The Fruit and Leaves of the Tree of Life


My wife and I just got back from a trip to Jim Thorpe, where we spent almost an entire day riding our bikes on a trail through the forest along the Lehigh River. It was rejuvenating to breathe in that fresh, forest air, and it reminded me of the passage from Revelation: “The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:2)

Today, as I went back and read that passage, I noted that the “leaves” are mentioned second, and the “fruits” are mentioned first: “The tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” This is because, in the New Church, love is primary, and truths are secondary. “The tree stands for the people of a church that embodies the Lord's kingdom. The fruit stands for the good that results from love and charity, and the leaf, for the truth that develops out of it. That truth is used for the instruction and regeneration of the human race, which is why the leaf is said to serve as medicine.” (Secrets of Heaven 885)

“The reason why 'fruit' means the works of charity, and so forms of good, is that the earliest existence of a tree is the fruit containing the seed and the final stage in its development is the fruit containing the seed, the intermediate stages of its development being the branches, that is, the leaves. It is similar with the good of love and truth of faith. The good of love is the initial seed when a person is being regenerated or ‘planted,’ and it is also the final development. The intermediate stages are the truths of faith, which grow from the good of love as their seed and look constantly to the good of love as their final objective, just as the parts of a tree that are formed at intermediate stages look to their fruit containing the seed.” (Secrets of Heaven 7690)

I know there are times when I get caught up in the thought that the truths of the New Church are the most important thing. Breathing in that fresh, forest air is certainly rejuvenating. But those truths can only bring healing when they come from love, and when I use them to be loving towards other people. Lord, help my understanding of truth come from Your Love, and help it look to the good of love, and the healing of nations.