The Tree of Life Foreshadowed in Exodus

In New Jerusalem the tree of life is conveyed by the river of water of life which proceeds from the throne of God and the Lamb (Revelation 22:1-2). This tree of life is foreshadowed in Exodus.

New JerusalemIn Exodus 15 Moses led Israel to praise the Lord after seeing His victory over the Egyptian forces at the Red Sea. Then Moses led the people onwards (v. 22). After three days in the wilderness they found water but could not drink it due to its bitterness (v. 22-23). In verse 25 Moses “cried out to Jehovah, and Jehovah showed him a tree; and he cast it into the waters, and the waters became sweet.”

In the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint) the Greek word for tree in Exodus 15:25* is ξύλον. This is the same Greek word used for the tree of life in Revelation 22:2 and 22:14. Therefore, the tree in Exodus 15 foreshadows the tree of life in New Jerusalem.

The same Greek word is used in 1 Peter 2:24 for the tree (the cross) on which the Lord was crucified. This verse says that by His death we are healed.

The tree in Exodus made the waters sweet. Jesus Christ, the real tree of life, makes our “waters” sweet. In eternity there will be no cause of bitterness—there will be no tears, no death, no sorrow, no crying nor pain (Revelation 21:4).

Don’t wait until New Jerusalem. We can follow the example of Moses to cry out to the Lord. He will show us “a tree” (something of Himself) to cast into our bitter waters so that we may taste His sweetness and be healed from our death. This is our foretaste of greater sweetness in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

* And three times in Genesis 2:9.

More about the tree and the sweet water is in Life-Study of Exodus, chapters 30.

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