Gen 3:22-24 Guarding The Way To The Tree of Life!

(Ver 1.5)  This is Part 6 of the Bible lesson series on Understanding Genesis 3.  I am going to take this subject out of sequence and teach a 2 part Bible Study series on the Tree of Life first mentioned in Genesis 2.  From reaching in this 3rd chapter of Genesis we discover the story of how Eve was deceived by the serpent into eating from the spiritual tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil.  Adam then listened to his wife’s voice and he also ate from the same tree.  The Bible says Adam was not deceived (1 Tim 2:14) so whatever he did was an intentional rebellious act of disobedience to commit sin.  If you have ever studied the Bible, you know that God shows up on the scene and places curses on each party involved in Genesis 3 and I have not taught on these subjects yet.  However, we know from scripture (1 Jn 4:12) that no man has ever seen God.  This fact would include Adam or 1 John 4:12 is not a true statement from God.  So how did God curse everyone without making himself visible to them?  That is an interesting point to consider, but since it is not my subject today, I’ll leave it alone for your consideration.   Now after Adam’s sin, we have the man and woman in covenant with Satan, the symbolic serpent of old.   We can now get to today’s subject from Genesis, guarding the way to the tree of life.    Who was God trying to keep from eating from the tree of life?  You can make the logical conclusion that if God wanted to guard the way to the tree of life, there must have been someone who was greatly interested in it.  You don’t place guards on your garbage piles so it must have been something of great value to someone.  So, who was after this tree of life?    What exactly is this tree of life?  Why is it important to keep it safely out of the hands of someone?  So many questions to consider?  Let’ start with the 22nd verse of Genesis 3 and see what God says to us:

Gen 3:22  And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

I’ve already addressed the 1st part of this verse in another blog so I will not rehash that part of the verse.  It is just important to note that God says the man has become like Him, in covenant with good and evil.  That is some very powerful information, and it helps give us some foundational information for why God came in the flesh.  If you need more information, please go back and read the Blog on “Gen 3:5 You Shall Be As God Knowing Good and Evil!“.  Now pay attention to how God ends that verse.  God says “because the man might also eat from the tree of life and live forever…”.   Then God abruptly stops talking.  This is one of the only places in the Bible that I know of where God doesn’t finish His sentence or His thought.  God stops talking and leaves us wondering what was He going to say?  Based upon the creation account in Genesis 1, we can see that whatever God says happens, so I would venture to guess that God did not want what He was thinking to come to pass so He shut His mouth and stopped talking about it.   But that is just my opinion on the verse.   But, I do think that is a powerful lesson for us all to learn from.

Let’s briefly address whether this is a physical tree or a spiritual tree.  If it was just a physical tree why couldn’t God have just cursed the tree like Jesus did with the fig tree in Mark and bam the tree would not be a problem anymore.   You see I do not believe it is a physical tree, with physical fruit.  In this verse God says that the man could have “put forth his hand” and taken from the tree.  What does that reference invoke in your mind?  Most would think that it is speaking of Adam’s physical hand reaching out and picking a natural apple from a natural fruit tree.  But I do not believe this is what God is saying.  The term “hand” is a reference to power and ability.  Adam had the power and ability to eat from the tree even after they had eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  The word hand is a very popular word in the Old Testament.  It occurs over 1400 times.  Many times it is used in reference to a individual’s power and ability.  Here is just one example of this found in the book of Job.  Satan is in conversation with God about Job and he makes this statement to God:

Job 1:11  But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

You can see the reference here to God putting forth his hand.  This is clearly the same terminology used in Genesis 3.  Satan was telling God if he used his power to “touch” all that Job had, Satan thought that Job would curse God.  Without getting into the story of Job, I will tell you that God did not take anything from Job.  God did not hearken to the voice of his wife and do the wrong thing, like Adam did.  What I want you to see is the reference that God has a hand that can be stretched forth.  If the Spirit of God has a hand it must be spiritual.  Just understand the difference between a spiritual hand and a physical hand and both are called a hand.  This is one of the trickiest ways God has used to conceal information in the Bible.  Speak of spiritual things in natural terms and then challenge your reader to figure it out.

