The Spiritual Doctrine of Food (When We Awake Ch. 1)


(c)2003 by Glenn Hall (updated 2015)



So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

I do not write these things to argue with your reasoning or to persuade you to do something with which you do not agree. My goal is to teach by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. My prayer is that He will bear witness to your spirit when you read whatever truth is here. Thus you will be hearing the Word of God Himself and my words will be but a double witness to the Truth.

“By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.” 2 Corinthians 13:1



{1} I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. {2} And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. {3} For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. (Romans 12:1-3)

{8} I will not rebuke you for your sacrifices Or your burnt offerings, Which are continually before Me. {9} I will not take a bull from your house, Nor goats out of your folds. {10} For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. {11} I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. {12} “If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness. {13} Will I eat the flesh of bulls, Or drink the blood of goats? {14} Offer to God thanksgiving, And pay your vows to the Most High. (Psalm 50:8-14)

Chapter 1


{10} For the LORD has poured out on you The spirit of deep sleep, And has closed your eyes, namely, the prophets; And He has covered your heads, namely, the seers. {11} The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is literate, saying, “Read this, please.” And he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” {12} Then the book is delivered to one who is illiterate, saying, “Read this, please.” And he says, “I am not literate.” {13} Therefore the LORD said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men, {14} Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work Among this people, A marvelous work and a wonder; For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.” (Isaiah 29:10-14)

As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness. (Psalm 17:15)

I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word1 can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces? C. S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, [1956], 1980), 294

In Matthew 15 Jesus quoted from Isaiah 29 when he condemned the Pharisees as hypocrites. The Pharisees were the main political and religious leaders of Israel during Jesus’ days on earth. They believed in God, the resurrection from the dead, and that the Scriptures contained the words of life. But, they had one huge problem. They contrived and taught so many man-made doctrines that they rendered those Scriptures void of Life. Jesus declared that they worshiped God in vain because they taught the commandments of men as the doctrines of God. Today we find exactly the same problem within God’s Church, the religious institution that has, amazingly, become one of the greatest mysteries of all time. The Church, like the Pharisee, sleeps a deep sleep. From its pulpits come the commandments of men taught as the commandments of God. But, just as God moved in the time of Jesus, He is about to move again. He now stands ready to perform the marvelous work and wonder that Isaiah prophesied.

C. S. Lewis exposed much of this mystery long ago, but still in a figure of speech.2 His great book Till We Have Faces allegorically answers many questions concerning a person’s relationship with God. For example, why did God so adamantly refuse to allow Israel to make any type of representation, or likeness, of Him? Why did He not simply show them His face so that they could then draw, paint, or mold His image and worship that instead of a stupid, golden calf? And, what is the real goal of our faith in Jesus Christ? What is the actual reward for the Christian faithful? Most of us simplistically answer, “heaven!” or “eternal life,” but by this we show that we remain in our slumber and have not yet understood. Lewis eloquently unveils part of the divine mystery in his classic work Till We Have Faces. When We Awake reveals this and other hidden truths through the words of the Bible.

Throughout this book I will draw upon scenes from Lewis’ work in order to illustrate spiritual concepts. A synopsis of Lewis’ book is, therefore, necessary. Till We Have Faces tells the story of the ancient kingdom of Glome whose people worship the god Ungit, the same god known to the Greeks as Aphrodite. Ungit requires her patrons to make regular, blood sacrifices to her, which sometimes includes human sacrifice. The Bible calls these sacrifices “food sacrificed to idols” when it contemplates the natural meaning of this phrase. The queen of Glome, Orual, hated these ritualistic sacrifices and ended up hating the gods as well for many other reasons. Lewis’ book describes the melancholy life of this ancient queen, who finally gets to complain to the gods face to face.

Lewis, however, did not write Till We Have Faces to explain the culture of natural idol worship. He wrote concerning the goal of worshiping the one true God. His work reveals real-life and spiritual applications of this strange doctrine called “food sacrificed to idols.” In so doing, he partly answers the greatest of life’s questions, i.e., how do we really awaken to God, and what can we expect when we do awake? Will God then meet us face to face, or not? What will the rapture really be like?

When We Awake answers these and more questions in the Bible’s own words. This book concerns doctrine, God’s doctrine, not man’s. It is imperative, therefore, when one comes to quoted Scripture herein that he or she reads it. We all have a tendency to skip the reading of Scripture, especially if we have read the passage numerous times before. We think that we already know what it says and that we do not need to read it again. We err when we do this, little realizing the depths of wisdom and knowledge that God can hide in a seemingly simple verse. Always keep the following verses in mind, therefore, as you read this book:

{1b} We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. {2} And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. (1 Cor. 8:1b-2)

The truth is that we all know some of God’s truth, or else we would not be pursuing more. The problem with us vain creatures is that once we apprehend some truth we think we know it all. Thus we become puffed up in pride, a deadly sin. This is one of the major problems in so many churches today, whether they are independent are part of a denomination. Many groups believe they have already settled and understood all important truth so they refuse to move into deeper revelations of God when the Holy Spirit moves on.

