Posts tagged “Yeshua

Genesis 3:12, It’s All God’s Fault!

And said the man, “the woman which you gave with me – she gave it to me from the Tree, and I ate.”

Note that Adam specifically used the word immad, which always means with”. He did not say ‘the woman you gave TO me’, but “the woman you gave WITH me”, including himself with the woman as having been given by God to that place – near the Tree of Knowledge.

If we reverse engineer what Adam said, we read similarities to what scoffers say – that God set Adam and Eve up for failure:

“I ate, but only after the woman gave to me from THE Tree, which YOU put near us after YOU created us and put us together in the first place.”

Basically, Adam absolved all responsibility by deferring to God! We can’t interpret Adam’s tone, but depending on how we read his words, he was either justifying his actions or blaming God, but is there really any difference? They both place the onus for the transgression on God. After all, God designed everything, right? He created the snake with its craftiness, He put the Tree of Knowledge right there in front of them, ad infinitum – it’s as if God wanted Adam to fail, right?

God’s people – or at least, those we’d expect to be God’s people – still use this same justification today for the most ungodly acts imaginable. Usually, the proximity of the temptation (the Tree) is linked to the Creator in some way, even if they are subtle. Here are two real-world examples:

1. The Intern: A certain Christian leader is separated from his wife while leading a charismatic renewal. He becomes close with an intern (the Tree) on his staff and began what he called an “emotional affair”. The revivalist did not call it simply an “affair” or what it is, “adultery” – instead he deferred to his emotions. Though it’s subtle, He was inwardly blaming God for temptations he experienced within his natural flesh-and-blood prison, evoking emotions we all feel (which by the way was a result of what Adam did at the Tree). Basically, he said, “I’m only a fallen human, right?” To this day, that man and his now-second-wife admit they sinned, but “do not regret marrying (each other)”, which is to say that they don’t regret sinning.

2. The Prostitute: A certain televangelist spots a prostitute (a Tree) on the side of the road, and solicits her for sex. When confronted, the televangelist defiantly told elders of his denomination, “The Lord told me it’s none of your business.” It’s apparent that the televangelist thought that God wanted him to satisfy his sexual urges, making it an arrangement between “the Lord” and himself. In other words, he doesn’t regret sinning because ‘It’s the Lord’s business.’

In the first example the revivalist leader was subtly blaming God for his lack of self-control, while in the second example, the ‘prophet’ justifying his lack of self-control by bringing the Lord “in on it”. This follows in the manner of Adam, because whether blame or justification is deferred to God, the bottom line is:

It’s all God’s fault.

Let’s be clear, I think that the motivations for eating from any of these “trees” – lust, loneliness, power, jealousy, spite – are natural. So too is the manner of which these men reacted, out of places of panic, pride, or even shame. However, surrendering to nature, or having any reaction other than a fearful repentance is contrary to the meaning of life. We are to be a kingdom of overcomers, a tried but blameless people, who find forgiveness in Almighty God.

It would have been better for these men to react like David, after he fell at his own Tree (Bath-Sheva) and said, “I have sinned against YHVH.” (2 Sam. 12:13)

Adam’s reply (well you put the woman and that Tree here in the first place) is eerily similar to what scoffers say, as in: ‘God gave you those desires, so why should He be mad if you sin?’ Adam’s reply is also a near paraphrase of what deceived people say, which is similar to ‘well God must’ve put her in my path for a reason, she understands me, unlike my wife’.

Scoffers mock God for putting the Tree right next to Adam, accusing God of tempting mankind into sin. But I suggest that ‘the Tree in the midst’ is a lesson to us, as Adam and Eve’s posterity. There is no Tree of Knowledge anymore, but there’s an intern in our office, a prostitute in our path, and a Bath-Sheva off our balcony. There are drug dealers next door, and pornography with a click of the mouse. Indeed, every temptation is in our midst!

We are designed to overcome, but that only comes with obedience to God’s commandments. I know of One only – Messiah Yeshua – who was tempted in every way that we were, and yet overcame every sin (cf. Hebrews 4:15). That’s why He’s the Anointed One, and consequently why He kept His anointing forever.

If we fail, it’s best to repent immediately like David, and not make it worse. Otherwise we blame God, or justify it to God, the penalty of which is the same as Adam’s – death! Therefore, let us react to the temptations all around us, not as Adam by blaming God, but as Messiah Yeshua, who would have no part of it. God has put us here to overcome, just as Messiah overcame, and sat down at the right hand of God.


Genesis 3:10, What Sound Did Adam Hear?

“I heard Your sound in the Garden and I was afraid because I am naked, and I hid myself. (Genesis 3:10)

Of the ten most popular Biblical translations, only the KJV and its surrogates (since 1611!) translates the ambiguous Hebrew word qol in vss. 8 and 10 as “voice”. The others render it “sound”, unless you read the NIV and NLT, which didn’t even bother translating qol at all! But I digress.

It’s obvious “sound” is the correct interpretation. Speech is produced from a voice, so qol’s other meanings – such as sound or noise, more likely fits the context. ‘Noise’ has an unfavorable connotation implying a degree of annoyance; therefore ‘sound’ is the best option. This is important because the correct interpretation of qol in vss. 8 and 10 carries prophetic weight. If we interpret it as ‘voice’, we envision God (or say, His convoy) proclaiming words we don’t get to know, but somehow this utterance made Adam and Eve hide.

