The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Genesis 3

Gen 3:1

Gen 3 presents the perfect miniaturized picture of God's plan of salvation thru Christ: (1) It begins with: Serpent, Flesh, Death and Adam. It ends with: Cherubim, Spirit, Life, and Christ. (2) It begins with the tree of knowledge of good and evil; it ends with the tree of life. (3) It begins with an ineffective covering of fig leaves; it ends with an effective covering of skin, requiring bloodshed. (4) In the center, at its turning point, it tells of the cursing of the serpent and the blessing of the seed of the woman.

Genesis 3 Outline: Structure of Genesis 3:
A. serpent, flesh, death, Adam: vv 1- 5
B. tree of knowledge, eat: v 6
C. effect, man, figs: v 7
D. God questions man & woman: vv 8-13
E. curse of serpent: v 14
E. blessing of seed: v 15
D. God sentences woman and man: vv 16-19
C. effect, God, skins: vv 20,21
B. tree of life, not eat: vv 22,23
A. cherubim, spirit, life, Christ: vv 24

Notice how many pts in Mosaic Law are rooted in sin of Eden (Gen 3):
(1) Serpent an abomination (Lev 11:42).
(2) Nakedness to be avoided (Exo 20:26).
(3) To uncover nakedness = sexual union (Lev 18:6-19; 20:11).
(4) Childbirth brings uncleanness (Lev 12:1-8).
(5) Reproductive functions, even innocent ones, unclean (Lev 15:16-28).
(6) Hanging on tree (Deu 21:23/Gal 3:13) rel to trees of Gen 3.

SERPENT: From Heb rt "quickness of perception"; in Greek, "to see". Heb "to hiss, to divine"; thus, voice of flesh: Ecc 10:11; Psa 12:4. The serpent was "Satan", ie an adversary (Num 22:22; 2Co 11:3,14), an animal with a mind adverse to (at enmity with) God. A literal serpent: 2Co 11;3.

CRAFTY: "Subtle" (AV). Same basic word as "naked" (gahroom) in Gen 2:25. Simply, "wise" -- good in itself (Mat 10:16), but here untempered by morality. The serpent had no regard for God's Law. Either this particular serpent was made that way by God, or, more prob, he ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge and thus acquired extraordinary powers. If he ate of the tree, this would explain:

  1. His power of speech.
  2. His subtlety: no other serpent has had this cleverness.
  3. There is some subtlety in: "Ye shall not surely die", ie, 'See, I'm eating it, and no harm comes to me.'
  4. The curse on the serpent now takes on a special fitness: "Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat" -- a sharp contrast with climbing the tree of knowledge and eating its fruit.
DID GOD REALLY SAY?: A reflective, doubting question. Beginning of doubt in the word of God: 3 steps: (1) doubt, (2) disbelief, (3) denial.

Part of the great original "lie" is the idea that there should be no restrictions in the perfect plan of a loving God. Ever since Eden, philosophers have labored under this misconception: 'How could a kind Father allow any of His children to suffer? to hurt? to die?' This single erroneous idea is responsible for a myriad of false beliefs and false hopes.

ANY: Or "every" (AV). An exaggeration for effect.

"Many years ago, Indian youths would go away in solitude to prepare for manhood. One such youth hiked into a beautiful valley, green with trees, bright with flowers. There he fasted. But on the third day, as he looked up at the surrounding mountains, he noticed one tall rugged peak, capped with dazzling snow. I will test myself against that mountain, he thought. He put on his buffalo-hide shirt, threw his blanket over his shoulders and set off to climb the peak. When he reached the top he stood on the rim of the world. He could see forever, and his heart swelled with pride.

"Then he heard a rustle at his feet, and looking down, he saw a snake. Before he could move, the snake spoke. 'I am about to die,' said the snake. 'It is too cold for me up here and I am freezing. There is no food and I am starving. Put me under your shirt and take me down to the valley.' 'No,' said the youth. 'I am forewarned. I know your kind. You are a rattlesnake. If I pick you up, you will bite, and your bite will kill me.' 'Not so,' said the snake. 'I will treat you differently. If you do this for me, you will be special. I will not harm you.' The youth resisted awhile, but this was a very persuasive snake with beautiful markings. At last the youth tucked it under his shirt and carried it down to the valley. There he laid it gently on the grass, when suddenly the snake coiled, rattled, and leapt, biting him on the leg. 'But you promised...' cried the youth. 'You knew what I was when you picked me up.' said the snake as it slithered away' " (Ancient American Indian legend).


