Hide & Seek
by Jeff Pohlman
© 17 September, 2005
Part 1 - Adam & Even
Genesis 3 : 8- And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
(New American Standard Version [NASV]- AMG Publishers - Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D. Greek Study Bible)
At the beginning of human history on earth, the Bible tells us that in the garden where Adam and Eve lived were two trees which could provide sustenance for them. One was given the "okay" from God to eat, the other was clearly set apart to only be seen, and they were to obey by NOT eating of its fruit (along the lines of someone telling you today, NOT to eat any part of a hemlock tree - obedience has its rewards). This obedience, or lack of it, set up a contrast for us to see, as choosing what God says is right, or choosing what God says is wrong. The choosing was theirs, God could handle the dynamic of whether they obeyed or not, it didn't threaten Him, nor diminish Who He is, or What He is. To this day, their is a choosing that is now ours, but let's not get ahead of ourselves quite yet.
Our heavenly coach, God, clearly defined what the choices were; correct or incorrect.
CORRECT - INCORRECT
Tree of Life - Tree of Knowledge (of Good & Evil)
To KNOW - To KNOWLEDGE (know about)
Live - Die
Eternal Fellowship with God - Eternal Separation from God
Loving Relationship - Divorce, Separation, Death
WHAT WAS REALLY LOST IN THE GARDEN?
Some people get distracted, now that we are somewhere around 6,000 years past that first life-or-death defining-event for mankind. They think that at stake and at issue is something called religion. They believe that the crux of the issue is the purchase of a ticketed ride home to heaven. Those subjects are a distraction. It is clearly spelled out in the beginning chapters of the Bible that God is a relational God, One who desires relationships with His created human beings, and He is most certainly a jealous God to guard those relationships. That's what was lost, the eternal totally-spirit-interactive-flow of relationship between Creator and humans and back again. When Adam and Eve abdicated their places in spiritual eternity, it tremendously grieved God, yet it didn't diminish Him. He made a provision for humans to have fellowship with Him, while it still requires a decision (blood-sacrifice to cover our sins), all the more difficult now - yet still a free gift with a price (that alone CAN confuse some people - so just chalk it up to God's economy, and one which we don't always understand clearly at first).
On this subject of what was truly lost in the garden, go back to the top and carefully look at Genesis 3 : 8. Sometimes it takes a little gentle nudging for us to figure things out. My wife and I laugh with each other, because we are not good at solving mystery stories, nor movies that involve spy and intelligence work. They really are lost on us until we see them for about ten times. We have known intelligence-community-type people who catch all of the nuances and details, the first time, with true perfect photographic memory. Not us though. In fairness, my wife is quicker than me, and she relished playing the board game Clue® when she was a child, where it absolutely frustrated me (still does - you could say I am clueless). As board-game-types go, I am more of a Careers® type person, and Monopoly® has been recently replaced for me with a much more constructive type, Robert Kiyosaki's CashFlow 101®, where all of the players HELP each other to reach a successful conclusion (instead of killing them all off, as in opponent-based Monopoly®).
Anyway, clues need to be accented repeatedly for my brain to catch on, so I'll pass along the accenting for you and hopefully this will stick in your cranial matter faster than it does mine.
One item that you must immediately recognize is that God had-and-has an ability to appear in bodily human form, while still totally spirit. Some would call this His "human manifestation." Modern day people with catchy phrases would call this "God with a Jesus suit on." Whatever - you get the idea. Even though Adam and Eve were finite in their place in the garden, God was, is, and always will be spirit-omnipresent, yet He can choose when He is represented in bodily manifestation. That too might boggle some people's thinking, but it is not intended to.
The next item to recognize isn't so obvious, and would be lost if you didn't have a grasp of original-language writings of the Bible (or the Hebrew Pentateuch if you will). If you notice, there is one little word, cool, which is odd.
