Gen 3:24                                          Which Way Do We Go?                                     7/6/2003

 

#1.    He Drove Out the Man  (Gen 3:22-24, Eccl 9:3, Rom 9:11,13, Eph 1:4-5, 1Tim 5:21, Matt 26:24, Rom 9:17)                                                                                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.    The Flaming Sword (Heb 4:12, 12:29, Ex 3:6, Isa 43:11)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.    To Guard the Way (Ex 20:5, 34:14, Deut 4:24, 6:15)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                         

 

 

 

 Gen 3:24                                                   Which Way Do We Go?                                     7/6/2003

 

Please open your Bibles to Genesis, chapter 3:22. You know, sometimes we have a difficult passage.  This is such a difficult passage.  And I had to struggle through the concepts so long, that I have no time for applications.  So, you have to bear with me as I explain these concepts to you.  Now, here, in Genesis 3:22-24, this is the last sermon in this series, to make a total of 10 sermons in this series of Gen 2 and Gen 3.  Adam and Eve had sinned, they ate from the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil, and now they are being expelled or excommunicated from the Garden of Eden, the Garden of Delights.  Now, where can they go?  The title of the sermon is Which Way Do We Go?  We must let the Word of God lead us which way we should go.  Let us read verse 22:

#1.  He Drove Out the Man  (Gen 3:22-24, Eccl 9:3, Rom 9:11,13, Eph 1:4-5, 1Tim 5:21, Matt 26:24, Rom 9:17)

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:

Genesis 3:23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

Genesis 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Let me read to you the last verse as it is literally found in the Hebrew text:

Genesis 3:24 And He drove out the man.  And He caused to dwell THE Cherubim at the East of the Garden of Eden, and THE flaming sword whirling around, to keep (or to guard) the way of the Tree of Life.

He drove out the man, out of the Garden of Delights.  You see that God identified the man as the representative of his entire family.  This is how it is supposed to be.  According to the Bible, the man is the head of the household, and God holds the man responsible for everything the household does. 

Why did God drive out the man?  God did that because God still loved that man and his wife.  God does not love Satan and the fallen angels.  For them, there is no salvation.  God drove them out, because God did not want them to help themselves from the fruit of the Tree of Life.  Think of it, when God drove out the man, what was not available anymore?  The Tree of Life was not available anymore.  They could not help themselves by taking from the Tree of Life.  The Tree of Life must be given to whomever God decides to give it to.  Unsaved man may not take of the Tree of Life, and since only a remnant of mankind is being saved, God’s wrath rests upon most of mankind.  Our own work brings only grief.  God says in Eccl 9:3, “Also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead”. 

That is the condition of mankind in general.  Our heart is full of evil and our works bring only judgment, which means our works only dig us deeper into Hell.  How then can anyone be saved?  The Bible says that we can be saved only by the grace of God.  In other words, since grace is an unconditional free gift, we can be saved only by the free gift from God bestowed upon those whom He wants to give it to. 

God divided the human race into two groups:  The Elect, which are those who will receive the free gift from God unto salvation, and the Reprobate, which are those whom God will leave in their sins and they will have to pay for their own sins in Hell.  Earlier this year I have preached a series on Rom chapter 9, where God lays down precisely what the meaning is of election and reprobation.  To sum it up, God says in Rom 9:13, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated”, and God said this of Jacob and Esau “before the children were born and before they could have done any good or evil”, and God stated it “in order that the purpose of God according to election might stand”, so that salvation is established as “not of the works of man, but of Him that calleth”.  Jacob and Esau typify the Elect and the Reprobate. 

God decided who is Elect and who is Reprobate from before the foundation of the world, because it could not depend on any man’s work, and because God stated in Eph 1:4-5, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will”.  It is not because of our will, but the good pleasure of His will.  It is without question that God saves people entirely by grace according to His plan for His creation, which He designed before the world began.  But why has God decided to create the Reprobate also?  God created them because they also are the servants of God, and they were created to do the dirty work for God. 

