In Heaven we will live forever – this seems like immortality. So why is there need for the Trees of Life described in Revelation 22:2. In “Created Mortal” I had proposed that man’s need for the Tree of Life in the Garden indicated that man was created mortal. Some interesting things cropped up as I looked into this.
Now here’s a big tip. I don’t think God wants you to be sidetracked by subtle issues like the initial mortal/immortal state in Genesis. When I read about the trees in Revelation 22 I see...
These points portray a plentiful and unrestricted supply of the essence of health and life. Everything is a dramatic upgrade on the Garden of Eden – so much better shall Heaven be than even the created state of man. That is what you what to carry away with you from the Revelation 22 trees.
Now it is clear that Adam needed the Tree of Life to live forever – God said so in Genesis 3:22. But take note that nothing in Revelation says that we “need” to eat from the Trees of Life to live forever. It is an eternal realm. There is no Tree of Life in the Lake of Fire and that also is an eternal realm. Immortality or eternal life is the state of everyone when they are raised from death on the last day. It’s just a question of where you will spend eternity.
The trees of Life in Heaven are God’s blessing. They feed from the river of grace from His throne and the light of His presence. It’s going to be a delight and a joy beyond anything we can imagine to eat of this fruit, second only to the fact that we will be in the New Jerusalem and close to Jesus.
When we look at the Old Testament we see that God required everyone to periodically come to Jerusalem to worship and to feast. Though some were solemn there was also feasting and celebration. The Trees of Life lining the main street of the New Jerusalem certainly speak of feasting and celebration. But it was also a time to refocus and to worship God, being thankful to Him for each major feast was a remembrance of things God had done. But failure to keep the Passover was reason to be cut off (Numbers 9:13). Another reason to see that acknowledging Jesus on the cross will deny you access to Heaven because Jesus was God’s Passover Lamb.
So it seems to be in God’s nature to set things up in ways that periodically call us back to Him and remind us that we need Him and that this is essential. It is essential because He is the source of Life. This is evident in the weekly, monthly and annual cycles. So it comes as no surprise that in the Garden, God required man to periodically come to the Tree of Life to acknowledge Him and be close to His presence that was there. This suggests that a single byte did not impart immortality, but that ongoing refreshing was required.
I imagine that this will be debated, but to me it just seems to be God’s way. There is a phrase that talks about being “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) or with “the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19). It occurs in many places and I cannot recall which one, but I recall a preacher talking about the fill word in one scripture having the context of an “ongoing filling” not so much a once off filling. (Can anyone out there testify to the needing a refill now and then?) So again, the ongoing or repeated eating seems natural.
So I can easily accept that perhaps once every 1,000 years or so, man in his initial mortal state would have needed to eat from the Tree of Life. In heaven I will not eat from the Tree of Life to renew my mortal life but to partake of the life that is in God and is concentrated in the fruit and leaves of the trees there. Jesus is Life (John 14:6). God actually posses immortality, not is immortal (1 Timothy 6:16). I think that this life that is in God and Jesus is in some measure stored in the fruit of the Trees of Life. We literally fulfil 1 Timothy 6:19, “to take hold of this life”, by taking hold of this fruit. Heaven is just going to be so simple. The things of the spirit that seem abstract in this world are actually reality.
By the way, I am probably wrong. God says that Heaven is beyond anything I can conceive (1 Corinthians 2:9). But it’s going to be better than whatever I conceive, even with the hints from Revelation. Why don’t you try and conceive something even more wonderful. I find it hard. I have a friend who likes motor cycling and he’s going to have a motor cycle in Heaven. We joke about it – wow, God has provided salvation even for motorcyclists! But our contemplations manifest the promise of the reality of Heaven and all that God will provide for those He loves.