Tamarajo is an avid Bible Studier who loves nothing more than to seek out the treasures in God's Word and share them with others.
Before this study, the book of Proverbs wasn't one of my favorite books of the Bible to read. Not that it lacked thought-provoking and helpful content, but for the most part, it seemed merely practical and was very random throughout most of its mid-section.
In this presentation, we will discover that there is more than meets the eye. A more in-depth inspection will reveal a pattern, purpose, and design in Proverbs that fits into the tapestry of a much larger story.
The tree of life, and its three strategic placements in the Scriptures, is the common thread we will trace from Genesis to Revelation. We will discover how God granted humankind eternal life in the Genesis beginning, and then what they lost was restored at the end of Revelation, but not before it crosses through the natural world exhibit of Proverbs. At this crossroads, we will discover the allegories and metaphors that will animate for us what happened in that garden event and foretell the glorious redemptive conclusion of eternal life with God.
The Tree of Life
The tree of life is noted four times in the book of Proverbs. There are only two other places in Scripture that it is explicitly named, and these are in Genesis and Revelation, the first and last books of the Bible. There are three mentions of the tree of life in Genesis and three in Revelation, which places the four Proverbs' mentions at the center of all its usages. These strategically placed references form a literary sandwich, which is known as a chiasm.
A chiasm is a literary tool that places the main point at the center of a portion of a text with parallel supporting details on each side. The outermost matching texts are like the two slices of bread on a sandwich, as we shall see in a bit.
This structure can also one compared to an arrow that is aiming at a bullseye. This assembly is displayed below as it concerns Matthew 6:24, which just so happens to be conveniently related to our topic. Visually you can see the shape of an arrow made by the indentations as each line moves towards the center and the main idea of that portion.
The Chiastic Structure of Matthew 6:24
The Torah—A Tree of Life
Based on the above display, Love and devotion, represented by the "C's," are the central themes of Matthew 6:24. The sandwich's meat or the tip of the arrow points at the bullseye of God's message.
What this arrangement reveals, in this case, is that what we love and devote ourselves to will be our master. Throughout this study, decisions about whom or what we will serve and dedicate ourselves to will be significant.
Concerning the arrow structure of the Scripture, it is interesting that the Hebrew word "Torah," most commonly translated as "law," is rooted in an archery term that means "to aim at an intended target."
The Torah is synonymous with God's Word, laws, and instructions that aim us at the bullseye of His will and intended purpose. Ultimately, aiming at God's purposes is always in our best interest. "Torah" is also the name given to the first five books of the Bible. The Word of God, Wisdom, the tree of life, and the Torah are all related in concept.
Moreover, Judaism refers to a Torah scroll as a "tree of life." An authentic Torah scroll uses parchment made of lambskin, reminding us of the eternal Word of God in the person of Jesus Christ.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
— John 1:1-2
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He was the "Lamb of God."
. . . Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
— John 1:29
The olivewood dowels used to roll the scroll are analogous to the "Word of God that stands forever."
The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.
— Isaiah 40:8
In combination, the parchment attached to olivewood dowels relates to Jesus, the lamb of God on the cross.
. . . who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree . . .
— I Peter 2:24
Modern Biblical scholars have made this same connection with God's Word and the tree of life and its association with the beginning, the end, and everything in between.
". . . since man was driven out of Paradise it (The Word of God) is for fallen man the tree of life." He that eateth thereof shall live forever. Its roots lie in Genesis, its crown in Revelation, and its body is Christ"4
— M.A. Zimmerman
The Eternal Olive Tree
Olive trees are a metaphor for eternal life, considering they can live for thousands of years. There are olive trees in Israel today that existed at the time of Christ. The olive tree is also associated with the tree of life in the Garden account by Jewish sages.
As it concerns the Torah as law, God did not make laws to confine us. His law contemplated our freedom and life.
The Hebrew word "Torah" actually means something akin to teaching and instruction. It is the truth about God's laws governing life and how things function in the spirit and natural realms. God's command not to eat from the forbidden tree was to protect our freedom.
Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat.
— Genesis 2:16
In Hebrew, the word "freely" is expressed as "eat" "eat." The double eat represents the idea of abundance, as in "eat as much as you would like." In English, we might say, "Eat to your heart's content." The main thrust of the message is that nothing is withheld that they need nor desire.
In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul's prayer for wisdom includes this same thought regarding the abundance we have in Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ . . . that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places . . .
— Ephesians 1:3,18-20
He continues with this same language of richness and abundance in chapter two.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
— Ephesians 2:4-7
And again, in chapter three.
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
— Ephesians 3:14-21
Liberty and the Tree of Life
Paul's exposition details the freedom that Christ purchased for us. I believe it was the same freedom proposed to Adam and Eve had they chosen to believe God and obey.
It is evident that the law was not for restricting them, but instead, it was for the unveiling of how God designed things to work, which is for our benefit, freedom, and fruitfulness.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free . . . the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
— Galatians 5:1,22-23
These instructions given by God aren't merely suggestions or good advice; these are the laws of life.
Interestingly, the cross, made from a dead tree, was the instrument of execution, as well as a sign of a covenant.
Counts and Placements of the Tree of Life
Our look at the usages of the tree of Life (three in Genesis, four in Proverbs, three in Revelation) will point to some fascinating revelations concerning this natural physical existence and the eternal. The four Proverb's mentions, being in the center of the three will lead us to valuable insight and application to the garden temptation narrative.
Before we get to that, some understanding of Bible numbers will be helpful in our study.
In Biblical numerics, the number four categorizes themes with the natural earthly realm that Proverbs will display. It also explains its practical and sometimes disorderly presentation.
