Posts Tagged ‘eternal life’

A Tale of Two Trees

“Out of the ground Adonai, God, caused to grow every tree pleasing in appearance and good for food, including the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:9).

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

The tale of this tree begins when Elohim presented two trees to Adam in the Garden of Eden. He explained the consequence of eating from the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil: death.

I have a vision of this Tree as having one large split trunk called Knowledge. The part of the trunk splitting to the right is ‘Good’ and the other is ‘Evil.’ From each trunk smaller branches reach out with numerous leaves hanging from the branches. Each leaf defines what is ‘good’ and what is ‘evil.’ Whether a leaf produces ‘good’ or ‘evil’ fruit, it is still the fruit of the same tree, a tree that brings death.

Death has two parts: physical and spiritual. Physical death happens when the mortal body returns to the dust from which it came (Ecclesiastes 12:7). Spiritual death is described as eternal separation from Elohim. Even though a person may have a physical life, if they remain spiritually dead, they will be thrown into the lake of fire burning with sulfur to suffer for all eternity (Revelation 14:10-11, 20:15).

After Adam and Havah (Eve) disobeyed Elohim and ate the fruit of the forbidden tree, they were removed from the Garden of Eden. They were sent into the world where they experienced the full knowledge of ‘good’ and ‘evil.’ Havah had children which was ‘good,’ but she watched her son become ‘evil’ and kill his brother. Though there was some ‘good’ with the birth of Seth and when people called on the name of Adonai, ‘evil’ escalated from Nimrod to Noach (Genesis 6:5).

Many years ago my mother-in-law and I discussed death and eternity. She felt she had no need for ‘God’ because she considered herself a ‘good’ person. In fact, she was anti-semitic and wouldn’t have considered a Jewish Savior. I discussed this same subject with a young man who believed only ‘bad’ people went to ‘hell’ and didn’t consider himself ‘bad.’ My question to both: “Who determines the baseline for ‘good’ and ‘evil’? You? Me? Who?

“Because on the day that you eat from it, it will become certain that you will die” (Genesis 2:17 NASB).

When people die, especially innocent ones, those who grieve create a dishonest theology. For example, a young man driving home from work falls asleep at the wheel of his car, hits a tree, and dies leaving a wife and three small children. At his funeral his loved ones say, “He is watching over us.” Why do they say this? Because they need to believe that ‘good’ people are rewarded with some sort of life after death. It makes them feel ‘good’ to believe ‘someone’ they love or loved them is watching over them; that isn’t ‘evil.’

Or, a young alcoholic woman goes to a bar, gets drunk, drives her car off the road and not only kills herself, but several others walking along the road. Inevitably, at the funeral of the ‘innocents,’ the loved ones will say, “They were such good people and we will see them again” with the idea that because of their tragic death, they will be rewarded life after death. The poor girl who caused the accident may be deemed ‘evil’ by those same people while her family rationalizes their pain by suggesting she is now ‘resting in peace.’

Apart from bringing sin into the world through Adam, the serpent brought forth a great deception when he said to Havah, “It is not true that you will surely die” (Genesis 3:4). This lie is the tap root that established the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the soul of mankind. The lie that there is no eternal death keeps the masses believing that everyone who automatically dies passes into some ‘happy ever after’ realm. After all, how many people would honestly say, “Poor Joe is now lost for all time?”

Adam and Havah lost their spiritual life in the Garden and each of us has been born into that same loss. We chew on the same ‘good’ and ‘evil’ leaves of the Tree. There is no one born into this world who will not surely die –– physically as well a spiritually –– whether they pick leaves from the ‘good’ trunk or ‘evil’ trunk. They are both trunks of the same Tree of Death.

The Tree of Life

“Adonai, God, said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, to prevent his putting out his hand and taking also from the tree of life, eating, and living forever” (Genesis 3:22).

The tale of the second tree also begins in the Garden of Eden. Though Elohim explained the consequence of the one tree, He didn’t explain death. He also did not explain the blessing of eternal life with Him.

Adam and Havah learned quickly that death separated them from their Creator. They were removed from Paradise because Elohim did not want them to eat from the Tree of Life while in a state of spiritual death. He did, however, explain that One from the ‘Seed of woman’ would come and restore Paradise (Genesis 3:15).

Restoration to eternal life with our Creator comes through the ‘Seed of woman’ who defeated the curse of death by rising from the dead. He is the only One who is able to watch over us and see what we we’re doing. He is the One who raised people from the dead because he is the ‘resurrection and the life’ (John 11:25). He is the One who restores eternal life to anyone who puts their faith in him (John 3:35-36). He is the Way that restores spiritual life to all mankind because it is Elohim’s will that each person return to the Garden of Eden. This One’s name is Yeshua and means ‘salvation.’

When Lazarus died, Martha believed in a resurrection of the dead at the Last Day and put her faith in the promises of the prophets. She knew that Yeshua represented the presence of Adonai on earth and proclaimed her faith in Him. She was rewarded with seeing her brother restored to life and tasted a healing leaf from the Tree of Life.

“Yeshua said to her, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life! Whoever puts his trust in me will live, even if he dies; and everyone living and trusting in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).

Do you believe what Yeshua asked Martha? Do you believe that Yeshua is the Way to the Tree of Life? Everyone who rejects the Way provided by Elohim does not experience eternal life after physically dying. If family and friends have not accepted the Way provided by Yeshua, then they don’t have any life after death either. Without Yeshua, there is no eternal life; there is no eating the leaves of the Tree of Life.

