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Moriel Ministries > Teachings > Sermons
Midrash: Jesus in the Garden
(Part 1 of 2)
(For those who already know this, I apologize. However, there may be readers who are new to our teaching or who are new in the faith, and for their sakes all of this bears repeating.)
When a Jewish Christian in the first century read the first four chapters
of John's Gospel, he would have said that it parallels the Book of
Genesis. He would have said that the story of the New Creation in John's
Gospel is a midrash on, or an inquiry into, the Creation. The New Creation
in John corresponds to the Creation in Genesis; Genesis tells us that
God walked the earth, and Adam heard Him in the Garden of Eden. This
speaks of Jesus: it is a Christophany, which is the theological term
for an Old Testament manifestation of Jesus. John tells us in his first
chapter that His Word became flesh, and once again God walked the earth.
In Genesis, God's Spirit moved on the water and brought forth the Creation. In John chapter four we hear of those who are born of water and of the Spirit; again, the Spirit moved on the water, this time to bring forth the New Creation. On the third day of Creation in Genesis, God does a miracle with water. In John 2:1, we read that the wedding at Cana is on the third day, and once more God does a miracle on the third day with water, this time in the New Creation. God began His first plan for man with the marital union of Adam and Eve; Jesus began His public ministry at a wedding in Cana, and God's second plan for man also commences with a marital union. The New Creation in John is full of parallels with the Creation in Genesis; one is a midrash of the other.
There are many things in Scripture that
are like this. The Tree of Life in Judaism, which in Hebrew is called
the es hayyim, is represented
by a fig tree. We see it in Ezekiel 47 and in the Book of Revelation,
but we see it first in the Creation in Genesis. In John chapter one,
when Nathaniel asks Jesus how He knows so much about him, Jesus answers, "Because
I saw you under the fig tree." What Jesus was saying to Nathaniel
with these words was not simply that he saw him under a literal fig
tree, although that was a part of it. What He was really saying in
midrash, or Jewish metaphor, is this: "I saw you from the garden,
from the Creation, from the foundation of the world."
It is interesting to note that every civilization from Mexico to China has stories of dragons. I've been a number of times to the Turanga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, and what a fantastic zoo it is! What would you call a lizard that measures nine or ten feet long by three feet high by two to three feet wide, and that could eat you? We call it a Komodo dragon. The word 'dinosaur' means simply 'great and terrible lizard'; I have seen them alive in our time.
To return to our point, the dragon spoken of in Revelation is Satan the Persecutor; the serpent is Satan the Deceiver. Jesus said in Matthew 23 that Abel was the first martyr: "Your brother's blood cries out", God tells Cain in Genesis. What do we see in Revelation? That the blood of the martyrs under the altar is crying out.
Then in Genesis we are told of Joseph's vision of the woman with the
stars. In Revelation, there again: the woman with the stars, in chapter
12. The parallels go on and on and on like that. Again, it is like
a loaf of bread; it looks the same from both ends before you cut it.
When you do cut it, you see the pattern: Creation, New Creation, and
Generically, in God's economy there are only two men: the first Adam
and the last Adam. When you were physically born, you were born of
Adam. When you are born again, you are born of the last Adam, who is
At this point we will take a closer look at the phrase 'to know': the Hebrew word 'to know' is la daot, and the Greek term is gnosco. The serpent was already in the garden when Adam and Eve were told to subdue the Earth; they were always meant to know that evil existed, and to know objectively what it was; but they were not to know it within themselves. They were not to know it experientially, although they were to know it existed. We already know that the Tree of Life was present in the Garden of Eden; the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was also there. Adam and Eve had a choice between those trees: the Tree of Life or the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They chose to try to be their own gods, to gain knowledge they were not meant to have. They were to know that evil existed, but they were not to know it within themselves. To understand this, we must grasp the different kinds of knowledge, of which we have two Biblical examples.
