Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Genesis Chapter Three

3:1 the serpent was more subtil
The New King James renders the word “subtil” as “cunning.” Here is the first reference of Satan in the Bible. There have been mountains of speculation concerning these passages. Some write them off as ridiculous, “It’s a talking snake; what more need I say?” Some write them off as being ardent skeptics, “It never actually STATES that Satan was that serpent!” It writes them off as myth, “You know every culture and ancient religion in the world has a serpent myth in it.” Now to the first I say, “How about shamans, spiritists and witches with their spirits, animal guides and totems? They don’t seem to find such things ridiculous; in fact they’re deadly serious.” God says of such, “The person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people,” Leviticus 20:6. To the second I would respond, “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world,” Revelation 12:9. The Holy Spirit wants to make it clear that the snake in the garden was definitely Satan, either possessing an animal, or simply masquerading as one. Can fallen angels possess animals? I don’t know; why don’t we ask the swine Legion entered when Jesus exorcized them? To the third I say, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one (Satan),” 1st John 5:19. Serpents are venerated in pagan religions; not mortified and vilified as seen here in the Bible. The serpent represented eternal life and wisdom, as seen in such symbols of the caduceus. Oh, the serpent said he could bring wisdom, but he lied and brought death.

3:1 Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
The selfsame verse which introduces the Adversary also reveals the first question asked in the Bible. And the first question in the Bible questions the wisdom of the only command yet given to mankind. Sinful man is prone to launch a battery of questions against God and rage against Him, daring God to answer him with a display of judgment and power. God’s silence, say they, is proof positive that Deity is a myth. God’s silence in this era is a token of His longsuffering patience, which Peter tells us is for our good, so that we may be saved, 2nd Peter 3:9,15. When God speaks He is a tyrant. When God is silent He is a myth. For carnal, wantonly unbelieving men, there is no pleasing them, because they are blind and hardened, delighted in their own conceit, vanity, and impotent, perishing wisdom which will crown them with shame and derision. Satan’s suggestion here is indeed subtle. He asks Eve why she can’t eat of any of the trees in the garden. She specifies that there is only one tree that she may not eat, perhaps stirring her mind as to why God gave the prohibition concerning it. What made that single tree special above the others? Even above the tree of life? There is no such thing as an innocent question when someone knowingly questions the command of the living God. Today this question echoes in every ear in our modern world. “Yea, hath God said that Jesus Christ alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life?” Those who eagerly chase after such lies will suffer a shared fate, “For this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe THE lie (Satan’s lie; he’s a one trick pony), that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness,” 2nd Thessalonians 2:11-12.

3:3 Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die
Eve commits a grave offense here by adding to God’s word, Revelation 22:18-19, Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32. Satan’s leaven was at work in her by his intimation about the quality of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She made God’s command more austere than it truly was. He simply said do not eat the fruit. They could have looked at the fruit, touched the fruit, played baseball with the fruit, or built a tree house in that tree where the fruit grew; just don’t eat that fruit! Satan told Eve what she wanted to hear, rather than sound doctrine, 2nd Timothy 4:3-4. There was only one piece of doctrine to know at this point: “do not eat the fruit, or you will die.” Sounded simple enough, right? Yet Eve in her innocence, and Adam with her, fell into transgression. All our race died at that moment, so it would be wisdom to pause and contemplate God’s view of sin. It always radically differs from our own. It brought death to mankind, the wrath of God and the curse onto the earth, and killed our Lord on the cross. What should be our view of sin?

3:4 Ye shall not surely die
Having enticed her, and finding her open to temptation, Satan drove home his point. He began by subtly questioning God, distorting the command to include all the trees of the garden, seemingly in ignorance of what God said. This likely brought Eve to consider the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and what God was holding back from her. She added to His word, perhaps as suspicion grew and doubts about God’s character, planted by Satan’s single question, began to germinate. The Deceiver continued by directly accusing God of not only lying, but withholding something intrinsically good, even necessary for Adam and Eve. Who knows better what is good for us? Our Creator and Redeemer, or us? Some have suggested here that Eve already sinned by her actions and thoughts. She is being tempted, and wrestling with that temptation. James says of such, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him,” James 1:12. If I read this verse correctly, being tempted is not evil; surrendering to that temptation is when sin occurs. Jesus Christ Himself was tempted: “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted…for we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin,” Hebrews 2:18; 4:15. Succumbing to temptation is a different story, however. “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desire and enticed. Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death,” James 1:14-15.

