View Full Version : A Walk in the Garden Part 4

Jun 28th 2010, 11:07 PM
A Marriage Made in Heaven

So far, we’ve examined the marvelous estate that man originally enjoyed with God in the garden paradise called Eden, and the tragic way that estate ended--and an accursed existence began--because of man’s willful disobedience to God. We saw how God inaugurated the long process of redemption, instilling in man at the very beginning the truth that reconciliation was possible only by the shedding of innocent blood, which only He was able to provide. And we saw the beginnings of the battle between good and evil, played out in successive early generations—a battle that is already won in Christ yet is still echoing in the realm of time and space today.

In this final section, we’ll examine the wondrous way in which God symbolically revealed the redemption of mankind in the early days of Adam and Eve—even before sin marred their idyllic estate. Evidence that Scripture is inspired of God is clearly apparent to anyone who truly looks for it. He Who knows the end from the beginning has so declared such things beforehand in prophetic passages too numerous to count. The following is but one example, chosen because it is so fundamental to God’s plan of Salvation for man, and so infinitely defines our relationship with Him.

Some may have already discovered these wonderful truths, but for those who have not, it’s my sincerest hope that it inspires you as much as it did me.

The Apostle Paul received some extraordinary revelations and visions during his ministry. So remarkable in fact, were the things imparted to Paul, that the Lord saw fit to afflict him with a physical infirmity of some type, lest pride become a stumbling block for him. Indeed, it seems Paul was even caught up in the Spirit to the abode of God, (as was John in the book of Revelation), beholding glorious things he was not even permitted to speak of (2 Cor 12:1-10). Even the Apostle Peter made a reference to the depth of the knowledge that Paul possessed ( 2 Pet 3:15-16). In a number of his writings, Paul refers to great “mystery” (hidden truth) concerning the completion of man’s redemption at the close of the present age. References include: Rom 16:25-27; 1 Cor 2:7-10; Eph 1:9-11; Eph 3:3-9 and Col 1:26-27.

Referring to this mystery in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul alludes to a spiritual parallel between the relationship of a husband and wife, and that of Jesus and the Church:
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Eph 5:31-32)

The grand design of God’s plan of salvation and redemption at Calvary was symbolically represented in the creation of the first woman as recorded in Genesis--thousands of years before its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus and the Church. Like a magnificent treasure, such truths lie buried, awaiting the diligent digger.
The unfathomable love of God is revealed in a remarkable way in this, the book of beginnings, and I’m persuaded that no one can truly ponder these things without seeing the divine hand that designed them. Compare the type seen in Adam and Eve's experience with the spiritual fulfillment that is revealed in Jesus and His bride:

God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. While He slept, God opened his side and removed a rib, from which He fashioned a woman as a suitable companion for Adam:
And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. (Gen 2:22 KJV)

After His suffering upon the cross was complete, the deep sleep of death fell upon the humanity of Jesus; And John tells us that when a spear was thrust into His side to ensure that He was dead, a mixture of blood and water ran from the open wound:
But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. (John 19:34 KJV)

Just as Eve was formed from a rib from Adam’s side, so a bride for Jesus was formed from the water and blood that came out of His side:
The sinless blood of God's Passover Lamb cleanses away sin and imputes God’s righteousness to the repentant sinner, while the waters of baptism allow us to symbolically participate in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection:
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (Rom 6:3-5)

Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
(1 Pet 3:20-21)

When God overshadowed a young virgin girl, and supernaturally impregnated her, she conceived and gave birth to the Son of God—at once, holy God and sinless humanity, fused into one. Jesus took upon himself the unimaginable burden of all sin, so that we could take upon us His righteousness and holiness. These are applied to the believer through faith and obedience, while the Holy Spirit infuses us with the New Birth transformation, and seals us until the last day, when our bodies are redeemed:
And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Eph 4:30)
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
(Rom 8:23)

So then, as Eve was taken out of Adam, and the two joined as one flesh, the Church was taken out of Jesus, and the two joined as one spiritual body:
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (1 Cor 12:13) There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Eph 4:4-5)

But the comparison between Adam and Eve and Jesus and the Church goes even deeper. Paul tells us that while Eve was deceived, Adam was not (1 Tim 2:14). Since deception played no role in his disobedience, it’s likely that Satan correctly anticipated Adam’s unwillingness to be separated from his wife--no matter what. He reasoned that if he could get Eve to fall, he could use her to get to Adam. At any rate, so great was his love for Eve, Adam did choose to forsake fellowship with God for the sake of remaining together with her.

