Fruit of the Spirit, part 3: Trees are a type of men
Dec 27, 2012
It should be clear to everyone that trees are a symbol or a type of men (generically speaking). After all, we commonly speak of “family trees” in discussing or studying or physical ancestry. In Christian circles, since we speak of people bringing forth fruit, and fruit grows on trees (usually), then it stands to reason that men are like trees, or trees can symbolize men. There are any number of Scriptures which verify this. I will give you four examples. The first is the parable of the trees.
Judges 9:8 The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us.
You can read the whole parable some other time. I would point you next to Jesus’ healing of the blind man.
Mark 8: 23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.
24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.
We also find this metaphor in Isaiah 61.
Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
And of course, Psalm 1 is very clear about the man-wood connection. If we are trees, then our humanity is likened to wood, isn’t it? You might also remember that symbolism from my lectures concerning the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. We are the shittim wood, the acacia wood, which was the only wood used in the construction of the tabernacle.
Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he [i.e., a 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.
This passage reminds us of another in Revelation 22. Was Jesus a man and God at the same time? Certainly! Then He could also be likened to a tree, could He not? What tree would he be? The tree of life!
Revelation 22:1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Jesus said: I am the vine; ye are the branches. Or in terms of a tree, He is the trunk or stock and we are the branches. Certainly, one of the ways to see this is that the twelve tribes of Israel are they which bear twelve kinds of fruit which provides spiritual food for all the families of the earth. We wrote last time of the law of warfare which forbade the felling of fruit trees. There is another law concerning fruit trees which is found in the law.
Leviticus 19:23 And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised: three years shall it be as uncircumcised unto you: it shall not be eaten of.
24 But in the fourth year all the fruit thereof shall be holy to praise the LORD withal.
25 And in the fifth year shall ye eat of the fruit thereof, that it may yield unto you the increase thereof: I am the LORD your God.
Many commentaries refer to laws like this as ceremonial laws, as if they had no practical value, and they almost unanimously cast these laws aside as having no validity since the coming of the Messiah. We beg to differ on both counts. This law has not been abrogated and it does indeed have practical value, every bit as much as the seventh year land sabbath is a blessing for man in terms of good agricultural practices. It rejuvenates the land.
So what could be one of the many possible reasons why God said to count the fruit of a tree as uncircumcised for the first three years?
My answer is this and, by the way, I think this applies to vineyards as well. In the first three years, it is putting its energy into growth of the trunk or vine so it will have strength to bear an abundance of fruit when it reaches maturity. If the fruit is plucked the first several years, the tree or vine will be putting its strength into the fruit and the trunk will be denied that energy and strength. Thereafter, it will never produce the amount and quality of fruit that it could have otherwise, had God’s simple law been obeyed.
In the fourth year the harvest is essentially the firstfruits, since this is the first year that the fruit can be harvested. But the law says that the entire harvest is to be dedicated to God. Probably the most convenient and sensible way to do that in our modern era is for the fruit owner to sell the produce and tithe the proceeds.
The point is, and this provides a segue into the topic of firstfruits, that the owner of the fruit must not consume the fruit himself, or spend the money on himself if he sells the fruit.
The firstfruits of everything belong to God. Why? Because God owns all creation. He in effect is leasing out the earth to man and as the owner of the earth, God demands a return on His investment. He demands the firstfruits: the firstfruits of the land, the firstfruits of our offspring, the firstfruits of our animal offspring, the firstfruits of all our labor.
This discussion could easily lead into a study on tithing, but we will save that for some other time. Tithing is not just helping to support the ministries that feed you spiritual food. Tithing is the offering of the firstfruits of our labor as an acknowledgment of God’s rights of ownership and of His sovereignty over all creation. To refuse to give Him the firstfruits is in effect a denial of his ownership and sovereignty. It is a slap in the face of the Creator.
Paul uses the figure of the firstfruits to describe the resurrection of the Savior in 1 Corinthians 15. That is a passage which we have studied in great detail in our Universal Reconciliation series; specifically, CD lectures # 314 & 315 ($12 ppd). And see below for entire series information.
1 Corinthians 15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
By extension, our reception of the Holy Spirit in the earnest portion is referred to by Paul in Romans 8 as the firstfruits as well. Again, this is another passage we have scrutinized in a number of other studies.
Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
If we as Christian believers possess this down payment of the Holy Spirit, if we have received and we have planted within us the Spirit of God Himself as a firstfruits gift to us, then does it not make sense that we should be emitting or showing forth in our character some fruit of the Spirit? That’s a reasonable assumption, isn’t it?
Fruit is categorized as either good or bad
There are many things said about fruit in the Scripture, but no matter what is said, there is always a dichotomy. Fruit is either good or bad. Jesus himself was obviously speaking of men as trees in Matthew 7 when He said:
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
This idea of the evil tree being cut down and cast into the fire is to us, of course, not a picture of eternal hellfire, but of God’s righteous judgment upon them in the lake of fire, which is for purposes of correction, not eternal torture or ultimate extinction. We have dealt with that extensively in our series of four albums called God’s Plan for Man, especially in the “Hell” album and the “Universal Reconciliation” album (See below for ordering information).
Fruit, metaphorically, is the outcome of thoughts, words and actions. It is either good or bad. Notice the contrast here as well as the parallelisms in the two verses.
Isaiah 3:10 Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.
11 Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.
- “Say ye to the righteous” parallels “Woe unto the wicked!”
- “it shall be well with him” is in contrast to “it shall be ill with him.”
- “they shall eat the fruit of their doings” is in contrast to “the reward of his hands shall be given him.”
The good and evil fruit dichotomy is found everywhere. Looking in the book of Jeremiah, we find it relative to the thoughts of the mind.
Jeremiah 6:19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it
Notice there that the evil is the fruit of their thoughts. And it is because they would not heed God’s law. The outcome, therefore, the results of their carnal minds is evil. Does that not sound like the curses of the law at work? Keep that in mind as we look at…
Jeremiah 17:10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
Here instead of the thoughts, it is the actions, the deeds, which result in either blessing or curse. It is the law of reaping and sowing; otherwise known as the law of cause and effect.
Proverbs 25:2 …so the curse causeless shall not come.
We have seen examples of the fruit of thinking and the fruit of doing. If we look at Proverbs 12, we find an example of the fruit of our words, of our speech. Again, notice the parallelism in the contrast between the wicked and the righteous, here translated as the “just.”
Proverbs 12:13 The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble.
14 A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompence of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him
Did you know that you when you praise God with thanksgiving that you are offering a sacrifice? In the Old Testament, the people offered sacrifices of the fruit of the land, or the fruit of their herds and flocks, as atonement for sin among other reasons.
We no longer need offer any sacrifices in connection with our sins for God has provided Himself a Lamb for the sins of all for all time. But we nevertheless offer sacrifices to Him because of our gratitude for what He has done for us. One of the sacrifices is the fruit of our lips.
Hebrews 13: 15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
As Christians we are to become trees of righteousness bringing forth the fruit of the Spirit. The same would be the fruits of the kingdom. In speaking to the Jewish leadership which rejected His kingship, Jesus said.
Matthew 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
At this juncture we have laid sufficient groundwork concerning fruit. Next time, we will begin a study one of the specific fruits of the spirit. (To be continued.)
God’s Plan for Man Series
by Dr. James W. Bruggeman
Here is the suggested order of listening to the lectures. Doing so will provide a progressive course of study covering many topics. Some of them do not necessarily follow in numerical order. Request SKM Resources Catalog for description of each lecture.
CD # Lecture Title
Album A-101 The Ages and the Jubilees 6 CDs: $24
263 How Long Is “Forever?”—The Doctrine of the Ages, Part 1
264 How Long Is “Forever?”—The Doctrine of the Ages, Part 2
271 Jubilee: Level One—The Moral Law, 1
272 Jubilee: Level One—The Moral Law, 2
275 Jubilee: Level Two—The Prophetic Law, 1
276 Jubilee: Level Two—The Prophetic Law, 2
Album A-102 The Sovereignty of God 10 CDs: $40
280 The Sovereignty of God (SoG) series: Lecture 1: Who’s In Charge Here?, 1
281 The Sovereignty of God (SoG) series: Lecture 2: Who’s In Charge Here?, 2
282 SoG: Lecture 3: Foreknowledge and Predestination, 1
283 SoG: Lecture 4: Foreknowledge and Predestination, 2
284 SoG: Lecture 5: Do We Have Freewill?, 1
285 SoG: Lecture 6: Do We Have Freewill?, 2
286 SoG: Lecture 7: Why Hast Thou Made Me Thus? (The Doctrine of Election),1
287 SoG: Lecture 8: Why Hast Thou Made Me Thus? (The Doctrine of Election), 2
288 SoG: Lecture 9: Adam’s Fall & Christ’s Gift (Doctrines of Imputation and Infusion), 1
289 SoG: Lecture 10: Adam’s Fall & Christ’s Gift (Doctrines of Imputation and Infusion),2
Album A-103 It’s Hell or Nothing 10 CDs: $40
302 The Doctrine of Eternal Torture, 1
303 The Doctrine of Eternal Torture, 2
304 The Doctrine of Final Annihilationism, 1
305 The Doctrine of Final Annihilationism, 2
273 Do Rich Men Go To Hell and Beggars To Heaven? (Lazarus and the Rich Man), 1
274 Do Rich Men Go To Hell and Beggars To Heaven? (Lazarus and the Rich Man), 2
310 The Truth About Hell, Soul and Spirit, 1
311 The Truth About Hell, Soul and Spirit, 2
312 The Truth About Hell, Soul and Spirit, 3
313 The Truth About Hell, Soul and Spirit, 4
Album A-104 – Universal Reconciliation 12CDs: $44
296 History of the Doctrine of Universal Reconciliation (UR), 1
297 History of the Doctrine of Universal Reconciliation, 2
314 UR: Lecture 1: God’s Plan and Purpose in the Three Resurrections, 1
315 UR: Lecture 2: God’s Plan and Purpose in the Three Resurrections, 2
317 UR: Lecture 3: Conciliating the World, 1
318 UR: Lecture 4: Conciliating the World, 1
319 UR: Lecture 5: Everyman Returns in Jubilee, 1
320 UR: Lecture 6: Everyman Returns in Jubilee, 2
325 UR: Lecture 7: The Good News, 1
326 UR: Lecture 8: The Good News, 2
327 UR: Lecture 9: Back to the Garden—God’s Purpose for Evil, 1
328 UR: Lecture 10: Back to the Garden—God’s Purpose for Evil, 2
Special Package Price—All Four Albums $99
(A Savings of $53! $152 if ordered individually.)
You can order either of two ways:
(1) Postal mail. Send your order to Stone Kingdom Ministries, PO Box 5695, Asheville, NC 28813.
Or, (2) since our online store is currently down pending a new framework, you can send me an email with your request (firstname.lastname@example.org) and make an online donation to pay for it.
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