Lesson 11 – Enjoying God by Eating and Drinking
GOD’S DESIRE IS FOR MAN TO EAT AND DRINK HIM
God’s way of accomplishing His purpose was firstly to create man as a vessel to contain Himself as life and then to place him in a garden before the tree of life, indicating that God’s intention was for man to partake of the fruit of this tree. However, along with the tree of life, Genesis 2:9, 17 mention the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Therefore, we need to consider very carefully the significance of these two trees.
When I was young and read the first two chapters of Genesis, I wondered why God did not command Adam to worship Him as the Creator. I thought God should have told Adam, “I am your Creator. You must worship Me every morning, noon, and evening. You must worship Me at least seven times a day. You must bow down, kneel down, and prostrate yourself before Me. I will write some praises for you so you may practice how to worship Me.” That was my concept. As far as I was concerned, it was foolish of God to place man in front of the tree of life with nothing to do. Furthermore, I felt that after God had created Eve, He should have given both Adam and Eve a wedding sermon, saying, “Adam, you must thank Me for giving you such a dear wife. You must promise Me that you will love her forever. Eve, I command you, as his wife, to submit to him.” It seemed to me entirely logical for God to make such demands. Under the influence of Christianity, especially the conduct of wedding ceremonies, I assumed that God would have delivered a wedding sermon to the first couple. However, God gave them no such word. He only seemed to tell them, “Be careful about your eating. You must eat correctly. I don’t care whether or not you love your wife or submit yourself to your husband. I don’t care very much about worship. I care about your eating. If you eat wrongly, you will be wrong. If you eat the wrong tree, you will die. Adam, you must realize that it is not a matter of what you do; it is a matter of what you are. You will be what you eat. If you eat death, you will become death. If you eat life, you will become life. It is not a question of doing, but of being. Take care of your eating.” In my early days as a Christian, I was bothered by this. To tell you the truth, during that period I did not like Genesis 2. I liked chapter 1 which described God’s work of creation, but I felt that chapter 2 resembled a children’s cartoon.
After God created man, He put him in front of a tree. God did not charge him to obey ten laws and requirements. There were no commandments, but there was a placement. God placed man in front of the tree of life; He wanted man to eat this tree.
Adam was induced to take the tree of knowledge, into himself. This was not a matter of merely doing something wrong. No! It was much more serious than transgressing God’s law and regulation. The significance of Adam taking the fruit of the tree of knowledge was that he received Satan into himself. Adam did not take the branch of that tree, he took the fruit of the tree. The fruit contains the reproducing power of life. For example, when the fruit of a peach tree is planted in the earth, soon another little peach tree will sprout up. Adam was the “earth.” When he took the fruit of the tree of knowledge into himself as the earth, he received Satan, who then grew in him. Oh, this is not a small matter! Not many Christians have realized the fall of Adam in such a way. The fruit of Satan was sown in Adam as a seed in the soil; thus, Satan grew in Adam and became a part of him.
GOD BECOMING THE SPIRIT FOR US TO ENJOY HIM
If we read [John 6:32-71] carefully, we find that the Lord was incarnated, crucified, resurrected to indwell us, and ascended, and we see that He has become the life-giving Spirit who eventually is embodied in His living Word. Verses 35 through 51 in John 6 reveal that the Lord has come to man by being incarnated that He might give life to man. By what way can we take the Lord as food, as the bread of life? This chapter reveals the way figuratively, but for many generations people have overlooked it. First of all, the Lord said that He “came down from heaven” (6:33, 38, 41, 42, 50, 51, 58). By what way did He come down from heaven? He came down by incarnation. He became a man by partaking of flesh and blood (Heb. 2:14). He came in the flesh and He came as a man. The devil and the evil spirits hate this. The only way to test whether or not a person has an evil spirit is to ask the demon or spirit if he would confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (1 John 4:2). Incarnation is the first step that the Lord took in order to become our life.
Verse 35 says, “Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall by no means hunger, and he who believes in Me shall by no means ever thirst.” The bread of life is the life supply in the form of food, like the tree of life (Gen. 2:9), which is also the life supply “good for food.” He who comes to the Lord shall never hunger, and he who believes in Him shall never thirst. In the principle set forth in chapter two [of the Gospel of John], this also is the changing of death into life. Death is of the source of the tree of knowledge, and life is of the source of the tree of life.
Verse 63 in John 6 says, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.” At this point, the Spirit who gives life is brought in. After resurrection and through resurrection, the Lord Jesus, who had become flesh (1:14), became the Spirit who gives life, as is clearly mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:45. It is as the life-giving Spirit that He can be the life and life supply to us. When we receive Him as the crucified and resurrected Savior, the Spirit who gives life comes into us to impart eternal life to us.
EATING AND DRINKING GOD THROUGH OUR MINGLED SPIRIT
The tree of life first signifies God as life to man. If man would take the tree of life, that would issue in a dependent life in man. Very few Christians realize that life always produces dependence. All the matters related to life are matters of dependence. You cannot graduate from any matter of life. Eating is a dependent matter. You cannot say that you have eaten the best food and that you have eaten more than enough, so you do not need to eat anymore. The matters of drinking and breathing, of course, are also dependent matters from which we do not graduate.
The dependent life is also seen in Abraham’s following the Lord. Hebrews 11:8 says, “By faith Abraham, being called, obeyed to go out unto a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.” The Lord did not let Abraham know where he was going. He did not give Abraham a road map. Once the driver gets a road map from a person, he no longer needs that person. Because he has the map, he does not need to depend on the person who gave it to him. But if a person would give you himself, his presence, instead of a road map, you could never be independent from him. You would have to take him as your map, being dependent upon him all the time. That was the real case with Abraham. Abraham exercised his faith to trust in God for His instant leading, taking God’s presence as the map for his traveling. Thus, Abraham became dependent upon God.
We have to stress again and again that the tree of life signifies God as life to man and that once man takes the tree of life, takes God as life, right away this divine life issues in a dependent life in man. Before taking this tree of life, the very God as life, man is independent. But after man takes the tree of life, God as life, it becomes absolutely impossible for man to be independent. Right away the divine life of God causes man to depend upon God all the time.
I like to use these two words—organically and metabolically. To receive God by eating Him is to have God assimilated into our being metabolically. When we receive God into us, His new element replaces what we are, and our old element is discharged. This is a kind of metabolism. Our physical, organic eating and metabolic digesting and assimilating are an illustration of the eating, digesting, and assimilating of Jesus as our spiritual food. This is not just our concept. This is the deep concept in the whole Bible.
When the Lord Jesus came, He said, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35a), and “he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me” (v. 57b). The tree of life is seen in Genesis 2 at the beginning of the Bible and in Revelation 2 and 22 at the end of the Bible. This tells us that the whole concept in the Bible is that man has to eat God, to take God in organically, and to assimilate God metabolically that God may become his “fibers,” his “tissue,” his very being. The food that we eat eventually becomes our being. We become what we eat. We are a composition of the food that we have assimilated. God today is our food in the same principle. In Revelation 2:7 the Lord Jesus promised the church in Ephesus that to the one who overcomes He would give to eat of the tree of life. The last promise in the entire Bible is a promise of the enjoyment of the tree of life, which is Christ with all the riches of life (Rev. 22:14).