3:5 ye shall be as gods (or God)
Here is the second part of the lie Satan seduces all of mankind with. There is no real death, no judgment after death, no fear of passing into eternal death. We shall evolve into gods! Transcendental knowledge, or pious prayer, or tithing, or [name your altruistic endeavor here], have enough of these and you can be your own god! In fact, look inside yourself, at your own innate godliness and godhood, simply hiding somewhere within, just waiting to be tapped into, released, or otherwise energized! Death is an illusion, and all roads lead to the great light that accepts and embraces all, a universal or “god” consciousness of which we are a part of and contribute to. Truly the god of this world has his work cut out for him. He barely has to suggest anything to us, and if it sounds remotely good to our selfish, carnal nature, we run with it like the newest craze in the fashion market. Yet billions, perhaps trillions of graves attest to the overwhelming power of death in our race. Only Christ overcame the grave, and the Devil seems to have held such power over our race in times past, Hebrews 2:14-15. Who in their right mind can accept the insanity of this delusion? Yet Positive Thinking, Possibility Thinking, the “Secret”, Transcendental Meditation, “name it and claim it” gospel hucksters, Yoga, Visualization (all forms of it), et al, would try to convince you of this. Sadly, all of the items listed above were either invented within the church, or smuggled into the church by leaders who apparently do not believe the word of God, nor fear Him as they ought to. Our church is rapidly becoming experiential based lunacy: “Because they are filled with eastern ways; they are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they are pleased with the children of foreigners,” Isaiah 2:6.

3:6 when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desired to make one wise
These are the qualities of wisdom and attractiveness that John tells us are entirely of the world, and in a nutshell, utterly describe the world. “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world,” 1st John 2:16. All three items perfectly correspond to Eve’s seduction: the tree was good for food (lust of the flesh), it was attractive or alluring (lust of the eyes), and it could serve to give her wisdom (pride of life). Fallen mankind covets these object independently of God; we don’t want Him, nor do we want Him to grant us these things. Rather we prefer to snatch at them autonomously, like the proverbial straws. But all fleshly desire, attractiveness and human wisdom or intellect fails and ceases when we reach the threshold of the grave. Only God may go with us through that ordeal, in fact He leads and lights the way. Without Him, we are doomed to wander in darkness for all eternity, Jude 1:13.

3:6 and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat
Where was Adam while all of this occurred? There is no record of where Adam was when Satan tempted Eve. The words “she took the fruit thereof,” implies that she did carry it to him wherever he was until that point. Solomon was correct on this point when he wrote, “Two are better than one…for if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up,” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10. Adam was not hard to persuade, for it is merely said that she gave him fruit and he ate it. The only other nugget of information we are given regarding the fall of mankind is revealed through Paul, when he writes, “Adam was not deceived,” 1st Timothy 2:14. If we take this statement at face value, coupled with testimony later in Genesis chapter 3, Adam knew eating the fruit would do nothing of what Satan promised, and with that certain knowledge ate it anyway, quite possibly for Eve’s sake, so he would not be parted from her. It seems possible that Eve repeated the serpent’s argument to Adam, who did not believe the story. The fact that he agreed to forfeit his life on account of his wife, heeding her over God is an amazing testimony of the human heart, even in the beginning. At any rate, Adam should have listened to his God rather than his wife. “If…the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, ‘let us go and serve other gods’…you shall not consent to him or listen to him…because he sought to entice you away from the Lord your God,” Deuteronomy 13:6,8-10.

3:7 they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons
With the Fall came our desire to preserve our self-esteem, self-righteousness, and self-respect. Our conscience condemns us; we know that we are guilty sinners, we do not act according to our own ethics or moral standards. But while we condemn those without, we always excuse ourselves; finding fault in another, and fostering self-pity for us. “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things,” Romans 2:1. The religions and moral codes of the world are all fig leaves in man’s vain bid to bury his conscience and find himself approved. We greatly amplify our righteousness, and how upright we walk, the good we do, the evil we refrain from doing. This is the essence of human religion: if you are good enough Heaven is your reward. Yet doing good is not rewarded in that sense. Doing good is your moral obligation; it is God’s law. No one pulls you over to reward you for keeping the speed limit. You are only obeying the rules of men and therefore are doing what is EXPECTED of you. When you break that law, however, you find yourself in another predicament. All of your lawful driving is not going to wash away the speeding ticket or fine you receive. That is dealt with on an altogether different basis. “When a righteous man doth turn from righteousness, and commit iniquity…he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered,” Ezekiel 4:20. God’s standard is absolute perfection, since He is the measure of moral perfection, see Romans 3:23; Galatians 3:21-22.

