Thoughts of the soul are like the tip of an iceberg, ninety percent of which is hidden. Thoughts are built on assumptions, presumptions, and sins, which are hidden beneath the surface. These hidden elements of thought harden the heart and constrain the soul. They bog down the Christian and rob even the doctrinal believer of the power of the Spiritual life. Since they are susceptible to Satanic influence, they neutralize the Tree of Life and replace it with the Tree of Evil.
Architecture of a Tree
Levels of Thinking
Tree of Life
Tree of Life and Tree of Evil
Trees of Life and Evil
Human Tree Analogy
Tree of Evil
Tree of Life
Sins of the Tree of Evil
Old Sin Nature
Categories of Sin
Love of Money
Assumptions of the Tree of Life
Assumptions of the Tree of Evil
Finding the Hidden Things
Living with the Tree of Evil
Grace Approach to Living with the Tree of Evil
Dealing with Problems of the Tree of Evil
Architecture of a Tree
Levels of Thinking
Tree of Life
In the Garden of Eden there was a Tree of Life and a Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Tree of Life had the power of Eternal Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was the forbidden tree, which was used to test man's obedience to God. When Adam and his wife ate of that tree, a Tree of Evil and a conscience were produced in their souls. Later, when they were born again, they received the Tree of Life in their souls. However, they were barred from eating the fruit of the Tree of Life in the Garden because it was not God's will for them to live forever in bodies of flesh (Gen 3:22-24). They must die and receive Resurrection bodies to live in eternity.
In the Eternal State (Heaven) there will be a Tree of Life in the Garden of God.1 The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations, and winner believers in Resurrection bodies will be allowed to eat from the fruit of the tree (Rev 2:7; 22:2, 14, 19).
A Tree of Life sprouts in the soul of the believer at Salvation (Prov 3:13, 18; 11:30). The tree grows to maturity and produces fruit through metabolization of Bible Doctrine. The growth and production of the Tree of Life in the soul comes from the Grace of God. The believer with a mature Tree of Life is strengthened by the power of God. The Tree of Evil, in contrast, exists in the soul of the unbeliever and the carnal believer (Matt 12:33). The Tree of Evil lives in darkness under the power of Satan and the Cosmic System and produces evil fruit (Matt 7:17-18). The production of the Tree of Evil will condemn the unbeliever at the Last Judgment, where he will be chopped down like a tree and thrown into the Lake of Fire (Matt 7:19-21; Rev 20:12-15).
The thinking of the soul determines the life we live. Those who sow the thoughts of the Spiritual life will receive a Tree of Life and reap Eternal Life. Those who sow the thoughts of sin will receive a Tree of Evil and reap eternal condemnation (Gal 6:8). There is a vast difference between Spiritual thoughts and sinful thoughts. A Christian knows when he has sinned. However, it is not possible to completely stop sinning because even after Salvation, the Old Sin Nature resides in the body and Satan rules the world. Consequently, everyone continues to sin, and Satan continues to entice them (Psa 116:11; Rom 3:10, 12).
Realizing his problem with sin, Paul cried out in frustration (Rom 7:21-25):
Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? (Rom 7:24).Here, the word, "wretched," is the Greek talaivpwro" (talaiporos), meaning stressed out. The solution to sin for the unbeliever is Salvation, and for the believer, it is Rebound. However, the Christian is promised peace (Phil 4:7) and rest (Heb 4:9). Why are these so difficult to attain? Why is Spiritual Rapport so elusive? The answer does not lie in failure to Rebound, but in our own thinking, which causes Hardness of the Heart, invites the punishment of God, and opens the door for Satan and his Cosmic System. Sin is the result of a thought process (Jas 1:15). Before sinning, a person has already lost sight of the Divine Solution and succumbed to the power of Satan. He has allowed the pressure of adversity into his soul, where it translates into stress in the body. Satan is quick to take advantage of the wounded believer in this stressed-out condition.
The process of thinking begins with assumptions and presumptions, long before rational decisions are made. Satan knows this and has set up a Cosmic System to appeal to the assumptions and presumptions that motivate thought. He also appeals to lusts to entice people into sin. Lust for money, power, sex, and approbation are high on his list for controlling people.
Bad assumptions can cause the Christian to run aground and stall out in the Spiritual life. They can constrain his soul in Hardness of the Heart and choke out the power God in his life. They can thwart his application of Bible Doctrine and leave him weak and confused. And they can make him gullible and blind him to the hypocrites around him. The real person is not who he says he is.
So, it is time to study the thinking of the soul with a new paradigm. The Tree of Life will be used to study the thinking of the soul in the Spiritual life under the power of God, and the Tree of Evil will be used to study the thinking of the soul under the power of sin, Satan, and the Cosmic System.
Air above – spirit realm of God or Satan
Leaves – thoughts on the cerebral cortex.
Fruit – production.
Branches – categories of thought.
Trunk – the strength of the individual personality.
Roots – foundation.