A favorite nursery rhyme is the familiar tale of an egg that takes an unfortunate tumble:
"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again."

This piece of wisdom is a relic thousands of years old. Versions have appeared in eight European languages. In its primitive stages, however, Humpty Dumpty was a riddle. It asked the question: what, when broken, can never be repaired, not even by strong or wise individuals? As any child knows, an egg. Regardless of how hard we try, a broken egg can never be put back together again. We simply have to learn to live with the mess.

There is a Humpty Dumpty story in the Bible. We call it the Fall. Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit. They claim they now possess the necessary wisdom to be like God. When the dust settles, Adam and Eve are not perched on a lofty plane. They have fallen. Regardless of how hard we try, things can never be put back together again.

Our contemporary fall is seen in the feeling that things just don't work anymore. Our lives appear out of control. Changes come faster than our ability to cope. Broken eggs are an appropriate symbol. Wherever we step we hear the crunch of fragile shells beneath our feet.

Gen 3:2

When repeating Gen 2:16, Eve appears to leave out the "free to". Had she lost sight of the blessing involved?

Gen 3:3

BUT GOD DID SAY: Note the reversal of stress: Eve dwells most on the (relatively minor) prohibition, rather than the (very generous) allowances. "Insensible to the free grant of many trees, we take it amiss that one should be withheld -- and fret under the wholesome restraint of duty" (Candlish, Gen 48).

YOU MUST NOT TOUCH IT: Where was this said?! Apparently, this represents added theology!

OR YOU WILL DIE: Omitting the "surely" of Gen 2:17?

Gen 3:4

YOU WILL NOT SURELY DIE: The first lie: cp Pro 30:6; Joh 8:44; 3:8,15. The first hint of false belief in man's immortality -- making God a liar (1Jo 5:10). A reliance upon God's mercy (tree of life) with no regard for His majesty (tree of knowledge).

Gen 3:5

"Let us sin; then we shall learn by experience how to avoid the consequences."

Original sin was mankind's lust after self-sufficient knowledge, a craving to shake off all external authority and work things out for himself.

LIKE GOD: Or "as gods" (AV). "Elohim" (plural), prob ref the angels of God. Jewish rabbis so understood it: the Targum says, "And the Lord God said to the angels who minister before him, 'Behold, Adam was alone on the earth as I am alone in the heavens on high. From him there will arise those who will know how to distinguish between good and evil. If he had kept the commandments {which} I commanded him he would have lived and endured like the tree of life forever. But now, since he has not observed what I commanded him, let us decree against him, and let us banish him from the Garden of Eden, before he puts forth his hand and takes {also} of the fruit of the tree of life. For behold, if he eats of it, he will live and endure forever.' "

KNOWING GOOD AND EVIL: Intimately acquainted with evil, as God is. "But they learned good without the power to do it, and evil without the power to avoid it" (CHM 43).

Gen 3:6

The latent propensities are excited: (1) "lust of flesh", (2) "of eyes", and (3) "pride of life": 1Jo 2:16; Elp 82,83; Jam 1:14,15; Achan in Jos 7:20,21.

"There is nothing like a sense of unreasonable deprivation to make a person urgently desire what is withheld" (Joan Thomas).

WHEN THE WOMAN SAW THAT THE FRUIT OF THE TREE WAS GOOD FOR FOOD: How did she know this? Poss by observing the serpent eating of the tree? Cp the curse on serpent: 'Now you shall eat dust!" (Gen 3:14).

AND HE DID EAT: "Great sociality in sin" (HPM; cp Elp 123). Being tempted by Eve (1Ti 2:14); note Pro 5; 7). JT suggests that this first union produced Cain -- ie, the "seed of the serpent": Gen 3:15.

What kind of love is that? It all started with a tree. It will end with a tree. But there had to be that tree in the middle.

The sad one.

Eve thought she wanted the knowledge of good and evil -- a shortcut to being in her Father's image. Instead she reaped the whirlwind of constant conflict between good and evil. Her "seed" wielded the sword of the spirit and conquered the flesh, overcoming evil in the supreme act of obedience and love for the Father -- self-sacrifice. But not just "self-sacrifice", but a kind of love the world has never known. Perhaps there was a hint of that love in Judah's humble plea before Joseph to give up his freedom for his thieving, ungrateful (or so he thought) little brother Benjamin: "Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord's slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery that would come upon my father."

