THE GARDEN OF EDEN
We will deal with a different Garden of Eden from the garden of Gen. 2:8-15. Let us read the Sacred Scriptures: “It happened in the eleventh year, in the third [month], in the first [day] of the month, that the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, “Son of man, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to his multitude: Whom are you like in your greatness? Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with beautiful branches, and with a forest-like shade, and of high stature; and its top was among the thick boughs. The waters nourished it, the deep made it to grow: its rivers ran all around its plantation; and it sent out its channels to all the trees of the field. Therefore its stature was exalted above all the trees of the field; and its boughs were multiplied, and its branches became long by reason of many waters, when it shot [them] forth. All the birds of the sky made their nests in its boughs; and under its branches did all the animals of the field bring forth their young; and under its shadow lived all great nations. Thus was it beautiful in its greatness, in the length of its branches; for its root was by many waters. THE CEDARS IN THE GARDEN OF GOD COULD NOT HIDE IT; THE FIR TREES WERE NOT LIKE ITS BOUGHS, AND THE PLANE TREES WERE NOT AS ITS BRANCHES; NOR WAS ANY TREE IN THE GARDEN OF GOD LIKE IT IN ITS BEAUTY. I MADE IT BEAUTIFUL BY THE MULTITUDE OF ITS BRANCHES, SO THAT ALL THE TREES OF EDEN, THAT WERE IN THE GARDEN OF GOD, ENVIED IT” (Ezek. 31:1-9).
The prophet Ezekiel reveals that there was another Garden of Eden, 2,406 years after Adam and Eve. How can that be? We transcribe the above text just as it is in the Bible. The Garden of Eden of Genesis chapter two is just a pale picture formed by real elements; Ezekiel, though, reveals to us details of the true Garden of Eden. The prophet, in chapter thirty-one, speaks specifically of the king of Assyria, who destroyed the kingdom of Israel and took the people into captivity (2 Kings 17:6). The prophet draws a comparison between Pharaoh and the king of Assyria.
Ezekiel declares that Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon with beautiful branches and forest shade, and very high (Ezek. 31:3). Then he reveals that it was a tree among the other trees in the Garden of Eden that were envious of its glory (Ezek. 31:9). Being so, when Jehovah caused to grow every tree that was pleasing to the sight and good for food, he spoke in pictures about the kingdoms of this world (Gen. 2:9). Also, when Jehovah said to Adam: “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely” (Gen. 2:16), he showed in a picture that the people could enjoy of all the kingdoms, their culture, their goods, their riches; only of the tree of the science of good and evil they could not eat (Gen. 2:16-17). Comparing Pharaoh with the king of Assyria, Jehovah revealed that he was also a big tree. Obviously, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, etc. were all trees. Continuing to decipher the enigma of Jehovah (Ps. 78:2), Ezekiel says about the Assyrian Kingdom: “The waters nourished it, the deep made it to grow” (Ezek. 31:4). The waters are peoples (Is. 17:13; Rev. 17:15). The abyss is the dwelling of Satan and is here on earth (Rev. 20:1-3).
We can understand also that the kingdoms of this world are exalted by the power that comes from the abyss, as it happened with Joseph in Egypt (Gen. 49:25). Thinking about it, we may conclude that the abyss is the place of the dead, for Paul said: “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead.)” (Rom. 10:7). If Assyria was exalted by the power of the abyss, and Ezekiel compares Pharaoh to Assyria, Egypt was also exalted by the abyss. If the other trees of the Garden of Eden envied the greatness of Assyria (Ezek. 31:9), it is also evident and clear that all the trees of the Garden of Eden were pictures of all the kingdoms of this world. The text says: “The cedars in the garden of God could not hide it; the fir trees were not like its boughs, and the plane trees were not as its branches; nor was any tree in the garden of God like it in its beauty. I made it beautiful by the multitude of its branches, so that all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied it” (Ezek. 31:8-9). If all the nations were envious, it means that they were all exalted by the abyss, which was part of the Garden of Eden. Nobody gives this any thought, though. Even Adam and Eve were exalted by the power of the abyss, for the dragon, or the serpent, which is the devil and Satan, was there with total freedom of action, Satan being a fallen angel, therefore invisible, for the spiritual eyes of Balaam had to be opened by Jehovah in order that he could see the angel that intended to kill him (Num. 22:31). And Satan put an end to the Garden of Eden, for he was the author of the condemnation of Adam and Eve, author of the curses of the earth (Gen. 3:16-19). Satan brought condemnation and death to all the offspring of Adam that today fills our miserable planet, which is in chaos, for science is in its days of glory, and there are wars, drugs, illegal commerce of cocaine and other drugs, poisonous herbs, crimes, murders, rapes, prostitutions, sodomy, thefts, misery and slums, organized crime, commerce of souls, commerce of organs, plundering, armed robbery, violence, divorces, sons without parents, oppression, corruption of costumes, etc., etc.
But let us return to the Garden of Eden, which is our issue. Ezekiel reveals that all the trees of Eden, that is, all the nations that get in on this infernal garden, are condemned to its final destruction, even the most glorious ones (Ezek. 31:18). They were all condemned to hell (Ezek. 31:16-17). The Garden of Eden was either a picture of hell, or was a picture of corruption and condemnation of future nations, but was never a picture of heaven and of the first glory of the created man.
WE DREW A FEW CONCLUSIONS FROM THE GARDEN OF EDEN DESCRIBED BY EZEKIEL:
- It seems that the Garden of Eden was perfect hell, for Pharaoh made the existence of the people of Israel worse than hell (Ex. 1:8-16).
The king of Assyria plunged the kingdom of Israel into hell when he led them to captivity. And in the end King Nebuchadnezzar turned the kingdom of Judah into another hell when he burnt the city of Jerusalem, the temple of Jehovah, and took away their people and their princes to Babylon as slaves (Lam. 5).
- Jehovah drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden and closed the way to the tree of life. Ezekiel, nevertheless, declares that all the nations, which are the trees of the garden, were inside the Eden in full glory 2,450 years later.
- Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden because they had sinned, and Satan, who had sinned before them, had and has free access into it at any time, for he tried to bring even Jesus to fall (Gen. 3:1-6; Luke 4:5-8). This is not logical. Why would Jehovah close the door to men and leave it open to Satan? If Satan sinned first, he should not have free access to it (John 8:4; 1 John 3:8).
- Jehovah closed the way to the tree of life so that men could never go in there again (Gen. 3:22-24), but according to Ezekiel thirty-one, sinners and condemned men were all inside. How will we explain that? Contradiction?
- Jehovah shut the way to the tree of life (Gen. 3:24). And Jesus opened it to all those whom Jehovah did not want in, that is, the sinners (John 15:1; 14:6).
- Jehovah placed Adam and Eve in the Garden with Satan; Jehovah placed Israel in Egypt with the dragon, which is Satan (Ezek. 29:3). Jehovah placed Israel in Assyria together with the dragon (Is. 8:7; Ezek. 31:2-3). Jehovah placed the kingdom of Judah in Babylon, in the dragon’s hand (Jer. 51:34).
It is different with Jesus. He snatches men from the hands of the dragon and takes them to the hands of God the Father: he opens our eyes, translates us from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God in order that we may receive the remission of our sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith (Acts 26:18).
by Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira