For the proclamation of the Gospel and the edification of the Body of Christ
The Garden of God
A double scene of the garden of God and the same expectation from God: to find soft aromas and sweet fruits within it.
We will read from Genesis 2:7: "And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And Jehovah God planted a garden eastward, in Eden; - Note that it is God who plants the garden - and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made Jehovah God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." And verse 15 says: "And Jehovah God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it."
God's great project
Man's history began in this way. God has a great project with this creature called man, and He plants a garden, and puts the man that He had formed there. And in that beautiful garden, God makes all kinds of beautiful trees and delicious fruits grow. And the story especially highlights that God also made the tree of life grow amid the garden.
Adam was already a human being with life, but with human life; life created by God. Just like the fish, and the plants, and the angels have life created by God, so too the man had life created by God. But the interesting thing was that amid the garden, Adam and Eve discovered the tree of life, and that by eating of its fruit they would eat life. Not just any life, not created life, but divine life, eternal life: The life of God! When Adam was in the middle of the garden, he would have understood the message immediately: "God has put His life here for me amid the garden." Indeed, God wanted to share His life with Adam.
Adam was not created only to be a creature; he was created to be a son of God, to have the life of God living in him. Just as he could eat an apple or an orange, he could also eat the life of God. He would no longer be just a creature, but rather he had the possibility -and this was God's project- of being a son of God. And as a son of God, as a participant of the divine nature, he would be even greater than the angels. As a creature he was lower than the angels, but when participating in the divine life, he would be greater than the angels.
I don't know if Adam managed to discover that. I imagine that he did, that he understood God's plan: The mere presence of the tree was already a message for him.
God's project momentarily frustrated
This text impacted me a great deal when I read it carefully, because I realized something that I had not perceived before. Genesis 3:8 mentions the first time that God came to the garden to meet with Adam. "And they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden in the cool of the day." Notice the expression "... in the cool of the day." The expression is even clearer if we look at other versions: "And they heard the sound of Jehovah God walking up and down in the garden at the breeze of the day" (YLT)…
It is interesting that the story registers that the moment when God chose to descend to the garden and to meet with Adam was when the day was cool and breezy. Those who live in Santiago Chile, during the summer, know that in the day it reaches temperatures of 33 degrees, and that the heat is very oppressive. But in the afternoon a fresh breeze begins to blow, and the high temperatures drop.
A lot of people, when they arrive home from work, take the hose and go outside to water the garden. It is a moment of relaxation and recreation, and that is something of the idea presented here: God waited for the best hour in the day. He descended and strolled through the garden looking for and calling to Adam and Eve. It was the hour of lovers; the hour of the setting sun.
Brothers and sisters, can you imagine this beautiful scene? God is coming down for the first time, and wants to meet with this creature that He created, and who He himself placed in the garden. God comes, and they listen to Him calling them: "Adam, Eve, my lovers! Where are you?." He comes as a lover, He comes as a God of love, wanting to meet with the creation. God strolling in the cool air of the afternoon. When the breeze made the temperature and the atmosphere of the garden pleasant, God went down to meet with Adam and Eve.
The garden was created for Adam, but Adam and Eve were created for God. The garden was the place for Adam and Eve, but they were the place where God wanted to inhabit. The garden, for God, was not the plants or the trees, but Adam and Eve's heart. They were, in the divine project, the garden for God. And here God comes down to meet with them, and both listen to the sweet voice of God.
But the tragedy is that Adam and Eve have sinned, they have disobeyed. Instead of having eaten of the tree of life, they have eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and God cannot complete His purpose. They hide, they don't come out to their encounter. They are no longer the fertile earth where God can put His seed of life; the glorious seed which is Christ in us. Adam and Eve are no longer the fertile earth for that seed. They have sinned, they are not apt. The Lord's plan is frustrated, impeded by man's sin.
But God didn't desist from His purpose; He didn't give up on His plan.
The Church as a garden
Let us now pass on to Song of Songs. We see the story of the church prophetically announced here. In this book it was prophetically announced that God would finally have that garden, not formed by plants or trees, but of people. That garden would finally be His church. And here it announces and reveals to us that God will get that garden. Praise be to the Lord!
In Song of Songs chapter 4, he is speaking of her, he is eulogizing her, Christ eulogizing the church! Christ finding joy in her, Christ feeling satisfied and full, because of the beauty and the glory that she has within. And the interesting thing is that, when he is in the midst of the praises and commendation toward her, he begins to compare her with a garden. Beforehand, he was eulogizing her directly, referring to her as woman, but starting from verse 12 the lover's description of her changes, and begins to describe her as a garden. This garden makes us think of that original scene that we have just seen in Genesis that was frustrated.
He begins by saying to her –Christ to the church–:
"A garden shut up is my sister, my bride; A spring shut up, a fountain sealed.
Thy shoots are an orchard of pomegranates, with precious fruits; Henna with spikenard plants,
Spikenard and saffron, Calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense;
Myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices.
Thou art a fountain of gardens, A well of living waters, And flowing streams from Lebanon."