Earth beneath – death
The roots are the foundation of the tree. They anchor the tree to stabilize it in storms. The roots are separate from the Earth beneath, which symbolizes death, "dust to dust" (Gen 3:19; Eccl 12:6). The believer is in the world, but he must be separate from it (Jn 17:15-16). Thinking must have a foundation. The thinking of the Edification Complex of the Soul is founded on the Lord Jesus Christ and Salvation. The edification of the soul is described as a building (Greek oijkodomhv, (oikodome)) (Ephesians 4:11-12). The building with its floors and rooms from Spiritual Growth is referred to as the Edification Complex of the Soul (ECS).
The trunk of the tree symbolizes the strength of the individual personality. It symbolizes a person's stand and his power in the spiritual realm. He may have power over other people. His power may come from God through Grace (Eph 3:7, 20; Col 1:27), or his power may come from Satan and the Cosmic System (2 Thess 2:8-9). Everyone has power in his stand that bears witness and impacts the lives of others (Rom 5:2; 1 Cor 15:1; 16:13; Gal 5:1; Eph 6:11, 13, 14).
For we have become partners with Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our standing, stabilized until the end. (Hebrews 3:14)The believer is a partner in the Christian life with Christ, who is the Head of the Body of Christ, the Church. However, the believer must choose to remain in partnership with Christ and not wander off from the Faith. He must hold onto his "standing" by executing the unique Spiritual life of all human history. "Standing" is the Greek uJpovstasi" (hypostasis), from (hupo, under) + (stasis, standing), meaning essence, reality; instantiation (used for sediment falling out). In the Septuagint, it means the "underlying reality behind something," as the plan, purpose, or that which endures, enclosed in God.3
In our verse (Heb 3:14), "standing" is a hypostatic relationship with Christ. It refers to the partnership of the believer with Christ, the Head of the Body. The standing in Christ is unique to the Church Age. It begins at Salvation with Positional Truth when the believer is entered into union with Christ. And it continues for all eternity.
The believer must be "stabilized" in his "standing." "Stabilized" requires alignment of X, Y, Z, and Time axes of the Space-Time Coordinate System. Otherwise, he will fall. He must be "stabilized until the end." This means until the end of his life. If he fails to execute the Spiritual life after Salvation, he will not lose his Salvation, but he will lose his rewards.
The branches of the tree symbolize categories of thought. Categories of thought include academic disciplines as well as Bible Doctrines. Wisdom is the ability to understand categories of knowledge. Spiritual wisdom requires learning Bible Doctrine.
The leaves of the tree are the factories where food is produced from Carbon Dioxide, water, and Sunlight. The leaves are analogous to thought on the cerebral cortex. Rational thinking on the cerebral cortex is not distorted by emotion. Emotion is supposed to be the responder, or appreciator, in the soul. When emotion reacts, thinking becomes subjective and succumbs to sin. Sin easily combines with the emotions.
The air above the tree symbolizes the spirit realm of God or Satan. Only God can grow a tree, but Satan rules the world. The thoughts of the soul are subject to the power of God or Satan. The unbeliever walks in obedience to Satan (Eph 2:1-2), whereas, the believer may choose to obey God (Rom 6:14, 16; Gal 5:16).
Control limits around thinking are the red lines that mark the boundaries of sin. Thinking out of bounds high can be associated with the sins of arrogance or legalism, while thinking out of bounds low can be associated with worry, fear, or lawlessness.
The levels of thinking may be categorized as:
Out of control high – Arrogance, Legalism.People express their ego by letting their light shine for the world to see. However, the real person lurks behind the suppositions and assumptions. Politicians appeal to the suppositions and assumptions of others to encourage their support. There is no need to appeal directly. Satan works the same way. His Cosmic System appeals to presumptions, assumptions, and lusts. Thus, he remains invisible just as these areas of thinking are hidden. He knows people and knows they will respond to their desires. He fed the woman in the Garden the assumption that she would be as smart as God if she ate the forbidden fruit. Rather than obey God's command, she responded to the assumption from Satan.
Under control - rational thinking.
Out of control low – Worry/Fear, Lawlessness.
The production of the Righteous one is the Tree of Life,The "Righteous one" is a person who has received the Righteousness of God at Salvation. The production in the soul of that person is the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is the thinking of the soul in the new Spiritual life beginning with the Doctrine of Salvation and progressing to the highest levels of Spiritual wisdom from Bible Doctrine in the soul. Because of the importance of the Tree of Life, a wise person will "win souls." We don't win souls. God does. Winning souls means evangelizing unbelievers. All Christians have the responsibility of witnessing for Christ to a lost and dying world. When the Gospel is clearly presented, the unbeliever is able to make a decision to believe in Jesus Christ and receive the gift of Eternal Life.
Therefore, a wise one wins souls. (Proverbs 11:30)
The Tree of Life grows after Salvation through the metabolization of Bible Doctrine. The Tree of Life corresponds to the Greek analogy of the house, or Edification Complex of the Soul (ECS) (Eph 4:11-12).
