Previous | | Next | | E-Mail | | Contents | | V&FT

The Christmas Conspiracy




"The Mountain of the House of the LORD
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And each of them shall sit under his
Vine and under his fig tree
With no one to make them afraid
Micah 4:1,4

The Nature and Purpose of Man in the Garden of Eden included the following.

over a Fruitful Garden

Let's explore the second of these themes:


Basic to life in a Garden is Agriculture. It is also basic to man's nature.
Genesis 2:15 is a very descriptive verse:

And the LORD God took the man (lit., Adam) and put (lit., rested) him into the Garden of Eden to dress it (cultivate, labor, worship, till [v. 5],) and keep it (guard, hedge, preserve; ch. 3:24).

Man cannot escape Agriculture. No man lives without food, and without working for it (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

In the Garden, into which God placed man, food was plentiful (Genesis 2:8-9) and the task of harvesting was not a burden. The climate was perfectly suited for a bounteous harvest (ch. 2:5-6). Man's task beyond harvesting was to beautify (ch. 2:15) and expand the Garden (Genesis 1:26-28).

Edenic symbolism was very present in the feasts of Israel, as they celebrated the bounty of God's provision and enjoyed the fullness of life and prosperity under the Covenant. This is particularly true of the Feast of Tabernacles (or "Ingathering," in Exodus 23:16). In this feast they were required to leave their homes and live for seven days in "tabernacles" or booths, made entirely of "the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook" (Leviticus 23:40). Israel usually dwelled in walled cities, as a protection against their enemies; yet, at the very time of prosperity (the end of the harvest) — when attack would seem most likely — God ordered them to leave the security of their homes and journey to Jerusalem, to live in unprotected booths made of leafy boughs! God promised, of course, that He would keep the heathen from attacking during the festivals (Exodus 34:23-24), and Israel had to trust in His Strength.

The feast was a very obvious reminder of life in Eden, when walled cities were unnecessary; and it looked forward to the day when the nations would beat their swords into plowshares (Micah 4:3) and the world would be re-created into Eden.

World-wide Agriculture

Micah's prophecy looks forward to the day of universal Christianization, when all kingdoms surrender their authority to Christ the King, becoming part of His Kingdom. It is difficult to imagine the world-wide blessings of Edenic restoration without keeping a faithful eye on God's great evangelistic promises. The Feast of Tabernacles did just that. In addition to speaking of the elimination of city-fortresses and a return to Garden-communities, mention is made of the great future out-pouring of God's grace upon all nations. During the feast 70 bulls were sacrificed. Why 70? Because the number of the original nations of the earth, from which all subsequent nations are derived, was 70 (Genesis 10). The feast celebrated the Ingathering of all nations to God's Kingdom, thus atonement was made for all.

The contrast between man's efforts to protect himself through a fortress-city and his willingness to trust God in a more agrarian setting was illustrated in the Feast of Tabernacles. The Israelites literally forgot that this Feast was in the Bible until the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, when it was finally observed (Nehemiah 8:13-18).

Since understanding comes through obedience (Psalm 119:98-100; John 7:17), it was at this time that they finally understood its purpose. The prophets informed Israel that this was a symbolic prophetic adumbration of the conversion of all nations. On the last day of this feast (Haggai 2:1) God said "I will shake all nations, and the wealth of all nations shall come; and I will fill this House [the Temple] with Glory" (Haggai 2:7). About this same time, Zechariah prophesied about the meaning of the feast in terms of the sanctification of all areas of life by all nations (Zechariah 14:14-21).

During the celebration of this feast hundreds of years later, Christ Himself further expounded the meaning: it signifies the outpouring of the Spirit upon the restored believer, so that the Church becomes a channel of restoration to the whole world (John 7:37-39; cp. Ezekiel 47:1-12).

As the Gospel is carried to the ends of the Earth and the Spirit poured out (Acts 2:16ff.), God's Presence is manifested and the Garden restored. With the whole world converted, men can abandon their militaristic industrialism and return to a life of peace (Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:4), as the Feast of Booths taught.

Previous | | Next | | E-Mail | | Contents | | V&FT