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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 original Garden had the following characteristics.
The Life of Man was characterized by the following:
Let us then look at some Edenic characteristics, and see how God has predestined them to be restored to the Creation.
The wonderful themes of Grace revealed in Scripture often originate in very earthy facts of life. Or, looking at it another way, many facts of life have been Created by a Predestinating God to help us understand His Eternal Plan.
Early in the Edenic narrative in Genesis, we are told some facts which we might think are just "trivia." One of them is in Genesis 2:10
And a river went out of Eden to water the Garden; and from thence it was parted and became into four heads. (See also 2:11-14.)
Eden, as the source of water for the earth, was the source of blessing for all life, dispensing the foundation of health, prosperity, and welfare for all God's creatures.
As a radical fundamentalist, I take this passage literally; I am convinced that out of Eden sprang four rivers of water. So what?
Everyone is agreed that, with enough water, we could make our homes and cities into a Garden. Southern California spends billions of dollars to turn its desert into a more friendly desert. If there were billions more dollars and more water up north (or less Northerners to complain) Los Angeles would be America's garden spot. It would seem that people like gardens more than deserts. Given a choice, we would prefer the garden effects of water than the wilderness effects of uninterrupted concrete. The Word of God is the source of this view of water.
The New Bible Dictionary does what any Bible student could do, by looking at the Scriptural references to water, and determining its teaching. In general, here is what we find:
Frequently water is symbolical of God's blessing and of spiritual refreshment, as in Ps. 23:2; Is. 32:2, 35:6,7, 41:18, etc., and the longing for it indicates spiritual need (Pss. 42:1, 63:1, Amos 8:11). In Ezekiel's vision of God's house (47:1- 11) the waters that poured out from under the threshold represented the unrestricted flow of Yahweh's blessings upon His people (cf. Zc. 14:8). Jeremiah describes Yahweh as "the fountain of living waters" (2:13, 17:13), a phrase that is echoed in Jn. 7:38 of the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament water is connected with eternal life as the supreme blessing that God gives (Jn. 4:14; Rev. 7:17; 21:6, 22:1,17). . . .
The Bible describes a predestinating God Who reveals Himself by using water as a symbol of life and the Holy Spirit. Was this because man is absolutely dependent upon water for life and prosperity, or was water made the basic substance of life so that we might be taught something about the Spirit? Of course, the Lord could have created man and the Earth without water and thus without a dependence upon water. He could have created man in a Garden that didn't need watering. But He didn't. He put man in a Garden from which originated rivers of water that watered the whole earth. And this rather obvious and simple geographical fact is pointed out to us by the Spirit in the Scriptures. How you respond to these facts may depend on whether you feel God engages in trivial pursuit, or governs all things according to His Providence.
In the ceremonial laws water is very basic. As a symbol of the Holy Spirit, it teaches us our need to be cleansed from sin. And so these laws teach us that the blessing of abundant water does not come apart from the righteousness of the Spirit.
But water really is a source of growth and really does help cleanse our bodies from impurities. Man does not live by water alone, but if he walks in the Spirit, he shall have the blessings of abundant water (Matthew 4:4 + Exodus 23:25).
Consider the possibility that water is a symbol of blessing and refreshment through the Holy Spirit because God wants us to experience the literal blessings of abundant water.
Israel was to be the means of bringing the blessings of the Garden of Eden to the whole world: Scripture goes out of its way to portray this Great Commission symbolically when it tells us of Israel camping at Elim. We are told there were twelve wells of water (the twelve tribes of Israel). We are also told there were seventy palm trees. Why seventy? Clearly the twelve wells were to water the trees; what did the seventy refer to?
The number seventy comes up often in Scripture, and most often it refers to the original reference to seventy in the Book of Genesis. In chapter 10 we have the Catalogue of Nations, descendants of Noah from which all present nations have derived. The twelve tribes of Israel are to spread the River of Life to the seventy nations (Exodus 15:27; Numbers 33:9). God's people are this nation of priests (I Peter 2:9, Exodus 19:5,6), wells of water chosen to bring the water of the Gospel to a world of trees dried by sin and the Curse. The time when the Feast of Tabernacles will become a reality is here said to be certain: God's people will fly the Gospel banner and the whole earth will become the Garden (Isaiah 11:9; Daniel 2:35), filled with Blessing and security, with no need for walled cities (Leviticus 23:3-6; Isaiah 65:17:25; Ezekiel 34:25-29).
It would seem that the water that flowed from the Holy Mountain was both literally and symbolically necessary for the life of man, and an abundance of water symbolizes and literally effects a return to Garden conditions. When God pours out His mercy on a people, He sends them the River of Life, which is both the Spirit and literal water. Water from rain and other sources is sent by God in abundance to those who walk in His Ways (Leviticus 26:3-4; Deuteronomy 11:13-14; Isaiah 30:23; Zechariah 10:1). Famine and dryness are also sent by God upon those who trust in the water projects of Empire (1 Kings 18; Deuteronomy 11:17; 28:24; 1 Kings 8:35; 2 Chronicles 7:13; Jeremiah 3:3; Amos 4:7; Zechariah 14:17).
The prophets use water to describe the blessings of Salvation and the coming Restoration through the Gospel. In the individual believer, Salvation is a well of water springing up into eternal life (John 4:14); but just as the rivers of Eden were fed by a multitude of springs (Genesis 2:6 NIV) the water of life becomes a river of living water, flowing out from the Church to all the world (John 7:37-39; Ezekiel 47:1-12; Zechariah 14:8), healing and restoring the whole earth, so that the desert lands become transformed into a Garden (Isaiah 32:13-17; 35:12). As the Spirit is poured out, "Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit" (Isaiah 27:6). The Spirit is poured out "That they may see . . . that the Holy One of Israel hath created it" (see Isaiah 41:18-20).
property rights / disputes over water
vapor canopy in Eden: "Greenhouse effect"/"global warming" destroys industrialism
water and judgment (Matt 5:45; Romans 12:20; Noah)
Rivers of Empire / City of Quartz
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(14) (Or, to really confuse things, when we speak of "the hand of the LORD" are we speaking "anthropomorphically" [literally, "in the shape of man"] or when we speak of man's "hand" are we speaking "theomorphically"? Did God choose to describe his love for us as "adoption" because man is known to adopt, or do we adopt an unloved child as we are more like our Heavenly Father [I John 4:19]?).
(15) which is known in the heart of every human being (Romans 1:18-23; 2:15).
(16) "Trivia" is a relative term of judgment. We consider certain facts or themes "trivial" if they are not as "real, "practical," or "important." Thus, someone might suggest that the fact that Eden was an elevated plateau is "trivial" compared to "facts" like the current trend in Money Market interest rates. ("It's the economy, stupid!") Ironically, the Biblical prophets would say such "facts" are even less than "trivial."
(17) twice Exodus 15:27 and Numbers 33:9.
(18) see the "Agriculture" section, below.
(19) Matthew 5:45 does not speak of the lavish gifts of water to the faithful which restores Edenic conditions, but only of token gifts to those outside the Household of Faith (cf. Matthew 15:27).