GENESIS—GOD’S DESIRE BEING FOR MAN TO EAT THE TREE OF LIFE
What does the Bible speak about from beginning to end? All those who know the Bible acknowledge that there is a principle in the Bible: The way a certain thing is spoken of the first time in the Bible record becomes the immutable meaning of that thing in its later development. Therefore, if we want to know the proper relationship between God and man, we have to see what God wanted man to do after He created him. After God created Adam, He did not say, “Adam, I created you. I am your Lord. You have to worship Me, and you have to thank and praise Me.” We do not see these words recorded in the Bible. These thoughts are man’s religious concepts. I am not suggesting that these concepts are bad, but these religious concepts came out of man’s fallen thoughts. They were not the thought in the beginning. After Adam was created, God placed him in front of the tree of life and told him to freely eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden. The first thing God wanted man to do was to eat, eat, and eat! Therefore, we see that the Bible is a book on eating. To eat what? Eat God! Eat the Lord!
However, you can see that man immediately made a mistake in what he ate, and he fell. It is dreadful to eat the wrong thing. Adam fell because he ate the wrong thing. Our physical eating is a symbol of this matter. Anything we eat, whether it is of the animal life or the plant life, gives us the life supply. If we eat the wrong thing, we can be poisoned. In some cases we can become sick, but in the more serious cases we can die. The same is true in the spiritual realm. Only God is the right food; it is right for us to eat God only. If we eat anything other than God, we eat the wrong thing. Not surprisingly, every human being has been poisoned. The last sentence in Genesis says, “They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt” (50:26). This was the end of Joseph, and it is the end of the entire human race as well. This is the outcome of the man who was created by God and who was poisoned. After being poisoned, man died; after his death, he was placed in a coffin; after being placed in a coffin, he remained in Egypt.
EXODUS—GOD’S DESIRE BEING FOR MAN TO EAT THE LAMB
After the book of Genesis, there is Exodus. In Exodus God came to save the man who was still in Egypt. How did God carry out His salvation? This time God presented Himself in another form. In Genesis God had presented Himself as the tree of life; in Exodus God presented Himself as the Lamb.
First God presented Himself as a plant; then He presented Himself as an animal. Both are not enormously big figures. A lamb is small. I believe the tree of life was neither a big tree nor a tall tree that would be out of Adam’s reach. In fact, I believe that the tree of life was not a tree that grew upward but a tree that grew by spreading out like a vine. Therefore, God did not present Himself as something truly great.
I am not saying that God is not great; however, when the great God gave Himself to us to be eaten by us, He reduced Himself. When Jesus came the first time, the Jews were waiting for a Messiah. In their concept the Messiah had to be a great One. However, when the Lord Jesus came, they looked at Him and found Him to be One who appeared weak, without attracting form or majesty, and who was born in the city of Nazareth in Galilee. He was indeed very small.
One day this small Jesus performed something spectacular. He fed five thousand people, not counting the women and children, with five loaves and two fish. Therefore, the Jews said, “This is the Prophet! Come, let us make Him King.” The Lord Jesus quickly fled when He heard this. Do not applaud Him; if you do, He will not receive it. If you put Him in a high position, He will not accept it; rather, He will run away. On the next day the Lord Jesus came back not in a way to show off His strength and power but in a hidden way. He came back and said in effect, “I am the bread of life. I come to be your food. I have no intention to be your King. Do not worship Me. The more you worship Me, the more I am displeased with you. If you eat Me, I am happy. I am the bread of life; he who eats Me shall live because of Me.”
This is neither a moral concept nor a religious concept; it is truly a divine concept. To this day we still have our religious concepts; we still have the feeling that the Lord is high above in heaven and that He is altogether holy. I am not saying that this concept is wrong or that it is not good. What I am saying is that this concept is not God’s concept. God’s concept is not for you to do anything except to eat Him.
(Eating the Lord, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)