Three is the number that classifies spiritual, heavenly things. The tree of Life's three mentions about The Garden of Eden in Genesis reveals a tabernacle of heaven on the earth. It was a place where heaven and earth met.
In Revelation, the tree of Life, with its three mentions relative to the New Jerusalem, is portrayed as a holy city that comes down from heaven.
The tree of Life and its physical realm application in the book of Proverbs, with its four uses, are sandwiched between three "eternal" mentions on either side. Heaven and earth will intersect at the juncture of Proverbs. The eternity we held in the beginning (Genesis -Eden) will pass through Proverbs' natural realm to the other side in a Revelation eternity.
The total number of occurrences of the Tree of Life, when added together, is ten. Ten in Bible numbers is associated with man's obligation of responsibility and loyalty to God, as is exhibited in the ten commandments.
Notably, Proverbs chapters one through nine contain ten speeches from a father to his son.
In Biblical theme, ten is also frequently accompanied by a test, as we shall see in the garden experience and its connection with this section of the book of Proverbs.
The Tree of Life Chiasm
Let's look at what this arrangement looks like in terms of all "tree of life" usages. Note as you read that the two outer sections of Genesis and Revelation occurrences are lettered according to their parallel matching themes, which will be discussed and compared.
A) 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.
— Genesis 2:7
B) Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever
— Genesis 3:22
C) So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life
— Genesis 3:24
The four uses in Proverbs.
She (wisdom) is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who retain her.
— Proverbs 3:18
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
And he who wins souls is wise.
— Proverbs 11:30
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life
— Proverbs 13:12,18
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life,
But perverseness in it breaks the spirit
— Proverbs 15:4
And the three Revelation occurrences.
A) “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”
— Revelation 2:9
B) In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations
— Revelation 22:2
C) Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city
— Revelation 22:14
Comparing the Parallel Themes
When comparing the "A's of Genesis and Revelation, they both show us the granting of access to the tree of life. In "A," from the Genisis verse, the first humans had the choice to eat from the tree of life, synonymous with trusting God.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
— Psalm 34:8
Their other option was to eat from the tree of knowing good and evil, which meant they wanted to experience and define for themselves what is "good and evil" independently.
Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the Lord,
They would have none of my counsel
And despised my every rebuke.
Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way,
And be filled to the full with their own fancies.
— Proverbs 1:30-31
Adam already knew God and had experienced good. Evil was the only extra dish on this table. Everything God made was good. This "good" tree contained a mix of something sinister, evil, and poisonous. The bite of that particular fruit choice contained enough toxin to paralyze the human race into a sinful state of decay and death.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
— Romans 6:23
How interesting that the venom of a snake not only paralyzes but destroys the red blood cells of a person, causing them to bleed to death both internally and externally wherever blood can escape.
. . . the life of the flesh is in the blood.
— Leviticus 17:11
The Revelation "A" reveals that eating from the tree of life is synonymous with hearing and obeying what God has said. Obedience is correspondent to faith.
Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
— James 2:18-20
Another commonality of these bookend themes concerns the tree of life's location in both being in the middle. In Genesis, it is in the middle of the Garden. In Revelation, it is in the middle of the Paradise of God.
These combined themes of tree placement and eternity are, practically, described in a Psalm of David.
But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.
— Psalms 52:8
Comparing the "B's,"; In the Genesis event, man's right to the tree of life is broken. In Revelation, it is healed.
Comparing the "Cs," there are guarded entrances to both the Garden in Genesis and the gates in Revelation. In Genesis, man is cast out. In Revelation, he is brought back in.
The Revelation account reveals that the Genesis event was a clear-cut act of treason and disobedience, and the rights to that tree were only for those who were loyal to the King of Kings commands and decrees.
On either side of Proverbs, we can see the eternal themes that seem to intersect the middle of this middle book. Like links in a chain, all three books, Genesis, Proverbs, and Revelation, are connected by the tree of life.
So let's take a look at Proverbs and see how the more tangible concepts will animate for us the eternal truth and central message of all of Scripture.
An Introduction to the Book of Proverbs
The book of Proverbs will give us a more in-depth insight into how this event from eating from a forbidden tree was about so much more than food selection. It was about knowing, or could we say, shacking up with an immoral woman, to the forsaking of the virtuous one, who are both presented in chapter two of the book of Proverbs.
Before we look at the two women, a bit about the book, the author, and the book's purpose, the book of Proverbs is credited to King Solomon's wise sayings. It begins with what the tree of life in the garden had on its menu.
To know wisdom and instruction,
To perceive the words of understanding,
To receive the instruction of wisdom,
Justice, judgment, and equity;
To give prudence to the simple,
To the young man knowledge and discretion—
A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
To understand a proverb and an enigma,
The words of the wise and their riddles.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge . . .
— Proverbs 1:1-7
The Wrong Crowd
The next section of the first chapter of Proverbs consists of a father's passionate plea to his son to choose good ways rather than evil. He explicitly counsels him to be selective about who he listens to and with what he decides to partake. Evil is personified here as "the wrong crowd." A term many parents of teens could relate with. This illustration depicts who Adam was hanging out with on that fateful occasion. Why were Adam and Eve hanging out by this forbidden fruit and conversing with a snake-like being?
The father in Proverbs makes a desperate plea in this discourse with his son to not partake of this crowd's evil offerings, and just like in Genesis, the father includes the result of death for choosing this particular path. He begins his warning.
My son, if sinners entice you . . .
— Proverbs 1:10
The "sinners" in this Proverb's verse could be compared with evil beings resident in the tree in Genesis. One, in particular, was mentioned. He is called a serpent in our English translation, but this word can also mean a shiny, sparkling one. He is part of the wrong crowd enticing the newly created man to run with him. The father instructs his son.
Do not consent.
