IN THE GARDEN
In the middle of the garden of Eden were planted two trees - the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. As we will see in this writing, Yahweh holds some amazing truths for us in these two central garden plantings, central not only in their locations in the original garden, but equally central in the long term works of Yahweh in mankind. In these two trees, we find represented all that Yahweh will perform in the restoration of His kingdom. And most interestingly, as we will see later in this writing, this entire matter of the kingdom of God leads us to the laws of God revealed in physics. But let us begin this study by examining the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Our study of this tree is by no means exhaustive, but only introductory, for the Scriptures hold far more testimonies concerning it than we can consider in this writing.
THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil had the unique and far reaching
effect that Adam and Eve's partaking of its forbidden fruit meant the death
of all mankind. For 6,000 long and sorrowful years, men have died
for Adam and Eve's part in eating from that tree's forbidden fruit.
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil, along with Satan's deceptive
and corrupting presence and influence, has meant the undoing of carnal man
Because of its wholly encompassing adverse impact upon all men for the entirety of their 6,000 years of history, it is urgingly incumbent that man understand what that eventful and solely determining tree meant. What was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? What did it represent in those first foundational times of mankind? Why was it contrasted in the garden with the tree of life? What does that tree mean for us today, for the future? These are all questions, and more, that are well worth pondering, and will be addressed herein.
How does one approach such an important and encompassing matter as this tree of all men's demise? Let us start by considering what this tree represents for man.
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil goes far beyond being a simple tree of a particular flora. Although it was indeed a specific kind of tree with an edible fruit (to be considered in this work), this tree represented far more than a natural fruit forbidden to man. By its own name we understand that partaking of this tree was to bring a knowledge of both good and evil. What could this mean?
To understand this, let us reference a writing composed over 400 years before Moses received the Genesis account on Mount Sinai. There is a writing entitled The Book of Creation, whose author according to all records was Abraham. In this ancient writing, the five dimensions of this world are identified. In chapter one, verse five of The Book of Creation we read concerning these five dimensions - there is "A depth of beginning / A depth of end, A depth of good / A depth of evil, A depth of above / A depth of below, A depth of east / A depth of west, A depth of north / A depth of south" (The Book of Creation, translated by Aryeh Kaplan [Samuel Weiser, 1990], page 44).
First, let us identify from this ancient account the purely natural three dimensions of space. These are - "A depth of above / A depth of below, A depth of east / A depth of west, A depth of north / A depth of south." Here we find the spatial dimensions of height, width, and depth. “A depth of above / A depth of below” - height. “A depth of east / A depth of west” - width. “A depth of north / A depth of south” - depth.
Next, Abraham identified another dimension that, though being a mystery, is likewise based on or accounted by equally natural parameters. "A depth of beginning / A depth of end" is clearly the fourth dimension of time (to be considered later). But most importantly in this amazing account, we find another dimension uniquely identified as "A depth of good / A depth of evil." What could this be? This fifth dimension is a higher dimension than space and time, and is the dimension of a spiritual kingdom that coexists with the natural world, though its origin is not of this world, but by its placement here on earth in carnal men is therefore distinctly earth-based. As we will see, this fifth dimension is the spiritual kingdom of God on earth. (More on these and other dimensions later in this writing.)
The kingdom of God is a kingdom not of this earth, but is from above, not natural but spiritual. This kingdom seeks to conquer the natural kingdom, not by carnal means but by love and good, not by death but by life, not by force but by yieldedness, that the new kingdom might totally replace the old, not of this world nor in any way receiving the participation of the things of this world, but wholly replacing these earthly things in a much greater and liberated fulfillment of the earthly (John 18:36-37).
But until the perfect fulfillment of this kingdom comes to earth, the visitation of this heavenly kingdom here on earth in carnal men produces a mixed kingdom - that which is from above mixed with that which is of this world, the Spirit mixed with the carnal, both the good from above as well as the evil of this world. Thus we see the fifth dimension expressed here on earth: not the perfect good only from above, but the visitation of the good among the evil, producing a mixed kingdom of good and evil. The spiritual fifth dimension of carnal, earthly man is thus profoundly identified by Abraham as "A depth of good / A depth of evil." This mixed fifth dimension is exactly what existed in the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and is precisely what man has experienced in the church for 2,000 years. The fifth dimension is the kingdom of heaven Yahshua provided to man upon His resurrection, and has been on the earth in carnal man for 2,000 years as the church.
