not right.” The Lord has always responded, “You have no rights, as you freely gave them up.” Over many years, I have learned that the Lord knows best. This understanding did not come immediately, but I have found that I am far better off, having unconditionally submitted my life to Him.
Few Christians have subjectively given the unconditional right to their life to the Lord in order to become a “love slave,” giving Him full authority over their life, and all that pertains to them. A kingdom requires three things, a territory, a ruler, and those who are ruled over. He is the King, but will rule only those who have personally given Him permission to do so.
Once I made this commitment, He is no longer just “Jesus my Savior,” or, “Christ Jesus the anointed One, my healer and baptizer.” He has become the “Lord Jesus Christ,” to whom I have fully submitted my life, and who now rules over all that I am, and have. The Lord has brought me back into a cooperative, personal relationship with Himself that was lost in the Garden of Eden.
The Shekinah will yet be fully restored to those who have unconditionally submitted themselves to Him. During our times of testing, the Lord will purge all dross, until His Shekinah shall shine forth as the noon day sun through those who are fully redeemed, and have made Him their Lord.
“When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” II Thessalonians 1:10
“Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you. And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” Isaiah 60:1-3
We are about to experience His glory, but first, we must give up the right to our own lives, so the Lord Jesus Christ can come in His glory and live His life through us.