The Relation between the Tree of Life and the Sacraments

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200The Two Trees

Note: In this lesson, the translations from Genesis are your pastor’s. He has done this, hoping you can you get a better “feel” of the poetic language in the Hebrew text. 

Genesis 2:9: And YHWH, God, made sprout from the soil every tree that was pleasing to the eye and good for food: The Tree of Life in the middle of the garden and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Genesis 2:16-17: And YHWH, God, commanded the man, saying: “From every tree of the garden you may eat, yes, eat; but from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil you must not eat, for on the day you eat from it, you will die, yes, die.”

Genesis 3:22-24:

And YHWH, God, said, “Look! The man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. So now, that he does not reach out his hand and take from the Tree of Life, and eat, and then live throughout the ages”–so YHWH, God, sent him away from the Garden of Eden to work the soil from which he had been taken. And he drove out the man and caused to dwell, east of the Garden of Eden, the cherubim and the flaming, ever-turning sword to guard the way to the Tree of Life.

  • Which tree was forbidden before the fall into sin?


  • Which tree was forbidden after that?


  • What does that tell us about God’s original intent for humanity?


To prevent Adam’s sin from becoming the permanent state reality for humanity, God cast Adam out of Paradise and barred him from eating from the Tree of Life. This kept Adam from being trapped in his fallen state of existence. Exiled from Paradise and separated from the Tree of Life, Adam’s days were numbered. Genesis 5:5 marks out the common fate of his children: Adam died.   


The First Sacrifice Pointing to Christ’s Sacrifice

Genesis 3:21: And YHWH, God, made for Adam and his wife robes of skin, and he clothed them.

Genesis 3:21 shows that only the shedding of blood can cover someone’s sins (Hebrews 9:22). That’s because sin brings death, and so death is needed to cover sin. In the Garden, God covered Adam and Eve’s naked sinfulness with clothes made of animal skins, skins gathered by the shedding of blood, by the death of an animal, which God made into clothing for them.

Even back then, another being had to die to cover sin. That was the first physical death after the fall into sin, the death of an animal (or animals) to cover sin. That death did more than point forward to the animal sacrifices to come in the Old Covenant. That death ultimately pointed forward to the death of God’s Son–the death of all deaths–which would usher in the New Covenant. That was the first prophecy to show that it would take death to make right what sin had made wrong.


Read Romans 5:12-18

  • What brought death into this world?


  • If the first Adam brought death, what does the “second Adam,” Jesus, bring?


  • How did Jesus do this? (vs. 18)


When the time was right, to cover up our naked sinfulness, our Lord sacrificed–not just some animal–but His own dear Son. For an eternal solution to our sin problem required the death of someone, not only sinless, but also eternal. And so God sent His own Son to go to the cross of death. 


God’s solution to our death problem: Baptism

If we were to eat from the Tree of Life, we would remain living in our fallen state of sin. Imagine never dying but still being fallen, existing with the corruption of sin still taking its toll on your body. Our existence would become a living death (like zombies?). So, in our current state, the Tree of Life would not be helpful, for it would simply give us life without end without solving the source of our problem: sin. To have life in all its fullness (John 10:10), we also need the cure for death and sin. 

Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-57

  • Which “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”?


  • Your fallen flesh and blood, your perishable body, cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. When, then, does your perishable body put on the imperishable, and your mortal body put on immortality?


Instead of extending your fallen flesh to live on and on, God resolves your “sin problem” by resurrecting your body on the Last Day, but new, perfect, and sinless! Paul poetically described this as the perishable putting on the imperishable and the mortal putting on immortality.  

Although Jesus died on the cross to save us, we still need a way for God to give us what Jesus achieved for us on the cross. We need salvation to come to us in the present tense, not simply be an event in history.

Read Romans 6:3-7

  • Instead of extending our current, corrupted state of being ad infinitum, how does God give to you an imperishable, immortal, and sinless body?


  • Thus, what does God choose to do through baptism that the Tree of Life could not do?


  • Discuss the phrase, “Remember your baptism.”


Read Colossians 2:11-14

  • Like circumcision in the Old Covenant, what does God do through baptism in the New Covenant?


God’s solution to our death problem: The Lord’s Supper

In the Old Covenant, God used circumcision as a way to bring someone into His covenant. However, God also established ways to bring forgiveness to His Old-Covenant people, back then, in real time. He did this through various sacrifices, which all pointed forward to, and connected eternally to, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.  

For us in the New Covenant, God also uses ways to bring to us, in real time, what Jesus earned for us on the cross.

Read Luke 22:14-20

  • What is the New Covenant that Jesus commanded of His Apostles? (vs. 20)


  • What does that say about the role of the Lord’s Supper in fulfilling the Old Covenant and in worship?


Read Matthew 26:26-28

  • In the Old Covenant, through the sacrifices God had mandated, He gave to His people forgiveness in real time. How does God do that in the New Covenant?


Connection between the Covenants (The Tree of Life)


Note: See Appendix to tie in more fully the connection between the Old-Covenant sacrifices and the Lord’s Supper in the New Covenant.


The Tree of Life in Eternity

Read Revelation 2:1-7


Praise Censure Admonition Call to hear The Promise
I know your works, and labor, and patience, and how you cannot bear evil men: and you have tried them who say they are apostles, and are not, and have found them liars, and have borne, and have patience, and for My name’s sake have labored.You hate the work of the Nicolatians, whom I also hate. You have left your first love Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent, and do the first works; if not, I will come to you quickly, and will remove your lampstand out of its place, if you do not repent. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says… To him who overcomes, I will give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.





Nicolatians: A short-lived sect that made comfortable compromises with the world. They rejected, what seemed to them, the false rigor of Christian orthodoxy. They were known for being lax, allowed eating food sacrificed to idols, and made peace with the rampant immorality of their day (Revelation 2:14, 20-21).

  • How does one “overcome,” so he may eat from the Tree of Life?


In Hebrew, “conquering” and “saving” are synonymous: Salvation is victory! He who overcomes does so by being connected to Christ’s victory, which is salvation. The letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation reveal the eternal rewards that await the saints who persevere, that is, remain connected to Christ’s victory for them (Revelation 2:11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). A time will come for the saints who persevere in this life to have access again to the Tree of Life.

Read Revelation 21:1-2, 22:1-5, 14

  • When does the Tree of Life reappear (after Adam and Eve were barred from that tree)? (Revelation 21:1-2, 22:1-2)


Mankind was barred from the Tree of Life after Adam’s rebellion in Eden (Genesis 3:22), but Christ has again given access to that tree in the new heaven and the new earth. 

  • How do people “wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the Tree of Life”?


Galatians 3:26-27: In Christ Jesus, you are all sons of God through faith, for as many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Titus 3:4-6: When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous works we had done. Instead, on the basis of his mercy, he saved us through the washing of new birth and the renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.

As saints still living by faith (as those in heaven are right now as they also are awaiting the fulfillment of their salvation, which will take place on the Last Day), we long for the new heaven and new earth (2 Peter 3:13). In that new creation, the Tree of Life will be there for us as it was in the first creation, when it was still unsullied by sin. From Genesis to Revelation, we learn that the Christian’s life is embodied in the creation story. Paradise was lost. But now, by faith, we press on toward the new paradise, where we will walk with God in eternity, in perfection. 




 OT foreshadowings of the Lord's Super (Lesson on Tree of Life)