Happy is the person who discovers wisdom (of Bible Doctrine),"Happy" is the Hebrew 'ashere, meaning Happy, fortunate, or successful. It does not mean blessed, which would be the Hebrew barak. "The person" is the Hebrew 'adam, which corresponds to the Greek anthropos, for a common person, male or female. It refers to an unbeliever or a believer without Bible Doctrine. However, this person discovers "wisdom," which refers to instruction in Bible Doctrine in the context. The person who learns Bible Doctrine will be Happy. This is not human happiness, but sharing the Happiness of God.
And the person who gains understanding. (Proverbs 3:13)
Capacity for Happiness is increased by gaining an understanding of Bible Doctrine. "Understanding" is over and beyond knowledge. Knowledge is in the left lobe of the soul and understanding is in the right lobe. Knowledge of Bible Doctrine is transferred to the right lobe by the Holy Spirit based on faith. When a person believes the Bible Doctrine taught by the pastor-teacher, the Holy Spirit transfers the doctrine to the right lobe, where it is available for categorical understanding and application.
She (wisdom) is the Tree of Life to those who grasp her,"She" refers to the wisdom of Bible Doctrine in the Tree of Life in the soul. "To those who grasp," meaning take hold of or learn, Bible Doctrine, "she" (wisdom) is the Tree of Life. And those who hold fast to Bible Doctrine, meaning stick with it, "are made Happy." They will share the Happiness of God.
And those who hold her fast are made Happy. (Proverbs 3:18)
Proverbs 3:21-22"My son" refers to David teaching his son, Solomon. The teachings of Bible Doctrine should not depart from his sight. He should keep the Word, consisting of "sound wisdom and discretion," before him. "They" (the teachings of Bible Doctrine) will be Life to the soul. This refers to the Spiritual life. And they will be Grace to your neck. "Grace" is the Hebrew chen. Grace that is received from God could be compared to the adornment of a wreath or ornaments around the neck (Prov 1:9, 4:9). This is a metaphor for the benefits of Grace from God. The Tree of Life in the soul grows by Grace.
21 My son, let them (Bible Doctrines) not depart from your sight;
Keep sound wisdom and discretion.
22 And they will be Life to your soul
And Grace (adornment) to your neck.
Trees of Life and Evil
Human Tree Analogy
Tree of Evil
Tree of Life
In this manner, every good tree produces good quality fruit, but a bad (evil) tree produces bad (evil) fruit. (Matthew 7:17)In this verse the literal trees are metaphors with spiritual meaning. The Greek words in the verse in view of the Aramaic, which was probably the original, mean:
"good" (Greek agathos) tree – a good (healthy) treeThus, two different words are used for "good" in Greek and Aramaic to bring out the shades of meaning. The same word is used for bad in the Aramaic, but two different words are used in the Greek.
"good" (kalos) fruit – good quality fruit
"bad" (sapros) tree – bad (decayed, rotten) tree or evil tree
"bad" (poneros) fruit – bad (or worthless) fruit or evil fruit
However, the trees must be understood in terms of the metaphor. The good tree is a metaphor for the Tree of Life, and bad tree is a metaphor for the Tree of Evil. The fruit from the Tree of Life is Divine Good, and the fruit from the Tree of Evil is evil.
A good tree cannot produce bad (evil) fruit, nor can a bad (evil) tree produce good quality fruit. (Matthew 7:18)Stating the converse, a good tree (Tree of Life) cannot produce evil, nor can a Tree of Evil produce Divine Good. This is also stated in Luke 6:43.
Either assume the tree good and its fruit good, or assume the tree bad (evil) and its fruit bad (evil); for the tree is known by its fruit. (Matthew 12:33)Similarly, in Matthew 12:33 Jesus uses the example of the good and bad trees as a metaphor. "Assume" is the Greek poievw (poieo), which means to assume or take as an example.4 This example is the same as the previous one in which the good tree is a metaphor for the Tree of Life and the bad tree is a metaphor for the Tree of Evil.
Every tree that does not bear good quality fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire (Matthew 7:19)A tree that does not bear good fruit is analogous to the Evil Tree of the unbeliever, who will be cut down (Sin Leading to Death) and thrown into the Lake of Fire (Matt 3:10; Luke 3:9; Rev 20:12-15).
Tree of Life is analogous to the Edification Complex of the Soul (Ephesians
4:11-12). It characterizes the Spiritual believer, who shines brightly
with the Light of the glory of God and exhibits Faith, Hope, and Love.
It corresponds to the believer-priest living in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle
who walks in the Light in fellowship with God (1 Jn 1:7). The Light
that shines from the ECS is seen by God and His Holy angels. It is
the Light of the world (Matt 5:14-16).
The Tree of Evil is analogous to the Old Sin Nature with its sin, lust, human good, and evil. The Tree of Life is in the Light of God, and the Tree of Evil is in the darkness of the Cosmic System. The Light of God shines into the Tree of Life (Matt 6:22; Jn 8:12; 12:46; 2 Cor 4:6; Eph 5:8), and the darkness of the Cosmic System is sucked into the Tree of Evil (Matt 6:23; Acts 26:18; 2 Cor 6:14; Eph 4:17-18; 1 Jn 1:6).
