Gen 3:22                   Take, and Eat, and Live Forever                        9/27/2015     

 

 

 

 

 

#1.       He Will Take It Himself (Gen 3:22, 1:26, Acts 17:28)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       Eat From the Bread of Life (John 6:33,35,41,47-51,58,63, Isa 43:11, I Pet 1:23, II Pet 1:4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       Fear The LORD and Live Forever (Psalm 112:1-10)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to Genesis chapt. 3:20 (2X). We have come to a point in Gen 3 that is called

We have spent some time with the creation of Adam and his wife, with the way the woman was tempted by the Devil, with their foolishness to make themselves girdles of fig leaves, with God’s curse on the serpent, with God’s curse on the Devil, with God’s curse on the woman and with God’s curse on Adam. The sermon today deals with the momentous events, described in just a few verses, after the fall of Adam and his wife into sin. First of all let us begin with verse 20,

Genesis 3:20 ¶ And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

How readest thou? Do we read the Bible literally, or do we try to understand what God wrote? Of course we do not read the Bible literally, because Eve was not the mother of every living animal. What God wrote was this: Her name was called Eve, which means “living” or “life giving”, because she was the mother of all living human beings who subsequently came into the world. You heard of prehistoric people who inhabited caves and made tools and made drawings on the walls of the caves? Eve was the mother of them all. It means that Eve was also the mother of Neanderthal man and of Cro-Magnon man. This is what God says. Do we believe this, or do we believe the scientists who say that people evolved from other more primitive beings? This is a very important question, because God says in Rev 22:19, “If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life”. It means, if you take away Gen 3:20, or if you do not believe Gen 3:20, you are still unsaved and are on the way to Hell. We must believe this, or else we would be declaring God to be a liar here, in Gen 3:20, and also in a great many more passages in the Bible. The theory of evolution leaves no room for the Bible, or for God, or for Christ. The theory of evolution leaves no room for a soul. No soul, no sin, no salvation.

Eve was not named before the Fall, because God wanted to retain the identity of “the woman”, and there was no need for “new life” in the sense of “new spiritual life”. But the Fall brought spiritual death. It was then that Adam’s first need was for “new spiritual life”. It was then that Adam called his wife Eve, or “life giving”, because the curse on the Devil in Gen 3:15 made Adam look forward with great anticipation toward the Messiah who would be one of the seed of the woman. But in this action we also see that Adam forgave his wife for what she had done. And is this not a sign that God was working in Adam? A characteristic of a child of God is that we want to forgive others what they have done to us, like God forgave us what we have done to Him. This is a gift from God to all His children.

Gen 3:21  Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

We have already looked at this 5 weeks ago, and we have seen that these simple words in verse 21 meant that God saved Adam and Eve after they had both fallen into sin. God pitied them, like God pitied us. Before the foundation of the world God chose Adam and Eve to belong to the Body of Christ and to become saved like we became saved. Sure, they were dirty rotten sinners and they did not deserve it, but we were much greater sinners than they were and we did not deserve it either. So we see again that God delights in mercy, and God must do the saving. Human beings will not ask of their own initiative to be saved. So God clothed them, replacing the silly girdles of fig leaves “with the robe of Christ’s righteousness” (Isa 61:10). God had to do that by sacrificing animals, thereby indicating that the death of a substitute and the shedding of blood was required to take away their sins. God has said in Heb 9:22, “without shedding of blood is no remission of sins”. It was also a sign of God’s love for them. God would not do this for everyone in the world, but only for them.

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.

Now, these are a set of puzzling verses. Here we see that God did not send Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden as a penalty for eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but God sent Adam and Eve out of the Garden so that they would NOT EAT from the Tree of Life. Why would God prevent them from eating of this tree, whereas God did not prevent them from it before they had sinned? Would the Tree of Life not be the perfect antidote for their sin? The key of the problem is:

#1.       He Will Take It Himself (Gen 3:22, 1:26, Acts 17:28)

To complicate matters, verse 22 is an unfinished sentence. Let us read this verse again,

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:

When God said, “Behold”, it was as if God said: “Look at the man now. He is still puffed up in pride. He is not humbled enough. An animal skin now covers his disgrace. He still thinks of himself that he is the greatest, but instead he should be more and more displeased with himself”. And God gave the reason why Adam should be displeased with himself: “now he knows good and evil”. Formerly he knew only good, but now he knows good and evil. That was not an external change of Adam, but an internal change. It was not a change for the better; it was a change for the worse.

