MAN AS AN EATING VESSEL BEFORE THE TREE OF LIFE
The picture shown by these portions of the Word is that God created man as an eating vessel. To eat is to receive, digest, and assimilate food. In this way, whatever you eat will eventually become you. Last night I ate a very good fish. Before I ate the fish, it was fish. But this morning while I am sitting here, the fish is becoming me. It was received by me last night at dinner. Later, I digested it. A little later, it was assimilated into me, and eventually this morning it has become me. Look at the picture in Genesis 1 and 2. Man was created as a vessel with God’s image and likeness outwardly and with a spirit as a receiver inside. After man was created in this way, God brought him to the tree of life (Gen. 2:9). This tree of life was good for food. This is like bringing someone to a dining table. Once he eats the food, he begins to digest and assimilate the food. Eventually the food becomes part of him.
Before man could eat of the tree of life, the Bible tells us that Satan the Devil, through the serpent, distracted man (Gen. 3:1-6). Thus, man was separated from the tree of life (Gen. 3:22-24). Eventually, the Lord Jesus came that we may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). The life the Lord came to bring us is the life of the tree of life, a tree which is good for food (Gen. 2:9). In the Gospel of John, the Lord also told us that He is the vine tree (John 15:1, 5) and that He is food (6:35, 55), good for eating (vv. 51, 53, 57). The picture in these verses in the Gospel of John is the same picture as that in Genesis 2. In Genesis 2 man was placed before the tree of life, and in the Gospel of John we are told to eat Jesus, who is the tree of life (John 15:1).
In Revelation 2:7, after the churches had become degraded, the Lord came in to call the overcomers to eat the tree of life. The overcomers are those who are eating Jesus as the tree of life in the church life today. This eating of the tree of life today signifies that the tree of life will be in the New Jerusalem in the millennium. Today in the church life as overcomers, we are eating Jesus as the tree of life, and tomorrow all the overcomers will be eating Jesus as the tree of life in the New Jerusalem during the thousand year millennial kingdom. Ultimately, in eternity the tree of life will be in the center of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:2). The tree of life will feed all of God’s redeemed people for eternity.
God is not a religion. God is life and He is for life. Today, this life is in the word (John 6:63). Therefore, we must come to the word and eat it. In the new way we all must learn to prophesy. In order to prophesy we must eat the word. God is life and He is for life, and this life is in the word. So we must come to the word and eat it. We have received this life by eating the word. The way to eat the word is by exercising our spirit to take the word. Our spirit is our organ to receive God. So every day, all the time, we must exercise this organ to take the word. In this way, we receive life. This is the experience of life. The experience of life is just to exercise our spirit to eat the word that we may receive life. After being received by us, this life will live out all kinds of divine, spiritual, and heavenly things in an unlimited way.
(The Experience and Growth in Life, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)