And there was another hint in the heart of Moses when in his great love for God and his idolatrous brethren he prayed, "But now, please forgive their sin -- but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written." Later the Apostle Paul exhibited an inkling of this phenomenal love: "For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race..." What kind of love is this that would sacrifice itself for miserable sinners?

Show me the way to that tree, please. "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly... But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us... when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son..."

I want to follow in His steps ALL THE WAY to the cross. "..if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him..."

But how? How do I love my spouse like that, my children, my home ecclesia, my neighbor?

Maybe it's something like inviting a lonely one to lunch on Sunday after meeting instead of planning something fun that I want to do. Maybe it's making a phone call in the evening after work to a wayward one instead of watching a video or listening to my favorite music on CD. Or being patient, comforting and encouraging to an erring one when I could just be "right" instead.

Gen 3:7

THE EYES OF BOTH OF THEM WERE OPENED: 3:7 The opening of the eyes of Adam and Eve caused confusion and distress whereas the opening of the eyes of the two on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:31) caused joy and enlightenment.

It is not surprising that many of the abominations and instances of uncleanness under the Law of Moses reflect the events in the Garden of Eden. Not only is the serpent an abomination (Lev 11:42), but nakedness is to be scrupulously avoided (Exo 20:26). In fact, to uncover another's nakedness becomes, in the Hebrew, a euphemism for sexual union (Lev 18:6-19; 20:11), probably because the sexual union of Adam and Eve followed close upon their realization of their "naked" state. Since the image of the "serpent-mind" is inherited by each generation from the preceding one, therefore childbirth also brings a stigma of uncleanness (Lev 12:1-8). Even the reproductive functions of both men and women in their most innocent aspects are nevertheless "unclean" under the Law (Lev 15:16-28).

Since death came into the world because of Adam's sin, merely to touch a dead body brings an unclean condition. And the legal decree of Deu 21:23, finding its fulfillment in Gal 3:13 ("Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree"), probably has its origin and justification in the fact that sin first entered the world in the eating of fruit from a tree!

The tragedy of Eden, then, was kept before the eyes of the Jews in many ways. It must not be forgotten, since it was a reminder of how they had come to be in their fallen condition. But for those who looked beyond the surface, there were also prophetic types of the redemptive work of Christ. In becoming the "last Adam", in order to undo the consequences of the first Adam's sin, he came under all the aspects of the Edenic curse: he was born "of a woman, under the Law" (Gal 4:4), necessitating a cleansing sacrifice even by his birth (Luke 2:21-24). He possessed a "serpent-nature" in common with all men, and ultimately he crucified that nature by lifting it up on a "tree" (Num 21:6-9; John 3:14), in the process being stripped naked. And thus he died, again bringing legal defilement to himself and those who handled his body.

The Law of Moses, and the curse of Eden, cast a shadow over even this perfect man. But his life was of such quality and worth that the shadows could not remain. As the great light of the sun, when it rises in its splendor, drives away all shadows... so the perfect wholeness and beauty of the Son's character overcame every legal blemish and imperfection -- and in effect rendered them, and the whole system of which they were a part, null and void. Death could not hold HIM in the grave; mere legal defilement could not sully his majesty -- God's justice would allow no such thing: "This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him" (Acts 2:23,24).

Nor can mere legal defilement stand in our way of sharing in the glorious redemption which our Savior has made possible for us! "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ" (Col 2:13-17).

OPENED: Awareness of inflamed passions. Fleshly inclinations aroused. Ashamed of nakedness. "Nakedness" = sinfulness in Rev 3:17; 16:15; 2Ch 27:19.

Cp Deu 23:13 (where "excrement" is, lit, "that which comes out") with Mar 7:15,20,21 and Mat 15:18,19 (where sin is equated with excrement). In Deu 23 God is said to be walking in the midst of the camp (as he is here, in the midst of the garden), and that He is too holy to look upon that which is "indecent". Could this explain, in part, the need that Adam and Eve felt to cover themselves? (Does this suggest that now, for the first time, they have need to relieve themselves, and this induces shame at the indecency?)

FIG LEAVES: Cp Cain's sacrifice: 4:5. "Many inventions" (Ecc 7:29). The fig points to Israel, and its special worship at a later date (see Joe 1:7: Luk 21:29). The "fig leaf" coverings of Mosaic Law -- this type of covering was cursed by Christ in Mar 11:33,34. No shedding of blood: Heb 9:22; Mat 26:28.

COVERINGS: "Aprons" (AV); "things to gird about" (AV mg).

