The core message of the 66 books of the Bible and the main drama of the 6,000 years of biblical history revolves around the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gn 2:9). The story of these two trees in Gn 3 mentions the serpent and how his actions led Adam and Eve to realize they were naked (Gn 3). Roughly 25 generations and 2,500 years after Adam sinned, God taught Moses, who wrote Genesis, about the mystery of these two trees. Although God forbid Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were deceived by the serpent and ate it in disobedience. When Adam and Eve realized they were naked, they sewed leaves together to cover their nakedness and they hid among the trees of the garden (Gn 3:1-8). Because of their disobedience, God judged Adam, Eve, and the serpent (Gn 3:14-20). God made garments from animal skins to clothe Adam and Eve (Gn 3:21). God also drove Adam and Eve out of the garden to prevent them from eating fruit from the tree of life (Gn 3:22-23). Then, God placed cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life (Gn 3:24).
What is this fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that has caused so much suffering and death for the past 6,000 years?
No one has ever seen this tree, nor has anyone ever been able to offer the true explanation of this tree and its fruit. Do the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the serpent, Adam and Eve’s nakedness, and their garments symbolize something or should they be literally understood? Were the plants and animals God created clothed? Did they feel shame in front of one another? Before this incident, Adam had become a living being (i.e. a living spirit). If he was naked, why did he only realize it after eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? What is the fruit of this tree? Did God give this same choice to the animals? The concept of nakedness makes no sense unless some piece of clothing has been removed. What were Adam and Eve wearing before they were found to be naked? What did they remove? Why has humanity suffered the punishment of death for 6,000 years just for knowing what it means to be naked?
We must understand the meaning of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the meaning of nakedness. Healing can begin only when we know the cause of our suffering and of death. Let us look to the Bible to learn the spiritual meanings of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, nakedness, and clothing.
God promised in Ps 78:1-3 to open his mouth in parables and utter ancient secrets to future generations. Eventually, God came to Jesus and delivered those ancient hidden truths through him (Mt 13:34-35). At that time, the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven were revealed in parables. Since Adam and Eve’s fall was caused by the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, let us first understand the meaning of the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is a secret no one has been able to comprehend for the last 6,000 years.
Jesus referred to himself as the word (1 Jn 1:1-2), as life, and as light (Jn 8:12; Jn 14:6). He called himself the true vine and his disciples branches that bear fruit (Jn 15:1-2, 5). Jesus explained that the tree of life grows from the seed of the word of life until it is strong enough for birds to come and perch in its branches (Mt 13:31-32). This is why Jesus received the holy spirit like a dove (Mt 3:16; Jn 1:32). When you take all these parables into account together, it becomes clear that Jesus himself was a tree of life. Thus, the tree of life symbolizes people who are born of the word just like Jesus was. The tree of life in Genesis, therefore, was not an actual plant. It was a person—a son of God born of the word of life (Jn 10:35).
What, then, is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? If Jesus is the tree of life, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is not a physical plant. It also refers to a person, but this person does not belong to God. According to the scriptures (Rv 17; Rv 18), Babylon is the kingdom of demons—the devil. The prophet Daniel described how the king of Babylon saw a huge tree in his dreams. He saw birds coming and perching in that tree because it bore lots of fruit. He also saw beasts gathering under the tree’s branches. That tree actually represented King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon himself (Dn 4:18-22). King Nebuchadnezzar was symbolized by a tree in whom the devil dwelled. Thus, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Genesis was a person in whom Satan was dwelling.
Now let us understand the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The fruit of a tree contains the tree’s seed, which can give life to another tree of the same type. Thus, the fruit of the tree of life represents the word of God and people born of the word of God. From whom do people receive God’s word? They receive it from God’s people, who are themselves trees of life (Jas 1:18; Rv 22:1-2; Rv 14:1-5). If this is the meaning of the fruit of the tree of life, the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil must represent the lies of the devil or people born of the lies of the devil. Where do people receive the lies of the devil? They receive them from the people of the devil (Lk 6:43-45). To make it simple, the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil represents the words of Satan. This is an ancient mystery. The fruit of that tree in the Garden of Eden produced the wine of wild grapes; it was the deadly venom of the serpent (Dt 32:32-33). Regardless of whether the spirit within you is good or evil, the words you speak come from and can be equated with that spirit (Jn 6:63; Rv 16:13-14). Thus, people who are formed of the words of a spirit are the fruit of that spirit.
