boomdeslevensIn the creation account in the Old Testament we read that the Lord placed “the tree of life also in the midst of the garden” of Eden “and the tree of knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:9).

From Lehi’s dream, we learn that the tree of life represents the love of God that reveals itself through Christ’s atonement. The fruits of the tree are in turn a symbol of eternal life, which is called the greatest of all the gifts of God (1 Nephi 8; 11:21–22, 25; 15:36).

After the fall, Adam was driven from the garden and the Lord placed “at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24).

The temple is the place where we symbolically return to the tree of life and are prepared by ordinances and covenants to receive the fruits of the tree of life once more.

Menorah

Since the Garden of Eden is a prototype for later temple building the Lord commanded Moses at the building of the tabernacle: “And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his haft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same” (Exodus 25:31).

This menorah or seven-armed candle is a representation of the tree of life. That the menora had to have the appearance of a tree is clear from the detailed description that the Lord gave. The arms of the candlestick resemble the branches of a tree. The “bowls, his knops, and his flowers” emphasize the vitality of the tree.

In the The Hague Temple we also notice a symbolic continuation of the tree of life and menorah in the stained-glass windows. As the sun illuminates the temple through the windows this stylized tree of life serves as a suitable menorah. Although, an ancient source mentions that the temple of Herod contained no windows for the sunlight to pass through, but rather for the divine light which was in the temple to flow out into the world (see Pesikta de-Rav Kahana Pisqa 21:5, Exodus Rabbah 36:1).

Like the menorah, the Saints are commanded to keep their light burning in order to be able to return to God’s presence. Therefore the members of the Church walk in the light of the Holy Spirit “in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).