Let me give you some examples:  Satan and the fallen angels were chosen to do their dirty work in the Garden of Eden and afterward, because when God speaks of the other angels, God speaks of “the elect angels” in 1Tim 5:21. 

Secondly, Judas Iscariot had to do his dirty work by betraying the Lord Jesus.  But when the Lord Jesus spoke of Judas Iscariot, He said in Matt 26:24, “The Son of man goeth as it is written of him:  but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed!  It had been good for that man if he had not been born”.  Pharaoh, king of Egypt, had to do his dirty work, but when God spoke of him in Rom 9:17, God said, “Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth”.  Therefore, when God drove out the man, out of the Garden of Eden, God had in mind all the Reprobate, who may not have access to the Tree of Life.  Then we read in Gen 3: “God caused to dwell THE Cherubim at the East of the Garden of Eden”.

What are the Cherubim?  The Cherubim are a representation of God as the Judge.  How can we see that?  Please turn, about 130 pages to your right, to Exodus, chapter 25:17-22.  The same name Cherubim has been used for the two angel-like figures on top of the Ark of the Covenant.  These two Cherubim and the mercy seat were made of one piece of gold.  The mercy seat was the lid of the box that was the Ark of the Covenant.  In the Ark of the Covenant were the two tables of stone containing the Ten Commandments, a golden pot with manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded.  We read:

Exodus 25:17 And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the

      length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof.

Exodus 25:18 And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in

      the two ends of the mercy seat.

Exodus 25:19 And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of

      the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof.

Exodus 25:20 And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with

      their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the

      cherubims be.

Exodus 25:21 And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the

      testimony that I shall give thee.

Exodus 25:22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy

      seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.

God identified Himself as speaking to Moses from between the two Cherubim.  Could the Cherubim represent angels?  No way!  We can see that when we look at all the articles that are presented here.  First look at the articles inside the Ark and then look at the articles outside the Ark:

In short everything that pertained to the tabernacle, in the wilderness, and everything that pertained to the Temple, in Jerusalem, was pointing forward to attributes of Christ and to attributes of the faithful God of the Covenant.  The Cherubim could not stand out as an exception, representing angels.  That would not fit the context.  Moreover, God did not place just a couple of Cherubim at the entrance of the Garden of Eden.  The number of Cherubim is not specified.  The Hebrew text reads:  “God caused to dwell THE Cherubim at the East of the Garden of Eden”.  The word “Cherubim” is the plural of Cherub.  God Himself, manifested as THE Cherubim, was watching the entrance to the Garden.  God did not specify how many Cherubim there were.  In fact, God did not specify when He took the Cherubim away from that location.  As far as we are concerned, they are still there, if we only knew where to look. 

Of course, you understand that the physical location of the entrance to the Tree of Life has changed to a spiritual entrance to the Tree of Life.  Where is the spiritual Paradise here on earth?  Of course, you know it.  When we have become Born Again by the Holy Spirit of God, we have entered into “eternal life”, and this is equivalent to being in a spiritual Paradise.  Nothing shall shake the Saints, because we are standing on the solid Rock, who is Christ, and we have become children of the living God.  How can anything of this world make us nervous, or scared, or uncertain, or lonely?  There may have been many Cherubim there at the entrance to the Garden, but only one Sword.