And then God said, “The man is become as one of US”. Who did God refer to when He said US? God could not mean the angels. The angels in heaven are in no way comparable to God. God was confirming what He already said in Gen 1:26, “Let US make man in our image, after our likeness”. In other words, God was letting us know that He consists of three Persons in one Godhead. Well, does God know good and evil? Of course God does! God knows everything. God is perfect and therefore God cannot improve on any subject by learning more from experience. God knows good and evil, and that is why God could design the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. But God is also the source of all life, and that is why God could design the Tree of Life. You may have heard that the Tree of Life represents Christ. Well, you can forget that idea as quickly as you have received it. This cannot be true. God did not give the Tree of Life its name because it magically could give eternal life to anyone who eats from it. God would not create a tree on which He has imputed so much power that the tree itself, through some hocus-pocus, could impart eternal life to whosoever passes by and eats from its fruit. 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. Moreover, in that Tree of Life there was a visible testimony to the declaration that “In Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Therefore, by this sign, Adam was admonished, that he could claim nothing of himself as if it were his own, in order that he might wholly depend upon the Son of God, and might not seek life anywhere but in Him. Think of the Lord’s Supper as a way of communication. In his former life, the tree was given to Adam as a pledge of life in Paradise. But after he sinned, and he was forgiven, he had to understand that he now must live in a sin cursed world. Previously direct communication with God was the source of life to Adam. But from the moment when he became a sinner, it was necessary that he should understand that the source of his life occurs only through the death of Christ, by whose life he now lived. But God, out of respect to his own institution, connects life with the external sign, like the tree or like the bread and wine, till the promise should be taken away from it through death, either spiritual death or physical death. Therefore God took away from the man that thing, the tree, which could be the occasion or the ground of his confidence, so that man could not form for himself a vain hope of eternal life in things he can find here on earth. If Adam would take it himself expecting some hocus-pocus from it, then it would have become a sin. Likewise if we take of the Lord’s Supper expecting some hocus-pocus from it, then it becomes our sin. We must not take it ourselves; it must be given to us from God. Therefore we must place safeguards over the Lord’s Supper so that we do not promote sin. We find the same hocus-pocus beliefs in various “do it yourself gospels”. They say: “If you just believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved”, or “If you just come forward to the altar and say the sinner’s prayer, you will be saved”, or “if you just take this action, you can be saved tonight”. Now, how is that possible? Does God instantly give us a new soul the moment we do that? Does God instantly make us born again when we do certain ceremonies correctly? Does Christ instantly shed His blood for us the moment we do that? And did God not know ahead of time that He was going to do that? You see, all these “do it yourself gospels” rely on the same superstition that God would do certain things based on what man does. That is not how the God of the Bible operates. The God whom we serve has already decided to whom He will bestow His favors, and He says:

Please turn to the end of your Bibles, to the Revelation of John, chapter 2:7 (2X). In Rev 1 the Lord Jesus appeared in a vision to the aged Apostle John. Then in Rev 2 and 3 the Lord Jesus dictated to John 7 letters he has to send to 7 churches located in Asia Minor. The first letter was addressed to the church at Ephesus. The Lord Jesus said of this church, “she has left her first love”. Nevertheless she was still His church, because there were some in that church who were still faithful. And then Christ ended this letter to the church at Ephesus with these words in verse 7,

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.

He that hath an ear, let him hear”, or “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear”. The Lord Jesus spoke those familiar words at least 16 times in the Bible, after speaking a message in a parable. It is as if Jesus said: “Listen carefully with your spiritual ears, not with your carnal ears; this message should be figured out and be understood spiritually”. And here is the message of Rev 2:7. It is all contained in verse 7. To whom is Christ speaking? He is speaking “To him that hath an ear” and “To him that overcometh”. But who are those who shall overcome, and WHAT shall they overcome? They that shall overcome are the same people who have received a spiritual ear. Does God give spiritual ears to everyone in the world? No! There are many people who die unsaved, or they refuse to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, because they have never received spiritual ears. Who then have received spiritual ears? They are the ones who become saved because God the Father chose them unto salvation from before the foundation of the world, and God sent the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth to suffer and die specifically for their sins, and God sent the Holy Spirit to give them a new soul at the time they become Born Again, and God the Holy Spirit watches over all their circumstances and over all their thoughts, so that they will overcome every temptation to fall away. This is WHAT they shall overcome, because God will make sure that they shall never fall away to become again the property of the Devil. What they have received are all gifts from God. That is why God writes in Rev 2:7, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life”. God will give it to them. They shall not take it by themselves; that is illegal, and that is sinful. But God shall give them to eat of the Tree of Life. What is God giving them exactly? God gives to the Saints a pledge that they have eternal life. This pledge is outwardly received in the form of bread and wine at the Lord’s Supper, and this pledge is inwardly received by faith in Christ alone as our Savior and in the written Word of God, from cover to cover, so that everything harmonizes with God receiving all the glory and all the credit of salvation. That is what is meant by “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life”. And then God adds: “Which is in the midst of the Paradise of God”. Which Paradise is God talking about? Is it the Paradise of heaven or of the NH&NE? That cannot be, because there is no “midst” in heaven or in the NH&NE. Therefore it must refer to the Paradise that was the Garden of Eden. There in the midst of the Garden was the Tree of Life, a pledge of eternal life to everyone to whom God delights to give it.

