What is the First Commandment?

eat the tree of lifeFrom the garden of Eden to New Jerusalem, eating the tree of life is significant. Genesis 2:9 tells us, “out of the ground Jehovah God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, as well as the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Many people are familiar with the ten commandments in Exodus 20. However, the first command that God gave to man was about man’s eating. Genesis 2:16-17 says,

“And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may eat freely, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of it you shall not eat; for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

God’s desire is that we of the tree of life and His command is that we not eat of the alternative. As seen in the prior post, Jesus is the reality of the tree of life. He is the real life and life supply in the universe. God’s desire is that we take Jesus as our daily food.

What keeps us from the tree of life might be our idea that the Christian life is a life of doing good. According to this idea, I obey the teachings of Jesus and follow His example to be kind and to help people. However, this is not the central revelation of the Bible. Jesus Himself said “He who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me” (John 6:57). His desire is that we eat Him to live Him. “Christ lives in me”—to live out through me all the good He wants to accomplish, and “to me to live is Christ”—my life is Him, not my doing good in my self and by my own effort (Galatians 2:20 and Philippians 1:21).

We are not against good, but we are against good that originates in our human self. “No one is good except One—God” (Mark 10:18). Our aspiration is the good that is Christ living in us and through us. For this we need to eat Him every day. This eating is portrayed by the tree of life in the garden of Eden and in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Leave a comment


  1. Amen! I just realized, brother, with the help of your blog post, that the FIRST commandment is not to love the Lord or do anything else….but it is related to EATING! God is peculiar and very attentive to what we eat! We need to eat God as the tree of life. Wow!

    And we will do that for eternity, in the New Jerusalem, where the tree of life is on both sides of the river of water of life….


  2. Yes, Genesis 2 uses the word “command” long before Exodus. If we eat, our behavior will be proper but if we do not eat, we need many commandments about proper and improper behavior.


  1. Eat and Rejoice | New Jerusalem – A Biblical View
  2. Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life” | New Jerusalem – A Biblical View

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