History is a fascinating thing. Studying it somehow makes the present time come alive. History brings depth and revelation into our daily life. History shapes our future by illuminating our today.
As Christians, we read about people and places throughout the Bible. We study the churches of Ephesus and Philippi. We focus in on the words of the prophets, the disciples, and, of course… Jesus.
But where these words were spoken, taught, and prophesied is not by mistake. The Lord wants us to get the full picture so that we can fulfill our full purpose as His body. Then we get the honor of bringing Heaven to earth.
God started out with one commandment—dominion. Right there, in Genesis 1, even before He created man, He had a purpose and plan for him.
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’”—Genesis 1:26 (emphasis added)
Humanity had not even been created yet, but the Lord had a purpose and plan for them, in partnership with Him.
Even a quick scan over the creation account reveals an emptiness in the atmosphere being transformed into a beautiful sphere filled with and prepared to support life. The life that man was to take dominion over and subdue.
“Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”—Genesis 1:28 (emphasis added)
Did you notice the word blessed? It was a blessing to be in this harnessing work of the earth.
In the Beginning, We Were to Be Blessed Through the Assignment of Tending the Garden of Eden!
Over time—after the fall—the land was robbed of its fertility. It was no longer under God’s original design of humanity taking its rightful place as stewards of the land. We lost dominion through the trade of sin.
But there is hope! God reminds us over and over throughout the entire story of the Bible that…
- The land and people will be restored.
“‘On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’ says the Lord who does this thing. ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘When the plowman shall overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it. I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them.’”—Amos 9:11-14 (emphasis added)
- God will bring the Messiah who could create that bridge of restoration so that humanity can employ the dominion they were given.
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’”—Matthew 28:18-20
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”—1 John 4:4
The Garden of Eden—Israel Connection
Though no scholars have confirmed the exact location of the Garden of Eden, they have been able to surmise an approximate area based on the various passages in the Bible.
“Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads… The fourth river is the Euphrates.”—Genesis 2:10-14 (emphasis added)
From this passage, we can conclude it was located in the Middle East. We also hear the mention of the Euphrates River related to the boundaries of the Promised Land.
“On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: ‘To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates…’”—Genesis 15:18 (emphasis added)
From this, one can conclude that there is, in fact, a connection between the Garden of Eden and Israel.
Now, think about this…
- God and humanity once lived in perfect harmony in the Garden of Eden.
- Man’s choice to sin removed him from the Garden, thus causing a separation from God.
- God, from the beginning of the Bible story, has been on a great mission to restore this relationship, and He does so through Jesus.
- But ultimately, He will bring Heaven and earth together again, in perfect harmony, circling back to the image we get in the Garden of Eden.
This is the circle of life!
You see, God’s entire mission is to restore all things. He does this in stages and seasons. He does this with His people and creation.
The Apostle Paul spoke about creation eagerly awaiting complete restoration (Romans 8:19). And the prophet Isaiah writes about what restoration will be like—the lion and the lamb dwelling together in unity and peace (Isaiah 11:6-9).
We have all seen the illusion—there is one circle, and then it is pulled apart to create two rings, then they are reconnected in the end as one full circle. Well, when it comes to God, there is no trick or illusion… it’s the real deal.
And we cannot even imagine what the complete restoration will look like. But in the meantime, the Lord still calls us to subdue the earth. We have an assignment… to prepare for the return of the Messiah—the return for His ultimate rule.
And where will He rule when the two are reunited again?
“At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts.”—Jeremiah 3:17
Now that you have your assignment, when will you start? Begin sowing seeds for the Lord’s return!