Now, substitute Jesus for Adam, and the Church for Eve, and Paul’s mystery begins to unfold:

Because of the fall in the garden, mankind was lost in sin, and headed down the road to the lake of fire. Born in a spiritual condition that precluded him from the presence of the holy Creator, man had chosen—like Satan and his angels--to rebel against God; and so, was doomed to the same eternal punishment, though that was never God’s original intent. He is a God of Mercy, but also a God of justice. Enter Jesus.

Just as Adam joined Eve in a state of sin because of his love for her, Jesus Christ virtually became sin—abominable before God--for the sake of imparting righteousness to His future bride, the body of faithful believers:
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Cor 5:21)
Jesus took upon Himself our sinfulness so that we could take on His righteousness, and experienced death so that we could have life. He paid the penalty we owed, endured the separation from God we deserved, and conquered death and Hell, which had held sway over the destiny of man since the fall of Adam.

On Calvary, Jesus experienced an agonizing sense of separation from God, as the guilt of every sin ever committed—past, present and future—was laid upon Him on the cross…because of His love for us. Not only was Jesus nailed to the cross, but our sins were nailed to it also:
You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. (Col 2:13-14)

On the night of His arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, God gave Jesus a foretaste of the emotional and spiritual agony that awaited Him—on top of the physical. So unbearable was the experience of His sinless soul becoming sin, that the humanity of the Lord cried out to God for release from it, if that were at all possible:
Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Matt 26:38-39)

It is in Luke’s account that we get the most graphic picture of the anguish our Lord endured that night:
And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:44)

The blood coming out with Jesus’ sweat is a condition known to modern medical science: hematidrosis. This rare condition occurs only during times of extreme emotional distress, and is caused by the bursting of the capillaries--the tiniest of our blood vessels--allowing traces of blood to seep out through the pores and mingle with sweat. This condition clearly illustrates the intense level of emotional suffering Jesus went through even before the brutality of the scourging and crucifixion.

In the hour of His agony, Jesus endured the unbelief and mockery of those whom He loved so deeply, as well as the sting of betrayal; and though the only person ever born without sin, He was subjected to the crushing weight of the sins of all mankind. And as these were laid upon Him, for the first time in His life, He could not feel the presence of His Father inside Him—a terror and distress beyond comprehension, and a pitiful cry welled up from the depths of His anguished soul: And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?(Matt 27:46)
God never forsook Jesus, of course. Yet, because He literally became sin itself in the eyes of God, there was for a time, separation in a very real sense, and the human part of Jesus felt forsaken. For the first time in His entire life, Jesus was unable to feel the sanctifying presence of His Father within--only the anguish and despair of a sin-laden human being. He had to feel what we would have felt, had He not taken our place. Though His human mind and spirit struggled to bear up under the grueling ordeal that lay ahead--and His humanity recoiled from it--He submitted His will to that of His Father—thereby securing our redemption:

And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt (Matt 26:36-39)

Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
(Heb 5:7-9)

Beaten unmercifully, and hanging naked upon a cross, God manifest in the flesh felt the awful aloneness and fear that only a human can feel. And He felt the dread of being on the receiving end of the fullness of God’s undiluted wrath—a terror deserved by every person except Him. Jesus paid a price He didn't owe, because we owed a price we couldn't pay.

Because of His unfathomable love, He put His own feelings aside, and committed Himself to that cruel fate, out of both obedience to God, and love for those souls who would otherwise perish. There never has been, nor will there ever be, a greater demonstration of love than that. We will never fully comprehend the torment that Jesus endured for us; and I’m persuaded that eternity itself is not sufficient to offer up the praise and thanksgiving He deserves.

It was in a garden that Adam condemned mankind by opposing his human will against the will of God. How fitting that it was also a garden in which the last Adam redeemed mankind by submitting His human will to the will of God.

While Satan thought the corruption of man, and later the death of Jesus would thwart God’s purposes and allow him to escape the lake of fire, these served instead to bring about his defeat, and to seal his fate--even as the grace of God preserved fallen man through the very blood that the Devil had schemed and worked so hard to spill.

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (Rom 11:33 KJV)

What an awesome God we serve!