3 Trees That Explain Suffering: Tree #3
This is the last of the series of three trees that explain suffering.
Tree #3 is the Tree of Life.
This tree can be found in Revelation 22 which describes the New Jerusalem, or heaven. Jesus says:
“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.’ 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 22:13-14 ESV).
Those who have “washed their robes” are those who have believed in Jesus for salvation.
If anyone has done so, they can have access to the “tree of life.”
What is the tree of life? You might remember that in the Garden of Eden (God’s original creation) there were actually two special trees: “The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:9b ESV).
Adam and Even could eat from that “tree of life” as long as they remained sinless, but once they sinned, they lost access to it (see Genesis 3:22-23). The tree of life symbolizes eternal life.
This tree has been transplanted to the heavenly city: “Between the street of the city and the river there was a tree of life visible from both sides. It produced 12 kinds of fruit. Each month had its own fruit. The leaves of the tree will heal the nations” (Revelation 22:2 GW).
Note two things the tree produces:
1. It produces 12 kinds of fruit, one for each month. We could say this is the original “fruit of the month club!” This symbolizes year round, eternal fruit, or eternal life.
2. This verse also says, “the leaves of the tree will heal the nations.” This symbolizes healing of all kinds. There will be no more diseases, natural disasters, human cruelty, etc.
The Bible describes heaven this way: “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true’” (Revelation 21:4-5 NIV).
Thanks to the second tree (the tree of Calvary), heaven will restore the paradise that existed before the fall via the first tree (the knowledge of good and evil).
The eternal ecstasy of heaven will make the suffering of this earth pale in comparison.
Someone described what this will be like: Imagine that on the first day of January you have a horrible day:
You wake up with a splitting headache.Then you stumble and fall, gashing your head and requiring 10 stitches.You lose your mobile phone.You go to your doctor for a checkup and are diagnosed with cancer.On the way home your vehicle is totaled by an uninsured motorist.Later you have an argument to beat all arguments with your spouse.
But then the next day you wake up to a phone call from the doctor’s office saying the cancer screening was a mistake, that you don’t have cancer and their insurance will pay you $50,000 for “mental anguish.”
And the rest of the year is like day two.
Adoring friends give you a brand new vehicle.Your children earn incredible awards and accolades.You win an around the world luxury trip.You are named “Person of the Year” by the local newspaper.You inherit a million dollars from a rich relative.Admiring your intellect and wisdom, the president begins calling you regularly to ask for your advice.
Finally on New Year’s Eve someone asks you, “So how was your year?” You say, “Wonderful, incredible!” They say, “But how about that very first day?” You suddenly remember and say, “Oh yeah, I almost forgot about that day.”
That is how heaven will be! It will be so wonderful it will make all our suffering on earth fade away.
Talk of heaven always begs a question: Since heaven is so great, what is God waiting for—why not bring heaven NOW?
Why does God seem to be so slow to eliminate suffering?
2 Peter 3:9 (CEV) answers this question: “The Lord isn’t slow about keeping his promises, as some people think he is. In fact, God is patient, because he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost.”
Why is God waiting to end suffering? He is waiting for YOU if you have not yet received salvation! Will you receive Him today?
You can receive forgiveness and eternal life right now. Here is a prayer you can pray to do so: “Thank you that you are a loving God who provided the answer to the suffering we brought into the world through sin. Thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for my sin and raising from death to conquer sin and the grave. Come into my life. Help me to live for you and know that I am yours. Thank you that heaven will be so beautiful it will make our sufferings seem small. Amen.”
If you have prayed in this way, congratulations! Please let me know of your commitment to Christ Jesus. Begin to read the Bible and pray each day. Find a Bible-believing church to be involved in.