The Tree of Life is under the power of the Spirit of God, and the Tree of Evil is under the power of Satan and his Cosmic System (Prov 13:12-14; 15:4). People do not stand alone and make their own decisions. A person is not the master of his fate or captain of his soul. He is a created being, who is weak apart from outside help. He can obtain strength by choosing to serve God or Satan, who are vastly superior to him in every way. The catch is that Satan lies. He is the author of sin and death.
A person who serves God lives in fellowship with God. And a person who serves Satan lives in fellowship with Satan. The default is Satan. Fellowship with God comes through the Filling of the Holy Spirit by Rebound. The believer in fellowship with God lives under the Plan of God with his Tree of Life connected to God. The power of God flows via the Holy Spirit into the Tree of Life in the soul of the believer. In contrast, the person who rejects God is a slave to Satan and his Cosmic System. He will be the victim of Satan's lies, trickery, and deceit. Satan will use him and then destroy him.
Just as the thinking of the soul is analogous to a tree, so is the human body. The feet and legs are like the roots. The torso is like the trunk. The arms are like branches. And the head is like the leaves.
The physical light in the body is analogous to the spiritual light from God or Satan. The spiritual light of God is called Light, while the spiritual light of Satan is called darkness. Satan does have light. He is the most beautiful creature that God ever created (Ezek 27:3, 4; 28:7, 17). He disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). However, his light is not the Light of God. Satan's light is darkness (Luk 11:34-35; Acts 26:18).
The Arrogance Complex, including illusions, are associated with the leaves of the Tree of Evil. The rest of the Big Five sins of jealousy, self-righteousness, bitterness, and worry, are associated with the roots of the Tree of Evil. The roots are beneath the surface and go down to death, as symbolized by the Earth. The roots reach down into the hidden regions of the soul and into the subconscious. They express the pernicious urges of the Old Sin Nature, which resides in the human body.
Roots of Sin
The roots of the foolish person are analogous to the foundation of the house in his soul, which corresponds to the Tree of Evil (Job 5:3). The roots of the godless person wrap around a rock pile, where they will find no water (Job 8:17). The roots of the emotional believer are weak because they are among rocks (Matt 13:6, 21). Consequently, they cannot take the heat. The roots of the evil person are dried up, and the branch of his Tree of Evil is cut off (Job 18:16). And the Church, composed of lawless Gentiles, is grafted into the rich root of the olive tree (Israel) (Rom 11:16-18). The root (Spiritual heritage) of Israel supports the branches of the Church. The branches of Israel were pruned off because they were part of a Tree of Evil.
See to it that no one comes short of the Grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many are defiled; (Hebrews 12:15)Bitterness is a root of the Tree of Evil. When the mental attitude sin of bitterness sprouts into a tree, it can be driven by jealousy and give rise to expressions of arrogance. The Bitterness Complex8 of sins can combine with other sins to vent its wrath in pernicious evil. Esau was driven by roots of bitterness toward God and man.
That there be no one practicing prostitution or godless one, like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. (Hebrews 12:16)"Practicing prostitution" is the Greek pornos, which means one who has sex with a prostitute, a fornicator. This means that Esau was fornicating with the Prostitute of Babylon. He fornicated with women who were under demon influence. Esau's marriages to the Hittite women amounted to worshipping the Prostitute of Babylon. This describes Esau's Lawlessness. "Godless" is the Greek bebelos, meaning profane or godless. Esau rejected God. This describes his Legalism. The further he ran from God, the more bitter he became.
Just as there is a root of bitterness, there are other roots for sins. Jealousy corresponds to the taproot, which feeds the other roots of sin, including worry/fear, bitterness, and self-righteousness. Jealousy also feeds the Arrogance Complex.
Love of Money
The love of money is another root of the Tree of Evil.
For you see, the root of all sorts of evil is the love of money, which some by striving after have gone astray from doctrine and have pierced themselves with many pangs. (1 Timothy 6:10)The love of money is "the root of all sorts of evil." All categories or sorts of evil stem from the love of money, which is a bad value that lies beneath the surface in the soul. The root is the foundation of a bad value of the soul. "Love" is the Greek philos, which means intimate love. This is personal intimacy, attraction, or desire for an intimate relationship with money. Since a value is near to (deep within) the heart, the personal attraction to money is dear to the heart of the monetary reversionist.
The love of money is a distraction from Bible Doctrine which leads one into the Cosmic System. Satan appeals to the love of money to lure people into the Cosmic System. The love of money is out of bounds in Legalism and Hardness of the Heart. Those who fall for the love of money will be pierced to the heart with many pangs. They will use their money to get into more trouble because the strings of the love of money are attached to Satan. The coin of the realm in the devil's world is money, while the true value in the Kingdom of God is Bible Doctrine.