3:9 the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
God is omniscient and omnipresent; He knew exactly where Adam was. This was a Father calling for His errant child, which He still does for every one of us today, see Luke chapter 15. Adam was afraid and ashamed, and God came gently to him, not terrifying him further than he already was, nor striking him dead out of hand for failing to obey. Why? God’s foreknowledge is perfect. He knew Adam would fall into sin, therefore the cross was erected in the heart of the Trinity in eternity past, before anything else existed. God promised salvation and eternal life before the world began, Titus 1:2. The Lamb of God had been slain from the foundation of the world, Revelation 13:8.

3:12 The woman, whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
Not only did the fig leaves of self-esteem and self-righteousness emerge from the first, but passing the blame of our deeds to others to salve our conscience was already alive and well due to the deceit of sin. Adam was quick to blame Eve (who had honestly been deceived), and even to blame God for giving him this woman who offered him something he should not have had. Was Eve to blame? Yes; but Adam more so, since we have already seen that he was not deceived, and should have hearkened to the voice of God, and not to his wife. Sin is selfish, greedy, proud, and deceptive. Sin craves what we should not have, controls our appetites, directs our lusts, and places a bit in our mouth, to steer the course of our life. Sin is ambition, desire, intellect, achievement, creativity, religion, et al, opposed and set against the will and purpose of God. Sin is speaking a lie, mingling truth with fiction, withholding the truth when one should speak, or peppering our language with malice, anger, and pride. Sin is refusing to accept responsibility toward God, each other, and for our own lives. We shift blame, point fingers, and back bite to ease our guilt and place blame on others who are not half so guilty as we are. We see ourselves through rose-colored glasses, and see the world (and everyone else in it) in less than flattering hues. This was why Jesus said, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” Mark 12:31. Paul adds, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law,” Romans 13:10. We have an inordinate love of ourselves (see Ephesians 5:29), and Jesus commanded to use some of that self-love we overflow with to serve others, and to please others. We fulfill the law, Christians, by loving others as we [already] love ourselves. Adam showed his new sin nature in full with his act of self-preservation. And he wasn’t presently trying to save his life: he was laboring to preserve his dignity and pride by making others look more culpable than he.

3:14 upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life
It is possible that the snake originally went upright in its posture at the first. The ancients in writing about the serpent said that it possessed great celerity, and had the ability to renew its youth; being therefore eternal. God put in mankind a natural revulsion toward the serpent, and all creeping things (verses 14-15). Thou art cursed above all cattle and every beast of the field, God said. Yet the inspired words recorded now reach beyond a mere serpent and approach the being who used the serpent for his covering. In Ezekiel chapter 28, the prince of Tyrus is being rebuked by God in verses 1-10; but in verses 12-19 the king of Tyrus is now being addressed, in terms beyond mere human scope. It is apparent that back of the prince of Tyrus was his king, Satan, who had his throne in that city. Likewise, as the serpent was a mere animal who conveyed this malicious and genius spirit being to Eve, so God’s judgment falls first on the vessel (just like the prince of Tyrus) and then on the genuine, or more guilty party. The serpent’s lot would be to slither on the ground and devour food laying in the dust. It may stand to note here that mankind is formed of the dust, which here is quoted as being the serpent’s food. We are informed in Scripture that our adversary, the Devil, walks about seeking whom he may devour, 1st Peter 5:8. Our body and not our soul is accessible to Satan’s devices. Like Job, Peter and Paul (Job chapters 1-2; Luke 22:31-32; 2nd Corinthians 12:7-10), the believer may be physically harmed or otherwise abused by Satan and his minions, should God permit it, but it is always for the testing of our faith, so God may refine us and mature us.