The Two Choices

When Yeshua hung on the cross, two criminals hung with him. Each of them had the same choice that each of us has up to the moment of death: to trust Yeshua for eternal life or reject him. One criminal mocked Yeshua as many do today; he continued to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The other criminal, even though he knew he was guilty of a crime, acknowledged that Yeshua was the King of a coming Kingdom. Proclaiming his faith in the promise of eternal life even with his last breath brought a promise from Yeshua –– that in the Last Day he would be with him in Paradise eating leaves from the Tree of Life (Luke 23:39-43).

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13).

My mother-in-law who was 92 years old passed away several years ago. She went to sleep never to wake up in Paradise. She was definitely a ‘good’ woman and loved by her family, but she did not understand the offer of Yeshua and didn’t choose it. Her eternal destiny is the lake of burning fire and sulfur unless in the last breaths of her life, she admitted her sinful condition and cried out like the criminal on the cross. I won’t know until the the Resurrection, but I cannot say with confidence that I will see her in the ‘land of the living.’

My mother passed away when she was 43 years old. She was a ‘good’ woman, too. Tragically she died young from leukemia. Though the process of her death was very difficult to watch, I knew when she passed that I would see her again at the Resurrection on the Last Day, not because she was young, loved, or suffered for months, but because she had put her faith in Jesus and his promise of eternal life. She lived and died walking out that faith bearing fruit –– the very large church was packed with those who loved her at her funeral. I know that I will see her in the ‘land of the living.’

Today, we still have a choice between eternal life and eternal death. We can choose to continue eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and remain in a spiritually dead condition thinking everyone is ‘good’ and there is no one truly ‘evil’ and worthy of eternal death in the lake of burning fire and sulfur. Or, we can choose eternal life through faith in Yeshua and enter the restored Garden of Eden and eat the healing leaves from the Tree of Life.

©2020 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

The Roman Road with a Few More Living Stones

There is a gospel tract handed out by Christians that outlines the method for bringing someone to accept Jesus (Yeshua) as Savior. It is called “The Roman Road” and follows Sha’ul’s teachings from the book of Romans. After reading through “The Roman Road,” I felt there needed to be a few more stones in that road, stones that lead a person further down the road to sanctification and their eternal destiny.

Mankind is Separated from God

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

“Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness (or breaks God’s commands); and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). 

“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9).

“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).

Wage of Sin is Death

“For the wages of sin is death…”  (Romans 6:23).

“Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and tend it. The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may freely eat;  but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not [o]eat, for on the day that you eat from it you will certainly die” (Genesis 2:15-17).

“When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves waist coverings” (Genesis 3:6-7).

Substitute Sacrifice for Sin

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Messiah died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.  For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:8-10).

Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram caught in the thicket by its horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering in the place of his son. And Abraham named that place, The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “On the mountain of the Lord it will [e]be provided” (Genesis 22:13-14).

Repentance

“He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins saying …  produce fruit in keeping with your repentance” (Luke 3:3-8).

“Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

Trust in Yeshua

“Salvation (yeshua) is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 ).

“That if you confess with your mouth Yeshua is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved: for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation…. For whoever will call upon the Name of the Lord Yeshua will be saved” (Romans 10:9-10-13).

Born Again of the Spirit

Yeshua answered him (Nicodemus) and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…. Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.  Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born again” (John 3:5-8).

The Renewal of the Covenant

“In the same way, after the seder he (Yeshua) took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:20).

“Behold, days are coming, says the Adonai, when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah…. I will put my Torah (instructions) into their minds, and I will write it upon their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen and everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know Adonai’.  For all shall know me from the least to the greatest of them.  For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:8-12).

Entering Eternal Life

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).

“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:11-13).

“Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Circumcision of the Heart

“A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God” (Romans 2:28-29).

“Moreover, the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, so that you may live” (Deuteronomy 30:6).

Responding in Love

“If you love me, you will obey what I command…. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him….  Yeshua replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.  He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” (John 10:30) “I and the Father are one (echad)” (John 14:15, 21, 23-24).

“The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Yeshua did” (1 John 2:4-6).

New Citizenship

Commonwealth of Israel

“Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men)— remember that at that time you were separate from Messiah, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Messiah Yeshua you who once were far away have been brought near (to Israel, the covenants, hope and the Father) through the blood of Messiah” (Ephesians 2:11-13).

Millennial Kingdom

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Yeshua Messiah” (Philippians 3:20).

Sanctification Through Maturing

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6 ). 

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:2-3).

Set-apart to God, Holiness

“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life” (Romans 6:22). 

“Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Corinthians 7:1).

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;to be made new in the attitude of your minds;and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24). 

“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:14-15).

Obedience to the Will of God

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). 

“For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17)

“Circumcision (being Jewish) is nothing and uncircumcision (being of the nations) is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts” (1 Corinthians 7:19).

“He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Yeshua” (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

The Rewards

“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Messiah Yeshua. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.  If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames” (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Aleph and the Tau, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 22:12-13).

Eternal Sabbath

Now a man came up to Yeshua and asked, “Rabbi, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” … If you want to enter life, obey the commandments” (Matthew 19:16-17).

“The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:8).

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 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. …I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:1-4, 22-27).

©2012 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.