Genesis Revisited - Part 2

Sermon by Tom Trinka
 

Today, I would like to continue covering the opening chapters in the Book of Genesis, so if you would like too label my message today, you might call it; Genesis Revisited, Part 2.

In my last sermon I glossed over several verses in Genesis chapter one. And the reason I did so, was for the simple fact that I did not clearly understand the meaning and underlying relationship between them.

What am I referring too? Well let’s read the verses and then I’ll try to explain what I mean.

GEN. 1.1  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”

In the beginning, at some point in the distant past, God created the physical universe, consisting of an innumerable number of galaxies.

Just how big is the universe? Well, no one knows for sure, because even with our most powerful instruments, no human has been able to even detect where the edges of the universe may be.

As we do know however, our solar system consists of 8 planets, not counting Pluto, with dozens of moons orbiting those planets. For example, Uranus has 27 moons and Neptune has 13. And all these planets and moons revolve around just one star, our  Sun.

The radius of our solar system, if measured in a straight line from Pluto to the Sun, is on average 3.65 Billion miles, which is roughly 2/3 of the distance that light can travel in a year, at 286,000 miles per second.

By contrast, our Milky Way galaxy, has been estimated to have between 200 and 400 billion stars, not counting planets and moons. And there is an estimated 200 to 500 billion other galaxies. So by recent estimates there could easily be a galaxy for every star in the Milky Way.

And these galaxies are each separated by vast distances. For instance, our closest neighboring galaxy in called Andromeda, which is approximately 4 1/2 light years from the Milky Way.

And yet considering this seemingly endless universe, which is filled with a countless number of planets and stars. God states that He has numbered and named every one. Let’s read that, please turn to ISA. 40.25-26

25 “ To whom then will you liken Me, Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high, And see who has created these things,

 Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name,

 By the greatness of His might And the strength of His power;  Not one is missing.

Indeed, the heavens declare God’s majesty and His incomprehensible wisdom and power. And what I personally find so fascinating about the structure of the universe, is that God has seemingly designed it in the same way, that He has designed the smallest particles of the physical creation, like the structure of the atom itself. The planets revolve around the sun, in the same way that the electrons revolve around the nucleus of the atom.

And likewise, modern astronomical theory postulates that the galaxies themselves, are groups in what is termed “galactic clusters” and that these clusters or groups of galaxies are themselves revolving around what is called the galactic or universal center.

And why, we might ask, did God create the vast universe in the first place? Well, I believe that  after the White Throne Judgement period, when God creates a new heaven and a new earth, that God will assign His spiritual children their own planets and galaxies to inhabit and develop. As it states in scripture, of the increase of God’s government and peace there will be no end.

In the book of Daniel, God has recorded for us a glimpse of this glorious future  Turn with me please to DAN. 12.3

“Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament,

And those who turn many to righteousness  Like the stars forever and ever”

So we see from this scripture, that we are destined to shine like the stars of heaven.

So might not our ultimate destiny be to develop and inhabit the very galaxies that we will gloriously resemble? Well, the only way to know for sure, is to remain faithful to our Father in Heaven and His Son, and then eventually we will find out what God has planned for us.

Whatever God has in store for us, we can be sure that it will be more wonderful than  we can ever  imagine. As it is recorded for us in 1 COR. 2 verse 9:

 “ Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man

The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

 What a wonderful verse of scripture, to meditate on.

Anyway, getting back to the subject at hand. In verse one we find that at some point in the distant past, God created the heavens and the earth. And then in verse 2, as we covered last time, God destroyed the earth with the original flood.

OK, let’s now proceed to verses 3-5  

3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.

So, now we run into a little problem, at least in my mind. Let me explain. Since God created the heavens, at some point in the distant past, as we read in verse one. And since the heavens included our sun, since as we covered last time, the fossil record proves that plants and animals existed before the original flood. And therefore the sun had to have been created, in order for life to exist.