3:15 [He] shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Here we have the first gospel promise. The Messiah was promised through the unique seed of the woman. The latter portion of the verse states, “I will put enmity between…thy seed and her seed.” Messiah would be the Seed of the woman. The seed, in biblical language, always belongs to the male; it is through a man’s seed that he begets a son in his image, after his likeness. God specifically stated that this promised seed would belong only (humanly speaking) to the woman, Eve. Christ’s virgin birth was likewise predicted by Isaiah the prophet (Isaiah 7:14; he also predicted that this virgin born child would be God incarnate, 9:6), but its beginning was found in the Garden of Eden, 3000-plus years before Isaiah was born. God shall send forth One “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting,” Micah 5:2. God will establish His Messiah and, “I will be his father, and he shall be my son…my mercy shall not depart away from him…thy throne shall be established forever,” 2nd Samuel 7:12-16. This seed that would come peculiarly from the woman, also would come from God. Like the Son partook in the nature of mankind by becoming one of them, He also partakes in the nature of God, being Himself God and Creator, see Philippians 2:6-7. Jesus Christ came in the fullness of time, born (humanly speaking) from Mary, who was then a virgin, Luke 1:34-35; Matthew 1:20-25. The serpent was just informed of his impending destruction by the hands of the Messiah. Though Satan would bruise Him, Christ would destroy the Devil, see Hebrews 2:14. By being conceived only through the woman, He would not inherit the sin nature within us, and He would qualify to be the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world, John 1:29.

3:16 and thy desire shall be for thy husband, and he shall rule over thee
On Eve’s initiative she took the forbidden fruit and the counsel of the serpent. Therefore God made her subject to the will of her husband, cementing the family together; that the wife should be subject to her husband. Husbands, however, have a greater accountability, and are entirely more culpable than their wife, since they have the responsibility concerning the family, being its head (1st Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:22-33.) Both husband and wife are to place themselves in subjection to the will of the Lord, and the wife is also to place herself in subjection to the will of her husband, who should be following the counsel of the Holy Spirit as revealed in Scripture. Both parties being equal in terms of their position concerning salvation (see Galatians 3:28), should be growing in grace, Titus 2:2-6. Wives are told to respect the position God has placed husbands in as head of the household. In the case of a woman converted to Christianity, who is already married to an unbeliever, heed Peter’s advice in 1st Peter 3:1: “be in subjection to your own husbands; that if any obey not the word, they also without the word be won by the conversation of their wives.” ‘Conversation’ is translated ‘conduct’ in the New King James, and implies a walk of faith with the Lord, not mere lip service. Wives should not abandon their faith for the sake of their husband, but by demonstration of the efficacy of their faith, win over their husband. Paul adds that wives should not leave an ungodly husband, should he be willing to remain with her, 1st Corinthians 7:13, which is a hardship many are called upon to bear. God’s plan for marriage from the first was one husband and one wife, joined in the Lord by faith, rearing children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, Ephesians 6:4. Women who deviate from the boundaries of a healthy marriage which God has erected for our good, will only do so to their own hurt; both in their Christian testimony, and in the witness of their marriage. God’s desire for the godly woman is obedience that springs from faith, is grounded in love, demonstrates holiness (separation from worldly ideals), and maintains self-control, 1st Timothy 2:15.

3:17 cursed is the ground for thy sake
The curse which came upon the whole earth. ‘Ground’ in the Hebrew also translates into ‘earth.’ The whole earth was cursed for man’s sake. “For the creation itself was subjected to futility…the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption,” Romans 8:20-21. The curse came upon the earth, and all who dwell on it. Symbols of the curse would remain on this earth: thorns and thistles (verse 18), the sweat of our hard labor (verse 19), and our eventual decomposition in death as we are interred (verse 19). It was indeed a bitter moment when, thinking that mankind could work toward enlightenment, godhood, and self-salvation, we only earned the wages of sin, which is death, Romans 6:23. The verse indicates that the law of increasing entropy, which means all things in our material universe break down, wear out, erode and eventually perish, was kept in abeyance until this point. What should have produced only green herbs for food now produced thorns and thistles very naturally. What should have been a great joy to cultivate was now toil and hard labor, which brought sweat to the brow. This curse will one day be removed, Revelation 22:3, but only at such a time when all sin has been removed from God’s kingdom and cast into the Lake of Fire, which is the designated dwelling place for all things that offend, Revelation 20:15; 21:27. These symbols remind man that we are finite, our time is short and soon we will die. Eternity, not time, should be our primary concern, and until such matters are settled as to our eternal destiny and future, we have no right to even begin a temporal life, for we are living on borrowed time, dwelling on a planet doomed to eventual destruction. We ought to be, “redeeming (meaning to ransom or rescue) the time, because the days are evil,” Ephesians 5:16.

