Theme: The various gardens we must live through
(Key verse: Genesis 2:5-8, 15)
Earthy man was formed from the same ground as all the other things of the earth which was needed for the first man Adam. Adam and Eve were placed in a garden by God and the theme of a garden runs throughout the Scriptures:
Gen 2:5-8 and verse 15 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. 6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. 7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. 8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden (Hebrew: “gan” – a protected enclosure; hedged in) of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
Gardens relate to activities such as sowing, growing, pruning, reaping or harvesting and many more, and all of these physical things help us to understand the spiritual works of God yet to be done in the lives of the first Adam and his generation (Rom 1:20). There was indeed a physical garden of Eden. There is much speculation about the physical location of the garden of Eden and this also is used by God to keep people busy with side issues, and to prevent them from seeing the inward spiritual application in this age (Mat 13:10-15; Heb 11:6). The word “east” spiritually refers to the place of entrance, beginning or rising. In Scripture the metaphors of plants and gardens are often used to refer to humans or the human condition (e.g. Isa 5:1-7; Jer 2:21; Ps 1:3-4; Mat 13:3-8; 18-30; John 15:1-8):
1Pe 1:24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
Psa 52:8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.
There are many types of soil on the earth and there are also different sowers of good seed and bad seed respectively (Matt 13:3-8; 24-32). Like plants, humans have no choice of their physical attributes and where they are to be “planted” by the gardener. They also have no control over the circumstances which affect them. The first Adam was of the earth, like the plants, and was not yet transformed in the image of the last Adam, the “second man…from heaven”:
1Cor 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
The theme of a garden helps us to recognise God as the spiritual Gardener or Husbandman who is working His perfect plan in His garden through Jesus. God told the first Adam to be fruitful and multiply (Gen 1:28), and this has nothing to do with the false idea of Adam having a fabled free will. God works all things at all times in His garden (Eph 1:11; Rom 11:36; Eph 2:10):
Joh 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
The Hebrew word translated “garden” in Genesis 2 is “gan”, and it means a fenced enclosure. Adam and his wife were placed in a protected environment just like Job was given an invisible hedge around him initially to be according to earthy terms “perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil” (Job 1:1):
Job 1:8-10 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
It is these physical hedges that keep the natural man away from the all-important necessary judgement that will bring forth the spirit life. Although God will save all humanity and make them perfect in His spiritual image eventually, He is not at all interested in saving the whole world in this age. All efforts to save the world now testify of spiritual blindness not seeing the hedge of separation:
1Ti 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen [in this age].
But the time will come when all these physical things will be taken away from all in the generation of the first man Adam. When God causes our hedges to be destroyed, it is when our own evil heart is exposed and we see our desolate state:
Isa 5:4-6 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? 5 And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: 6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
This is the spiritual state of all in the first Adam. No natural man can fill or even stand in this gap when God breaks it down (Ecc 3:2-8). In fact all men hide themselves when the breaking down or unveiling happens:
Eze 22:30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
Rev 6:15-17 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
The first Adam is natural (earthy), and can only bring forth natural (earthy) things (Gal 5:19-21). No spiritual fruit can be expected from a natural tree, just as you do not get good fruit from a corrupt tree (Matt 7:16-18; 1Cor 15:50). Adam was given green vegetation to eat and there was no meat in his diet before the flood (the flood indeed typify the judgement and destruction of the flesh). Scripturally the first Adam typifies a person who is weak (in the faith) and cannot produce good fruit:
Gen 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you [Adam] every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
Rom 14:1-2 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs [Greek: vegetation].
It was also in a garden, the garden of Gethsemane (“oil press”), where the reality of judgement finally dawned on the earthy flesh of Jesus:
Joh 18:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.
Mat 26:36-37 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
All flesh is the “branch” which cannot bring forth spiritual fruit and must be taken away, even Jesus’ flesh which was the same as our flesh (Heb 2:14). Gethsemane represents total submission to the will of God:
Joh 15:1-2 I [Jesus] am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
The first Adam (flesh) is to be replaced by the last Adam (spirit). But letting go of the first Adam is only through a process of deep sorrow and agony. This is how we follow Jesus if we are indeed following Him (Acts 14:22: 1Pet 4:1-19). When we know the truth of this dying process, we rejoice in our trials because the symbol of an oil press (“Gethsemane”) also shows the purpose for the trials and tribulations which are ordained to give all in the generations of the first Adam the needed Godly new spirit life. All sorrow is temporary and for a purpose! Oil is a type of the spirit life which will be brought forth as we are pressed, against our natural will, to give up the old life. The wise will take this oil in their “lamps” and keep them “trimmed” because they bought their oil by selling (losing) their old life:
Mat 25:6-9 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
Although gardens generally are associated with life and growth, it is therefore a kind of irony to the natural mind that sorrow and even death can be associated with it. But except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it cannot bring forth any fruit! Death is part of any good and healthy garden.
Joh 12:24-25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
The dead body of Jesus was laid in a new sepulchre which was also located in a garden:
Joh 19:41-42 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. 42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
The garden of death is at the same time the garden of resurrection! After His resurrection, it was also here in this garden where Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene as she supposed Him to be…wait for it…yes a gardener:
Joh 20:15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
Another important feature of the garden where Adam and Eve were placed by God, is a river that “went out of Eden to water the garden”:
Gen 2:10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
This river, a type of the River of Life, Jesus Christ, “parted” and became four “heads”. The number “four” spiritually refers to the whole (totality) of something and this also confirms that this single River will give spiritual life to all (Rev 22:1-2; 1Cor 15:22; John 7:38):
Gen 2:11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah [“that suffers pain; that brings forth” – Hitchcock Bible names], where there is gold;
Gen 2:12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
The first “head” is called Pison which comes from the Hebrew word “pıyshôn” and it has the word “pûsh” as its root. The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew definitions have the word “pıyshôn” as meaning “increase”. The connection of gold and precious stones with this “head” emphasizes that spiritual increase comes through a process of intense heat and pressure. This verse comes to mind within this theme of a garden with its plants:
1Cor 3:6-7 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
The second river was called Gihon (Hebrew: “gıychôn” from the root “gıyach” which means “to gush or burst forth”):
Gen 2:13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia [“burnt faces” – Smith’s Bible dictionary].
Gihon has connected to it the promise that God will bring new spirit life forth through the fiery trials to all in the first Adam and nothing can prevent that:
Joh 7:37-39 In the last day, that great day of the feast [of tabernacles = “the end” in 1Cor 15:24], Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
The third river was called the Hiddekel which means “rapid” (Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew definitions):
Gen 2:14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria [“to step straight forward” or “successful”].
This is God’s promise to all in the first Adam throughout the scriptures is that He will hasten His Word to perform the salvation of all (Ps 104:30; 107:20; Acts 3:20-21; 1Cor 15:22-28; 1Tim 4:10):
Jer 1:12 Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.
The forth river was the Euphrates which means “to make fruitful” (according to the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew definitions and the Hitchcock Bible names):
Gen 2:14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
God will make all in Adam (our first “garden”) to be spiritual fruit in the last Adam. Yes, the desolate land shall be tilled, properly fenced and inhabited in the final “Garden of God”, also known as Paradise – Jesus Christ (Rev 2:7; 21:1-8: 22:1-5):
Eze 36:33-35 Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. 34 And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. 35 And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.
Son 1:14 My Beloved [Christ] is to me like a cluster of henna [or camphire = a covering] in the vineyards of Engedi [an oasis].
1Sa 23:29 And David went up from thence, and dwelt in strong holds at Engedi.
Son 4:12 A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.