Monday, May 04, 2009
Paradise Returned: Part 5
Guardians and Gates
* Please read the Introduction through Part 4 first.
So we now know what God designed in the Garden, what He established as a precursor to Jesus in the Tabernacle and we have seen the highway of holiness we travel in order to get there, with New Jerusalem as the highlight of it all. But what about the one common theme that all four of these areas share? Do you know what it is? They all are guarded in some manner. They all have gates and/or cherubim guarding them. I want to shed some light on several thought-provoking issues regarding this fact that represents the entrance to allow one’s fellowship with God. I’d like to use several Scriptures as my main Source of reference.
Eden - “So [the LORD God] drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.” Genesis 3:24
Tabernacle - “The cherubim had their wings spread upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings, with their faces toward each other; the faces of the cherubim were toward the mercy seat.” Exodus 37:9
Highway - ”Go through, go through the gates, clear the way for the people; Build up, build up the highway, remove the stones, lift up a standard over the peoples.” Isaiah 62:10 and 11
New Jerusalem – “The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall.” Revelation 21:15
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14
Ezekiel even referenced the cherubim in the vision that he saw of the upcoming dwelling place of the LORD. “Now the cherubim were standing on the right side of the temple when the man entered, and the cloud filled the inner court.” Ezekiel 10:3
So with all of these gates and guardian cherubs around, how does one get in? Only those who are in Christ, the Second Adam, will be allowed entrance to dwell with the LORD. He is the ONLY way in! Those who are in the flesh, the first Adam will not be allowed entrance in.
Here are some verses that establish this point:
“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh.” Hebrews 10:19 and 20
”This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever…” Hebrews 6:19 and 20
“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22
“So also it is written, ‘The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL’, the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” 1 Corinthians 15:45
“I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved.” John 10:9
“Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Luke 13:24
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13 and 14
Again, I beg you to pay close attention to what is to follow.
There will come a day when the gates are closed and those who are in stay in and those who are outside, stay outside. This is not some scare tactic, but rather a simple biblical reality. A closer look at what will take place when the LORD shuts the door is found in Luke 13:22-27. What I’d like to point out is that the people who are left to stand outside reference Him as “Lord”. These on the outside are fully convinced that they should be allowed in. In the parable Jesus even says that they claim that they “ate and drank in [His] presence and taught in [their] streets”. In response, Jesus says, “I do not know where you are from.”
You see, they took the wrong path. These are those who are self-professed “Believers” that Jesus is talking to, not the world. They reference Him clearly as “Lord”. They followed the religious masses through the wide gate and traveled the broad path of conformity and disobedience. Yet these are strangers to the LORD and he tells them to “Depart from [Him], all you evildoers”. Our error is that we perceive evildoers as vile outcasts of society. The murderers, the thieves, the sexually perverse, the worst of the worst - whatever we personally define to be “evil”. God’s definition however is much different. The Greek word is “adikos” which is defined as an unrighteous one who ignores God’s laws. This drastically changes everything. Church attendance, good deeds, compassion, even good “Christian” works are all thrown out the window!
The same things that kept people from God throughout all of time – disobedience, idol worship, un-cleanliness, false teachings, flattering lips and distant hearts – these still keep mankind from entering the most holy place. These things still banish many from the garden of God. This will, in the future keep scores from entering into the New Jerusalem. Just as it has always been, there is one gate, one way. There is no magic password or shortcut to get in. No one else will be able to sneak you in nor will any coaxing or persuading do the trick.
Being intimately known by the Head of the House is your absolute only way in.
Unsure what to do once you get into the gates? That’s’ simple! “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise, give thanks to Him, bless His name.” (Psalm 100:4) Why? Because you have been granted access into His holy dwelling place! Through, Jesus, The Christ you have entered the most holy place!
So now that we've seen these three examples of God's dwelling place with men, examined that they are all guarded and how we can enter in, what is left to do? Well, next up we'll reflect and put some practical applications to this teaching. I have been astounded at the more I see in the Word, the more error I see in commonplace Christianity. It is my purpose, my calling, my charge to encourage you to allow the Word alone to define what you believe and why. Stay close, we have much to learn.