Unbelief is another root of the Tree of Evil. Unbelief includes rejection of the Gospel before Salvation, and rejection of Bible Doctrine after Salvation. Refusal to believe in Jesus Christ for Salvation is the unforgivable sin (Jn 16:8-9). The Holy Spirit will convict people of the sin of unbelief before Salvation. After Salvation the sin of unbelief prevents Spiritual growth and leads to dying in the wilderness.
The Exodus generation were prevented from entering the Promised Land and subsequently died in the wilderness because of unbelief (Heb 4:6). The Exodus generation died in the wilderness because of "disobedience" to Bible Doctrine, which is the same as unbelief. Apostasy is also a sin of unbelief. Satan motivates unbelief in apostate churches through the Prostitute of Babylon (Rev 2:20).
The root of delusion of the Tree of Evil includes deceit, deception, enticement, and temptation. Delusion makes sin and evil attractive.
But encourage one another every day as long as it is called, "Today," lest anyone from among you become hardened by the delusion of sin. (Hebrews 3:13)Those under the delusion of sin may fail to Rebound. Failure to Rebound leads to Hardness of the Heart. Failure to Rebound leaves a person in the Cosmic System and subject to Divine punishment (Heb 12:6). As the punishment increases, the only way to continue to reject God is to harden the heart. If this continues, God will deliver the person into more Hardness of the Heart called Scar Tissue of the Soul.5 Then the person will have even stronger delusion.
Assumptions are another root of the Tree of Evil. Assumptions are suppositions, claims, or ideas that are accepted without proof. They are taken for granted without proof. They may be based on erroneous norms, standards, superstitions, fears, or worries. Assumptions hidden in the roots of the soul are not visible to others, although they are the foundations on which thought is based. With assumptions lurking beneath the surface, what you see is not what you get (non-WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get)).
People express their egos in all kinds of ways based upon various assumptions. They may cover themselves with veneers of self-righteousness, hypocrisy, bravado, or meekness. The veneer may be due to bad assumptions, but regardless, the whole story cannot be known without examining the assumptions. When the team leader assumes that silence means consent. It is just the opposite. Silence is the result of assumptions. Silence means negative assumptions. Silence means, "No, but I won't say anything about it."
For if anyone assumes he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. (Galatians 6:3)"Assumes" is the Greek dokeo, which means to assume, presume, or suppose. A person's opinion of himself may be based upon false values, bad roots, or arrogance skills. Assumptions exist in the Tree of Life and the Tree of Evil. The only way to determine if the assumptions are good or bad is to examine them in light of Bible Doctrine. When assumptions lead to sin, then Rebound is necessary.
Wormwood and gall6 are fruit of the Tree of Evil.
That there may not be among you a man or woman, family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the LORD our God to go and serve the gods of those nations; that there may not be among you a root bearing fruit of gall and wormwood. (Deuteronomy 29:18)"Gall" refers to the poppy with its opium. Both gall and wormwood are bitter and symbolize the bitterness of the soul that results from idolatry.
Ephraim was said to have its root in Amalek because the Amalekites lived in the hill country of Ephraim and were idolaters like the Hebrews of Ephraim (Judg 5:14).
The Tree of Evil is like the vine of the nation of Israel, which did not produce good grapes, but wild ones (Isa 5:2). The roots of the reversionists of Israel before its fall were rotten (Isa 5:24).
In one of the more complex analogies, the curse upon the Philistines appears to be a Tree of Evil to them.
"Do not rejoice, O Philistia, all of you,The rod that struck Philistia was David. After David, his kingdom was broken up so that only a root was left. During this time the Philistines were happy. However, from the "serpent's root" (last remnants of the Davidic Kingdom), a viper (Hezekiah) would come. And the fruit of the viper would be "a flying serpent." The "flying serpent" refers to the Messiah. Snakes are used for the Tree of Evil to symbolize cursing from the perspective of the Philistines.
Because the rod that struck you is broken;
For from the serpent's root a viper will come out,
And its fruit will be a flying serpent. (Isaiah 14:29)
The Southern Kingdom of Judah in Jeremiah's day was analogous to a tree, which the Lord had planted (Jer 12:2). The tree had taken root and produced fruit. It had become prosperous. However, now they were all talk. The Lord was near in their mouth, but far from their kidneys (erroneously translated "mind"). Kidneys refer to testing (Jer 17:10; Rev 2:23).9 They were unable to pass God's tests by applying Bible Doctrine (Is 29:13; Ezek 33:31; Titus 1:16).
The fruit (production) of the Tree of Evil is "wood, hay, and straw," which will not endure Fire Testing (1 Cor 3:12).
Death and Life
The Tree of Life symbolizes the new Spiritual life, while the Tree of Evil symbolizes the old life of spiritual death. The new Spiritual life includes a new calling from God, becoming a member of the Royal Family of God, a partnership with the Lord Jesus Christ, a priesthood, a love relationship with God, great blessing, sharing the Happiness of God, promotion, and the production of the Holy Spirit. The old life may include periods of fleeting, pseudo happiness and worldly success in the devil's world, but the person will be cut off from God in spiritual death and will die the Sin Leading to Death.
