The Garden and Grapes

This study of The Garden and Grapes could have been The Fruit Eve and Adam Ate. Now before I lose some of you, it needs to be said that God, in His wisdom, did not tell us the type of fruit on the Tree of Knowledge. Declaring that grapes could be a possibility is a big “What If” and that is fine with me. 

Now, the next sticky point is that the Bible says tree and not vine. The actual word in Biblical Hebrew is etz. This word has two means – tree and wood. So, in Ezekiel 15:2,6 and Numbers 6:4 when it is translated into the phrase called a vine tree, it started me on this study. Most vines do not take a freestanding form of a tree. But I have seen some vines that are kept small actually act like a tree. You will not make a chair or tool handle out of that wood, but they can stand up and look like a tree (small tree). (We had a freestanding wisteria vine that was under six-foot-tall with a single main trunk and an umbrella-shaped top.)

 https://www.balashon.com/2007/01/etz-and-ilan.html is a website that does a good job with the word etz

I would usually argue that the tree Eve ate from was a fig tree. Fig trees in scripture can be a shadow for dead religious works, practices, and churches. That idea is simple to grab a hold of because Adam and Eve grabbed fig leaves and sewed them together to hide from God. Jesus during Holy Week symbolically put an end to “fig tree religion” when He cursed one because of no fruit. He then became “the true Vine” with Gentiles grafted into Him. THINKING OUT LOUD MOMENT – What if the Tree of Life was/is a “true” fig tree!

Grapes, grapevines, wine, winepresses, and raisins all are mentioned in the Bible. Just like the Tree in the Garden, these items can carry a “Good and Evil” label or function. Wine is good in some context and a troublemaker in others, just like the knowledge the tree gave Eve and Adam. It is this dual nature that makes me lean in the favor of grapes as “the fruit” in the Garden. Numbers 6:3 contains the requirements for a Nazirite while he is seeking God (John the Baptist was one for life Luke 1:15.) Why grapes? The plant is a symbol of the kingdom and grapes/raisins are good for the body. Wine can “gladden man’s heart” but too much wine can lead to debauchery. My simple thought is that God wanted them to focus on HIM for the time they were seeking God. Hearing God and not the many voices around you for a season is good. After that time, they then could enjoy “grapes” again.

A Sample of Grape Verses

There are many verses in the Bible about grapes, wine, and raisins. So, the ones I am about to use are just a sample that shows the good/evil nature.

Deuteronomy 32: 32+33 For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter (KJV). These verses are talking about Jeshurun (the upright one), which is another name for Israel.

Hosea 9:10a (KJV) I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the first ripe in the fig tree at her first time. Part B is the other story – but they went to Baal Peor and separated themselves unto that shame, and their abominations were according as they loved. The section that proceeds this is comparing Israel (northern kingdom) to Gibeah, the town in Benjamin that raped the Levite’s wife. King Saul was from Gibeah. 

Isaiah 5:4 (NIV) What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?

Luke 5:38+39 (NIV) is the story of new wine into new wineskins. New wine is the Spirit of God and His fresh anointing. Verse 39 – And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, The old is better. Sticking with the idea of good/evil and new/old, the old knowledge is “just better”.

Mark 12:1 is the parable about the kingdom and Jesus, as told using a vineyard and renters.

John 2:1 is the first of the seven major miracles in John (there are many more). Jesus is at a wedding, creating a “need” from the fruit of the vine in stone/earthen jars, and the very next story is a Passover. How much more symbolism does one story.

May I please try to pull my scattered thoughts in and end this study? Grapes, like knowledge, are not the problem. What you do with the grapes/knowledge defines them as good or evil. 

If the “tree” is a stumbling root, doing something useful with a vine tree’s wood will fall into that good/bad area. If you need a strong solid piece of wood, it is not coming from a vine. They are good for fuel for a fire, wreaths for your door, or tying bundles of sticks together. Swinging out of a tree is a good use, as well. Some days knowledge is like that wood. It will burn you up, make a pretty wall hanging, actually bring things/thoughts together, or have you flying around in the air going nowhere and just leave you hanging.

Final thought – Adam and Eve would have gotten “everything” they needed if they would have eaten from the Tree of Life.   

Tree of Knowledge –Surpasses/Passeth Knowledge

Ephesians 3: 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God (KJV); made me realize that there is something “beyond” knowledge. I have said it before, “It is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, not the tree of good and evil”.  The “knowledge” part is really important.  Use a search tool and look up knowledge in your favorite translation.  

I found Ephesians 3:19 and Jeremiah 10:14, 51:17.  In the KJV the verses in Jeremiah are practically the same – 14 Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them; the difference is “by his knowledge”.  In or by, the problem is the false knowledge of what God is like.  Eve chose knowledge and I believe Adam followed Eve because he thought she had something he did not have.  What if they had realized that the love and fellowship with the Father and the love of Christ (Tree of Eternal Life) was better than “just” knowledge? 

Adam and Eve, I believe, were very intelligent.  So, the Snake used the promise of knowledge to lure them into a horrible choice.  Being intelligent does not mean that you will use knowledge correctly.  In Proverbs 8 and 9, contrast Wisdom and Folly as two women who are calling for your attention.

The love of Christ surpasses or goes beyond knowledge. I know it helps you in your daily life.  The “fullness of God” is beyond knowledge and to have all of Him helping you will advance you in your endeavors.  (I will add that following Jesus and seeking Him is the key to that help.)

Oh, “brutish” in Jeremiah, according to Strong’s Concordance, means to consume by fire or EATING. Other translations use a variety of words to capture that thought. But a Mark’s loose translation would be-Every man is consumed by knowledge; then it list idols.

