The Tree of Life, Chap 2, Section 1 of 2




Scripture Reading: Gen. 2:7-9; 3:2-7; 4:16-22; 6:3, 5; 7:17-24; 11:1-9; 1 Cor. 6:17; Matt. 16:22-25; Rev. 20:10, 14-15; 21:2; 22:1-2

It would be a great help to us to see a brief picture of the tree of life throughout the entire Bible. The Bible starts with two trees and also ends with the result of the two trees. It starts in the same way that it ends.


In the universe there are three parties: God, Satan, and man. Man is in between God and Satan. After man was created by God, he was neutral to God and to Satan. In Genesis God is represented by the tree of life. God presented Himself to man as the tree of life, so the tree of life is the reality of God. There is another tree, the tree of knowledge, representing Satan. Man, created by God with a spirit, soul, and body (2:7), was neutral between these two trees. The three parties in Genesis 2 are God, represented by the tree of life; Satan, the very source of death, represented by the tree of knowledge; and man, who was created by God in three parts. Genesis 2:7 says that “Jehovah God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” This verse shows the tripartite man with the body formed of the dust of the ground, the spirit as the breath of life, and the soul, which was formed when both the spirit and the body came together. Between God and Satan there was and still is a struggle. God is going to perform and fulfill His purpose, and Satan is doing his best to frustrate God’s purpose. All the incidents recorded in the sixty-six books of the Scriptures came either out of the tree of life through man or out of the tree of knowledge through man.


Before man contacted the tree of life by exercising his spirit, Satan came in, and man was tempted to partake of the tree of knowledge. God’s intention was that the tree of life would get into the spirit of man, but before this the tree of knowledge got into the soul of man. Thus, there was a mingling of Satan with man’s soul. All the evil things and sinful stories came out of this mingling of Satan with man in man’s soul. This mingling is the very source of all the evil, sinful things on this earth. Genesis 3 gives a record of this mingling, and in Genesis 4 are seen the consequences of this mingling. The result of the mingling of Satan with man’s soul was a city built up with a culture (vv. 16-22). Cain named the city after his son Enoch. In that culture man became flesh, and all mankind was corrupted with evil (6:3, 5). Due to the corruption of that sinful culture, God sent the flood to judge the human race (7:17-24). A further result of this satanic force with man’s soulish power is that of Babel (11:1-9). Babel was the issue of the mingling of Satan with man’s soulish power. The negative stories of Sodom and Egypt and all the sinful events recorded in Genesis and Exodus came out of this mingling of Satan with man’s soul.

In the Bible there is a line of the satanic work and another line of God’s work. The enemy of God is working all the time by injecting himself into man’s soul. All the evil things and sinful stories come out of the mingling of Satan with man’s soul, the working of Satan into man, with man, and through man. At the same time God works. God’s work is to work Himself into man’s spirit. All the holy things and spiritual stories come out of another mingling, the mingling of God with man’s spirit. Eventually, in the New Testament there is this verse, 1 Corinthians 6:17, which says, “He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” Since the Lord Himself is the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17) and has created us with a spirit (Rom. 8:16), we can be joined to Him as one spirit. The story of Abel testifies of a man who did not live in the soul but in the spirit. The accounts of Enosh, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph also testify of people who were not living by their reasoning in their soul but who were living by the faith in the spirit.

The children of Israel, the descendants of the patriarchs, wandered away from God’s way, but since the day God delivered them from Egypt on the day of the passover, they were taught not to live in a worldly or natural way. They had to live on the lamb. They had to slay the lamb, apply the blood of the lamb, and eat the meat of the lamb. They also learned how to live by eating the unleavened bread. After they came out of Egypt, they were wandering in the wilderness and were taught to live on the heavenly manna. Their living was absolutely different from the worldly and natural way to live. This means that they learned not to live in themselves but to live in the Lord. The lamb of the passover, the unleavened bread, and the heavenly manna on which the children of Israel lived are types of Christ. Furthermore, all the offerings related to the tabernacle and all the things included in the tabernacle are types of Christ. This provides us with a full picture showing the way to live in the spirit, to live not by ourselves but by the Lord.

The children of Israel could not be saved by themselves, and they even could not live by themselves. They had to be saved by the blood of the passover lamb, and they had to live by the passover lamb. In the wilderness they had to live day by day on the heavenly manna. Whatever they lived on was a real type of Christ. The pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud were types of Christ. The rock from which the living water came out to quench their thirst was also a type of Christ. Moses and Joshua, the leaders of the children of Israel, were types of Christ. All these types signify that we should not live according to anything of ourselves; we have to live by Christ. All the worldly people have been occupied and gained by Satan. According to the picture in the Old Testament, only a minority, the children of Israel, were occupied and gained by God. They learned to live, to exist, to move, to have their being, not according to the worldly way but according to the heavenly way. That means that they did not live by themselves, but they lived by the Lord.