Gen 3:8

SOUND: "Voice" (AV). Transl "sound" (RV): cp 2Sa 5:24; 2Ki 6:32. "The voice of God" = His representative, who speaks for Him (cp Exo 23:21). God is seeking Adam and Eve... He wants sinners to worship Him: Joh 4:23.

AS HE WAS WALKING: Was this a daily habit, so as to teach Adam and Eve?

COOL: AV mg "wind". Perh the cool of the evening, dawning towards a new day.

HID: An impossible task! Attempts to hide sin from God will always be unsuccessful: Jer 23:24; Heb 4:13; Amo 9:2,3. "[In sin] we resort to the trees of the garden -- the affairs or amusements of the world, the forms and ceremonies of religion, or its wordy technicalities, or its fervors and passions, or its busy activities... whatever, in short, may serve to fill a certain space, and bulk to a certain size, as a barrier between God and the heart that shrinks from too direct an approach to him. And we soothe ourselves with the notion that this hedge... serves the same purpose on God's side as on ours..." (Candlish 53).

FROM THE LORD GOD: In Heb, "from the presence of": Heb "panim" = "faces" (see Gen 4:14).

Gen 3:9

CALLED, in longsuffering, patience, mercy.

WHERE ARE YOU?: ie, "In what condition are you?"

Gen 3:10

I WAS AFRAID... SO I HID: As if Adam had come to the judgment of God (indeed, he had!), but was now afraid to stand there -- so he seeks for more time, better preparation, etc! But -- by contrast -- there is "no fear in love" (1Jo 4:18).

BECAUSE I WAS NAKED: Nakedness as a symbol of sin: The remedy for this: to be clothed with the white raiment (Rev 3:18; 16:15; 19:8; Gal 3:27).

AFRAID: The result of a defiled conscience. The fear of God is beginning of knowledge (Pro 1:7).

The legacy of Adam's sin for all mankind was fear, more urgent, insidious, worse than death (which does not bother us for most of our lives). Fear fills our lives, our minds, warps our thoughts, weakens resolve, poisons relationships with others and with God, and hides us from the love and grace of our Lord. Fear aggravates disease and hastens death. Our habits, even our characters, are largely formed through fear. Some are aggressive, intolerant, talkative, arrogant, contemptuous of others, boastful, angry (as, for example, a mother's angry welcome to a child she feared was lost). Some are reserved, shy, silent, polite out of fear. Religion is distorted by fear: of upsetting God or the sect, fear of divine disapproval and punishment in this life or the next, or of sectarian displeasure or excommunication. Some hate, some love from fear. We fear losing things -- money, jobs, position, security, men's goodwill or respect, friends, loved ones. Do we fear losing our place in the kingdom? Do we fear not being "good enough" for our Saviour? Are we afraid our treasures of good works are not yet sufficient to protect us from condemnation, as we are afraid we have not sufficient earthly treasure to protect us from want? Fear fills hospitals, mental homes, refugee camps. Fear is at the root of divisions, wars, oppression, terrorism. Either to bring relief from fear, or to instill fear in others.

We are even afraid openly to acknowledge fear. Stress, anxiety, worry, shyness, reserve, inferiority complex, lack of self-confidence, depression: all these may be manifestations of fear. A score of euphemisms for "I was afraid and I hid myself"... in addictions to drink or drugs or self-pity?... taken for temporary but useless relief.

The remedy? "Fear not!" A true and sincere and full faith in God and His promises is the only real antidote to fear. This comes from reading the Bible, and believing it.

Gen 3:11

WHO TOLD YOU?: Adam stands self-condemned by his own words, as do we all.

Gen 3:12

By ct, Jesus accepts blame for his bride: Mat 8:17; Psa 69:5; Eph 5:26; 1Pe 2:24.

Gen 3:13

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? Cp Gen 4:10; 20:9; 31:26; 1Sa 13:11; Joh 18:35.

Gen 3:14

Man blames the woman (Gen 3:12); the woman blames the serpent (Gen 3:13); but the serpent has no one to blame!

Christ destroys the devil (Heb 2:14; Rom 8:3; Jam 1:13-15).

CURSED ARE YOU: Even the non-responsible are often punished: Gen 9:5; 15:16; 20:6; Exo 21:28; Lev 20:15; Zec 1:15; Eph 5:6.

ABOVE ALL THE LIVESTOCK AND ALL THE WILD ANIMALS: However, the serpent is not compared to man or angels.

