AS THE TREE OF LIFE IN OUR SPIRIT
On the positive side, there is another line in the New Testament, the line of the mingling of God with the spirit of man. We are charged to walk in the spirit, to live in the spirit, to do things in the spirit, and to pray in the spirit. In the spirit is not a mere phrase. When we live in our spirit, we will not live by ourselves but by the Lord. When we learn to walk according to our spirit, we will not walk according to the worldly system but according to the heavenly way. According to the record of the New Testament, even the teachings and gifts by themselves are categorized with the tree of knowledge. With the tree of knowledge are knowledge, good, evil, and death. This tree is complicated. But with the tree of life there is only one item and nothing else—life, life, life. The tree of life is so simple. The Scriptures reveal life as the beginning, life as the process, life as the ending, and life as everything. It is possible that our good doings may not be related to life but fully related and wrapped up with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The Lord is not merely interested in what we are doing, but in whether we are in our soul or in our spirit. This is why the Lord told us emphatically in the four Gospels many times that we have to deny the soul, the self. This is because Satan is mingled with our soul, with our self. In Matthew 16 Peter thought that he was saying something good to the Lord, but the Lord rebuked him, calling him Satan (vv. 22-23). Christ perceived that it was not Peter but Satan who frustrated Him from taking the cross. Immediately after this the Lord talked about denying the self and losing the soul-life (vv. 24-25). This proves that Satan is one with our soul, one with our self.
Only the experiences of the Lord Himself in our spirit will last eternally. The teachings will not remain; they will pass away. Our primary need is not for more knowledge about the Lord. What we need today is to contact the Lord. Our need today is not for gifts but for the Lord Himself as our life, our food, our drink, and our air. We have to realize the Lord Himself in such a full and all-inclusive way. Then we will have the proper and living knowledge of the Lord, not from letters but from life. If we will experience the Lord in such a way, we will then have the proper function. The proper function and the proper gifts will come out of the inner life.
It is good that we retire from things other than the Lord Himself. We must learn to return ourselves to the Lord Himself. With the tree of the knowledge of good and evil everything is complicated. Good and evil are mixed together and result in death. The one thing we need is to enjoy the Lord as the tree of life. We have to learn how to enjoy, to partake of, this living Lord. We have to learn how to contact Him, how to realize Him, and how to experience Him in the spirit as our life and everything.
THE ULTIMATE CONSUMMATION OF THE TWO TREES
All the positive things come out of the experience of the tree of life, out of the mingling of Christ as life with our spirit. The church, the kingdom, the New Jerusalem, and all the positive spiritual heavenly things come out of the mingling of God with our spirit, that is, out of the experience of the tree of life. The ultimate consummation of the tree of knowledge is the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10, 14-15), and the ultimate consummation of the tree of life is the city of water, the New Jerusalem (21:2). This city is characterized by a pure river of water of life with the tree of life in its flow (22:1-2). All the things of man related to the tree of knowledge, related to Satan, will go into the lake of fire, and the things of man related to God, to the tree of life, will go into the city of living water. We need to spend our time to read the New Testament once more with this point of view, the point of view in the spirit.