However, if we read that Adam heard YHVH’s ‘sound’ – then we become enlightened. First, we realize Adam had previously experienced this particular sound as he said, “I heard Your sound…” However, before His disobedience, Adam had no reason to fear this sound – but this time, he was deathly afraid. That’s because the sound Adam heard unmistakably signified the appearance of YHVH into the Earth. Of course, the question which remains is, what was the sound?! We will theorize the sound’s identity, but first there still remains at least one glaring clue we can garner from the text.

Verse 7 records Adam and Eve using fig leaves to sew themselves garments, but when they heard the “sound of the LORD” they immediately ran from that fig tree into the canopy of the woods. If we don’t have a green thumb we might not realize that fig trees require a space in open sunlight; they cannot survive in shade… where Adam and Eve chose to hide. This means that it was in this open space that YHVH expected to encounter Adam. That’s why when YHVH appeared – likely in that spot – He asked, “Where are you?” (vs. 9). This makes perfect sense because in Scripture, the fig tree symbolized not only a place of study and prayer, but also a place of meeting– i.e. “In that Day everyone will invite his neighbor under his vine and his fig tree (Zech. 3:10). The sound that Adam heard was YHVH’s call-to-assembly, the only problem was, YHVH was the only one who wanted to meet!

Now the sound Adam heard was (like all things from the LORD) meant for man’s benefit, as once upon a time, Adam met with God face-to-face, exactly how Moshe talked with YHVH in the Tent of Meeting (cf. Exodus 33:11). That area near the fig tree was Adam’s place of meeting – a type of Holy Place on the already holy grounds of Eden. However, instead of meeting God face-to-face, Adam and Eve hid from His face (vs. 8, Heb. panay = ‘face’).

This reminds me of another face-to-face meeting with YHVH, heralded by a certain sound, and producing a similar reaction:

…all the people, seeing the thunders and the lightning, and the sound of the shofar, and the mountain a smoke. And the people saw it. They trembled, and stood from afar. They told Moshe, “You speak with us, and we will hear, but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” [(Exodus 20:18-19) Note: “thunder” is also Heb. qolot – plural form of “qol”.] In other words, just like Adam, the Israelites also heard His sound, and hid themselves.

In the book of Revelation, there is an oft-repeated phrase “There were lightnings, sounds, and thunders; and there was a great earthquake…” (i.e. Rev. 16:17). This is similar to… the conditions seen on Mount Sinai! Furthermore, Revelation 4:5 specifically states these sounds proceed from the Throne of God. And since this lightning-and-sound combo happened at the end of every prophecy in Revelation about the end of time, we shouldn’t be surprised at the reaction of God’s enemies: “The kings of the earth, the princes, the commanding officers, the rich, the strong, and every slave and free person hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains. They told the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of his wrath has come; and who is able to stand?” (Rev. 6:16-17)

So, we have ourselves a pattern. First, the “sound of the LORD” occurs. Then, the majority flee and hide themselves from fear. Then, YHVH appears for His visitation. Lastly, a few people joyfully and ecstatically meet the LORD. (Note: Moshe was so eager to meet the LORD that he almost disobeyed God. Read Exodus 19:16-25 as an excited, expectant Moshe).

In closing, the sound Adam heard was a call that mankind should prepare himself, for he is about to meet God. I believe that Adam heard a shofar blast – as witnessed at Mount Sinai and throughout Revelation. Furthermore, based on the other parallels with this story to end-time prophecies, I believe Adam hearing a shofar blast compares to the day Messiah Yeshua will return “with a mighty blast of the shofar.” (1 Thess. 4:16). It could have been some other sound – such as thunder – but I think the shofar is the only sound which is unmistakably tied to YHVH’s appearing.

One day, mostly everyone –both small and great, rich and poor- will hide themselves, like their ancestor Adam, but a few of us will hear the shofar blast and rejoice. We will be going to see God face-to-face (Rev. 22:4), like Moshe spoke with YHVH as a friend.♦

Genesis 3:9-11, Is God Truly Omniscient?

And YHVH Elohim called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)

Skeptics cite this verse to levy charges against YHVH, with the accusation that God is not as omniscient as He claims. For example, the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible says, “There are some things that God doesn’t know and can’t see. God couldn’t see Adam and Eve when they hid in the Garden of Eden.”

This is a completely ignorant accusation, because it presumes that there is no logical reason for ever asking a question in which one already knows the answer. However, investigators, lawyers, and other leaders ask these ‘known answer questions’ every day, usually in the context of an investigation, cross-examination, or hiring process. When asked in the right way, these questions help establish truth and/or justice, for through one’s words is he vindicated or condemned (or hired or fired, or rewarded or punished, etc.). This is the same as Yeshua taught: “by your words shall you be justified, and by them shall you be condemned” (Matt. 12:37).