So then, what is this light that God is referring too, in verse 3? Well, it must be sunlight, so then why was the earth covered in darkness prior to verse 3? I mean if God created the sun in verse one, then why does He have to recreate light in verse 3?

And what further complicates things, at least in my mind, is what is recorded in verses 14-18. Let’s read them. GEN. 1.14-18

14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.

Now again, since God created the sun in verse one, and then created light in verse 3, presumably from the sun. Then, what are these verses referring too?  These verses almost sound like a repeat of verses 4 and 5, doesn’t it?

Verses 4-5 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night.

And verse 14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night;  And 15, And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.

So we have the sun referred too, in verse 1, as part of the heavens, prior too the recreation, and then again in verses 4 and 5 and then seemingly recreated again for a 3rd time in verses 14-18. So what’s the underlying meaning to all of this repetition?

Well, like I said before, I skipped over these verses last time, because I just did not understand them. They have been a puzzlement for me for a very long time. However, just in the last few weeks, as I was rebuilding my deck in the back yard, and meditating on these verses, and I was asking God for a clearer understanding.

Then suddenly, God seemed to answer my request, and showed me the light, you might say. Or more precisely the meaning of the light, in all of these verses.

Let me go over with all of you, what I believe is the answer to all this repetition about the light. I believe the key to properly understanding these verses is two fold. First of all, we must look at the result of God’s actions, to determine what He did.

And second, we must consider these verses from the view point of the earth looking up at the sky, and not from heaven looking down at the earth. And since our view point is from the earth, we must realize that we are observing the recreation from a particular spot on earth. Presumably the area of the Garden of Eden.

So let’s again read verses 3-5 and apply these 2 principles and hopefully the meaning of the text will become clear. GEN.1.3-5

3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.

So, what is the result of God creating light in verse 3? The result as we see in verse 5, was the creation or I should say, the recreation of the Day, and then also the night, and the combination of the two created the first day. So let’s ask the question. What is the reason that we experience the 24 hour cycle of day and night?

It’s caused by the rotation of the earth, is it not. So I believe what we learn from verses 3-5, is that after God destroyed the earth with the original flood, that God stopped the rotation of the earth. And that’s why from the viewpoint of someone in the Garden of Eden on earth, there was nothing but darkness until God started the earth rotating again, and therefore created the 24 hour cycle of day and night.

OK, so now armed with this formula and understanding we can now proceed to verses 14 through 16, and try to understand the meaning of those verses also. Let’s reread verses 14-16 carefully one more time.

14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.

In the past, as I read these verses I assumed that these lights in the heavens were all the countless stars that are visible in the sky at night. However, by careful review, letting the bible interpret itself, instead of me presuming the meaning, I find that these lights, in the heavens, are in fact, the sun and the moon. Verse 16 tells us so.

16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also.

So we see that in verses 14 and 15, God states what He is going to do, and the reason He is doing it, and then in verse 16, God describes what He created.

Let me just interject here, that the NKJV, which I am reading from, does a poor job  in translating verse 16. If you are also reading from a NKJV you will notice that the word “made” in the last part of the verse, is in italics. Which means that it was inserted presumably for clarification, and is not in the original text. Well in this case, it does not clarify, but rather adds to the confusion.

Green’s interlinear simply reads;  “And God made two great luminaries, the great luminary to rule the day, and the small luminary and the stars to rule the night”

So we find that the chief object of what God is talking about in verses 14 and 15 are defined for us here as “two great lights” the sun and the moon. The rest of the stars are just mentioned in passing, God is simply telling us that they would also be visible in the night sky.

Now, something else that is important to understand, is the meaning of the word “made” that is in the first part of verse 16, the word that is not in italics. Where it says that “God made two great lights”

When we read this, we tend to think that the word made means to create, however this is not the case. This Hebrew word, translated “made” is Strongs # 6213 spelled “asa” It is not the same word, that is used in GEN. 1.1 where is states that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”

That word translated “create” in GEN.1.1 is “bara” Bara means to bring into existence, something that was not there before. Where as “asa” translated “made” in verse 16, implies fashioning or making something or using something in a particular way. An example might be the relationship between clay and a bowl. You would create the clay, and then use it to make the clay bowl for a specific purpose.