Apparently, Adam had power and ability and was still capable of eating from the tree of life and living forever even after God said he would surely die.  Obviously Adam did not understand what had happened, much less how to eat from the tree of life.  We know from Genesis 2, that God had commanded the man not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  But God never said anything about not eating from the tree of life.  There appears to be an assumption that eating from the tree of life is good.  But now that Adam was in covenant with Satan, what does God do?  Who is God attempting to keep from the tree of life?

Gen 3:23  Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

We can see from this verse that the man and his wife are sent out of the garden of Eden.  They are returned to the ground from where he was originally created.  Exactly where was that?  Where was Adam created in relation to the Garden of Eden?  The Bible tells us if you look for it and pay close attention.  Let’s go back to Genesis 2 and read:

Gen 2:7  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.

You can clearly see that this is the creation account of the body of Adam.  Adam’s body was formed from the dust of the ground.  So where was Adam when this occurred?  All you have to do is read the next verse and pay attention to the compass directions given.

Gen 2:8  And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

If the garden of Eden is located to the East of where Adam’s physical body was formed, what direction was Adam and Eve returned to after they had sinned?  If you guessed back to the West, you would be correct.  Why is east and west and these direction so significant?  We can begin to ascertain the importance only after reading the last verse in Genesis 3.

Gen 3:24  So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

So God drives the man out of the Garden and then it says God places a Cherubim at the east of the garden holding a flaming sword to keep the way of the tree of life.  Are you beginning to see the paradox?  Where did God drive Adam?  God put the man and his wife back to the ground where they were created and this was West of the Garden of Eden.  So where was the guarding Cherubim placed?  They were placed to the East of the Garden.  It is so fascinating when you see things correctly, isn’t it?  God is obviously not attempting to keep the man away from the tree of life, if he was he would have placed the Cherubim on the West side where the man was.

(North)

(West) Adam  ——-> Garden of Eden  ——>  Cherubim (East)

(South)

I wrote an earlier blog about the differences between the east and the west.  I will not rehash all of that, but if you study the earth from the context that Israel is the middle of the world, then east of Israel towards Asia you would see that the religions of the world become increasingly darker and in some countries non-existent.  Generally speaking if you move west from Israel you see the majority of the Christian nations in the world being to the West of Israel.  Knowing this fact alone should help you see who God is guarding from the way to the tree of life.  It is not from the Christians, but it is from the enemy of the church, the devil that God is keeping from the way to the tree of life.  If you didn’t realize it, Satan is still looking for a way out of judgment.  Eating from the tree of life would by association mean the establishment of a new covenant relationship with those for who it is intended.  If you have followed what I showed you earlier you know that by Adam eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, it established a covenant between Adam and Satan.  So whoever is intended to eat from the tree of life, Satan is looking to get into covenant with to save his rear end.  The tree of life is mentioned again in the last chapter of Revelation and this chapter starts with this statement:

Rev 22:1  And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

We can see that this verse describes the throne of God and the Lamb.   It declares that there is a river of water of life flowing from the throne.  That of course is an interesting concept since Jesus told us in John 7:38, that out of our bellies will flow rivers of living water.  Our bellies is referring to our spirits, the true inner man.  This reference is about the words that we speak and them being a river of life to others in the world.  So the river of life flowing from the throne of God must also be the Words of God.

Rev 22:2  In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 22:2 now directly mentions the tree of life.  But did you notice where or what this tree is?  It says this tree grows in the middle of the streets around the throne of God.  Who walks the streets of heaven?  I personally believe this is a reference to Christians.  It further says that there are more than one of these trees of life.  In fact if you look closely it implies there are many, many trees of life everywhere surrounding the throne of God.  If you use your brain a little bit you might be able to see that the implication is given to us, that we are the trees of life.  But that might be hard for some to see.  Let’s approach it from a different perspective?  It says this tree is suppose to produce 12 fruits monthly.  Exactly what is fruit?  To the natural mid it is just apples, oranges, grapefruits, etc.  But to the spiritual mind it is much different.  God being a spiritual being is speaking of spiritual trees that produce spiritual fruit.  So what are the fruits of the spirit?  Oh, that changes everything doesn’t it?

