(The Information & Edification Series – Batch 4)
God sometimes chooses to use patterns in the way he operates and the Bible, his Word is full of patterns. Some are expressly referred to as patterns, while others can be observed in repetitions of words or practices and similarity in the way that scriptures are structured.
For example, if you read and study the letters of the glorified Jesus to the seven Churches in Revelations, you will see patterns in all seven of the letters and in the way they were structured. For example, in every letter, Jesus opens by referring to a different attribute of himself, as was already described by John in chapter 1. He also ends every letter with the words, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” and reminds the Church of what awaits the person that overcomes.
As another example, in 1 Timothy 1:15-16, Paul expressly stated:
- “…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a PATTERN to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”
In Hebrews 8:1-5 and 9, there is also a clear pattern or similarity between what used to exist under the Old Covenant and the Old Testament and what now applies under the New Covenant and the New Testament. This was the way that God would have it, although what Jesus did to usher in the New Covenant was far superior to what formerly existed under the Old.
Under the Old and New Covenants for example, there was and is a High Priest, a Tabernacle (Sanctuary) and the shedding of blood, which the High Priest offered to God for the forgiveness of sin.
The Word of God states of Jesus our High Priest under the New Testament and of the similarities with the system which previously existed under the Old Testament, as an imitation or shadow of heavenly things:
- “…We have such an HIGH PRIEST, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the SANCTUARY, and of the true TABERNACLE, which the Lord pitched, and not man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the PATTERN shewed to thee in the mount…”
- “Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly SANCTUARY. For there was a TABERNACLE made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
- Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first TABERNACLE, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the HIGH PRIEST alone ONCE every year, NOT WITHOUT BLOOD, WHICH HE OFFERED for himself, and for the errors of the people…
- But Christ being come an HIGH PRIEST of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect TABERNACLE, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but BY HIS OWN BLOOD he entered in ONCE into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit OFFERED HIMSELF without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
- And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament…Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the PATTERNS of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us”
At this point, you’re probably wondering, what does all this talk about patterns have to do with the Garden of Eden and the Garden of Gethsemane?
Well, it serves as a backdrop to what I realized for the first time this morning, as I read God’s Word: There is a pattern that can be seen, between the two Gardens!
Let’s take a closer look.
ADAM IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN
After God had made the first man Adam and saw that what he had created was good, he put him into the garden of Eden. Notably, at this point, Adam was upright and no sin had yet entered the world. He therefore had fellowship with God and God was so delighted with him, that he even brought the animals he created to him, to see what he would name them, allowing whatever he called them, to be their names.
The Bible states that Adam was placed in the garden of Eden “…to dress it and to keep it.” (Genesis 2:15). God therefore gave him the job of GARDENER.
However, after Adam and his wife Eve chose to disobey a command that God have given, sin entered, Adam fell, his close walk with God was destroyed and he was put out of the garden of Eden. In furtherance of the punishment that God put on him for his disobedience, he was demoted from the position of Gardener, sent out to toil the ground which God cursed and he and his descendants debarred from access to ETERNAL LIFE ON EARTH.
In Genesis 3:17-19 and 22-24, it reads of God:
- “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the GROUND for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.; Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the SWEAT of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return...
- 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 FOREVER: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from when he was taken. 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.”
JESUS IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE – A PATTERN EMERGES
In John 18:1, Jesus, like Adam was in a garden. It was called the Garden of Gethsemane. Whereas Adam was upright before he chose to disobey God and God delighted in him, Jesus was perfect, absolutely sinless and in him, God was well pleased.
Adam faced a battle of wills in the garden of Eden and Jesus faced a battle of wills in the garden of Gethsemane.
Like Adam, Jesus had been given a clear mission or mandate from God the Father and had the free will to choose to obey it or not. Like Adam, a decision had to be made, whether to obey God’s instruction or to assert his own will and way.
It does not seem though that Adam put up any fight in the battle to obey or not to obey God. When presented with two options, he non-hesitatingly it seems, chose to assert his free will to disobey God.
Whereas Adam decided to pull AWAY from God and do what he wanted to do, the more Jesus wished he could get out of his mission, the more he pulled CLOSER to God the Father through prayer, so that his will would be submitted to His and he would find strength to complete the mission.
Luke 22:39-42, 44 states of Jesus:
- “…And his disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, jf thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done…And being in agony he prayed more earnestly…”
One of the by-products of Adam’s DISOBEDIENCE was that by the SWEAT of his face, he would eat bread (Genesis 3:19). This signified pain, hardship, toil and the sorrow that he and all of mankind as his descendants, would endure, as a result of his disobedience.