The first example is found in the high priest on the Day of Atonement:
only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies, and even he only
once a year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Any Hebrew, however,
could read the Book of Leviticus and know what was inside the Holy
of Holies. He could read descriptions of the furniture, the showbread,
the Ark of the Covenant, etc., and in that sense he could know what
was in there. Only the high priest, however, could know what it was
like to go in there, because he was designated for it. He was sanctified,
or set apart, for that purpose: in Hebrew, me kudesh. The Hebrew terms
'to know' and 'to sanctify', as in 'to set apart' - La daot and Le
Heet kodesh - frequently go together in the Bible. Anybody could know
what was inside the Holy of Holies, but only the person who was sanctified
for the purpose was to know what it was like to go into the holy of
Anybody can know what is inside a woman's body; but only the man sanctified
for the purpose is to know what it is like to go in. In the same way,
anybody could know what was inside the Holy of Holies, but no one except
the high priest could know what it was like to go in there. It is the
same with gonosko, the Greek term. Adam and Eve were always meant to
know that there was evil, and that there was a devil. They were intended
to know that things had to be subdued on the earth, though it was not
yet fallen. They were meant to know objectively, but they were not
meant to know experientially. They were to know, but they were not
Adam and Eve knew that now they needed to be saved, for they had sinned.
In their guilt, therefore, they sewed fig leaves together. Remember what we see in Genesis and in Revelation: a fig tree. In Revelation, the text states that the fig leaves are for the healing of the nations; biblically, therefore, fig leaves are figures or symbols of good works. Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together, and in the same way, fallen man will always try to justify himself before a sinless God with good works.
Every religion on earth is the diametric
opposite of the Gospel. When God - that is, Jesus - found Adam and
Eve in the Garden wearing their
fig leaves, He rejected the fig leaves and said that there must be
blood atonement in order to remove sin. Religion is man trying to reach
God with good works; the Gospel is God trying to reach man with blood
atonement. Religion is man trying to reach God; the Gospel is God trying
to reach man. Again, religion is the diametric opposite to the Gospel,
no matter what form it takes. It makes no difference whether it is
the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons knocking on doors, an Orthodox
Jew trying to keep the mitzvot, a Catholic at the Novena, or a Muslim
at the haij. Every religion is based on sewing fig leaves together
in a futile attempt to be justified before God. There is, however,
absolutely no assurance of salvation in that. On the contrary, the
Scriptures tell us directly that "all of our righteous deeds are
as filthy rags". Am I saying that Mother Theresa's righteous deeds
are filthy rags? No, I am not saying that; God is.
We should understand that the leaves are certainly important; in the Middle East, the sun is so hot that without leaves the fruit would be destroyed. On a fig tree in particular, the fruit grows underneath the leaves. When Jesus cursed this tree, however, the text states that it was not yet the season for figs. The warning we must glean from this is that the "Son of Man comes at an hour you do not expect"; we must live in readiness at all times. Again, without leaves the fruit would be destroyed; as James tells us, "Faith without works is dead." There's nothing wrong with the leaves, but the fact is that you cannot eat them. Even the best leaves do not make up for a lack of fruit, although you need the leaves. We are not told that we will know people by their works, but that we will know them by their fruit. It should be noted that works can be evidence of fruit, because the leaves normally appear at about the same time as the fruit; but an abundance of leaves is not a guarantee that you will find fruit.
Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together,
just as today every religion still does. There are many non-evangelical
'churches' that think they
are Christian. If you ask them, "How do you get to heaven?",
they will tell you that it is accomplished by having enough good deeds
to outweigh your bad deeds, or something similar. What do they do to
hide their nakedness? They sew fig leaves together. What do they do
at the Mass? They sew fig leaves together. What do they do down at
the Mosque? They sew fig leaves together. Every religion sews fig leaves
together, even though it is useless in gaining salvation. For that,
there must be a blood atonement.
We see now the cast of characters introduced in the Garden; first and foremost, we have God in the person of Jesus, a Christophany. We have Satan in his mode as a deceiver. Then we have naked man. So far, we have three characters: God, Satan, and a naked man. Let us continue with the text: 'And he said, "I heard the sound of the thee in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself." And He said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the Tree of which I commanded you not to eat?'" This sounds perhaps as if God didn't know; God knew, of course, but He was challenging Adam. "And the man said, 'The woman whom Thou gavest to me, she gave me from the Tree and I ate.'" Notice that although God in His omniscience already knew who ate first, He doesn't go to Eve but to Adam. If something, God forbid, goes wrong in my marriage or my family, or in your marriage or your family, gentlemen, it might not be our fault, but as far as God's concerned, it is our problem; the male is God's authority in that relationship.
In the Bible, every time a man lets a woman take spiritual headship,
you have a disaster. Abraham and Sarah or Ahab and Jezebel are two
examples of this. This goes right back to the Garden of Eden, and as
such is one of Satan's oldest tricks. Why is leadership into this error
now? We will see that in a moment, but let's continue.
