Genesis 3:22-24. 22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
These are some of the saddest words in all of scripture. Adam and Eve chose to rebel against their Creator. They chose their own knowledge of good and evil over the gracious offer of God’s own life – the Tree of Life. They chose what all of us have chosen. To be our own source of eternal life and righteousness rather than simply receiving God’s grace.
And as a result mankind has their first encounter with an angelic being. God places his cherubim with flaming sword to guard the way back to the Tree of Life.
The Garden of Eden was the earthly manifestation of God’s heavenly temple. Like God’s throne at the center of Heaven, the Tree of Life was planted in the center of the Garden. It is here that Heaven met Earth and God met man. And just as in heaven, here the cherubim will guard the earthly throne of God at the Tree of Life.
Humanity, because of our sinful rebellion, is banned from the presence of God. Just as Satan, the Dragon, was expelled from God’s throne room, we too have been expelled – sent him out from the garden of Eden.
The Expulsion of Adam and Eve (1791), Benjamin West (1738-1820).
And that is why we need an advent. An arrival. We need God to enter time and space to restore us to his presence. Each and every one of us has done what are Edenic parents have done. We have chosen our own wisdom over God’s. We have worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator. The result is darkness and death.
But Advent is born out of darkness. It is in this great darkness of Genesis 3 that God first made a promise of a coming light. The promise of an advent. The promise of a hero who would come to make a way back to God’s presence. A way past the cherubim.
Genesis 3:15. I [God] will put enmity between you [Satan] and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
This is our advent: the offspring of the woman (that’s Jesus) will battle the offspring of Satan (that’s sin and death). That battle raged on the cross and was won in the resurrection. That battle rages in our hearts and is won in our union with Christ’s victorious life. That battle rages in the world around us today and will finally be won one day at the second advent of Christ when we will move past the cherubim and gather around the throne of God forever.
Praise God Genesis 3 is not the last chapter of the Bible. Praise God the final word of God to man is not “leave my presence forever.” Praise God his final word is Jesus. The word of life. The word of love. The word of grace. The Word of God!
Can you see your need today for an advent? For God’s arrival into your life? In Christ you are no longer blocked by the cherubim. How does that restore your soul today?