The Crucial Revelation of Life in the Scriptures, by Witness Lee


In the New Testament we can see not only the reality of the tree of life but also the reality of the tree of knowledge. Just as in the Old Testament, we can see the tree of knowledge next to the tree of life in the New Testament. Hebrews 7:16 tells us that Christ has been constituted the High Priest “not according to the law of a fleshy commandment, but according to the power of an indestructible life.” In this verse there are two sources: the law and the life. The law is on the side of the tree of knowledge, and the life is on the side of the tree of life. In this verse are the two trees, the tree of knowledge alongside the tree of life. Genesis 2:9 indicates that these two trees are very close to one another. They are not far away from one another, but they are standing alongside one another. If we are careless, we may touch the tree of knowledge instead of the tree of life; we may think that we are touching the tree of life because the tree of knowledge is so close to the tree of life.

The law is good (Rom. 7:12, 16), and anything that is good is very close to life. Everything related to life is good. With the indestructible and endless life, nothing is bad and everything is good. The commandments of the law are also good, so they are very close to life. According to our fallen, natural mentality and discernment, we think that anything good is life. But our minds need to be renewed and transformed to realize that something good may not be life. To consider anything good as life is absolutely wrong. This is a concept of the fallen mentality. In Hebrews 7:16 the law is related to the tree of knowledge and the life is related to the tree of life.


In Acts 5:20 the angel charged Peter and the apostles, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.” Peter and the apostles were not charged to go and speak merely the word. They were charged to speak the words of this life. The law is close to life, and the word is even closer. Many may claim that they are preaching and teaching the word, but are they speaking the words of this life? In this verse “words” is not the Greek word logos but rhema. Logos is the constant word, and rhema is the instant word. The constant word could be the tree of knowledge, but the instant words that the Lord speaks are spirit and life (John 6:63). Because the tree of knowledge and the tree of life are so close to one another, one could take the tree of knowledge and think that he is taking the tree of life. It is hard to discern life from knowledge because life and knowledge are so close to one another.


First Peter 1:23 says, “Having been regenerated, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the living and abiding word of God.” A seed is a container of life. The word of God is the incorruptible seed that contains God’s life. Through this word, this seed, we have been regenerated. Peter used the adjective “living” to describe the word of God. The word here in Greek is logos, but Peter pointed out that we were regenerated through the living logos. We may have the word and not have the living word. When I was a child, I received the word in Sunday school. Although I went to Sunday school, I was never regenerated or born again there. One day, however, I received the living word, and at that time I was born again. The word by itself is the tree of knowledge, but the living word is the tree of life.


First Corinthians 4:15 says, “For though you have ten thousand guides in Christ, yet not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” Guides, teachers, or instructors are good, but these guides are related to the tree of knowledge. The guides are a matter of knowledge, but the father is a matter of life. Fathers impart life to their children whom they beget, and the apostle was such a father who imparted the divine life into the Corinthians so that they became children of God and members of Christ. Again, we can see how hard it is to discern life from knowledge.

(The Crucial Revelation of Life in the Scriptures, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)