The Tree of Life and immortality

The Tree Of Life And Immortality

The tree of life is mentioned in Genesis and The Revelation. The tree of life is mentioned  seven time in total in the scriptures. Three times in Genesis and four times in the Revelation. In Genesis we are shown that the fruit of the tree of life gives immortality, the ability to live forever. We also see that because of sin, Adam and Eve  are denied access to the tree of life so they will not live forever. In the Revelation access to the tree of life is granted to the faithful enabling eternal life. Sin keeps man from eternal life, but faithful obedience grants one eternal life.

In Genesis chapter 2:7 the Bible tells us that God breathed life into man and he became a living being, creature, or soul depending on the translation of the Bible you read. Either way, nowhere does it allude to man being created with or as an immortal soul. It would seem that the only way for one to attain immortality was to eat from the tree of life which had been in the garden in the beginning, but now is in the paradise of God. Access to the tree of life had been available to Adam and Eve, the only tree they were not allowed to eat from was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God had told them if they ate from that tree they would die. He wasn’t saying he would take away their immortal status, but that he would take away their access to the tree of life which gives immortality.

Many have the mistaken impression that humans have an immortal soul that goes on forever. The Bible does not back that up. There are many passages showing that man is mortal, and in his present condition is not fit for eternity. Only in Christ are we made fit for eternity. First let’s look at something Jesus said. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28) Jesus himself says that the soul like the body, can be destroyed. If the human soul were immortal, it could not be destroyed. The apostle Paul said that carnal man cannot inherit the kingdom of God. “I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”(1 Cor 15:50)  In his statement he makes it clear that carnal man is not fit for eternity. Only in the resurrection of the faithful, will mortal man put on immortality, (1 Cor. 15:51-56). In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians he makes it clear that the faithful gain immortality and conversely the lost will face God’s wrath and destruction. (1 Thess. 4:13-5:11)  The apostle Peter in his second letter to the church wanted them to understand the only reason that Jesus promised return had not occurred yet was because God was being patient wanting everyone to come to repentance rather than perish (die). (2 Peter 3:7-10) Peter had to be speaking about something other than the physical death we all must face. Repentance doesn’t save us from physical death, it saves us from the second death, the death of our soul. The second death is spoken of by the Lord himself in Revelation 2:11 and three other times in the Revelation. (Rev. 20:6,14 & 21:8) The first death we all must face, separates from this life and those we love. The second death spoken of in the Revelation speaks of the death of the soul, eternal separation from God. Utter destruction awaits those that suffer the second death. God doesn’t want anyone to succumb to the second death, He wants all to have eternal life in heaven with him. That is why is so patient in sending Jesus back to collect the faithful.

Ultimately it is only because of Jesus sacrifice on the cross that mankind has access to the tree of life once again. Access to immortality. Eternity in the presence of God Almighty! Our souls are not immortal, our bodies most certainly are not. Jesus is our only means of access to immortality. He is the Way the Truth and the Life, no one can go to the Father, no one can access the tree of life except through Jesus alone. We must strive toward the Tree of Life.

 

© 2017 Leo J Woodman

 

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The church is

The Church Is.

© 2017 Leo J Woodman

“The church is not in need of reformation or restoration, nor  is it emerging. It has always been and will always be… those that gather around the crucified Christ. The church is.” – Leo  Woodman

 

To apply labels such as reformation, restoration or emerging to the church is to label it as being formed, shaped or coming to into being via man’s will. Yet we would claim to be only bringing about what the Lord had planned for His church from the beginning. The thought that man somehow is more capable of bringing about the Lord’s will more than He is, is to overstep our bounds with immense arrogance. Jesus said He would build His church, so we should not to presume that humanity has deconstructed it. As if that were possible. If the gates of hell or hades cannot prevail against His church, how can humanity?

 

The church must be something other than what we imagine it to be. It must be more than what we claim it to be. It must be beyond the ability of man to form or destroy. Jesus said He would build His church on the bedrock statement that the apostle Peter made… “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Although Peter made the statement, it did not originate with him. Jesus said; “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”1 God Himself gave Peter the revelation about Jesus. The bedrock foundation for Jesus’ church was from heaven, not from man. The origins of the church is not from man, but from heaven.