It happens in a garden. Next, God dispatches an angel and says, "Get out of here. You cannot come in anymore." Here we are introduced to the fourth character, the angel who says 'get out'. In this garden, man falls. In this garden, God pronounces a curse on men and on women. In this garden, the angel says 'do not come in here.' In this garden man is naked before his God.
Yet in this garden, there is also a promise
of salvation: "'I
will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her
seed.'" As most of you know, Eve represents Israel and by extension
the church. The church is the bride of Christ, and Israel is God's
Hence, the Jews and the believing church have the same enemy. Why do you think the Muslims hate Israel and hate America? Is it purely political? No. There is a spiritual reason. At this time in history America is the seat of evangelical Christianity, as Britain was a hundred, two hundred years ago, and as Germany and Switzerland were during the Reformation.
"I'll put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed
and her seed." Look at pagan Rome: first, they turned against
the church under Nero. A few years later, they turned against the Jews
under Titus. A few centuries later, under the communists in the Soviet
Union, who did the Soviets persecute the most? Jews and born-again
Christians! Throughout the centuries of the inquisitions, the pogroms,
the massacres - who did the Roman Catholic Church persecute the most?
Jews and born-again Christians. What do Arafat's followers say? What
don't they show you on CNN? They don't show you that the Islamic Arabs
whom they champion are the same people who say every day of the week, "First
the Saturday people, then the Sunday people. Jihad! Jihad!" In
other words, first we kill the Jews, and then we kill the Christians.
I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and
In this garden, God takes our sin on Himself. He takes our sin and puts it on His son, Jesus, in order to take His righteousness and put it on us.
Jesus suffered physically; He was tortured. He suffered emotionally; the Bible speaks of this time as the 'travail of his soul'. But something else happened on the cross: His fellowship was broken with His Father. We must note also that He said, "It is finished. Father, into Your hands I give My Spirit." Satan's liars in the church today deny this fundamental doctrine:
Copeland, Hagen, Joyce Meyer, all these people are teaching error. They teach that Satan got the victory on the cross, that Jesus' Spirit was not commended to the Father, that it was not finished, and that He had to go to Hell. They teach further that He was tortured in Hell for three days and three nights, and that then He had to be born again in Hell. That is the teaching of Copeland and Hagen, which they got from E. W. Kenyon. They have another Jesus; they have another Gospel, as most of you know. Because the cross of Jesus is not central to their view of salvation, neither is the cross of Jesus central to their view of the Christian life. Instead of "pick up your cross and follow Me", their doctrine is "you're a King's kid, name it and claim it, God wants you rich, believe God for another Mercedes, etc". These men are from the devil, and are some of the false prophets that Jesus warned would come in the Last Days. Today they are doing exactly what Jesus said they would do.
Jesus takes our sin on Himself, not in Hell, but in a garden. That is where
God begins to put our sin on Jesus.
"When, therefore, He said to them, "I
am He," they
drew back and fell to the ground." The Greek text says that they
fell back and then they slid forward. Every knee will bow, even those
of His enemies.
Notice that in the Bible whenever someone was slain in the Spirit it was a once in a lifetime life-changing event. It doesn't matter what happens when people go down, how different is their life once they get up? But today, who is getting in line? The same ones who were in line to go down last week. They just want to go down for the thrill of it. As with anything else, a wicked and adulterous generation seeks this sign.
Again, in the Bible being slain in the Spirit was a once in a lifetime, life-changing experience. It doesn't matter what happens when somebody goes down, but how changed their life is when they get up. In the Bible, too, whenever it was a blessing from God, the person in question went forward. The only time they ever went backwards was when it was a curse and a judgment: when they came to arrest Christ.
Today you see Rodney Howard Brown and these guys bringing official 'catchers' with them. But they are falling the wrong direction.
People insist that they know this experience is from God; well, it might be indeed, but if it is, He is angry with them. I personally am pretty certain that most of it is hypnotic induction combined with demonic deception. Even if it is of God, however, it is a judgment.
Whom do you seek? Jesus. I am He. In Greek, "I am He," or,
ego ami. The Greek equivalent is also found at the end of John chapter
8, where Jesus says, "before Abraham was, I am." Ego ami.
The people then tried to stone Him, because He made Himself equal with