God’s Covenant, Part 15 – Covenant Promise(s)

3-God’s Covenant Broken

The original relationship with God Adam had soon turned out to be quite untenable. This was owing to the fact that when a certain opportunity arose, he did exactly what he was warned not to do, and by it, suffered the penalty attached to it (Gen. 3:1-19). It would seem from this text that no sooner did Adam and his wife’s new life together in the garden begin than trouble entered Paradise. This came in the form of a new creature introduced to us in this text, by which then a test was placed before them, as to whether their commitment to the Creator would stand or fall.

Chapter three of Genesis introduce a new and difficult set of circumstances to consider regarding man’s relationship to God in the newly made world. In reading it immediately it becomes obvious that something horrible took place prior to the events recorded in this chapter that must engage our attention. Remember, Adam was the appointed head of the world he lived in by God. Every creature was under his dominion (Gen. 1:28). But here, in the beginning of chapter three we are confronted with a creature who does not appear to be in subjection to God, and therefore, must not be in subjection to Adam. “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Verses 1-5).

Here, in this narrative we are introduced to a talking serpent (verse 1). Now, as animals are not created with the function of reason or speech, it is quite obvious that this serpent was animated by some other spirit than that with which it was originally created. The nature of this spirit becomes evident in the conversation that followed between it and the woman. It was a most diabolical spirit indeed, for it tempted the woman to defy God and eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (verses 5,6). Who was this spirit, and from whence did he come? The answer is deduced from Scripture in several subsequent places.

The first one is found in the book of Ezekiel. The prophet Ezekiel was given a collection of visions by God in the sixth century BC regarding Israel’s plight as a nation under judgement by God, and their subsequent destruction and captivity. With that judgement came a vision of future hope in the restoration of the kingdom. In chapter twenty eight of Ezekiel’s prophecy, we are given special insight into both the underlying cause of the spiritual darkness that had overtaken Israel, and the spirit who were behind it. Chapter twenty-eight does this by presenting a certain person referred to as the King of Tyre. It arises amidst a proclamation made by God against ancient Phoenicia, situated on the Mediterranean coast of Syria, Lebanon and northern Israel (chapters 26-28). It’s two principal cities were Tyre and Sidon. This King was worthy of condemnation on account of his incredible wickedness (verses 1,2). It is described as self exaltation to the place of a god.

Part way into the proclamation a sudden shift takes place. The King of Tyre is still the named subject of the text, but a different subject is introduced in his place. This is born out by the context of what is said. “Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: ” You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created.” (verses 11-13). It becomes apparent at this point that the King of Tyre is representative of someone else. He is the visible representation of the one referred here in the text as having been “in Eden, the garden of God.” This begs the question, why would the Lord talk about this creature “in Eden” in this inferential way, rather than more openly? The answer to this question may be found in the next verse. “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.” (Verse 14). The creature here referred too other than the King of Tyre, was an angel.

An angel is a spiritual being having no physical body that can be seen. And so it pleased the Lord to reveal this angel and his origin by use of the visible representation of a known historical person.[1] The parallel of the analogy of the angel to the King of Tyre becomes obvious in the next set of verses. “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you. ” By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones. ” Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you.” (Verses 15-17). This creature like the King of Tyre became wicked to the point of self deification.

There is one further part of the analogy given here of interest. It is the skilfulness of commerce through trade that leads to the personal aggrandizement of both subjects.[2] It shows the underlying motivation of both subjects is the accumulation of wealth and power. The power of possession is the ability to rob others of their possessions through cunning and deceit. In doing so it also robs them of their freedom. It is important to keep this in mind about this creature called “the anointed cherub” when considering him in the context of what took place in “the garden of God.”

A second place where there is more said about this angel is in the book of Isaiah. This time the angel is revealed in connection with another wicked king (Is. 14:3-11). The context of this passage is the pronouncement of a “proverb against the king of Babylon” given by the Lord through the prophet Isaiah[3] to His people (verse 4). Babylon was once a great empire situated in ancient Chaldea in what is now Iraq. Like the King of Tyre, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon once had exalted himself above the earth to the place of the eternal God (Dan. 3:1-9). We are told that “Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.” (Verse 1). And that he issued a decree to the people “that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up” (verse 5). The people of Babylon were so moved upon doing this the first time that “They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever!” (Verse 9).

