Prominent in Christian places of worship, enshrined in Christian homes, dangling over Christian cars’ dashboards, worn by Christians, even tattooed on their bodies, what is…
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This is the third part of a series of five stories on the Messiah’s names Jesus and Immanuel. Why was Christ given these two distinct names and what do they really mean to us. Please read the first, and the second if you haven’t as background to this story.
In my previous post, I described the four realms where one may find his (or her) existence in this earthly life before his appointment with God, his Maker. The image above briefly illustrates them. In this article, we revisit the genesis of man and the habitation which God prepared to sustain him. What is their spiritual significance to our human life?
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. (Genesis 2:7, KJV)
1. First, God formed man out of the dust of the ground — he has a body, the physical being.
2. Second, God breathed into him the breath of life — he has a spirit, the spiritual being, through which he can communicate and fellowship with his Maker, God.
3. Third, God formed in man a soul, the psychological being, giving him a personality (mind, emotion, and will).
The New Testament apostles identify these three beings.
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23, KJV)
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12, KJV)
In a somewhat similar way, these beings may be compared with the three branches of government of a country like the U.S.A. which are as follow:
1. Executive Branch (carries or acts out laws) —can be compared to the human body or Physical Being. This is the visible part.
2. Legislative Branch (makes laws, forms the Constitution) — compares to the human spirit or Spiritual Being. Although in God’s kingdom it is God, who is Spirit, He makes the laws, and the human spirit merely receives it.
3. Judicial Branch (interprets, discerns, and arbitrates laws) — compares to the human soul or his Psychological Being.
Initially, America and some other Christian countries pledge to be a nation under God for their constitution was founded on biblical principles. Long ago, it ceased to be. Present-day human governments more often act independently from God. Without regard to God’s laws and commands, they do what is good in their own imagination.
Even with the current administration, America is reminiscent of Israel during the time of the prophet Samuel when its leaders rejected God to reign over them so that they may be like all the other (ungodly) nations (1 Samuel 8:6–20).
1 Samuel 8, verses 6–11 testifies:
6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.
7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, “Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. 8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken Me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. 9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.
10 And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king. 11 And he said, “This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you…”
Verses 18–20 continues:
18 “And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.” 19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “Nay; but we will have a king over us; 20 That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.”
It is not so with God and His intention for man.
Let us return to Genesis. As God is the giver of life, He is also the sustainer of it so He prepared a habitation and planted a garden to support man’s existence.
And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed. (Genesis 2:8, KJV)
“And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:9)
Corresponding to the three beings of man, God presented to him three kinds of trees in the garden:
1. First, every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food to feed his body or his physical being.
2. Second, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden to sustain his spirit or his spiritual being,
3. Third, the tree of knowledge (discernment) of good and evil for his soul or his psychological being. However, God gave man specific command against eating from this particular tree.
‘The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden (including the tree of life), 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.”’ (Genesis 2:15–17)
Therefore, in that command, God’s principle was established and the destiny for man was set. You may freely eat of every tree in the garden, including the tree of life, but in particular, of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, “you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Disobedience to God’s command brings death to man. God’s servant Moses reminded them of this warning in Deuteronomy 30:15-18 (KJV):
15–16 “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil, in that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply; and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.”
17–18 “But if thine heart turn away so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare unto you this day that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land whither thou passest over the Jordan to go to possess it.”
Disobedience to God’s commandment brings death to man.
Although there are three trees presented to man, there are only two trees of which he may freely eat. And there are only two ultimate destinies God destined for all mankind beyond this earthly temporal existence. Both are eternal:
Eternal life in Heaven (or Ouranos in the Greek translation) above with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3–4) for those who live in obedience to God’s instructions, or…
Eternal torment in Hell (or Gehenna) below with the devil and his angels for those who live in disobedience to God’s commands (Matthew 25:41)
Where he goes finally, will depend on which tree he partakes of when the great (judgment) day of the LORD comes.
How does that work? Let’s break it down briefly.
All throughout the Scriptures, God placed crucial importance on absolute obedience to His command as the key to a blessed life of fellowship with Him, with His complete provision, and with His full protection.
Of these trees, a man may freely eat to sustain his physical existence on this physical earth. However, this physical earth will perish (Isaiah 50:6; 2 Peter 3:10–12), and eating from these trees alone will not sustain him beyond the physical and will not fulfill God’s purpose in creating man. This is the realm of Adam (of the old creation).
In order to be where God intended man to be, that is, to be in God’s image, likeness, and glory, man needs to eat from the other tree, the Tree of Life. This tree he may freely eat to keep him in the spiritual presence of God and prepare him for his eternal existence with Christ in God.
When this physical earth perishes, is when the promised eternal life kicks in (Mark 10:30 & Luke 18:30). This eternal life comes from the eating of the tree of life (Genesis 3:22). 1 John 5:11–12 says that eternal life is in the Son of God.
“And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life, and he who does not the have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:11–12)
Therefore, the tree of life is Christ Himself. Eating from the tree of life (Christ, as the Word of God, John 1:1) man will be conformed to the image of the Son of God (Romans 8:29). This is the realm of the Spirit.
But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, man is forbidden to eat. I must point out that the fruit of this tree is not good or evil as some teach. The fruit of this tree is knowledge, (or discernment) of knowing what is good or what is evil. And the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil…” (Genesis 3:22). To partake of its fruit is disobedience, a rebellion against God’s word (His commandment). Disobedience cast man out of the garden of God, outside God’s provision, protection, and fellowship. Except he repents, his destiny is set for eternal death. This is the realm of Sin, with Satan.
We will answer that in the next chapter as we continue with this series.
God bless you!
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