The Genesis Parable
The Two Trees in the Garden
In Part One of this series, we learned that the “Garden of Eden” in Genesis represents the universal principle of sowing and reaping which is described by the apostle Paul in Galatians, Chapter 6:7-10. We also learned that the Parable of the Sower, found in Matthew, Chapter 13, Mark, Chapter 4, and Luke, Chapter 8, is a deeper understanding of our “Garden of Eden.” In this parable, Jesus taught that “the seed is the Word of God” while the “ground” in which it is planted represents our heart. This being true, it helps us to better understand what the Lord meant in Luke 17:21 when He said, “The kingdom of God is within you.” Beloved, God’s “kingdom” is God’s “government” and He governs all matters pertaining to humankind by means of this divine principle. What do I mean by this? Please consider what Jesus said in Matthew 4:4.
Matthew 4:4 (NKJV)
But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.' "
Our word “man” in this passage is used in an all-inclusive sense, indicative of everyone; past, present, and future, and correlates with Genesis 2:8 where we read, “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.” From the beginning of our existence, every single one of us has moved within the framework of God’s living and active Word. For this reason, Paul could say, “For in him we live and move and have our being”; see Acts 17:28. Now, please consider the following from Hebrews 4:12-13.
Hebrews 4:12-13 (NKJV)
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
“There is no creature hidden from His sight,” not a single one of us, so Paul went on to say, “For we are also His offspring.” So it is that with all confidence, Paul could also write the following in Colossians.
Colossians 1:16-17 (NKJV)
For by Him (Christ) all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
It should be evident by these passages that there is nothing random about our existence, regardless of how things may appear on the surface. None of us are here by chance, but by divine design and purpose. And though others may seek to define our path and our reason for being, ultimately, that is left to God alone. “All things were created through” Christ and for Christ, and “He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” So it is that Paul went on to say in Colossians, “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” Here we find the divine purpose of God in Christ which is RECONCILIATION, and, my friends, reconciliation has been assured by the universal principle of sowing and reaping.
Google defines “reconcile” as, “Restore friendly relations between” and, “Cause to coexist in harmony; make or show to be compatible.” We already see evidence of this in the fact that there are almost seven billion people on this planet and for a good part of us we manage to “coexist in harmony,” recognizing our mutual connection with one another through the supreme law of love; see James 2:8.
So, let’s look at Galatians 6 once again. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man,” that is any person, “sows, that he will also reap.” As we have learned, this is our “Garden of Eden,” but there’s more. Let’s go to Genesis 2 where we read the following:
Genesis 2:8-9 (NKJV)
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 the knowledge of good and evil.
Note how the scripture states “and out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.” And again, what is the “ground”? Our heart. Then it becomes more specific, stating, “The tree of life was also in the midst” or middle “of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” So here we find two “trees” if you will, which are no doubt symbolic. If we stay in keeping with our “garden” representing the divine principle of sowing and reaping, we will find that Paul actually describes what our two trees represent within the scope of this principle. Galatians 6:8 reads, “For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Just as we have ONE garden but TWO trees, so we have ONE principle but TWO possible outcomes. This shows that the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” represents when we “sow to the flesh” while the “tree of life” represents when we “sow to the Spirit.” Ah, but here’s the kicker! Though we have two trees, they are basically joined together, for both are in the middle of the garden. This being true, reconsider Hebrews 4:12.
Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Friends, notice how the writer of Hebrews describes the Word of God. First, it is “living” and “powerful,” then, it is “sharper than any two-edged sword.” Beloved, a “two-edged sword” is BUT ONE SWORD with TWO EDGES. So just like our ONE garden with TWO trees and our ONE principle of sowing and reaping with TWO outcomes, so too the Word of God is ONE sword with TWO edges.
Now, also notice how Hebrews goes on to say, “Piercing even to the DIVISION of SOUL and SPIRIT, and of JOINTS and MARROW, and is a discerner of the THOUGHTS and INTENTS of the heart.” This shows that the principle of sowing and reaping, which incorporates both our “flesh” and “spirit,” was established to clearly deal with both of these elements in our lives.
In his book, Number in Scripture, E.W. Bullinger wrote the following about the spiritual meaning of two, quote, “We now come to the spiritual significance of the number Two. We have seen that One excludes all difference, and denotes that which is sovereign. But Two affirms that there is a difference—there is another; while One affirms that there is not another! This difference may be for good or for evil. A thing may differ from evil, and be good; or it may differ from good, and be evil. Hence, the number Two takes a two-fold colouring, according to the context. It is the first number by which we can divide another, and therefore in all its uses we may trace this fundamental idea of division or difference. The two may be, though different in character, yet one as to testimony and friendship. The Second that comes in may be for help and deliverance. But, alas! where man is concerned, this number testifies of his fall, for it more often denotes that difference which implies opposition, enmity, and oppression,” - end quote.
As we see by Bullinger’s explanation, the spiritual meaning of two is either DIVISION or WITNESS. In Hebrews 4:12, both are evident, for the WITNESS of His Word is made evident by the DIVISION which is worked by it between our SOUL and our SPIRIT and between the THOUGHTS and the INTENTS of our heart. And what did Jesus say the “ground” represents in the Parable of the Sower? It’s our heart, isn’t it? So again, we see that the Parable of the Sower is representative of the Garden of Eden, AND, just like our ONE garden and TWO trees, our ONE principle with TWO outcomes, and our ONE sword with TWO edges, we have but ONE seed in the Parable of the Sower which Jesus declared as “the Word of God.” When we take a closer look at the Parable of the Sower, we will also discover that the first two “grounds” of which Jesus spoke defines us when we “sow to the flesh,” while the last two “grounds” define us when we “sow to the Spirit.” Ah, but the beauty of this divine principle goes even deeper. Let’s go to Galatians, Chapter 4.
