By The Librarian
Garden of Eden > Trees >
The Tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Hebrew: עֵץ הַדַּעַת טוֹב וָרָע / Etz ha-da'at tov va-ra, ) is one of two trees in the story of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2-3, along with the Tree of life. As to the genus of the tree, the Scriptural record is silent.
The tree of the knowledge of good and bad represented a privilege that is God’s province alone—the right to determine what is good and what is bad. Evidently, Adam and Eve got to know what was good and what was bad in the special sense of now judging for themselves what was good and what was bad. They were idolatrously placing their judgment above God’s, disobediently becoming a law to themselves, as it were, instead of obeying Jehovah, who has both the right and the wisdom necessary to determine good and bad. So their independent knowledge, or standard, of good and bad was not like that of Jehovah. Rather, it was one that led them to misery
The phrase in Hebrew: טוֹב וָרָע, tov V'ra translatable as good and evil, may be an example of the type of figure of speech known as merism. This literary device pairs opposite terms together, in order to create a general meaning; so that the phrase "good and evil" would simply imply "everything". It is equivalent to the Egyptian expression evil-good which is indeed normally employed to mean "everything". In Greek literature, the concept is also used by Telemachus, "I know all things, the good and the evil" (Od.20:309-10). However, given the context of disobedience to God, other interpretations of the implications of this phrase also demand consideration.
In the phrase, tree of knowledge of good and evil, the tree imparts knowledge of tov wa-ra, "good and bad". The traditional translation is "good and evil", but tov wa-ra is a fixed expression denoting "everything". To Harry Orlinsky, this phrase does not necessarily denote a moral concept. However, Robert Alter believes that there could be a moral connotation after all: When God forbids the man to eat from the tree of knowledge, He says that if he does so, he is "doomed to die". The Hebrew behind this, is in the form used in the Hebrew Bible for issuing death sentences.
In Jewish tradition, the Tree of Knowledge and the eating of its fruit represents the beginning of the mixture of good and evil together. Before that time, the two were separate, and evil had only a nebulous existence in potentia. While free choice did exist before eating the fruit, evil existed as an entity separate from the human psyche, and it was not in human nature to desire it. Eating and internalizing the forbidden fruit changed this and thus was born the yeitzer hara, the Evil Inclination. In Rashi's notes on Genesis 3:3, the first sin came about because Eve added an additional clause to the Divine command: Neither shall you touch it. By saying this, Eve added to YHWH's command and thereby came to detract from it, as it is written: Do not add to His Words (Proverbs 30:6).
In Kabbalah, the sin of the Tree of Knowledge (called Cheit Eitz HaDa'at) brought about the great task of beirurim, sifting through the mixture of good and evil in the world to extract and liberate the sparks of holiness trapped therein. Since evil has no independent existence, it depends on holiness to draw down the Divine life-force, on whose "leftovers" it then feeds and derives existence. Once evil is separated from holiness through beirurim, its source of life is cut off, causing the evil to disappear. This is accomplished through observance of the 613 commandments in the Torah, which deal primarily with physical objects wherein good and evil are mixed together. Thus, the task of beirurim rectifies the sin of the Tree and draws the Shechinah back down to earth, where the sin of the Tree had caused Her to depart.
In Christian theology, consuming the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was the original sin committed by Adam and Eve that subsequently became known as the Fall of man in Genesis 2-3.
In Catholicism, Augustine of Hippo taught that the tree should be understood both symbolically and as a real tree - similarly to Jerusalem being both a real city and a figure of Heavenly Jerusalem. Augustine underlined that the fruits of that tree were not evil by themselves, because everything that God created was good (Gen 1:12). It was disobedience of Adam and Eve, who had been told by God not to eat of the tree (Gen 2:17), that was obnoxious and caused disorder in the creation, thus humanity inherited sin and guilt from Adam and Eve's sin.
In Western Christian art, the fruit of the tree is commonly depicted as the apple, which originated in central Asia. This depiction may have originated as a Latin pun: by eating the malum (apple), Eve contracted mālum (evil). It is also possible that this depiction originated simply because of the religious painters' artistic licence.
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See also: Tree of life (Quran)
The Qur'an does not name this tree and it is always referred to as "the tree". Muslims believe that when God created Adam and Eve, He told them that they could enjoy everything in the Garden but this tree, and so, Satan appeared to them and told them that the only reason God forbade them to eat from that tree is that they would become Angels or become immortals.
