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THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL (BAD)
CONSEQUENCES OF ADAM'S REBELLION, THE CURSE
THE SEED OF PROMISE
THE CRUSHING OF THE SERPENT AND GARDEN REESTABLISHED
DISCIPLESHIP AND THE DAY OF THE LORD

THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL (BAD)

“from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:17 (NAS):

During our last session we saw and learned that Adam was both a king and a priest ruling the earth under the authority of the Lord. This week we will pick up our discussion by examining the implications of this position and its relation to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. To begin with, let us better understand what the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was. 

  1. The Tree and the Knowledge of Good and Bad: Wisdom.

To help us better understand what this tree was, we will change the word in its title from, “evil,” to, “bad.”  This is because the Hebrew word used (rā) does not necessarily denote a moral issue when speaking of things that are “bad.” There are plenty of things in life that are good things, but in certain situations would be considered bad.  To determine what is good and what is bad in such situations one would need wisdom; this is what the tree of the knowledge of good and bad offered to the humans, wisdom.  So what was the problem?

  1. Adam as King and the Tree. 

God established himself as king over the heavens and the earth, and as such has perfect wisdom to rule over his creation righteously. His ways lead to life and flourishing abundant! As we have discussed, God placed Adam on the earth as a king to rule under his authority to spread this life and flourishing out to the rest of earthly creation. In order to do this, however, Adam needed to depend on the Lord for the knowledge of right and wrong, good and bad, wisdom. If Adam was going to rule the earth rightly he needed to learn wisdom and knowledge from the Lord.  Adam dare not rely on himself or his own wisdom, nor should he reach his hand out to take wisdom from any other source. This was where Adam as king/priest, and the tree of the knowledge of good and bad intersect. The temptation offered to Adam by the serpent was, in its essence, a temptation towards self-reliance. Adam was being tempted to bypass the Lord, king most high, on the journey of growing in wisdom to rule.  Thus, as with all sin, pride was the root in the heart of Adam leading him to take the fruit.

CONSEQUENCES OF ADAM'S REBELLION, THE CURSE

To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16–19 (NAS): 

  1. To the Woman. 
  1. Pain in childbirth 
  2. Tensions within the relationship between husband and wife/ man and woman

Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. 18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; 19 By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:17-19 (NAS)

  1. To the Man.
  1. General curse on the ground/all of creation (epitomized by thorn)
  2. Toil, hardship, and frustration
  3. Death
  1. Defining the Curse
  1. The curse is God ordained animosity, enmity, pain, limitations, sufferings, futility, corruption, frustrations, disappointments and death upon Satan, mankind, animals and the earth in this age (Gen 3:14-19; Rom 8:18-25) *We need ongoing consecration and prayer*
  2. Purpose – The curse is God orchestrated as an instrument and mechanism to bring about the humbling of the pride of man as well as to help confront independence and mortality, creating the scenario for mankind to put their faith in God and set their hope on the Day of the Lord (Isaiah 2). As self reliance was the culprit behind Adam’s sin, so God placed the humans in a situation that further exposed their need for dependence on him, and in which faith is the only response that leads to future salvation. As the curse is God ordained to curb the pride of man and to train his people in righteousness, we are not called to “reverse the curse” in this age but to wait patiently on God to remove the curse in the age to come. (Zech 14:1-11; Rev 22:1-5). The curse is upon the creation itself and the earth groans for liberation (Rom 8:18-25). The curse should actually be seen in light of the mercy of God. God is continually searching, assisting and helping all of mankind to be exposed and known for who they are without God. The curse in the earth is an ongoing daily confrontation to show mankind that we are not made for independence but are in great need to repent and turn to God in faith day by day. 
  1. Post Rebellion Reality
    1. The rebellion of Adam ushered humanity into a post “fall” reality in which we and all creation are now in an age of..
      1. Sin
      2. Death
      3. Curse

THE SEED OF PROMISE

The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life;15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel. Genesis 3:14–15 (NAS)

  1. Protoevangelium (First Gospel). 
    1. The above verse has been called the Protoevangelium, because it is understood to be the first mention of the Gospel by God. It is as a seed of hope, planted into the hearts of the human race after receiving the news of their coming punishment. 
  1. The Seed of the Woman
    1. Genesis 3:15 concludes with an oracle from God that a “Seed” from the woman will crush the head of the serpent. This seed of the woman will also receive a blow to the heel. 
    2. Later Jewish reflections on this passage developed and expounded upon it under the inspiration of God.  They came to understand that this was a promise from God that a coming Seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent, that at that time..
      1. Sin, death, and the curse would be removed from off of creation 
      2. The Garden reality would be restored including the Edenic blessing
      3. The Ademic position would be restored (king/priest)
      4. The dead would be raised 
      5. And of course, the serpent would be crushed
    3. Indeed, the narrative of Genesis 3 reflects this understanding as Adam’s response to God’s oracle shows. The promise of Genesis 3:15 comes first, followed by the curse to the woman and the man. Immediately following the curse narratives, Adam is recorded to have named his wife, Eve, meaning, “life,” or, “living,” because, “she was the mother of all the living.” Genesis 3:20 (NAS). Through the woman, the life giving Seed would come. 
    4. This promise of a seed to come was passed down through the generations and later promises by God. As we will see later, the promised seed of the woman becomes the promised seed of Abraham, the promised seed of David, and the Seed of Mary, Messiah Jesus. 
    5. With hindsight, it is obvious when the serpent delivered the blow to the heel of the Seed, this would be at Jesus’ first coming. Jesus was struck, but rose again to eternal life.

