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The Garden and the Gospel

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UNDERSTANDING THE GARDEN ACCOUNT

THE CURSE

“Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth…” Isa 24:6

 

God now begins to pass out judgment, but not eternal judgment, as in sending man to Hell or the Lake of Fire—which He would have been perfectly justified to do. One of the revealed attributes of God is His longsuffering, whereby He postpones judgment for the purpose of redeeming His fallen creatures. The judgments given here were designed to bring men back to Himself, and to the salvation that He had already prepared for them in eternity. The decree of God given here is known throughout Scripture as “the curse”; and its elements are directed toward the serpent, the woman, and finally, the man.

Ex 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

Rom 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

2 Pet 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

Isa 24:5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.

God started dispensing the curse with possibly the most innocent of the participants in the natural sense—the serpent. This creature spiritually represented the Devil or Satan, but was merely a vehicle or pawn of that fallen angel. It is worth noting that the wording of what God pronounced implies that the serpent was not alone in being cursed—the serpent was “cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field.” However, upon this creature alone God declares—“upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.” Now, from reading this verse it is apparent that this serpent might not have been an ordinary snake as it is so often pictured to be. Furthermore, in the book of Revelation, this embodiment of the Devil is called “the great dragon…that old serpent.” Therefore, if the pronouncement was, that it should now have to travel on its belly and eat dust, we might assume that in the Garden, before the fall, it did not. However, unless God immediately caused its legs to disappear, or caused some mutation whereby snakes, as we know them, lost their legs, then we must seek some other repercussion of this curse.

Gen 3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

To offer a different explanation we present the following hypothesis as one possible alternative. Although the Bible does not deal with any mention of the dinosaurs, we do have the fossil evidence that they once existed. Furthermore, they were a part of the Reptile Kingdom—along with snakes, lizards, crocodiles, salamanders, turtles and such; and these creatures all enjoy the same attributes—cold blooded, egg laying, dry skin covered by scales, etc. The dinosaurs however, were the only ones we know that walked upright, having extended legs. Could the original Tempter have been one of these creatures, however large, yet quite docile and harmless? Could God’s curse upon the serpent involved the destruction of these behemoths, and left only the reptiles that crawled upon their bellies? Again, without Scriptural proof, we only suggest the following scenario for this proposition. We do know from scientific knowledge that there were changes to the Earth’s environment that were not conducive to the dinosaur’s existence. These changes, if we believe in the Biblical account, most certainly were brought about by God’s direct involvement. In the judgment of the Flood, the original water canopy that protected the earth, and made it a veritable greenhouse, was broken up and fell as rain. The resulting changes to the earth’s weather were thereafter not favorable to the dinosaur’s survival. For one thing, we know that reptiles must, because they are cold-blooded, protect themselves from freezing temperatures. Most of these creatures burrow into the dirt, mud, caves, and dens to stay alive. The reptiles that we know as dinosaurs, because of their size, could find no such protection; and therefore they perished, leaving only their smaller relatives which crawled on their belly. This curse therefore, was against the reptile kingdom, of which this “serpent” was only a species.

Gen 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

Gen 7:11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

In a somewhat literal, yet more importantly a spiritual sense, God also causes an enmity between the serpent and the woman. Man in general, but women in particular, are threatened by the reptile kingdom. No other creatures invoke such terror and “enmity” as snakes, lizards, and the like. Many of these beneficial and harmless creatures are killed for no other reason but man’s fear and dislike of them. On the spiritual plane however, the enmity goes much deeper. Through Eve, whose name means “mother of all living,” there would come the promised “seed” or Deliverer—Christ. Her “seed” would be at “enmity” with the serpent and his “seed”—fallen man. The Devil, through his seed, would “bruise His heel”—crucify Christ, driving the nails into His ankles; but the serpent would in turn have His head “bruised”—crushed by Christ’s suffering on the cross for the sins of His people, and His eventual victory over Satan. In a deeper allegory, the woman is Israel, through whom God would send the Messiah, her “seed” being Christ. The woman would also come to represent the Church, the Bride of Christ. This was Christ’ “seed” that also would face endless warfare with Satan.

Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Gen 3:20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

Rev 12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
17
And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Isa 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

Isa 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Rom 16:20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Rev 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth
: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

Rev 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

The next to face judgment, in ascending order, was Eve. Although not primarily responsible for the downfall of mankind, she nevertheless was to have the added burden of enduring pain in childbirth—her primary function as a woman in the plan and purpose of God. Through her would come the promised Messiah, the Deliverer. She also was to be made subservient to her husband. He would be the head of the family as well as religious and governmental authority. Toward him would be her “desire” in seeking to come into union with him for the purpose of childbearing, provision, and protection. She would be the one to foster romance; but she was never to be the head over man, because of his position given to him by God.

Gen 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

1 Tim 5:14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

1 Cor 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

1 Tim 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
13
For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

It might be worthy at this point, to say that through the Gospel, God has in some measure alleviated the curse upon women concerning childbearing and their position to men. Through Christ, and the enlightenment He gives, many advances have been made to save women’s lives and to lessen the suffering that they go through in childbirth. Prenatal care, proper dieting, proper birthing facilities, doctors, and nurses, have all made the process of childbearing much more bearable. It is worthy to note, that it is only in those areas of the world where the Gospel has had the greatest impact, that these advances have been made, and are practiced for the benefit of women. In heathen lands, untold women still suffer and die from birth complications, as well as do their babies. The woman has also reached her highest level of respect and honor in those countries where the Gospel has had its greatest influence. In Christian societies they are treated as co-equals with the man, and are given much the same opportunities as the male.  Again, in heathen countries, many female babies are killed at childbirth, while others are maimed or disfigured to satisfy the male ego. They also suffer indignities, and are precluded from education and social functions, simply because they are female. Those in Moslem countries cannot even leave their houses without a man’s permission; and then they must do so only when they are fully covered from head to foot.

1 Tim 2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

1 Pet 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

The last one to face the pronounced judgments that God was meting out was the head of the human race. Through his sin alone, mankind was plunged into this darkness in which we now find ourselves. It would be because of him that the sin nature would be passed on from generation to generation, and because of him, all would die. Because of him also came “the curse” upon the ground, and with it Adam’s own judgment.

Gen 3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread
, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

What may we say was affected by this curse? It was everything in general that had been created for man’s enjoyment and good, but more specifically, the ground out of which grew man’s sustenance.  “Cursed is the ground for thy sake” was the pronouncement, and this verse can only be fully appreciated by those who make their living by farming, or tending orchards, or by those of us who enjoy gardening. If one has ever attempted to grow food, it does not take long to realize that we are in a warfare to harvest anything that is fit for human consumption. The list of combatants includes the ground itself, which first must be worked. In many cases it is either too hard or too sandy, and much of it contains very little of the necessary nutrients to grow plant life. We can only imagine the work of the pioneers who first had to clear their fields of the trees and brush before they could even plow the ground. Modern man with his tractors and bulldozers has no conception of the work involved in pulling tree trunks from the ground with only the force of human labor and maybe a couple of horses or mules. Imagine standing behind a single furrow plow all day long, being pulled along by a mule while you struggle to keep the plow straight and in the ground. I think walking behind an engine powered roto-tiller for a few hours is hard work. Next, unless you happen to have virgin land, rich in nutrients, your soil is probably dirt poor and needs to be built up with organic material and fertilizers. Then comes the onslaught of nature itself. Man must contend with early frosts and late frosts, not enough rain, or too much rain, or rain at the wrong times. Then there are wind storms and hailstorms, not enough sunshine, or a baking heat that kills everything but the weeds; and who planted those weeds anyway, and how do they keep coming back year after year without any human effort? How can they grow under the most adverse conditions when the things we plant and want to grow, wilt and die without our most careful attention? Just leave your field or garden to itself and see what takes over, in a few weeks you will have a jungle of weeds to contend with. Then there is the host of plant diseases that kill the little seedlings before they can even get started. If your plants do mature, there are the plant viruses, molds, mildews, and rusts that kill your plants or make your food not edible. After that come the insect hordes—worms in the ground that eat the roots or burrow into your potatoes; those above the ground that eat their way into the plants, often killing them or making the fruit too unappealing to eat ; beetles, ants, grasshoppers, mites, and a host of other insects that find their way into your field or garden, eating or destroying everything; then they lay their eggs so a new generation is there next year, ready to eat when you have  prepared for them their table. While there may be many insects that are useful and indeed necessary, such as bees, most are only interested in one thing, feeding upon your crop. The next uninvited guests include birds, squirrels, raccoons, deer, and a host of other critters that eat and destroy everything you worked so hard to enjoy. However, after you have plowed, planted, watered, hoed, pulled weeds, picked bugs, put up fences, and sprayed for insects and diseases, you just might end up with a few vegetables or pieces of fruit to eat. These old sayings sum it all up:

“One for the blackbird, one for the crow, one for the cutworm, and one to grow”

A good gardener always plants three seeds...one for the bugs, one for the weather and one for himself.”

Deut 28:22 The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.
23 And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.
24 The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust
: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.

Amos 4:9 I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

Now, for those of you who do not weary themselves directly in the pursuit of growing food, remember, “If you eat, you are involved in agriculture.” Moreover, the curse goes far beyond just the ground out of which we grow our food. It extends to the “whole creation”— to the earth, to the weather, to the animals, to plants, and to man. You will see it at work in tornadoes, hurricanes, hailstorms, drought, killing heat and cold, insects and animals attacking each other and man. You see it at work rusting, eroding, and destroying everything man works to build. You see it when you try to create something, build something, or do something; even as one of Murphy’s Laws[1] states, “If anything can go wrong, it will.”  It is with you at work and at play; it goes with you on vacation; and is with you on your sickbed and deathbed. No one can escape its influence—not the rich or the powerful, not so-called good people and not evildoers, not the young and not the old. The curse is everywhere and at work in everything; and it will continue to be with us until God takes it away.

Rom 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

Rev 22:3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

Isa 65:17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
18 But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.
19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.
20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.
21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.
22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.
24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.

The next aspect of the curse was “in sorrow” and “In the sweat of thy face.” The curse was intended to make us miserable and to cause us to labor endlessly just to stay alive. The curse made life a struggle. Food would no longer be available just for the picking. The “thorns also and thistles” were intended to compete with man’s food supply and make it necessary for mankind to cultivate, plant, and work to grow his sustenance. Now, as we have already said, it involves more than just the weeds, but the weather, the bugs, and everything else that threatens our existence. Those of us who are not farmers still have to work at something to maintain our existence, and to provide for our families and others who cannot work. Howbeit, I realize that there are the children of the rich who have escaped the normal toil of the rest of us; but they are the exception, and their lives are not the better for it; which leads us to examine just why God placed the curse upon the earth in the first place. First of all, His intentions were not to punish Adam or mankind for his disobedience. While there is the principle of “what we sow we also shall reap,” that is a natural and spiritual law that we invoke upon ourselves in bringing misery into our own lives. The curse however, was not God’s wrath against sin being displayed, but rather His mercy and love for man. God’s purpose in causing us to sorrow and to toil was to drive us back to Him. Imagine being a slave where you work all day doing some rigorous labor, with little time left for yourself. You never gain anything for yourself; have any holidays or free time; but all your work goes for someone else’s benefit. The work is thankless; and you hate every minute of every day, being forced by the threat of punishment if you don’t work as hard as you can. What would this situation drive you to seek—liberty and freedom from that cursed existence? That is indeed God’s purpose in causing our pain. Fallen man would have been quite content to live out his life apart from God, unaware or uncaring that an eternity in hell awaited him; but God’s love and care for us would not permit that situation to exist.

Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Ecc 5:12 The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.

Psa 107:9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.
10 Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;
11 Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High:
12 Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.
13 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.
15
Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

Luke 12:16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Another purpose in God sending the curse was that man, in his fallen condition, should spend his days in labor, and not in the pursuit of sinful pleasures. “Idleness is the Devil’s workshop,” proclaims the old English proverb; and the Scripture says that those who have too much time on their hands will have more temptation to sin. This is not to say that work itself was the curse, for God Himself works, and Adam worked in the Garden “to dress it and to keep it” before the fall. We were created to serve God, and that means to work for Him; but that work was meant to be pleasurable, with times also for rest and enjoyment. Even in Christ we are commanded to work with our hands, and if we refuse to work, we should not be allowed to eat. But our work was also meant to be supported and blessed by the natural fruitfulness of the earth, without having the curse fighting against us. What the curse did was to cause nature to work against man, instead of supporting man and being a blessing to man’s labor. Now, however, most people work, not because it is something they want to do, or because it is enjoyable, but because they have to work; and most of the time it is something that they hate doing. Because of the curse man must now spend long hours with little time for rest and vacationing, toiling and sweating in hard labor. However, the hidden blessing of the curse is to keep fallen man from plunging into the depths of sin and bring upon themselves swift judgment, even as those living in ancient Sodom and Gomorrah.