When they ate from this tree their nakedness appeared to them and they began to sew together, for their covering, leaves from the Garden. As a result of their sin, they were removed from heaven and placed on Earth to live and die. Consequently, they repented to God and asked for his forgiveness and were forgiven. It was decided that those who obey God and follow his path shall be rewarded with everlasting life in Heaven, and those who disobey God and stray away from his path shall be punished in Hell.
God in Quran (Al-A'raf 27) states: "[O] Children of Adam! Let not Satan tempt you as he brought your parents out of the Garden, stripping them of their garments to show them their shameful parts. Surely he [Satan] sees you, he and his tribe, from where you see them not. We have made the Satans the friends of those who do not believe."
The Tamil poem "Tala Vilasam" recounts a legend of the tree that parallels the Biblical account. In it, the Creator Brahma finally allows the people access to the tree- which, in this case, is the palmyra palmtree Borassus flabellifer.
Mitchell, T.C. (2004). The Bible in the British Museum : interpreting the evidence (New ed. ed.). New York: Paulist Press. p. 24. ISBN 9780809142927. "'Adam and Eve' cylinder seal". British Museum. Retrieved 2014-02-07. Gordon, Cyrus H.; Rendsburg, Gary A. (1997). The Bible and the ancient Near East (4th ed. ed.). New York: W.W. Norton & Co. p. 36. ISBN 9780393316896. Harry Orlinsky's notes to the NJPS Torah Alter 2004, p. 21. Rashi to Genesis 2:25 Ramban to Genesis 3:6 Epistle 26, Lessons in Tanya, Igeret HaKodesh ch. 22, Tanya, Likutei Amarim ch. 37, Lessons in Tanya, Likutei Amarim Torah Ohr 3c Torat Chaim Bereishit 30a Bereishit Rabbah 19:7 Ramban to Genesis 3:8 Augustine, On the Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram), VIII, 4.8; Bibliothèque Augustinniene 49, 20 Augustine of Hippo, On the Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram), VIII, 6.12 and 13.28, BA 49,28 and 50-52; PL 34, 377; cf. idem, De Trinitate, XII, 12.17; CCL 50, 371-372 [v. 26-31;1-36]; De natura boni 34-35; CSEL 25, 872; PL 42, 551-572 "The City of God (Book XIII), Chapter 14". Newadvent.org. Retrieved 2014-02-07. Adams, Cecil (2006-11-24). "The Straight Dope: Was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden an apple?". The Straight Dope. Creative Loafing Media, Inc. Retrieved 2008-10-06. http://books.google.com/books?id=M7YaAAAAYAAJ&lpg=PA4&ots=5Nz_RHRQyN&dq=TALA%20VILASAM&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q=TALA%20VILASAM&f=false Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge. McKenna, Terence. 1992.
By Israeli Bar Avaddhon
"The angel who had been speaking with me came back and woke me up, as when waking someone from sleep. 2 Then he said to me: “What do you see?” So I said: “I see, and look! a lampstand entirely of gold,+ with a bowl on top of it. There are seven lamps on it,+ yes, seven, and the lamps, which are at the top of it, have seven pipes. 3 And next to it are two olive trees,+ one on the right of the bowl and one on the left.” - Zechariah 4:1-3
Will we recognize the "two olive trees" when they begin to preach?
It was inevitable that Zaccaria's study would lead us to the focal point of Revelation.
Revelation 11: 3, 4 says, "And I will prophesy my two witnesses for one thousand two hundred and sixty days clothed with sack". These are [symbolized by] the two olive trees and [from] the two candlesticks and stand before the Lord of the earth. "
We, unlike Zechariah, have the whole Bible so it is very easy for us to connect the scriptures. Zechariah had not under his eyes the scroll of Revelation given to John, so it was only normal that he asked for clarifications - see Zechariah 4: 4, 11
The angel says "" These are the two anointed who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth "- Zechariah 4:14
Before asking specifically about the two olive trees, however, Zechariah asks what "these things" mean - see Zechariah 4: 4
What was Zaccaria referring to?
What's in the vision besides the two olive trees?
Well let's read ... "I saw, and behold, there is a candlestick, all of gold, with a cup on top of it. And its seven lamps are on it, just seven; and the lamps that are on top of it have seven pipes ".
Asking the meaning of "these things" Zacharias was referring to the candlestick?
Yes, because we understand it from the angel's answer.
