Tree of Life Platform
to the

Vision of All


~ The Jesus Tree ~

presented by Don R. Hender

Tree of Life Platform to the Vision of All

There is no better foundationally essential life than that of
the Lord God Jehovah, who is Jesus Christ, upon which to base
that panoramic vision of all things of the ages of time that
extends from the first primordial birth to the final judegment.
From its beginning to its ending, from its Alpha to Omega,
it is upon our Lord Jesus Christ who is the same as Jehovah
and upon his 'generation' who is the Firstborn spirit son of God.
Scripturally there is no more frequently used symbolic image of
Christ and his mission in all things as does center upon him.
He is the source and Who is given as the Tree of Everlasting Life.
         ~ drh ~

Jesus the Very Thought of Thee
That They Might Always Remember Him
I AM the Alpha and the Omega
In HIM All Things Are to be Found

    "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."   ~ Pearl of Great Price | Moses 1:39

    "And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely." ~ New Testament | Revelation 21:6

    " ... I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world." Book of Mormon | Ether 4:12

    "Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be."
    . . .
    "The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth."~ Doctrine and Covenants | Section 93:29 & 36

    " ... I AM THAT I AM ... " ~ Old Testament | Exodus 3:14

  The scriptures state that 'man was also in the beginning with God' and thus the relationship of man and God has been from the beginning. God has also stated that his 'work and glory' is 'to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.' Christ further has stated that he is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end or ending, and that he gives man 'water from that fountain of water of life freely.' In the dream of Lehi and Nephi, there was at the tree just such a fountain of living water (1 Nephi 11:25) that was, like the tree, the love of God.

    "And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God." ~ Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 11:25

In the Vision of the Tree of Life of Nephi, the Lord asked Nephi, "What desirest thou?" To which Nephi replies that he wanted 'to know the interpretaion of the tree in the vision.' And the Lord told Nephi to "Look!" At which time the Lord left Nephi. And Nephi looked and beheld first Jerusalem, then other cites, then Nazareth and a virgin white and fair. Then Nephi saw the heavens open and an angel came down beside Nephi and asked him what he saw. And Nephi said he had seen a virgin most beautifu and fair. Then Nephi was asked by this new angel guide, "Knowest thou the condescension of God? (1 Nephi 11:10-16)

In terms of the answer to Nephi's question as to the interpretation of the tree which his father saw, the answer was to be 'the condescension of God.' Nephi's first answer seemed limited to Nephi's understanding. He stated that he knew that loved his children, but that he did not know all things. Then the angel said, "Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh."(1830 Original Book of Mormon 1st Edition) That was what the angel said to Nephi. And Nephi would have understood that is was Jehovah the Spirit God of the Old Testament who condescended to leave his post on high and come to earth to take upon himself 'flesh' that he might sacrifice himself as a sinless divine infinite sacrifice for the sins of all mankind who would accept and follow the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Because the 'nature of God' was not then nor in fact is well understood by many even today, the spirit later inspired Joseph Smith to change the angel's statement to being 'mother of the son of God. It seems that the readers of the Book of Mormon often took exception to Mary being the 'mother of God.' Perhaps it sounded too Catholic or was not in line with the details of other perception of who Mary was the mother of. They did not understand that Jehovah who was the same person as Jesus Christ, had condescended to come to earth and take upon himself a body of flesh in order to redeem his people. This was the God that Mary was the mother of in the flesh. But the statement that Joseph Smith changed it to in order to avoid some contentions with first time readers of the Book of Mormon was also correct. Jesus Christ was also the 'son of God' in that Jesus as Jehovah was the firstborn spirit son of Elohim in the pre-mortal world.

       E L O H I M                                                                                                                                               J E H O V A H

True Nature of God

In short Jehovah and Elohim are two separate beings, Elohim being 'Our Father Who Art in Heaven,' which is after the manner that Jesus taught us to pray, addressing 'Our Father' of our spirits who dwells in the Celestial Heaven. Jesus or Jehovah himself was the firstborn son of Elohim, and he [Jehovah] was selected, anointed and empowered to be our ministering God of this temporal world. And thus in the pattern of creation, Elohim directed or commanded his firstborn spirit son Jehovah as to what to do, and Jehovah as an empowered spirit God by the power of God did create the temporal heavens and earth. Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea understood all this and he wrote it in his Eccesiastical History of the Church (Book 1, Chapter 2, ¶2-5). Eusebius even negociated the true nature of God and Son were corporally separate beings at the first Nician Council of 325 A.D. (Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea) But the loby of the position held by the Bishop of Alexandrea and his 'protoge' Athanasius was too strong and enfluencial, and after the deaths of Constantine and Eusebius of Caesarea at the coucil of 351 A.D. and 381 A.D. the council put into full sway their false doctrine of the trinity of three Gods in one essence or entity rather than three separate God beings acting in one cause and faith as Father (Elohim), Son (Jehovah who is the same as Jesus), and the Holy Ghost (who remains a spirit to facilitate inner spiritual communications with man) (D&C 130:22-23).

