CHRIST AS THE TREE OF LIFE AND THE LAMB OF GOD
The first picture in the entire Bible is that God offered Himself to man as the tree of life in the form of food, that man may take Him in, eat Him, and have Him as his life. After this, man fell. But immediately after the fall of man, God provided him a lamb. If you read the Scriptures with a heavenly view, you will see who this lamb is. After the fall of man, God not only provided a lamb for fallen man but also offered a lamb for him (Gen. 3:21; 4:4). Adam became fallen, yet due to his enjoyment of the lamb as his covering, his clothing, he could still live. Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all of their descendants, the sons of Israel, also enjoyed the lamb (v. 4; 8:20; 12:7; 26:25; 35:7; Exo. 12:3-10).
The passover feast was a new beginning for the children of Israel (v. 2). Their history began with a lamb. The lamb was slain, the blood was shed for redemption (vv. 3, 7; 13:13, 15), and the meat of the lamb was eaten (12:8-10). In the Bible, first there is the tree of life and then the lamb. In John 1:29 John the Baptist declared that Christ was the Lamb of God. Christ as the Lamb of God is the Word, who is God incarnated to be a man (vv. 1, 14). Christ is the complete God and the perfect man, the God-man.
After creation, before the fall of man, God offered Himself to man as the tree of life (Gen. 2:9, 16). After the fall of man, God offered Himself as a lamb (3:21; 4:4) because there was the need of redemption. With the tree of life before the fall, there was no need of redemption because there was no sin. With the fall sin came in (Rom. 5:12); thus, redemption is required. After the fall, the tree of life alone is not sufficient to meet man’s need. After the fall man needs redemption (Heb. 9:22), and with the lamb, there is redemption. Before the fall, God ordained that man should eat only vegetables (Gen. 1:29), not animals. After the fall and its development, God changed His ordination, giving man not only vegetables but also animals to eat (9:3).
The tree of life is a matter of nourishment, and the lamb is a matter of redemption. Yet even with the lamb there is something for nourishment. The Lord’s word in John 6 is difficult for many readers to understand. Even many of the Lord’s disciples at that time stumbled at His word. They said, “This word is hard; who can hear it?” (v. 60b). The Lord said that He was the bread of life (v. 35) and that His blood was true drink (v. 55). It is not possible for physical bread to have blood. Yet the Lord Jesus as the bread of life said, “My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink” (v. 55). The Lord Jesus as the bread of life indicated that He was a continuation of the tree of life for man’s nourishment. The blood and the flesh are two items indicating that Christ is the Lamb of God (1:29).
After the fall of man, if Christ were not the Lamb, He could never be the bread. Without redemption, He could never be our nourishment. Redemption is not the goal, the aim, but the procedure to reach the goal. The Lord Jesus shed His blood for redemption so that we might eat His flesh for our nourishment. In a similar way, the passover lamb was slain, the blood of the lamb was sprinkled upon the doors, and in the house under the covering of the sprinkled blood, the children of Israel rested and enjoyed the meat of the lamb (Exo. 12:3-11).
(Excerpt from The Tree of Life, ch. 5)