Sunday, August 3, 2008

Explanation of the Tree of Life - Ether 3:6-13

6 And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear.
7 And the Lord saw that the brother of Jared had fallen to the earth; and the Lord said unto him: Arise, why hast thou fallen?
8 And he saith unto the Lord: I saw the finger of the Lord, and I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood.
9 And the Lord said unto him: Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger. Sawest thou more than this?
10 And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me.
11 And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak?
12 And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.
13 And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.

(Book of Mormon | Ether 3:6 - 13)

Have you ever wondered what the Tree of Life is? Was it a literal tree? Is it a figurative tree? Did Adam and Eve really eat a piece of fruit? I believe that the verses above provide some clues to those questions, culminating in verse 13 where the Lord states, “ye are redeemed from the fall.”
It was at the fall that mankind was cut off from the Tree of Life; and here we see that the brother of Jared is redeemed from the fall. What does that mean, and what does it have to do with the Lord showing himself to the brother of Jared?
I wrote a post on this subject many months ago. It explains my views on the tree of life and can be found here. Please read and let me know what you think.


lachish said...

Dan and Wendy,

I once did a scripture chain in a class that talks about the pure fountain (so often we talk about the filthy river that we forget about the pure fountain by the tree), and also the tree. See what you think of these:

1 NE 11:25 - We have the word of God to hold on to, and also a fountain to drink from

Rev. 22:1-3 - The water is clear and pure. The fountain waters the tree of life. 12 fruits and the leaves heal the Nations

Rev. 22:17 - All are bidden to take of the water of life freely

John 4:13-14 - When we drink of it, we thirst no more, and it becomes a well of water that springs up into everlasting life

Alma 5:33-34 - The invitation has been given: Repent and ten partake of the fruit, and drink of the water freely


I am of the opinion that the Tree of Life and Pure Fountain are very symbolic, but because of the verses in Revelation, I think the tree is also real. I believe there will be a pure fountain spring forth from the throne of God (perhaps the same fountain which springs from the temple in Jerusalem ?), and it will water a literal tree, which will take away the curse . . . The very curse (the fall) which came upon Adam and Eve.

I think Alma's reference to both the water and the fruit in Alma 5:33-34 is great. Sounds almost like the sacrament, doesn't it?

Daron D. Fraley

Anna Maria Junus said...

I believe too that it's both figurative and literal. Just as the sacrifice of animals was.

Queen of Chaos said...

I think the Lord uses both figurative analysis as well as physical.

In the temple we 'SEE' Adam and Eve partake of literal fruit. I will have to vote that it was both a mix of physical with spiritual/symbolic.

I love reading your deep thoughts on doctrinal issues. It's something I miss discussing at church since I am in the Primary.

Dan and Wendy said...

Daron, Anna Maria, and Autumn, thanks for your inciteful comments. I love sinking my teeth into doctrinal topics and searching the scriptures to get a better understanding.