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"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."
The Pishon river, originating in Eden, traversed "the land of Havilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that land is good; there is bdellium and the onyx stone"(Genesis 2:11-12). If you have ever read the entire chapter of Genesis 2, you may have noticed how out of place these verses seem to us. We don't think about gold very much (especially when thinking about money) and we don't connect the unfallen Earth with precious stones and minerals. Perhaps we should start making such a connection. Other Bible passages speak of Eden the same way. When God speaks to the king of Tyre, he speaks to a satanic figure whose political ambition is that of Satan. Thus, He speaks to him as if to Satan himself (cp. Matthew 16:23). Notice the reference to the gems in the Garden:
Thou hast been in Eden the Garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold (Ezekiel 28:13).
The ground of the Garden seems to have been fairly littered with jewels of all sorts: "Thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire" perhaps a reference to their fiery, radiant appearance (Ezekiel 28:14). The abundance of precious metal and gems is surely to be regarded as a blessing; fellowship with God in Eden meant being surrounded with beauty.
This geological fact is used to teach us in the ceremonial law. In addition to the gold used to symbolize the garden, there are many references to Edenic conditions in the precious stones used in the ceremonial fixtures. On his shoulders, the High Priest was to wear two onyx stones as "stones of memorial" (Exodus 25:7; 28:9-12). A memorial of what? The only mention of the onyx prior to Exodus is Genesis 2:12, a very conspicuous mention in the Garden of Eden. God apparently wanted His people to remember the blessing of the Garden. The High Priest a man symbolizing the restoration of the Image of God in man serves as a reminder to the people that in saving them God was restoring them to Eden.
The Stones mentioned in Genesis 2 re-appear in Scripture in the most remarkable ways. The serious student of the Bible knows these references have been put there for a purpose.
After the Children of Israel were freed from Egypt, they had to cross the wilderness to get to the promised land of abundance. God's provision of manna can be seen to be a reminder of Eden, past and future. As the Israelites were passing through the land of Havilah (cf. Genesis 2:11-12), Moses points this out, by telling us that manna a food which was plentiful, good-tasting, easy-to-find, like food in the Garden was the color of bdellium, which we remember from Genesis 2, the only other occurrence of the word. We know, therefore, that bdellium is white, since we are told elsewhere that manna is white (Exodus 16:31). This helps us to understand the message of our Lord to the Church in the Book of Revelation, where Edenic imagery is used to describe Salvation (in chapters 2-3) and the promise is made, "To him that overcometh* will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone..." (Revelation 2:17). Insignificant in isolation, these references are part of a significant theme. Salvation is the return to the Garden.
In their prophecies of the coming Messiah and His blessings, the Old Testament prophets concentrated on this Edenic imagery of jewels, describing Salvation in terms of God's adorning of his people with precious stones:
Behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and all thy borders of pleasant stones (Isaiah 54:11-12). The abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the wealth of the nations shall come unto thee. . . . They shall bring gold and incense; and they shall show forth the praises of the LORD. . . . Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the Name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because He hath glorified thee. . . . Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the wealth of the nations, and that their kings may be brought (Isaiah 60:5-6,9,11).
The whole city of God is a dazzling, brilliant display of precious stones (Revelation 21:18-21); gold is as plentiful as asphalt (v. 21). Precious stones and metals, by their brilliance and heaviness, are symbols of the Glory of God Himself. And yet their very abundance renders them next-to-worthless, especially in the very Presence of God.
Jesus says if we are willing to lose our life we will find it, but if we seek to save it, we will lose it (Matthew 16:25). In the world of secular economics, we seek jewels to adorn ourselves, rather than the Kingdom; as a result, we lose the abundance God promises (James 4:3; Matthew 6:33).
There is no hoarding in the New Jerusalem; God is with us.
* To "overcome" is to experience radical metanoia (repentance) and repudiation of Empire. If we overcome the lies of the old world, we become a new creature, and part of the New Creation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17
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