If they say, “Come with us,
Let us lie in wait to shed blood;
Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause;
Let us swallow them alive like Sheol,
And whole, like those who go down to the Pit;
We shall find all kinds of precious possessions,
We shall fill our houses with spoil;
Cast in your lot among us,
Let us all have one purse”—
My son, do not walk in the way with them,
Keep your foot from their path;
For their feet run to evil,
And they make haste to shed blood.
Surely, in vain the net is spread
In the sight of any bird;
But they lie in wait for their own blood,
They lurk secretly for their own lives.
So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain;
It takes away the life of its owners.
— Proverbs 1:10-19
The Proverbs discourse reveals God's prohibition along with the consequential death sentence expressed as "taking away the life of its owners" compared with the "you shall surely die" clause in the Genesis narrative.
The above description is also very reminiscent of what happened with Cain, the first offspring of Adam and Eve after their fall from grace in the fourth chapter of Genesis. The language of good and evil is presented in terms of doing well and not doing well.
So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well (good), will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well (evil), sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
— Genesis 4:6-8
John in the New Testament explains a bit of the behind-the-scenes "good and evil" workings of this event.
For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.
— I John 3:11-12
Two Trees and Two Women
In the third section of Proverbs, chapter one, we are introduced to wisdom personified as a virtuous woman and represents the tree of life. She will be contrasted by an immoral woman in the second chapter, who depicts the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The section begins with wisdom calling out in the open square.
Wisdom calls aloud outside;
She raises her voice in the open squares.
She cries out in the chief concourses
At the openings of the gates in the city
She speaks her words
Turn at my rebuke;
Surely I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you
— Proverbs 1:20-21
This theme is reiterated in more detail in chapter eight of Proverbs.
Does not wisdom cry out,
And understanding lift up her voice?
She takes her stand on the top of the high hill, (Eden was on a hill)
Beside the way, where the paths meet. (cross)
She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city,
At the entrance of the doors:
“To you, O men, I call,
And my voice is to the sons of men.
— Proverbs 8:1-4 (parantheses inserted are mine)
"The way where the paths meet" is an interesting clause. It represents the moments when we must decide between good and evil. It's a crossroads. The choices made at these intersections of decisions are based on who we serve and where our loyalties lie.
It is also notable that the two "crying out in the streets" episodes of lady wisdom bookend this section of Proverbs, the first in chapter one and the second in chapter eight. Both events place Proverbs chapter four at the center of them. This chapter is titled "Security in Wisdom" in the NKJV translation, and it contains wisdom's entire appeal. Nothing is compared to the pure and chaste lady wisdom in this chapter.
Other than in chapter four, wisdom is contrasted in Proverbs by the immoral woman who calls out in the street as well. She is like the second tree in the garden. Both of these women, the wise and immoral, cry out in the streets. They both hope to attract the hearts of men and give animation to the two trees in the garden.
. . . she sits at the door of her house,
On a seat by the highest places of the city,
To call to those who pass by,
Who go straight on their way:
“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here”;
And as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,
“Stolen water is sweet,
And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
— Proverbs 2:16-19
In Proverbs chapter five, the immoral woman is depicted in illustrious detail as a seductive adulterous. She lends us a glimpse of the craftiness of temptation and how the same event in the garden was nothing short of an illicit affair.
For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey,
And her mouth is smoother than oil.
— Proverbs 5:2
The father explains that if his son chooses the right woman (wisdom/tree of life), She will deliver him from the seductress. In chapter two, the immoral woman is revealed to be an adulterous apostate, as was the inhabitant of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
When wisdom enters your heart,
And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,
Discretion will preserve you;
Understanding will keep you,
To deliver you from the way of evil,
To deliver you from the immoral woman,
From the seductress who flatters with her words,
Who forsakes the companion of her youth,
And forgets the covenant of her God.
— Proverbs 2:10-12, 16-17
God is not on the scene at the moment of temptation in the garden. It had to be their own non-coerced decision, or it would not be a chosen love, and love that's not chosen is coerced. God will not force nor manipulate us to love Him.
This same scene of absence is portrayed when the seductress makes her appeal.
For my husband is not at home;
He has gone on a long journey;
He has taken a bag of money with him,
And will come home on the appointed day.”
With her enticing speech she caused him to yield,
With her flattering lips she seduced him.
— Proverbs 7:19
Like in Genesis, there is a word of warning from the father concerning where this path leads should he choose the adulterous journey.
For her house leads down to death,
And her paths to the dead;
None who go to her return,
Nor do they regain the paths of life
— Proverbs 2:18-19
Before we are quick to blame temptation itself, wisdom corrects us.
His own iniquities entrap the wicked man,
And he is caught in the cords of his sin.
He shall die for lack of instruction,
And in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray
— Proverbs 5:22-23
Temptation likes to imagine that God won't know and won't see.
He who planted the ear, shall He not hear?
He who formed the eye, shall He not see?
— Psalm 84:8-9
For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord,
— Proverbs 5:21
Temptation always minimizes or completely dismisses the consequences.
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die".
— Genesis 3:4
. . . or flat out denies its wrong
This is the way of an adulterous woman:
She eats and wipes her mouth,
And says, “I have done no wickedness.
— Proverbs 30:20
Temptation twists the truth and invites us to be our lords.
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
And prudent in their own sight!
. . . Because they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,
And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
— Isaiah 5:20-21,24
The father in Proverbs urges his son otherwise. Imagine the "Father" in heaven with Adam in the garden. As you read it, ponder the possibility that all of this was included in God's appeal for Adam to choose the right woman/tree, metaphorically speaking.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh
And strength to your bones.
— Proverbs 3:5-8
Proverbs Chapter Nine—Pulling It All Together
Proverbs chapter nine, in its entirety, is in a chiastic form that ties all of these themes together. It summarizes concepts that announce an impending narrative shift just around the corner.