The contrast between the new Spiritual life and the old life is the contrast between the Divine Blessing, Love, and Happiness of the Tree of Life versus the cursing, pseudo love, and pseudo happiness of the Tree of Evil. The physical death of the former will be precious in the sight of God (Psa 116:15) and will be followed by Eternal Life in Heaven. The physical death of the latter will be condemnation to the flames of Hell followed by Eternal Judgment and burning forever in the Lake of Fire (Matt 5:29-30; Rev 20:11-13, 14).
After Jesus had taught for a while, He and His disciples faced persecution and death. Satan incited both the religious Jews and the Romans against them. The disciples had chosen Life, but they faced death. Therefore, Jesus taught them about the contrast between the Spiritual life and death.
And stop fearing those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)"Stop fearing" is the Greek imperative of prohibition from the negative Greek me plus the present imperative of the Greek phobeo, meaning to fear. The imperative of prohibition means stop doing something you are doing. The disciples were afraid of dying; so, Jesus told them to "stop being afraid," or "stop fearing." Fear is one of the roots of the Tree of Evil. Therefore, the disciples need to stop paying attention to the Tree of Evil and think according to the Tree of Life.
Before continuing, a few things about the original languages must be explained. First, Jesus and his disciples did not speak Greek. They spoke Aramaic, which is an early, simplistic version of Hebrew. Thus, all of the Gospels are records in Greek of what was originally spoken in Aramaic. The Greek translators did an excellent job of being both true to the original Aramaic and being true to the meaning of the original events and communication.
In the passage before us, Jesus did not say, "Stop fearing." He probably said in Aramaic, "Do not be afraid," which is the Aramaic al + ljd. However, the disciples were afraid, and that is why He delivered the message. So, in effect, He was telling them to stop fearing, which is recorded in the Greek. Having said this, it is not the purpose of this article to present an analysis of the original texts, but to try to explain the original message using the best available texts and to relate the message to our current vernacular.
Now, Jesus said, "Stop fearing those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul." The disciples need not fear those who are out to kill the body, i. e. kill them physically. The disciples have a soul, which has Eternal Life, and neither people nor the devil can kill the soul. Killing the soul refers to the Second Death, when unbelievers with their souls are thrown into the Lake of Fire. In contrast, the soul with Eternal Life will live forever with God. This is the thinking of the Tree of Life.
"But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Only God has the power to send the soul and body to hell. Therefore, the disciples should fear God. Fearing God means respecting God, not committing the sin of fear. Fearing God is one of the roots of the Tree of Life, while being afraid of man is one of the roots of the Tree of Evil.
Matthew 10:29-31Jesus continues with the example of the sparrow. Even though sparrows are small birds and two of them are sold for only a cent (the least denomination of money). Yet God the Father watches over them, and not one of them dies without His decision. Furthermore, God even knows the exact number of hairs on our head. He knows every detail about us.
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.
30 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 Therefore, stop being afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
"Therefore, stop being afraid." This is the a fortiori argument. A fortiori is Latin for "with stronger reason." "You are of more value than many sparrows." If God cares about the sparrows and knows the number of hairs on your head, there is no reason to be afraid because "you are of more value than many sparrows."
Next, Jesus put the conflict in perspective.
Everyone, therefore, who professes relationship with Me before mankind, I also will profess relationship with him before My Father in Heaven. (Matthew 10:32)Even in the face of persecution and death, the disciples must bear witness of their relationship to Jesus Christ before mankind. Christians are supposed to be ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). They must function according to their priesthood. Those who witness will be rewarded in Heaven. When they are witnessing, they are in a courtroom scene, and they will be vindicated in the Supreme Court of Heaven (Luke 12:8; Rev 3:5).
But whoever shall deny Me before mankind, I also will deny him before My Father in Heaven. (Matthew 10:33)On the other hand, refusal to witness is rejection of Christian responsibility. It is denying Christ. Those who refuse to witness, will not lose their salvation, but they will lose their reward (Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; 12:9; 2 Tim 2:12).
Do not assume that I came to bring peace on the Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34)Jesus did not come in the First Advent to bring peace on Earth. That will happen in the Millennium. He came to bring a sword. The sword was the preferred sidearm of the day. It symbolizes conflict and war. The Spiritual life will bring spiritual warfare with the world.
Matthew 10:35-36The Spiritual life will even divide members of the same family, who usually bond together. However, the believer who is Spiritual will be at odds with other members of the family who are still under the power of the Cosmic System. Just as the sword divides flesh, the Spiritual life separates even close relatives. Relatives in the Cosmic System will be the enemies of the Grace oriented believer (Phil 3:18). The believer with the Tree of Life will be separate from the believer with the Tree of Evil.
35 For you see, I came to divide the man against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a man's enemies will be his relatives.
The one who loves personally father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and the one who loves personally son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. (Matthew 10:37)Here the word for love is the Greek phileo, which means personal, or intimate, love; friendship. This is close, personal love for family members which is subjective. When a person loves family members more than Jesus Christ, the family relationship has become more important than Jesus Christ. In this case the person has forfeited his love for Christ. The Love for Christ is a root of the Tree of Life, while friendship with worldly family members is from the roots of the Tree of Evil.
