There are 11 places “tree of life” is found in scripture: Gen 2:9, 3:22, 3:24; Pro 3:18, 11:30, 13:12, 15:4; Rev 2:7, 22:2, 22:19.
The Bible begins and ends with the “Tree of Life” or Etz-Chayim. In the Torah it first appears in the paradise of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9). After the fall of mankind the way to the Tree of Life was hidden and guarded by a cherubim angel. We are very fortunate for this blessing. If man would have eaten of it’s fruit before reconciliation with G-d, we would spend eternity in a fallen state. In the book of Revelation it appears again (Revelation 2:7; 22:2,14), resurrected on account of the faithful obedience of Yeshua as mankind’s “last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45). The way to this tree is through the rightiousness of the Lamb of G-d, Yeshua. By means of His righteousness, those who wash their robes in His righteousness are given access to this Tree in the heavenly Jerusalem.
The paradise lost by Adam has been regained by the greater ben-adam, Son of man, Yeshua Ha-Mashiach.
We are In’Yeshua and Yeshua is a Tree of Life to those that take hold of Him.
In the book of Proverbs, the Tree of Life is a metaphor for the life of wisdom (chokhmah), which is the implied subject of our verse above (see Prov. 3:13). Traditional Judaism identifies talmud Torah (the study of Torah) as the Tree of Life, promising wisdom to those who “lay hold of it” (a Torah scroll has wooden rods called atzei chayim—the “trees of life”—used to roll the parchment). According to the sages, the eternal life that was lost in Eden was restored to humanity with the giving of the Torah at Sinai.
As Christians, we understand that the Tree of Life “IS” Yeshua Himself, who is the center of the true Paradise of God (Rev. 22:2). He is the Seed, Root, Trunk, Branches, and Fruit that comes from heaven. The first Adam lost access to God by means of his transgression (eating from the tree of the “knowledge of good and evil”), but the “greater Adam” reclaimed our access by means of His obedience, resisting the power of evil even to the point of death upon the “tree” of the cross (Phil. 2:8). His resurrection life is the firstfruits of all who put their trust in Him (1 Cor. 15:20; Jas. 1:18).
The great command is to “Choose life!” in everything we do (Deut. 30:19). If we live by faith, resurrection life will triumph in us through the Messiah. The fruit of the “Tree of Life” will be manifest in our lives and all that we do shall prosper (Psalm 1:3).
1. John J. Parsons, www.levitt.com/newsletters/2011-03.pdf
2. William Kuik