 

For millennia man has sought to control, manipulate, reform, restore or bring into being the church Jesus established in His own blood. As Jesus was teaching His disciples how He would die he made this statement… “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”2 Not only was He speaking of how He would die, but how He would build His church (His assembly). The cross, His death on that cross and His resurrection draw all people to Him. They are not drawn to an institution, organization or movement. They are drawn to Jesus Christ and Him crucified. They are drawn to the one that died for their sins. Drawn to the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. His church is built on Him, the Christ, the Son of the living God.

 

His church came into being the day He gave himself for the sins of fallen humanity. His church is.

 

We need to look at the word of God to see the way His church would be built up from the bedrock of His sacrifice. Jesus Himself makes statements regarding how to draw people to Him. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”3   He commanded His remaining eleven disciples (apostles) to go and make more disciples from all the nations of the world.

 

In order for them to make these new disciples they had to share the good news (the gospel). They had to share what they experienced as they learned at Jesus feet, and what they witnessed at the foot of the cross. They had to share Jesus Christ and Him crucified with those that would listen. And when they came to believe in the Savior being preached to them they were to be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. After these new disciples were baptized they were to be taught all that Jesus had commanded His apostles. Jesus and His commands built His church, it was not of human origin.

 

The how, where, and when of the building of Jesus church was revealed to the apostles by Jesus Himself before returning to heaven. This is what occurred before Jesus ascended to the Father… So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.4

 

Everything occurred just as Jesus said it would. Luke records the events of the building of Jesus church in the Acts of the apostles.When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.5 The apostles received the Holy Spirit Jesus as said they would, on the day of Pentecost. From this point forward they began to be the witnesses Jesus had said they would be. Beginning with Peter’s first address to the crowd gathered in Jerusalem.

 

Three thousand that had heard Peter speak about Jesus as both Lord and Christ believed, became disciples and were baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins. The church was being built on the bedrock statement “Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God. Peter had preached Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and three thousand were drawn to the lifted up Christ! The church (assembly) of believers had begun in Jerusalem. Immediately the teaching of everything that Jesus commanded had begun… And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.6 Such a simple and humble beginning.

 

Luke records in Acts the the beginning of the persecution of the church that spreads the apostles teachings to Judea and Samaria just as Jesus said would happen. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.7 The building of the church continued unabated even though the powers that be in Jerusalem were absolutely against it. They were fighting God Himself and they would not win, as Gamaliel the Pharisee had warned them.

 

The apostles by way of their teaching and preaching had witnessed to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria as Jesus had commanded. Soon their witness would go to the gentiles and the ends of the earth. This happened through the apostle Peter going to the gentiles first in his meeting with Cornelius  and his household, and later with the apostle Paul and his companions taking the apostles teaching to the rest of the world.

 

The church’s foundation is Jesus and His commands. It is continuing to be built to His standards. All believers are drawn to the crucified Christ. This truth has not changed and cannot be changed. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one will get to the Father except through HIM. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”8  The apostle Peter’s proclamation rings true today and until Jesus comes again.

There is no other name. The church is.

 

(all quotes from the ESV)

  1. Matthew 16:17
  2. John 12:32
  3. Matthew 28:19-20
  4. Acts 1:6-9
  5. Acts 2:1-4
  6. Acts 2:42
  7. Acts 8:1
  8. Acts 4:11-12

 

Time doesn’t heal anything

time heals all woundsTime doesn’t heal anything

 

Time doesn’t heal anything

Time like wind and sand  bury  everything

 

But the wounds are right below the surface

They are bared every time the wind blows in the right direction

 

Time shapes and shifts our lives

But the past protrudes through the sand, a painful projection

 

Prayer is the balm for eyes of the heart

A salve for one’s protection

 

Man’s actions hurt and maim

Leaving others crippled and laim

 

God’s love covers all

A bandage for wounds great and small

 

Turn to him when the scars feel too deep

When darkness around you creeps

 

Know His love for you runs deep

Go to Him when you weep

 

The Father’s love will sooth the pain

He’ll help you get back on your way again

 

© 2017 Leo J Woodman