Adam, who became a living being (i.e. received a living spirit) was the fruit of God. The serpent, on the other hand, was the fruit of an evil spirit. Acts 17:29 says the children of God are his offspring, and Ps 82 says the sons of God were called “gods” (Ps 82:6) but they die like mere men because of their sins (Ps 82:1-7). The offspring of God are those born of his seed (Lk 8:11). This is the same logic explained in Jn 10:35, which says that those who receive the word are gods. This also makes Gn 6:1-3 more understandable because it explains how God left when his sons united with the daughters of men. In other words, the sons of God returned to being mere flesh like the daughters of men.
Nakedness and clothing
The word nakedness implies that a person was at one point dressed. The plants and animals God created do not wear clothes, but we do not say they are naked. People, on the other hand, wear clothes. The Bible even talks about how God, the angels, and the spiritual body of Jesus are dressed (Mt 17:2; Rv 1:13; Rv 4:4; Rv 15:6). Adam and Eve were not ashamed of their nakedness until they ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gn 2:25; Gn 3:6-7). As we discussed above, eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil is the same as hearing and accepting the words of the devil. Adam and Eve realized they were naked and felt shame only after they heard and accepted the words of the serpent (Gn 3:1-13).
Let us first understand what it means to be naked. We should look to the Bible as we consider expressions like “hidden things of old” (Ps 78:2), “parables” (Mt 13:34-35), and “the account of creation” (Gn 2:4).
* “The one born by natural descent persecuted the one born according to the spirit.” (Gal 4:29)
* The sons of God are different from mere men (Ps 82:6-7).
* “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Gal 3:27)
* Only people wearing white clothes are worthy (Rv 3:4), so we must buy and wear white clothes to avoid being shamefully exposed (Rv 3:18; Rv 16:15).
* “For we know that if our earthly house, the tent we live in, is dismantled, we have a building from God, a house not built by human hands, that is eternal in the heavens. For in this earthly house we groan, because we desire to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed, after we have put on our heavenly house, we will not be found naked. For we groan while we are in this tent, since we are weighed down, because we do not want to be unclothed, but clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the spirit as a down payment.” (2 Cor 5:1-5)
* “We must lay aside the works of darkness, and put on the weapons of light.” (Rom 13:12)
* “In him you also were circumcised—not, however, with a circumcision performed by human hands, but by the removal of the fleshly body, that is, through the circumcision done by Christ.” (Col 2:11)
* “Since you have put off the old man with its practices and have been clothed with the new man …” (Col 3:9-10)
* “So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away—look, what is new has come!” (2 Cor 5:17)
Thus, when Adam and Eve took off what was of the flesh and became living spirits, they were new creations. They rid themselves of all that was shameful (Gn 2:25). After they received and ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, however, they were ashamed of their nakedness. They were so afraid that they hid themselves among the trees of the Garden (Gn 3:10). Although they began with the holy spirit, they returned to flesh (Gal 3:3) when they accepted the serpent’s lies. They were dust (mere flesh) that became living beings by receiving the holy spirit, but ultimately they lost the holy spirit and returned to the flesh—they took off their clothes. Clothes represent the word of God (i.e. the holy spirit) and righteous deeds done according to the word of God.
The holy spirit of God planted the seed of the living word into a field—the heart of his chosen pastor (1 Cor 3:9). After the seed was planted, it sprouted and grew up into a big tree where birds could come and perch. This tree of life yields the fruit of life, which according to Mt 13, represent people born of the word of truth. This tree is himself a child and fruit of God. Others can attain eternal life by eating this fruit of the word of life (Gn 3:22).
Babylon, on the other hand, is the kingdom of demons. Demons plant the seeds of weeds (i.e. the devil’s lies) in their fields—the hearts of Babylon’s pastors. Those seeds grow to become trees of the knowledge of good and evil. The evil birds representing evil spirits come to perch in these trees (Rv 18:2). The fruits of these trees of evil spirits contain the seeds of the devil’s words. The living spirits of those who hear and accept (eat) these fruits of Satan will die. The venom of the serpent (i.e. the words of the evil spirits) kill them (Ez 18:4).
The Bible testifies that the two trees in the Garden of Eden re-appear in the times of Moses, Jesus’ first coming, and Jesus’ second coming, which is the time of Revelation’s fulfillment. Babylon is the kingdom of the serpent and the dragon. The beast with seven heads and ten horns mentioned in Revelation symbolizes a pastor of Babylon. The fruit of this beast represents his words. Those who eat the fruit of the beast return to the flesh even if they began with the holy spirit. These people fall from heaven and are cast down to the earth. Since people have taken off the holy, living spirit and clothed themselves with the flesh, they are asked to repent and again clothe themselves with the holy spirit (Rv 3:18). We must be awake and stand firmly on the truth so we will not go naked and be shamefully exposed.