Bible Gateway was my search engine.

Light

Light 

God said, “We will light the world, and the Spirit moved.”

Moses proclaimed, “This consuming Light loves you, worship only Him.”

Father spoke, “Son light the way.”

Mary whispered, “Shine in me.”

Angels sang, “Light has come for Israel.”

Wise Gentiles asked, “We seek the True Light.”

Jesus taught, “I Am the true way, follow My Light.”

The Hundred Twenty prayed, “Shine Your light.”

Holy Spirit breathed, “Let them be filled with the Light of Grace.”

His Ekklesia calls out, “Let us shine so the world will see The Light.” 

The Garden and the Thousand Year Reign

The thousand-year reign of Revelation 20 and the Garden of Eden may sound like two strange concepts to put together, but this is today’s study. (SPOILER ALERT – this a study, only a study.)  The question that inspired this study was – Why was Satan to be bound and then released?  (Revelation 20:2,3, and 7 NIV).  So, I am not questioning what is going to happen in that thousand-year period but why a thousand years.

Since I have been musing on the Garden I have noticed many connections between Genesis and Revelation. Things from the Garden show up in both – the Tree of Life and the River.  So, the thousand-year reign also stirred my interest.  Was this another thing that had its foundation in the Creation story?

Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8 are used frequently to speak of an eternal God and His idea of time.  One thousand years equals a day in the sight of God is not a new in theology or eschatology.  For me they are a reminder of just how limited I am compared to God.  Pulling this thought into Revelation 20 does not seem right, so I will leave it alone.  But that still left me with – why bind Satan for thousand years and then release him for a short time? 

Having noticed so many similar things in Genesis and Revelation, I have to wonder if the first Adam (and Eve) had a thousand years in the Garden before the Tree of Knowledge.  One thousand years of just pure fellowship with the Eternal Father and spending time under His rule and reign.  Just man and God walking in the Garden.  It could possible follow a pattern that some have seen in the Creation story – chaos, peace/Creation, and chaos.  I will try to explain that last statement.  Genesis 1:2 has a formless earth that is empty and dark, followed with God casting His light over everything; then to have the deception in Genesis 3. In Revelation it may look like the Antichrist, the thousand years, Satan loose, the eternal Kingdom of God.

Was the Tree a test for Adam and Eve?  Job’s story could loosely fit into the scenario of peace, chaos, and then peace.  That would then lead to the question of – Did Satan have to get permission to trouble Eve?  That thought might have you look at Revelation 20 as a thousand-year reign, Satan loose and deceiving people again, and then his last judgment.  Which ushers in the Father/Jesus’ Kingdom.

Man’s freewill is the issue here.  Eve, then Adam, choose knowledge over fellowship.  Abraham had knowledge and choose faith over doubt.  Judah and Israel were split on what to choose, some choose God, some did not.  People today, especially the Church, are in that same Garden.  Do I really choose Jesus and His way, or do I choose knowledge and its way?  The Father’s Kingdom will only have people that truly chose to fellowship with Him.  Will it come down to Revelation 20:6 (the Garden) or 20:7 and chaos.  Your choice!

Pic is from http://clipart.christiansunite.com

Under Foot from Hebrews

Under feet and footstool are mentioned several times in the Book of Hebrews.  Jesus and Melchizedek are whose appendages and furniture we are referring to.  Of course, these references come from Psalm 110 that was written by David.  I will bring in other references so that we can have a larger picture of this topic.  This study will end with Hebrews 12:13 which after some reflection really surprised me.

Footstool – Hebrews 1:13 and 10:13 are the references to Psalm 110:1 and a footstool.  This is the beginning of the tradition of Melchizedek being a military messiah as well as a priest forever of the Lord.  1:13 is in a set of verses that deal with the “Son” and His superiority to angels.  (The name Jesus is not used until 2:9.)  10:13 has the enemies of Jesus being the footstool but this is because of The ONE SACRIFICE that allowed Him to take back the keys.  The concept is that Jesus is waiting for this to happen.  Luke 20:43 and Acts 2:35 reference Jesus speaking of David and the Messiah and again Psalm 110 is the verse He is quoting. 

Enemies are not the only thing that is a “footstool” in Scripture.  Matthew 5:34 and Isaiah 66:1 note that the earth is God’s footstool. David in 1 Chronicles 28:2 wants to build a house for the Ark as a footstool for God. (Some translations give the idea that the house is the stool while others seem to imply that the Ark is the footstool.)  I think, that Lamentations 2:1 pulls in Jerusalem as the “splendor of Israel” into the Temple and Ark.

We are also directed in Psalm 99:5 and 132:7 to worship at the Footstool of God.

Under Foot or Feet

I guess I separated footstool and underfoot because if you are using a footstool you should be sitting down.  Things can be “underfoot” if you are walking or standing.  Also, people have Creation under their feet in Psalm 8:6 and the Woman in Revelations 12:1 has the moon under her feet.  God in Exodus 24:10 has dinner with Moses and the seventy elders with a lapis lazuli pavement under His feet (that always sounds like the blue ball we live on).  2 Samuel 22:10 and Psalm 18:9 has God parting the heavens and there are dark clouds under His feet and not a footstool.

Enemies and everything is the main things that will be under Jesus’ feet.  There are many references – Hebrews 2:8, Ephesians 1:22, 1 Corinthians 15:25+27, Matthew 22:44, and Mark 12:36.

Hebrews 12:13

This verse echoes Proverbs 4:26. My reflection on this verse is that Jesus is stepping on enemies and putting everything under His feet, so when we are not turning to the left or the right the path behind Him is smooth.