This fruit of both good and evil on earth, the spiritual fifth dimension of the earth, is all that is available for spiritually hungry earthly man to eat of until man can be born from above, not of this world, but born into new, undefiled, incorruptible, supernatural bodies from a new, totally heavenly origin - Jerusalem above. Until man becomes "born from above," as Yahshua declared to Nicodemus (John 3:3), carnal man is limited to solely eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Only when man can be born from above does he have the opportunity to eat from the alternate tree in the garden of Eden - the tree of life. This tree of life is in clear contrast with the death-resulting tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life, in contrast with resulting death, is found in resurrection when men will no longer die. Up to now this life has been forbidden from man. The cherubim that was stationed at the eastern gate of the garden, holding "the flaming sword which turned every direction, to guard the way to the tree of life" (Genesis 3:24), has continued to this day to forbid the entrance of carnal Adam man. Thus we see contrasted:
Carnal man whose only relationship with the spiritual is a fifth dimension mix of good and evil resulting in physical death,
The tree of life that has clearly been forbidden to carnal man and cannot be partaken of except he be born from Jerusalem above into an incorruptible heavenly body.
This is the clear contrast of the earth-based tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the thus far restricted tree of life, barren Jerusalem above (Galatians 4:27).
Much has already been written in THE ISSUE and THE ISSUE - II concerning the church's receipt of the restored kingdom of God. Clearly, the church received the restored garden kingdom that was initially given to Adam and Eve and corrupted by them. Yahshua restored that kingdom via the only link back to the garden, and that was through the all-important vow of the Nazirite (see page 1 of THE ISSUE). Yet even as the initial garden kingdom was corrupted by its recipients partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil with the result that Adam and Eve died, likewise the church has eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil spiritual fifth dimension, the kingdom has been corrupted, and Christians continue to die. And once again, no one, up to now, has eaten from the tree of life. Christians have the promise of that life, yet none have partaken of it, and likewise continue to die.
For two thousand years, the carnal church has known and shown forth the corruption of good and evil. As spoken of by Yahshua, the church-obtained kingdom of God on the one hand has received the good - the "good seed" in the field, the mustard seed, and three pecks of meal. But in keeping with any earth-based kingdom, the church has equally experienced the evil - the tares, the birds of the air, and leaven (Matthew 13:24-33). And it is this mix that is offensive and clearly contrary to the laws and ways of Yahweh. Let us briefly note a few examples of this sure fact.
In the letters to the seven churches, Yahshua writes to the Laodicean church - "you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth" (Revelation 3:15-16). But this rejection by Yahweh of an offensive mix seen here in the church is not some new whim, for we equally find in His laws His rejection of that which is mixed. In Leviticus 19:19 we read - "You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together." It is this offensive and forbidden mix of both good and evil that is exactly what man has accomplished and experienced in the kingdom of God for 2,000 years. Can Yahweh, does Yahweh accept it? Absolutely not! This mix of good and evil is not only offensive, but equally illegal to Yahweh, and results in man's death, rejection, and prohibition from the tree of life first resurrection!
This matter of the church eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was uniquely seen in THE ISSUE - II per the highly prophetic account of Solomon receiving the "kingdom of Yahweh." As discussed, Solomon was a picture or type of the first Remnant who initially received the kingdom of God. These, of course, were those who on Pentecost received the promised former rain of the Holy Spirit, experiencing a highly unique work in Jerusalem up until the stoning of Stephen. And remarkably significant and appropriate, at the very beginning of Solomon's reign, what was it he asked for in his dream but the ability "to discern good and evil" (1 Kings 3:9)? Solomon in prophetic type sought to eat from the fifth dimension tree of the knowledge of good and evil, from which the first Remnant ate, followed of course by the breach church period. Solomon is a clear pattern of the church's partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
In light of the great importance of this tree of all men's demise, Yahweh has provided a number of other important and remarkable testimonies to it that necessitate examination. These are most beneficial to consider. In this writing we will now look at three of these. First, considering not only the great and sorrowful inadequacy, but even the associated ill consequences of knowing both good and evil, we see from a dream given to Pharaoh of Egypt how both good and evil fare out together.
To begin with, Yahweh has given us several specific testimonies that this subject account relates specifically to the church. For example, how much time has the church thus far had in its ministry upon this earth? Of course it has had two full periods of time, or 2,000 years. Therefore in testimony of the thus far completed period of the church, when did Pharaoh have his dream? In Genesis 41:1 we read - "Now it happened at the end of two full years that Pharaoh had a dream, and behold, he was standing by the Nile." These "two full years" are a clear prophetic testimony of the thus far two full 1,000 year periods (or 2,000 years) of the church.