Galatians 4:21-26 (ESV)
Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.
Here we go, my friends! According to Paul, there are TWO SIGNIFICANT COVENANTS, the first covenant being the law of God delivered to Israel at Mount Sinai, while the second covenant was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah. We read in Jeremiah, Chapter 31, “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah-- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."
Beloved, every believer in Christ should know that there are TWO COVENANTS, first the Law of Moses, followed by the PROMISE of God to put that law into our minds and write it in our hearts. And just like our two trees in the garden, the Two Covenants are intimately joined, ONE IS NOT WITHOUT THE OTHER. Consider what Paul wrote in Romans 7:14.
Romans 7:14 (ESV)
For we know that the law is spiritual…
Do you see it? “The law,” which speaks of the FIRST COVENANT, “is spiritual,” which defines the SECOND or NEW COVENANT. Another way of describing our Two Covenants is found in Romans 13:10.
Romans 13:10 (NKJV)
Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Here we have it my friends, the quintessential component that joins our Two Covenants together, which is His divine love. This should come as no surprise, for we read in 1st John 4:16, “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. GOD IS LOVE, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”
It’s apparent that our number two is quite evident in all of this. Let me share the following with you from Stephen Jones’ book, The Biblical Meaning of Numbers from One to Forty. Two is pronounced “beth” in Hebrew. Here’s what Jones wrote, quote, “Beth is a house or household in Hebrew. God established the household with Adam and Eve, two people in a marriage. This provided direction, a double witness in the family to know the will of God. It takes two points to make a line and establish direction. The number two signifies either division or a double witness. God established two covenants in the Bible, first as a double witness of truth, but also to establish direction. Going from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant shows a progression of revelation from the lesser to the greater. This same principle is found with Hagar and Sarah, Ishmael and Isaac, with Jacob and Israel, with David and Saul, and (in the New Testament) in the contrast between Saul and Paul. In each case, there is division with a resulting conflict between the two characters, yet also God establishes the pattern of moving from one point to another,”- end quote.
Based on everything we’ve considered, we should now realize that the Garden of Eden represents the universal principle of sowing and reaping, while the two trees in the middle of this garden denote the two corresponding outcomes of flesh and spirit as wrought by the living and active Word of God in our lives. When properly understood, we should also realize that the twofold aspects of sowing and reaping accurately reflect the foundation of the Two Covenants, known as the Law and the Promise, the Old Covenant and the New. Allow me to share the following illustration with you that illustrates what we have considered throughout this study.
First of all, do you see the double-edged sword in the middle? This does, of course, represent the living and powerful Word of God which incorporates all of what this entails. For each “edge” of the sword, we have the corresponding tree of the knowledge of good and evil on the left and the tree of life on the right, the Old and New Covenants respectively. Beneath each of these trees we find our reference to the universal principle of sowing and reaping as well as to the “natural body” and “spiritual body” which Paul describes in 1st Corinthians 15:44, also defined as “the first man Adam” in 1st Corinthians 15:45 and the “one new man” of Ephesians 2:15. As our illustration shows, the “last Adam” or “Christ” is in the middle with the two-edged sword of the Word of God overlaid by the cross, signifying His sacrificial death for you and me and our corresponding death in Him.
To again quote Stephen Jones, “God established two covenants in the Bible, first as a double witness of truth, but also to establish direction. Going from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant shows a progression of revelation from the lesser to the greater.” With that being said, I cannot help but share the following with you from Genesis and the fourth day of creation.
Genesis 1:14-18 (NKJV)
Then God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.
At first glance, we see the creation of the sun, moon, and stars in these passages. However, beneath the natural creation we find a spiritual reality. “God made TWO GREAT LIGHTS: the GREATER LIGHT to rule the DAY, and the LESSER LIGHT to rule the NIGHT.” Friends, reflected in the “two great lights” are the “Two Covenants” of God which are necessary to “rule over the DAY and over the NIGHT, and to DIVIDE the LIGHT from the DARKNESS.” In this we again see the division of soul and spirit and the thoughts and intents of our heart. In this we see how that God has structured our existence in such a way that both the “day” and “night” of our being are governed. Perhaps Paul had this in mind when he wrote the following to the believers at Thessalonica.
1 Thessalonians 5:5-8 (NKJV)
You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.
Beloved, it’s good to know too that the creation of the “two great lights” was on the fourth day. Bullinger tells us that four “is emphatically the number of Creation; of man in his relation to the world as created… It is the number of material completeness. Hence it is the world number, and especially the ‘city’ number.” Being the “city” number, this denotes a “foundation,” for most buildings in a city are structured on a four-sided foundation. So it is that the Two Covenants, the “lesser light” of the Law and the “greater light” of the Promise, are the FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, but especially of the “city of God,” the “New Jerusalem,” His body, His church.
Allow me to summarize what we have considered in this presentation. First, the “Garden of Eden,” symbolic of the UNIVERSAL and TWOFOLD principle of sowing and reaping. This TWOFOLD principle is reflected in the TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL and the TREE OF LIFE, both of which are summed up in the one “seed” which is the Word of God, the TWO-EDGED or TWOFOLD government of His divine Word in humankind. This divine Word is further emphasized and established by our TWO COVENANTS, OLD and NEW, the LAW and the PROMISE, which when brought together reveal to us the FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, reflected in the “LESSER LIGHT” and “GREATER LIGHT” of the sun and the moon on the fourth day of creation.
Let me finish this presentation by saying this—the divine principle of sowing and reaping is, without a doubt, the most profound and most important principle that we could come to understand in regard to scripture. Once understood, it reveals and connects many things in the Bible, both in the Old Testament and in the New. And the most amazing thing about this principle is that it hides in plain sight.