You probably understand many of the other phrases:
- "And they heard the sound of the Lord God," so when God was in His human manifestation suit, he could be heard walking in the crumpling of the garden floor grasses and leaves under His footsteps - probably not some huge dinosaur-like pounding of the ground, although we might think of Him in that size and capacity;
- "walking in the garden," where He obviously moved around in the garden, with them, and didn't just sit still on some throne for them to come bow at, they had a moving-about relationship, like walking with a friend down a garden path or through the woods in loving (maybe even hand-holding) fellowship;
... but what's this "in the cool of the day" ?
I actually had a Bible once that had a commentary in the sidebar, explaining that this was at the end of a long hard day of working in the garden, as the sun was going down and cooling off. Commentary being what it is, it is interesting, but incomplete because it is usually human speculation or can be derived through some denominational/ sectarian slant. Truth be known, the inserted word "cool" is not a consistent translation or description of that consistent time of day (i.e. as the sun setting). A true consistent time of day that is always the coolest is moments before the sun's rays start to hit your part of the horizon - known as sunrise. Anyone who walks or exercises outdoors at that time of day, before-and-during the sun's coming up, will tell you that, and it feels the more brutal in winter months.
So is there a significance to this particular time of day - to the exclusion of the rest of a "day"? If so, mankind would probably have established a religion around it, and developed a creed and bylaws where they were defending an approach that says, "my religion is more right than yours," so sacramental ritual would dictate talking with Him only at sun-up. You think I'm joking? Look around. This is known as religious asceticism, or the religious practice of rigid self denial, even to the point of self-inflicting pain (the old "no pain no gain" theory). This religious branch of early risers would say that to get the optimum God-time, you need to wake your weary eyelids early, when it's too cold to try, and force yourself to get that blood pumpin', especially if your not a "morning person," which they would probably tell us that none of us are naturally - more self denial heaped upon self-denial. Yeah, go ahead and work your way into heaven. Go. Do it. Flog thyself.
Joking aside, now back to some sensibility. It hasn't been answered and the question remains, what's this "in the cool of the day?"
The last clue comes with an uncovering of the Hebrew word that is transliterated as "cool" in most modern translations of the Bible. This translated-word cool, comes from the original Hebrew word ruwak (pronounced roo-ahk). Quite simply, it really means spirit. I won't go into all of the details of why the translators chose the word cool instead, but we need to see the original intent of the phrase and forget what the translators did.
I don't think that Father God limited Himself to one dry appointment of a singular 15-minute fellowship-event out of each 24-hour day, to talk with Adam and Eve, and then go off to administrate the rest of eternity for the other 23-hours and 45-minutes of each earth-day. I think He made Himself available many many times throughout each and every day, but giving the humans some time-space, seemingly for themselves, as well. So, I would say that as the occasion permitted or required, He'd appear; or in other words, "as the spirit moved" they'd get together.
In a nut shell we have seen why God created us, and what desire He had (and still has) for us - fellowship, deep relationship. It follows then that we must ask ourselves...
WHAT DO WE NEED IN RETURN?
In the book of The Revelation to John, the last book of the Bible, we see where Jesus our Savior gives some rather stinging assessments of seven different types of groups of Christians, named as the "called out ones." Those groups fall under names of Mediterranean cities of John's time, but these named groups have also been viewed as historical developments of Christ's metaphorical Body-and-Bride through the ages, by some "theologians."
During my personal walk with The Lord in the earliest of the 1990s, He gently told me that the first 65 books of the Bible were written to be read and discerned by me, for the here and now, for me, and this last book was to be read the same way (for me in the here-and-now).
Given that, He showed me that I need to look at these ekklesia-groups as metaphors of different time periods in my own developmental life, personally (and not necessarily that it held true where they were always linear in progression). In the historical sense, they were truly written for seven different ekklesia groups in existence in 68 a.d., at the end of-and-under the tortuous rule of Emperor Nero, when John wrote Revelation from the Isle Of Patmos, and the groups were by no means in some lock step developmental sequence then, where one fed the other like some trumped up linear evolutionary cycle.