3:20 Eve…was the mother of all living
This passage could mean two different things, and quite possibly it does. First it is a literal passage. Eve, the first woman and wife of Adam, is the physical, literal mother of every human being on the face of the planet today. No matter who we are, all of us are descended from Adam and Eve. Paul testified, “[God] has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on the face of the earth,” Acts 17:26. The notion of racism is foolishness. All men (Caucasian, Negro, Asian, Arabic, Jewish, etc) are from one blood. The idea of ‘races’ in reference to different species of humanity is derived from an Evolutionary perspective. There is only one ‘race’: the human race. The second meaning of this verse may imply that Eve, believing God about the coming Seed, is the mother of all faithful on the earth. She is the predecessor of Sarah, Rahab, Ruth, Hannah, etc; godly women who trusted the Lord on His word, even when they did not receive the promise, Hebrews 11:39. What was God’s promise? Messiah, of course; the Seed of the woman who would redeem both Eve, and all those who place their faith in Him.

3:21 Unto Adam and also to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins and clothed them.
Adam and Eve now beheld a wonder: the God of the universe spills the first blood on the earth in atonement for their sins, and covers their sinful nakedness with clothing of His own fashioning. They were dead in sin; fellowship had been broken with God, Ephesians 2:1; Isaiah 59:2. Yet rather than visiting judgment and wrath upon them, He clothes them, and atones for their sin. Likely the animal was a lamb, though this is not explicitly stated, although in verse 4 of the next chapter Abel is already bringing God the finest of his flock for sacrifice, an offering of faith likely explained to him by his redeemed parents. Here we see the necessity of being found in the covering which God alone provides. Fig leaves of our own design won’t avail us. God refers to such works as filthy rags, Isaiah 64:6. In the days of Zechariah the prophet, he beheld a vision of the high priest Joshua standing before the Angel of the Lord. Joshua was clad in filthy garments, which indicated he was sinful before God and needed cleansing. (Since Joshua was high priest, the filthiness he bore also likely spoke of all Israel’s sinful state in God’s eyes.) The Angel of the Lord commanded Joshua’s filthy clothing to be exchanged for rich robes, supplied by Himself, and explained to the high priest, “I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee,” Zechariah 3:3-4. We now see a second principle: only God can remove our old, fallen nature to replace it with a new nature, a new birth, 2nd Corinthians 5:17. For our God there will be no exceptions; Christ shed His blood to cleanse us from our sins (Revelation 1:5; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:2), and the animal slain before Adam and Eve’s eyes was a symbol of this great event. Anyone not found clothed in the righteousness of Christ will suffer the fate of the man who was not properly dressed at the King’s feast: “The king…saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” Matthew 22:11-13.

3:22 Behold, the man is become as one of us
Here God is speaking aloud, but we must beg the question: who is He speaking to? This sounds like a conversation within the Godhead, since God had already revealed His triune nature earlier (see 1:26.) This “us” is referring to the same Trinity of Persons who had spoken, saying, “Let us make man in our own image.” Remove the doctrine of the Trinity, and God becomes alien and unknowable. He is an intimate, loving God, having fellowship in Himself, and fully capable of sharing love and fellowship with His creatures. In a certain respect we had become like God, to know good and evil. Yet God knew evil without having to experience it; He knew evil was an aberration of His will, a cancer in His healthy universe, a blight in His garden and a shadow fleeing from His holy light. We know evil experientially; we are steeped in evil, prone to evil, enjoy evil, and generally succumb to evil. It is good we must be taught, it is good we must have transplanted into our souls via divine heart surgery, where God removes the heart of stone and gives us a heart of flesh, Ezekiel 36:26-27; Jeremiah 31:33-34. In the words of Jesus, “Ye must be born again,” John 3:7.

3:24 So he drove out the man
God forcibly removed Adam and Eve from Eden. They had just sinned, lost fellowship with God, received the prophecy of the curse, been told the sorrow that awaited them, and had been given the divine hope of the forthcoming Seed who would redeem them and all the race. Now they were to leave Eden; they could no longer live there. It appears that one of the reasons which God did so was to prevent man from having access to the tree of life in the center of the garden. Since God’s presence was localized in Eden (He walked there with Adam before the Fall (see verse 8) this may be another reason, since God cannot dwell in the presence of sin; there must always be separation from sin for the sake of the sinner, Habakkuk 1:13; Exodus 19:21-22. As the angels that followed Satan when he sinned were driven from Heaven (though their access was not completely denied before God’s throne), so too were Adam and Eve exiled from Eden when they transgressed. Whereas Satan and his angels had Hell prepared for them as a prison as a consequence to their rebellion (see Matthew 25:41), Adam and Eve were thrust out into a fallen world to work. Instead of condemnation, they found atonement and hope. We read in Scripture: “For verily he (Jesus) took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham,” Hebrews 2:16; “[God] devises means so that His banished ones are not expelled from Him,” 2nd Samuel 14:14. God is abundantly kind, merciful, and generous to sinners. I could imagine these words might have been spoken verbatim during the days of Adam, when this judgment had been passed on the human race, “Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up,” Hosea 6:1.

