Teaching about Trees

Authored by Mark Kelly in Issue #34.2 of The Sower

Our redemption took place on 'a tree', the tree of the Cross. This is the culminating point for a wonderful teaching we can give on the importance of trees in creation and in the story of our redemption.

Trees occupy a central place in the Scriptures. Stonewall Jackson understood his Bible well, and knew that as he was departing this life he would meet his Creator at ‘the trees’. Just as Genesis begins with a meeting at two trees, the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil and the Tree of Life,, so in the restored Garden of Paradise there is a tree, and in the book of Revelation we are shown that, ‘The Leaves of the Tree were for the healing of the nations.’ (see Gen. 2:17; 3:22; Rev. 22:2). The life giving tree is restored, and we may meet God their again in restored communion. The two trees of Genesis that were meant to be a meeting place for God and Man soon became a memorial of the death of humanity, where our first parents met the serpent and heeded its word instead their Father's.

Scripture sees trees as meeting places. In this arid world of the middle east there is a natural theology of trees as points of encounter between God, or His prophets, and His children. Where the tree is, there is life. Not only do we have the fruit of the tree but also shade and a water source that is feeding it. Time and again we shall see that trees are signs of life, rest and meeting.

There are a large number of trees, plants and shrubs in the Bible. These are 'types', pointing the way to the ultimate ‘Tree’ of Scripture, the tree of the Cross. Typology works in this fashion: there is a progression and construction of types until the final unveiling of the superior 'anti-type', that is, the reality towards which everything else points. Thus there are many leaders who point to the one Messiah; many;; prophets prophesy until the last great Prophet; many meals are taken, which point to the Last Supper; the women of Scripture all point to one ultimate Woman par excellence; plants and trees all lead us to one specific Tree.

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This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

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