Conclusion of the New Testament, The (Msgs. 034-049)by Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall begin to consider Christ’s person in the fulfillment of the types and figures of the Old Testament. In His wisdom God uses not only prophecies to predict the coming of Christ but also types and figures to portray Christ. Therefore, we can see Christ’s person both in the fulfillment of the prophecies and also in the fulfillment of the types and figures in the Old Testament. Because a figure is sometimes used in a prophecy, certain verses may be used both for the fulfillment of a prophecy and for the fulfillment of a figure. We need to learn how to understand the types and figures of Christ in the Old Testament and their fulfillment in the New Testament. We need to know what the Bible says concerning these matters, not according to the natural understanding but according to the spiritual denotation.
In Genesis 1:3 light is a figure of Christ: “God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” Light is actually a way, or a means, by which God brings created things into existence. According to Genesis 1, after light came into being, the way was opened for God to bring other things into existence. Light is necessary for generating life. According to the revelation in the Bible, light is for life. All that God created and made is focused on life and is for life. Light and life go together. Thus, for God’s work of creation in Genesis 1, there was the need for light. God commanded the light to come, and the light came.
The light in Genesis 1:3 is a type of Christ as the real light. This is revealed especially in the Gospel of John. In John 1:4 and 5 we see that light is Christ, the living Word of God. When Christ comes as the real light to shine in the darkness, the darkness cannot overcome Him. In John 8:12 the Lord says, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall by no means walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” In John 9:5 He goes on to say, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” In Genesis light is for the old creation, but in John 1:8 and 12 light is for the new creation. The old creation was brought into existence through physical light, and the new creation is brought into being through Christ as spiritual light. The physical light in Genesis 1, therefore, is a type of Christ as the spiritual light for God’s new creation. When we received Christ, He became our life, and this life is now the light of life within us that brings us out of darkness. Furthermore, this light opens our eyes and gives us spiritual sight.
When we called on the name of the Lord Jesus, receiving Him into us, the divine life came into our being. As a result, we had the sense of something shining within, the shining of life. This shining is a strong confirmation that we have been born of God. Having received Christ, who is the expression of God, we now have Him as our life, and this life is the light shining within to enlighten us. Darkness cannot overcome this light or extinguish it; rather, Christ as light dispels the darkness. Christ truly is the light of life for the new creation.
Genesis 2:9 says, “Out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Here the tree of life is not a type but a figure signifying God in Christ as our life. God’s desire to be our life cannot easily be expressed in plain words. Therefore, in Genesis 2:9 He uses a figure—the tree of life—to signify this desire. The tree of life signifies the Triune God in Christ to dispense Himself into His chosen people as their generating life. In Genesis 2 we have the figure, but in the New Testament we have the fulfillment of this figure.
The tree of life is the center of the universe. According to the purpose of God, the earth is the center of the universe, the Garden of Eden is the center of the earth, and the tree of life is the center of the Garden of Eden. Hence, the universe is centered on the tree of life. Nothing is more central and crucial to both God and man than the tree of life. The tree of life in the garden was an indicator that God desires to be our life in the form of food.
The New Testament reveals Christ as the fulfillment of the figure of the tree of life. Speaking of Christ, John 1:4 says, “In Him was life.” Since John 1:3 refers to the creation in Genesis 1, the mention of life in verse 4 should refer to the life indicated by the tree of life in Genesis 2. This is confirmed by John’s mention of the tree of life in Revelation 22. The life displayed by the tree of life in Genesis 2 was the life incarnated in Christ. The Lord told us that He Himself is life (John 14:6). Furthermore, John 15 reveals that Christ is a tree, the vine tree. On the one hand, He is a tree; on the other hand, He is life. If we put together John 1:4 and 15:5, we shall realize that Christ is the tree of life. The fact that He said in John 6 that He is the bread of life indicates that He has come to us as the tree of life in the form of food. Therefore, Christ, the embodiment of God, is the tree of life.
Concerning Christ as the fulfillment of the figure of the tree of life in Genesis 2:9, Revelation 2:7 says, “To him who overcomes, to him I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” It was God’s original intention that man should eat of the tree of life. Due to the fall, the tree of life was closed to man (Gen. 3:22-24). Through the redemption of Christ, the way to touch the tree of life, which is God Himself in Christ as life to man, has been opened again (Heb. 10:19-20). However, in the church’s degradation religion crept in with its knowledge to distract the believers in Christ from eating Him as the tree of life. Hence, in Revelation 2:7 the Lord promises to grant the overcomers to eat of Himself as the tree of life. The word for “tree” in Revelation 2:7, as in 1 Peter 2:24, is “wood” in Greek, not the usual word used for tree. We have seen that the tree of life refers to Christ as the embodiment of the Triune God to be our life in the form of food. Here in Revelation 2:7 this expression refers to the crucified (implied in the tree as a piece of wood—1 Peter 2:24) and resurrected (implied in the zoe life—John 11:25) Christ who is in the church today, the consummation of which will be the New Jerusalem, in which the crucified and resurrected Christ will be the tree of life for the enjoyment of all God’s redeemed people for eternity (Rev. 22:2, 14). The eating of the tree of life not only was God’s original intention concerning man; it will also be the eternal issue of Christ’s redemption. For eternity God’s redeemed people will enjoy the tree of life as their portion.
Revelation 22:2 says, “On this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life.” The tree of life growing on the two sides of the river indicates that the tree of life is a vine, spreading and proceeding along the flow of the water of life for God’s people to receive and enjoy. It fulfills, for eternity, what God intended from the beginning. In eternity God’s redeemed people will enjoy the tree of life; that is, they will enjoy Christ, the Son of God, the redeeming Lamb, as their eternal life supply.
Revelation 22:14a says, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have right to the tree of life.” After his creation, man was put before the tree of life as an indication that he was privileged to partake of this tree. But because of the fall of man, the way to the tree of life was shut to man by God’s glory, holiness, and righteousness (Gen. 3:24). Through Christ’s redemption, which has fulfilled the requirements of God’s glory, holiness, and righteousness, the way to the tree of life has been opened again to the believers. Hence, the believers who wash their robes in the redeeming blood of Christ have the right to enjoy the tree of life as their eternal portion.
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