In equal prophetic testimony of the church, the Nile is a prophetic picture of death, even as is the sea. In the Nile the baby boys of the Israelites were cast. Baby Moses, the prophetic first Remnant, was preserved from the Nile river of death by a miniature ark. Not only do we see the 2,000 year testimony of the church in the "two full years" of Pharaoh, but in the Nile River we also see the death testimony of the two parts, or 2,000 years, of the church that, according to Zechariah 13:7-9, is cut off and perishes by death. Thus we see here two clear testimonies that this dream relates specifically to the thus completed two parts or 2,000 years of the kingdom-of-God-receiving church that has continued to die. We will consider an additional testimony of the application of this account specifically to the church, but let us now see what Pharaoh's dream was and how it specifically relates to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
In Genesis 41:17-24 we read Pharaoh's account of his dream. The words translated "good" and "evil" here are the identical Hebrew words used in "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil."
"In my dream, behold, I was standing on the bank of the Nile; and behold, seven cows, fat and sleek came up out of the Nile; and they grazed in the marsh grass. And lo, seven other cows came up after them, poor and very evil and lean of flesh, such as I had never seen for evilness in all the land of Egypt; and the lean and evil cows ate up the first seven fat cows. Yet when they had devoured them, it could not be detected that they had devoured them; for they were just as evil as before. Then I awoke. I saw also in my dream, and behold, seven ears, full and good, came up on a single stalk; and lo, seven ears, withered, thin, and scorched by the east wind, sprouted up after them; and the thin ears swallowed the seven good ears. Then I told it to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me."
Additionally, Joseph's response to Pharaoh highlights even more the contrast
of good and evil. In verses twenty-five through twenty-seven we read:
"Pharaoh's dreams are one and the same; God has told to Pharaoh what He is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one and the same. And the seven lean and evil cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven thin ears scorched by the east wind shall be seven years of famine."
Thus we see the clear contrast: seven good cows and seven good ears
are consumed by seven lean and evil cows and seven thin ears. Herein
is the ongoing and ever present problem of good and evil: the
evil consumes any progress made by the good! How much evil is needed
to overcome the good? Ecclesiastes 10:1 tells us - "Dead flies
make a perfumer's oil stink, so a little foolishness is weightier
than wisdom and honor." Likewise, a little evil goes a long way in
devouring any progress made by good. This is certainly clear when we
look at the painful and destructive consequences of a little evil in "good"
men's lives today. (Anyone can cite their own examples, from the famous
to the obscure.) And equally, this is true with the church whole.
Often people seek to defend the church by recounting the good it has done and does do, as though the good wholly justifies the church. But it does not take long to examine the church and see anywhere from gross to obscure evil that has and continues to take place. Who can number the pastors, priests, bishops, elders, deacons, evangelists, singers, teachers, and other church leaders who have been caught in sexual or financial sins? How many people have been hurt by church fights and splits? Who can justify the wealth and even gaudy pomp or worldly showiness of a money-conscious church, whose initiator and example was a poor carpenter's son who in His ministry had no place to even lay His head? Who can justify 22,000 schisms or denominations in what should be a unified body of Christ? If Christianity teaches truth, which schism is it then that has the truth, since they all differ so much in what they teach? If they represent the truth of God, since there are such differences, how much of what is taught is evil error? With all their differences, they cannot all be right.
Of course, this is only a beginning in noting just some of the present-day more overt and obvious evils within Christianity. Additionally, history holds accounts of error, injustice, crime, violence, deception, worldliness, and corruption that is recognizably appalling! (One must remember, the body of Christ has to be taken as a 2,000 year old body, not simply what exists today.) So, how much more evil is needed for one to openly confess that the church thus far has been a mix of good and evil? And if this is true, then we certainly see Yahweh's assessment of the consequences of a combination of these two practices - the evil in fact devours the good!
Note in this account of the good and evil cows and ears that, very significantly, there were seven of each. Of course here we see that each seven represented seven years of abundance or leanness. But in fact, what occurred in this natural occurring account is simply a living parable, a preluding, foretelling, natural account, of a truth that is to be manifested later on a higher spiritual level. In that the natural precedes the spiritual (1 Corinthians 15:46), and "That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done" (Ecclesiastes 1:9 and 3:15), it is clear that what happened here in this dream given to Pharaoh is a prophetic, revealing picture, pattern, or type of that which was to be.