The Condescension of God

The Lords and the Angel guide as well directed Nephi to the concept of the 'Condescension of God' being that which the Tree of Life did represent. Nephi knew that God loved his children and he transfers that to being what the meaning of the Tree of Life (1 Nephi 11:17) even after eventually witnessing the details is vision of the birth, life, baptism, ministry, suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And who was the condescending God who took upon himself our sins. Jehovah condescended below all things, even to the point that he, a sinless divine infinite soul did take it upon himself to suffer for all of our sins if we but accept him by taking his name upon us, repent, live his commandments, and obey his principles and ordinances. Nephi still lingers in his answer.

Even after seeing all that represented the Tree of Life as the Condescension of God, Nephi seems to be stuck on the concept of the 'Love of God.' In verse 21 where the angel pointedly states, "Behold the Lamb of god, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?" To that Nephi still repeats, "Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things." (1 Nephi 11:21-22) Then the angel show Nephi the rest of the life and ministry of the Savior. But still Nephi in verse 25 is still stating that the tree of life and even the fountain of living waters are but 'The Love of God.' So in verse 26 the angel guide states again, "Look, and behold the condescension of God!" And the vision continues showing the Redeemer in verses 27 to 33 where Jesus was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world. And the vision continued on showing Nephi the things to come. But from what Nephi renders it does not further return to the concept of the condescension of God being that meaning of the tree that Lehi saw until in 2 Nephi 4:25-26 in conjunction to a time of his dispear and reproving himself with, 'O wretched man that I am!" (2 Nephi 4:17) And this with him being 'angry' with his brothern.

    "And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceedingly high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them.
    "O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?"
    ~ Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 4:25-26

The fact here that Nephi has extended the Lord's acts in his condescension to the children of men in visiting them in so much mercy indicates that Nephi has grasped through all that the Lord did show unto him unto the end of the world of which much Nephi was not allowed to write about, that the Condescension of God, that the tree of life did represent did extend throughout time in all the Lord's dealings with the children of men. And it expands the symbolic representation of the Tree of Life, the Love of God, His Condescension to take upon himself the sins of the world to all ages of time from the beginning to the end. And it does make of the vision of the tree of life that which is the ideal platform for the vision of all things. For all things are the Lord's and his mercies extends to men everywhere. Even his cursing and cutting short the lives of God's children is an act of mercy in not allowing them to linger longer in their sins.

So Nephi has experienced the seeing of all things and how the platform of the tree of life may be expanded upon unto such a vision of showing forth the mercies of God throughout his condescension of nurturing man and their natures with kindness and love. Doing all things for them if they will but obey and live his commandments. So in one since, perhaps in that definition of tree of life as the condescension of God, then that ages of times expanse ranges from the beginning unto the end, the full duration of the ministry of Jehovah who is Jesus Christ. And that begins back at the births of all mankind where Jehovah is the firstborn son and heir of Our Father Who Art in Heaven to when the final judgement is complete and finished. That would include the grand council, the war in heaven, the council of determination, the temporal creation of the heaven and earth, the times of Adam and Eve in the Garden and so being cast out into the lone and dreary world, and so forth and etc., even until the Second Coming, the Milennial day, and the final judgement. That is all that pertains unto Jehovah and the children of God that have been given him to minister to as Jehovah the God of the Old Testament and Jesus Christ the God of the New Testament.

    "The echo to the modern reader through all of this is, of course, John's apostolic declaration of the greatness of the Father's gift in offering the life of his Firstborn child to redeem the rest of the human family: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. . . ." (John 3:16) The life, mission, and atonement of Christ are the ultimate manifestations of the Tree of Life, the fruit of the gospel, the love of God, which "sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men." (1 Nephi 11:22)
    ~"Christ and the New Covenant" Jeffery R. Holland, p. 159.

"...also others who have been, to them hath he shown all things, and they have written them;..."
~ 1 Nephi 14:26 ~

 Many Christian preachers have concluded and stated that 'Jesus Christ is the Tree of Life.' Of course that is not exactly correct. Jesus is not a tree. But 'symbolically' the Tree of Life is a representation of Jesus Christ and many align that with the work of the atonement and the fruit thereof being the partaking of the blessings of the atonement which reach unto immortality and eternal life. How glorious and sweet it is to come to know that through Jesus Christ we are not bound by death nor everlastingly subject to the Devil.