Known answer questions are asked against a backdrop of pre-existing laws, rules, or other expectations, such as in the following examples:

Peter answered [Shappirah], “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” She said, “Yes, for so much.” But Peter asked her, “How is it that you have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? …She fell down immediately at his feet and died… Great fear came on the whole assembly, and on all who heard these things. (Acts 5:8-11)

“Yeshua …seeing that a great multitude was coming to him, said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?” He said this to try him, for he himself knew what he would do.” (John 6:5-6)

And within our featured context:

God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat?(Gen. 3:11)

In these examples, the trying questions established truths included for others’ benefit, based on some preexistent standard. In the case of Shappirah, the standard was “you shall not tempt the LORD your God.” (Deut. 6:16) Peter confirmed her lie through her own words, but the result was a warning for anyone in a new covenant who maybe wanted to tempt God. In the case of Philip, Yeshua was testing him on his faith, based on Yeshua’s recent testimony that all would see “greater works” (cf. John 5:20). Yeshua was looking for someone else knowing “what God was going to do.” Lastly, in our featured context, the standard was YHVH’s previous commandment to not eat from the Tree of Knowledge. The cross examination that followed was a type of trial, to show Adam had transgressed the law by his own words.

If we think bigger, we can see that YHVH and His emissaries asked these questions for our benefit, because they were recorded in the Good Book – that we who follow in Adam and Eve’s footsteps may learn from mistakes of the past.

God knows, and will always know, everything. He will however afford each and every person a trial, in order for him to account of everything he or she has done in this life – even if God already knows. The results of this judgment-to-come prove that YHVH is just, but it also reproves the righteous – that God is serious about His law, which shows who He is and who He’s not.

I wish that skeptics could see that the prototype of the judgment-to-come, when God cross examines Adam in a human-esque form – which I believe is a prophecy of Messiah Yeshua judging humanity in His resurrected body – is not an indication of his lack of omniscience, but rather proof of a trial prosecution – that He will administer to vindicate or condemn every soul according to their works.

Genesis 3:8, Why is the Fig Tree Specified?

…and they sewed leaves of the fig, and prepared for themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of YHVH Elohim walking in the breaking of the day, and Adam and his wife hid from the face of YHVH Elohim in the midst of the wood of the garden. (Genesis 3:8)

Why is the fig mentioned here? The text could have simply stated that Adam and Eve sewed together leaves of any tree and we’d have deduced the passage’s literal intent, that Adam and Eve were covering their nakedness. Yet God orchestrated the text to specify the fig, and since nothing in the Scriptures is coincidental nor extraneous, we should conclude that this is hinting at a bigger picture.

We have already identified part of that bigger picture, as the more sensible word for ‘garments’ was forsaken for the word chagorot typically used in the context of soldiers donning heavy body armor. I think this is key to understanding why God specified the fig as well.

In figurative language, a healthy fig tree is associated with the grapevine to denote joy and peace. The idiom “everyone dwelt under his grapevine and fig tree” denotes times of safety and rejoicing within Israel (i.e. 1 Kings 4:20,25). In reality, the fig tree is easy to grow, doesn’t require much water, is pleasant to the eye, highly fragrant, produces sweet fruit and provides shade throughout the summer. In ancient Israel, mostly everyone owned a fig tree… because who wouldn’t? It was everyone’s favorite because of all its benefits. Therefore, dwelling “under the fig tree” became associated with life as it should be – as a blessing from Almighty God. In later times being “under the fig tree” became associated with prayer and studying the Scriptures, being the most tranquil spot for self-study at home. For example, when Yeshua told Netanel, “I saw you under the fig tree” (John 1:48) He meant that He saw Netanel in prayer and meditation at home, like a man with no deceit.

For these reasons, it shouldn’t surprise that Adam and Eve gravitated towards everyone’s favorite, the symbol of peace, prosperity and prayer: the fig tree. It was a place of comfort and safety, which is a lesson to us all.

I believe that the message is this: first, obedience to God’s Word – including His commandments – were meant for our peace. If everyone studied them, and put them into practice, everyone would dwell under the canopy of YHVH Elohim, as men dwell in the shade and scent of their fig trees. However, if we rebel as Adam and Eve, and transgress the commandments designed for our peace, it has the exact opposite effect. Instead, by our own hand we tear apart our peace to make “armor” for enmity and warfare against the Almighty. This sort of rebellion provokes God to destroy our fig trees (our peace) in order to convince us to return to Him (i.e. Hosea 2:17).

Secondly, this is also an end-times prophecy, concerning the time when everyone will proclaim “peace and safety!” (1 Thess. 5:3). If we accept that the fig tree represents prayer and study in peacetime, and Adam and Eve ripped apart the fig tree after wanting to “be like God”, this prophesies that all Mankind will have a false peace- a time when lawlessness will abound, and everyone will forsake sound study (doctrine) and prayer, and will likewise put on “armor” against God. Therefore, by God showing up to judge Adam and Eve at the breaking of the day, God is warning all mankind that there will be a similar “Falling Away” before the breaking of THE Day – when the feet of Yeshua will stand on the Mount of Olives and walk toward the sons of Adam in Jerusalem (Zech. 14:3, Acts 1:12), clothed with judgment at a time when the figs are in season. (Mark 11:1,13) When He calls for us, I pray we all say “Here I am” instead of “I hid myself because I was naked”.

I understand the prophecy is a deep mystery, but the life lesson in this passage is clearer: obedience to God means to have no deceit, and this has many spiritual rewards, “for whoever keeps the fig tree will eat its fruit; so he who serves his master will be honored.” (Prov. 27:18). If we serve the Master YHVH we will not destroy the things made for our peace. Therefore, let us cultivate the fig tree! Let’s be obedient to the commandments meant for our peace, and the Master YHVH will cause us to lie down safely.

Genesis 3:7-8, Adam and Eve’s Armor

…and they sewed leaves of the fig, and prepared for themselves [chagorot]. And they heard the sound of YHVH Elohim moving toward the breaking of the day… (Gen 3:7-8)

Most Bible translators favor “aprons” here for the rare Hebrew word chagorot, but in its other appearances, chagorot refers to body armor worn by military-aged males (cf. 2 Kings 3:21, 2 Sam. 18:11). Its verb form, chagar (“to gird, to cover”), describes one covering himself with either sackcloth or armor (so the case could be made that one actually “arms” himself with sackcloth). However, every occurrence of chagar, whether in noun or verb form, appears in contexts of adversity. It’s certainly not a word for peacetime!

Some of the final words of King David illustrate this perfectly:

You know what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, specifically to the two captains of Israel… whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war on the [chagorah] around his loins, and on the sandals of his feet.” (1 Kings 2:5)

Yoav-ben-Tzeryahu (Joab son of Zeruiah) was a man of war, so much so that he didn’t know when to retire his armor and listen to his king’s will. Yoav was ever seeking conflict, so the chagorah was the apparel which suit him.

Am I saying that Adam and Eve sewed armor for themselves all night long with the expectation to ambush Almighty God at daybreak? No, I’m not! I think that a word used later in Genesis 3, khetonet (“garment”) might actually describe what Adam and Eve literally tried to make for themselves. However, by God inspiring the war-word chagorot, we get a figurative glimpse of the de facto stance of human beings toward Almighty God, beginning here with Adam and Chavah (Eve).

In other words, it’s in our nature to make war with God, as we prepare “armor” for ourselves in order to resist Him. I speak of pride, which against God is as durable as intertwined fig leaves which are withered and gone with the wind. For like our ancestors Adam and Chavah (Eve) experienced, Almighty God will suddenly appear, and we will also make an account of our works. We will be likewise be naked, armed with only our words which will justify or condemn us (cf. Matthew 12:37).

It would seem our ancestor Adam DID resist Almighty God at the battleground of judgment! His words came from a place of fear, but that is a typical emotion for a conflict, is it not? Adam said:

“That woman, whom YOU put with me….” (vs. 12, emphasis mine)

These are words of war! Adam meant, ‘I didn’t do anything! It was THAT woman, and it’s YOUR fault because YOU put her here with me.’ First, Adam sells out his ally (Chavah) and then hurls accusations against God Himself!

You see, Adam may have sewn physical armor of porous leaves, but his spiritual armor was even poorer. And this armor is still worn today by the billions who blaspheme and accuse Almighty God for their sins and consequences, as well as their circumstances. This pride of life is the armor which blames God for everything and anything.

Had YHVH thought as a fallen man, He would have aborted the entire human race as an inconvenience and started over! However, unlike humans who declare war against Him every day, God instead made for them khetenot (coats) – prototypes of the coats of many colors worn by Joseph and David’s daughters (Gen. 37, 2 Sam. 13:18), but especially the priestly coats worn by Aaron and his sons (Exod. 28, 29; Lev 8 et al).

In other words, though our nature deceives us to be God’s enemy, God instead perceives us as priests and royalty.

Though it may have been too early to utter the words “I love you” we can look through our history on times that God demonstrated tremendous acts of love, including the making of these pre-priesthood coats for the father and mother of us all.

Especially now that Messiah Yeshua has explicitly shown how much God loves us, we understand that He still wants a kingdom of priests (Exod. 19:6, 1 Pet. 2:9, Rev. 1:6). We can look at the journey and understand why God gave us a chance at life, even though we come from the womb preparing to make war with Him. ♦

Genesis 3:1-3, Adam and Eve’s Not-so-Hidden Narrative

I have previously proposed that the serpent first encountered mankind when Adam “called out names to all the animals.” (Gen. 2:20) At that event, YHVH Elohim was also present “to see what the man would call them” (cf. 2:19). Furthermore, Adam wanted an ezer k’negedo (rescue as his opposite) in the same way God desired all mankind to have an ezer k’negedo (cf. 2:18, 21). At that moment, Adam’s will was the same as God’s will.

So the serpent found it impossible to “divine” and deceive Adam; Adam likely identified its trick and called out the derogatory name ‘nachash’! (Heb. for serpent, from the root for “to divine”).

This is not an earth-shattering revelation; God’s enemies cannot succeed if His people have a ‘let your will be done’ mentality. That’s been true since the Garden of Eden – literally!

So the serpent could not succeed (in regaining its lost power) if Adam continually followed God’s will. It needed a way to divert Adam’s will from YHVH’s. So it waited for the opportune time when the Presence was away:

And the serpent was clever from every beast of the field which YHVH Elohim made. And it said to the woman, “Even so God said ‘You will not eat from every tree of the garden.” (Genesis 3:1)

First, you may have noticed that the serpent’s statement is an incomplete sentence. In full disclosure, I couldn’t fully grasp the Hebrew. I was only slightly encouraged to learn that there is no consensus among Hebrew scholars as to what it says, but they do agree that the sentence is incomplete. The debatable part is the serpent’s first word af. From what I gather, it means something like “yet” or “although” because it seems to connect two sequential thoughts. For example, Psalm 44:9 denotes worship of the faithful… even so God has not turned to them. Or in Job 4:9, a figure says God puts no trust in angels… even so they who dwell in clay houses are destroyed…

So if the word af connects two relative ideas, what’s relative to the snake’s speech if it only seems to offer half a conversation? Well, let’s consider the last information we have before the snake slithers on scene. We see a joyful marriage of man and wife, and they were naked, but not ashamed (Gen. 2:24-25). Everything was awesome, right? Well, that’s what relative.

