Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

Have You Eaten the Tree of Life Today?

You may question whether such a thing is actually possible. But if you examine the Bible thoroughly, you’ll discover that it is very possible and even practical to eat the tree of life every day. In this post I’ll introduce how you can begin eating this life tree today.

Because the tree of life revealed in the beginning of the Bible is mysterious, (and no, it’s not an apple tree) we need to see what this tree of life really is.

The tree of life signifies the divine, uncreated life of God in the form of food. I have already addressed the matter of life previously in my post—“What is eternal life?” This life is first mentioned in the garden of Eden in Genesis 2:9. Then at the end of the Bible, the tree of life is mentioned again. In Revelation 22:1-2, we can see it along the flow of the river that proceeds from God’s throne in the New Jerusalem. So this life is not temporal or mortal but a life that issues out of the eternal God, being the divine, eternal life.

God in Christ as the tree of life to be our food

First, we need to see a vision of the tree of life. That is, that this tree is simply God Himself in Christ to be our food. God’s intention in this matter is consistent from the beginning of the Bible (Gen. 2:9) to the end (Rev. 22:1, 14). God never gave up His desire to be life to man in the form of food. From eating the tree of life in Genesis, to the heavenly manna in Exodus, and to the produce of the good land referred to in Deuteronomy, God repeatedly revealed His heart’s desire to become man’s real food in a progressive way (see Rev. 2:7, note 5).

How can we say from the Bible that the tree of life is God in Christ as food to us? To see this vision, we need to look at the gospel of John. First, in John 1:4 speaking of Christ, it says that “in Him was life.” Then in John 15:1 the Lord Jesus said, “I am the vine.” From John 15, we can see that the Lord is a vine tree and from John 1 we can that in Him is the divine, “zoe” life. So Christ Himself is the fulfillment of the figure of the tree of life. In John 6:57b, He said, “so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.” So our Lord is the tree of life and He wants us to eat Him. For this He was incarnated, crucified, and resurrected to become the life-giving Spirit so that we can now receive Him as our life.

Since the eating Christ as the tree of life will be the eternal portion of all God’s redeemed people, we need to cooperate with God’s intention today. May we all be impressed with such a vision.

God wanting to recover our eating of the tree of life

The key word here is “recover.” This implies that the matter of eating the Lord as the tree of life has been lost or neglected and requires some to overcome this downward trend return to the eating of the tree of life. For the Lord to fulfill His intention as mentioned above, God’s people need a real recovery to the eating of Christ.

From the John 6:57, we can see a window into our Lord’s desire that we eat Him, digest Him, and assimilate Him, so that He becomes our organic constitution. The Greek word for “eats” (trogon) in this verse, literally means “masticates”, that is, “chews, or reduces to a pulp by grinding with the teeth.”

We need to lovingly receive our Lord as the Spirit through His word with much prayer, petition, thanksgiving and praise. Whenever we come to the written word in the Bible, we should contact the Lord Himself by means of prayer in our spirit so that we can receive a “Spirit-word”—a word that is spirit and life (Eph. 6:17-18, John 6:63). By repeatedly considering and musing on God’s word with prayer, singing and giving thanks we can finely chew the Lord, eating of Him as the tree of life.

In this way, we partake of the divine nature through the promises of His word (2 Pet. 1:4) so that God’s element becomes our constitution and we become the same as He is in life and nature, but not in His Godhead.

Furthermore, since the essence of the tree of life is in the water of life, we need to drink the water of life by calling on the name of the Lord (Isa. 12:3-4). To enjoy Christ as the tree of life, we must drink of Him as the water of life. The simplest way to drink the Lord (1 Cor. 12:13) who is now the Spirit is to call on His name (12:3, Rom. 10:12).

Such eating of the tree of life, that is enjoying Christ as our life supply should be the primary matter in our church life.

The closed way to the tree of life having been reopened

In order to enjoy the tree of life today, there is one more thing that we need to see and apply. Three words help me grasp this point. They are “Closed,” “opened,” and “wash.”

First, due to the fall of man in Adam, the way to the tree of life was closed (Gen. 3:24). When man sinned, he offended God’s righteousness and fell short of God’s holiness, and  glory (Rom. 3:23). To keep fallen from partaking of the tree of life in His corrupted condition, God placed the cherubim and a flaming sword to guard the way to the tree of life.

Second, through Christ’s redeeming death, the way has been opened for us to come to the tree of life. This opened way is signified by the veil in the temple rent from top to bottom so that the barrier that separated man from God has been removed. The writer of Hebrews applied opened way in Hebrews 10:19-20 saying, “Having therefore brothers boldness for entering the Holy of holies in the blood of Jesus, which entrance He initiated for us as a new and living way through the veil that is His flesh.”

Now when we wash our robes (our conduct) in the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God we have right to participate in the tree of life (Rev. 22:17).

Becoming not only the eaters but also the branches of the tree of life

Finally, I am really impressed with the view that we are not only the eaters of the tree of life but also the branches of the tree of life. This aspect points out that God desires that we be one with Him. It was for this purpose that God created us in His image and putting within us a human spirit so that we could contact Him, receive Him, and be one with Him (1 Cor. 6:17).

This oneness of God and man can be illustrated by grafting. The Lord Jesus referred to His believers as His branches (John 15:4-5). This points to the fact that through our believing into Christ we have been joined to Him, possessing an organic union with Him. Now God desires that we would live a grafted life.

Paul testified to his own experience of such a grafted life in Galatians 2:20 when he said “I am crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live but it is Christ who lives in me.” Since we have been grafted into Christ, we should now let this pneumatic Christ live in us.

Praise the Lord that since Christ is the tree of life to us, and we by faith have been united with Him organically, we are now not only His eaters partaking of Him. We are His branches, united with Him, one with Him, and part of Him (John 15:1, 4-5; 1 Cor. 6:17)

This post was inspired by Message Four of the recent International Training for Elders and Responsible Ones in Baarlo, the Netherlands. For an excellent review of this message please read Phil Watson’s guest post on The Tree of Life here at “Holding to Truth in Love.”

For further enrichment of this truth you may also enjoy reading The Triune God to be Life to the Tripartite Man, by Witness Lee, pp. 16-18. You can read it online at ministrybooks.org

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

3 Replies

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.