Gen 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

Gen 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Prov 10:16 The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin

Psa 104:23 Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening.

Eph 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

2 The 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

Deut 5:13 Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:

Ecc 2:22 For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun?
23 For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.
24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.

Eze 16:49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.

2 Pet 2:6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;

Again, under the Gospel there has been a restraining of the curse in those places where Christ is honored. Where do people enjoy an abundance of food and other necessities, as well as many other things that are simply for pleasure? Where do people spend only eight hours a day working, with time off for holidays and vacations, and with enough money to spend to enjoy that time? Where do people have the blessing of being able to retire with sufficient resources to support them for many long years? Where do people have jobs that are not drudgery, but in many cases enjoyable? Where do people have the blessings of electricity, machinery, and other labor saving inventions?—in those lands that are blessed by God for His names sake? However, we are warned not to misuse these blessings and the extra time not spent in working; but we should treasure them; and use them for the glory of God as He intended.

Deu 28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.
3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.
4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.
6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
7 The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.
8 The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
9 The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways.
10 And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.
11 And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
12 The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.
13 And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:

3 John 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

1 Tim 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life

Deu 28:14 And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
16 Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.
17 Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store.
18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
19 Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
20 The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings,
whereby thou hast forsaken me.

Man can be quite satisfied to live in sin, if he is left alone. Have you ever wondered why our bodies are designed to experience pain? Pain is an indicator that something is wrong; pain is the evidence that all is not well with us, and it drives us to do something to relieve our misery. What if a child could feel no pain and laid his hands upon a hot stove until his flesh was so completely burned that it was beyond the point of healing? What if we had no symptoms of some terrible disease until it is too late to do something about it? God’s curse is intended to tell us that something is wrong; that all is not well with us; and that one day we are going to face eternal, irreversible judgment in the lake of fire if we do not do something about our problem. We have a disease called sin; it has invaded our whole being, and we need a cure. This disease is killing us. It has already destroyed our spiritual sensitivity; it is attacking our souls, and eating away at the very core of our being like a cancer; it is destroying our bodies, and we are destined to die—to “return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

Isa 1:4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.
5 Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores:
they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.

Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Gen 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Now death was not a part of the curse—as some have misconstrued it to be. Death is the result of Adam’s disobedience to God’s warning. Death came upon Adam before God pronounced the curse, when he ate the forbidden fruit—“for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Adam’s disobedience caused a separation from the One who is Life; but the curse was meant for man’s eternal benefit, to bring man back to God. However, God, in pronouncing the curse, also affirmed Adam’s impending doom—“till thou return unto the ground.” Man is not going to have forever to seek out a cure for his sin disease or to be able to just exist in his present condition. God reminds Adam that his days upon this earth are limited. Indeed, God is going to drive man from the Garden of Eden where is the “tree of life”—the knowledge that would allow man to live on, even in his sinful state. Part of the curse would be to prevent man’s access to the “tree of life,” whose fruit was to be guarded by Cherubims and a flaming sword, so that he could not return. As we have already studied, these angelic beings are the spiritual forces that have been at work in the world. Together with the flaming sword—war and destruction—they have effectively prevented mankind from ever obtaining this knowledge. However, even in this we see God’s mercy toward fallen man. In longevity, sinful man would only get worse and drift farther from God, until there would be no returning. Pain, suffering, toil, and the specter of death would be the resources God would use to cause man to return to Him.

Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Gen 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Jer 12:12 The spoilers are come upon all high places through the wilderness: for the sword of the LORD shall devour from the one end of the land even to the otherend of the land: no flesh shall have peace.

Psa 90:3 Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.

Hos 6:1 Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

 

[1] Capt. Edward A. Murphy

 

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