Trees of Righteousness

Maura Hart
October 1, 1999

Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Trees are mentioned in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. The two kinds of trees that seem to stand out are the ‘Tree of Life’ and the ‘Tree of the knowledge of good and evil’. We know which one man decided to partake of and the consequences. The plan of what God wanted for man never changed; He wanted us to take the fruit of life (God’s word) and put it inside us; eat it.  God’s word is spirit and life. Putting the life of God (fruit of the tree of life) inside us makes us bear spiritual fruit and gives us the spiritual gifts (leaves) we need to edify, comfort and exhort each other. But we ate of fruit of the knowledge of good and evil which has the opposite effect of the fruit of the tree of life. Instead of edifying, comforting and exhorting we judge and condemn. Instead of yielding good fruit we yield corrupt fruit or no fruit at all. Jesus came into the world to give us life and that more abundantly not to condemn the world. He came so that we may eat of the fruit of life and become like him. If we eat of the tree of life, we become a tree of life.
Ezekiel 47:1 Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house [stood toward] the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar.

Ezekiel 47:7 Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river [were] very many trees on the one side and on the other .

Ezekiel 47:12 And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.

Ezekiel had a vision of the spiritual realm. He saw the Lord being carried into to heaven and waters flowing out of heaven after the Lord had entered. This is a picture of the Lord’s ascension the Holy Ghost being poured out as a river of life. In Revelation we see the same picture but from a different perspective.
Revelation 22: 1-2 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
You can see the similarity between the visions, John’s vision and Ezekiel’s vision. In Ezekiel’s vision there is more than one tree. On the surface in Revelation there seems to be one “Tree of Life” but with a closer look we can see that it is more than one. “In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, [was there] the tree of life ...” The “Tree of Life” was on either side of the river and in the path of the river. If we read both visions together we can conclude that Ezekiel saw the “Trees of Life” lined up along the banks of the river. The description of the trees is almost exactly the same in both visions; they had different kinds of fruit according to the season, the fruit was perpetual, the leaves were for medicine or healing and the trees were lined up along the river.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
We see here again how children of God are called Trees, Trees of Righteousness. The trees have roots, leaves, branches and fruit and must have all these things to be called Trees of Righteousness.

The roots are a way for the tree to nourish itself. The tree must draw waters from the river to live. If we compare that to our daily lives we must also draw from God to live spiritually. If we don’t draw everyday from the river then our leaves dry up and/or we have no fruit. Eventually the tree will die roots and all if there is no nourishment taken. Notice also that the tree must draw for itself it is not fed unless there is a rain. The rain does not come everyday it is a special blessing.

The leaves we can compare to the gifts of the spirit and the fruit of the tree to the fruit of the spirit. You can have leaves but no fruit. The trees with leaves but no fruit are not acceptable to God. In Matthew 21:19-20 Jesus is hungry and looks for some fruit on a fig tree. He sees it far off and the bible mentions specifically that the tree has leaves and looks like it should have fruit. The tree is tender and healthy. When Jesus gets up close he notices there is no fruit only leaves. Jesus curses the tree. Why? A tree without fruit is not useful to him. It could not satisfy his hunger. In

Mark 11:13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
Why would Jesus expect to find fruit on a tree out of season? In Ezekiel and Revelation the tree yielded the fruit all year - in season and out of season. The fruit was there for God to harvest. God hungers for our fruit.

If we use the analogy of the leaves being gifts of the spirit and fruit being the fruit of the spirit we can see almost the same story in the church at Corinth. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians admonished them for their divisions and disputing and allowing sin to live in the church. The Corinthians had the gifts of the spirit (leaves) in abundance but there was no fruit of the spirit.

Branches are needed to bear the fruit and the leaves. The water in the river of life is extracted by the tree roots and fed into the branches. If there is no branch the tree cannot bear fruit or leaves. In the old testament cutting off branches was like cutting off strength. If we use the analogy of us being branches in the vine, which is Jesus, you can understand that without us (the branches) God cannot bear fruit in the world.

Also we see that the branches are used to praise and worship God.

Leviticus 23:40 And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.

John 12:12-13 On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus  was coming to Jerusalem, Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.

A spiritually healthy tree is beautiful to behold. It stands straight and tall with lush green leaves and branches reaching for heaven and toward the earth. At the each branch is ripe fruit. The fowls of the air come to lodge in it's branches and the beasts lie cool and comforted in the shade of it.