He then said to me: “This is the word of Jehovah to Ze·rubʹba·bel: ‘“Not by a military force, nor by power,+ but by my spirit,”+ says Jehovah of armies. 7 Who are you, O great mountain? Before Ze·rubʹba·bel+ you will become a level land.*+ And he will bring out the top stone* amid shouts of: “How wonderful! How wonderful!”’” Zechariah 4:6, 7
If the two olive trees represent "the two anointed who stand next to the Lord of the whole earth", the candlestick, or the one next to him, represents the Lord and in particular the message of the Lord (Revelation also mentions two chandeliers indicating that each they are sustained by the Spirit of God) sustained by his spirit, which they are instructed to bring.
That this is correct is also understood by the seven lamps (verse 2) and by the explanation of the angel who says, "These seven are the eyes of Jehovah: they run all over the earth" (verse 10).
And this brings us back again and invariably to the last book of the Bible.
In Revelation 3: 1 Jesus, speaking of himself, says he has "the seven spirits of God".
Previously, addressing the congregation of Tiatira, Jesus said that he had "eyes like a flame of fire and whose feet are like copper to the brim" (Revelation 2:18) and then suggests that He sees everything, deep and everywhere - See also Revelation 1:14
Among other things, it is said that the Lamb has seven eyes and that these "mean the seven spirits of God that have been sent to all the earth" - Revelation 5: 6
Speaking of the conduct and also of the preaching work, Jesus said, turning to his disciples, "You are the light of the world. A city can not be hidden when it is located on a mountain. A lamp is not lit to put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it shines on all those in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your excellent works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven "- compare Revelation 11:13
What do we understand, therefore, by comparing these scriptures?
The two witnesses dressed in sacks have an important task: to carry the message of the Lord.
They will do this not with their strength but with the spirit of God - compare Revelation 10:11
What will be the message of these two "olive trees"?
Will it be the "good news of the Kingdom"?
In the article dedicated to chapter 11 of Revelation we saw that this would not have been consistent with their clothing - compare Genesis 37:34; 2 Samuel 3:31
What does Zaccaria tell us?
Zechariah 4: 7 answers, "Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel [I will become] plain, and he will certainly bring forth the headstone, and cry out to it:" How attractive it is!
The great mountain is obviously the "ruinous mountain" of which Jeremiah 51:25 speaks; the writing says that it "ruins the whole earth" - compare Revelation 18: 3
These scriptures have been officially applied to Christianity but Zechariah does nothing but reconfirm what we have already seen - see the article "A Name: A Mystery, Babylon the Great"
So far we have spoken of Jerusalem (and therefore Israel in its natural extension) and expressions such as "rope to measure", "re-debated city" and others bring us back to the literal city / nation.
Zaccaria adds fundamental elements to conclude that the ruinous mountain, that is, what will become "plain", can not be other than the current apostate Israel.
Then it becomes consistent that the two witnesses preach "sack clothes" because the message is of severe condemnation.
When Jesus came to the earth, He preached a message that was indeed a hope but also an ultimatum for that nation - compare Matthew 4:17; 21: 36-44
The scribes and the Pharisees, and in general the whole nation, did not take the opportunity to repent and therefore be saved.
We have seen that the preaching of the two witnesses has much in common with the work and life of Christ.
They preach a message of judgment and are authorized by God himself.
They prove to have the spirit of God.
Several times they try to kill them but without success - compare John 7:30; 8:20
They preach for exactly three and a half years and are eventually killed not directly by their people but by the "wild beast" or "disgusting thing" - compare Luke 21:20
They rise again after three and a half days, and from then on the preaching spreads throughout the inhabited earth - see Revelation 12:17; 14: 6, 13
Do the similarities seem random to you?
The judgments that these two witnesses bring to that country "where even their Lord was put to the stake" is similar to the judgments that brought Moses and Elijah and therefore what we find written in Matthew 17: 1-3
It is not difficult to deduce, therefore, that as soon as these two witnesses make their appearance, they will preach a message of condemnation by announcing the destruction precisely by that God whom they claim to worship - John 8: 42-47; Luke 21:22
"And he will certainly bring out the headstone, and it will cry out to him:" How attractive he is! How attractive he is! "- 4: 7
The stone of the head, or angular, will be taken out and other people will cry "How attractive it is!", That is, other people (the true people of God currently scattered in the world) will enjoy those blessings that they let themselves escape forever.
