After the great revival at Samaria, Philip was sent by an angel to the desert to minister to an Ethiopian eunuch. He came at just the right time to find the eunuch reading from the book of Isaiah. Philip began to read at the same verse "... and preached to him Jesus" (Acts 8:35). As the eunuch saw how Jesus Christ fulfilled the scriptures in Isaiah, he believed and was saved.
Jesus is often spoken of in the Old Testament. He Himself confirmed this in John 5:39, "You search the scriptures... these are they which testify of Me."
Jesus Came to Fulfill All That Was Written
When Jesus Christ came into the world, He spoke to God the Father concerning the Old Testament scriptures: "Then I said, 'Behold I have come - in the volume of the book it is written of Me, to do Your will, O God.'"
Not only is Jesus spoken of in the Old Testament, He came to fulfill all that was written.
Did you know that Jesus can be found in every book of the Old Testament? In some cases, it is as straightforward as the prophecy from Isaiah that Philip and the eunuch read. Other times, Jesus is found as a shadow or type - a sort of "visual aid" God gives His children to reveal His great redemption plan. Studying these Old Testament scriptures can give us powerful insights into what God has provided for His Church.
Two Trees in the Garden
Jesus appears many times in the book of Genesis. One example can be found in Genesis 2:9, "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."
What a lavish God we serve! He did not make just a few trees for Adam and Eve - He made millions! And they were not all for food; many were just beautiful to see. Since we are both practical and emotional creatures, God mad some trees for food and for beauty.
Two trees stood alone in the Garden: the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God told Adam he could freely eat of every tree except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
The Tree of Destruction
Why did God place a tree in the Garden which could doom His plans and curse His creation? He had to. What good is a creature with a free will if there is no test for that will? God does test His creatures, but always for our good. God also slants His tests toward what He desires. He gives us the right answers before we choose. When He places before us life and death, cursing and blessing, He tells us to choose life and blessing (Deuteronomy 30:19).
In the Garden, there were millions of "yes" trees and one "no" tree. By their sheer number, God was telling man to choose life and blessing, not death and cursing. God also told Adam the benefits of eating the acceptable trees and the curse of eating the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Yet, Adam and Eve chose to eat of the tree God forbid. Why?
How was Satan able to tempt two people who were perfect and had everything they needed? They could not sin in the same manner as we can today. They could not covet or steal - because everything belonged to them. They could not commit adultery - because there were no other men or women on earth.
Satan had to convince them that there was something God was keeping from them; that although it seemed like perfection, God had left something out. Satan convinced Adam and Eve that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was keeping them from being like God or from being gods themselves.
The Tree of Redemption
Isn't it interesting that the cross is also called a tree? This tree is not a tree of destruction, but a tree of redemption.
"The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree." (Acts 5:30)
"...Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree..." (1 Peter 2:24)
The two trees could not be any more different. God had a plan through the cross to bring us back to Himself. This second tree was able to reverse all the damage inflicted by the first tree.
The Difference Between the Tree in the Garden and the Tree of Calvary
1. The first tree was planted by God, the second by man.
With the first tree, man rejected the plan of God and substituted his own plan. With the cross of Jesus, God rejected man's plan and introduced His own answer: full forgiveness of sins.
2. The first tree was inviting, the second was not.
The tree in the Garden was pleasant to the eyes, but in the cross we have nothing of beauty. The cross was the place of Jesus' death, a place of pain, covered with blood. "He has no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrow and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him" (Isaiah 53:2,3).
3. God forbid man to eat of the first tree, but He invites us to the second.
God told Adam "of the tree... you shall not eat." But of the cross He tells us, "taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8). Man is so much better off when he listens to God and obeys His voice. His word is as true and vital for our daily life after the new birth as it is for salvation. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."
4. Satan tried to get man to eat from the first tree, but tries to keep him from the second.
Satan told Adam and Eve, "You shall not surely die." He called God a liar and they believed him. With the same amount of effort Satan tried to get man to eat of the first tree, he now works to keep man from the cross. The Bible tells us, "Whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, ..., should shine on them" (2 Corinthians 4:4).
We must put all our effort into rejecting the words of Satan and obeying the words of God!
5. Eating the first tree brought death, while the second tree brings life.
God warned Adam, "In the day you eat of it you shall surely die." But today God encourages us to put our trust in Jesus and be born again: "Whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). In spreading the gospel, we stand on God's side, as His representatives, calling people to lose their sins and gain eternal life
6. The first tree removed man from Paradise, the second tree brings us back.
When Adam sinned, "the Lord God sent him out of the Garden of Eden" (Genesis 3:23). Man could no longer live in God's presence and had to be banished. But when the thief accepted salvation on the cross, Jesus said to him, " today you will be with Me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43). We have been brought back into the Garden and are accepted in God's presence again.
7. The first tree took us away from the Tree of Life, the second brings us back.
Adam and Eve had to be banished from the Garden to prevent them from eating of the tree of Life and living forever in a fallen condition. Angels guarded the Tree of Life, keeping men out (Genesis 3:24). But at the point of the new birth, we again have access to the Tree of Life.
Although the Tree of Life will be found in heaven (Revelation 2:7), we also have access to it in our daily, earthly walk with the Lord. Proverbs 3:13-18 says, "Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with here. Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand is riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of here, and happy are all who retain here."
The Tree of Life is the Word of God. After the Fall, Adam and Eve could not eat of it. To come back to the Tree of Life, man must receive eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God is said to be "foolishness to those who are perishing" (1 Corinthians 1:18). They cannot understand God's Word because it is spiritually understood.
However, as believers, we can understand the Word and God freely invites us to eat of it. As we do, He promises it will bring us happiness, wisdom, understanding, riches, long life, and peace.