There was one restriction in the Gan Eden, and Adam and Chava were not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The term for “serpent” in Hebrew is “Nachash” and we will be referring to him with “nachash” in this study. It has several meanings and several words associated with it. The word “tannin” also means serpent, and we also have the name “Leviathan” which means “twisted serpent.” In modern Hebrew, the word “nachash” means an evil person. We learn from Gen 3 that the nachash was able to walk upright, but after the fall he was cursed to exist on his belly and “eat dust.” The woman would have pain in childbirth and be subject to her husband. The man would work, sweat and provide with much effort. In Gen 2.17 God says that in the day they ate from the tree of knowledge, they would surely die. In Hebrew it says, “in dying (spiritually) you shall die (physically).”
Another term for Gan Eden is “paradise” and that is “pardes” in Hebrew. For example, we know that the four levels of interpretation alludes to this concept. The literal level is “peshat”, the allegorical level is called “remez”, the parabolic level is called “drash” and the secret, mystical level is called “sowd.” The first letter of each of these four words spell “pardes” or paradise. When we interpret the Scriptures correctly and God has communicated with us, it is like being in “paradise” and we see clearly. Now, paradise is referred to in the Scriptures. Sheol is the abode of the dead. Before Yeshua it had two compartments. One was called “paradise” or “Abrahams’s Bosom” and the other was called “torments.” The believer before Yeshua went to Sheol, to “paradise”, while the unbeliever went to “torments” (Luke 16.19-31). Now, the terms paradise and Abraham’s Bosom are idioms for “heaven” and they are synonymous with the age called the Olam Haba. If you look on the previous timelines in this study you will see where the Olam Haba is and why these terms would be synonymous.
The Temple courtyards reflect the 7000 year plan of God and Gan Eden. However, the nachash has an alternative system called “paganism” and “replacement theology.” Adam and Chava could already distinguish between right and wrong before they fell. Why wouldn’t the Lord want them to have this. So, what was the purpose of the tree? It transformed the earlier understanding of right and wrong to something called the “knowledge of good and evil.” It identified it.
In Gen 2.9 we read that both trees are mentioned and God caused them to grow. The term “caused to grow” or “sprout” is “v’yatzmach” and it is similar to “tzemach” which means “branch.” In Jer 23. 5-6 refers to the “branch” as a term for the Messiah and it carries the idea of a sprout, as seen in Isa 11.1. God causes these trees to “tzemach” or “sprout” and one is the tree of life and the other is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Messiah is the “sprout” and the branch, and associated with these trees in the garden (Zech 6.9-16; Jer 33.15; Isa 11.1-5). The word Nazareth, Yeshua’s hometown and where he “sprouted” and grew up, means “the branch.”
In Gen 3,22 God says that “man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil…” Adam was not told to “not eat” from the tree of life, but after the fall he cannot even approach it. In Gen 3.24 God places Cherubim with a flaming sword to guard against anyone approaching the tree of life. In the Temple, you approached from the east (away from God) looking west. The Cherubim were west, guarding the Kodesh ha Kodeshim (Holy of Holies) and were on the Ark (Exo 25.18-20). King Solomon made two 14 foot Cherubim in his Temple, in the Holy of Holies (1 Kings 6.23-28). The Temple was seen as a miniature Gan Eden, with plants, pomegranates, Cherubim, trees (1 Kings 6.29-30).
The Ark was made of Shittim wood, or acacia. You cannot just pluck the fruit of these trees and plant them because they won’t grow. The only way for this to happen is for an Ibex goat to come along and eat the fruit. These goats have a special composition in their stomach that eats away at the outer coating of the seed (this coating protects it from drying out in the desert). Other animals and their “stomachs” won’t work. When the seed “passes” it is planted in its own fertilizer. The commandments that are in the Ark are a tree of life to whoever will grasp them (Prov 3.1-18). We have the Torah and the commandments in the Ark, called the tree of life, guarded by the Cherubim on the kipporet. The spot where their eyes “intersect” is called the “Devir” in Scripture (1 Kings 6.16, 19, 20, 21) and is considered the actual “throne of God.” God actually spoke from there. The word “devir” is related to the Hebrew “davar” which means “word.”
There is a law of Covering in the Scriptures and this law is contained in certain commands. The sukkah is a covering; the chuppah or canopy is a covering; incense in the Temple and the Holy of Holies, the Mishkan itself and the head-covering of the priest (because his head was anointed in oil at his consecration) are all coverings. Likewise, man must be “covered” and all this comes back to Gan Eden.
The Temple was God’s way of bringing the tree of life in Eden back to his people. A true believer (maybe not at first) will be drawn to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life, which are both terms for the Torah. This drawing will manifest eventually in every true believer. There is a concept called the “Lullaby Effect” and it relates to a song we sing for a baby to go to sleep. We sing the song without thinking, but if you look at the words closer, you would see how bad an idea it is to put a baby “on a tree top” and how dangerous it is. The whole song is not a very good one, really. It is the same with the Torah and the Scriptures. We just read without thinking or knowing what’s going on, and that is dangerous. We need to move past the “lullaby effect” and read with our eyes open.
We know that God placed two trees in Eden among the other trees. There was only one restriction, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now, in the Scriptures there is a concept called “milah hamanchah” meaning the “leading word” and that is when you see a term repeated over and over again, and it stands out. In Gen 2.24-25 and 3.10-11 we have such a word. The word “naked” is “arumim” in Gen 2.24-25 and “arum” in 3.10-11. So, we know this term is key to our understanding. Our job is to find out why. Adam sinned, and then he hid because he was “naked.” But Adam had just eaten from the tree. Why did he say he was naked when in 2.25 it says he was not ashamed to be naked.
In Gen 3.1 it says that the nachash was more “crafty” than any other beast. The word for “crafty” is “arum.” It means “cunning” or “cloaked” but it is also the word for “naked” as we have seen above. It is word play in Hebrew with a message. Somehow, the word for “naked” and “cunning” in English is the Hebrew word “arum” so there must be a link between the two, but they seem opposites. The nachash is “crafty” and cunning, but he is also “naked.” He has no covering like the other beasts of the field. We have all heard the term “the naked truth” and it means “all honesty.” Stealth is cunning and you can use “stealth” and be “straightforward” at the same time because both are “arum.” The best “concealing” is when you tell the truth. By telling the truth, you can “hook them” and use their own words to get them. This is the tactic of the nachash. He will use the truth, but accents the words in such a way to change the meaning. For instance, the Plains Indians say “ahoe” for hello, goodbye or thank you. But if you say it in anger, it means “I will kill you.” It all depends on how you say it. The question is, what is in all this for the nachash? Why is he trying to trap Adam and Chava in the first place?
In Part 5, we will pick up here and get to the heart of this story, and then see how it can be applied to us in our walk with the Lord. You will be very surprised to see how this still works among men and how many are still being deceived by this tactic.