They were seven distinctly different people-groups, townspeople, that met from house to house in different cities, period. They were written about as types, shadows and figures, to speak to us in a metaphor or parable-format, so we could gain understanding about our personal lives down through ALL ages. To extrapolate them into mystical predictive theology, trying to see into the future, can be very dangerous, unless you truly have the sure-and-steady hand of God guiding you, much like Daniel reading the "Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin" from the wall to Belshazzar (in the old testament book of Daniel, chapter 5). So for the personal Christian, stay common. Focus on your life here and now. Don't get too distracted by future events, that can be destructive and unproductive in your own life. Be real. Be personal. Be now.
Looking at just one of these people-groups in Revelation 3, we find the Laodiceans giving an answer to the "what do we need?" question I just posed. Let's look in on the account. John is writing the account of what Jesus is saying to these particular Laodicean called out ones, so it is in red letters.
14- And to the pastoral messenger of the called out ones in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God says this: 15- "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot. 16- So because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17- Because you say, 'I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,' and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked..."
(New American Standard Version [NASV]- AMG Publishers - Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D. Greek Study Bible)
I sure hope you are not a person who has this cocky attitude, where your earthly wealth has you spiritually blinded, and when asked, you would say, "I need nothing" ? I know that at times in my life I have been so brash and brazen to have an answer like that ready, and then the Lord has surely caught me by the short hairs and proven me very wrong. It is a humbling experience. The last parts of the book of Job come to mind, and in my experience, I remember quite well when Father firmly-yet-gently reminded me the same way He did with Job, that I am smaller than navel lint on a flea on the back side of an elephant compared to the enormity of Who He is, and the power that He truly is.
So the answer to the question comes full circle - I really need fellowship, deep spiritual relationship, because eating at the tree of knowledge is a poor substitute. I repeat the following many times in my writings, but because it is lost or forgotten by so many people and essentially so important, I write it again here and say it all the time - this relationship is one with Him in me and through me as me.
His Fulfillment Of Our Need
Let's close Part 1 by looking at the finishing out of the fellowship-metaphor we were looking at, that John wrote, which describes this relationship and what the antidotes are for getting over our narcissistic selfish syndrome of thinking (v 17) that "I need nothing." Yes you could say that the Laodiceans were mentally hiding from reality. In today's vernacular, they were in mental and spiritual denial.
v 19- Those whom I love I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore and repent.
Today's society HATES judgment, punishment, to be scolded or rebuked (both meanings of reprove), correction and discipline. We live in a society that wants to absolutely get away with wrongdoing wherever possible, or to blame someone or something else for our wrongdoing. I'll give you one small example. When I had first left my parents home, out on my own I quickly became an alcoholic and drug addict. Those were choices I made, wrong as they were, but choices. In today's society, I would be in line if I blamed society, my parents, my inherited genes, my schoolmates, and surrounding dire circumstances for those problems, AND I would be totally in line by calling my problems "diseases," or saying that I was a "victim" of my environment,
Fact, He loves me, He reproved me, and saw to it that I entered a way of disciplined actions that absolutely saved my life from my sinful choices, or I would have died at 18. Call sin, sin. The judgment is clear; I got that way because of my chosen actions, no blame on anyone or anything else, and yes, I got a much deserved spanking - although gracious, because I deserved much worse than what was meted out - you could say that it was sufficient to catch my attention and cause me to change. Had He not loved me, I'd be lost, separated from Him for eternity. I needed, and still need His discipline.
Don't think of discipline as a bad word, because it speaks of right and true order in the fashion that He initially designed and intended for us to live in. Sometimes we also need punishment, but that usually diminishes, and discipline remains. If we roll our eyes and perform only as if coerced, sooner or later the discipline WILL turn to punishment, and if we persist in our resistance and rebellion, it will turn to more severity until the snapping could eventually cause us to lose eternity in fellowship with Him if we weren't careful in our choices. Embrace the discipline for the good that it is - because He has already told us that He does love us.
Because I so want His life coursing through me for all of eternity, I was and am zealous in my repentance. I don't see the point of living in denial, telling myself and all those around me that I am fine, that I need nothing, because it's a lie.
v18- I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich; and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.
