The wisest man who ever lived likened wisdom, “the fruit of the righteous” and “longing fulfilled,” to the proverbial “Tree of Life” (Proverbs 3:18; 11:30; 13:12). Such exemplars of beauty and blessing, however, find ultimate root in two gardens, with Golgotha in between.
In the beginning, the Tree of Life stood as the centerpiece of the garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, the tree remained a memorial to Paradise lost: God “placed on the east side of the garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24).
Furthermore, standing on the other side of history, the Tree of Life is rooted in an eternal garden, this time, a memorial to Paradise regained. The angel of the apocalypse showed John, the apostle of the apocalypse, “the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse” (Revelation 22:1–3). “To him who overcomes,” said Jesus, “I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (2:7).
Finally, the Tree of Life stands on Golgotha’s hill as the fulcrum of history. On it, Jesus stretches one hand toward the Garden of Eden, the other toward the eternal Garden. The immortality the first Adam could no longer reach, the Second Adam touched in his place. Thus, Jesus vanquished the power of evil, giving ultimate victory to the knowledge of good.
And the man who gains understanding.
For her profit is better than the profit of silver
And her gain better than fine gold.
She is more precious than jewels;
And nothing you desire compares with her.
Long life is in her right hand;
In her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are pleasant ways,
And all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who hold her fast.
Proverbs 3:13–18 NASB