This Proverb begins with "Lady Wisdom" and ends with the immoral woman. The message between them is very pointed and is congruent with all the previous eight chapters. Let's compare and contrast these two women in this summarizing chapter.
Lady Wisdom has built her house;
she has supported it with seven pillars.
She’s prepared a feast:
She’s slaughtered her animals, poured a spiced wine,
and set her table.
She has sent out her servants with the invitation to come;
she, too, calls out from the highest point of the city:
Whoever is gullible (impressionable, easily persuaded and enticed, open to anything, broad minded), turn in here.
Then, turning to those who are naive (lacking heart in Hebrew), she says:
Come in. Come, eat my bread,
and drink my spiced wine.
Give up your gullible (impressionable, easily persuaded and enticed, open to anything, broad minded) ways, and live.
Set your course for understanding.
The central theme.
Whoever tries to discipline a scoffer should expect insults in return.
Whoever tries to correct an evildoer is likely to get hurt in the process.
So do not correct a scoffer unless you are ready to be hated,
but correct the wise and you will be loved.
Give instruction to the wise, and they will become wiser.
Teach upstanding people, and they will learn even more.
Reverence (the fear of the Lord) for the Eternal, the one True God, is the beginning of wisdom; true knowledge of the Holy One is the start of understanding.
Through me (wisdom), your days will be lengthened,
and years will be added to your life.
If you are wise, wisdom is its own reward.
If you mock what you don’t understand, you alone will suffer the consequences.
Compared to Wisdom, the Lady Folly is rowdy and loud,
naive and ignorant.
She sits by the door of her house,
on a bench at the highest place in the city,
Crooning to passersby
who hurry straight on to their destinations:
Whoever is gullible (impressionable, easily persuaded and enticed, open to anything, broad minded) , turn in here.
You are welcome in this place!
Then, she turns to the naive.
Stolen water tastes so much sweeter!
Bread secreted away is much more satisfying to eat!
But those who pause to listen to Lady Folly do not know death is the next stop,
that her guests are walking cadavers. (The Voice Version)
— Proverbs 9 (inserted parantheses are mine)
Lady Wisdom differs from the "immoral woman, in that she prepares a sacrificial meal, pours spiced wine, sets the table, and sends her servants to invite those who will come. Alternatively, the immoral woman presents as loud and obnoxious. She has prepared nothing. Both of them are calling out to the same crowds of the broad-minded and those lacking heart.
Lady Wisdom's invitation is to come and eat and drink and includes the requirement to forsake the broad path. Responding to Lady Wisdom's request sounds a bit like the concept of repentance as is addressed in Matthew's Gospel.
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.’”
— Matthew 3:1-3
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
— Matthew 7:13-14
Jesus' parable of the wedding feast allegorizes this scene again of a Father seeking a bride for His Son.
And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”’ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.
— Matthew 22:1-10
The immoral woman, by contrast, offers an invitation to drink stolen waters and eat secret bread.
Lady Wisdom proposes that her way will lead to life. The immoral woman's path suggests nothing but temporary pleasure that inevitably leads to death.
In between these two lady's appeals are examples of two different responses to Lady Wisdom's proposal. Those who reject her are willful, abusive, resistant, and defensive. Those who embrace her will become wiser and be rewarded with long life.
At the very heart of this chapter is the key to the whole discourse. The fear of the LORD and knowing His highness and holiness is the beginning of life and creative, significant existence. The center summary is the reward or consequence of either, depending on who one listens to.
It's About Loyalty
When God renews His covenant (marital contract) with the children of Israel before entering the promised land, an image of Eden or paradise, He, once again, places before them a decision of loyalties that hearkens back to Eden. The terms of this covenant are not in the fine print. They are loud and clear, and He gives them twice, once at the beginning of Deuteronomy and again at the end. The choice is between life and good, death and evil, and all are linked with blessing and cursing. There were blessings in the tree of life and curses in the other.
Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known.
— Deuteronomy 11:26-28
See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days
— Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Joshua details this scene even further upon their entrance to the promised land.
Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in faithfulness and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
— Joshua 24:14-15
God's presentation of options came with a strong appeal for their love and faithfulness that could only be expressed by them choosing to obey Him.
It's About Obedience
In God's economy, loyal love is expressed in obedience.
In Jeremiah's book, God warned His people that they had crossed the line in terms of unfaithfulness, idolatry, and evil-doing and that Babylon was coming to, consequently, take them captive. God explains that those who resist captivity are evil, and those who comply in obedience are good. He uses the metaphor of baskets of good and bad figs to communicate the warning.
The scene interestingly takes place before the temple of the Lord. Many scholars have considered the garden of Eden to be the very first earthly temple.
This conversation begins in chapter 21, of which I will include a small portion of this very familiar Genesis language.
Now you shall say to this people, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death . . . The Lord showed me, and there were two baskets of figs set before the temple of the Lord, after Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and the princes of Judah with the craftsmen and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon. One basket had very good figs, like the figs that are first ripe; and the other basket had very bad figs which could not be eaten, they were so bad. Then the Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
And I said, “Figs, the good figs, very good; and the bad, very bad, which cannot be eaten, they are so bad.”
Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge those who are carried away captive from Judah, whom I have sent out of this place for their own good, into the land of the Chaldeans. For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land; I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up. Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.
‘And as the bad figs which cannot be eaten, they are so bad’—surely thus says the Lord—‘so will I give up Zedekiah the king of Judah, his princes, the residue of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who dwell in the land of Egypt. I will deliver them to trouble into all the kingdoms of the earth, for their harm, to be a reproach and a byword, a taunt and a curse, in all places where I shall drive them. And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence among them, till they are consumed from the land that I gave to them and their fathers.’”
