OUR NEED FOR FOOD
The crucial point here is that even though we may not be sick, blind, lame, or withered, we still are hungry. All those around the pool were sick, but those around the sea were hungry. The problem of those in Galilee was not impotence—their problem was the lack of food. They did not have anything to fill their hunger.
Humanly speaking, most people are not sick, but everyone needs food. The number of people going to supermarkets to buy food is far greater than the number of those in hospitals. Even though the majority of people are not sick, everyone has the need of food. Spiritually speaking, everyone is hungry. All those around the worldly, satanic sea, represented by the sea in Galilee, are hungry. The reason everyone is hungry is that all of them are short of Christ. If we do not have Christ, we shall be hungry. This is the most important sign we need to see in chapter six of the Gospel of John.
We do not realize how blind we have been concerning our need. Throughout the generations and the centuries human beings have been blind. Because of their blindness, they turn to religion with its ordinances, regulations, and rituals. People simply do not have any idea of what they really need. They do not know that they are short of Christ as their food. We do not need religion, and we do not need regulations and rituals. We need Christ to be our spiritual food.
An Illustration of Our Need
In Exodus 34 we have an illustration of our need to feed on the Lord. That chapter is a record of the Lord’s recovery of the covenant that had been broken. In His mercy the Lord had come in to recover the covenant that had been broken by the idolatry of the children of Israel. That was the reason the Lord told Moses to hew out two tablets of stone and come up to the mountaintop to meet with Him. No doubt, Moses expected God to repeat the giving of the Ten Commandments and the ordinances. The Ten Commandments are in Exodus 20, and chapters twenty-one through twenty-three of Exodus are concerned with the ordinances. When God called Moses to come up to the mountaintop a second time with two tablets of stone, Moses must have thought that God’s intention was to recover the commandments and ordinances. However, God did not speak to Moses regarding the recovery of the covenant that had been broken, and He did not say anything about the Ten Commandments or the ordinances. Instead, God promised Moses that He would perform miracles in order to bring the people into the good land. Then He gave a warning concerning idolatry. Here the Lord seemed to be saying, “If you do not have idols but rather enjoy the riches of the good land, this enjoyment will cause the borders of the land to be enlarged. Furthermore, the enemies will be subdued and will not come to invade the land. The invaders will be kept from the land by your enjoyment of the riches of the land. But if you have idols instead of the enjoyment of the riches of the land, the enemies will come in to defeat you.”
According to the history in the Old Testament, when the children of Israel worshipped idols, the land was invaded by enemies, and the people were defeated. For example, because of their idolatry, the king of Babylon destroyed the temple and led the people away into captivity. But according to Exodus 34, if the people would have nothing to do with idols but rather enjoy the riches of the good land, the enemies would be kept from invading the land. The principle is the same in our spiritual experience today. If we do not enjoy Christ but instead have idols, we shall lose ground to the enemy. But if we enjoy Christ, this enjoyment will cause the borders of the good land to be enlarged, and it will keep the enemy away.
Moses went to the mountain to meet the Lord with the intention of having the broken covenant recovered. God, however, spoke to him about the feasts, the Sabbath, and about five conditions for feasting with the Lord. These five conditions are redeeming the firstling of a donkey with a lamb, not offering the blood of the Lord’s sacrifice with leavened bread, not allowing the sacrifice of the feast of the Passover to remain until morning, bringing the first of the firstfruits to the house of God, and not boiling a kid in its mother’s milk. In our Life-study of Exodus we have covered in detail the spiritual significance of all these requirements in relation to feasting with the Lord and resting with Him (see Life-study of Exodus Messages 178 through 182). The important point here is that in Exodus 34 God’s concern was that His people would enjoy Him by feeding on Him. This was the reason He regarded these five requirements as important. These requirements are all related to our enjoyment of Christ by feasting and resting. However, both religious and nonreligious people alike fail to realize that their need is for food, for nourishment. God’s intention is that we feed on Christ.
(The Fulfillment of the Tabernacle and the Offerings in the Writings of John, Chapter 18, by Witness Lee)