Infinite Room – 4


Smoke and Mirrors

Instead of being qualified to carry the flaming sword and take dominion over the world,

“You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you.” Leviticus 26:7

he moved outwards into the world, but without access to the mountain of God. Adam was still under the sword. He was outside the fruitful field of Covenant with God, and all other relationships were distorted. His Covenant with his wife, and his delegated Covenant with the Land.

I suppose I could be accused of eisegesis, (I don’t really care as long as this stuff gets you thinking!) but this basic structure gets replayed so many times throughout the Bible — and expanded upon every time — that it is clearly within the bounds of exegesis for those with eyes to see the purpose of the Old Testament. The later events demonstrate the profound and concentrated significance of all the strange details we are given in Genesis 1-3.

“I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a sword after you…” (Leviticus 26:33)

Like Deuteronomy 28, Leviticus 26 contains the Covenant blessings and curses. Leviticus is the Law spoken to the Covenant Head as new worship is established (Ascension). Deuteronomy is the Law, having been digested by the Covenant Head, and now spoken by him (not by God) to the Covenant body (Maturity). This is what Adam failed to do, so instead of scattering, he was scattered. Instead of chasing he was the chased.

Adam as Microcosmos

Day 5 filled the Sea and Sky with swarms, and Day 6 installed Adam and Eve as a “corporate mediator.” Adam’s Testing then follows the same pattern. At Maturity, Eve was to become fragrant “smoke” (Incense) and then Adam was to present her as a pure bride when the Lord turned up (the Laver) — smoke then mirrors (the Laver was made out of mirrors, picturing the crystal sea), [1] or the approach of the Covenant body and its induction into government.

Just as God brought Eve to Adam, (Division / Ascension) Adam was to bring Eve back to God (Conquest / Glorification). Delegation and accountability. To and fro. God sent Moses from the mountain to Israel, and Moses, the faithful Covenant Head, defeated the serpents of Egypt and brought Israel back to God on the mountain for a feast. Sacrifices were made (smoke) and they saw the Lord walking on the crystal sea (mirrors). Then they dined with Him.

This is the to and fro of the Covenant. Investment and return. God expects usury on all He gives us by Covenant. And yet it is He Himself that gives the increase when we faithfully plant and water. Adam failed to nurture Eve within the Covenant. In some sense he buried his talent in the ground. Yet God still gave an increase. How did He do this? Did He go back on the promised curse?

Still Breathing

Many Christians redefine the curse of this first Covenant. Doug Wilson writes:

When Adam sinned, and the human race fell into a condition of sin, the name of that condition was death. God had told Adam that the day he ate of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, he would surely die. But he didn’t die physically that very moment. So what did that warning mean then?

Death is not cessation. Death is not to be defined as an abrupt end. Rather, death is separation. Physical death is separation of the soul from the body. Spiritual death is the separation of fellowship between God and man. Death is separation. Because of sin, the world was shattered into a million pieces, and these fragmented pieces are all separated from one another—we live in the ways of death, as the first part of Ephesians 2 tells us. [2]

While I agree that Adam and Eve indeed suffered a spiritual death, it is not helpful to equate this with the curse promised to Adam. This redefines death. It is gnosticism, pure and simple. For sure, there are many different kinds of death in the Bible, symbolic, spiritual and physical, but the structural context of each must be maintained. Equating the curse with the judgment God actually meted out allows compromisers with evolution to support their theory that Adam was not the first man, just the first “Covenant” man. When God created Adam, He didn’t “create” him physically but “spiritually.” This is nonsense, and it makes a joke of the first Atonement. [3]

Sure, God withdrew, but not to the point where Adam was as he was before the Lord breathed into him. He was still breathing.

There are two kinds of breathing: natural and spiritual. The Covenant sanctions, and by implication all of life, for life is covenantal, will always take us either forwards or backwards. If Adam had obeyed, he would have been given the Spirit in a new way, not in the way in which he was brought to physical life. He disobeyed, and forfeited Pentecost. But God didn’t allow him to go all the way back into the dust.

Adam didn’t lose his breath. The curse was not applied in full. It was applied in full, however, upon the animals who provided their own nephesh as a substitute, and their skins, most likely a bull for Adam and goats for Eve (based on the requirements on the Day of Atonement). Snicker-snack. The flaming sword was inside them instead. These animals lost their breath, as Jesus did when He “gave up the ghost.” They were the innocent substitutes who died under the Law.

The flaming sword was to be inside Adam whether he obeyed or disobeyed. For disobedience it would bring physical death. For obedience it would bring more abundant life.

As the obedient Adam, Jesus breathed on His disciples (who were already breathing naturally) and said (only liturgically at that point) “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” So, the Lord would have breathed on Adam again. But this would have been a new kind of breathing, a kind that Adam knew nothing of. By obedience, he would have been not just a living sacrifice, but a living sacrifice filled with fire. It was “flaming sword” inside the Man which Adam forfeited, the image of the Father’s relationship with the Son. The final point of the Bible Matrix is Glorification. It is Shekinah in a Man. Smoke (pure bride) … mirrors (pure image) … rest. And the Obedient Man becomes the Light of Day 8, Day 1 of a New Covenant.

So, we must be careful not to limit the promised curse, despite the fact that God limited it with innocent blood. Of course, Ananias and Sapphira did suffer the full curse for their own conspiracy with the serpent, as an example to the church. Snicker-snack. Head-and-body-dislocated, dismembered from the Covenant. Such sins would no longer be overlooked. (Acts 17:30) [4] After Christ, there was no more sacrifice for sins, so they themselves were the atonement.

A Bitter Spring

The Laver is a mirror, but also a well. As James Jordan observes, the faithful Covenant brides are very often found by wells. The Garden was an oasis, but so was Eve. Adam’s faithfulness would make her into a spring that would flow as rivers into the world. The dominion intended for Adam was a dominion that brought more abundant life to the world — godly offspring.

Adam’s failure to avert her corruption made her a bitter spring instead, the source of corrupt offspring — Wormwood. Later, circumcision was the symbolic cutting off of the polluted offspring. And animal blood was shed as a substitute for the one who opened the womb, the firstborn, the Cain, of every Covenant family. Like Elisha, Jesus’ death healed the bitter spring and its spiritual miscarriages.

So, due to the Lord’s mercy, Adam didn’t die, and he did not become entirely barren. He did not stop multiplying. Instead, the blessing of abundance was the mutated multiplication of a cancer: plagues instead of plunder. The produce of the yet fruitful field, the sons of God, were not faithful children of the Covenant. Unlike the sons of Abraham, they were not dust become stars. The dust became men who were lice and locusts. There was a virus in the infinite room.

Next time: The Killing Field

[1] See That Which Is Perfect.
[2] Doug Wilson, All of Christ for All of Life.
[3] A respected Sydney theologian wrote recently that the meaning of the Atonement of Christ requires further work by evangelicals. Yet these very evangelicals ignore the pounding drumbeat of types of the Atonement  throughout the Old Testament. I suspect what they mean is books full of abstract nouns rather than biblical exegesis. Of course, the answers are right under their noses. This first Atonement in Genesis 3 is perhaps the most important. It’s a pity many of them don’t think it’s a literal event.
[4] For more on Ananias and Sapphire, see Signs.

Infinite Room series links here.

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