However, one of the by-products of Jesus’ resolve to OBEY God and therefore, to pray when his spirit was exceedingly sorrowful (Matthew 26:38) was that he SWEAT as it were great drops of blood which fell down to the ground (Luke 22:44).
I think it to also be significant that, while Adam’s SWEAT was to be a reminder of his disobedience as he toiled the GROUND, which God had cursed, here was Jesus, many years later, choosing obedience to God and while mustering up the strength to go to the cross, his SWEAT fell down to the GROUND.
That same ground in which God had told Adam after his disobedience in Genesis 3:17 and by implication, all of his descendants, that “…cursed is the GROUND for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life” was the same ground on earth, which, many years later, the sweat of Jesus fell, as he battled to submit to the will of his Father.
This, to my mind is indicative of the CURSE that came to humanity through Adam and his disobedience and the REDEMPTION that has been made available to humanity through Jesus Christ and his obedience.
I believe this to be significant. I see it as a prelude to the redemption story, whereby in Jesus’ resolve to obey God the Father and to die a painful and shameful death for the sins of the world while hanging on the cross, mankind would be redeemed from the curse of sin and reconciled to God, once they believed that Jesus Christ rose up from the dead and confessed with their mouth that he is Lord.
It reminds me of Galatians 3:13 where it states, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”
WHILE IN THE GARDEN therefore, Adam chose to DISOBEY God, DEVIATE FROM HIS GOD-GIVEN MISSION and do his own thing. He was therefore DEMOTED FROM THE POSITION OF GARDENER, debarred from ETERNAL LIFE ON EARTH and CHERUBIMS and a flaming sword were placed by God to guard the path to the tree of life. If Adam or any of his descendants ever tried to return therefore, they would be fought against so as to keep them out.
Conversely, WHILE IN THE GARDEN, Jesus chose to SUBMIT to God the Father and NOT DEVIATE FROM HIS GOD-GIVEN MISSION and do his own thing. He prayed earnestly and once he had resolved to do the will of his Father, God sent an ANGEL unto him from heaven, not to fight against him but to strengthen him for the will of God the Father that he was about to do.
Luke 22:43 states “And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.”
Not surprisingly, after Jesus rose from the dead and was seen by Mary at the site where his body had been laid in a tomb, she, weeping because she thought that someone had removed Jesus’ body, thought that Jesus was the GARDENER. (John 20:15).
She may have thought this because her eyes were all cloudy with tears and maybe because of how Jesus may have been attired. However, I think that it is significant and indicative of the then finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross for the sins of the world and the opportunity for the reinstatement of mankind.
That is, Adam, in choosing to disobey God was demoted from his God-ordained position of Gardener in Eden and now Jesus, who Mary mistook for the Gardener, in him choosing to obey God was now the way, the truth and the life wherein man’s dignity could be reinstated through forgiveness for their sin and reconciliation with God.
As a result of Adam’s disobedience, he and mankind in general were DEBARRED FROM ETERNAL LIFE ON EARTH and put out of Eden, wherein Adam had previously enjoyed in his pre-sin state, the presence of God. Now, as a result of Jesus’ obedience, mankind is GRANTED ACCESS TO ETERNAL LIFE IN HEAVEN and invited, upon exercising faith in Jesus Christ, into the presence of God.
The Garden of Eden is therefore representative to me, of man’s disobedience, disgraceful fall, demotion and denial of access to eternal life on earth, whereas the Garden of Gethsemane is indicative of Christ’s obedience where he chose to go to the cross and to shed his blood as a propitiation or satisfaction for our sins, resulting in mankind’s redemption, restoration, reinstatement into right standing with God and the granting of access to him of eternal life in heaven.
As 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 declares: “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
Romans 5:1-2 and 12-21 further reads:
- “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have ACCESS by faith into this grace wherein we STAND, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God…Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned…
- Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to CONDEMNATION, but the free gift is of many offences unto JUSTIFICATION. For if by one man’s OFFENCE death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the GIFT of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
- Therefore as by the offence of one JUDGMENT CAME upon all men to CONDEMNATION; even so by the righteousness of one the FREE GIFT CAME upon all men unto JUSTIFICATION of life.
- For as by ONE MAN’S DISOBEDIENCE many were made SINNERS, so by the OBEDIENCE OF ONE shall many be made RIGHTEOUS…That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
It was in the Garden of Eden therefore, that mankind made the decision (through Eve’s unbelief), to disobey and rebel against God, plunging us into condemnation and it was in the Garden of Gethsemane that Jesus made the decision to obey and submit to the will of God, raising us up (those who believe) in redemption.
(Written on 28th April, 2021, conclusion added thereafter)