#2.  The Flaming Sword  (Heb 4:12, 12:29, Ex 3:6, Isa 43:11)

Right away you recognize that this must be understood spiritually.  Please turn in your Bibles to Heb 4:12.  How can there be many Cherubim, but only one Sword?  That can only be if the Sword is representing the Word of God.  In your King James Bibles you read: “and a flaming sword which turned every way”.  But the Hebrew text reads: “and THE flaming sword whirling around”.  God specifies a specific Sword, and it is given here in Heb 4:12:

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword,

      piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a

      discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Yes, “The Flaming Sword” in Gen 3:24 must be The Sword of the Word of God.  What are the characteristics of that spiritual Sword?  We read in Heb 4:12, in the KJV, that the Word of God is “quick” and “powerful”.  That is not a good translation.  Actually, the Greek text says that the Word of God is “living” and “in-working”.  What this means is that the Word of God is only effective if God the Holy Spirit accompanies it to make these words work into the soul of the one to whom these words are directed.  The Word of God is a powerful offensive weapon in the hands of a skillful Saint.  Not only must we be diligent in handling the Word of God, but we must also have peace with the decisions of God the Holy Spirit.  If it is not God’s will that this person be saved, then all our efforts and skills are not sufficient to bring this soul to a state of conversion.  Moreover, since the Work of God “is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”, men are made to see their real character when the Truth of God exposes them.  In the light of the Law of God, they see their past lives to be sinful, and they see that their feelings are sinful, and they see that their motives are sinful.  Therefore, we need a merciful God.

But why does God speak about “The Flaming Sword” in Gen 3:24?  It is because fire almost always refers to the fires of Hell.  And this word really means fire, because the verb form of this Hebrew word means “to burn”.  Please turn to Heb 12:29.  Why must the Sword of the Word of God, which contains the beautiful and lovely Gospel of salvation, why must it be associated with the fire of Hell?  We read in Heb 12:29, “For our God is a consuming fire”.  Let us consider this for a moment.  When our body dies and we go to heaven, will we be joining God in a consuming fire?  Of course not!  We have already endured the fires of Hell when we were in Christ, when Christ endured the wrath of God in our place.  Christ endured the fires of Hell, which is demonstrated when Moses stood at the burning bush.  God called Moses out of the midst of the bush, and the bush was burning, but it was not consumed.  God identified Himself out of the midst of the bush.  God said in Ex 3:6, “I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”.  Then God identified Himself as Jehovah, and from Isa 43:11 we understand that Christ is the same as Jehovah. 

Therefore, when we consider God as a consuming fire, we know that He is a consuming fire for the Reprobate and He has been a consuming fire for Christ when He hung on the cross.  But He is no longer a consuming fire for us, because we have already gone through Hell in Christ.  The Flaming Sword, In Gen 3:24, means “Judgment by fire”.  The Word of God is used by Christ, the Judge, on the Last Day, to judge all the unsaved and to judge Satan and the fallen angels.  And the Judgment is:  “To Hell you go!”  But the Flaming Sword also brings a promise, which is this:  Christ has been subjected to the flames and the Sword has measured Him.  Christ, as the perfect spotless Lamb of God, passed the test, and all who are in Christ are going with Him into eternity.  But now, we also read in Gen 3:24 the Flaming Sword points in every direction.

Literally, the Hebrew text reads, “THE flaming sword whirling around”.  What does that mean?  If the Sword represents the Word of God, would the Word of God ever confuse people by pointing in every direction?  Would God ever do such a thing?  The answer is absolutely yes!  This is not the last time God has withheld the truth from the Reprobate.  The Lord Jesus said in Matt 13:11, “It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given”.  Can we see what is going on?  God gives the truth to the Elect, and God withholds the truth from the Reprobate.  What are the Reprobate doing with the Bible? 

Well, what are WE doing with the Bible?  Do we believe we have been saved?  Check, what we are doing with the Bible.  Do we love and cherish our Bibles as the most precious things on earth?  Or are we swayed by preachers and Bible teachers to adopt newer versions and to leave the study of the Bible over to others who have that responsibility?  How do we know if those Bible study teachers are saved?  How do we know if we can trust them?  The fact is:  We cannot trust them!  We do not know if they are saved.  The most obvious error occurring today is when people use the Bible, but then they bring in other information from outside the Bible.  And they add that to the Bible. 