All those who do not take the opportunity to listen to the message of the two witnesses and urgently make the necessary changes will shatter on this stone - Matthew 21:44
This will certainly include those who over time have been called "Jehovah's Witnesses" but who will not take these people and their message into consideration after the suppression of the ongoing sacrifice.
Let us therefore try to be awake not to despise "the day of little things" because they will have the Spirit and the approval of God.
Zaccaria's study is also fundamental because it is not excluded that when their preaching begins, someone we value and trust we can tell us not to listen to them - Matthew 12:24; John 7:52; 11:45, 46
The next verse assures that Zerubbabel will complete the construction of the temple but he is also called the Sprout (see Zechariah 6:12) and we know that in modern fulfillment it is Christ Jesus.
Again I looked up, and I saw a flying scroll. 2 He asked me: “What do you see?” I replied: “I see a flying scroll, which is 20 cubits* long and 10 cubits wide.” 3 Then he said to me: “This is the curse that is going out over the face of all the earth, because everyone who steals,+ as written on its one side, has gone unpunished; and everyone who makes a sworn oath,+ as written on its other side, has gone unpunished - Zechariah 5:1-3
The CEI translates Zechariah 5: 3 as follows "He added:" This is the curse that spreads over the whole earth: every thief will be cast out of here like that scroll, every perjury will be cast out of here like that scroll " that it is not because of what is written in the scroll to constitute the judgment (among other things, there is only talk of being expelled) but that this happens in a similar way to the roll.
This translation, even if apparently it may seem logical, does not take into account the context and completely changes the sense of vision.
The writing in fact speaks of "everyone who steals" and "everyone who makes an oath" and therefore the natural question we should ask ourselves is ... "Where was the theft and the false oath regulated?"
The answer is: in the Ten Commandments and in the Mosaic Law - compare Exodus 20:15, 16; Leviticus 19:11; Jeremiah 7: 9, 10
So the vision is pointing out that the scroll is a curse because of what is written on both sides.
Probably the most correct translation is that of the New Revised which makes the verse as follows: "This is the curse that spreads over the whole country; because every thief, according to it, will be eradicated from this place, and every perjury, according to it, will be eradicated from this place ".
So the message is as simple as direct: the people who steal and swear falsely will be judged by the clear rules written in that roll.
Should we therefore imagine that witnesses clothed in sacks will bring a new piece of inspiration inspired by them, a sort of list of additional rules to those we already know?
The scroll clearly echoes the Mosaic law and although it was for us only a shadow of things to come, it will not be for those who have never understood its meaning and purpose - Colossians 2:17, 18
This is the message that will become a curse for the whole country because none of the inhabitants of modern Babylon will be able to respect the precepts of the Law - Romans 7: 7-9
From what is understood, since they rejected Christ and did not embrace the undeserved kindness of God for the forgiveness of sins, Jehovah will apply the Law to those who say they respect it - Matthew 12:37
In this way no one can say that God has been unjust or too severe because the precepts written in the Law, something that many of them even know by heart, are clear.
Not having accepted the "stone" that could have opened their way to God's undeserved kindness, all that remains is to apply the Law and see how many of them have followed his "norm".
Evidently this is precisely what the Lord meant in Matthew 21:44 "And whoever falls on this stone will be shattered." As for whoever it falls on, it will pulverize it. "
This adds an obvious reason to the anger of the listeners.
They are shamed just according to the norms they say they respect and this also reminds us of Jesus' way of preaching - compare Matthew 15: 3-6; Galatians 4:21
‘I have sent it out,’ declares Jehovah of armies, ‘and it will enter into the house of the thief and into the house of the one who makes a false oath in my name; and it will remain inside that house and consume it and its timbers and its stones.’” - Zechariah 5:4
The message will torment the listeners day and night and they will not be able to get rid of it because every time they read from the Law the words of these two annoying witnesses will come back to him.
The torment will come to the point of devouring the timber and the stones and this well does understand the happiness that they will feel when they manage to get rid of them by killing them - Revelation 11:10
Obviously the time will come when the houses will be literally devoured along with all those who have not listened to God's message - Revelation 18: 4-8
Then the angel who was speaking with me came forward and said to me: “Look up, please, and see what is going out.” 6 So I asked: “What is it?” He replied: “This is the eʹphah container* that is going out.” He continued: “This is their appearance in all the earth.” 7 And I saw that the round lid of lead was lifted up, and there was a woman sitting inside the container. 8 So he said: “This is Wickedness.” Then he threw her back into the eʹphah container, after which he thrust the lead weight over its mouth. - Zechariah 5:5-8
This spectacular vision offers us other interesting details.