And the one who does not take up his cross and follow after Me, is not worthy of Me. (Matthew 10:38)A cross symbolizes intensive suffering to the point of death. It symbolizes the price of discipleship. The disciple must die to sin. He must give up his old life in the Cosmic System and follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Following Jesus Christ means obeying Him as the leader and orienting to His authority. Thus, the disciple must be willing to suffer and die for his faith and render implicit obedience to the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who discovers his life will lose it, and the one who loses his life for My sake, shall discover it. (Matthew 10:39)Here is the contrast between the new Spiritual life and the old life of sin and death. "The one who discovers his life" is a person who achieves some success in life as an unbeliever. Even though the person succeeds in life, he will die. He will lose the life he had and go to hell. In contrast, the person who believes in Jesus Christ will receive a new Spiritual life to replace his old life in sin. Even though he gives up his old life, he will discover his new Spiritual life.
This teaching is alsofound in the other Gospels (Matt 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luk 9:24; 17:33; Jn 12:25). It is also in the Epistles.
Romans 6:4-5Christians have been buried with Christ "through baptism into death." This refers to Retroactive Positional Truth whereby the believer at the moment of Salvation is identified with Jesus Christ in His death on the Cross. Jesus Christ died as a substitute for the believer's sins. Thus, the believer died when Christ died.
4 Therefore, we have been buried with Him through baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised out from the realm of the dead through the glory of the Father; thus, we also, by means of the new Spiritual life may strategically advance. 5 For you see, since we have been permanently united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly, we also shall be united with Him in the likeness of His Resurrection.
After His death on the Cross, Jesus Christ was Resurrected "through the glory of the Father." The Father took Him from Paradise in the heart of the Earth and gave Him a shiny new Resurrection Body (Acts 2:24; Rom 6:4; Eph 1:20; Col 2:12; 1 Thess 1:10; 1 Pet 1:21). Church Age Believers will also have Resurrection bodies like His at the Rapture. In the meantime, Christians must live the new Spiritual life they received at Salvation.
Christians must "strategically advance," which is the Greek peripateo, meaning to walk, which is figurative of the walk of life. The believer must execute his new Spiritual life with its Tree of Life in obedience to God's Plan for his life (Rom 13:13; Eph 2:10; 4:1; Phil 3:17; 1 Jn 2:6). He is expected to advance to the strategic objectives of Spiritual Maturity and Spiritual Rapport in this life, and at the Rapture he will receive his Resurrection body. His Resurrection body will be like Christ's.
Thus, the believer in Jesus Christ has a Tree of Life corresponding to his new life in Christ. He is expected to live his new life according to the thinking of the Tree of Life and to reject his old life, which corresponds to the Tree of Evil. The Tree of Life corresponds to the Spiritual life and leads to Eternal Life, and the Tree of Evil corresponds to the power of sin and death.
Roots of Death
The roots of a tree separate it from the ground, which symbolizes death (Gen 3:19). The roots must be healthy and well-watered for the tree to prosper. Bad roots can kill the tree. They are the roots of death.
The Reversionist has dried up roots, and his branches wither.
His roots are dried below,The Reversionist will be cut off and uprooted.
And his branches wither above. (Job 18:16)
But Reversionists will be cut off from the landThe person who hardens his heart will fall into distress.
And the treacherous will be uprooted out from it. (Proverbs 2:22)
Happy is the person who fears (the Lord) always,The man who stiffens his neck to God's reproof will be broken without remedy.
But he who hardens his heart will fall into distress. (Proverbs 28:14)
The man who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck,Uprooting plants kills them.
Will suddenly be broken without remedy. (Proverbs 29:1)
A time to be born and a time to die;The Lord alone determines the time, manner, and place of death. His time is the right time. The life cycle of plants corresponds to the life cycle of people. Plants are uprooted at the end of the growing cycle.
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. (Ecclesiastes 3:2)
God plants the Tree of Life in the soul of the believer, but the unbeliever only has the Tree of Evil. The Pharisees, who argued with Jesus, did not have a Tree of Life. Jesus explained to His disciples that the Pharisees would be uprooted.
But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted." (Matthew 15:13)Being uprooted is a sign of the Sin Leading to Death. The Sin Leading to Death is compared to a dead branch being thrown out and burned.
If anyone is not abiding in Me, he is thrown out as a branch and dries up; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. (John 15:6)"Not abiding in Me" refers to the unbeliever, who does not belong to Christ, and to the believer who is out of fellowship. Like dead branches that are thrown into the fire and burned, unbelievers will be thrown into hell (Matt 10:28) and the dead works of believes will be burned (1 Cor 3:15).
False teachers are like uprooted trees that are, therefore, dead.
These men are those who are reefs in your love feasts when they feast together with you without respect (for God), looking out for themselves; clouds without water, carried away by winds; autumn trees without fruit, dying twice, uprooted; (Jude 12)False teachers are like Autumn trees that are without fruit and uprooted. They die twice. After the unbeliever dies physically, he will face the Great White Throne Judgment and be sentenced to the Second Death, which is burning forever in the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:14; 21:8).