Or we might say that we had a car made, and then we will use the car for transportation.

So, likewise the sun and the moon were created in Genesis 1.1, and then now in verse 14, God tells us that He has made them for a specific purpose.

“They are to be for signs and seasons, and for days and years” God has ordained that the sun and the moon are to be used to define divisions of time. And that is the underlying meaning of the word made, in verse 16.

Let’s also consider the term translated seasons, in verse 14.  It is the same word translated feasts in LEV. 23.2, where God states  “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.

Both the word seasons in Gen.1.14 and the word feasts in Lev. 23.2 are the same Hebrew word, Strong’s # 4150 spelled “moed” which means “appointed times”

So what God is clearly telling us, right here at the beginning of the bible, even before He created man, is that the sun and the moon are to be used to determine God’s Holy Days, His appointed times. Notice that there is no mention of the calculated Hebrew calendar being created on the 4th day of the recreation.  

So then, how to we determine the weekly Sabbath, and the Holy Days and for that matter keep track of the months and years? We use the movement of the the sun and the moon, in relation to the earth, just as God said too.

So what God is telling us in Genesis 1, verses 14-16, is 2 fold and really quite simple. God is telling us that on Day 4, that He put the earth in it’s present orbit around the sun and put the moon in orbit around the earth. And that He did this for the specific reason, that we are to use them to determine His appointed times.

For it is by the cycles of movement of the heavenly bodies around each other that give us the cycles of time, be it the weekly Sabbath, the annual Holy days, or the years themselves.

So to recap. On day one, described in Gen. 1.3-5, God caused the earth to begin rotating on it’s axis thus giving us the 24 hour cycle of day and night. And then on day 4, which we just covered in Gen.1.14-19, God set the earth in it’s present movement around the sun.

 And also the moon in orbit around the earth, thus giving us the ability to discern, the various months of the year, to determine God’s Sabbaths and Holy Days and the cycle of the year itself.

Well I hope that I made that clear enough for you all? This understanding certainly makes the first chapter of Genesis easier for me to comprehend, and I thank God for that, as I’m sure we all do for the inspiration and understanding that He gives to each of us.

And speaking of understanding, remember I stated last time, that the first few chapters of Genesis seem to contain a wealth of information. These chapters are so rich, that just like the physical creation itself, these living words convey the fact that God is the real author of the bible. And I continue to find that things just seem to jump out at me, as I reread these chapters of the bible.

For instance, let me share with you, something else that I just came to realize in preparing this message. The term God, used all throughout Genesis chapter one and into the third verse of Genesis 2, is Elohlym. In fact Elohylm is used 35 times in the Creation account in Genesis 1 through Genesis 2.3.

And we know that Elohylm is a plural noun, so what this tells us, which is something that I never realized before, is that both the Father and one that became the Son,  Jesus Christ worked together in the recreation of the earth.

We find this stated plainly in Gen. 1.26 where God {Elohylm} says let Us make man in Our image, and according to Our likeness”

Let’s go ahead and read the last verse in Gen. 1, and then the first 9 verses into Gen. 2. I’m going to substitute the term God with Elohylm as it is written in the Hebrew text.

GEN. 1.31 Then Elohylm saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

GEN.2.1-9 Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day Elohylm ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.

 3 Then Elohylm blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which Elohylm had created and made.

 4 “This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD Elohylm, made the earth and the heavens”

5 before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the LORD Elohylm had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground;

6 but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.

7 And the LORD Elohylm formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

8 The LORD Elohylm planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. 9 And out of the ground the LORD Elohylm made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

OK Brethren. So what we see from reading these verses, is that starting in Gen. 2, verses 4 and onward, that God sort of summarizes what we find recorded in chapter one. However now we are introduced to the One that actually did what we might say was the hands on work. The Lord Elohylm.