ON YOUR BELLY: Cp the curse of Lev 11:42: "Belly" = flesh in Rom 16:18; Phi 3:19.

YOU WILL EAT DUST: The seed of the serpent partake of earthly things: 1Co 15:47,48; Psa 72:9; Mic 7:17; Isa 49:23; 65:25; Rev 12:7-17.

Gen 3:15

ENMITY: A "war" to the "death": Joh 15:19; Rom 7:18-23. See Lesson, Gen 3/15-enmity.

YOUR OFFSPRING (SEED): All who serve sin in the flesh (Rom 6:12,19), headed by Cain.

HERS: This "seed" = Christ. But 2 seeds also = 2 peoples. See Elp 88 re serpent. Christ, "seed of woman", had no human father: Luk 1:35). In plural, all who serve God, headed by Seth.

The offspring of the woman: the Virgin Birth in the OT: Psa 71:6; 89:26,27; 110:3, LXX; Gen 3:15; 49:1,25; Isa 7:14; 49:1; Jer 31:22; Mic 5:1,2; 2Sa 7:14.

HE: "It" (AV). A singular seed.

CRUSH: "Bruise" (AV). "Shuwph" = to crush (Job 9:17).

STRIKE (BRUISE) HIS HEEL: Note the legend of Achilles' heel.

The crucifixion, of course, involved the bruising of Christ's heel.

HEEL: "Aqeb". Rt word of "Jacob", who took his bro by the heel -- figuratively supplanting (25:26; Hos 12:3). Jacob appropriated blessing and birthright (27:36). Antitype: Jesus, who supplants the first Adam -- ie Edom/Esau -- the man of flesh, the "serpent-man". "Aqeb" appears: Gen 49:17,19; Jos 8:13; Job 18:9; Psa 49:5; 56:5,6; 89:50,51; Song 1:8.

The enmity of Genesis 3:15 analyzed:
  1. The mind of flesh (diabolos, observation) against the mind of the Spirit (revelation): Rom 8:6,7 mg; Gal 5:17.
  2. False doctrine (Psa 58:4; 140:3) against the Truth (2Co 11:3,4,13).
  3. This brings sin (Num 21:6), in contrast to obedience (Rom 7:17-23; 1Co 15:56).
  4. And the result is death , in contrast to life (Rom 6:23).
  5. A multitudinous seed, in Adam (1Co 15:22), in contrast to another multitudinous seed, in Christ (Isa 54; Eph 5:31), the "Bride".
  6. Governmental power of the "serpent" (Rom 16:20), in contrast to governmental power of the "seed" (Rev 19:6). Cp Rev 12:14; 20:2.
  7. The singular seed -- "antichrist", Man of Sin, Antitype Cain against the singular seed of woman -- Christ himself (Gal 3:16), and the Antitype Abel (2nd 2:7-9; 1Jo 3:12; 4:3).
Christ brings an end to this enmity: Heb 2:14,15; Rom 8:3; Psa 41:9.

Gen 3:16

PAINS: Or "sorrow" (as AV). Sorrow at fate of children, as Eve in Gen 4:25, bereaved of Abel. A closer affinity of mother to child. Christ the man of sorrows: Isa 53:3. Like begets like: the posterity of Adam and Eve would follow the course of their nature (Jam 1:12-15; Rom 5:12), and the outcome would be found in Gen 5: "And he died, etc. etc."

YOUR DESIRE... FOR (TO) YOUR HUSBAND: Woman's desire to man, Christ: Song 2:16; 6:3. Man's preeminence over his wife: Eph 5:22-24.

DESIRE: "Longing", as in 1Co 11.

Gen 3:17

TREE: Curse of tree: Gen 2:9n; Gal 3:13; Deu 21:23n.

BECAUSE OF YOU: "For your sake" (AV). The trials and sorrows of life make the Truth more meaningful. In Rom 8, the whole creation groans, for what?...

Gen 3:18

THORNS: A crown of thorns: Joh 18:2! Nations = thorns in side (Num 33:56; Jos 23:12-14). Thorns = human nature (Heb 6:8n), choking the word of God. Cp also parallel between thorns here and tares in Mat 13:24-30,36-43.

YOU WILL EAT... OF THE FIELD: Requiring more effort in its cultivation than the trees.

Gen 3:19

SWEAT: Christ's sweat, as blood (Luk 22:44).

BY SWEAT... YOUR FOOD: Dignity in labor: 2nd 3:10. The slothful farmer allows thorns and weeds to grow (Pro 24:30-32). Idleness is evil: Eze 16:49.