Roots of Hardness of the Heart
The hidden sins and assumptions from the roots of the Tree of Evil can cause Hardness of the Heart. For example, a person may have hidden worry, fear, bitterness, implacability, or guilt that blocks true love and peace of mind and opens the doors to the Cosmic System. Assumptions alone can harden the heart and alter the proper function of the stream of consciousness. Hardness of Heart blocks the true Light and makes it impossible to think straight or learn and apply Bible Doctrine.
The hearts of the Exodus generation were hardened. They rejected Bible Doctrine and subsequently died in the wilderness. Their hardness of heart was reflected in their attitude about divorce. The disciples asked Jesus why Moses allowed men to write their wives a certificate of divorce and send them away (Matt 19:7). Jesus explained the reason (Matthew 19:8; Mark 10:5).
And He (Jesus) said to them, "Because Moses in the face of your hardness of heart permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it has not been that way." (Matthew 19:8)Divorce in the Exodus generation was a sign of Hardness of the Heart. The men were dissatisfied with their wives because of hardness of the heart, which knocked out love and the Spiritual life. Rejection of the Doctrine of Right Man – Right Woman and proper function of Marriage causes Hardness of the Heart. The hardened heart cannot love the Marriage partner. Adultery and fornication along with sexual lust and lascivious desires are the result of Hardness of the Heart. The hardened heart rejects God's design for Marriage as well as His commandments.
The Hardness of the Heart of the Jews was like a veil over the head that blocked the Light of God. After being in the presence of God, the face of Moses glowed. He, therefore, used to put a veil over his face so the people could not see the fading glory (2 Cor 3:13). The Hardness of the Heart of unbelieving Jews is like a veil over their head that prevents them from understanding Bible Doctrine (2 Cor 3:14). Even today unbelieving Jews have Hardness of the Heart (2 Cor 3:15). The only solution is to believe in Christ for Salvation (2 Cor 3:16). The new Spiritual life that is received at Salvation enables a person to see the Light of God.
Not only do people harden their hearts, but God also hardens the heart. He hardened Pharaoh's heart, and He hardens the heart of the Reversionist. There are degrees of hardness corresponding to the Stages of Reversionism. If unchecked, the hardness becomes like calluses and may be called Scar Tissue of the Soul.5
Ephesians 4:17-19Christians are not supposed to think like Gentile unbelievers, who have the Tree of Evil in their soul. They have vacuum in their mind. "Vacuum" is the Greek mataiovth", (mataiotes), which is the vacuum from lack of objective thought on the cerebral cortex. The vacuum means devoid of doctrine and empty and instead, filled with the doctrine of demons or human viewpoint, which links to the Cosmic System (1 Tim 4:1; Jas 3:15). In the absence of the thinking of Bible Doctrine on the cerebral cortex, the Cosmic System is sucked into the vacuum. The vacuum is an open door for the infiltration of the Cosmic System into the soul.
17 This, therefore, I explain and solemnly declare in the Lord that you no longer walk just as the Gentiles also walk in the vacuum of their mind
18 having been darkened in their way of thinking, having been alienated from the Life of God because of the ignorance which is in them, because of the scar tissue of their heart.
19 Who, because they have become callused have given themselves over to licentiousness, resulting in the practice of every kind of immorality with insatiable lust.
The thinking of the Cosmic System is called darkness in contrast to the Light of God. Scar Tissue of the Soul blocks the Light of God and opens the doors for the infiltration of the darkness of the Cosmic System into the soul. The soul is blacked out, and the whole body is full of darkness (Matt 6:22-23). Those with Scar Tissue of the Soul are hardened toward the Grace of God and attracted to licentiousness, immorality, and insatiable lust. Scar Tissue of the Soul cannot be satisfied. It causes insatiable desires.
Stop hardening your hearts as in the rebellion,This is a quote from Psalm 95:8 in the Septuagint. The Church Age Believers must stop hardening their hearts as did the Exodus generation. "Rebellion" is Greek interpretive translation of the Hebrew "Meribah," for quarreling (Ex 17:2–7; Num 20:13). And "testing" is the Greek translation of the Hebrew "Massah" (Ex 17:7; Deut 6:16). When they had no water to drink, the Exodus generation complained to Moses rather that trust the Lord for Logistical Grace provision. They tested the Lord's patience rather than pass the test with Bible Doctrine.
In the day of testing in the wilderness. (Hebrews 3:8)
But encourage one another every day as long as it is called, "Today," lest anyone from among you become hardened by the delusion of sin. (Hebrews 3:13)Christians should encourage one another to execute the Spiritual life; otherwise, the heart will "become hardened by the delusion of sin." Delusion is one of the roots of the Tree of Evil. Sin is deceptive, deceitful, and full of delusion. The delusion of sin hardens the soul to reject God.
Released October 1, 2012 - Revised Jan. 6, 2015