Meanwhile, we must understand that "the efa that comes out" is evidently the container that was used for the efa.
In fact, the efa is a unit of measure for arid (22 liters) while the writing speaks of the lead cover and a woman who sits "in the middle of the efa".
We can deduce, therefore, that in the time of Zechariah a container of specific capacity was used for the measurement of an efa or multiples of an efa.
The container was probably also called efa.
Zechariah therefore sees this container coming out of the country but at a certain point the circular lead cover was raised ...
What do you see, then, Zaccaria?
"A certain woman" that the angel identifies as "Evil".
Do you remember someone?
A very wicked woman whom John describes as "dressed in purple and scarlet many years later ... adorned with gold and precious stone and pearls and holding a golden cup full of disgusting things and the unclean things of her fornication" - Revelation 17: 4
After having shown it to Zechariah, the angel closes it inside the container.
Where will this wicked woman be brought?
Who is the woman called Evil that ruins the whole earth and which is native to the country of Sinar?
Then I looked up and saw two women coming forward, and they were soaring in the wind. They had wings like the wings of a stork. And they lifted up the container between the earth and heaven. 10 So I asked the angel who was speaking with me: “Where are they taking the eʹphah container?” 11 He replied: “To the land of Shiʹnar*+ to build her a house; and when it is prepared, she will be deposited there in her proper place.” - Zechariah 5:9-11
It seems clear that at this point in the vision the woman has already been eliminated from the curse of the scroll it is not by chance that it is within a measure for arid evidently indicating that it will become a pile of ruins - compare Revelation 18: 8
However, the spontaneous question is ... "Why is a place built in the village of Sinar?"
We know that Babylon the Great will be destroyed forever so this writing can not mean it will be rebuilt - compare Revelation 18:21
The only reason why one can or should build a house to it can only be one: to be remembered forever - compare Revelation 19: 3
It's really incredible but also the destination of the efa is useful to identify this woman.
The writing says that it will be deposited "on its own place" (ie it returns to its place of origin, where it must be) or "in the country of Sinar".
Looking at the asterisk reported on Sinar we see ... "Sinar", M; lat. Shinar; LXX, "Babylon"; TSy, "Babel".
Women with stork wings represent Jehovah's provision that after the destruction of Babylon the Great a warning is made of it, something to remember.
Obviously, this woman, even if reduced to dust, must be taken away because she can not remain in the earth chosen by God, or the place where he has chosen to make his Name tame - compare 2 Chronicles 6: 6
It would not be appropriate for this monument (pedestal, house or whatever) to be found right in God's promised land.
It will return to its place of origin, or Babylon, and this "monument" will be an eternal memory so that you will never come back to life.
What can we say at the end of this article?
We have seen in the previous article that the war that is coming will serve as a discipline for the people of God, especially towards those who take the directive - compare James 3: 1
At the end of this war, when by now the preaching seems completely suppressed, the two witnesses dressed in sacks will make their appearance.
This is a crucial event because it will indicate the restoration of true worship.
The preaching of these two people will constitute a severe judgment for the nation in which they will preach but also for all those who refuse to listen (the opportunity to listen to them, in fact, is addressed to all of us ... which is not at all obvious).
As we have seen the message of judgment that they will bring thanks to the spirit of God will devour houses with their lumber and their stones, initially as a mental and emotional torment.
Their words will come true when, seven years after the beginning of their preaching, Israel will be effectively destroyed by the wild beast which will act by God's will.
Is it not extraordinary to see how Zaccaria completes the Revelation framework by adding interesting and truly significant details?
May each of us be truly alert in recognizing those who, at the end of the period of discipline, will be commissioned by God to restore true worship - Daniel 11:34
We are already learning to ascertain the will of God for us.
It is obvious to point out that the woman called Evil is Babylon the Great.
It is not "the world empire of false religion" but the current nation of Israel.
This evil entity will be destroyed to allow God's people to restore true worship.
But someone has said that the meaning of all this is "that God will not allow wickedness to remain in His people". So we can be calm, no?
By The Librarian
<---- Genesis 1 Genesis 3 --->
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,
5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
8 And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9 And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
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