These three pieces of advice are wonderful. He could have abandoned us in our haughty denial. Instead, He hands wonderful redemption to us. First, deep strong enduring fire (that makes your life like gold that's drawn through the same process) for eternal wealth - this fire burns off EVERY sin that clings so closely; second, clean bright white garments for covering nakedness and shame - if we were to remain uncovered, our sin would show all over again while Jesus is our pure holy covering; and third, salve so our spirits can truly see rightly without blur of self denial - our spiritual eyes to this point had been blind, chafed, rubbed raw for lack of sight, and He truly restores sight so we don't repeat again those fateful words "I have need of nothing." Folks, that is a collection of sermons that if you sincerely set your spirit-heart to meditate on them, you probably wouldn't be through for a week at least, maybe even more than a month!
Then He utters a great piece of icing on the cake of true salvation which He's already offered in the previous verses, here's the GOOD NEWS, which many many people miss that keeps them from joining the ranks of saints who have wonderful deep lives of relationship - meaning Him in them and through them as them (I told you I repeated that a lot J )...
v20- Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and dine with him, and he with Me. 21- He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me in My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
Most people don't knock at a door with just one strong thump (in fact, the only people who notoriously knock only once are criminals/ thieves - and in the law enforcement community it is truly called the "thief's knock," because the criminal is "casing the joint" to see whether anyone answers, in other words - the last check before they commit a crime, because not even the most hardened psychopath enters without knocking - they don't want to be surprised or startled by some leftover unexpected human presence). Few people thump twice.
Most thump the door, or it's frame, three times. You just heard the three-times-thump knock in verse eighteen - 1) submit you spirit life to the cleansing fire of Jesus, 2) appear before sinless Father no more in sin because you are furthermore covered by the sinless garment of Jesus, 3) see rightly for all of eternity because you have the salve of Jesus in your spirit-eyes.
Now you've heard the one-two-three knock, those specific knocking-points have drawn you to appear at the other side of your spirit-door, asking "Who is it?"
Then He most clearly answers in His unmistakable voice, with, "Your Savior, if you open and let me into your spirit, I will fellowship in and through you as you for all eternity."
What do you do?
Open or walk away?
I have no idea whether you choose OPEN, but I sure hope you have the sense to. There's no TV game show Door A, Door B AND Door C to this one. There's just one door - the spirit that is in you, and there are two choices, again, I hope you choose to open it to Him. If you do, then it should be fairly clear what happens. The end of verse twenty is the most exciting news you will ever hear for all of eternity. He WILL enter in to your spirit for the most deep relationship possible for all of eternity and He equally makes sure you enter into His Spirit for all eternity. As I have said previously, exchanged life. Only He can make it possible, and He does. If that is not interesting to you, then you can go on hiding behind bushes when you think you hear the rustling of His human manifestation, and your feasting on the tree of knowledge. Please, choose life (eternal).
Before we move on to Part 2, here's a confirmation verse that my wife found for me, written by the same fellow, the apostle John who wrote the passages we were just looking at. This time in John 10 : 10.
10- The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it more abundantly.
(New American Standard Version [NASV]- AMG Publishers - Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D. Greek Study Bible)
My wife was noticing that the word abundantly had tripped her up just a little in that she was thinking it meant simply that she'd have eternal life. As she pondered "abundantly" and it's meanings from the original Greek, she came to realize that it means starting in the here-and-now, full life, with Him in and through us as us!!!
She realized that we should not accept living under a curse of substandard-ness, allowing the thief to continually come in, truly unwanted scoundrel that he is. We must put a stop to his crimes by applying Jesus' shed-blood for us, because he certainly won't stop stealing, killing and destroying, if we let him get away with it.
We saw the intent of the evil-one, stood against it, and now fully decide only to allow Jesus' life in the here-and-now, for all eternity, in more abundance than could ever be measured.
Now satan is the only one who is hiding from the human-manifestation of God moving in the spirit of our lives during each and every day, because he can't stand being caught at the substandard trick of eating knowledge-only, he's starving himself to death, amongst other things. He has missed out on eternal relationship, while we have been redeemed. Thank you Jesus.
Part 2, here we come.
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