And just like as before in Ezekiel with the King of Tyre, part way into this judgement of God against Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom, a sudden shift occurs away from him toward another subject (Is. 14:12-17). This passage refers to the same creature not by what he is as “the anointed cherub,” but by a particular name.[4] “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!” (Verse 12). He is noted here along with the King of Babylon as one “who weakened the nations.!” How may it be asked did he do this? He did this by exalting himself to the level of God in heaven, then seeking to impose his rule upon the earth. “For you have said in your heart: ‘ I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.” (Verses 13,14).

These two examples in Scripture reveal who and what this spirit is. He was created “in the beginning” with everything else; He was created as an angel of the highest status under God; He dwelt in the paradise of God’s new creation, inhabiting both heaven and earth; He also rebelled against God by exalting himself. This wicked spirit called Lucifer was the same that underlay the motivations and works of both the Kings of Tyre and of Babylon. It is this same spirit that animated the serpent in the garden who tempted the woman to sin.

So Lucifer, or Satan as he is more commonly called in Scripture is the original source of sin which entered into God’s creation. But this begs another question, what were his original purpose and place in regard too not only God, but mankind as well? The answer to this question emerges in the opening part of the book of Hebrews. “And of the angels He says: ” Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire.” (Heb. 1:7). Angels were created by God as His “ministers” and servants. They were designed to carry out the orders of the Almighty. In regard to mankind and his status under God it is further said. “For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. But one testified in a certain place, saying: ” What is man that You are mindful of him, Or the son of man that You take care of him? You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And set him over the works of Your hands.” (Heb. 2:5-7). Speaking in terms of both the original and future order, the writer of Hebrews is quoting from the Old Testament revealed specific purpose, place and relationship of angels to man. Angels are higher than man in terms of their created order within nature, being made purely spiritual, without body or parts. But man being made in the image of God, was made to rule over God’s creation, even the angels. It is man alone who is said to have been “crowned with glory and honor” and not angels. And it is man to whom the angels will be in subjection to some day.

Now it is evident in chapter three of Genesis that Lucifer had sinned previously to the events recorded in this place. A portion of the angelic host followed him in this rebellion (Jude 1:6). Mankind was next on the list of targets in his quest to usurp the dominion of God over creation. Coming back to Genesis chapter three the nature of the serpent’s temptation to the woman is plainly evident. “Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Verses 4,5). Besides lying to her about God’s threat of death, the serpent enticed her with becoming independent of Him, even to the point of becoming like Him. What the serpent didn’t tell her was, that by defying God and breaking covenant with Him, it would essentially bring her under the same condemnation that he was under. It would also bring her under Satan’s dominion by putting her in bondage to the most grandiose lie, for if mankind was made in the image of God to begin with, nothing more of God was attainable under the original covenant. A created being can never attain to the status of divinity. The most that is possible for a creature is to reflect something of the Divine Being that creates it. The lie was simply an enticement toward the impossible attainment of self deification. The promise of the lie was in obtaining a first hand knowledge of good and evil according to the concept of personal experience, rather than by the revelation of God. Needless to say, once the woman had partaken of the forbidden fruit, her husband then joined her in the same sin and both fell into the ruin of guilt and shame (verses 6,7).

Before going any further, some reflection upon these chain of events is in order. A stark contrast in reality is presented to the reader of the first pages of Scripture. It opens with the awe-inspiring display of the eternal God’s omnipotent power in creating all things out of nothing. Each part of it is fashioned with perfect precision, so as to end in a harmonious display of His glorious attributes. These are especially seen as His wisdom, power and goodness. But there is even more of it that is made known in what it reveals about God. God’s glorious nature is displayed as pure Spirit, intellect and love. Because God loves Himself and rightfully so, He is righteous in all His ways. He cannot tolerate the least bit of unrighteousness. Therefore, God is also shown to be just in His judgement of all things. He is a perfect and impartial judge. God is just to reward all that is righteous, and just to condemn all that is unrighteous.

The world and all that were in it were by God’s own description created “good.” This word is stated repeatedly in the opening verses of Scripture (Gen. 1:4,10,12,18,21,25,31, 2:9,12). Therefore, it was made to glorify Him. And yet, the potential for evil in the original creation is presented here too. It was represented by “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” That is, there was the possibility of change for the worse built into this glorious world that God created and made. This begs the question, could God have designed it to be otherwise? The answer from man’s perspective is of course, absolutely. It could have been. But that would only be possible if God Himself were essentially open to change, which of course, He is not according to Scripture (Mal. 3:6).