Everything was perfect; Even so, there was something unsettled in the happy couple. Though it’s not explicitly offered, it’s not hidden. We can still ascertain the couple’s dilemma based on the conversation that ensues.

So let’s compare the false prophet’s statement to the actual word of God. God never said ‘you will not eat of every tree of the garden.’ What He did say was “from every tree of the garden eating you will eat, but from the Tree of Knowledge you will not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it, by dying you will die.” (Gen. 2:16-17) So the serpent spun God’s original commandment in an entirely negative light. It omitted every detail about God’s luxurious gift, and focused on that lone. negative. aspect.

However, the serpent wasn’t the only one to spin God’s commandment:

“And the woman said to the serpent, “from fruit of the tree of the garden we may eat, and from fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the Garden God said “You will not eat from it, and not lay a hand on it, lest we die.”” (Genesis 3:2)

If you compare her statement with God’s, you notice Eve both added and subtracted from the original Word. You may also know how dangerous that can be from the words of both Torah and Messiah:

  • You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of Yahweh your God which I command you.(Deu. 4:2)
  • you no longer allow [a man] to do anything for his father or his mother, making void the word of God by your tradition, which you have handed down. You do many things like this.” (Mark 7:13)

Nevertheless the entire word of blessing “eating you will eat” disappears from Eve’s lips. And likewise, eating from every tree became lumped into the fruit of just one tree. In other words, she makes everything God gave them 50/50 on-par with that one tree they couldn’t have. Next, she added the phrase “and not lay a hand on it.”

I proposed before that there was a purpose to the Tree of Knowledge, but it wasn’t for tempting Adam and Eve. Its purpose is open to conjecture, but it certainly wasn’t poison.

Eve is sometimes unfairly blamed, but she wasn’t there to hear the original commandment. Adam was responsible for teaching it to Eve, so it seems that he shoulders some of the blame for adding and redacting God’s Word.

But basically, Eve agreed with the serpent. The serpent said ‘you can’t eat it’ and the woman said ‘we can eat this… yep, you’re right, we can’t eat it.’ She would never rebuke the serpent as Adam had once done, because by this time the snake had learned their common denominator.

You see, the serpent exploited the unsettled narrative in Adam and Eve’s marriage. That lone tree grew in mystique until it became equal to everything YHVH gave them. Like all marriages, a husband and wife should carefully teach and observe the unadulterated Word without adding or redacting it, all the while thankful for every single BLESSING. However, that didn’t happen. They lost their thanksgiving, and in its place stood a negative narrative on everything… they couldn’t have.

And then the serpent entered stage right.

But the deception had roots in Adam and Eve well before the serpent joined the narrative.

If only I was there! I wouldn’t have focused on the one thing I couldn’t have… right?

Genesis 3:1, The Serpent’s Motive

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. (Genesis 3:1)

In my last post I painted “the talking snake” as a soothsayer who purported to know the mind of God, a predecessor of all false prophets.

Now, I identify the motives of false prophets, which also spawned this serpent into action.

According to the Word of God, it’s really no secret what the ultimate goal of any false prophet is. Messiah Yeshua summarized their intentions in one word: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matt. 7:15) It’s fitting that Yeshua compared false prophets to animals, because that’s exactly what this passage in Genesis does as well – it equates false prophets with a serpent.

Yeshua described false prophets as “ravenous” because they are motivated to devour the people for a particular lust, usually for power or wealth (cf. Jer. 5:27, 6:13, 2 Pet 2:3, 15). False prophets steal wealth by offering false promises for payment, and deceive you into offering them prestige.

In the case of the serpent, the text implies its motivation for power.

Genesis 3:1 says “the serpent was more clever than any beast which YHVH Elohim had made.” When the serpent was created with the rest of land animals – which occurred before mankind (cf. Gen. 1:25-26) – it was the ‘wisest of all’ among living creatures.

However, its short reign was interrupted. A ruler appeared having “dominion… over all the earth” (Gen. 1:26). However, like any false prophet, the serpent despised authority. This new arrangement was unacceptable – the serpent desired to be ruler of the world. Thus it despised the favored one, Adam, and the Word of God who gave him authority.

Thus the snake was programed to deceive before its first encounter with mankind. This occurred when Adam “called out names to all animals” while seeking an ezer k’negedo – a “rescue as his opposite” (Gen. 2:18-20).

Both YHVH and Adam envisioned a confidante who would oppose Adam, to challenge and refine him. Since animals were created to be mankind’s servants, by nature none of them could possibly know Adam’s intentions (cf. Yeshua’s words in John 15:15). Therefore, during the “animals on parade” naming convention, I imagine they tried to please Adam, but could not challenge him. They may have been presented as animals that could plow 50 fields, or  pull 500 pounds, but this is a mindset of servitude, not equality.

When a master confides in a servant, that servant ceases serving, and becomes the master’s friend and business partner. Yet Adam and YHVH couldn’t find any animal worthy of such friendship – especially the serpent.

