Revelation 2:7: The Tree of Life

Updated: Feb 16

Verse 7:[1] (Matt. 11:15; 13:9, 43; Rev. 2:11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22; 13:9) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give (Rev. 22:2, 14) to eat of (Gen. 2:9) the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.


[He that hath an ear (namely, a spiritual one, prepared to understand and obey [Ribera, Menochius]: the ear of the heart [Gomar]), let him hear (a formula for one exciting attention, Matthew 11:15; 13:9, 43; Mark 4:9, 23; 7:16; etc. [Grotius]) what the Spirit (the Holy Spirit, who speaks by the Prophets [Menochius]) saith (namely, through me in this Epistle [Piscator]) to the Churches] Namely, to the Ephesian Church and others which were under the care of the Ephesian Bishop, that is, this Divine vision: concerning which acceptation of this word [Spirit], see 1 Corinthians 12:3, 10; 1 John 4:1-3. Thus in Hermas, That Spirit is the Son of God,[2] that is, that vision (Grotius).


He that hath an ear, let him hear; to whom God hath given an ability and power to understand what I say. It is a form of speech which Christ often used, when he would quicken up people’s attention, Matthew 11:15; 13:9, 43; Mark 4:9, 23; 7:16: we shall find it again in these two chapters six times; from which some would conclude, that in these epistles there is something mysterious, parabolical, and prophetical, it being a form of speech prefixed to many parables. What the Spirit saith; the Holy Spirit of God, from whose inspiration all Scripture is. Unto the churches; not only at Ephesus, but elsewhere in Asia, or any other part of the world.



[To him that overcometh (that is, the Nicolaitan heretics, also, Pagans and tyrants [Lapide]; the Devil, the World, the Flesh [Menochius, Tirinus, Pareus, Lapide, Piscator], and especially the torpor and backwardness of the soul [Tirinus, thus Menochius]: To him that suffers himself neither by fasting nor by other inconveniences to be carried away from Christianity [Grotius, thus Ribera]) will I give to eat from the wood (or, tree [Piscator, Beza]; the Septuagint puts ξύλον/wood[3] in the place of tree [Grotius], that is, the fruit of the tree [Beza, Grotius]) of life (not corporeal, by which the strength of the body was able to be renewed, but spiritual, vivifying [Tirinus]: The Hebrew Law is the food of the soul, the tree of life, Proverbs 3:18, for it gives a blessed life on earth: But much more justly Christ, the author of eternal life, the bread of life, John 6:35, 41, 48, etc.: The tree of life is explained by Philo as θεοσέβεια, the fear of God [Grotius]), which is in the paradise (or, in the midst of the paradise [Erasmus, Montanus, etc.], that is, not on earth, but in the heavens [Ribera, thus Cotterius, Beza, Piscator]: He says in the midst because it is and will be at hand to all His own [Cotterius]) of God] A similar opposition to this is in Matthew 5:6, Blessed are those who hunger…for they shall be filled [Grotius]. He is here called the wood of life, that is, either, 1. Christ, and that in the Eucharist (certain interpreters in Lapide); to which certain of the Ancients not incorrectly refer it, for through that, as it is necessary to be taken, the Holy Spirit is introduced and increased (Grotius). This does not satisfy, for this wood is given to the overcomers alone, but the Eucharist to the unworthy also, 1 Corinthians 11:27: the former is necessary for eternal life, which it has always conjoined with itself, John 6:51, etc., but the latter not likewise, 1 Corinthians 11:29 (Cluverus). Or, 2. the Holy Spirit who makes us certain of life, even indeed of everlasting life (Grotius). Or, 3. the grace of God in the present life, and the glory of God in the future life (Tirinus); the fruition of God, and blessedness, and the immortality following from thence (Lapide, Menochius, similarly Ribera, Cluverus). Or, 4. Christ the mediator, from a comparison with Revelation 2:17 and 22:14, through whose communion we have here a life of grace, and in heaven a life of glory (Gomar). Whatever supplies for us immortal life is called the wood of life (Ribera), as wisdom, Proverbs 3:18 (Ribera, Gomar, Cluverus), which is Christ, Proverbs 8:22, 23; Luke 11:49 (Cluverus); and the fruit of righteousness, Proverbs 11:30; and the wholesomeness of the tongue, Proverbs 15:4 (Gomar).


To him that overcometh; that is, a conqueror in fighting the good fight of faith, against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Will I give to eat of the tree of life; I will give him a share in my merits, and eternal life; which blessed enjoyments are set out unto us under the notion of eating, Luke 12:37; 22:27, etc.; John 10:28. This is the promise that he hath promised us, 1 John 2:25. Heaven is expressed to us under this notion, with reference to the tree of life, mentioned Genesis 2:9, which was in the old Paradise; for it is added, which is in the midst of the paradise of God; or, which is the same, Christ himself is here intended, who is the tree of life, mentioned Revelation 22:2; and the happiness of heaven is thus expressed, 1 Thessalonians 4:17, We shall be ever with the Lord. This is the sum of the epistle to the first mentioned church, by which those that judge these epistles prophetical, understand all the primitive churches during the apostles’ age, or the most of their ages, for John himself lived under the second persecution.

[1] Greek: ὁ ἔχων οὖς ἀκουσάτω τί τὸ Πνεῦμα λέγει ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις. τῷ νικῶντι δώσω αὐτῷ φαγεῖν ἐκ τοῦ ξύλου τῆς ζωῆς, ὅ ἐστιν ἐν μέσῳ τοῦ παραδείσου τοῦ Θεοῦ.


[2] Shepherd of Hermas, Similitude 9:1.


[3] Revelation 2:7b: “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree (τοῦ ξύλου) of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” Genesis 2:9: “And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree (עֵץ; ξύλον, in the Septuagint) that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree (וְעֵץ; ξύλον, in the Septuagint) of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree (וְעֵץ; ξύλον, in the Septuagint) of knowledge of good and evil.”

ABOUT US

Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

ADDRESS

540-718-2554

 

426 Patterson St.

Central, SC  29630

 

dildaysc@aol.com

SUBSCRIBE FOR EMAILS

© 2020 by FROM REFORMATION TO REFORMATION MINISTRIES.