This is why we have labored in the previous pages to embark on a study of God’s Covenant by beginning with Him first, and not with us, as is usually done by those who seek to provide a man centered theological explanation for the creation and fall. As it has been previously shown, God is not disposed to do anything outside of His eternal decree. Everything that is and will be, has existed with God for eternity (Acts 15:18). Therefore, in that sense it is impossible that things could have happened otherwise. Everything that happens does so out of this necessity that God predestines all things beforehand that He afterward brings to pass. They happen because God purposed it to happen. It could not have been otherwise, or else God could not be God.

This leaves us with many more questions to ask such as this, is God the author of evil? The answer to this is provided in several places. First of all, evil is chaos in opposition to order, of which subject the apostle Paul lectured the church of Corinth. “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” (I Cor. 14:33). Paul reasoned with them in church disputes that since God is the author of peace, therefore, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” (Verse 40).

When the apostle James wrote about the evil of persecution and how to endure it, he was careful to point out “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” (James 1:13). Sin is never excused by outward trials and temptations but is the fruit of evil desire. “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” (Verses 14,15).

But second, Scripture does attribute all things that happen within creation to God as its author, whether it appears to be either good or bad. “That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting That there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.'” (Is. 45:6,7).[5] So how can this be, is this some sort of paradoxical concept? The answer to this is absolutely not. There is no such thing as paradox concerning God. God is revealed as the Divine Logos (Logic) who “In the beginning created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1; John 1:1). Logic is an essential attribute of God. The answer then must be logically deduced from Scripture. The argument from creation shows that God is the first and highest cause of all that exists, whether it is physical or conceptual in nature (Rom. 4:17).

So God is the cause of all that happens. But He is not the direct cause of all things that happen such as He was in creating the heavens and the earth. Here, He acted alone by creating something out of nothing. God is however, the indirect cause of evil as stated in Isaiah forty five, by virtue of His having created it (creation). Remember that God originally created it all good. What happened concerning Lucifer’s rebellion, and subsequently, Adam and Eve’s fall was their own doing. They were the direct cause of their own ruin. So their punishment was grounded in their own choices, and their own actions. There were contingent causes and circumstances involved in both cases such as the beauty of the angel, and the desirableness of the fruit. Were these compelling circumstances, or opportunities to commit evil? They certainly were not in and of themselves. But these were things that were predetermined by God to happen, even though the outcome was not His doing in any direct sense of the matter. Beyond that, we are left with a mystery, not a paradox (Deut. 29:29).

Why do we labor to explain this here, well, it is simply for this reason? It is to establish a proper foundation for understanding God and His Covenant as we move toward the ultimate goal under consideration. This will entail the introduction of a new and second concept of promise and reward which will present a completely different ground for man’s relationship to God after the fall. This is the concept of Divine unmerited favor. But first it is necessary to review the result of the fall and what it entailed, before considering its remedy.

a. The immediate consequence of the fall

Once the woman and the man had eaten the forbidden fruit there came about a sudden catastrophic change of their life’s circumstance. It is evident by the fact that their natural state was no longer the same afterward. We read these words in Genesis chapter three. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (Verses 7-10). When they sinned, they were no longer righteous as before. The original bond between man and God had been broken. Gone was his sense of uprightness, and instead, it was replaced with a sense of guilt and shame.

It is worth noting here that in our day of sexual promiscuity and perversion that there is a general absence of shame associated with the naked body. It was not so for this man and woman having been created in innocence. They soon found out that their new condition left them with a profound sense of eternal loss. They knew something was immediately wrong as a result of their having disobeyed God. They were ashamed of themselves for sinning and could not bear the thought of standing in the presence of God. This is significant, for God was not visibly present[6] when all of this took place, however, none of it escaped His omniscient attention. What they felt in their shame after sinning was the consciousness of the all seeing, all-knowing eyes of God upon them. That this seems to be absent today in much of our world is a testimony to the depths of which mankind has sunk.

It is to be noted here as well what exactly was the condition man was left with after the fall. Observe that when questioned, both the woman and the man ascribed the blame for their actions to someone other than themselves. “And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” And the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Verses 11-13). This is the consequence of the fall. It is not only guilt from the commission of sin, but it is also a propensity to continue in it. Without a principle of righteousness to guide the creature, a principle of depravity rules in its place. This is because when absent the righteousness of God man is left to himself and his own devices in his natural state (Eccl. 7:29).

