The Scripture tells us that we’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The word glory in Greek is a diverse word. Kabod means a weighty presence in which to dwell. God’s presence is our home. The Garden of Eden was the first home, or kabod where God dwelled with man.
Sadly, when we chose to sin, we all became homeless in the greatest sense. We lose the ability to live close, in, and with our God’s kabod-glory. The Bible’s story is about God’s gracious pursuit in trying to restore his presence (our home) to us, in us, and with us.
God made a way for his presence to live amongst people in the designs of the Old Testament tabernacle and temple, which G.K. Beale says mimicked the Garden of Eden. We know this because:
- The Hebrew verbal form (hithpael), hithallek, used for God’s “walking back and forth” in the Garden (Gen 3:8), also describes God’s presence in the tabernacle.
- Gen 2:15 says God placed Adam in the Garden “to cultivate it and to keep it.” The two Hebrew words for “cultivate and keep” refer more often to priests who “serve” God in the temple. Adam was the first priest.
- The “tree of life” itself was probably the model for the lampstand placed directly outside the “Holy of Holies.”
- The Garden of Eden is understood as the first temple when we observe that Israel’s later temple had wood carvings which gave it a garden-like atmosphere and likely were intentional reflections of Eden (1 Kgs 6:18, 29).
- Just as a river flowed out from Eden (Gen 2:10), so the post-exilic temple and the end time temple in both Ezek 47:1–12 and Rev 21:1–2 have rivers flowing out from their center.
We all identify with the cause of those that are homeless or destitute because we all are searching for home in some manner. The blessed hope is that Christ restores our home by living in us, his church, and his temple (Eph 2:17-22). We are no longer homeless. God’s greatest command repeated in all of Scripture is “Fear not, I am with you.”
*For further reading in the Bible: 2nd Chronicles 2:1 – 2:18; Ephesians 2:17 – 2:22; Genesis 2:15; Genesis 3:8; 1st Kings 6:18; 1st Kings 6:2
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Accompanying this study is over 300-Hours of video footage from 150 of today’s top Christian thinkers on culture, creativity, innovation, and invention at www.makejesusculture.com and www.gardencityproject.com. We aim to help churches develop grass roots culture formation for their contexts. Go now!