Thus, let us ask the question - Why were there specifically seven years of abundance and seven years of famine in these good and evil periods? The answer to this is abundantly too clear. One simply has to turn to Revelation, chapters one through three, and count the number of churches there were (represented in the seven lampstands and seven stars) to know that the church is clearly seen in the number seven. Why were there not four and four years of good and evil, or six and six? Why not one and one or five and five? The answer is because God speaks through numbers, as well as He speaks through words; and the seven years of good and evil clearly represented the number of the seven-lampstand church. It is the church that has partaken of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, it is the church that does both good and evil, and it is the church's good it accomplishes that is clearly overcome and devoured by its evil. Christianity is the carnal manifestation of the kingdom of God on earth, and is thus in whole grievously limited to a "knowledge of good and evil" kingdom resulting in death. And as seen in this first pattern, the good the church does is devoured by the evil.
As a second remarkably profound and highly revealing testimony to not only the problem of a kingdom that is a mix of both good and evil, but also Yahweh's solution to the problem, we will consider the very important foundation-setting account of Cain and Abel. We use the words "foundation-setting" because what took place in the beginning years of the earth are patterns or seeds of what will take place later, even today.
In this beginning account, we clearly see once again the consequences of having a kingdom that is this mix of both good and evil. Both Cain and Abel brought offerings to Yahweh, but with differing consequences. Do we not see evidenced here the same truth in Pharaoh's good and evil cows and ears? Abel presented to Yahweh a good offering, acceptable to Him; but, Cain offered to Him an offering that was not acceptable. So, what happens with this mix of good and evil? Of course, the evil once again destroys the good - Cain slew Abel. Likewise in the church, the "Cain" evil slays the "Abel" good. In this early account, we clearly see a type or pattern of what was to take place in the church - the evil slays the good.
But equally, in this problem Yahweh has a solution. Even as there were two contrasting trees in the garden, so there are to be contrasting works in the kingdom of God. The good and evil of Cain and Abel pictured the consequential mix of the church period; but, there is another work that must come afterward to replace the "Cain and Abel" death-resulting work. This is the "Seth" work.
We find that following the death of Abel and the rejection of Cain, Yahweh gave another son to Adam and Eve - this was Seth. In Genesis 5:3 we read a most interesting statement concerning this next son - "When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth." This is the only son of Adam in which this like identity was declared, and prophetically reveals exactly what Yahweh will do next - He will create a "son," or a work, in His own likeness to replace the "good and evil sons." Eve declared concerning this new son - "God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel; for Cain killed him" (4:25). God will equally establish another work, a second tree, a tree of life "in place of" the present work of Christianity in which the evil kills the good. Why? Because the good and evil is corrupt, violent, a mix, and can never produce fruit consistent with the righteousness of God.
In contrast to the "Cain and Abel" church, this new work, this "Seth", this "tree of life" will produce the righteous works required by Yahweh; for we read, very importantly, concerning the offspring of Seth - "And to Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh (meaning, mortal man). Then men began to call upon the name of Yahweh" (4:26). What will be the outcome of establishing this "Seth" work which gives birth to an "Enosh"? Mortal men, the entire world, will begin to call upon the name of Yahweh. What we saw in part under Christianity, we will see in full measure under the work that will replace it. Under Christianity, men in part called upon the name of Yahweh; under the "Seth" work, the whole earth will call upon His name. The world will see the new "Seth" "tree of life" work (in contrast to the death-resulting "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" work), and in whole will call upon the name of Yahweh. This will begin to take place in the Millennial reign of Yahshua.
Equally significant and revealing as well, we note that Seth was the offspring of Adam and Eve from which the Messiah came (Luke 3:38), not from the Cain-Abel mix. It is the "Seth" work that brings Yahshua, not only as a preluding "Elijah" does, but also by being the full and complete and perfect representative of Him. In person they will perfectly represent Yahshua to mortal men. The Cain-Abel church has equally done this only in slight part - His body being so abused by its afflictors that it is not even recognizable as the true Messiah (Isaiah 52:14). But now in the "Seth" work, men will see a people born of God "in His own likeness, according to His image"!
Thus we see in Pharaoh's dream and with Cain and Abel the shortfall and wholly nullifying consequence of good and evil - the evil consumes and kills the good, necessitating that a replacement be established which will bring Yahshua and produce true representatives of Him.