It is easily observable here too that sin did not eradicate the knowledge mankind had been endowed with from the beginning of a need to be right with God. Absent a right relationship with God man naturally will seek to justify himself by replacing the loss with another principle that of self righteousness. The principle of self righteousness has governed every man and woman since the fall. It is perhaps the chief characteristic that defines man in his fallen, depraved state. It alone explains the rationale behind evil acts which flow from men throughout the world. Self righteousness always justifies itself by assigning blame to another party, no matter how reprehensible the crime may be, or how guilty the criminal appears. One need only consider the criminal justice system that prevails in much of the civilized world today, where attorneys argue a case before a jury. When caught committing atrocious acts, the criminal will appear in court either denying them outright no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary, or deny their culpability based on some other extenuating factor.

On the reverse side of this, the depravity of self righteousness produces unbelief in God and His righteousness. It does this in two ways. First, it does this by lessening the standard set forth in the law. It reduces the law of God to mere outward acts that separate thoughts and motivations from them. In other words, to think of evil without committing the actual act is considered by man in his depravity a suitable fulfillment of the law. So man believes that he fulfills the law, in spite of having known guilt against it on many points. Second, it leads man to believe that the law might be viewed as a sort of balance sheet. It is universally accepted that no one is perfect. So man reasons that by his many supposed good acts performed according to the principle of self righteousness, all other violations that have been committed may be erased.

We have digressed from our main theme here for a moment in order to emphasize the gravity of the situation that took place when mankind sinned in the garden. Both he and his environment were forever changed by his departure from the Creator, and not for the better as the serpent promised. This is evidenced further in what took place by way of judgement when man was confronted by God with his actions. “So the LORD God said to the serpent: ” Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” To the woman He said: ” I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: ” Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” (Verses 14-19). There are several important things revealed here in the Lord’s judgement against the serpent, the man and the woman. Let us break them down into their individual persons and parts.

b. The judgement that followed

God addressed the serpent first as the indirect material cause of the fall through the temptation and manipulation of the woman. Keep in mind that it was not a dumb snake that committed the sin, but a serpent animated by the evil spirit commonly referred as the Devil. So the Lord’s remarks were directed primarily to him in the object of the serpent. Observe however, the Lord’s pronouncement of a “curse” upon the serpent. This can only imply the ultimate doom of eternal death for Satan, for that was the original penalty placed by God upon sin (Gen. 2:17). But the serpent being the material object involved in the sin does not escape God’s judgement. Whatever natural honor it may have had, previous to this event, it is now taken away in what the Lord pronounced against it, in relation to the other animals of the field. From that point on the serpent would become identified as the material symbol of evil throughout biblical history, and therefore, abhorrent to all mankind as is witnessed by Scripture.

Genesis 49:17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, A viper by the path, That bites the horse’s heels So that its rider shall fall backward.

Numbers 21:6 So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.

Psalms 140:3 They sharpen their tongues like a serpent; The poison of asps is under their lips. Selah

Ecclesiastes 10:11 A serpent may bite when it is not charmed; The babbler is no different.

Micah 7:17 They shall lick the dust like a serpent; They shall crawl from their holes like snakes of the earth. They shall be afraid of the LORD our God, And shall fear because of You.

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Revelation 12:9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Revelation 20:2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;

Toward this material symbol of evil in the serpent there came about a most curious judgement in the form of a double entendre. “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” (Verse 15). As a cursed animal it was to be trodden underfoot upon earth. But there was a special component to this judgement which was evidently directed more toward the evil spirit than the serpent. There would be a special “enmity” between it and the woman. This “enmity” was comprehended in the form of a projected division of “seed” or offspring that would come forth from both parties in the space of time.

Judging by what was said in reference to these two seeds, it would appear that the enmity was to extend beyond the serpent and the woman to the families that would spring forth from them. This is evident in the final part of the curse toward the serpent. It results in the woman’s “Seed” crushing the head of the serpent who is represented by its “seed,” while at the same time biting the foot that crushes it. We propose to the reader here that in the midst of this curse, there was the hint of a blessing given. And it was not to the serpent who was receiving the judgement, but to the woman who was present to hear it. Of this aspect of God’s judgement we will defer any further comment until the next portion of this study. Suffice to say there was a glimmer of hope extended to the woman by the Lord in these words. A hope that would materialize in the form of a Savior that would come forth from her body and be known as Jesus, the anointed Son of God.

God addressed the woman second by detailing His judgement to her in contrast to the glimmer of hope He had set forth in the serpent’s curse. She was to suffer a judgement for her sin according to the original threat of punishment by eternal death (Gen. 2:17). Her judgement however, involved a temporal punishment as well. It was expressed here by God in a couple of ways. First, as regards the gift of offspring which was promised to her before the fall, she would endure physical suffering through childbirth. Whereas, before it would be a pleasant experience occurring without difficulty, now it would be an ordeal of physical suffering.

This judgement reveals something about the nature of the punishment of death. Absent the principle of original righteousness the woman would experience a life of pain and suffering. The suffering of the flesh in childbirth would serve to point the woman back to the reason for her punishment. Death as it regards the physical toll would occur in a protracted, drawn out way.

Second, the Lord judged that the woman will be at odds with her husband in life, rather than submit to him. This is the fruit of depravity related to the fall. And its reality regarding the woman’s life on earth looks back to what took place when she sinned. The man was ordained to be the head of the relationship. As such he was tasked with the responsibility of teaching and leading the woman. This is why the instruction from God not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was given to the man, not the woman. Perhaps it is reasonable to assume the woman was standing close by when this instruction was given. However, it was still the duty of the man to see to it that the woman clearly understood the ramifications involved in violating this statute. And it was reasonable for the man to expect her faithful compliance to God in their joint relationship with Him.

In all fairness to the women, she was made as the weaker of the two by nature. That being the case, the man’s duty to her was her protection. The serpent should never have been able to get her alone as he did to entice her to sin. But somehow it happened, and it is exactly why he did so. It is a well-proven fact that an attacker will always exploit the weakest part of an opponent, which is exactly what the serpent did here. Nevertheless, the woman should have fled to the safety of her husband when confronted with the temptation that was put to her. Instead, she remained alone with the tempter, parlaying with him until she succumbed to his wishes.

When the woman sinned by eating the fruit, the relationship between her and her husband was irreparably damaged. This is why she came to him to tempt him to do the same with her. She knew she could never have any sort of relationship with him again as long as she was at odds with God and he was not. There is another element to it as well. Sinners always desire company in their pursuit of wrongdoing. It acts for them as a justification for their deeds when one or more persons join them in their sin (Ps. 1:1,4; I Pet. 4:3,4). Once the bond of love they had previously enjoyed was broken, there was now going to be a certain enmity between them. Enmity always leads to contention followed by a demand for personal rights. So God declared that the depravity in her heart was such, the woman would now desire to reign over her husband, rather than for her to submit to him. Further compounding her trouble, will be the determination of the man to prevail over her, being the stronger of the two.

The Lord addressed the man third, not as one who was deceived as the woman was, but as one who sinned with his eyes wide open. This was a far greater sin on his part. Part of the physical makeup of the woman was that she was designed with the weakness of an abundance of sensitivity and feeling, which could be easily manipulated and prevailed upon by the serpent. This was not the case with the man. He was appointed to be her head as one who was strong, determined and analytical in his thoughts and actions. He was to lead the woman, not to follow her. The man was given specific instruction of the Lord concerning the tree. He knew full well what his responsibility was concerning both the Lord and the woman. So the man knew full well what he was about to do when he was given the opportunity to eat and follow his wife in her rebellion.

The man simply caved into the situation when presented with it, rather than stepping back and taking a proper account of it. He realized the dilemma he was in. Life would never be the same for him and the woman now that she had gone and done this. What would have been his rightful course of action? It would have been this. He should have sought the Lord out in the matter, for after all, he was the first born son of creation, and still had a personal relationship with God to maintain. Surely the Lord would do rightly concerning the matter, if only he had done this. But no, the man ate the fruit choosing his sinful wife over his Creator. This is something that is exceedingly hard to understand. It is hard to understand for both of them. Neither one was created with a propensity for sin. There was no inclination or principle within them that drove them to rebel. Yet, they both made a conscious decision to do so. It is the only truly free will decision ever made by people upon earth. Consider the freedom both persons had by virtue of their original righteousness. It is impossible to imagine how they could have traded it for anything else that was offered them. It is therefore, essential to see the matter as one of Divine foreordination. It was simply meant to be with nothing else beside.

