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The Fall

Cast Out of the Garden

Then the LORD God said: "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, understanding good and evil. He must not be allowed to eat from the tree of life and live forever in such a state." 

 

So the LORD God drove the man from the garden of Eden, along with his wife, to work the ground from which he was formed. And He placed at the east of the garden of Eden His cherubim and a flaming sword which turned in every direction to guard the way to the tree of life. 
 iBIBLE Chapter 2

 

Scripture reference: Genesis 3:22–23

“You will be like God, knowing good and evil,” the serpent said as he tempted Eve. The serpent didn't lie to Eve about this, in fact God acknowledged that this is indeed the case. Mankind had only known what was good and true before sin entered the world. They had been in a perfect relationship with their Creator, but now they too knew evil and its impact. “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, understanding good and evil.”

 

God therefore cast them out of the garden, saying that they “must not be allowed to eat from the tree of life and live forever in such a state.” What once brought them life in the garden would now bring judgment if they were allowed to partake of this tree’s fruit. Imagine the harm that could have come to Adam and Eve if they were left in their sin and lived forever.

 

Out of love and a goal of redemption, God refuses to let them remain in the garden. He protects the tree of life by setting His cherubim and a flaming sword to guard the entrance. By sending them out into the world to work the ground from which they were taken, Adam and Eve can experience the redemptive work of God in Jesus Christ. The promise would be fulfilled, they just had to wait and trust the Lord’s timing.

 

While Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden because of sin, we also see God deliver His people into a land promised to them at many different points in the Biblical narrative. One of these instances is in the book of Joshua. We see the people of Israel who had wandered in the wilderness for 40 years finally arrive in the land that God had promised to them after the Exodus. God commissioned Joshua after Moses to lead His people (Joshua 1), God brought His people through the Jordan river on dry ground (Joshua 3), and then they met the commander of the Lord’s army.

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” —Joshua 5:13–14b [ESV]

This commander of the army of the Lord, bearing a sword, is reminiscent of the cherubim guarding the entrance to the garden of Eden. Some scholars believe this commander to be a mighty angel, others believe him to be a pre-incarnate Jesus, others still believe him to simply be a warrior. It is important to note that whoever this commander is in particular, he works on behalf of God’s people and stands with them in battle to gain them entrance to their new dwelling place. He wields his sword as a sign of God’s mighty action to bring His people home. 

 

Jesus is also coming with a sword to bring us into His everlasting kingdom, our forever home. And He will defeat all evil to do it: 

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. —Revelation 19:11–16

Our Response

 

Our lives this side of Heaven are full of longing. We experience restlessness and displacement, homelessness and abandonment. Adam and Eve, though expelled from their home, were still given a promise of redemption. God’s people throughout the ages have seen pictures what it means to be brought back home, like the people of Israel as they followed Joshua into the land promised to them. But this home was not without battles. Joshua led the people through battle after battle, and God brought them victory.

 

We have an eternal home to look forward to. One day, the new heavens and new earth will be our dwelling place. And there will be everlasting peace. The very thing sin brought into the world, death, has become the pathway to the place where death is destroyed forever (Revelation 20–21).

We feel this continual ache for a home: a place where we are fully known, fully loved, and experience true rest. This is something we have to look forward to when Jesus returns.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. ­— Psalm 23:6

By sending them out into the world to work the ground from which they were taken,

Adam and Eve can experience the redemptive work of God in Jesus Christ.

The very thing sin brought into the world, death, has become the pathway to the place where death is destroyed forever.

A Prayer for This Week

Heavenly Father, help us as we look forward to our eternal home with You. Thank You, Lord, for Your great mercy. Thank You that You have shown us throughout Scripture that You plan to bring Your people back. And You did bring Your people back into the promised land over and over again. Be with all who struggle with displacement, feelings of longing, and hopelessness. Please provide a home for all who are in need. Bring us peace and help us to remain steadfast. In Jesus’s name, we pray, Amen.

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