THE CRUSHING OF THE SERPENT AND GARDEN REESTABLISHED

Then the Lord, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!  In that day there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle. For it will be a unique day which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but it will come about that at evening time there will be light.  And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter. God Will Be King over all and the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one.  All the land will be changed into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; but Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site from Benjamin’s Gate as far as the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s wine presses. People will live in it, and there will no longer be a curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security.  Zechariah 14:5–11 (NAS)

  1. The Day of the Lord in the Scriptures 
    1. As we journey forward in the storyline of the Bible, we will come across a major motif used by the authors of the Scriptures, “the Day of the Lord.” This day is both great and terrible (Joel 2:31), it is a day of wrath (Zachariah 1:18, Romans 2:5), and of restoration (Acts 3:21), when God will deal with the pride of man finally, and will restore what was lost in original creation.
      1. Joel 
      2. Isaiah 2:17 (NAS): The pride of man will be humbled and the loftiness of men will be abased; And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day,
  2. The Blessed Hope
    1. The Day of the Lord is the Day of the return of Messiah Jesus! It is the glorious hope that belongs to our salvation! 
      1. Titus 2:13 (NAS): looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus
  3. The Suddenness of The Day of the Lord
    1. The pride and rebellion of Adam and human kind created a situation that needed a response. The Day of the Lord is God’s response. The Day of the Lord will be sudden and climactic (Matthew 24:42-43), and will so overturn the current order of things, both governmentally and environmentally, that it creates a framework in which the Bible communicates in terms of two ages- this age (current evil age), and the age to come (age of light) after the Day of the Lord.       
      1. Mark 10:30 (NAS): but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.
  1.   God’s Sovereignty in Human History 
  1. The biblical testimony presents human history as moving in one direction, ever moving towards the Day of the Lord.  God is sovereignly orchestrating all of human history towards this Day, all of life must be interpreted in this way to be biblically faithful. This also gives a much needed perspective on life and history to help us understand the chaos that goes on in this age. We are in a God ordained age of suffering in which satan has dominion, but God is orchestrating history towards a dramatic reversal of these realities!
  2. The Day of the Lord is such a significant event in the testimony of the biblical narrative, that the Bible speaks of all of human history in terms of everything before the Day of the Lord, and everything after the Day of the Lord. 
  3. Human history is bookended as witnessed to in the first parts of Genesis and the latter parts of Revelation. 
    1. Revelation 22:1–5 (NAS): Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 2 in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.3 There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; 4 they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.5 And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever. 
    2. The Bible is not only consistent from beginning to end, it has a perfect symmetry. The last 3 chapters of Revelation mirror the first 3 of Genesis. At the beginning of Genesis we find the creation, the planting of the Garden of Eden, the marriage of Adam and Eve, and the victory of the serpent. At the end of Revelation, we find the new creation, the restoration of the Garden of Eden, the marriage of Yeshua and His bride, and the defeat of the serpent. In Genesis 3 man sins. In Revelation 20 (3rd from the end), sin comes to its final judgment. [Revelation 20 explains that the serpent of Genesis 3 was actually Satan.] … Everything in Genesis was done with the final perfection of Revelation already in mind. Before God wrote the first pages of His book, He had a happy ending planned for the last few chapters.”

DISCIPLESHIP AND THE DAY OF THE LORD

But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:5–8 (NAS)

  1. Living in Light of His Coming
    1. We as disciples of Jesus must begin the journey of reorienting our lives around the Day of the Lord and the return/appearing of Jesus. What we do in this age matters.  The scriptures orient their exhortation around the coming Day, instructing disciples to live lives of righteousness in light of that Day (Titus 2:11-15)
      1. Hebrews 10:23–25 (NAS): 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
    2. God will render to every person according to their deeds, to those who seek for glory and honor and immortality by perseverance in doing good,  he will give entire life. But to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and indignation from God. (Romans 2:5-8)
      1. Romans 2:9–10 (NAS): There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 
  2. The Giving of the Spirit and The Return of Jesus.
    1. The Holy Spirit is understood in these terms as well, because in the midsts of the perseverance of faith, “the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” Romans 8:26 (NAS).  The giving of the Spirit now, is a first fruits down payment of a future full inheritance in the age to come (Romans 8:23, Ephesians 1:13-14). It is God’s gift given for the purpose of perseverance of faith until we all attain to the glory of the full inheritance, the adoption as sons/daughters which is the resurrection of our bodies at the Day of the Lord! (Romans 8:11-30)

God’s justice and mercy are great! He will restore what was lost! He will give his people the glorious age to come and judge unrighteous in the earth! And he will strengthen to the end those who have faith in Messiah Jesus! 

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  Hebrews 12:1–3 (NAS)