Adam called out the serpent as ‘nachash’, which in Hebrew means both “to hiss” and “to divine.” Obviously, the serpent didn’t yet hiss – it spoke – thus eliminating the possibility it was named on account of its hiss. Therefore, the snake’s name must’ve stemmed from its tendency to use divination, similar to how the serpent evoked “the mind of God” on Eve (i.e. ‘you will not surely die, for God knows’). However, what soothsaying could the serpent offer in the Presence of the One True God? And thus the “nachash” stood no chance; his divination services were rejected with a derogatory name.

Herein lies an important parable. Witch doctors, shaman, and even church-lurking false prophets exist in every culture, but at the end of the day, they can only provide you a service. They may read your palm or your tea leaves, or offer you a prosperity or security gospel, but they are only soothing your itching ears! This “help” they provide is their “sheep’s cloak” of servitude, but eventually, they will devour you like wolves, tricking you into giving them power and money for their “service”. However, these were supposed to be considered as animals – like stinky swine and vomiting dogs! (cf. 2 Pet. 2:22)

Now true prophets are similar to a faithful spouse in many ways. They neged (oppose) your iniquities, and ezer (rescue) your calling, just as YHVH and Adam sought after an ezer k’negedo. Consider Jeremiah’s words in Lamentations 2:14 as he makes a comparison between false and true prophets:

Your prophets have seen for you [i.e. “divined”]
False and deceptive visions;
They have not uncovered your iniquity, [i.e. “opposed you”]
To bring back your captives, [i.e. “to rescue you”]
But have envisioned for you false prophecies and delusions. [i.e. “itched your ears”]

May all God’s people value true prophets like a faithful spouse, and cast out false prophets like the mangy dogs they are!

Now after Adam rejected it, the serpent acted predictably. Having failed with Adam, the serpent waited for Eve at a time when YHVH was not present. It then approached her in sheep’s clothing, offering a service disguised as “help”. Specifically, it divined God’s mind, showing her how to become “as one wise.” And the rest is history.

Next I move to what exactly happened at the Tree of Knowledge, and how the serpent convinced mankind to eat it. ♦

Genesis 3:1, What Was the Talking Serpent?

And [the serpent] said to the woman…. (Genesis 3:1)

Comments about the “talking snake” fill the Internet – at least 60,100 of them according to Google – but most center on disproving, reproving, or excusing the serpent’s existence, which is impossible. However, it’s good to find what God wants us to know from the Bible’s perspective, just not from the viewpoint of several thousand years in the future.

As I’ve written before and once again, you cannot understand the Eden scriptures unless you see yourself as Adam or Eve, or Adam and Eve as you and your spouse, or Adam and Eve as your son or daughter, etc. Unless you believe it truly existed, it will be a meaningless myth to you, even for those who think it a “nice story.” Yes, if you call it a metaphor – you have already missed God. If however you can place yourself in the Garden – before the physical and spiritual rules that preserved life therein vanished forever – you will behold it for what it was, an intersection of truths that remain today that can help shape you, you and your spouse, and your own sons of Adam and daughters of Eve.

So, what of that talking snake?

What We Know

It talks. Scripture doesn’t explicitly reveal that all animals used to talk, but it’s certainly implied. From the talking serpent to Bilaam’s donkey and subtle implications elsewhere, it’s easy to conclude that all animals spoke before “the Curse” (More on that in the future).

It was named. We know “Adam called out names to every animal” (Gen 2:20), which includes the serpent, “nachash” in Hebrew. This literally means ‘to hiss’, but I do not believe this serpent hissed at all– that trait would come later. Even if it could hiss, the animals were competing to be mankind’s number two (2:20); it would make more sense to converse. Adam must’ve then seen something in the serpent’s speech that would make him call out “You nachash!”

You see, nachash also means ‘to divine’, a practice common to sorcery, witchcraft, and necromancy (cf. Lev. 19:26, Deu. 18:10). Based on Genesis 3, this describes the serpent! He represented himself as a diviner, one who purportedly knew the mind of God, offering divinations like: ‘You will not surely die, for God knows…’ This diviner is what Adam saw in the serpent and thus called him out as ‘nachash!’

So originally, the serpent was a type of a soothsayer who deceitfully claimed to know the mind of God. [White Rabbit: Because the serpent was first a diviner, its hiss became associated with divination.]

It was clever. In Genesis 3:1, the serpent was identified as “clever” (arum). The Bible further defines arum as:

  • someone who operates by schemes (Job 5:12)
  • someone who conceals his guilt by his words (Job 15:5)
  • someone who covers his own dishonor by manipulating the simple (Prov. 12:16)
  • someone who doesn’t tell everything he knows (Prov. 12:23)
  • someone who invests in knowledge before acting (Prov. 13:16, 14:18)
  • someone who understands his every step (Prov. 14:8, 15)
  • someone who conceals himself from trouble (Prov. 22:3, 27:12)

This is an exhaustive list; these are all the occurances of arum in the whole Tanakh. We may notice that arum is a characteristic only ascribed to a man; the only place it’s ascribed to anything else is here in Genesis 3:1. In other words, the serpent acted like a clever man before cleverness ever existed in mankind!

The False Prophet

Other things are debatable, but we’ve learned enough about this ancient serpent (as it existed before the Fall) to compare him with the rest of history: the serpent acts like a soothsayer, a false prophet who claims to know what God thinks, is well-versed, and devises schemes for his own gain.

