"The words of Jehovah, 'The man is become as one of Us, to know good and evil,'
contain no irony, as though man had exalted himself to a position of autonomy resembling
that of God; for 'irony at the expense of a wretched tempted soul might well befit Satan,
but not the Lord.' Likenss to God is predicated only with regard to the knowledge of good
and evil, in which the man really had become like God. In order that, after the germ of
death had penetrated into his nature along with sin, he might not 'take also of the
tree of life, and eat and live for ever, God sent him forth from the garden of Eden.'
With 'sent him forth' the narrative passes over from the words to the actions of God. From
the 'also' it follows that the man had not yet eaten of the tree of life. Had he continued
in fellowship with God by obedience to the command of God, he might have eaten of it, for
he was created for eternal life. But after he had fallen through sin into the power of
death, the fruit which produced immortality could only do him harm. For immortality in a
state of sin is not...which God designated for man, but endless misery, which the
Scriptures call 'the second death' (Rev 2:11; 20:6,14; 21:8).The expulsion from paradise,
therefore, was a punishment inflicted for man's good, intendeed, while exposing him to
temporal death, to preserve him from eternal death. To keep the approach to the tree of
life, 'God caused cherubim to dwell (to encamp) at the east of the garden, and
the (i.e. with the) flame of the sword turning to and fro' (moving rapidly).
The word cherub has no suitable etymology in the Semitic...The cherubim,
however are creatures of a higher world, which are represented as surrounding the throne
of God, both in the visions of Ezekiel (1:22; 10:1) and the Revelation of John (4:6); not,
however, as throne-bearers or throne-holders, or as forming the chariot of the throne, but
as occupying the highest place as living beings in the realm of spirits, standing by the
side of God as the heavenly King when He comes to judgment, and proclaiming the majesty of
the Judge of the world. In this character God stationed them on the eastern side of
paradise, not 'to inhabit the garden as the temporary representatives of man,' but 'to
keep the way of the tree of life,' i.e. to render it impossible for man to return to
paradise, and eat of the tree of life. Hence there appeared by their side the flame of a
sword, apparently in constant motion, cutting hither and thither, representing the
devouring fire of the divine wrath, and showing the cherubim to be ministers of judgment.
With the expulsion of man from the garden of Eden, paradise itself vanished from the
earth. God did not withdraw from the tree of life its supernatural power, nor did He
destroy the garden before their eyes, but simply prevented their return, to show that it
should be preserved until the time of the end, when sin should be rooted out by the
judgment, and death abolished by the Conqueror of the serpent (1 Cor 15:26), and when upon
the new earth the tree of life should flourish again in the heavenly Jerusalem, and bear
fruit for the redeemed (Rev 20 and 21)."
(Commentary on the Old Testament, Keil & Delitzsch)
"So Christ, under the name of Wisdom, is called the Tree of Life ('She is a
tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth
her'--Proverbs 3:18); and this is a name which is sometimes given by the Jews to the
(The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible)
How many trees were there in the Garden of Eden?
Those who know the story always answer, "At least two." That is, the Tree of
Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and more than likely, many more trees as
well. Otherwise, what value would G-d's words have when He told Adam:
"You may eat from every tree in the Garden, except from the Tree of Knowledge of
Good and Evil. If you do, you will certainly die, from that day." (Bereishis 2:16-17)
However, the true answer is one--one tree, and it was the Tree of Life. Every other
"tree" was actually a "branch" off the Tree of Life, that is, until
Adam ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil without G-d's permission. From that
point onward, the Tree of Knowledge "split" from the Tree of Life and gained an
independent existence. This split was a warning of things to come, a hint to the divisive
powers let loose upon creation.
(Perceptions - Vayigash: A Matter of Approaches, Rabbi Pinchas Winston, Project Genesis)
In 1993, Natalia Polosmak of the Institute of Archaeology, Novosibilsk found a tomb
containing the remains of a woman who was subsequently dubbed the "Siberian Ice
"For her afterlife this yong woman was beautifully dressed. She wore a three foot
tall head-dress made of felt which took up 1/3 of her coffin and a necklace of wooden
camels. Other creatures adorned the head-dress, among them [a] mystical griffin. All [the]
carvings were originally coated in gold leaf.
Natalia Polosmak, Institute of Archaeology
"It seems to me the black head-dress was a symbol of the tree of life. We have some
indirect evidence for this from the pattern of 15 wooden birds which were sewn onto it.
And we think the tree of life in mythology is supposed to bring universes together--the
higher universe of the gods and the universe of humankind come together with this symbol.
"[A] gold buckle retrieved from another tomb, makes the symbolism even clearer.
Here a woman's head-dress and branches of the tree of life are intertwined.