Yet, knowledge alone does not commend one to God. Paul reminds us to prefer love and edification to knowledge. In 1 Corinthians 13:2 Paul goes so far as to say that one could understand all of God’s prophecies, mysteries, and knowledge and yet be “nothing” in God’s eyes because he “has not love.” When We Awake explains some of God’s many mysteries that have not heretofore been widely known, but if we have not love, we will take these truths and beat others with them, rather than edify our brethren in love. As George MacDonald so beautifully wrote,

“Our Lord had no design of constructing a system of truth in intellectual forms. The truth of the moment in its relation to him, The Truth, was what he spoke. He spoke out of a region of realities which he knew could only be suggested— not represented— in the forms of intellect and speech. With vivid flashes of life and truth his words invade our darkness, rousing us with sharp stings of light to will our awaking, to arise from the dead and cry for the light which he can give, not in the lightning of words only, but in indwelling presence and power.”3

The Goals of This Book

This book reveals how we Christians take the food of God and sacrifice it to our own idols. Herein we will discover that God’s food to us is His Word and that heretofore we have adulterated (“idolatorated”) His food. We have sacrificed His food to our idols. Our idols then turned this food (true doctrine) into the traditions of man. Herein we will find that our personal and church doctrines often differ from the Truth. We selfishly take His food and sacrifice it to our own idols of mammon, i.e., the worldly icons of beauty, money, power, sex, and so on. One goal of this book is to awaken us to this truth so that we will cease sacrificing God’s food (truth) to our idols and begin sacrificing food to God alone.

One must understand the doctrine of food to understand this book, so I will briefly describe the doctrine here. The doctrine will be elaborated upon throughout this book. Consider how Scripture uses this word in the following verse:

Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. (Hebrews 13:9)

Notice how the writer of Hebrews equates “various and strange doctrines” with “foods.” Similarly, the phrase “various and strange doctrines” correlates to Paul’s concept of “food sacrificed to idols” in 1 Corinthians 8-11 and to my use of it throughout this book. Consider also how Jesus speaks of food through His prophet Isaiah:

{1} “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price. {2} Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance. {3} Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you; The sure mercies of David. (Isa 55:1-3)

Jesus is the Water and Bread of Life. He speaks the Word of Life. Biblical “food,” therefore, is the water and bread which comes from Jesus Christ alone. This explains why Jesus told his disciples that they must eat his flesh and drink his blood in order to follow him. Jesus’ words, of course, were spiritual. He was telling them that true food is the truth which comes from their Creator, Jesus Christ. God’s Food in Scripture thus represents the true doctrine of Jesus Christ. “Food sacrificed to idols,” on the other hand, is Biblical doctrine sacrificed to man’s idols which results in man’s religions, not God’s ways. It is food offered to mammon instead of to God. This means that “food sacrificed to idols” equates to “doctrines promulgated by the idols of our heart.” These became the traditions of men that Jesus condemned in the Pharisees and which He now condemns in His Church. Make no mistake, God condemns almost all doctrines currently promulgated in the churches of God. Christ’s letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3 makes it clear that the doctrines of God have been perverted for a very long time. Please read those chapters and notice also his promises to the the overcomers of each church. Also observe that Jesus does not call all members of any particular church his overcomers. This leads me to the second goal for this book.

My second major goal for writing this book is to prepare us to see God face to face, i.e., to awaken each of us to the spiritual reality of someday coming into His presence. We must realize, however, that this promise only applies to God’s overcomers, only to those who qualify to become part of New Jerusalem. So many of us long for “the rapture,” or the “coming of Christ,” but we do not yet know that the brightness of His fiery presence would reduce us to mere ashes. To prevent this catastrophe He would first have to send us for a season into the “outer darkness.” The second coming of Christ will not look the way that most of us have been taught. It will not look like, for example, Left Behind. We will finally see God’s face only when we ourselves awaken from our darkness and yearn for his glorious light. Herein we discover that our theologies of the last things (eschatologies) merely reflect our idols. These theologies have become food sacrificed to idols.

Now I pray that God will open the eyes and ears of His guileless saints who seek to know Him better as they search for His hidden treasures. And I pray that God will continue to close the eyes and ears of those who would use His revelation to feed their own idols. Amen.

1 “That word” here refers to all of the carnal, or impure, thoughts we cherish and hold within our hearts, which keep us from knowing and communing with God.

2 His self-confessed “mentor,” George MacDonald, dug out many of the gems concerning this mystery a century before even C. S. Lewis did. MacDonald’s many adult and children’s novels are well worth reading and highly recommended.

3 George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons Series One (An exact textual copy of the First Edition, published by Alexander Strahan., London, 1867. Converted to e-text by Johannesen Printing & Publishing), emphasis added.

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