Saturday, May 21, 2016

Genesis 2:8-15 comments: eastward in Eden

8 ¶  And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9  And 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. 10  And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. 11  The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12  And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. 13  And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. 14  And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates. 15  And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Speculation is rampant as to where the Garden of Eden was located. However, the destruction wrought by the Flood of Noah’s time has erased all traces and, even if it had not, there are cherubim keeping it from being seen by us as you will see later. The fact of later place names of Eden given to locations in the ancient world or that name given to a person is not a guide as today we see how memory of times past leads us to name towns and places in America after European places and cities. Whether it be New York, New York or Hanover, Pennsylvania the newer place was named after a memory of the older. I believe that Eden is now in the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, based on what the Bible says in Revelation literally. The word paradise comes to us from the Persian for a type of large garden or park, typically a hunting preserve for them.

General locations of these rivers are given, hard to pin down today, which indicate a general location for Eden. It was in the Middle East. I would suspect by all of the references in the Bible to how special Jerusalem is that there was a beautiful garden planted by God that encompassed thousands of square miles in the vicinity of Israel and the land promised to Abraham’s descendants. This is the part of earth that concerns God the most as this is the location for the drama revolving around His restoration of mankind to where they were meant to be, but not by their own doing, but by His actions.

Not only did God plant beautiful, life-giving trees for food in this garden but the Tree of Life was there. It is now in the heavenly city.

Revelation 2:7  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Revelation 22:2  In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations…14  Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

Eating of the fruit of the Tree of Life restores the body and permits the person to inhabit a physical body forever.

Genesis 3:22  And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

So, clearly this is like some tree you have never seen and has not ever been classified by a scientist.

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is the one that was in the event that cursed our ancestors and us to death and dying. Why, we ask, was it called the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? The fruit imparted no knowledge. The simplest answer is that not eating of the tree, obeying God, is good, and eating of the tree, disobeying God, is evil. Doing what God said to do and not doing what God said not to do is the essence of good and evil. The easiest way for Satan to undercut that, and we will see this shortly, is to call into question what God said.

When you know, from reading the Bible, that God says to love your enemies and you hate even those who disagree with you, much less those who would do you hurt you have made the evil choice because you are disobeying God.

Matthew 5:43 ¶  Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47  And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48  Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

When you have read the book of Job and know that God is angry at those who misrepresent Him and yet you, when somebody suffers, think you know what secret sin they are hiding that makes them worthy of their pain, you are choosing evil. Evil is malicious, meaning disaster, calamity, and trouble. Like vengeance, it is God’s prerogative those who oppose Him. It is not your right to express, particularly in the congregation of the Lord.

For us, in the context of our behavior in the congregation of the Lord, the local church, we are not to even allow the appearance of such malice to express itself, but we have failed in that, have we not?

1Thessalonians 5:22  Abstain from all appearance of evil.

Romans 12:17  Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

Which way have you chosen?

If you wish to get snarky about the Law given to Moses, the religious and civil law for the Hebrews, and start using examples from there to point out things about killing Canaanites or stoning wayward children, understand first that, for Christians;

Galatians 3:24  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

The laws given to Moses are not your marching orders unless those commands are repeated by Jesus, Paul, Peter, John, Jude, and James under the new covenant.

Mankind’s first job, his constant employment, was to care for the Garden of Eden. What a wonderful, unmodern, thought. Imagine the lack of running around like a madman, keeping schedules, cellphones, televisions, timeclocks, deadlines, and greed.

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