The word Lord we know, as translated from the Hebrew, is rendered in English as Yahweh or Jehovah. So in chapter two, we are told specifically which member of the Godhead, that is Elohylm, actually did the creating.

The Covenant God, the one that later became Jesus Christ. And we know that the first several verses from JOHN 1, confirms this to be so. I’m sure that we all know these verses by heart, but let me just read them into the record here.

JOHN 1.1-3  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

And verse 14. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth”

OK. What I would like to do now, is to take a closer look at a couple of verses that we just read over.

GEN. 2.7-8  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 being.

8 “The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed”

Notice, both the chronological order of these verses, as well as the phrase “had formed” at the end of verse 8. As we covered last time, these verses seem to imply that God created Adam first and then God created the garden for Adam, with Adam being present, and watching God create the garden for him.

This line of reasoning is further supported by the fact that God put Adam in the Garden. Adam was created outside of the garden and then placed into it.

Now why do you suppose that God did that? What was the underlying purpose for God to put Adam in the garden? Well you might say, it was because God wanted to dwell with Adam and Eve. Well that indeed is probably an accurate conclusion. But what do the scriptures actually say in regard to this question? Does God tell us why He made a special place for Adam to dwell in?

Well as we begin to consider this question, let’s notice that verse 15 again repeats the fact that Adam was specifically placed by God into the garden. The NKJV says that Adam was placed in the garden “to tend and to keep it”

Let’s read Gen. 2.15  “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it”

So here we find the specific biblical reason of why God placed Adam in the Garden.

And this brethren, is a very interesting sentence of scripture. However, again, there is a lot more being revealed here, then one can deduce from a passive reading.

When we read verse 15, as it is translated into English, we get the idea that God placed Adam in the garden for the purpose of maintaining the garden. As it states in the NKJV, to tend and to keep it.

But brethren, when we do a careful examination of these Hebrew words, and then research there underlying meaning. We find that this verse is exceptionally rich and has a deep and profound spiritual connotation to it. Let me explain.

Hidden within these two English phrases, “to tend” and “to keep it” lies a vast amount of spiritual insight that God is trying to convey to us, that unfortunately is completely absent from the English translation.

So in the time I have remaining today, I want to examine this sentence more closely, specifically the words translated tend and keep. As I believe we will see, the English translation does a gross injustice both in the translation and the underlying meaning of these words in this context.

Let’s first, look at the word translated “tend” This one Hebrew word is translated into the English phrase “to tend” The Hebrew word is Strong’s # 5647 in Hebrew[abad]

I’m going to quote from the Theological Wordbook of the OT, in regard to this Hebrew word “abad”

Quoting now: “The underlying root meaning of abad, is to worship or obey, and this concept of worship or obedience is often emphasized by the word “abad” being translated into English as “to serve” or “to work”

“The underlying meaning, of either service or work, must then be defined by the surrounding text, as to whether the word describes physical or spiritual service or work” End of quote.

Brethren, notice that a correct application of the word “abad” is defined by the surrounding text. Simply put, the correct meaning of the word, is defined by the context in which it was written.

This is an important point to remember, not only for this particular application, but also for all in depth biblical study.

This point is further emphasized by another text book. I’m going to quote from the “Dictionary of O.T. Theology” Quoting “This term “abad” has a use that encompasses both secular and religious/theological importance. Therefore what appears to be merely a non theological usage is sometimes seen as a religious usage upon closer examination”

And Brethren, I believe that this statement hits the nail on the head with regard to the underlying meaning of GEN. 2.15. When read over passively, especially in the English translations, the meaning seems to be only physical in nature. “To tend, till or work the ground” The KJV uses the word dress, in the phrase “to dress it”

Now brethren, I ask you. Isn’t it just like satan to want to mask the true meaning of such an important question? Why was Adam and Eve placed in the garden? Common answer, “To tend and to keep it” Notice that the underlying emphasis is purely on the physical. Just like satan has deceived the whole world into pursuing purely physical and material endeavors.