— Jeremiah 21:8, 24:
The comparison lends itself again to the issue of obedience.
The world and the desires it causes are disappearing. But if we obey God, we will live forever.
— I John 2:17
The figs are significant in relationship to the Jeremiah account and the garden event. The following section will explain.
The Fig Tree
It is speculated that the tree of life was the olive tree, which we looked at earlier, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil was possibly the fig tree.
The fig tree is more of a shrub than a tree. It bears both good and bad fruit, much like the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The "bad" fruit is the fruit that grows from the previous year's growth, and they are called Breba figs. They develop before the leaves appear and are a far inferior crop in flavor and quality compared to the main crop. Most harvesters discard them.
Breba figs are also bigger than the main figs. They deceptively appear tastier than the "good" fruit.
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.
— Genesis 3:6
The fig is botanically known as a false fruit because the edible product contains extra material from the plant itself that is not a part of the flower. "The ovary of the flower forms true" fruit.
This idea of mixing extra things was discussed earlier in the article. The tree was "good" until it became mixed with evil. With this in mind, it is noteworthy that, when questioned by the serpent about what God said, some extra material was added to the recount of God's instructions.
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
— Genesis 3:2-3
"Nor shall you touch it" was not included in the instructions. The misquote may seem like a mere technicality, but it gives quite a bit of insight into the faithless self-serving thought processes that led to the decision to partake.
Every word of God is pure;
He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.
Do not add to His words,
Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.
— Proverbs 30:5-6
The addition or subtraction of words gets repeated in the book of Revelation.
I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
— Revelation 22:18-19
Hidden inside the pseudo-fruit flowers of a fig tree, a myriad of seeds is produced.
There was a time when we were foolish and did not obey. We were fooled in many ways. Strong desires held us in their power. We wanted only to please ourselves.
—Titus 3:3 NLV
In contrast, the olive is a stone fruit. Its classification is a drupe that consists of a single seed, unlike the fig's many seeds. This next portion of Scripture connects the ideas of singularity, unity, and fruit.
. . . be eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, even as you were called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
— Hebrews 4:3-6
Observe the connection between fruit, unity, and the Holy Spirit. Was the Holy Spirit in the midst of the tree of life? We already know who was in the middle of the other.
Seeds can be metaphors for the conceptual components of words in thought development and ideas that will produce the fruit of attitude and action. Our brain houses trees of nerve cells called dendrites that process information. Jesus illustrates this in the Parable of the Sower when the seed is cast into different kinds of soil, representing the hearts and minds of men.
The sower sows the word . . . The seed is the word of God . . . he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
— Matthew 15, Mark 4, and Luke 8
James uses this same concept in terms of the seeds of human conception in presenting how the fruit of evil is produced.
. . . each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
— James 1:14-15
James reveals that, just like the fig, our own material (our own desires) mixed into the equation that bears bad fruit.
An interesting note is that false fruits have a much shorter shelf life.
By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
— Hebrews 11:24-26
The following are a few other comparative facts concerning the fig tree and the olive tree and their possible associations with the tree of life and the tree of the knowing good and evil.
- Olive wood is strong and durable, whereas fig tree wood is weak and decays rapidly,
- Olive trees are evergreen, and fig trees are deciduous.
- Olive trees can live for thousands of years, whereas fig trees only live a couple of hundred years.
- The olive tree produces no irritating substance, and in fact, it has many healing qualities. Fig tree sap is latex, and in its liquid form, can be very irritating to human skin, especially when exposed to sunlight. Gloves are necessary when harvesting.
The Fig Wasp
The pollination of figs occurs primarily by the fig wasp. The flowers are hidden inside the false fruit and are known as inverted flowers.
A female fig wasp enters an opening not large enough to accommodate her wings and antennae. She, therefore, dies after forcing her way into the fig and laying her eggs. The males produced from her eggs will be wingless and will only serve the purposes of mating with the female wasps and chewing a hole in the fig to enable the females to escape, and then they die.
The spiritual takeaway from this process displays the trappings of evil invitations to partake of seemingly harmless things. The cycle will go on, but not without death.
The following video displays the process.
The Two Women of Revelation
We viewed the two women of Proverbs, Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly, earlier in this study. We will now look at the two women at the end of the Bible in the book of Revelation, characterized by two cities.
Much like Proverbs, there is an immoral woman. This time she is known as a harlot depicted by Babylon and is contrasted by a pure woman, the Bride of Christ, portrayed as the New Jerusalem. As we read, note that cities are places of unified habitation and always appear in female form in Old Testament Hebrew.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband . . . And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife
— Revelation 21:2, 9-10
The Lamb's wife described in the following verse is righteous and pure. She represents a redeemed people who have made faithful preparation.
Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
— Revelation 19:7-8
Paul animates this by illustrating the husband and wife relationship in his letter to the Corinthians. His example is loaded with fidelity concepts and even uses the garden event as an example.
For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity (a single hearted devotion) For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!
— II Corinthians 11:2-4 (inserted parantheses are mine)
He reiterates this theme in his letter to the Ephesians and emphasizes being cleansed and purified by the truth.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish.
— Ephesians 5:22-27
The bride in Revelation is contrasted with a harlot, as noted earlier. The filthiness of this immoral woman is, once again, described in terms of various unbridled transgressions. This scene is the finality of Eden's events and those who chose to unify in Babylon.
Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication . . . on her forehead a name was written:
MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS
OF THE EARTH . . .
. . . The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues . . . For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her
— Revelation 17:1-2,5,15, 19:2
In Eden, God provided a way of redemption and ever so patiently gave humankind every opportunity to repent and turn back to him. Revelation provides us with the culmination of the final event when all men have made their choice and sealed their fate.