Let us now examine a third important witness Yahweh has provided to this two-part kingdom of God. Once again we find a clear testimony of these two works in the kingdom - first the mix of good and evil, followed by the promised tree of life. We have seen that there were two trees in the garden, two son groupings from the original man Adam (the Cain/Abel good and evil grouping, and the Seth “according to his image” grouping). Now we will examine a third highly important testimony.
Even as Adam was the first man, and his offspring testified to the two-part kingdom of God, so the first man of faith - Abraham - and his offspring likewise testified to the two-part kingdom of God. Both of these “firsts,” these initiators in life, and their offspring were appropriate chosen and highly revealing witnesses of the kingdom of God which would bring life to man.
But before looking at Abraham and his offspring, we must note that all of these subject men, along with the garden, are not mere examples of what we are talking about here, but rather are living prophetic divinely designed patterns of that which will be. They are foreshadowing, preluding manifestations of the ways of Yahweh taking place in the natural realm of individual lives, to be fulfilled later in the higher and vastly more important realm of the kingdom of God. This is why these testimonies are so important to examine, especially noting there revealing and highly significant similarities; the similarities seen here revealing the two parts, the two “offspring,” of the kingdom of God. Now for this critical testimony of Abraham and his offspring.
As you undoubtedly know, Abraham had two sons - Ishmael and Isaac. Abraham had received the promise from Yahweh that he would have a son who would fulfill all the promises given to him (Genesis 12 & 15). But the promised son was not born first. Instead, at the urging of his wife Sarah, Abraham conceived his first born son through Sarah’s Egyptian maid, Hagar. Ishmael was brought forth, who according to the laws of Yahweh had every right to receive the promises of the first born (Deuteronomy 21:15-17, or the law of the first born son via the hated wife). But Ishmael was a mix. Though being the seed of Abraham, he was equally part Egyptian - part man of faith, and part man of Egypt.
Afterwards Yahweh came to Abraham with the promise that Sarah would conceive a son. But Abraham already had a son, the first born, and he answered to Yahweh - “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!” (Genesis 17:18). Would Ishmael “live before” Yahweh? No! Ishmael was a mix - son of faith/son of Egypt; and even though he was the first born son of Abraham, he could not live before Yahweh. That promise was to be fulfilled through the son of Sarah. Thus quite miraculously, Sarah next gave birth to a son, the second born of Abraham who was to “live before” Yahweh and fulfill all the promises given to Abraham.
Even as we have seen before in the two trees in the garden, as well as in the offspring of Adam, here we see once again with Abraham that the first “born” is to be a mix of good and evil that will not live before Yahweh, while the second “born” is the son of promise who will fulfill all of the promises of Yahweh and live before Him.
Let us look more carefully at this Ishmael. Like Ishmael, the good and evil breach church is a mix. This mix is inherent with the given circumstances of its creation; for Yahweh provided the kingdom of God to man while man still lived in this world in earth-produced flesh. Throughout the Scriptures, Egypt repeatedly and clearly takes on the prophetic picture of this world, or worldliness. This is the precise problem with Christianity - it is a mix of the good of the kingdom of God which it has received, with the evil of Egypt, this world. Christianity is in every regard an Ishmael mix - in experience, in order of “birth,” and equally in consequence. Because of this mix, despite any pleas from an Abraham, despite the fact that it has legal rights as the first born, Ishmael Christianity cannot “live before” Yahweh. That promise belongs to the son of promise - the second “born” tree of life Remnant work. For 2,000 years Christianity has been the supposed son of promise. During the days when Ishmael was the first and only born son, everyone, including Abraham, thought that this son would be the fulfillment of the promises of Yahweh. But this could never be. Even so, as it was in the days of boy Ishmael, today everyone equally believes that the breach church has all the rights to the kingdom. But because Christianity is this Ishmael mix, once again the inheritance will go to the miraculous born unexpected second son, the Isaac second work in the kingdom of God.
Even as the promised seed Isaac was miraculously brought forth to the surprise of everyone, so the latter rain will bring forth an Isaac who, apart from his Ishmael brother, will fulfill all the promises of Yahweh. This Isaac work will indeed live forever before Yahweh, fulfilling all the previously made promises, promises which up to now were thought by all to belong to the first-born Ishmael.
Continue to page 2 of Two Trees... for THE ALL IMPORTANT NAZIRITE VOW
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