So beside the man receiving the punishment of eternal death for his sin, he also received a temporal curse here on earth as well. To him, a judgement was meted commensurately to his sin. Since the sin of the man in the garden involved the use of agriculture, God’s temporal judgement involved it too. He would spend his remaining days on earth toiling for the once promised fruit from it, only to find that it too was cursed under God’s judgement. The ease with which the man took the forbidden fruit and ate would be replaced with continual hardship in tilling the ground for food. Man was consigned to work exceedingly hard for his sustenance all the days of his life. This judgement explains the elusiveness of riches in this life for most people. Outside of the privileged 1 percent class as they are called, most of earth’s people struggle to subsist on a planet that is obviously fully sufficient to provide for every need. Yet, if it is not the yearly hardship of weather and insect that conspires to deprive men of their abundance, it is the evil men impose upon each other that leads to the same through war, oppression and famine.[7]

The ground that the man was to work, would lead to his undoing. It would in the end consume him when his days were done here on earth. Man was originally taken from the ground and formed, now he was to die and return to the dust. It is important to understand that death is not something natural to mankind. This is a lie that is often told by people whose agenda it is to oppose God. Man was made to live, and to live with his Creator in peace and harmony. When sin entered the world, death entered with it (Rom. 5:12). Physical death is the temporal judgement meted out by God for sin in this world. It is inseparably connected to judgement, both in this life and hereafter (Heb. 9:27). The ultimate judgement of God however, was reserved for a time far into the future as it concerns man’s history here on earth. For starters, every person born of Adam must still be born and come into the world. Each and every person has an eternal destiny that begins here, and ends in eternity just as it was originally intended. So this brings us to the next and last of things to consider about the broken covenant and its consequences.

c. The perpetuity of the original Covenant

When man sinned and fell from God, it did not end the covenant duty he was originally created under, and commanded to keep. The requirement of that covenant relationship was that of perfect obedience to God, and nothing less. The law of God is such that every point of it must be kept with precision at all times, without ceasing. “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10). What were the specific covenant requirements that Adam was still under? Certainly, it entailed everything that was prescribed for him at creation. He was still required to populate the earth and subdue it, exercising dominion over it. The problem Adam found however, were that he and everything else created was now at enmity with God. Dominion was an impossible requirement for him to keep.

First of all, when Adam sinned that principle of corruption that entered into his humanity also went on to affect his offspring too. It was passed on to his children through the process of human generation. This was the multiplication of sorrow God spoke about to Eve. From then on every child would be born of man with high hope for them in this life. Every parent wants their child to be of good character. Yet, every parent since Adam has found their children, no matter how adorable at birth, to be sinners by nature. No one has ever had to teach a child to do the wrong thing. It just comes natural to them. This is because each child born of Adam is under his curse born without that original principle of righteousness. As a result each son of Adam born into the world is fundamentally depraved in all his thoughts and actions. Since depravity is inherent to man through the fall, it is impossible for him to change his ways or improve his condition. This is true no matter what some atheistic philosopher thinks about the perfectability of man through various forms of external or internal conditioning.

The depth of this inherited depravity became painfully evident to Adam and Eve when their two sons became of a certain age. “Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.” (Gen. 4:8). This was no accident that happened due to the absence of a specific spoken or written statute against murder. So why did Cain kill his brother? The previous seven verses lay it out for us. A certain offering had been required of them. However, only Abel brought the right one and it was received. Cain was scolded for his non compliance. God said this to him. “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” (Verse 7). So Cain was angry over this rejection and hated his brother for it. An argument ensued between them and Cain killed Abel. Ultimately, Cains anger was really directed against God, for it was that image in his brother that Cain tried to destroy in killing him.

God’s words to Cain spoken in verse seven assert two things about the perpetuity of God’s original Covenant in this fallen world. First, the disposition to sin that is inherited of Adam is a positive, active principle that is always present and at work in men. God declared to Cain that “its desire is for you.” Sin dominates man in his innermost being. It is behind every motivation and action, no matter how good or bad it appears to the world. Second, the perpetual requirement of the law is to “do well” by it regardless of the moral and spiritual inability that now exists within our fallen humanity. God said this to Cain about his predisposition to sin, “but you should rule over it.” This means that man is required to obey the law, even though he is totally unable to do so.