We cannot trust such people as our Bible teachers.  They could be God’s enemies.  God has warned us that all people come into the world as enemies of God from birth.  God says in Romans 8:7, “The carnal mind is enmity against God:  for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be”.  The carnal mind is the fleshly mind, which is the natural mind, with which we came into this world.  Again, God says in 1Cor 2:14, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God:  for they are foolishness unto him:  neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned”.  If a Bible teacher would be still unsaved, and he did not know that, would he be a trustworthy teacher?  No!  Even if he means well, he is still a pawn in the hand of Satan and he is an enemy of God.  Would God deliberately harden the hearts of the Reprobate to keep them away from salvation?  Indeed God does that.  We read in 2Thess 2:11-12:

2 Thess 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe THE (Greek text) lie:

2 Thess 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in

      unrighteousness.

God will do that.  God will send them a strong delusion.  God will use this mode of operation near the end of time, because that is the context of this passage in 2 Thess, chapter 2.  God will do this:

#3.  To Guard the Way  (Ex 20:5, 34:14, Deut 4:24, 6:15)

To the Tree of Life.  Our God is a jealous God.  Please turn in your Bibles again to Exodus 20:5.  Is it not amazing that most people do not know that the God of the Bible is a jealous God?  It is amazing to me how little most people know their Bibles.  We read here in Ex 20:5,

Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:  for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

God refers here to making idols and bowing down to those idols, which are nothing else than man made plans of salvation.  God says here, “If you provoke His jealousy, you belong to those who hate Him”.  Now, please turn to Ex 34:14.  There we read again about God being jealous for His true Gospel. 

Exodus 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god:  for Jehovah, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

Let me read you two passages from Deuteronomy:

Deuteronomy 4:24 For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

Deuteronomy 6:15 (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

What is God jealously protecting?  God is protecting the way to the Tree of Life.  God is jealously protecting the purity of the Gospel.  And what is that Gospel that God is so jealous of?  It is the Gospel where His honor is held high.  It is the Gospel where God will receive all the glory for everything God does.  No one should dare to steal away one of the credits of God’s work and assign that credit to a man.  If someone would do that to you, it would make you angry.  It makes God very angry when people say that “salvation is like a check on which two signatures are required:  God has signed the check, but in order for you to receive the gift YOU must also sign the check”, thereby giving OUR approval to what God has done.  That is commonly taught in a lot of churches.  That is not at all the Gospel of the Bible!

God has done 100% of everything, and God wants all the credit for everything He has done.  That is His only way of salvation and God will guard this way so that all His Elect come to know the truth.  Let us see how this way leads to:

What is the Tree of Life?  It is commonly taught today that if Adam would have performed the ceremony of eating from the Tree of Life, he would miraculously have obtained eternal life, or he would have obtained eternal existence in the sinful state wherein he was.  What people do not realize is that they have thereby assigned some magical powers to the Tree of Life, much like today.  Magical powers are assigned to the bread and wine at the Lord’s Supper in many churches.  That is nothing less than sinful superstition!  In the Old Testament time, people could not change their eternal destiny by obeying or performing a ceremony, ANY ceremony.  Ishmael remained unsaved, even though Abraham formally circumcised him.  Likewise, in the New Testament time, people cannot be saved through obeying a ceremony; for example, baptism in water.  In Acts chapter 8, Simon the Sorcerer was also baptized in water, but he remained unsaved. 

Please turn to the Proverbs of Solomon, chapter 3:18.  You find Proverbs in the middle of your Bible, just after Psalms.  God did not give the Tree of Life its name because it magically could give eternal life to anyone who eats from it.  But God gave that tree its name in order that it might be a symbol and a memorial of the life that a person has received from God.  Therefore, it is somewhat similar to the outward sign of the elements in the Lord’s Supper, which are also to be a symbol and a memorial of the life eternal that a person has received from Christ.  God intended that man, as often as he tasted the fruit of that tree, should remember from where he received his life, in order that he might acknowledge that he lives not by his own power, but by the kindness of God alone.  Let us develop our understanding of the Tree of Life from the references that God has given us in the Bible. 