We have seen that Adam was not allowed to take himself from the Tree of Life, but this Tree of Life will be given to those to whom God delights to give it to. Then God says, “Eat from it”. We now know that this Tree is a reminder and a memorial to Christ, who is the giver of Life, because we read in John 1:4, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men”. Therefore it is as if God says:

#2.       Eat From the Bread of Life (John 6:33,35,41,47-51,58,63, Isa 43:11, I Pet 1:23, II Pet 1:4)

It sounds as a reminder of the Lord’s Supper. If that is so, then we need to look at John, chapter 6 because there the Lord Jesus speaks about eating and drinking of Him. Is that what is in view in Gen 3:22? Please turn about 260 pages to your left (à) to the Gospel according to John, chapter 6:33 (2X). Perhaps you know that this chapter 6 of John’s Gospel narrative is famous for three topics woven through each other: First it is announcing Christ as the Bread of Life; Secondly the promise that Christ will raise up all the Saints on the Last Day; Thirdly the doctrine of Election is declared so that God will receive all the glory. This chapter begins with Jesus feeding a multitude of 5000 men, besides many women and children. After a stormy crossing of the Sea of Galilee some of the men whom Jesus fed the previous day found Him again on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. They were asking Jesus for a sign if He was the Messiah. They were boasting that Moses gave them the sign of bread from heaven when they wandered in the wilderness. But Jesus said, “It was not Moses, but it was My Father who gave you that bread from heaven”. Let us begin to read at verse 33,

John 6:33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

In other words, the manna was only a sign, or a shadow, pointing forward to the coming Messiah who would truly be the Bread from Heaven. The wilderness wanderings represent our wanderings through this life on earth. The manna that fed them every day was pointing toward Christ, the Bread from heaven, who would feed us spiritually every day. He is the only one who came down from heaven to be that bread from heaven, and to give this bread to whosoever will. Then we read in V.35,

John 6:35  And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

I Am the Bread of Life”. One of the seven “I Am”s that Jesus spoke, confirming that He is Jehovah of the OT. This is also stated in the OT. God said in Isa 43:11, “I, even I, am the Jehovah; and beside me there is no Savior”. What did Jesus mean when He said, “I Am the bread of Life”? Did He indicate that we should eat from Him? That is indeed true. But how should we eat from Him? We must eat from the Word of God every day. Just like bread is a daily food, so we must spiritually partake of the Word of God every day. Then the Lord Jesus moved from the general to the particular. In verse 33 Jesus spoke of “giving life to the world”. Now in verse 35 Jesus speaks of the individual: “he that cometh to Me”, and “he that believeth on Me”. But how must we then understand the words, “shall never hunger”, and “shall never thirst”? It means that there is fullness and satisfaction in Christ. Once we have become saved we shall never want any other spiritual food. Now turn to verse 41,

John 6:41  The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.

Now a new company is introduced. They are called the Jews; the other people were the Galileans The Jews then murmured at Him. They understood His words very well. No misunderstandings here. This reminds us of the children of Israel murmuring in the wilderness. They too understood the words of God very well, and they too were witnesses of the mighty powers and the wondrous works of God. But were they saved? No! We read in Hebrews chapter 3 that most of them died unsaved, because they died in unbelief. Unbelief means they were unbelievers, which means unsaved. Likewise here in verse 41, the Jews were far too self-righteous and self-satisfied to see any need for a Savior. They were children of Abraham, and because of that they were going straight to heaven. They did not need to be saved. They understood that Jesus claimed to be of Divine origin, because He said that He came down from heaven. That is why they murmured. And then we read that Jesus said, in verse 47,

John 6:47  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

This verse 47 is not an invitation to sinners. It is a doctrinal declaration concerning Saints. Earlier in verse 44 the Lord Jesus declared that only those who are drawn by the Father would come to Him. No one else! Therefore, believing is not the cause of someone obtaining eternal life, but believing is the effect of having been drawn by the Father. The fact that a man believes is the evidence that he already has Divine life within him. And then the Lord Jesus said in verse  48,

John 6:48-49  I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

Joh 6:50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.