However, digging deeper and taking into account the surrounding text, this word takes on a much richer and more theological meaning, as we will see.  In fact if you do a word search in the Strongs concordance under the word serve, you will find that this same word “abad” #5647 is translated serve, several hundred times, most often in a religious context.

And by contrast, it is translated to till, or tiller just 8 times in scripture, and the term dress, which is used in the KJV is only used twice. So we find that the overwhelming majority of the use of this word in scripture, is in relation to spiritual service.

Let’s now look at an example of this same word “abad” translated serve, showing the use of this word in a religious context.

EX. 3.10-12

10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

12 So He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

This same word “abad” is translated serve in the last part of verse 12. “you shall serve God on this mountain”

So, here in EX. 3.12 God tells Moses that the Israelites are to serve God on Mount Sinai. So now, I ask you, how or in what way was the nation of Israel instructed by God to serve Him when the came out of Egypt? It was through their obedience to the 10 commandments was it not?

So we see that the term “abad” translated serve, in EX.3.12 implies obedience to the laws and commandments of God.

Let’s just look at one more example, a familiar scripture. DEUT. 10.12

12 “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Again, the word serve, translated here, “to serve the Lord with all your heart and soul” is abad.

OK, now let’s look at an example, of “abad” in a purely physical sense, correctly translated as till. Gen. 2.5

GEN. 2.5  “before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground”

Abad is here translated “to till” that is, to work the ground. Notice the subject is clearly defined as the ground. And so since this word clearly means work, in a physical sense, here in verse 5, the translators of the NKJV, simply decided to carry the same meaning forward to verse 15.

However, let’s carefully look at the context surrounding verse 15, and reread verse 15 together with the surrounding verses. I’ll begin with the last sentence of verse 14 and read though verse 17.

The fourth river is the Euphrates. 15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Ok, so we see that verse 14 clearly ends one thought, that of describing the 4 rivers, and then we have verses 15-17. Now what is critical to our correct understanding of what God is stating here in verse 15, is to use good bible study skills and apply the meaning of the word “abad” translated here “to tend” in the proper context.

And what is the context? Well God placed Adam in the garden and then gives him a direct command, does He not? God specifically tells Adam that he can eat from all the trees, except one.

Why? Why wasn’t Adam to eat from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Because Adam was to get all of his direction and instruction from God.

God is telling Adam, NOT to decide for himself what is the right and wrong way to live his life. Rather, the Lord God as his Creator was to be Adam’s mentor and instructor. In other words, the Lord alone was to be Adams Lord and Master.

That’s the overall context of these verses, is it not?  So the subject matter is NOT the garden. What is being conveyed here, is that Adam was placed in the garden for the specific reason, to serve God. Which is defined throughout the bible as being obedient to what God says. To obey His voice.

And that is the real essence of the Covenant that we have all made with God, is it not? To love God. And to show our love to Him through our obedience to His way of life, which are defined by the commandants. As Jesus stated in John 14.15, “If you love me, keep the commandments”

So the word “abad” should be correctly translated as serve, not tend, till or dress. And as we will see next, this meaning, that Adam was placed in the garden to serve and obey God, is also supported by the word translated keep.

Let’s look at that word now. The Hebrew word translated into the English phrase “to keep it” is Strongs #8104. In Hebrew it is spelled “shamar” with the meaning of; to keep, guard, observe and heed.

The Theological wordbook states that the “basic idea is to exercise great care over” and that it is Most often used in a religious sense. Examples given are PROV. 19.8 “give heed to understanding” And DEUT 11.32 “Be careful to do, that is to perform all of Gods statues and ordinances”

Continuing to quote: “Shamar” expresses the notion, of paying careful attention to the obligations of the covenant, it’s laws and statutes, ect” And the Theological Wordbook gives a further example siting GEN. 18.19 where Abraham is to command his children to “keep the way of the Lord” to do righteousness and justice.