I guess I’ll end this blog here and just leave you hanging.  Maybe I have given you some new things to consider and challenged you to think on a higher dimension.  God had to guard “the way” to the tree of life from Satan.  Satan is still after this tree, but I don’t believe he has a shot at it.  You see Jesus said “I am the Way”, so nobody can come to God except Jesus allows him access.  Jesus Christ is the only legal way to this tree of life and if you belong to Him, you now have access to this tree of life to produce the fruit of the spirit.  I’ll try to continue this in another blog to help expand our understanding of this deep subject.

If you would like to continue reading this series on Understanding Genesis 3 you can go to “Part 7“.

About agapegeek

Using the Bible to understand the Bible! Advanced Bible study for mature Chrisitians who want to grow.

Posted on January 15, 2010, in Bible Study, Chapter 3, Genesis and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Here are some things I would like to point out. If the reason the garden was guarded was because satan may partake of the tree, why was he ever allowed access into the garden? That doesn’t make sense since he was there with Eve. I know you state that satan was not physically there the first time and just put thoughts into her mind, but in that scenario if he wasn’t there from the beginning he wouldn’t need to be barred afterwards. To instate an act of barring implies there was access before. If he had access to the tree, why wouldn’t he have partaken then? Just doesn’t add up.

    Also, at first I was intrigued with your points of location with regards to man’s creation, Eden, and then the side that was guarded. But then I read Genesis 4:16 that states Cain dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden. So, I do not feel that the direction it was guarded has any subtile messaging. Sometimes, the Word is just what it is. He drove Adam from Eden, and he then had to til the ground (from whence he was created). He was created from the ground, and now he must til the ground.

    • Thank you very much for reading and studying the Bible. I appreciate your dedication to learn, make comments and raise questions. I’ll start with the end statement first since that is a major key to understanding the subject. No word in the Bible is unimportant or placed there to fill space. Every word has a designed purpose to lead us to truth. The term “Eastward” in Genesis 2 designates the direction from which Adam was formed to the location of the garden. This informs us Adam was first west of Eden and we later learn in Genesis 3 that this was where he was returned after the expulsion from the garden. Before and after Eden Adam was always west. Therefore, the Cherub placed on the east side of the garden was not present to keep Adam out, it is just the wrong side of the garden to guard.

      So why was this Angelic being placed to the east of the Garden? We can answer this by first understanding why God chose a Cherub and not another lower class of angelic being. Cherubs were the most high ranking angels in the Kingdom of God. Lucifer was a cherub. It would NOT require a Cherub to keep man out of the Garden of Eden. A much lower class angel could have done the job just fine. No, a Cherub was selected because he is in the equivalent order of Lucifer and only an equivalent angelic being could have had the power and authority to guard the way from Satan.

      As far as your observation of Cain going to the east after being cursed by God that is also a hidden reference to Satan. Cain is the first human murderer on the earth. We are informed in John 8:34 that Satan was a murderer from the beginning. This fact teaches us that Cain was a symbolic type of Satan. Why is this important? Where did Cain go? Again you pointed out that he went East. of Eden as far from the presence of God as he could. Wow, that is amazing based upon our knowledge of the world today. Where are the majority of the godless nations of the world found? If we use Jerusalem as the dividing line of the world from north to south, the majority of the nations to the west became Christian and the majority of the nations on the east became godless nations following idols or communist.

      Based upon this knowledge who is God still guarding the way to the tree of life from? We know from reading Revelation that it is not Christians because we are given the right to eat of it. This implies those that do not follow after Christ will never have the right to it. Who are these people that are not saved following? It is Satan. I hope this explanation helped with that last paragraph and maybe gives light to your first paragraph. I will attempt to answer the first soon. God Bless you.

