1. Ephesus

Eden

Why is the tree of life mentioned?

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Rev 2:7 KJV)

The subject of Eden is central in the counsel to Ephesus. The ideas of “First love” and the fall of Adam are there. Repentance is suggested and the Ephesians are reminded of the first works. There is something very unusual about the first works. God finds them acceptable. This is unlike any other church or period of time or prophecy.

Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. (Rev 2:4-5 KJV)

God promises He will restore paradise for those who overcome in Ephesus. The first works, of Adam and Eve, were acceptable. They precede the fall. Furthermore, to whom would this promise about Eden restored be most appealing and applicable? Would this promise have such deep significance for you and I, who have never seen that place? Or would it apply better to post-Crucifixion individuals?

Or would this advice be more appropriate for Adam and Eve and their offspring, who had a much better idea and much greater longing for that place? The ideas of “first works”, “the fall”, “the tree of life”, “the paradise” all evoke an emotional connection for the first pair and their offspring. They speak with the same voice and seem impertinent to any other era in the history of humanity.

A wonderful description of the restoration of the Garden of Eden to Adam is described by Ellen White. Though she probably did not understand it in its Revelation perspective, this prophecy was given for others who would follow.

Before the ransomed throng is the holy city. Jesus opens wide the pearly gates, and the nations that have kept the truth enter in. There they behold the Paradise of God, the home of Adam in his innocency. Then that voice, richer than any music that ever fell on mortal ear, is heard, saying, “Your conflict is ended.” The Saviour’s countenance beams with unutterable love as he welcomes the redeemed to the joy of their Lord.
Suddenly there rings out upon the air an exultant cry of adoration. The two Adams are about to meet. The Son of God is standing with outstretched arms to receive the father of our race, the being whom he created, who sinned against his Maker, and for whose sin the marks of the crucifixion are borne upon the Saviour’s form. As Adam discerns the prints of the cruel nails, he does not fall upon the bosom of his Lord, but in humiliation casts himself at his feet, crying, “Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain!” Tenderly the Saviour lifts him up, and directs his attention to the Eden home from which he has so long been exiled.
After his expulsion from Eden, Adam’s life on earth was filled with sorrow. Every dying leaf; every victim of sacrifice, every blight upon the fair face of nature, every stain upon man’s purity, was a fresh reminder of his sin. Terrible was the agony of remorse as he beheld iniquity abounding, and, in answer to his reproofs, met the reproaches cast upon himself as the cause of sin. With patient humility he bore, for nearly a thousand years, the penalty of trans gression. Faithfully did he repent of his sin, and trust in the merits of the promised Saviour, and he died in the hope of a resurrection. The Son of God redeemed man’s failure and fall, and now, through the work of the atonement, Adam is reinstated in his first dominion.
Transported with joy, he beholds the trees that were once his delight, –the very trees from which he plucked fruit when he rejoiced in the perfection of innocence and holiness. He sees the vines that his own hands have trained, the very flowers that he once loved to care for. His mind grasps the reality of the scene; he comprehends that this is indeed Eden restored, far more beautiful now than when he was banished from it. The Saviour leads him to the tree of life, and plucks the glorious fruit, and bids him eat. He looks about him, and beholds a multitude of his family redeemed, standing in the Paradise of God. Then he casts his glittering crown at the feet of Jesus, and, falling upon his breast, embraces the Redeemer. He touches the golden harp, and the vaults of Heaven echo the triumphant song, “Worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and lives again!” The family of Adam take up the strain, and cast their crowns at the Saviour’s feet as they bow before him in adoration.
This reunion is witnessed by the angels who wept at the fall of Adam, and rejoiced when Jesus, after his resurrection, ascended to Heaven, having opened the grave for all who should believe on his name. Now they behold the work of redemption accomplished, and they unite their voices in the song of praise. – Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p646

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