Back to the Garden

Remember the garden? Remember paradise? Remember the rabbinical teaching drawn from it? Let’s dive a little deeper. A good friend of mine, Mike Wlodarczyk, taught on the four layers of the word based on Mark 4:3-22.

He introduced another acronym which we can use in English to better remember the four layers: LAMB.

  • L for the literal layer pschat
  • A for the allegorical layer remes
  • M for the moral layer drasch
  • B for the biblecode or revelatory layer sod

In one of my last postings we had a look at the river in Eze 47:1-12. Let’s look at this from a different angle:

The river started at the altar in Ezekiel and proceeded through the city to the world. In Gen 2:8-15 it started in Eden and proceeded through the garden, or paradise, to the world. The same picture we find in Rev 22:1-2.

What if the river on a macro level represents world history? Let’s play with that:

All started in the supernatural, with the altar of God and the lamb. God created man and placed him in the garden. The garden was the place of God’s presence. In Revelation we would say that this is the city, as God is there in the midst of His people.

But then man is driven out of the garden. Hezekiel in the first verses is lead outside of the city. Outside of the city, Jesus measures 1000 cubits, or let’s say feet for ease of understanding.

Fast forward 1000 years from when Adam and Eve had to leave the garden. Noah just came into being. God’s work is very literal with very literal and direct consequences. The people sin, it starts to rain, and they die. Straightforward. Easy to understand. Easy walking in the river. Ankle deep.

Fast forward again. Another 1000 years have past, and we meet Abraham. Abraham is to become a living allegory, a parable for all generations. So are the patriarchs and even Jacob’s sons. We can look at their lives, and the New Testament often does, to see how to live life, and how not to. There is more resistance and more work involved to understand. Knee deep.

Fast forward again. David just became king. We are in the midst of yet another area. The law has been given and serves as moral standard. It teaches us how to live our lifes morally. Understanding of God is growing, but resistance is even bigger. Hip deep.

Let’s go forward another 1000 feet or years. Jesus just died on the cross, the Holy Spirit has been given. The big mystery has been revealed. No way we can resist any longer, we just let go. Swimming.

And from there? The river flows through the valley of Jordan, the border of the Holy Land – they had to cross Jordan to come there. Again there is a river for people outside of Israel that they can cross to come to the Holy Land, to be restored to paradise.

And then the river flows into the dead sea and brings it back to life. The sea as a picture for the masses, the dead sea resembles the unsaved masses of the world. There will be a great harvest! And then Israel will again dwell in the fully restored Holy Land. For me – the millenium.

So the four layers hold for humanity, and the four layers hold for the faith life of a single believer, as Mike showed in his post.

Just be aware of what is said in Eze 47:12. The puddles and swamps on the side of the river remain salty and dead. Camp on any of the layers, stop to flow, and you will be dead. Look at the pharisees. When it was time to go deeper, from hip deep to swimming, when they should have come from a moral standpoint to the revelation of the Spirit, they camp out and missed it. It happens time and again.

Let’s make it personal: if you stay at the literal level, the cross is a place where Jesus died. You will never know that we are to do the same for others, laying our lives down, that is, it will never become a parable for you to live after. You will never understand the moral aspect of: your sins are forgiven, now go and sin no more. And you will never catch the mystery of Jesus in us and we in him, with rivers flowing from us into this world.

But if you progress to the allegorical layer and forget about the literal – saying: oh, that is such a thing of the past – you will look at the cross purely allegorical. But without the physical death of Jesus on the cross, all other layers are not possible.

When you are swimming, your ankles, knees, and hips are still wet.

So, let’s go swimming.