MInistering: Rev. Kayode Oyegoke
Text: Genesis 2:16-17, Isaiah 7:9-16, Hebrews 5:14, Revelation 22:2
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil would not have posed any threat if death was not hanging on it. If the fruits of the Tree of Life would give life (the knowledge of God), then the fruits of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil could not just have been fruits, that could be gotten from just anywhere. It was a tree that would deliver death to whoever partook of it. Judging from the agricultural and architectural templates of Genesis 1-2 and Revelation 21-22, we can deduce that the Garden of Eden is the city of God.
Another word for Eden is Paradise. All of heaven is not Paradise. Paradise is where the Tree of life is. It is, however, possible to grow a garden, which is not the Paradise of God without the Tree of Life. The essence of the Garden of God was to keep the Tree of Life. In Revelation 2:7, the reward of one who overcomes is to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. This means that the Tree of Life can only be found in Paradise.
It was mercy that brought the Tree of Life to Eden, where we also had the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. These trees are spiritual. It is possible that if Adam had overcome the temptation of eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, he would have overcome and ended all temptation. Knowledge from this Tree is what built the civilisation of natural men.
Adam was a dresser of the Garden. He was supposed to tend and keep it (Gen. 2:15). Adam tended the Garden for a while but he failed to keep it. He must have left it open for the serpent to come in. The only right of way the serpent had into the garden was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The path of Adam was tied to his keeping of the Garden. His failure to keep it and the things therein left an opening for the serpent. It was also failure on his path to allow the woman and serpent converse. That he allowed it showed that, on his part, he failed to keep the woman.
After he partook of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, he brought a curse on himself, which changed his path from one who tended the garden to one who tilled the ground. This way, he became the last man who had the stature that could keep the Garden. Every other man that came after him became tillers of the ground. Every man today is a tiller of the ground, regardless of their social status or the affluence, pomp and pageantry that surrounds them.
A further result of the fall of man was that he would return to dust because he had become dust (Gen. 3:19). Although Adam’s body was taken from dust, he was given the breath of God and he became a living soul. Anyone who partakes of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil becomes dust and anyone who partakes from the Tree of Life lives. Although man’s soul was not made of dust but is made of God’s breath, it had the capacity to live the life of the outward man (body) and, as a result, become dust.
The best that science can come up with is flesh and bones; they can neither give spirit nor soul. Unlike Adam, Eve was not taken from dust. She was taken from the gene of Adam. This was a pointer to the fact that man was not ordained to be dust but to life/ be living. Adam may not have known Eve if she had been made from dust because he was already a living soul. He could recognise her because she was fashioned from his gene- living soul; a formation that the animals in the Garden never had.
Tilling the ground is a sign of weakness. Every generation after Adam is a tiller of the ground, signifying that man lacks the strength to look up to God (for life/sustenance) but looks to the earth (for life/sustenance). This is why we need resurrection. The leaves of the Tree of Life are for healing; they heal man from his bent state (as one who looks to the ground) and raise him to a point where he can stand and obtain mercy to partake of the fruit of the Tree.
Genesis 3:22 shows us that the reason man died was that he had become as a god, “knowing good and evil”. This knowledge is resident in every offspring of Adam. What we know naturally is from the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. It trains a man to know Good and Evil and then trains him to choose Evil. The leaves of the Tree of Life is what heals us from this knowledge. This is because it gives man a different knowledge and understanding of what Good and Evil is, according to God. The Tree of Life trains man to refuse the Evil and choose the Good.
The good that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil gives is a kind of righteousness, which justifies evil. It possesses a kind of righteousness that allows evil to thrive. The Tree supplies a veiled knowledge of what evil is and behind this veil is departure from God (which is the reality of what this Tree delivers). This tree was wiser than Adam who partook of it and what it dispenses to man is sin and death, in a cycle that never ends.
The two trees in the Garden of Eden were from two heavenly beings. The Tree of Life was of the divine nature while the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was from an angelic nature (Lucifer). Both natures were higher than the nature Adam had. Adam was deceived by Satan to partake of his nature (sin and death). Satan was once a cherub, possessing one of the finest natures of angels (Ezek. 28:12-13). The skill with which he was able to deceive angels of lower pedigree to himself was the same that he used in killing man.
Nature propagated laws which at a level were deterrents to sin. Unfortunately in our days, these laws are not enough to safeguard the soul anymore. This is because the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is able to twine itself around these laws and still lead man to sin and death. For example, the law of the conscience was able to deter sin to an extent but apostle Paul showed us that sin took advantage of the law to wrought sin in man (Rom. 7:8). Sin does not manifest without knowledge. Although there are innate tendencies to sin, they would not express themselves till knowledge comes.