Thus, we see a picture of two minglings: first, the mingling of Satan in the soul of man, and second, the mingling of God in the spirit of man. All events throughout the history of the human race have come out of either one or the other. God’s intention is to work Himself into us so that He will be everything to us. But Satan’s intention is to work himself into man to make a counterfeit of the mingling of God with man. Satan does not focus his attention on what we do or on what we try to accomplish. Satan’s intention is to frustrate us from touching God and from being mingled with God. If he can frustrate this, he would allow us to do good and religious things and would even utilize the religious things to frustrate us from being mingled with God.

This is confirmed by the history of the children of Israel. In the early years of their history they learned how to live not by themselves but by the Lord as everything. Everything related to them in the Pentateuch was a type of Christ, showing that the Lord became everything to them, that they lived not by themselves but by the Lord. Eventually, they departed from the Lord Himself and used the things in the Pentateuch as rules and regulations, forming a religion out of the types and shadows of Christ. They were deceived by good and religious things and captured from the Lord to something other than Himself. This is what we call the Jewish religion. This Jewish religion can be seen in both the Old and New Testaments. According to the record of the four Gospels, we can realize how much the enemy, Satan, utilized the Jewish religion to frustrate people from contacting and enjoying the Lord Himself. Satan, the enemy of God, took the very things that God used to bring people to Himself to form a Jewish religion, which he used as a substitute to replace Christ, who is the embodiment of God, in their experience.

When the Lord Jesus came, He was the reality of all the types in the Pentateuch. There are so many items in the Pentateuch, but in the four Gospels there is one person who is all-inclusive. He is the Lamb of God, the unleavened bread, the heavenly manna, the tabernacle with all the offerings, and everything. He is the all-inclusive One. When He presented Himself to the Jews, most would not receive Him because the Jewish people were distracted from Him by their religion and even by the Old Testament. The scribes and Pharisees used the Scriptures to argue frequently with the Lord Jesus. The Holy Scriptures were given by God to bring people to Himself, but even these Scriptures were utilized by God’s enemy to frustrate people from contacting the Lord Himself. The Jewish religionists searched the Scriptures for knowledge, yet they would not come to the Lord Jesus for life (John 5:39-40). This meant that they attached themselves to the tree of knowledge, spending much time in searching, studying, and learning the Scriptures, yet they would not come to the Lord Jesus as the tree of life for life. They attached themselves to something other than the Lord Himself.

The same problem continued in the book of Acts. The church began with a group of people receiving Christ and taking Christ as their life. The church was started and formed in this way. However, the book of Acts and the following Epistles show us that even in the church among the Christians, Satan could utilize so-called Christian things to frustrate and distract people from the Lord Himself. The matter of divisions among the Lord’s children was used by the enemy to frustrate their oneness in Christ.

The divisions came out of two categories of things—teachings and gifts. The Epistles show us that it was due to the teachings and the gifts that divisions began to exist among the Christians. The teachings and the gifts are both good. If they were not good, Christians would not accept them. Paul points out in 1 Timothy that the different teachings are the seed, the source, of the church’s decline, degradation, and deterioration (1:3-4, 6-7; 6:3-5, 20-21). In the church at Corinth there were divisions mostly due to the gifts. The teachings and gifts are good, but we have to realize that they both must be for Christ. Teachings should not be for teachings, and gifts should not be for gifts. All the teachings and gifts must be for Christ. The teachings and gifts must only be a means to convey Christ and should not be an end in themselves. Satan, the subtle one, came in to utilize even the good teachings and the proper gifts to seduce people from Christ.

Finally, at the end of the Scriptures, in Revelation, the worldly system is portrayed as being married to religion. The worldly civilization is pictured as a husband, and religion is likened to a harlot. This is why there is a picture in the book of Revelation of a woman, a harlot, sitting on a beast (17:3). The beast represents the ultimate consummation of all human inventions resulting in institutions and politics, and upon that beast is a woman representing religion. The great mysterious Babylon is a mixture of human civilization with religion. If we are not clear about this vision, it will be easy for us to be seduced from the way of life into something other than the Lord Himself.

Satan injected himself into the soul of man and became mingled with man’s soul. Out of this mingling come all the sinful, evil stories throughout the history of the human race. We have to realize that to live in our soul and deal with religion is a serious matter. Even religion can be utilized by Satan. If we have a clear vision from the Lord, we will see that today many Christians along with Christian activities, religious movements, and Christian doings are utilized by the enemy of God to frustrate people from the tree of life, which is a figure of Christ.

© Living Stream Ministry, 2021, used by permission