"This head-dress is unique. There is no need to imagine how the various details were
attached because it was found intact. It was also an expression of this woman's life. It
showed her place in society, her family and tribe. Anything worn on the head had to be as
high and striking as possible and so the head-dress was very large. It was literally a
The rollers that hold a Torah scroll are known by Jews, as the "Trees of
Life". The tree of life is also known as Torah:
Proverbs 3:13-20 Blessed is the man who finds wisdom (The Living Torah), the man who
gains understanding, For she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than
gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare 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 embrace her; those who lay
hold of her will be blessed. By wisdom The LORD laid the earth's foundations, by
understanding he set the heavens in place; By his knowledge the deeps were divided, and
the clouds let drop the dew.
We can now understand why the following is recited when the Torah scroll is returned to
"Return O LORD, to the myriads of Israel's families. Arise The LORD to Your
resting place, You and Your mighty ark. Clothe Your priests with righteousness. May those
who have experienced Your faithful love shout for joy. For the sake of Your servant David,
don't delay the return of Your Messiah."
"I give you good instruction; do not forsake My Torah. A tree of life it is for
those who take hold of it, and blessed are the ones who support it. It's ways are ways of
pleasantness, and all it's paths are peace. Long life is in it's right hand, in it's left
are riches and honor. The Lord was pleased for the sake of His righteousness, to render
the Torah great and glorious."
This prayer clearly portrays the Torah as the "tree of life". This tree is
mentioned a couple of times in the book of Proverbs as pertaining to Messiah. This tree
still exists! One day the righteous will have the right to eat from this tree...
(Eden, Greg Killian)
THE TREE OF LIFE ALSO IN THE MIDST OF THE GARDEN ...
The Tree of Life, according to a tradition, extends over five hundred years'
journey, and all the waters of Creation issue from its foot. This tree was in
the middle of the Garden, and it collected all the waters of Creation, which
afterwards flowed from it in different directions. For the perennially flowing
stream rests upon this Garden and enters it, and the waters issuing from it
divide into numbers of streams below which water the "beasts of the
field", just as the waters originally issued from the supernal world and
watered the celestial "mountains of pure balsam". (Soncino Zohar,
Bereshith, Section 1, Page 35b)
AND OUT OF THE GROUND MADE THE LORD GOD TO GROW EVERY TREE THAT IS
PLEASANT TO THE SIGHT, AND GOOD FOR FOOD; THE TREE OF LIFE ALSO IN THE MIDST OF
THE GARDEN (II, 9). It was taught: It was a tree which spread over all
living things [footnote: i.e., over the whole world]. R. Judah b. R. Ilai said:
The tree of life covered a five hundred years’ journey, and all the primeval
waters branched out in streams under it. R. Judan said in the name of R. Judah
b. R. Ila'i: Not only its boughs but even its trunk was a five hundred years’
journey. (Midrash Rabbah - Genesis XV:6)
AND WHEN THEY CAME TO MARAH THEY COULD NOT DRINK OF THE WATERS OF MARAH,
FOR THEY WERE BITTER...Then HE (Moses) CRIED UNTO THE LORD, AND THE LORD SHOWED
HIM A TREE, WHICH, WHEN HE CAST IT INTO THE WATERS, THE WATERS WERE MADE SWEET
[Ex. 15:23]. The tree is a symbol of the Torah, which is “a tree of life
to those who lay hold upon her" (Prov. III, 18), and the Torah and the Holy
One, blessed be He, are one.’ R. Abba said: ‘The “Tree" is a direct
symbol of the Holy One, for it says: “The tree of the field is (the supernal)
Adam" (Deut. XX, 19). (Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 60a-60b)
[In the Zohar]...another name given to God ... is the ‘Tree of Life’, in
the branches of which the souls of the righteous are figured as resting. Hence,
when an Israelite carries out the Torah, he is said to be cleaving to the Tree
of Life. (Zohar Appendix III)
“And reproofs of instruction are the way of life." There are two ways: a
way of life and a way of death. The way of life can be recognized by “reproofs
of instruction"; for the Holy One, desiring to guard the way of life, sets on
it one who chastises and gives “reproof of instruction" to the children of
the world. Who is this? It is that “flaming sword which turned every way, to
keep the way of the tree of life" (Gen. III, 24). He who has experience of the
“reproofs of instruction" will certainly endeavour to walk in that way of
life where dwell those “reproofs". At first sight it would seem that the
words “the reproofs of instruction are the way of life" contradict the
beginning of the verse, but, interpreted as above, they contain the whole
mystery of Faith. “The commandment is a lamp" contains the mystery of “keep";
“the Torah is a light" contains the mystery of “remember"; while “the
reproofs of instruction are the way of life" refers to the prohibitions and
penalties contained in the Torah. And all forms one mystery of Faith, and each
of them is necessary to the other to produce a proper synthesis. (Soncino Zohar,
Shemoth, Section 2, Page 167a)
Please see The
"Cross" of Christ by John D. Keyser where he speaks of the
different crosses used by the Romans for executing criminals. Conclusions
reached are that Jesus carried just one cross piece and that he was nailed to a
For more on the crucifixion, please see Why
Did Christ Die Before the Two Robbers? also by John D. Keyser. When someone
was accused of blasphemy they were usually stoned and this would help explain
some of the references to how the Messiah would die.
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