“Shamar” also means to guard in the sense of “ to take care of or over something” Frequently involving personal discipline, with the need to take heed in respect to ones personal life and actions. Siting the example of Psm. 39.1 where David said  “I will guard my ways lest I sin” and PRV. 13.3 where shamar is translated and used as guarding ones lips or speech.

The word also means “to regard or give heed to” It is used in relation to a mans attitude of paying attention to, and having reverence for God. HOSEA 4.10 states “that Israel had stopped paying heed or has stopped being reverent to God”

The Dictionary of OT Theology states quote “The most common use of the word is to be careful and or diligent in respect to ones religious and spiritual responsibilities”

Brethren, again I believe that this meaning hits the nail on the head, with regard to what God is trying to convey to us in GEN. 2.15

Let me repeat that last quote one more time.  “The most common use of the word “shamar” is to be careful and or diligent in respect to ones religious and spiritual responsibilities”

Siting examples: “Isa 26.2 The righteous nation is defined as one that keeps or remains faithful” 

PROV. 10.17 “ it’s the individual that pays heed to self discipline that finds the path of life”

Let’s turn to a passage that clearly shows that “shamar” means to diligently keep or to follow God’s way of life. DEUT. 4.1-9

 1 “Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you.

2 You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may “keep” the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

 3 Your eyes have seen what the LORD did at Baal Peor; for the LORD your God has destroyed from among you all the men who followed Baal of Peor.

4 But you who held fast to the LORD your God are alive today, every one of you.

5 “Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess.

6 Therefore “be careful” to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’

7 “For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?

8 And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?

9 Only “take heed” to yourself, and “diligently keep” yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren

Shamar, is used 4 times in this passage. It is translated “keep” as in keep the commandments in verse 2. It’s translated as “be careful” as in be careful to observe in verse 6. And most interestingly, it is used in consecutive phrases in verse 9. Only “take heed” to yourself, and “diligently keep” yourself. translated as both take heed and diligently keep.

The Dictionary of OT Theology goes on to state that “the word shamar, is used dozens of times regarding “keeping the commandments” Another familiar example is found in EX. 20.6. Here in the second commandment, God says He will have kindness and mercy on those that “keep” or obey His commandments.

Ok, so let’s summarize and qualify what we have just covered. As I said earlier, if we consult a bible concordance we find that the 2 words translated “to tend” and “to keep it” Are the 2 Hebrew words “abad”  Strongs #5647 and “shamar” #8104.

In this verse, GEN. 2.15 The English word “it”, has been added and therefore gives the unfortunate and I believe, incorrect indication that the subject matter is the garden.

However, contrary to what is conveyed in the English translation, the meaning of these 2 Hebrew words, when taken together and in the proper context with the surrounding verses, render for us a much deeper and profound new understanding.

As we learn from Gen. 1.26, God created and placed Adam in the garden for the purpose of creating Adam and Eve in God’s very own image and likeness. That’s the over all reason why God created mankind.

And as we have heard stated many times over the years, God is creating a Family, the Family and Kingdom of God. That’s the real Gospel that Jesus Christ brought with Him to earth. That’s the great mystery that has been hidden from most of mankind. Which is the real meaning of life itself.

Let’s briefly look at a couple of scriptures that speak of this mystery of life.

1COR.2.7  “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages “For Our Glory” Brethren, this mystery, this hidden wisdom is at it’s essence, salvation. Involving the change of mankind from mortal flesh, to glorious spirit. As it states “For Our Glory”

COL. 1.26-27  “the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, “The Hope of Glory”

Brethren, these few verses sum up for us the entire plan of God, the very reason for our creation and more importantly for our calling. To be formed into the Image and likeness of God the Father Himself, and of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

And that has been God’s plan from the very beginning, has it not? God created Adam with free choice, but God wanted Adam to choose Life. More precisely the Tree of Life.

