From the very beginning of time there have been two trees. In the Garden of Eden, the trees were "the tree of life...and the tree of knowledge of good and evil." (Gen. 2:9). The "tree of life" was intended to provide everlasting life (Gen. 3:22), and "the tree of knowledge of good and evil" was a potential for death. Man was created to live, and therefore eat from the life-giving Source. On the other hand, man was free to choose death by eating of the forbidden tree. He was well instructed regarding his well-being.
You have probably read the story of how "the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety" (2 Cor. 11:3), and how "Adam was not deceived" (1 Tim. 2:14), but willfully transgressed God's command not to eat of the forbidden tree. "...Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of [YAH, their Father]". What was the cause of that? There was something about them that would avoid the presence of God, something that was not in harmony with God, and caused them to hide themselves rather than to welcome Him. "And[YAH, their Father] called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked?" (Gen. 3:9-11). Now the question: "Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" And [Adam] said, Yes, I have; and I am inclined to think that it was not exactly right; and I am sorry. Did he say this?? No! But why did Adam not confess his sin? He did not answer yes , though that is all the answer there was any room for. All he could answer was, "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." (verse 12). In all this he was simply saying, in substance, "I would not have done it if it had not been for the woman; because she gave it to me; and if the woman had not been here, she would not have done it; and if You had not put the woman here, she would not have been here. Therefore if she had not been here, she would not have given it to me; and if she had not given it to me, I would not have done it: so, of course, as a matter of fact, I did eat; but the responsibility is back yonder." What was it in him, and about that, that would lead him to involve everybody else in the universe before himself, and before admitting that he had any part in it at all? --Nothing but love of self, self-defense, self-protection. "And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." (verse 13). She answered the question the same way that Adam did. The same thing caused her to dodge the question and involve somebody else, that caused Adam to do that. Nothing but love of self, self-defense, self-protection.
Why did they not answer God's question straight? They could not do it. And they could not do it, because the mind with which they were actuated, which had taken possession of them, which held them in bondage, and enslaved them under its power, is the mind that originated self-exaltation in the place of God, and never will allow itself the second place even where God is. That mind is the mind of Satan. This mind of Satan which takes a self-assertive course is confirmed in sin and rebellion against God. This mind is called in Romans 8:7 the carnal mind, which means "the mind of the flesh". So the verse reads, "The mind of the flesh is hostility against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Compare this verse with James 4:4. "...know ye not that the friendship of the world is [hostility] with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." Then "the mind of the flesh" is the same as "the friendship of the world", and both are hostility against YAH, our Father.
Remember, "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." "Do men gather grapes of thorns..." [No!] Do men gather "figs of thistles?"[No!] (Matt. 7:16). "Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things [should not happen]. Doth a fountain send forth at the [opening] sweet water and bitter? [No!] Can the fig tree...bear olive berries? [No!] either [can] a vine [bear] figs? [No!]so no fountain [can] yield both salt water and fresh." (James 3:10-12). There are only two choices in this life: 1) "the tree of life", and 2) "the forbidden fruit". What you eat is what you are, and "Ye shall know them by their fruits..." (Matt. 7:16). "No one can serve two masters..." (Matt. 6:24). What you do tells which tree you have become, and one cannot eat from both trees at the same time. After Adam and Eve fell, their accessibility to the tree of life was restricted "lest [they] put forth [their] hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever". Without this mandate the fallen pair would have become immortal sinners. Rebellion and corruption would have ruled the universe. Only through repentance and death to self could life be renewed. The "hostility" which separated man from God must be destroyed so that the life God intended for him could be restored.
The mind of Satan accepted by Adam and Eve took in the whole world; because they, in that acceptance, surrendered this world to Satan, and thus, he became the god of this world. Accordingly, that is the mind of this world; that is the mind that controls the world. This mind of Satan, the mind of the god of this world, is the mind that controls mankind, as mankind is in and of this world; and mankind in itself is "hostility against God."