But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts . . . And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues, and they did not repent and give Him glory . . . They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores and did not repent of their deeds
— Revelation 9:20-21, 16:9,11
This end account gives us the entire purpose of God's plan that began in Genesis, passed through the natural world of Proverbs, and redeemed in Revelation.
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God, Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
— Revelation 21:3-4
Babylon and Babel
Babylon, the harlot city, is rooted in the Old Testament story of the Tower of Babel that occurred after Noah's flood. It follows the same narrative of the unification of people to work and achieve independently from God, again illustrating the evil tree.
“Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves . . . "
— Genesis 11:4
Babel is the Hebrew root word of Babylon and means mixing and confusion. It comes with the idea of staining or soiling. Again the mixing theme is repeated.
God is asking for our unadulterated worship that will lead to life, order, and light.
Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord;
Nor are there any works like Your works.
All nations whom You have made
Shall come and worship before You, O Lord,
And shall glorify Your name.
For You are great, and do wondrous things;
You alone are God.
Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.
I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And I will glorify Your name forevermore.
For great is Your mercy toward me,
And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol
— Psalm 86:8-13
As the book of Proverbs comes to a close, the writer appears to include the Gospel. The presentation begins with an acknowledgment and a series of questions. A hidden message is revealed within the names' meanings, as is defined by Bible scholar Leo Perdue.
The words of Agur (collector) the son of Jakeh (obedient), his utterance. This man declared to Ithiel—to Ithiel (I am not God) and Ucal (How can I prevail/I am exhausted)
— Proverbs 30:1
The realization that "I am not God" is enormous. Ezekiel confronts this issue of man's desire to be his own God, having no one tell him what to do.
“Because your heart is lifted up,
And you say, ‘I am a god,
I sit in the seat of gods,
In the midst of the seas,’
Yet you are a man, and not a god,
Though you set your heart as the heart of a god.
— Ezekiel 28:2
Ucal's name reveals the result of this conquest that leaves humankind exhausted, helpless, and unsuccessful in preparing his checklist of collected rights and wrongs and trying to obey them correctly, which leaves him begging for a redeemer.
Who has ascended into heaven, or descended?
Who has gathered the wind in His fists?
Who has bound the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name, and what is His Son’s name,
If you know?
— Proverbs 30:1-4
Paul expounds to the Ephesians, answering these questions referencing the "Son of God" who fulfills this Messianic prophecy of old.
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says:
“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.
(Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
— Ephesians 4:7-10
The randomness of the collected sayings before these questions now makes sense. The father's appeal to his son to choose wisdom occurs in chapters one through nine of Proverbs. Structure and order are observed in this section. In Chapters 10-29, the random sayings appear to be presented in no particular order. You could study them topically and categorically, but why aren't they structured that way in the book? And then there are these types of seemingly contradictory counsel.
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
— Proverbs 26:4-5
Which answer is correct? It seems a little bit mixed up, confusing, and sometimes disorienting, very much like life on this earth trying to figure things out for ourselves.
There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death Proverbs.
If we think of the first section of Proverbs, chapters one through nine, presenting the Genesis decision scene, we see it begin with an orderly appeal.
The central part of Proverbs, Chapters 10-29, shows us how, after humankind chose the natural physical realm path, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the immoral woman, it resulted in his confusion of discerning good and evil for himself. It left him with a mixed-up process of gathering fragments of wisdom that he had no idea how to put in order left to himself. Recall Agur's name meant collector.
All gets brought into order, and the picture becomes clear and organized when someone is at the center of it all, as the final chapter of Proverbs reveals. This chapter represents Revelation with the faithful wife.
The Proverbs 31 Woman
The final scene in the book is a well-known and popular portion of Scripture titled by many as the "Proverbs 31 Woman" that has left many women feeling a little intimidated by her exceptional accomplishments and the seamless order of her life. May I propose that she is meant to be portrayed as a "humanly impossible" to achieve woman? That is because there is someone at the center of her story. Let's look at the literary structure of this last portion of Proverbs and discover who that someone is.
The following is the structure written and arranged by Christine Miller on her "A Little Perspective" website. As you read, remember to compare the common letters to see the parallel supporting texts.
a) Pro 31:10, A woman of valor who can find? For her worth is far above rubies;
b) Pro 31:11-12, The heart of her husband trusts her/ she does him good all the days of her life;
c) Pro 31:13-16, She diligently provides coverings + food + tasks + produce for her household;
d) Pro 31:17-22, She girds herself with strength + her merchandise + does not fear the future + opens her hands to the poor;
central axis) Pro 31:23, Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land;
d) Pro 31:24-26, Her merchandise + Strength her clothing + rejoice in the future + opens her mouth with wisdom;
c) Pro 31:27, She watches over the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness;
b) Pro 31:28-29 Her children + husband praise her: “Many have done well, but you excel them all;”
a) Pro 31:30-31, Beauty passes/ she who fears the Lord shall be praised + her works shall praise her.3
Many modern women might be upset that the central focus of this successful, organized, chaste woman is her husband. Still, when viewed from an allegorical spiritual perspective, we might see that these characters depict the story of God and His people. God is the husband in this story.
For your Maker is your husband,
The Lord of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth.
— Isaiah 54:5
When God is at the center and not ourselves, he brings order out of chaos as He did in Genesis chapter one. He brings light to our darkness, just like in Genesis chapter one. He gives us the ability to do things we could have never done ourselves, and best of all, we become His faithful wife. That is how Revelation ends, the Lamb's wife, the spotless bride. God dwelling with His faithful people in perfect harmony as He had envisioned in the beginning.
There are several keywords in the book of Proverbs that can help us summarize this study.
