The Eden Expansion Project

Okay, let’s talk about the first mountain:

Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. 9The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden, he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden and then dividing into four branches… (Genesis 2:8-10 NLT, emphasis mine)

The Eden Expansion Project

Today, I’d like to preach the message, You have access.
Say it: “I have access!”

Let me make an announcement:
The Garden of Eden was a Mountain.

Here’s one clue from the text itself. It says,
“A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden and then dividing into four branches…” (v.10) It then describes how this life-giving water
flowed to the many nations.

If Eden was not elevated, this flowing down wouldn’t happen.

Also, in other places in the Bible, the authors assumed Eden was a mountain.

But here’s the main reason we believe it’s a mountain. Anyone familiar with the Middle East will know that gardens were connected to mountains because the climate was cooler and water was more abundant on mountain tops.

So, here’s the spiritual meaning of those rivers flowing out to the nations: This was God’s Eden Expansion Project. He wanted the entire world to be a Garden too.

Question: Where do WE fit into God’s great expansion plan?

‘Lead This Expansion Project’

Before I answer that question, let me
answer another one. Many ask me all the time, “Are Adam and Eve real historical figures?”

Here’s my answer:

What do the names “Adam” and “Eve” mean?

In Hebrew, Adam means Humanity and Eve means Life.

The author’s intentions were very clear from the start. He’s making it very obvious. He’s telling us, “Adam-and-Eve is us.”

And when God said to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” (1:28), He wanted us to lead the Eden Expansion Project.

This was humanity’s purpose. Declare this with me: “This is my purpose!”

Dear friend, you and I are part of this colossal project.

God did not appoint Adam and Eve to simply be members of the Homeowners Association of Eden Subdivision.God appointed them to be in charge of His Garden.

God appointed them to be Co-Rulers of this Cosmic Mountain.

They are His Kings and Queens.

And this is precisely what it meant to be created in His image. God gave us the capacity to represent Him in this world.

To do that, He had to provide for us the Tree of Life…

Choose Between Two Trees

There were two trees in the Garden.

The Tree of Life and the

Tree of Knowing Good and Bad.

Adam and Eve, at any time, had access to the Tree of Life.

This reminds me of something that happened to me when I was 16 years old, traveling all over Europe all by myself for 41 days. I had very little money. So little, I hid the bills in my socks. They were smelly but they were safe. Because I wanted to save money, my lunch was usually me sitting on a cold park bench, eating a piece of cold bread and a banana. Every so often, I’d go to a grocery store, where items were cheaper than say, a supermarket. I usually bought a loaf of bread and 10 bananas, which would be good for 2 or 3 days.

Then, one time, I went to Rome, where I knew a priest friend was studying there. And so, I looked for him and knocked on his door. I scheduled my visit right before lunch. You know why. Because my bread-and-banana lunch combo was getting old.

When he opened the door, he asked me the question that was music to my ears. He said, “We’re about to have lunch now, Bo. Have you eaten?” He ushered me to the dining hall, and there I saw 40+ priests of various ages and nationalities. And on the buffet table was an endless spread of Italian pasta and all sorts of yummy food. There were also bread and bananas, but I didn’t touch them.

As I took my first bite, I overheard my stomach tell my brain, “Is this food? Are you sure? It tastes strange. It doesn’t taste like bread and bananas!”

Anyway, in the middle of my stomach-brain conversation, my friend priest interrupted me and said,

“Bo, take this…” He handed me a key.
“What’s this?” I asked.
“This is a duplicate key for the front door of our house. You’re always welcome. Anytime you’re hungry, just walk in, go to our kitchen, and eat.”

Oh, believe me, I wanted to jump up and down like I won the Lotto. I was supposed to stay in Rome for 3 days, but I stayed for 8. And I actually slept in their house too.

Because I, Bo Sanchez, had access.

Human Stupidity (And We Do It All the Time)
It was exactly how God gave Adam and Eve access to the Tree of Life. Everything they needed was in that Tree. All the joy. All the peace. All the wisdom. All the strength. All the blessings.But question: Did they eat from it? Even once?