John 6:51  I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

John 6:52-53  The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?        Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you: Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

It is tempting to see in here the doctrine of transubstantiation, which the Roman church has latched on to? Transubstantiation means that the bread of the Lord’s Supper becomes literally His flesh, and the wine, or the grape juice, becomes literally His blood. But partaking of the Lord’s Supper cannot be an additional requirement for salvation. When God saves, He saves whom He will, and there are no additional requirements that we must fulfill. And transubstantiation is impossible, because God declares in Heb 9 that Christ was offered only once; His blood could be shed only once. Therefore, to explain verse 53 we must look in another direction. The Lord Jesus gave us the answer:

John 6:63  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

First Jesus told us who does the quickening: It is the Holy Spirit who does the quickening. God the

Holy Spirit makes us spiritually alive by giving us a new soul, which is so perfect that God Himself takes up residence in our new souls. Secondly, He states what the Spirit uses to bring about that quickening: It is the “words” of God. The Spirit is the Divine Agent; the Word is the Divine instrument. It means that we are “Born Again of incorruptible seed, by the Word  of God” (I Pet 1:23). It also means that we are made partakers of the Divine nature by God’s “exceeding great and precious promises” (II Pet 1:4). This is what it means to be partakers of Christ, to eat His flesh and drink His blood. Here in John 6:63 Jesus explained that the words of God are spiritual, and they are used by the Holy Spirit to impart life. The faithful preaching of the Word of God has the effect that people become saved. We read God’s Word, we see ourselves in a mirror, we see that we are in desperate need of salvation, because we are sinners from birth. Then we will follow the Light where it leads us, because if we are truly seeking God, the Holy Spirit shall quicken us by that same Word of Life. Thus we are not made alive because we faithfully obey a ceremony of the Lord’s Supper. We are made alive because we eat from the Bread of life while we still are on this earth.

When our body has died, and we have joined our fellow saints in the NH&NE we will:

Please turn to Revelation, chapter 22:12 (2X), which is probably on the last page in your Bible. The Lord Jesus is giving a last reminder that our life can end any day. He says in verse 12,

Revelation 22:12  And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

Revelation 22:13  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

Revelation 22:14  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.

They that do His commandments are they for whom the Lord Jesus substituted His life. It is in this way that all our works shall be presented as perfect to God the Father. Only if Christ has paid for all our sins will we have the right to eat of the Tree of Life. It means that by eating from this Tree we will remember for all eternity what Christ has done for us, in our place, and that He had to endure the equivalent of an eternity in Hell, so that our penalty was paid in full. Through this memorial we will give God all the glory and all the credit for taking us to be with Him forever.

Thus by eating from the Bread of Life on this earth we obtained eternal life, through Christ, and by eating from the Tree of Life in the world to come we remember and glorify God forever for His great favor toward us.          But how do the Saints live on this earth? They:

#3.       Fear The LORD and Live Forever (Psalm 112:1-10)

Please turn to Psalm 112:1 (2X). You find Psalm 112 almost exactly in the middle of your Bible. It is on page 998 in my Bible, if that is any help. Here in Psalm 112 God tells us how much He loves the man who fears the LORD, and how God will care for him as for  His own son.

Psalms 112:1 ¶ Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.

Psalms 112:2  His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed.

The man who fears God is delivered from every other fear. The man who delights in God’s commandments is freed from every desire of earthly things. Such a man must be absolutely blessed. This was the kind of blessedness the Lord Jesus had when He walked on this earth.

Psalms 112:3  Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever.

It sometimes pleases God to bestow on His servants the good things of this world, as He did, for example, on Abraham, or on Boaz, or on David, or on some other people. And in those cases a rich man is happier than a poor man, because it is more blessed to give than to receive. But the true wealth of Christians is of another kind. Their riches are such that no moth can corrupt it and no thief can steal it. Grace and glory are in the house of Christ, and everlasting righteousness is his goal.

Psalms 112:4  Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.

Psalms 112:5  A good man sheweth favor, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion.

Ps 112:6 ¶ Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.

Psalms 112:7  He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.

Psalm 112:8  His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies.

This man fears no evil report, and no blast of slander shall touch him. No calamity or destruction can shake his confidence in God. When the signs of the end are near, and he sees the world in flames he will rejoice, knowing by those tokens that the hour of his redemption has come.

Psalms 112:9  He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honor.

Psalms 112:10  The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: the desire of the wicked shall perish.

This is the attitude and the lifestyle of any of the Saints, because every one of the Saints fears God this way. If we can rejoice in this lifestyle, know that it is all a gift from God, “because it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil 2:13) Let us then sing with the saints of the past 220 years these words that are a transliteration of Psalm 112,

His children share his great reward, and blessings all their days shall fill.

To him shall light arise in gloom, for he is merciful and pure.

A peace unmoved his life attends, and long his memory shall remain.

His heart is steadfast, undismayed, for he shall see his foes o’erthrown.

These are the words of Hymn # 223, which we are going to sing in a few minutes.

Amen.            Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.

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