When Adam ate of the fruit of that Tree (of the knowledge of Good and Evil), something mixed with his seed that got transferred down the generation of man. As such, every man has sin within him. It is possible to have something and not manifest it. There are sins within man that have not been expressed yet, either because of shame or stigma that the society/community attaches to those acts. God gave the Law through Moses to keep the law of sin and death from killing the conscience of man entirely.
Even sometimes, as believers, we do not commit some sins because of shame; not because we love the Lord. We resist some sins because of the stigma that committing them brings, not because we hate them. We do not give expression to many tendencies to sin that we have within us because of shame. Shame is not enough to take away sin; the best that it can do is suppress it. Suppressing acts of sin and overcoming them are two different things.
Unfortunately, there is a teaching of grace that tells men that their sins have already been forgiven and there is no need for repentance. This teaching is twisted. Once your sense of judgment, which makes you remorseful when wrong is done is tampered with, you are dead even if you are a believer. A healthy soul should feel remorse after sinning because godly sorrow leads to repentance (2 Cor. 7:10). These false teachings trumpeted here and there is a sign of the latter times when men would yield to seducing spirits and doctrine of devils and depart from the faith (1 Tim. 4:1-2).
Satan lusts after souls; he captures the rulers of nations and sells lies to them in the name of innovation, creativity, bright futures, breakthroughs and glories. He paints the hope of this world to souls of rulers and parents. These things look good but what lies underneath it is death. Satan seeks such avenue to capture souls and steal life from them while they are yet tender. This is what makes nations of the world afraid and apprehensive of one another. A reason God gave us dull leaders in Nigeria is to slacken the pace of our descent into godlessness.
It does not matter how technologically advanced a nation is, it is full of reproach if sin is found within her borders (Prov. 14:34). Evil spirits, which are full of envy and strife propagate class, divisions according to social status engender envy, ambition, among men. Unfortunately, even the church now judges by and according to “class”. This is why rich people would want something different from what those who are less privileged have, even amidst the brethren. The good feeling you have when you have an edge above others is a symptom of this evil.
We must be careful how we treat men who are of low estate. As high as Christ is, He can condescend to men of low estate. This iniquity, which Christ hates is what Lucifer regarded in his heart (Ps. 66:18, Ezek. 28:15, Heb. 1:9). Iniquity is not weakness of the flesh, it is a standard, status of living which appeals to the flesh. When one respects a man because of his placement in the natural, he has regarded iniquity (Jam. 2:2-4). Whosoever will love righteousness, must hate iniquity, the two cannot coexist (Heb 1:9). Whoever regards iniquity in his heart in this life will not be a partaker of Christ.
Inside the Tree of the Knowledge of the Good and Evil are exaltations and every high thing that opposes God (2 Thess. 2:4). It is able to deceive a man that he is God and he will seat on the throne of Satan; this is the name of blasphemy which the antichrist inherited from Satan (Rev. 13:1). Iniquity promises man a name! Jesus said, however, “that which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination before God” (Luk. 16:15). The things that are esteemed among men are glories, exaltation, class, finesse and names. Men who pursue these are those who think godliness is gain (1 Tim. 6:5). You must never forget that “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6).
The only nation which can hinder the propagation of the knowledge gotten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the holy nation and royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:9). This nation is a people who have been taught to love the good and refuse the evil. It takes one who has come to full age to refuse the judgement of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Such a person must have partaken of strong meat which is able to make a man discern between good and evil (Heb. 5:14).
Unfortunately, the judgment of this evil Tree is in the churches. This is why we ought to grow up so that we would not be tossed to and fro (Eph 4:14). Most men and ministers who are philosophically inclined often proffer solutions that are not of God. We need to be wary of such men so that we will not be ruined (Col. 2:8). One of the things that we will experience in a few years from now is the growth of saints beyond the meal served by ministers such as these, some of whom already have the body of Christ in “their grip”. This is because the things peddled by such ministers are not healthy for the consumption of the souls of believers and they hinder the prosperity of righteousness in those lives. These things are often borne out of the lusts of men.
If such a man, however, is sincere enough to heed to the warnings and instructions of God, he will be taught to love the good and refuse the evil. The major thing that stood out in the Lord’s assessment of the seven churches in the book of Revelation is “love” and “hate”. He commended them for what they loved and hated. As we journey towards the throne, we cannot embrace all things because even the Lord Himself does not do so.
The Lord commended the church at Ephesus for their exploits with the faith of the Son (Rev. 2:2-3). He reproved them for neglecting their first love (which can only be found in the strong meat of the word) and of note, He commended them for hating something that He hated, which was the deeds of the Nicolaitans (Rev. 2:6). The Lord had mercy on them by allowing their candlestick remain, which was an indication that their journey into the Most Holy Place could continue. We must have Love (for what God loves) and Hate (for what God hates) within us as we journey towards God.