MF Blume Jan. 7/96
Prov 3:13 Happy [is] the man [that] findeth wisdom, and the man [that] getteth understanding.
Prov 3:16-18 Length of days [is] in her right hand; [and] in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways [are] ways of pleasantness, and all her paths [are] peace. She [is] a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy [is every one] that retaineth her.
The text above tells us that people obtain the Tree of Life when they obtain wisdom. Man lost access to the Tree of Life in the garden due to sin. Mankind is now suffering in the midst of turmoil and chaos as a result.
Notice the manner in which God speaks of Wisdom.
Prov 3:19-20 The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.
Even God used wisdom to found the earth. When all of life is in turmoil and chaos, as the world stood in Chaos when God set to work to rectify it, wisdom of God will make our world's brand new again! Wisdom set the world in order and founds it. It will do the same for our lives.
Wisdom provides one length of days, similar to the eternal life which the tree of life provided for mankind. We will find that the wisdom of God, which the writer of Proverbs is referring to, actually brings us back to the state of life which Adam experienced before the fall while he yet dwelt in the garden of Eden.
Is this not God's whole point of salvation?
Wisdom is said to be riches. Paul explained in Colossians that the riches of wisdom and knowledge are all found "in Christ."
Colo 2:2-3 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
All these references to wisdom and riches found in Christ teach us a wonderful truth! Let us dig these gems out from the Bible!
The fruit of the Tree of Life in Eden was actually the very means by which man would receive eternal life. The wisdom of God provides that very eternal life, for the writer of Proverbs says that length of days is in the hand of wisdom. Picture this as a tree with her fruit. Like the fruit at the tips of the Tree of Life's branches offering eternal life to humanity, wisdom extends its hand, holding length of days for man to partake of. We see that Wisdom is indeed likened to a Tree of Life! The fruit on the Tree of Life correspond to the length of days in the HAND of Wisdom.
Praise God for the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the RIGHT HAND of God. The term "Right hand" refers to the place of POWER in Biblical texts. For example:
Matt 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
"Right Hand of God" is not a physical location of position, since God is omnipresent and how could one stand BESIDE One who is omnipresent? How can one stand beside someone who is everywhere, and has no side? The truth of the matter is that the term refers symbolically to the power of God.
Exod 15:6 Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.
Even today we use the term, "right hand man" when speaking of the representation of a powerful person.
Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16; John 1:14). He is God's right hand. He is the manner by which God has REACHED down from out of the unseen spiritual domain in order to touch physical humanity and give eternal life! In the HAND of wisdom is length of days. In Christ is the treasures of wisdom and knowledge and eternal life! This RIGHT HAND of God, Jesus Christ, hung on a Tree that meant death for Him, but which became a tree of LIFE for us!!
Jesus Christ is the fruit of eternal life hanging from the Tree of Life for us to eat of an live forever. He is Life to those who will BELIEVE HIS WORDS. This element of believing is very important. Let us see how God reasons this to be so.
Since He is the word made flesh, His flesh represents the WORD of God. Thus eating His flesh means believing His words.
John 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
This same Gospel of John told us earlier...:
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Some believe that, in John 6, Jesus meant that His literal body was actually in the bread from which we are to take communion. This is not true. The bread REPRESENTS His Body which was the WORD MADE FLESH. We know that Jesus implied the WORD when He referred to His flesh because we read the following in John 6, after Jesus spoke of eternal life in His flesh and after the multitudes, who merely sought for miracles rather than truth, left:
John 6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
John 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
Peter knew what Jesus referred to. He knew that Jesus pointed mankind to His Words which will give the believer eternal life.
Jesus' words are life-giving to them who BELIEVE. You could say that the Word of God is the fruit of eternal life! In reading John 6, we find that His WORDS are to be understood as being the source of wisdom and knowledge. Not His literal flesh.
Prov 11:30 The fruit of the righteous [is] a tree of life; and he that winneth souls [is] wise.
Look at the note about being WISE again connected to the Tree of Life. "Wisdom" is in the fruit of righteousness. And Jesus is that fruit of eternal life, fully righteous, of which we may partake and receive His righteousness and eternal life, ourselves! See the connection? We are told by Jesus, Himself, in the New Testament that we must seek HIS righteousness, and not our own. By eating the fruit of righteousness we are receiving HIS righteousness into our lives!! And how do we eat the fruit of righteousness? We BELIEVE HIS WORDS.
Joshua received the spirit of WISDOM when Moses laid his HANDS upon him.
Deut 34:9 And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.
This wisdom equipped Joshua to lead God's people into Canaan. Canaan, the promised land, today represents the attainment of God's promises. We know that the promises of God are yea and amen for all humanity to enjoy. But there is a stipulation to being able to partake of these promises. They are yea and amen to THEM THAT BELIEVE THEM.