Genesis is silent on that question. And I think that was intentional. The author never said, even once, “Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Life and said, “This is freeaaaaaaaaking delicious. Who am I? What’s my name?”

Instead, Genesis talked about how Adam and Eve ate from the other Tree. Isn’t this a perfect picture of our stupidity?

Here’s how stupid looks like if you apply it to my story. I would have taken the key the priest gave me, dropped it into my pocket, and forgot all about it. And I never entered their house again. Instead, every day, I would sit on the park bench, munching my cold pieces of bread and banana, when there was a buffet of rich food waiting for me. Isn’t this the story of sin?

‘Who Are You Going to Trust?’

So, what’s the deal with this other tree?

We’ve mentioned this many times in The Feast already, but just to refresh your memory—the Tree of Knowing Good and Bad represents man redefining good and evil for himself — apart from God.

So far in the story, God has been the one defining what is good and bad. But at this point, man—and woman– take matters into their own hands. We do this all the time. The Two Trees are really a question of trust.

Today, God is asking you, “Who are you going to trust?”

‘Is God Terrifying?’

So, let me ask, “Why didn’t they eat from the Tree of Life?”

My guess? Fear.

Was the Tree of Life scary? Perhaps. After all, if the Tree of Life represented God’s own Divine Presence– it must have been awe-striking, even terrifying.

May I refer back to my story? When my priest friend gave me the key to his house, I felt both joy and fear. I was happy that he was offering me food, but I also felt afraid because I had to eat with those 40+ priests, most of them tall Europeans—speaking French, Italian, Polish, German… Who was I? I was this poor small 16-year-old boy from the Philippines. But my hunger was stronger than my shame. So, I went. I hope your hunger for God is stronger than your shame. Let me say this again: You have access.

Don’t Take the Easy Path

According to Genesis, the Tree of Knowing Good and Bad looked attractive…Here’s verse 3:6:

This was the easy path.

This was the path that puts me in control.

I’m on the Throne.

Sadly, this path ends up in death.

Note that because of what Adam and Eve did, this beautiful mountain garden was ruined.

So, here’s the warning from Genesis: At first glance, the Tree of Knowing Good and Bad looks beautiful. But it kills. The Tree of Life, however, may look terrifying. But it heals.

Friend, please.

Don’t take the easy path.

Who Is This Seed?

Because of our sin, the Eden Expansion Project was put on hold.

Man was deported from the Garden. And Adam and Eve could no longer eat from the Tree of Life. (Sayang!)

But in the middle of this very dark situation, God gave them hope.

Genesis 3:15 (NKJV), says that while talking to the snake, God said:

Let me explain this very mysterious verse. God said that the “seed” of the woman was going to undo the effects of their sin. This seed will crush the root of all evil, but in the process, He’ll also be struck by it. (Does Someone come to mind?)

Again, and again, you’ll find this beautiful hope all throughout the Old Testament– about the coming of Someone special who will do what Israel failed to do: represent God to the world.

When we redefined good and bad for ourselves, we experienced death.

We lost our access to God’s Garden. But all is not lost.

For Isaiah the Prophet said: “On this mountain, the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine –the best of meats and the finest of wines.”

Woohoo! God was preparing our reentry into the cosmic mountain.

Isaiah went on, On this mountain, he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 25:6-8 NLT, emphasis mine)

Do you know where Jesus was crucified? On a mountain.

Because Calvary is the new Eden.

Do you know how Jesus died? He was crucified on a piece of wood.

Because Jesus is the new Tree of Life.
Jesus was that mysterious seed that Genesis talked about. After He died, like a seed, He was buried under the soil, but on the third day, He burst forth out of the ground to be the Tree of Life for us all.

Jesus is the key!

Jesus is our access.

Come, ascend the Mountain of the Lord.

Enter into the Garden.

Be nourished at The Feast!

You have access.


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