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Of Trees and Men: What Shepherds Need to Know PowerPoint Presentation
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Of Trees and Men: What Shepherds Need to Know

Of Trees and Men: What Shepherds Need to Know

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Of Trees and Men: What Shepherds Need to Know

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  1. Of Trees and Men: What Shepherds Need to Know An Interactive Self Study Part 2 Presented by Barbara L. Klika, MSW Personal Life Coach Undershepherd Set Apart Ministries December 2009

  2. Shepherds Need to Know About Trees? • Scripture uses many images to teach us. Trees are often mentioned but not often pointed out as a primary concern. To many of us, they just seem like part of the scenery! • As we study thematically, we begin to see the importance of themes such as that represented by trees.

  3. A Beginning Prayer Once again, Abba, we come before you in a desire to know more about Your Word and all that you have for us in it. As one who leads your people, whether it is in a family or a community, I want to understand all that You have provided for me. Will you please guide me as I study this matter of the message of trees? I ask in the Name of our Messiah, Yeshua. Omayne!

  4. What “trees” come to mind? • Consider what you already know about trees from the Bible. You may want to write down a list of them with a brief note of what you know BEFORE you start this study. When you have finished the study, see what you can add! • Then, perhaps you could go to an online Bible and search out all references to trees. This can also be done with the Englishman’s Concordances for both Old and New Testaments.

  5. Rule of First Mention • One guideline for the interpretation of Scripture is to consider the first use of a term or concept. • As we know from other studies, our God has defined His terms as He has presented all we need to know “from the beginning.” • Trees are first mentioned on Day 3 when they were brought into existence.

  6. Then God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them"; and it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. Beresheit/Genesis 1:11-12 NASB

  7. The next mention of trees… The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Beresheit/Genesis 2: 8-9 NASB

  8. Narrowing our Focus • In the beginning, there were two trees of special interest! • These two trees affected all of creation. This brings up two big questions: • How did they arrive at such importance? • Do they have any importance for us today? Let’s find out!

  9. Check all the verses that refer to both the “Tree of Life” and the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” (There are only a few of them!) • You can do this with an online Bible or an Englishman’s Concordance. • Many people have several Bibles. Get out several versions and check the verses side by side.

  10. Several Levels of Understanding • Most commentators have noted that these two trees were there to provide a test or an opportunity to walk in obedience or disobedience. • One confirmation of this is through recognition of the phrase “in the midst” which refers to the location of the tree of life. • This phrase is the Hebrew word “betok” which is Strong’s #8432, from the root word “tavek” which literally means “to center” and “midst” but can also be translated as “middle”, “separation” and “deceive.”

  11. “In the Midst” • This is the same word translated as “separate” or “divide” on Day 2 of creation when the upper and lower waters were divided with an expanse set “in the midst.” This day has been recognized as a day of division and unrest which was not declared “good.” (Beresheit/Genesis 1:6-8) • This concept of separation is a recurring theme throughout Scripture, dividing what is of God and what is not or providing the opportunity for two witnesses in a matter. One can be separated out for what is good or separated out for what is bad. • In this context, the choices of obedience or disobedience to His instructions about the trees are the test -- “dividing” or “separating.”

  12. Second Mention of Trees is also the First Mention of these Two Trees Together The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2: 8-9 NKJV

  13. Did you notice something about these trees? They had TWO things in common: 1. Pleasant to the sight 2. Good for food The Tree of Life is said to be in the midst of the Garden. Was the “other” tree there, too? (Opportunity for separation?) What made them different from each other, then?

  14. Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2: 15-17 NKJV

  15. The only apparent difference is that YHWH said not to eat from that one. Although He did not give a reason, He did clearly state that death would result from doing so. He is our Good Shepherd and we are to trust His leading. Therefore, we know that this tree could also be considered a tree of death, in counterpoint to the Tree of Life.

  16. At this point, there was no similar caution about the tree of life from which they were free to eat. But we all know that things changed! The next time we hear of the two trees, it is in the context of the serpent’s subtle questioning. (Notice the different words used)

  17. Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden.

  18. But the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said to the woman, Ye shall not surely die; For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

  19. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

  20. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. Genesis 3: 1-7 KJV

  21. Now there are 3 criteria? 1. Pleasant to the sight 2. Good for food AND 3. Desirable to make one wise Where did the third one come from?

  22. They quickly learned that this was NOT desirable after all as YHWH confronted them and sent them out of the Garden. • Didn’t He want them to be wise?

  23. Next Specific Mention of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;Beresheit/Genesis 3:17 KJV • Didn’t He want Adam to listen to his wife?

  24. Cursed to eat of the ground? • A usual understanding of this verse is that we are cursed to eat of the ground all the days of our lives BUT • We did and would eat of the ground whether cursed or not since that is where food comes from! • I suggest that there is a poetic parallelism here:

  25. Not the ground but the tree! • The phrase “cursed is the ground for thy sake” is just an interjection here between the two references to the tree. • The ground is cursed, as was satan. • So it is the tree that would be eaten of in sorrow all the days of life, having now eaten of the seed of it.