Gala 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Like Joshua, we must receive the Wisdom of God so that we might gain access to the paradise of God's blessings in the Land of Promises. Wisdom will help us enjoy all that God has to offer us.
THE PICTURE OF THE PROMISED LAND
Canaan is likened to the REST which God ordained for man to enter. It is the GOAL of the believer in this life after we are saved. Man did not enter this Rest since Adam's time until Christ's day. Throughout Hebrews chapters 3 and 4, we read of a warning to the Hebrews, and to ourselves, about not entering God's REST due to unbelief. In this discourse, the writer compares that REST we are to enter as believers after our salvation with the Promised Land and with the Sabbath day.
We know that the Promised Land was not actually the REST God intended for man, and only a shadow of it, since we read the following:
Hebr 4:3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
Notice that the writer informs us that the people who BELIEVE are the ones who enter into Rest.
It is not a Sabbath day he is talking about, for Sabbath keeping does not require faith. If it was a Sabbath day that God was referring to, then why, so long a time after Sabbath was instituted, did God continue to direct people to a rest they had not yet entered?
Hebr 4:4-9 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh [day] on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this [place] again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
Notice the details of the following verse from the passage above:
Hebr 4:7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Long after Sabbath was instituted, David wrote of a time for God's people to enter a rest and gave an admonition to the people warning them to not harden their hearts, otherwise they would not enter it. And then we read...
Hebr 4:8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
"Jesus", here, is JOSHUA in Greek. Joshua did not lead Israel into the actual Rest intended for mankind, but into a shadow of that Rest when he led them into Canaan. If Joshua had led them into the Rest, why did David later speak of another day in which God would lead people into the Rest long after Joshua was dead and buried?
No, the Land and the Sabbath day were only foreshadows of the actual spiritual Rest into which God would lead man.
There yet remains a Rest to God's people.
The Land of Canaan represents that Rest. So we can look at Canaan and get a glimpse of the spiritual Rest into which we must enter today. It is a place of spirituality and a state in God into which we enter after having BELIEVED in Christ. We are presently growing in faith and heading for that domain of power in Christ. We are, as it were, walking through the wilderness and learning from the trials of life we walk through. The more we grow in faith, the closer we get to this domain. We have left the Egyptian bondage of this world's sin, have crossed the Red Sea waters of baptism and are now following the pillar of God's Spirit, having experienced Spirit baptism.
Notice the likeness between Israel's escape from Egypt and our new birth experience consisting of rebirth of water and Spirit:
1Cor 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 1Cor 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
Paul compares their Exodus experience with our modern-day experience of new birth of water and Spirit.
John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
NOT BY WORKS, BUT BY FAITH
So, we see that entering spiritual Canaan is our goal today! The Rest! It is a place of faith wherein we stop relying upon fleshly works to gain higher ground in God, but instead BELIEVE that the Spirit of God within might instead do the necessary works.
Hebr 4:10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his.
Such works are the works people exert in order to please God into granting them righteousness and blessings, as though we EARN them.
If flesh does any work, though, God will not accept it. It does not matter whether those fleshly works are good or not despite popular opinion. It matters that they are flesh., and that fact makes them unacceptable to God.
When we speak of acquiring Wisdom we are not talking about the acquisition of the knowledge of good and evil. It is the TREE OF LIFE we are involved with. Wisdom is a Tree of Life. The knowledge of god and evil was available from the opposite Tree in the garden. The forbidden Tree. People often mistaken the gathering of the knowledge of what is good and bad will make them wise enough to be righteous, for if they obtain such knowledge they feel they can then act upon that knowledge and live righteously. This is not God's will. Notice that this, though, is exactly what people think Christianity is all about! What an error of errors!
Collecting knowledge of what is good and what is evil in order to help us live as better Christians is not sinful. But neither is it God's will. The intentions are perfectly good ones. But they are mistaken intentions. Yes, we must do God's will, but we cannot do so by simply acquiring information as to what is good and what is evil and then acting upon that information accordingly. If we endeavour to nevertheless do this collecting, we are actually saying that all we need is to KNOW what is right and wrong and then we will be able to MAKE OURSELVES better people. This goes against the whole principle of the New Testament.
God's will is that we receive HIS LIFE, HIS SPIRIT, within us by new birth. And then we receive His righteousness. We need not work for that which He grants to us freely. Upon New Birth we are acceptable to God as we can be. His GIFT of righteousness has made us so:
Roma 5:17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
Notice how this gift of righteousness is linked to the idea of REIGNING IN LIFE!! Eternal Life!