"Life" occurs 40 times and "death" 28 times. The themes of life and death are undoubtedly central Bible topics throughout the Bible. It also could be noted that "life" trumps death from a mention perspective.
Getting wisdom is the key, says the writer of Proverbs. It's a call to return to the right tree.
Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
— Proverbs 4:7
Wisdom is a person and not an item.
Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? . . . Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God . . . of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord
— I Corinthians 1:20,24,30-31
Wisdom was the fruit of the tree of life.
Wisdom is expressed with two Hebrew words in Proverbs, the first being "chokmah," and is used 55 times in Proverbs. This particular word refers to the wisdom used to create all things.
He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding.
— Jeremiah 51:15
God is offering us to partake of the wisdom that stretched out the heavens and established the world. That which was forsaken in the garden will be returned to the New Jerusalem.
The second word for wisdom is "sakal," with 14 mentions. It differs slightly from "chokmah" and comes with the idea of "looking intently at." Associations with this word include prosperity and success. It is the same word used by Eve when she looked intently at the good and evil tree and considered that it would provide for her such things.
He that handles a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusts in the LORD, happy is he.
— Proverbs 16:20
Another keyword with 14 uses is "understanding" and is a sister word with wisdom. More accurately, it would translate using the word "discern," as in the ability to measure, weigh, balance, and separate what belongs and what doesn't. It also includes the idea of skill.
Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, that made heaven and earth, who hath given to David the king a wise son, endued with prudence and understanding, that might build an house for the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.
— II Chronicles 2:12
The writer of Hebrews gives us the application to the concept of discerning between good and evil.
For everyone who partakes only of milk (elementary principles of God's Word) is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
— Hebrews 5:12
Although the sayings of Proverbs chapters 10-29 are disorganized, they are, in fact, true. Each expression is a comparative parallel of wise or unwise thinking and doing.
They are all very practical sayings about living this natural life with an eye to eternal life.
The truthful lip shall be established forever . . .
— Proverbs 12:19
Without Christ, these sayings are like flashcards to right thinking and living that are incomplete without Him. It is like the schoolmaster Paul described in his letter to the Galatians.
What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator . . . before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
— Galatians 3:19,23-24
"Law" or "Torah" is used in Proverbs 13 times.
A related word "instruction" is used 30 times and would, more accurately, translate as "discipline" or "correction." After the fateful fall, we needed correction. Does the correction save us? No. However, it sets on a path to receive the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
The law of the wise is a fountain of life,
To turn one away from the snares of death.
— Proverbs 13:14
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.
— Matthew 1:1-3
The Fear of the Lord
There are so many more keywords such as lips, mouth, and tongue, which could be a whole other lesson in and of itself. For now, I will end this section with a final key phrase, "the fear of the Lord." Out of 28 total Bible mentions, 14 of them occur in the book of Proverbs.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
— Proverbs 9:10
We often have a problem with the idea of fearing God, but what if we thought of fearing God as being synonymous with faith. The Hebrew word for fear is rooted in the word meaning to see. What if we understood how genuinely remarkable, majestic, powerful, capable, full of wisdom, glory, and grace He truly is. There were folks in the Bible who did and were so amazed that they fell on their faces before Him.
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
— Revelation 7:9-12
I will conclude the message with a final word of wisdom from the Genesis of Psalms.
Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
— Psalm 1
The first Psalm reads very much like a replica of the garden event, the Proverbs fatherly plea, and the end result in Revelation. There is a counsel of wicked, ungodly, sinful forces that seek to lead us astray that we will be blessed not to follow. We will become like a fruitful tree if we will but choose to plant ourselves by the rivers of water, Christ the tree of life. The consequences of either choice are given once again.
. . . therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.
To choose life is to choose Christ.
. . . When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
— Colossians 3:4
Credits and Sources
3 Structure borrowed from Christine Miller at http://www.alittleperspective.com/
4Studies In Genesis by M.A. Zimmerman. Published by Fellowship of Protes'tant Lutherans. Copyright 1979
© 2017 Tamarajo
Tamarajo (author) on April 17, 2020:
Im glad the study was illuminating.
Could you please be more specific about the misquotes. I will be more than happy to correct.
Sue Peeples on April 17, 2020:
Much of what you wrote was illuminating. However, you misquoted many verses. You need to go back and correct these; otherwise, you will mislead others. You should have edited this better before you shared it with other.
Tamarajo (author) on September 16, 2019:
I am blessed to know that the studies are helpful for teaching God's truth to others. It certainly meets the vision I have for sharing the discoveries.
I appreciate you stopping by and for your encouragement.
God bless you too.
Miriam on September 11, 2019:
Thank you so much this is so good it’s helping me to help others and to teach them and God bless big Jesus love
Tamarajo (author) on March 16, 2019:
Hello again JD 0311,
I very much understand what you mean about sharing insights. I have a bad habit of sharing everything I learn and have, at times, in my zeal for the revelation, assumed it was for all when, in fact, should have been a more personal lesson.
I have found the following in your quote to be so true!
"as we study the text, these thoughts or ideas become linked in our minds and form a new way of thinking about things that we never were able to come to on our own. Chiasms are a way that the Holy Spirit links together texts in a way that one sheds light on another. "
It's like His Word rewires our minds according to His Truth.
I appreciate your further wisdom on The Genesis, Proverbs, and Revelation connection and adding to this conversation.
Thought provoking questions as well!