Sound familiar? It should! This serpent represents the false prophet, who in later times would constantly infiltrate Israel and the Kingdom of God! Moshe warned against the nachash “diviner” in Torah, especially Deuteronomy 18, an entire chapter devoted to how the nachash spiritualist will attempt to deceive Israel. Amazingly enough – but not at all coincidence – warnings against such diviners and false prophets surround the most important prophecy of Messiah in all of Scripture. In other words, the layout of the Torah itself prophesies that Messiah Yeshua will be preceded and followed by many false prophets, spiritualists, and false messiahs! Read Deuteronomy 18 for yourself sometime and compare the chapter’s contents to Israel and Messiah’s history.

The Prophets contested false prophets, as many kings filled their courts with prophets of the baals and asherahs.

Then, what was true remained true after Messiah’s advent; He also warned against false prophets (e.g. Matt. 7:15-23, Matt. 24:4). In fact, Messiah’s word in Mark 16:18, “they will take up serpents“- actually means that believers will face false prophets and workers of iniquity head-on!

Thus, Messiah’s apostles did take up scores of false prophets – as one example, almost the entire book of Galatians is devoted to countering the “bewitchings” of the circumcising false prophets who would bind the believers with fear and boast in their flesh.

Lastly, Yochanan (John) wrote of false prophets playing a major role in Revelation and the last gasp of evil.

Therefore, the serpent was a prototype of the false prophet who would repeatedly combat Israel and Messiah’s Kingdom over and over again, never stopping until the end of time.

Whatever the serpent had he ultimately lost in his curse, but not before he manipulated Adam and Eve as the closest thing to a clever, fast-talking false prophet with a well-developed scheme to undermine the Kingdom of God. This is the lesson from history.

Many of you might be thinking, “I thought the serpent was s.a.tan!” Well, the Bible doesn’t say that – ever. However, the same power that fueled the false prophets obviously fueled the serpent, and I’ll provide that evidence, with the serpent’s motive, in the very near future.♦

Genesis 2:21-24, The Transformation of Spouses and Parents

“[YHVH] took from one of his sides, and closed up flesh in its place. And YHVH Elohim built the side – which he took from the man – into a woman, and brought her to the man. Thus at last, bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; for this she will be called woman, because from man was she thus taken. So will a man forsake his father and mother and enjoin to his wife, and the two will become into one flesh.” (Genesis 2:21-24)

I recently posted reasons why ‘rib’ should be translated “side”, as Adam’s ripping apart of two equal sides demonstrates the equality of a husband and wife in marriage. However, this tearing-and-repairing of Adam cuts even deeper, as it represents the transformation every couple must go through for a successful marriage.

These verses are still read at religious weddings – as they should be – because they express marriage in a beautiful and poetic way. After all, God didn’t just make Eve out of thin air, He created her in a roundabout way to teach future generations about His serious investment in marriage, just as Messiah said:

“Haven’t you read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh?’ So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, don’t let man tear apart.” (Matt. 19:4-6, emphasis mine)

Though the Genesis story details the first marriage, Messiah Yeshua demonstrates that its legacy applies to ALL marriages. Couples must see themselves in Adam and Eve, and follow God’s prescription for a healthy marriage.

It’s interesting that Messiah specifically said “tear apart” because that’s originally what God does to Adam. He tears Adam into two “sides”, but immediately restores Him with a brand new half! This “tearing apart” also translates into modern marriages, but never through divorce, YHVH does however separate spouses… from their parents. This is the “tearing away” that occurs in every marriage. Just as Yeshua taught that God enjoins every couple, YHVH is consequently the one tearing couples away from their parents.

Adam is ripped apart and “closed up” with flesh in its place; this is a foreshadowing of what is ultimately realized in the last word: ‘man forsakes his father and mother… and he becomes one flesh. In other words, a son is ripped from his parents, which may hurt, but only for the briefest of moments. The pain of leaving is quickly replaced by a side of new flesh – in the form of a beautiful new bride. However, all parties must realize the union is ‘closed’ and final.

This principle is not just true for sons. The verb for taken (‘laqach’) is often used (italicized in the block quote above) and for good reason. It’s a synonym for “married”, as in “and Avram and Nahor took wives…” (Gen. 11:29) Therefore, God took a whole side from Adam which parallels the later word “from man was she thus taken”… representing how God takes a daughter away from her family and “re-sides” her with a husband.

Thus a wedding is bittersweet. tears of joy and tears of sorrow are both shed, but not so easily distinguished! It requires a hurtful separation from parents, but a joyous union of two young lives. However, in order for a marriage to work, this transformation must take place. One word in particular underlines how marriage begins and remains a success – the Hebrew verb azav, most often translated “leave” yet meaning so much more, as in “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1)

I’m not saying that children are to leave and ignore their parents forever, but it does mean they “loosen” or “forsake” (azav) themselves from their parents’ influence. We must remember that in this passage the woman was labeled an ezer- “a rescue”. If a man continues to seek rescue and sanctuary from his parents after marriage, he doesn’t allow his wife to exercise her God-mandated responsibility. The woman will feel like a kid-sister instead of a wife, and the marriage will be over before it starts. A man and wife are still expected to honor both sets of parents according to the Word of God, but with the difference that the young couple honor them on their own terms… as one flesh.

