ENJOYING THE TREE OF LIFE TODAY
AS THE FORETASTE
In Genesis 2 there was the tree of life, and in Revelation 22 there will be the vine tree, the tree of life. On the one hand, the tree of life was an item in the past. On the other hand, the tree of life will be an item in the future. But we must also realize the good news that the eating of the tree of life is something for today. Revelation 2:7 says, "To him who overcomes, to him I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God." The tree of life is available in the church life today. There is a basic principle in the New Testament that what we will enjoy in the future we should enjoy in this age, and that what we enjoy in this age will be our enjoyment in the future.
In the New Testament there is the principle of the foretaste. The foretaste is a sign of the full taste to come. God has prepared the tree of life for our eternal enjoyment, but today we have to enjoy the tree of life as a foretaste. If we do not have the foretaste today, we could never have the full taste in the next age, the age of the kingdom. Undoubtedly, we will enjoy the tree of life in the New Jerusalem in the future as the full taste. But today in the church life we can enjoy the tree of life in the way of a foretaste. If we do not enjoy the Lord Jesus today as the tree of life in the way of a foretaste, we will miss the particular enjoyment of Him as the tree of life in the New Jerusalem in the coming millennial kingdom as a reward to the overcoming believers.
The paradise of God in Revelation 2:7 refers to the New Jerusalem, of which the church is a foretaste today. Today’s church life is a miniature of the paradise of God, the New Jerusalem. The church life is a small paradise. In this paradise we enjoy Christ as the tree of life. Without eating there is no enjoyment. To eat of the tree of life, that is, to enjoy Christ as our life supply, should be the primary matter in the church life. In today’s Christendom there is very little eating and very little enjoyment of Christ. In the Lord’s recovery, we need to have the enjoyment of Christ every day. All day long we need to eat Jesus and drink of Jesus. While we are enjoying the foretaste of the tree of life, we are looking for the full taste to come. We are enjoying Him by eating Him as the tree of life and the bread of life.
ABIDING IN HIM AND HE IN US
We not only eat Him, but we also are united to Him. We are now His branches and are a part of the great vine. We enjoy the fruit of this vine, and we also enjoy the very life-juice as the branches. We are not only the eaters but also the branches. As the branches of the great vine, we can abide in Him, and He abides in us. What an enjoyment! We do not only eat Him but we also abide in Him. Christ as the tree of life is for the divine economy to dispense God Himself into you and me. As the branches of this great vine, we are abiding in Him, and He is abiding in us. Then there is a dispensing of God into us, a dispensing of life from the tree into the branches. The tree of life is the very embodiment of God as life to us. Now we are united to Him organically. As we abide in Him and He abides in us, this embodied God is dispensing Himself into us to make us God-men. Furthermore, this embodied God is dispensing the divine gold into us to make us gold men. Praise Him for the divine dispensing of the divine gold into our being to make us all gold men! Praise Him for the tree of life, the embodiment of God as life, to be eaten and enjoyed by us to make us men of life!
(The Divine Economy, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)