JD0311 on March 15, 2019:
Hi again. The insights I received were more for me, and I am always hesitant to share with others, things that I receive, not knowing for sure if He intends for me to share things that are meant for My personal discipline (instruction). If You think that may seem a bit selfish of Me, let me explain; I remember when I was given the first few words of 1 Cor 10:23, "All things are Lawful for Me". Now I understand the context of those words, and I don't discount context in the least, but just those six words I was led to meditate on. Think about it, "all things are lawful for Me", those words cry out for context but at the same time they stand alone and are one of the most awesome Truths in all of Scripture. But telling others that all things are lawful is not something I feel led to do (at least not without a lot of words of clarification, which would only water-down the richness of the Truth, in my opinion). I would like to share one thing though. I was first introduced to the concept of a chiasm by our Pastor's Son at Calvary Chapel Baltimore. Since My dedication to reading Proverbs I have found a "principle" that seems to apply to God's Word and the receiving of Wisdom through reading the Word. I think I am a perfect example of a man, who in the natural lacks the common sense and wisdom found in so many others. Therefor, Proverbs is a superb fit for Me. I will try to explain this principle as best I can. I believe that through the study of Scripture We are often presented with ideas or thoughts that seem to be almost complete opposites but they are linked together in a text for some reason, and as we study the text, these thoughts or ideas become linked in our minds and form a new way of thinking about things that we never were able to come to on our own. Chiasms are a way that the Holy Spirit links together texts in a way that one sheds light on another. Typically We think of cross references with parallel text and similar ideas, but through a chiastic (is that a word?) study it is amazing how seemingly unrelated texts bring each other to life. The Tree of Life links Revelation, Genesis, and Proverbs and when these three books start illuminating each other, WOW! I think that the book of Proverbs is itself a huge gateway to understanding all the rest of Scripture. The "end game" of Wisdom is to Know the Fear of the Lord and to find the Knowledge of God, The summation of Wisdom is the Fear of the Lord, so the Book that is all about Wisdom will surely guide. Genesis and Revelation are the "Bread" of the Tree of Life Chiasm sandwich, Proverbs is the "meat". Genesis and Revelation offer Obedience to Us, In Genesis we see the results of not being obedient, in Revelation We see the fruits of obedience. How do You classify the 4 verses in Proverbs (the meat)? They seem to be a description of what the Tree of Life can be for Us, but I think there is more to it than that. Wisdom is the Tree of Life (TOL), the fruit of Righteousness is the TOL, Desire when it comes is the TOL, and a wholesome tongue is the TOL. How are these four linked to the Genesis Tree? How are these four linked to the Revelation Tree? I think to answer these questions could serve one well who struggles with obedience.
Tamarajo (author) on February 08, 2019:
The whole revelation amazed me as well. It made reading it more purposeful. At the time of the writing I was studying Chiastic structures of Biblical text and became curious as to why the "Tree of Life" was mentioned in these three specific places. The beginning and the end of the Bible made sense, but why was it in the mixed bag of Proverbs? After much research the above was what I discovered.
Since then, I have been learning that just about every Biblical narrative has ties to Genesis 1-3 as well as the prophetic end.
I would love to hear your additional insights if your willing to share them. I'm always wanting to refine my understanding.
I appreciate your thoughts and visit
JD0311 on February 08, 2019:
Interesting article. I have heard that Dr Ben Carson reads the chapter of Proverbs that corresponds to the date every day (and again at night) and I thought that sounded like an excellent plan for me as well. This Tree of Life kept popping up so I googled it and found this article. Wow, you've certainly extrapolated much data and it is almost fantastical the way you tie the Tree, and Proverbs as a whole to the Genesis and Revelation Trees. Having just read some of what you wrote tying in Proverbs 1 to the Genesis narrative I really can not understand fully how you came up with this whole concept and why it not only makes perfect sense to me but I am seeing even a little more in the Word than what You've written! "To understand a Proverb and an enigma, The words of the wise and their riddles."
Tamarajo (author) on March 19, 2018:
Thank you for your visit and comment Elizabeth.
Elizabeth Murphy on March 14, 2018:
Always keep your self and the spirit who made the world close to your tree of Life......,,
Tamarajo (author) on November 02, 2017:
I'm glad you were able to glean from this study. I had no idea so much depth could be contained in the book of Proverbs. I'm learning that all of God's dots are connected and when we view His Word understanding these connections we can see a much larger picture.
I appreciate your reading and comment.
Cristina Santander from Manila on November 02, 2017:
Great hub filled with great spiritual insights.
Tamarajo (author) on September 18, 2017:
Hi Chin chin,
I'm glad that this study was a useful revelation. That's always my hope and prayer for it's sharing.
I find God's revealed truth so beautiful and relevant and I'm so grateful for this format to share these facets of it.
Thank you so much for stopping by and reading as well as your encouraging comment.
Chin chin from Philippines on September 18, 2017:
This reading certainly gave me a new perspective on the book of Proverbs. It made me appreciate more how God's Word reveals His message and purposes. Thank you Tamarajo for an in-depth study.
Tamarajo (author) on July 03, 2017:
Thank you for taking the time to read. The Word of God is just so deep and rich with elaborate displays of the same truth and Gospel story. I find pure joy in connecting dots and even more so if anyone else is able to glean from the finds.
As for the figs, I was equally surprised but I'm ok with eating a predigested fig wasp. Honey is the same. It is sugar that has been broken down and processed through being digested and then regurgitated by the bees.
Your read visit and commentary are always appreciated.
William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on July 02, 2017:
Another well-thought out and researched article, Tammy. You always bring so much to light. Thank for the lesson nad all its connecting point. Oh, and I'll never eat another fig!
Tamarajo (author) on June 27, 2017:
Hi Dora, when I started I had no idea it would end up being so long but because the end is so connected to the beginning I opted not to break it up. I might have to consider doing that anyways. It does make for a really long read for a web article that includes so many details.
Thanks for reading and bookmarking
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 27, 2017:
Read through most of it. Interested enough to book mark for further reading. I like detailed Bible study like this one.