The responsibility to forsake is commanded to the man and wife in the word “a man will azav…” and every young couple must interpret how to azav in their own marriage. However, this commandment also implies that parents “let go” of their children and know their own limits. According to the words of Yeshua, parents cannot get in the way of God’s work – even they must be careful to not “tear apart” a marriage.

The fact that ‘mother and father’ appear in the text to begin with is not by coincidence. Only one prophecy is recorded by Adam, which is right here. Of all the things to prophesy about, Adam proclaimed that men will leave their fathers and mothers, just as soon as ‘parenthood’ became a possibility! In other words, mothers and fathers were put on notice – even before Adam and Eve became parents themselves!

By laying it out this way, it’s clear YHVH wants parents to prepare their children to be husbands and wives, and marry their children off with joy, even as YHVH led Eve to Adam – with no strings attached.

Marriage is wonderful, and can be a “match made in Heaven” if the recipe in God’s Word is followed. It requires the right mindset for spouses, and the cooperation of parents will ease the transition. When all parties examine and follow the example set by Adam and Eve, we will epitomize a union that Almighty God calls “good”.♦

Genesis 2:18-24, God Appoints Spouses

And said Yahweh Elohim, “Not good the man be to his self! I will eseh him a rescue as his opposite.” And Yahweh Elohim had formed from the clay every beast of the field, and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see how he would call them. And all by which the man called the living beast – it is so named. And the man called out names to all livestock, and to birds of the sky, and to all beasts of the field; but for Adam there was not found help as his opposite. Yahweh Elohim befell a deep sleep over the man, and he slept. And He took first from his side, then closed up flesh in its place. And Yahweh Elohim built the side which he took from the man into a woman, and brought her to the man. And the man said, “This is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh. Thus I will call her ‘woman,’ because she was thus taken from man.” For yes, a man leaves his father and his mother, and clings to his wife: and they become as one flesh. (Genesis 2:18-24, my literal interpretation except for eseh)

The Hebrew word eseh is universally translated “to make” in Genesis 2:18, but I’m not sure it fits the context of the next six verses. Eseh appears often in the Hebrew Bible –2,633 times – and is translated at least 100 different ways according to the Strong’s reference. As Strong’s suggests, it can fit “a wide variety of applications.” It is very similar to “make” in English, as in “I make dinner.” “Make dinner” doesn’t mean dinner is created out of thin air; ‘make’ describes several actions with just one word. “Make” sums up the washing, prepping, mixing, cooking, and serving of dinner. The same logic must be applied to the eseh of Genesis 2:18.

Translators seemingly favor “make” because they equivocate verse 18 with the formation of Eve from Adam (vs. 23), but the context uses different verbs to describe how God eseh-s a rescue for Adam (“helpmate” is closer to rescue). God orchestrates many actions to bring about the man’s “rescue”.

In vs. 19, the verb bo (to come/to bring) is used instead. In vs. 20, matza (“did not find”) appears. In verse 22, banah (to build) describes the construction of a woman. Finally, in the actual matchmaking event, bo describes the presentation of Eve to Adam. All these verbs elaborate God’s originally intent: to eseh a rescue for Adam. The eseh refers to the overall process – it doesn’t necessarily refer to the creation of Eve.

I believe that the choice of eseh in vs. 18 was by design. The reason being, couples may feel like God makes, brings, finds, appoints, establishes, or any of the 100+ arbitrary translations used to describe how God enjoined them – just like the Adam and Eve story. 100 couples might each use 100 different descriptors to tell their own marriage story, but they’d all be “right”.

I think the best all-encompassing translation for this eseh is “appoint”. For example, God eseh-s the sun and moon for a purpose… “to RULE over day and night” and “for seasons” (Genesis 1:7, Psalm 104:19). Translators also favor “make” in Genesis 1:7, but “appointed” makes more sense as “rule and dominion” reflect a royal appointment. Genesis 1 is poetry and metaphor, but it’s the same description of God eseh-ing Shaul (Saul) and David to RULE the kingdom of Yis’rael, or God appointing Moshe and Aharon (1 Samuel 12:6). There are several other examples showing eseh’s association with royalty, which is why “appoint” should usurp biblical translations for eseh in Genesis 2:18. I believe this would assist readers in the following ways:

1) Along with ezer properly translated as “rescue” (instead of the implied inferiority of “helpmate”), a translation of “appoint” for eseh will undoubtedly show women were created as equal counterparts to men.

2) It will give men a sense that women are likened with royal authority, as they are appointed to be mens’ rescue. They are in charge of mens’ well-being, and respite from labor. A man should keep his wife happy as his co-regent “queen”, as she keeps him happy.

3) “Appoint” would ease the contrast between women and animals throughout the next six verses. It will easily teach how animals do not meet the standard of male companionship. However, as the passage ends with the first marriage “appointed” as one flesh, it will teach males to speak to women as a queen, not as an animal!

4) No man or woman should fear asking God for help in finding a spouse. God longs to bring marriages together; a good translation of “appoint” establishes that truth starting in Genesis and continuing throughout the Scriptures – including the words of Yeshua:

He answered, “Haven’t you read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh? So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, don’t let man tear apart.(Matt. 19:4-6)

God IS actively interested in appointing a wife to every man! If God appointed the sun and moon to their courses, then how much more will He appoint a bride? We can say it 100+ different ways, but God appoints spouses. He gets it done. He makes marriages happen. He does it out of love.♦