Proverbs 3:18 She (wisdom) is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her:  and happy is every one that retaineth her.

Here, in Prov 3:18, God speaks about wisdom, and God equates this wisdom to a Tree of Life.  What kind of wisdom is this that is so precious?  This is not worldly wisdom, but it is the wisdom of knowing God.  It is the wisdom of hearing and believing the Gospel of salvation above all the other gospels that we hear in the world.  It is the wisdom of believing and understanding the Good News of Christ crucified for me.  This is the wisdom that God equated to a Tree of Life.  But notice, it is not man’s action that receives the glory, but it is the gift of God that allows man to act in this way, and to understand the ways of God.  It is entirely the gift of God.  Therefore, this wisdom, or this understanding, is only an outward sign and a memorial of the spiritual life that a person has received from God.  Please turn to Prov 11:30:

Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

Here, God equates the fruit of the righteous with a Tree of Life.  What kind of fruit is this?  The context indicates that this has to do with proclaiming the Gospel.  The result of bringing the Gospel is that salvation has come to a soul, which God intended to save, and to this soul the preaching has been like a Tree of Life.  What has this person heard?  This person has heard the Good News of Christ crucified.  He has heard that, “Christ is crucified for me!”  He or she has understood and believed that this Gospel is true, and that it has been fully documented in the Bible.  A total faith and trust in the Bible as God’s Word is a sign of salvation.  But notice again, that the actions of the evangelist and the responses of the recipient are not intended to glorify a man, but these are all gifts from God.  Only by the presence and the actions of God, God the Holy Spirit, has salvation come to this soul.  Therefore, the preaching of the evangelist is only an outward sign and a memorial of the spiritual life that the preacher has received from God. 

In the same way, in Prov 15:4, a wholesome tongue can become a Tree of Life when it is being used to bring the Gospel to unsaved souls.  Time is running short, and so I would like you to turn to the Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 10:19-22.  What have we learned so far about the Tree of Life?  God is jealously protecting the way to the Tree of Life.  The true meaning of the Tree of Life includes that God must give it.  Man is not allowed to take it himself.  Therefore, only the Elect will receive this meaning of the Tree of Life.  It is a memorial to the God who gave us life.  Therefore, it is a memorial to Christ who has been crucified for us.  But only those to whom wisdom has been given by God are able to see this Tree of Life.  Only they have been given the understanding of the relationship between this outward sign, or memorial, and the inward blessing in partaking from this Tree of Life.  In speaking about the way to the Tree of Life, we understand that God opens up this way for us by giving us faith.  Faith in Christ and faith in the work Christ was done to cleanse our souls from sin.   

Hebrews 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

Hebrews 10:20  By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to

      say, his flesh;

Hebrews 10:21 And having an high priest over the house of God;

Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts

      sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

This new and living way is the way God has opened up for us, through the cross of Christ.  How do we know this?  We know this by reading the Word of God.  That is why we can agree with the writers of the Scriptures, especially when we read in Psalm 119:105,

Psalm 119:105 NUN.  Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

In summary then, Adam and Eve were excommunicated from the Garden of Eden, because God was letting us know that He jealously guards the way to the Tree of Life.  It means that God jealously guards the meaning of Christ Crucified; that Christ was not crucified for everyone in the world, but only for those whom He intended to save.  Those whom Christ saved He also gave them faith to believe His Word.  Thank God for giving us faith.  Then we shall sing with the saints of the past 150 years this hymn that is based on Psalm 119:105,

That I may steadfastly obey, give me and understanding heart.

Give me a heart that loves Thy will, from discontent and envy free.

O let Thy servant prove Thy Word and thus to godly fear be led.

To know Thy precepts I desire; revive me in Thy righteousness.

These are the words of Hymn #240 that we are going to sing in a few minutes. 

Amen.                             Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.