"That is why Adam and Eve could not answer God's straight question straight. Men can answer that question straight now. But at that time they could not, for the reason that Satan had taken them under his dominion, and there was no other power to control them. His control was absolute, and there at that moment was "total depravity." But God did not leave him there; he did not leave the race in that condition. God says to the serpent, "I will put[hostility] between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; [He] shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel." (Gen. 3:15). Thus there are two hostilities in this world, just as there are TWO TREES. One is from Satan, and is hostility against God; the other is from God, and is hostility against Satan. And through these two hostilities, come the two mysteries--the mystery of God, and the mystery of iniquity. Man was set free to choose which authority he would follow with the promise, "I will put [hostility] between [Satan] and the [human race in Christ]." That hostility, being "the righteousness of God," came in the form of YAHSHUA, the Christ. Through Him, man could choose which king and which world he will have. And since the time of that promise of Christ in Genesis 3:15, the man who will choose God's way, and yield his will to the control of God, can answer a straight question unto the Lord, so that when the Lord comes and asks, Did you do so and so? he can answer, Yes, without bringing anybody else into it at all. This is confession of sin. And thus came the ability to confess sin, and reveals the blessed truth that the power to confess sin and turn from evil is the gift of God." (Adapted from A.T. Jones, 1895).
YAHSHUA is consistent in His teaching on THE TWO TREES. The trees represent people, and only two classes of people--those with the mind of Satan, and those with the mind of Christ. The blessed man "shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." (Psalms 1:3). "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of [YAH ] shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age..." (Psalms 92:12-14). The cursed man "shall be like the [shrub] in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness..."(Jer. 17:6). "Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be rooted up." (Matt. 15:13). The blessed man "shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not[fear] when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit." (Jer. 17:8). What is the fruit that "the good tree" yields? We find this answer in Galatians 5:22,23, "...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (in emotions as well as eating and drinking)...". "'He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.' The vine-branch, nourished from the parent stock, becomes flourishing and fruitful. Its rich and fragrant clusters attest its union with the living vine. So the Christian, abiding in Jesus, will bring forth fruit. In character and life will be manifested, like the teeming cluster of the vine, the precious graces of the Spirit. Not one of these fruits will be missing in the life of one in whose soul the Spirit of Christ abides." (Review & Herald,09-11-83). "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are pasted away...all things are become new." (2 Cor. 5:17).
By contrast, there is the evil or corrupt tree. This person experiences the opposite of the fruits from the good tree, because he has the mind of Satan. His life is in a condition of "hostility against God". Galatians5:19-21 describes some of these "deeds of the flesh." They "are evident, which are: immorality (business ethics), impurity (sexual), sensuality (uncontrolled appetite), idolatry(opinionated), sorcery (drug-taking/dealing), enmities (hostility), strife (stress), jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes (arguments), dissensions (shunning), factions (separations without righteous cause), envying, drunkenness (gluttony), carousing (flirting), and things like these(hate, nervousness, worry, impatience, harshness, unkindness, pride, self-indulgence, bitterness, condemnation, etc.), of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you thatthose who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." In parentheses we have added some possible amplifications to enhance your understanding.
The line of distinction between THE TWO TREES in the New Testament is clearly drawn by Jesus. In one place He refers to the evil tree as "the slave" and the good tree as "the son". "...everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. And the slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever." (John 8:34,35). At another time He says, "Either make the tree good and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit...The good man out of his good treasure brings forth what is good; and evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth what is evil." (Matt. 12:33,35). And "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." (Matt. 7:19). This is not by the will or choice of God but of the man, himself. The mind of Satan could never be satisfied in an atmosphere of heaven--it is too peaceful.
"As the shepherd loves his sheep, and cannot rest if even one be missing, so, in an infinitely higher degree, does God love every outcast soul. Men may deny the claim of His love, they may wander from Him, they may choose another master; yet they are God's, and He longs to recover His own. He says, 'As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out My sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.' Eze. 34:12" (Christ's Object Lessons, p. 187).
THE TWO TREES can no longer be a "mystery" to any man. He might fool himself or some other man, but never will he fool God. Just as Moses, the prophet, long ago, "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So [will you not] choose life in order that you may live...by loving[YAH ], your Maker, by obeying His voice, and holding fast to Him..."? Deuteronomy 30:19, 20.
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