3:24 Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way
Aside from Satan, here is the first mention of angelic beings in the Bible. The Cherubim are thought to be the highest of the angelic ranks in Heaven. It is apparent to even a casual reader of the Bible that the Cherubim are always closely linked with God; they are in His immediate presence every time they are mentioned. This being the case, one can deduce that one of the reasons that the Cherubim were placed at the gates of Eden was because God had chosen to have His presence abide their locally, like the Shekinah glory would later reside in both the tabernacle in the wilderness, and in the temple which Solomon built. We are told no less than nine times in the Old Testament that God dwells between the Cherubim, always in reference to the mercy seat on the Ark of the Covenant, where His local presence dwelt, and where the high priest would make atonement for the nation of Israel once a year. It would also easily explain how both Cain and Abel were able to come into the presence of the Lord to present an offering (Genesis 4:3) and also how Cain could leave His presence (4:16). Ezekiel beheld the Cherubim before the throne of God when he had his first vision (Ezekiel chapters 1-2). They were always close by the Lord, and when His glory departed Israel and the temple, the Cherubim were present as His attendants, Ezekiel 11:22-23. Finally, after only a fleeting mention of them in the New Testament, we find them again in Revelation. Compare Ezekiel 1:6-11 to Revelation 4:6-8. In John’s vision we see the Cherubim in Heaven, surrounding the very throne of God; symbolized in the Old Testament, when Moses was commanded to make the Ark of the Covenant with the statues of the Cherubim overshadowing the mercy seat, Exodus 25:19-20; Hebrews 9:5. It is apparent that the Cherubim are so closely related to God’s immediate presence that they do not part from Him, wherever He erects His throne, whether it be in Heaven or on earth (see Psalm 18:10; 80:1; 99:1). They are described in Ezekiel as never deviating in their flight, always going straight forward, Ezekiel 1:12,17. This speaks to me of these angelic majesties performing as commanded without question. In Revelation 4:6 we are told they are full of eyes in front and behind. God has apparently given to these beings incredible wisdom and insight, a token of the dominating presence of the Holy Spirit (see also Ezekiel 1:20-21; Zechariah 3:9). Physically they are not subject to natural laws as we know them. In Ezekiel’s vision the Cherubim were flying, yet he described them as “standing still” at times and letting their wings fall: yet they were afloat, merely levitating above the ground and defying fundamental laws, like gravity. A Cherub of singular power had also been made by God, whom He described as the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and beauty, Ezekiel 28:12. He was established by God as the anointed (or outspread; what the Hebrew word for ‘anointed’ means in this verse) Cherub who covers. This Cherub had direct access to God’s throne, indeed it is implied that he was perpetually at God’s throne, and was perfect in his ways, 28:15. Yet this Cherub ignored the fact that he was a created being (Ezekiel 28:13,15) and rebelled. His rebellion introduced iniquity into God’s universe (see Isaiah 14:12-15). Lucifer was cast down from Heaven (verse 17), where he apparently wasted no time in seducing our first parents with the very lies he was condemned for and deluded by. The fiery stones mentioned in Ezekiel 28:14 might refer to fellow Cherubim, as fire seems to be a commonality when referring to these beings. It may also be a reference to the Heavenly Zion, city of the God whom they serve: “For our God is a consuming fire,” Hebrews 12:29; Deuteronomy 4:24; 2nd Thessalonians 1:7.

1 comment:

  1. I've read articles with findings of bone structures in boas and pythons that suggest the animals formerly had legs. Of course, the writers of said articles always go on to suggest that this is evidence of evolution, because the snakes it appears in are "primitive" compared to other snakes; however they determine this. I hear two things. One, that it is not evolution that this evidence suggests but a revelation of their worldview as these people run this finding through their bias filter, and two; the Biblical account thousands of years ago revealed that snakes were cursed to slither on the ground because of the deception involved with Adam and Eve, Genesis 3:14.
    Just as God said He made from the dust of the ground, we find that the elements composing the earth we walk on are shared with our bodies of flesh and blood; likewise the serpent's loss of legs/walking is recorded in Scripture for our learning; not so we can attempt to validate a facile theory such as Darwinian Evolution.

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