UNTIL YOU RETURN TO THE GROUND: "Ground" = "Adam". An irrevocable law: the cessation of life: Psa 90:7-12; Ecc 12:7.

Gen 3:20

ADAM NAMED HIS WIFE EVE: Heb "cheval". Adam's wife already had a name -- "Ice" (Gen 2:23) -- a name which fitly described her origin, for it signified "Out of man [is]". But in view of the great redemptive promise just received, Adam evidently felt she needed a new name -- one in keeping with her destiny... with the part she would play in the scheme of redemption. What more appropriate than "Cheval" -- "Life"!

BECAUSE HE WOULD BECOME THE MOTHER OF ALL THE LIVING: The woman's new name (sig "life") described her destiny, as the mother of the redeemer (Gen 3:15). Through the woman, by a specially prepared birth, would come a son -- the "seed of the woman". He would (in some way probably only dimly perceived by Adam at this time) destroy the power of death brought by the serpent. Whereas the serpent was the "father" of death, this man-child would become the "father" of life -- and his mother therefore would be the "mother of all life". Eve was not so named until after the Fall, when she was also given the promise of a special "seed of the woman" who would bring life to all Adam and Eve's children.

Notice Eve's words in Gen 4:25. Cp Jerusalem, "mother of us all" (Gal 4:26).

Gen 3:21

GARMENTS (COATS): Heb "kethoneth": Special ceremonial coats, used 4 other times in OT (Gen 37:3n). Ref to priestly garment!

SKIN (SKINS): Though AV has "skins", the word is singular. Pointing to the one perfect sacrifice of Christ, for atonement of sin (Joh 1:29). Necessitates the shedding of blood: Heb 9:22; Gal 5:24; Rev 13:8 (the lamb). Garments were a covering for sins: Psa 32:1; Isa 61:10; Gal 3:26; Rev 19:8. Manmade systems of covering are not "suitable"!

Gen 3:22

If Adam already had immortality, this precaution was unnecessary. The result? An overpopulated world of "immortal sinners".

Gen 3:23

Exclusion from the source of life, leading to death for Adam and his descendants: Rom 5:12; Eze 18:4,20; Job 14:7-10.

Gen 3:24

The purpose of cherubim, not prevention or closing of the way, but instead a maintenance or preservation of the way (Eze 1:4n). Here, east of Eden, was God's immediate presence in cherubim (cp Gen 4:3,14,16; Psa 80:1-3; 99:1; Exo 25:22). Here, men brought offerings. The "flaming sword" consumed acceptable sacrifices (Elp 153; Lev 1; cp 1Ki 18:38).

God intended man to live. One sin would not frustrate His purpose. God's honor required judgment, but His love provided an atonement.

PLACED: "Caused to dwell". Same root as "shekinah" glory of God (see Zec 8:3n).

EAST: Or, "in front, before". Where the "sun" rises: cp Eze 43:2; Zec 14:4; Rev 16:12.

A FLAMING SWORD: Better, "a sword-like flame". The word of God = 2-edged sword (Heb 4:12). "Sharp sword out of mouth" (Rev 19:15). Fire sym spirit of God (Rev 4:25), also, glory and brightness of Christ and saints (Eze 1:4,13,14,26), and majesty and honor (2Pe 1:16; Dan 12:3; Mat 13:43). See Tes 64:7.

FLASHING BACK AND FORTH (WHICH TURNED EVERY WAY): Thus displaying its many faces (ie Gen 4:14).

GUARD: "Keep" (AV). Sig "protect, observe, preserve"; as other cherubim, this one "kept" the promise of salvation before man. It represented the seed of woman (Gen 3:15), Christ; also the multitudinous Christ, a guarantee of the sureness of divine purpose, covenants, and provisions for salvation.

THE WAY TO (OF) THE TREE OF LIFE: Christ is the way, truth, life (Jo 14:6), "new and living way" (Heb 10:18-22), "God's way" (6:12), "narrow way" (Mt 7:14). Psa 16:11: "path of life... thy (God's) presence (countenance, face)... pleasures for evermore". The "way": 6:12; 18:19; Exo 33:13; Psa 25:9; Isa 35:8; 40:3,14; 51:10; 59:8. In Acts, 9:2; 16:17; 19:8,23; 22:4. Ct "ways of sin": Pro 14:12; Jer 2:18; 10:2; Jud 1:11. The hope of immortality is made accessible by our overcoming in faith: Rev 2:7; Pro 3:18.
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