An examination of the Bible's use of trees, symbolically, representing religion. Can we apply these teachings toward today's onslaught of Christian denominations and churches?
Matthew 21:19 tells us Jesus cursed a fig tree: "Let there be no more fruit from you forever. And the fig tree immediately dried up."
The fig tree Jesus cursed represented the Jewish' religious system of that time, during his day. Trees in the Bible can often represent religious organizations created by men but professed as God-ordained. They appear as truth and as the way to God, but in effect are damaging to man's relationship with something greater than themselves. The real battle for the heart of mankind is with religion. We mustn't lose sight of the fact that it was religion that Jesus attacked during his ministry here on earth. He attacked religious ideas and religious leaders. His message was to forsake religion and look for the truth of who God is (and who you are) within your own being - for God speaks to the hearts of mankind. The spirit of God is who we should follow, for the Spirit is truth. Yet, men create church doctrines, church denominations, church services and church programs to supposedly save mankind and bring us to God. However, religion is creating a greater chasm between God and mankind which must be healed:
"But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." (Genesis 2:17)
Religion can "kill" the relationship between God, the great Spirit energy that comprises all, and mankind, creating separation in the minds of those who buy into its doctrines. Separation between the Divine and mankind occurs inside the mind of man, but is not truth. Separation is a perception based upon feelings, emotion. And religion, best defined as man-made ideas of how we can "get right with God," is the root cause of this separation which has been passed down from generation to generation. These ideas, if believed, often make a relationship with God through spirit almost completely impossible. Therefore, any dead trees must be hewn down, and will be:
"Every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth good fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. "Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire." (Matthew 7)
Many of us have been taught from religious leaders, traditionally speaking, that the tree to be hewn down might be "us," individually; but that is not the hidden truth in this passage. The tree to be hewn down is the thing that divides; and more often than not, the thing that brings division is religion. (Have you ever noticed how many different denominations, sects, churches, etc. there are out there? It's a picture of division.) But, what can one do, who is trapped by fears of not attending services, not being accepted by family, friends or God? Leave it behind if it is abusive, and freedom will find you! It is a difficult path, but if you are suffering abuse (e.g. Is your church teaching fearful ideas about hell and punishment?), then leave. You don't need the lies or the suffering. The time for you to hear what the spirit of God is saying is now:
Revelation 18:4 cries, "Come out of her my people, that you be not partakers in her sins (incorrect thinking and ideas), and that you receive not of her plagues (fear, condemnation, guilt, separation from God and others)."
"To him that overcomes (religion), I will give to eat of the tree of life (the spirit of God who is life), which is in the midst of the paradise of God (within you!)." (Revelation 2:17)
II Thessalonians chapter two, speaks about a "falling away" that must first come before the son of perdition may be revealed. The son of perdition, we are told...
"who is opposing and raising himself up above all called God or is worshipped, so that he in the sanctuary of God, as God, has sat down, showing himself off that he is God." (II Thessalonians 2:4)
This son of perdition is religion. You will notice that this son of perdition already sits in the sanctuary now, which is the hearts and minds of mankind. (You are this sanctuary: "You are the temple of God, and the spirit of God dwells in you" I Corinthians 3:16) But what is the "falling away" that must occur before the "son of perdition" or "religion" can be revealed? It is the "falling away" from religion. As people flee the bonds of religion and the traditions of men, their eyes will be opened to see the apostasy already created and currently in power (and falsely in Jesus' name) by religious leaders.
I write this to confirm to many that, quite possibly, religion is your enemy...your adversary. Leave it now, and cease to give it power over you; then you will "see." Listen to your heart, as the spirit of God will lead you unto all truth. Then, you will be "born-again." Your time for freedom is now...
"God did choose you from the beginning for salvation, in purification of the spirit, and belief of the truth." (II Thessalonians 2:13)