This is the church. It is interesting to notice that this scene is not in the first verse. It is happening in the third verse of the song. That is to say, we don't become the garden of the Lord overnight. Paul says in the New Testament: "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow." There is a process in which the garden has to be worked. It is not something which occurs overnight. A garden that has given soft fruits, a garden where the flowers have been cultivated, and these are already manifested, or where the aromatic spices are cultivated, so that the garden is filled with aromas.
She had to learn a lesson of discipline, before becoming that type of garden. When she learned that it was not Christ who existed for us, but us for Christ, only then is described as a garden, as a garden full of soft fruits, like a garden filled with the most beautiful aromas, like a garden full of the prettiest flowers.
The Church filled with fruits for God
Brothers, the day in which the church is filled with fruits for God has to arrive. There has to be a day in which the church is full of flowers for the Lord, and of aromas that please God. We who have been receiving revelation of our position in Christ for so many years have been put in a perfect position that cannot be changed, which through faith is ours. It is a glorious and perfect position, but that is only half of the truth. That position in Christ has to be translated into a transformed life; it has to be translated into a life that, by being in Christ, produces the fruits that please God.
The day in which the church returns to being a pleasant garden for God has to arrive. There must be a garden filled with so much glory, so many aromas, so many flowers, so much fruit that the Lover can no longer resist coming for His garden which is the church.
In Romans 15:16, the apostle Paul defines his ministry saying that to him has been given the grace of God "...that I should be a minister of Christ Jesus unto the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be made acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit." A church formed by gentiles which, by the work of the Holy Spirit ends up being a pleasant offering to God, a garden filled with fruits, flowers and aromas for Christ. By His work and grace, the day in which our lives give pleasant fruit to God has to arrive.
The Lord Jesus Christ is hoping his church, through the Holy Spirit, becomes a garden filled with fruits, in a place that is Christ's delight. The church has to be sacred, glorious, without stain and without blemish. It has to be! Let us not conform with a positional perfection. The gospel is more than that, it is even more glorious, it is even more complete! The life of God that was planted in us is powerful enough to give the fruits worthy of the Lord.
Let us return to Song of Songs. In verse 4:16 she speaks, when by revelation of Christ she has realized that she is a garden, a closed garden, a virgin garden, a private garden. It is the garden of a single Lover, she belongs to Christ! This speaks of her consecrating herself only to him. She is a pure virgin to Christ! Praise be to God!
We are not speaking of a physical virginity, we are speaking of a spiritual virginity, to which the whole church has to come. When Paul speaks to the Corinthians, he was conscious that they had been the greatest sinners. And he tells them: "For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I espoused you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ." The church becomes a pure virgin to Christ, consecrated to a single Bridegroom. Brothers, have we reached this yet? Are we a closed garden for the Lord? Are we a closed source, a sealed source?
Now the Lord can come to His garden
When she realizes the whole glory that she already has, because of His work, she says: "Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south…" It is as if the scene from Genesis were repeated, and this time she said: "Blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, And eat his precious fruits." Now it is she who is ready, and asks that the cool breeze of the afternoon, the wind of the north and of the south blow in the garden so that the aromas that she already produces, that she already has -because they are filled with aromatic spices-, might be taken by the wind and that the Lover might perceive them. Then the Lover will be awoken and will come to his garden.
The day in which the wind of the Holy Spirit blows must arrive, to blow on a church filled with fruits and full of flowers and of aromas for Christ! So that Christ perceives those aromas, and won't refuse to return to his garden. "Let my beloved come into his garden, And eat his precious fruits. Blow in my garden, come off their aromas, and eat of their sweet fruit." These are the days that await us in a near future: a church clothed in glory, a sacred church, a church consecrated to a single Bridegroom, a church that is a pure, kept virgin; that is a closed garden which is a sealed source, which is prepared and adorned, that is embellished, that is filled with glory, full of fruits. And the Holy Spirit will lift those aromas, so that the Lord comes. Here is the church saying: ""Let my beloved come into his garden, And eat his precious fruits. Blow in my garden, come off their aromas, and eat of their sweet fruit."
And this is what is prophesied here, brothers, in chapter 5 of Song of Songs. Now he speaks: "I am come into my garden." That frustrated scene of Genesis, will now be completed. Glory to God! God will conquer, the Lord will take His purpose ahead!
It moves me, brothers, that when the Lord says: "I am come into my garden", He comes to harvest of his garden that which He Himself planted; He comes to look for that which He Himself worked. Seven times the word "my..." appears:
"I am come into my garden, my sister, my bride: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, O friends; Drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved." (5:1).
The Lord confirms that the whole fruit that is within her belongs to Him. When He came to His garden, He took what belonged to Him. Then, the aroma of the church will allow and will call so that the Lord returns for a second time and definitively comes to dwell and to stroll in His garden which is the church.
Blessed is the Lord! We will be a part of this. May nobody nor anything impede it. This is decreed for His people, for His church. Blessed is your name, Lord! Amen.
Synthesis of an oral message.