  26. The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is now a part of all of our days of life. Yes, this ancient event does apply to us today. If so, we should know more about it! What else can we learn about this tree?

  27. Next Specific Mention of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever;

  28. Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life.Genesis 3:22-24 KJV

  29. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil will now be a part of all of our lives. It is equated with “being wise” and with death. • The tree of life is guarded and kept. Did you find any further specific references to either of these trees?

  30. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is not identified specifically by this name again. The Tree of Life is mentioned many times by name in many contexts from Genesis right through to Revelation. Here are a few of them.

  31. References to “Tree of Life” • She [wisdom] is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.Proverbs 3:18 KJV • The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.Proverbs 11:30 KJV • A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.Proverbs 15:4 KJV (Note: ESV renders it a “gentle” tongue and NASB has “soothing.”

  32. The Trees leave us with more questions! • If the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was to be a part of our daily lives, why isn’t it mentioned again? • If the way to the Tree of Life is guarded, why is it a consistent concept throughout Scripture? There must be something else here.

  33. Observations from “Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament” • The trees were not magical, but were the means of confronting man with God’s will, giving “man a decisive Yes or No to say with his whole being.” • It is morally significant that God fenced these two trees not with a wall but with his word! • It is no accident that human sin which began at the foot of a tree, the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” found its resolution on another tree, the cross of Calvary….

  34. …Satan’s victory over the woman (and the man!) beneath the branches of that primal tree led to his own defeat beneath the crossed beams of another tree… TWOT Page 689 • Thematically, then, the two trees can be located in what we call the New Testament in this way though only the Tree of Life is specifically mentioned.

  35. So now, what about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? • You will remember that it is not mentioned again by name throughout Scripture! • We have already seen that it is foretold to be a factor in all of our days. • How do we learn anything more about it? Thematic Study! Remember the “twos!”

  36. Tree of Death • At the beginning, we saw that the Tree of Life had a counterpart; the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. • We saw that to eat from it was equated with “being wise” and with death.

  37. If Wise Counsel comes through the Tree of Life… • Then clearly, unwise counsel must come through the “tree of death.” • What was “unwise” about what came to mankind through this tree of the knowledge of good and evil? • Let’s review what happened there:

  38. Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Beresheit/Genesis 2: 15-17 NKJV Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

  39. And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden. But the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said to the woman, Ye shall not surely die; For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

  40. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

  41. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. Beresheit/Genesis 3: 1-7 KJV And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;Beresheit/Genesis 3:17 KJV

  42. And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever; Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life. Genesis 3:22-24 KJV

  43. Consequences • Knew they were naked and were ashamed • Felt compelled to cover themselves • Cursing of satan and the ground • Put out of the Garden • Toil, Pain and sorrow • Will eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil all the days of life. • Way to Tree of Life now guarded

  44. They left the garden to live elsewhere. • They didn’t die that day so how do we know what was really wrong about all of this? • Was satan telling the truth then that they wouldn’t die while God wasn’t truthful? • Why was it wrong for Adam to listen to his wife? • Why was it wrong for them to desire knowledge and wisdom?

  45. Two Core Questions!! • If they and their generations, meaning us, had no access to the Tree of Life why does it still appear –both by name and inference--throughout Scripture? • If the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Death) was to be a part of mankind’s life why isn’t it visible throughout Scripture?

  46. Physical and Spiritual Implications • Although it is true that Adam and Eve did not physically die in that 24 hour period, they did lose the ability to walk with and see YHWH our God. He did allow them to continue to hear Him however, as we can yet today, Praise Messiah! • Physical realities are His way of showing us pictures of spiritual truths. • Physical death is the natural outcome for one who has lost access to the fruit of the Tree of Life.

  47. People and Shepherds • Whether we find it “complimentary” or not, the truth is that there are always going to be people who have need of leaders to help them find the good fruit and people who are called to do so. Scripture warns of false shepherds among the good ones, just as we are told there are different kinds of “sheep.” • We are not automatically “assigned” to a group but need to exercise care and discernment as to what group or leader we choose; another physical picture of spiritual truth as Shepherds are another kind of covering for their people.

  48. The Tree of Life continues to be visible throughout Scripture because Messiah is always available to us through His Spirit. Mercifully, Adam and Eve were sent from the Garden so that they did not eat from that Tree of Life in their fallen physical state. If they had, they would have had eternal physical life in that fallen state. As it stands now, when we receive the Messiah and His work on our behalf, we are receiving the fruit of the Tree of Life which confirms our eternal life though we will still experience physical death.

  49. Since Messiah is always available to those who believe, the spiritual representation of the Tree of Life is guarded in the sense of being kept FOR those who seek Him. • When we love and obey Him, we have access to the spiritual reality of the Tree of Life; and eternal life with Him. • When He returns, those who have walked with Him will again have access to the Tree in the New Jerusalem.

  50. I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22: 13-14 KJV)