THE BETTER BRANCH GRAFTED TO THE POOR TREE PRODUCING TWO KINDS OF FRUITS
We can describe the relationship between the Lord and us by grafting. Hymns, #482, verse 3, says,
This the secret nature hideth, Harvest grows from buried grain; A poor tree with better grafted, Richer, sweeter life doth gain.
Grafting in the Bible is the grafting of a better branch to a poor tree. Christ is the better Branch and we are the poor tree. This poor tree grows up to the spot where the grafting occurred; the life element of the better Branch comes in; and whatever grows from the better Branch is good. However, whatever grows from parts other than the better Branch is still poor.
We can illustrate this by the life of a married couple. Early in the morning, the husband rises up to touch the Lord, to pray, and to read the Bible. He is bearing good fruits now. He comes out of his study and it is past breakfast time. He sees that his wife is unhappy and her countenance has changed. This disturbance takes away all of the husband’s revivals of the morning, and he also begins to speak with a changed countenance. Five minutes ago, he was in the heavens. But now, five minutes later, he has fallen down to the earth. This kind of experience happens to us all the time.
We have to see that the two trees in the garden of Eden are both in us. One is the tree of life and the other is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When the husband touches the Lord in the morning and is revived, he is eating of the tree of life. At breakfast time, when he loses his temper with his wife, he switches from the tree of life to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. At the office during lunch time, the husband calms himself down and considers. He begins to regret the manner in which he spoke to his wife, and determines not to do the same thing next time. He will be patient and will not lose his temper anymore. This is neither the evil aspect of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, nor the tree of life; he is but striving to improve himself in the good aspect of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. All these speak of our real condition.
Therefore, if we want to have the proper humanity, we have to allow the better Branch, Christ, to be grafted to us, the poor tree, so that we can grow up and produce good fruits through the joint of grafting.
EXAMPLES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
Demas Having Loved the Present Age and Forsaken Paul
In 2 Timothy 4, Paul mentioned the names of two brothers. The first one was Demas. He said, “Demas has forsaken me, having loved the present age, and has gone to Thessalonica” (v. 10). Demas was a co-worker of Paul. Paul would not have chosen a co-worker easily. Demas was chosen to be a co-worker, but he changed afterwards. We believe that this change was caused by Paul’s circumstance. At the beginning, Demas had also loved the Lord and consecrated himself to Him. He worked with Paul and was like the poor tree yielding good fruits. But after he saw Paul being attacked, arrested, sent off to Rome, judged by Caesar, and jailed for over a year or two without release, he could not overcome this pitiful situation and began to love the age. By then he was the poor tree yielding poor fruits again. He was affected by the outward circumstances.
Alexander Doing Many Evil Things to Paul
Besides this, there was another name, Alexander. Paul mentioned in 2 Timothy 4 that “Alexander…did many evil things to me” (v. 14). If he did many evil things to Paul, this proves that he had been in touch with Paul. If Alexander had not known Paul and had had no dealings with Paul, he would not have persecuted Paul. This is like two persons who if they are never married will never have a divorce. A husband and a wife can divorce each other because they are married. Alexander may have been saved and may have been a brother, but he did evil things to persecute the Lord’s servant. Not only are such things recorded in the Bible, I have also seen similar things happening among the brothers.
Today you are all being trained in the Full-time Training Center. Daily you exercise your spirit and live a heavenly life. But if one day a brother or a sister offends you and wrongly accuses you, are you going to leave the Training Center? We have to see that today we still have the corrupted nature of the old creation within us; we are not yet totally free from it. This is like a beautiful butterfly which has changed from a hairy caterpillar. The beautiful butterfly will never revert back to the ugly movements of the caterpillar. However, while it is still the hairy caterpillar, ugly movements can still be seen. All these illustrations warn us that the old creation is still with us. If we are not in Christ, we are in the old creation, and our old creation will cause problems to our humanity.
(The Glorious Vision and the Way of the Cross, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)