Trees, Fruit, and their Prophets

Wolves don’t bear fruit. Trees bear fruit. Trees don’t seek to devour. Wolves devour.

There are two trees: the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The fruit of one leads to eternal life and the fruit of the other leads to death and destruction. Prophets bring you the fruit of the tree. False prophets bring you the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They whisper in your ear that the tree is good for food and a delight to the eye and even good for gaining wisdom. Those who listen to the false prophet eat. Their eyes are opened and they see their nakedness and they are filled with shame and ungodly fear.

So they try to hide their shame and fear. They sew fig leaves and hide among the other trees. That is, they try to cover their shame by doing works man would call “good” and they hide behind laws of their own construct so that when the Lord comes they can try to sound reasonable and say, “I hid because I was afraid! After all, look at you! You are a mighty and powerful God, able to destroy and make alive. You reap where you do not sow and demand what is not yours. I was afraid and so I hid. Can you blame me?” But their fig leaves are not enough and their secret hiding places are made known and they will stand before the Lord who will say to them, “You knew that I was a hard Master, and yet you ate of the Tree of which I told you not to eat. And you made up rules and laws I did not command in order to appease my wrath. You seek a false righteousness, one that cannot stand before me. Therefore, depart, you worker of lawlessness, your love has grown cold.”

The wolf delivered the diseased fruit and the undiscerning hearer ate and brought death.

But there is a true prophet. He brings the fruit from the Tree of Life. This tree is truly good for food and for gaining true wisdom. But it is not delightful to the eyes. Those who look upon this tree are aghast with horror repulsed with gruesome wonder. What sort of Tree is this with its bloodied, pierced, and beaten Prophet hanging on it? What sort of Prophet is this that is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, one well acquainted with grief? There is nothing about Him that is pleasing to the eye; and to behold Him is to want to hide one’s face from Him. He seems rejected and smitten by God, and the nations of men do not esteem Him.

Yet He is the true Prophet of God. Blessed are those who are not offended by Him. His name is Truth and His tree is the Tree of Life. From it He brings you good fruit that leads to eternal life. Whoever eats of His fruit will live forever. Whoever tastes of His hand will taste and see that the Lord is good. He is the righteousness of the sinner and the justifier of the guilty. He is the Man of Mercy to those who are afraid. He is the lover of souls to those who think themselves hated by God. He brings the medicine of immortality and bears the fruit of eternal life. And those who hear Him receive Him gladly and are welcomed by Him into the kingdom of heaven.

He is not one who is far off. He is at hand. And by His wounds you are healed. By His suffering you find peace with God. All who look to Him are heard and all who call upon His name are saved from death and hell.

There are two trees. The fruit of one leads to death and destruction and its prophets are liars and ravenous wolves ready to devour. But the fruit of the other leads you to eternal life and freedom. Its Prophet is Truth and Wisdom. Come and eat from the Tree of Life. Eat the good fruit of the true Prophet and be saved.

(The Reverend Fr. Jason Braaten, wrote this on the mixed metaphor of Matthew 7:15-23.)

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One Response

  1. The trees? Google First Scandal. When you get there, go to the top of the page and click on “Can you explain…” Please note: this website you reach will be deleted on November 1, 2012.

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