Now man, who is made in the image of God still has an innate sense of his need to be just, in spite of being born unjust. So man seeks to fulfill the terms and conditions of the original covenant according to his own terms. Not only does he seek to find acceptance with God under the law as he understands it in his fallen condition, but God requires it of him too for that same reason, just as He said to Cain. “If you do well, will you not be accepted?

The hopeless condition man now finds himself in is brought out in full detail by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans. Chapter one in this epistle lays out the charge of universal condemnation by God upon man because of sin. In chapter two Paul declares God’s righteous judgement upon sinners. “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds” (verses 5,6). Paul is quoting Psalm 61:12 and Proverbs 24:12 when he says that God “will render to each one according to his deeds.” What he is saying is that God will render judgement upon each person’s deeds according to the Covenant of works established at creation. God will pay each man according to his works under the law.

Here is the immutable principle of the covenant clearly stated. “Eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness — indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.” (Verses 7-11). There is a promise of life to all men who keep the law. But there is wrath for those who don’t. Where did this leave man, for it is an impossible requirement if he is already condemned under its terms? It left man in a terrible condition and a hopeless state, unable to do a thing to affect any sort of redemption for himself.

In conclusion, because of one sin man had lost his innocence; lost his righteousness; lost his freedom; lost his world; lost his relationship with the Creator; ultimately, he lost his life. But none of this was done either by chance or in vain. It all happened in order to serve the interest and end of a far greater purpose as it concerned God and his works. How do we know this to be true? We know it because chapter three of Genesis are at the beginning of the Bible. The fall happened at the beginning of world history. And finally, it is preparatory to what is rightfully called redemptive history. It was not the end of the story, but merely the beginning of it in regard to what God intended to do from eternity.

Notes:

[1] No name is given of the King of Tyre by Ezekiel. Since the date of Ezekiel’s prophecy, is 586 BC the king of Tyre at that time was Ethbaal III, who reigned from 591-573 BC. He is named after Ethbaal I (878-847 BC) who is mentioned in I Kings 16:31 as the father of Jezebel, whom the wicked King Ahab of Israel married.

[2] Ancient Phoenicia of which Tyre was a principal city, was a center for manufacturing and shipbuilding. It was noted for its seafaring merchants that traded with all the coastal cities throughout the Mediterranean ocean. Consequently, it became extremely rich and influential. Not only did it export manufactured goods to the world, but also its satanic religion of Baal worship. Baal is a Canaanite deity mentioned frequently throughout the Old Testament. The Lord’s detestation of this form of idolatry is shown in what He said about it in relation to its influence on Israel (Num. 25:3,5; Deut. 4:3). Joining false worship to the pursuit of wealth, Tyre exemplified the ancient world of empirical pagan ungodliness. It was the perfect prototype for many other world empires that would follow after it such as Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. Therefore, Ezekiel’s prophecy concerning Tyre is an expression of God’s judgment and wrath toward such wickedness (Ez. 26-28). Tyre is also a type of the present antichristian world society prefigured throughout Scripture. Its manifestation is continually trending in the world in many forms of false philosophy and worship that make up the present post Christian era. Its prevalence and power will extend onward toward the end of all things when God will judge the world in righteousness through His Son Jesus Christ (Acts 17:29-31). Its glory is in the development of man-made technology for the pursuit of an idolatrous self-worship. The vile nature of what the relationship is between materialism and satanic false worship cannot be understated. Its antagonism and opposition toward the kingdom of God and what it represents, is clearly expressed further on in the book of Acts when the gospel came to Ephesus (Acts 19:23-28). The violent reaction of the people in that place to the gospel when it was preached, is somewhat akin to that of what is seen today in modern society, as an intrusion upon its particular world order.

[3] The prophet Isaiah lived in the eighth century BC, preceding Ezekiel by more than a hundred years. The prophecy contained in his book was received and written down over the course of many years, as is revealed by him at the beginning of it (Is. 1:1). The length of Isaiah’s ministry is shown to cover the reign of four kings. He too prophesied against Tyre as well as many other nations. However, everything he said about judgement in reference to Babylon was still yet future to him, whereas, it was present and performed in part by the Lord concerning Ezekiel. The destruction of Judah and Jerusalem by Babylon in Ezekiel’s day was judgement on the world as it existed then. Prior to Babylon, Assyria was on the ascendency as the dominant world empire, conquering the entire northern kingdom of Israel and threatening Judah in the south. That is, until Babylon was raised as the next great empire who would overtake Assyria. It was used primarily as God’s judgement on Israel for their persistent apostasy over the course of many generations. Afterward, Babylon itself would be destroyed in judgement too, showing that God raises ungodly nations as the instruments of His choice to deal providentially with the world (Is. 10:5-19, 13:19, 21:9; Hab. 1:5-11).