Therefore, understanding this then, what God is trying to convey to us in GEN. 2.15-17, is that Adam was created and then placed into the Garden for the specific purpose of Serving and Obeying his Creator. “Abad” means to serve, and “shamar” means to obey, or to diligently keep God’s laws and commandments.

Taken in context, that is the real and profound underlying meaning of this verse. And this meaning is further supported by the surrounding verses as well. Adam had been given direct instruct from his Creator.

Adam was not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In other words, Adam was not to decide for himself how to live and conduct his life.

Rather, Adam was to love and obey and therefore serve his Lord by keeping the laws of the covenant which define for all mankind the way to live a Godly life. And therefore to learn through experience, and thus to grow to think and to act just like God, thinks and acts. To develop the mind of Christ.

Brethren, Adam was given the very same instruction, that all of us have been given. To serve God by loving Him, and that’s the bottom line, the crux of the issue. We show our love for God by our obedient service to Him.

We are to be a living sacrifice, we are to sacrifice, or put to death, our own carnal way of thinking and doing things, which is symbolized by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And to replace that way of life, through serving and obeying God’s instructions, which then leads to eternal life, thus symbolized by the Tree of Life.

So what we find in Gen. 2.15-17 and thereafter, is that Adam failed to follow God’s instructions, and therefore Adam and Eve both failed to do what was later accomplished by Jesus Christ the second Adam.[1 Cor. 15.45]

Which was to live a physical life in complete submission and love and reverence for His Creator, by lovingly keeping the entirety of God’s law.

If we turn again to DEUT. 10.12-13, we find the reiteration of the instruction that God gave to Adam in Gen. 2.15, this time, given to the nation of Israel. We read part of this before, but now let’s reread this portion of scripture in it’s entirety.

In my bible, the subtitle over this portion of scripture reads “What the Lord requires”

DEUT. 10.12-13  12 “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve  the LORD  your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep  the commandments  of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?

Again, here at the end of verse 12, the word [serve is “abad” 5647] and at the beginning of verse 13, the word [keep is shamar 8104]  Israel was instructed to serve and keep or serve and obey.  Just like Adam was to serve and to keep God’s eternal laws.

So we see here that God requires the same attitude and conduct from all His people. God desired to dwell with the nation of Israel, just as He wanted to dwell with Adam and Eve.

And therefore the requirements were the same, to serve and obey the Lord. And of course the requirements are also the same for us. God does not change, as it states in Hebrews 13.8,  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

And if Adam and Eve had done that, then they would have lived in the Garden of Eden, with there Creator and would have gained access to the Tree of Life, which is symbolic of being nourished and feed by and through the Holy Spirit, just as we  are today.

So in rapping up this understanding of Gen. 2.15. I what to turn over to DEUT. 6, and read some of those verses in light of the understanding we now have regarding these 2 Hebrew words “abad” and “shamar” I want you to notice how often these terms are used in relation to keeping God’s law. Particularly the word shamar.

In Deut. chapter 5, we have Moses restating the 10 commandments to the nation of Israel. OK, lets pick up this continuing thought in DEUT. 6.1-5

1 “Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the LORD your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, 2 that you may fear the LORD your God, to keep[8104 shamar] all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged.

3 Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, [this phrase be careful to observe, is again translated from 8104, shamar] that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you—‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’

4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

OK drop to verses 10-13   “So it shall be, when the LORD your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build,

11 houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant—when you have eaten and are full— 12 then beware,[8104 shamar] lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 13 You shall fear the LORD your God and serve Him, [serve is 5647 abad].

Drop to verse 17 You shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, His testimonies, and His statutes which He has commanded you.

Now again, I find this verse very interesting. Both the English word “diligently” and the next word “keep” are both translated from the Hebrew word shamar 8104.

As we saw earlier, in DEUT. 4.9,  God is doubly emphasizing the importance of being obedient to Him.