    • Ok, let’s address paragraph one now. Your why questions are both very good. The answers are of course found in the Bible. If you search for the word “Eden” you will find it mentioned in Ezekiel 28 in reference to Lucifer. Verses 11-19 describe Lucifer before and after sin was found in him. We learn in verse 13 Lucifer was found in Eden the garden of God and it is implied here that was while he was still in his sinless condition dressed like a high priest with 9 precious stones as his covering. It is interesting to note that when God implemented these stones on the natural nation of Israel breastplate, He added a new row of stones to the nine that were present on Lucifer.
      We also learn from Reading Job 38:7 that Lucifer and all the angels were present when God created our natural universe. In this verse it clearly says the morning star and the sons of God were there to sing and shout for joy at God’s handy work. Now “morning star” is the literal meaning of the name “Lucifer” the Hebrew word H1966. The term “sons of God” is only used for angels in the O.T. and is specifically mentioned to be angels in Job chapters 1 and 2 as beings that present themselves before God’s throne in heaven. Here is another fact. Lucifer is now called by the name of Satan (adversary) in Job 1. This informs us that he is still allowed in heaven even after sin was found in him. Wow, that is profound. We can logically conclude that Satan has a legal right to be in heaven and in any place named Eden based upon these verses that we can read.
      We further learn from reading Matthew 4:1-11 that Satan was given all the kingdoms of this world by the implied Adam in the Garden, otherwise he would not have been able to offer them to Jesus if he would worship him. Therefore, Satan still has a legal right to be on the earth even though he was defeated by Jesus on the cross. I could say a lot more about this subject, but this is all that I have time for now. I pray that it clears up any questions about this subject. God Bless you.

    • Finally, your last question about why Satan if he had access to the garden why did he not partake of the tree? That is also a great question. We must understand that Satan is a created being (Eze 28). We also must understand that he is not omnipresent (Job 1). Then we must understand that Satan is not omniscient (all knowing) (1 Cor 2:8). If Satan is not all-knowing then we know that he does not know everything that God knows. God only gives the right to eat from this tree to ones that are declared righteous. Obviously, Satan does not qualify. But, go back and read Gen 3 again. God does not actually say that there was a physical tree to be guarded. If there is a real physical tree that was to be guarded, then where did it go? Did the angel pluck it up and take it to heaven? Did it die? I mean it must still be somewhere and eating from it must still produce eternal life? If you can answer these questions correctly then you are on the right track.

      I do not believe the tree of life was a physical tree with natural fruit that could be taken and eaten into our stomachs. I probably just lost you and a lot of other people but, please before you stop reading consider this. The book of Proverbs describes the “way” to the tree of life for the righteous. I’m not going to go through every verse in a comment.

      Pro 15:4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.

      This is very profound wisdom given to us by the Spirit of God. God says “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life”. “Good” is synonymous term for “wholesome”. If a tongue that speaks good produces life then the antithesis of an evil tongue will certainly produce “death” as warned by God in Gen 2 to not eat of this tree. It appears to me from reading Proverbs 18:21 “death and life are in the power of the tongue”. Based upon the knowledge or just these two verses it appears that our tongue is an implied tree that produces life or death by our own freewill choice. I believe that it was this WAY to this knowledge that was being guarded from the access of Satan. I hope and pray that people will stop thinking of everything in the Genesis 1-3 in purely literal terms as if two physical trees were the source for human either life or death. God bless you and keep you and cause you to grow in Him an His Grace.

  2. I get so excited when I find out there is a new article…. Thanks for all your hard work and allowing the Spirit of God to teach you. No one teaches like you do. Praise be to God. Ann Goins

  3. Jacqueline Jordan

    You have opened my eyes. I will change my email title.

  4. This lesson is very wonderful and i did learn elot ,my eyes are open.

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