[4] There are many names and descriptions given in Scripture for this angel. The name Lucifer is mentioned only once in Isaiah (14:12). Satan is the name mentioned forty four times. The Devil is the name mentioned thirty five times. Variations on the term Serpent are mentioned throughout Scripture seventeen times. The book of Revelation refers to him as the Dragon thirteen times and the Beast fourteen times. One time in Revelation he is called by the Hebrew name Abaddon, and the Greek name Apollyon (9:11). He is referred to as a liar and a murderer in John’s gospel (8:44). He is even referred to in one place as an angel of light (II Cor. 11:14).

[5] The word “calamity” used here in the NKJV is translated as “evil” in the KJV. Observe what Gordon Clark says about this verse (7) and the Hebrew word that either one is derived from. Some people who do not wish to extend God’s power over evil things, and particularly over moral evils, try to say that the word evil here means such natural evils as earthquakes and storms. The Scofield Bible notes that the Hebrew word here, RA, is never translated sin. This is true. The editors of that Bible must have looked at every instance of RA in the Old Testament and must have seen that it is never translated sin. But what the note does not say is that it is often translated wickedness, as in Genesis 6:5, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth.” in fact RA is translated wickedness at least fifty times in the Old Testament; and it refers to a variety of ugly sins. The Bible therefore explicitly teaches that God creates sin. This may be an unpalatable thought to a good many people. But there it is, and everyone may read it for himself. As this becomes a major point in predestination, and forms one of the main objections to the doctrine, we shall discuss it later. But let no one limit God in his creation. There is nothing independent of him. (Predestination, Gordon H. Clark, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, p12)

[6] God is not visible nor material, but Spirit (John 4:24; Col. 1:15; I Tim. 1:17; Heb. 11:27). However, Genesis three reveals that God made a discernable sound while “walking in the garden” (Gen. 3:8). Furthermore, He was known to Adam and Eve by some sort of visible “presence,” how can this be? The answer to this question is there are many places in the Old Testament where God appeared in visible form as “the Angel of the Lord” (Gen. 16:7,9-11, 22:11,15; Ex. 3:2; Num. 22:22-27,31-35; Jud. 2:1,4, 6:11,12,20-22, 13:3,15-21; Zech. 1:11-14, 3:1,5,6, 12:8); “the Angel of God” (Gen. 31:11; Ex. 14:19; Jud. 6:20, 13:9); “My Angel” (Ex. 23:23, 32:34, 33:2); “His Angel” (Dan. 3:28); “the Angel of His Presence” (Is. 63:9); “the Angel” (Acts 7:35 cf. Ex. 3:2). This is a pre incarnate manifestation of God, whom John says no one can see but the Son of God, who alone reveals Him (John 1:18, I John 4:12). The visible manifestation of Christ in the Old Testament is referred to as a Theophany. It is not the essence of God that is shown, but a visible manifestation of His unseen presence, veiled by the appearance of either an angelic form or some other object such as a burning bush (Ex. 3:2).

[7] Famine may be categorized either as a natural or man-made disaster which accounts for a lack of sufficient food production. There are times when God brings famine by natural means upon a particular place and people in the world, in order to perform His providential judgements and purpose (Eg. Gen. 12:10, 26:1, 41-47). Oftentimes famine occurs through despotic regimes who use the power of economic oppression to wage war against its own people or other nations. Stalin destroyed the fruitful fields of the Ukraine in order to starve its people into submission. Postwar America has become a wealthy and powerful empire that frequently uses its economic and military force against countries throughout the world. It does this by imposing economic sanctions against nations whose leaders do not submit to the will of America. Economic sanctions as well as war destroys the ability of a nation’s economy to produce what its people need in order to live adequately. Scripture shows this combination of factors that exist in the world to be the result of a cosmic war that goes on between the powers of darkness and the kingdom of God and His Christ. A good outline of this world order and conflict is given in the pages of Revelation. It is given in the form of a list of seven seals from a scroll, which are the decrees of God (Rev. 5-7). These seals or decrees of God give way to seven trumpets of providential judgement upon the world (Rev. 8-11).

 

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