This verse reads “You shall shamar shamar the commandments of the Lord your God”

And one further example in this chapter, the last 2 verses, DEUT.. 6.24-25

And the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day. 25 Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the LORD our God, as He has commanded us.’

Again the word careful in verse 25, is rendered from shamar 8104.

I wanted to go through these verses just to reemphasize the fact that these 2 Hebrew words abad and shamar are used numerous times in scripture in relation to being faithful to Gods laws and being obedient to His way of living, which by doing so we know, ultimately leads to eternal life with our Creator.

So with this understanding of how these 2 Hebrew words are used throughout the scriptures in relation to having a covenant relationship with God. I believe that it is clear that abad and shamar, which are used in Gen. 2.15 do not merely mean that Adam is to do physical work in the garden.

Rather the meaning is much more personal and profound. Adam is being given personal instruction, the very same instruction that God has also given to us. Adam was to obey and to serve His Creator for his own physical and spiritual well being.  

Let’s turn back a couple of pages to DEUT. 4.40  “You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the LORD your God is giving you for all time”

Now, we can easily apply this verse to Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve did not serve God and keep His commandments.

And so what was the result of there disobedience? Well the very opposite of what we just read. things did not go well for either Adam and Eve, nor there descendants, and they did not prolong there days in the land.

As I covered last time, a careful study of scripture, raises some doubt as to whether Adam and Eve even kept that first Sabbath with their Creator. Since the scriptures are completely mute on that point.

So what God is telling Adam in GEN. 2.15, is that if he would serve and love His Creator, by faithfully obeying Him, that it would be well with him, and that Adam and Eve and there prosperity would have lived in the garden of Eden.

And we might further extrapolate, that just like with the coming Kingdom of God, Adams descendants would have expanded the garden to eventually cover the whole earth.

And that brethren, I believe is the real profound meaning and intent of why Adam was placed in the garden.

So in summation, let’s recap what we have covered today. We have seen that through a closer examination of the scriptures, that God the Father and the Lord God, who later began Jesus Christ were both instrumental in the recreation of the earth after the original flood.

Furthermore, we have discovered that on Day 1, of the recreation, that God set the earth in motion upon it’s axis, and thus giving us the 24 hour cycle of day and night.

And then likewise, on the 4th Day, God set the moon in it’s present orbit around the earth and the earth in orbit around the sun. And thus, through these events, God has given us instruction and the mechanism whereby we can properly discern His appointed times.

And finally, with regard to GEN.2.15. By a careful and reasoned study of the Hebrew text, coupled with the relevance of the surrounding context, we have seen that contrary to the simplistic English translation-

Adam was created and placed into the garden, not to tend and to keep the garden, but rather to serve and obey His Creator.

The rich and profound meaning of the Hebrew text informs us that God had given Adam the very same duties, responsibilities and instructions that He has also given to all Christians down through time.

As Christians, we serve God through our obedience to His will. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. So it is through our loving obedience that we learn to grow and become molded into the very image of God Himself. Just like Jesus Christ was the exact image of our Father in heaven.

As it states in HEB. 5.8-9 Jesus Christ “learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.

Well, since we spent so much time in the front of the book today, I thought I would conclude todays message with one final scripture from the end of the book. Please turn with me to REV. 22.12-14

And as we read these verses, let it serve as a reminder that the pure simple message of the way to salvation is the same throughout the entire bible. God does not change and neither does His plan, nor the requirements for all mankind.

REV. 22.12-14 Jesus Christ says:  “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.

13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”

14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.

Brethren, let’s take this promise and also this warning to heart. And let’s continue to do all that is in our power to finish the calling that we have been given. So that when this scripture finally becomes a reality, and our Glorious Savior does return, that we will succeed where Adam and Eve had previously failed.

Let us strive to serve and obey our Creator so that we may have a right to the Tree of Eternal Life.

Thomas C. Trinka

July 3, 2010

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