But just limiting the tree's representation to the central surroundings of that momentous event in the meridian of time of the victory over death is but a myopic concentration upon the major key elements to the exclusion of the rest of the story. Yes, it is very important that we grasp upon the heart and soul of the thing, but there is also so much more to further assimilate. Being as to the 'tree of life', while Jesus Christ is the one central figure who provides the blessings of the fruit of the tree, there is further the matter of the 'whole of life' that the tree through Christ our Lord also encompasses. This begins with the very beginnings to the very endings of 'life' and Jesus Christ is he of whom is our representative figure, our Alpha and our Omega, our beginnings and our endings. And that projects to include such as, 'Where did we come from?' as well as 'Where are we going?' And that becomes the wrapping all up into the 'eternal now' of the vision of the tree of life.

We, our time as children of God, has been but cut out from eternity. Eternity has no beginning or ending, as it is but one eternal round, which we are but yet to fully comprehend being but of a mortal men of such limited lifetimes and eventual termination of such in death. But through Christ we expand 'life' beyond the ages of time into eternity. Christ stands at the portals of this temporal probation we find ourselves in. In the temple sealing room there are two mirrors placed on facing walls as a depiction of portals through which we pass from and back into eternity. These ages of time are but the generations of Christ's in terms of there being a beginning and an ending to this temporal estate. Thus the names of Christ being Alpha and Omega, as he it is who stands at those thresholds from whence we have come and to where we are going, to and from eternity.

And the 'story' of it all extends beyond the central event. And indeed our very participation, which is also central to each of us, plays itself out at times before and after the meridian main event. And these time are very important and central to each of us for it involved the partaking of the fruit of the tree, that is the partaking and/or accepting the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And thus it is that the entire 'play' so to speak, can be and has been laid out upon the platform of the symbolic representation of the Tree of Life. The phrase it self has two components, the tree and its fruits is but the one, the other being as it where 'life'. From the 'beginning' of our life may be that event associated with our spirit birth to our Heavenly Father and Mother. That spirit birth was set out as a combining of the eternal intelligence of truth and light unto the spirit of a child of divine partents, our divine parents in that preexistence heaven from whence the spirits of all men have come. And the events yet to come are such as one's death, a time living again as a disembodied spirit until the time of our resurrection and even extends to such as our eventual final judgments unto kingdoms of glory, or not, which may envolve one's returing back into the presence of God. And that extended platform of 'life' and also the 'tree' that facilitates and has enabled the rights of passage essential to the grand plan of it all, consitutes the platform upon which a vision of it all may be formed.

Thus when Nephi was taken to the high mountain and was given a guided tour through the matters of the 'tree' and of 'life' it entailed all that could be shown unto Nephi, past, present and future. And Nephi even saw that which John the Revelator would write, though Nephi was forbidden to write that portion of his vision into his own account (1 Nephi 14:18-25). And when one considers that Nephi's vision of the Tree of Life extends to those things seen by the Apostle John then it does seem to answer what is meant by Nephi's following statement that, "... others who have been, to them hath he shown all things, and they have written them;..." (1 Nephi 14:26). When Nephi writes 'others' he is implying at least himself and the Apostle John just named, as well as perhaps his father Lehi as well. And as to whom the plural word 'others' do entail, the canidates are certainly to be those previous prophets who have, like Nephi, also to have written. One particular stand out in one whose name Joseph Smith gives as Mahonri Moriancumr, the brother of Jared, who was shown in vision all things and commanded by the Lord that he should write a full account of them all (Ether 3:20-28).

Now the brother of Jared would be one of those others who the Lord has 'shown all things and they have written them' if Nephi had known of him. But since that would be unlikely, then one is most likely such as Moses (See Moses 1:27-30 & 40-41), whose writings the Lord states men shall take many of them from the book that Moses writes. But then who else does the plural word 'others' apply to? Nephi, and others of the Book of Mormon certainly had an affinity for the words of Isaiah, for about a third of the book of Isaiah is found in the Book of Mormon. And I would suppose that if Nephi had seen the vision then the words of Isaiah certainly would have been very plain and easy for Nephi to understand. And Nephi states that Isaiah had seen the Lord even as he had seen him (2 Nephi 11:2).

Here it has been given that the 'platform' of the 'Tree of Life' is that upon which such a Vision of All Things may well be based, from the beginnings of time to the endings thereof. There is not one thing that has been, is or will be between those portals of eternity that cannot be associated with Christ who is the same as Jehovah, and man, that is the whole of humanity who ever has, does or will live. So it is that all of scripture and life may be included upon that singular Tree of Life representation of all things.

- One underlying test that may be performed to substantiate the opening statement regarding the grand 'Vision of All' being based upon Christ and the symbol of the Tree of Life, which is a representation of God's love in that of giving his son Jesus Christ as our means of salvation, is to review through the 18 pages of the topical guide to the scriptural references under the name of Jesus Christ and the numerous topics regarding his life from being the Firstborn son in the preexistence to being our final Judge. ~ drh

~ PART V ~   ~ PART VII ~

rev. 5 August 2016