A RIVER WENT OUT
Genesis 2:4 ¶ These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, 5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. 6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. 7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. 8 ¶ And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground made the LORD 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 knowledge of good and evil. 10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. 11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. 13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. 14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
In that fifth verse of our Genesis two passage we are not being told that there were no plants or herbs in the newly formed creation of the Lord God. For we know that expressly happened as recorded in Genesis 1:11,12. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
What we are being told is that there was no cultivation, nor production of those plants before it grew in the garden of Eden! And the two reasons given was that there was no water and no man. And since we know that the believers, the Bride of Christ, are as a garden to our Lord, we take special notice of these facts. Song 4:12 A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.
For those exact two things are essential to the maturing, and the growth in grace of each and every one of the members of the body of Christ. First, like Eden, the garden of God, the believer has the river of the Holy Spirit to enliven and refresh him. John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
Listen carefully to our Lord’s words about his wedding gift of the Holy Spirit to us. John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. For even as that river was IN the garden to refresh it and enliven it, so is the Holy Spirit within the believer! 1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
Then the second thing we see in verse five, which is essential to the cultivation of that garden is simply, “a man.” For as the man was placed into the garden to dress it and to keep it (Gen. 2:15), so the believer must actively enter into the maintaining of his newly created spiritual life! For a newly formed, regenerate soul is as much a creation as was the forming of Adam from the dust of the ground! Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
The Lord God, by the Holy Spirit has worked into us, by spiritual creation, the characteristics of the Lord Jesus. Now it is up to us to see that his “seed,” (Galatians 3:16 He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.), germinates in our good ground, (Matthew 13:23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.), and brings forth the likeness of Christ to maturity!
It is sovereign, Creator-God who brought forth the earth. And it is Christ who is the seed. But it is the believer who must “work out” that which the Lord has “worked in” us! Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
So we have seen that the source of the river was by God’s creative act within the garden of God – a picture of the Holy Spirit within the believer. And we see the effect of the Holy Spirit watering within the heart of the believer. But consider this passage giving us insight into the depths of spiritual creation of life within the elect sinner. Job 14:7 For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. 8 Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; 9 Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.
It is only the grace of the Sovereign that can make one dead in trespasses and sin to live again and grow! John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
We are told that Christ is the Root! Revelation 22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And in order that His Bride, the Church might live, he must die, or God must forever be alone without her to glorify him! John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
Therefore as the Holy Spirit worked his mighty power in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus – the Root waxed old in the earth, and the stock dead in the ground – thereby we are assured of the resurrection of regeneration! Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Ephesians 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
And we know that the believer is like a planted tree. Psalm 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Matthew 15:13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. For it is only the Lord God who can plant this garden! And as natural rivers sustain all manner of life, so the River of the Holy Spirit sustains all spiritual life in all the believers. Psalm 46:4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. 36:8 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. 36:9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.
Isaiah 48:18 O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:
But we take note of the fact that, although there are four names given to this river as it departs from the garden of God, as it diffuses into four streams, there is no name given unto it within that garden! And as we have clearly seen that this is the River of the Holy Spirit, we begin to see the meaning of this. For we are not called to worship the River! But the River gives us cause and ability to worship the Lord Jesus Christ! For even before his birth heaven gave him his name. See Matthew 1:21. And upon his ascension we are told that his name is above every name, both in the world and in the world to come. See Philippians 2:9,10.
But the Holy Spirit is to be another Comforter, and the Spirit of truth. God the Father is Jehovah. God the Son is Jesus. But God the Spirit’s role in not to manifest himself, but Christ! John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
In his glorious High Priestly prayer to his Father at the time of his crucifixion, our Lord clearly states, And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. Think about it! Here is Almighty God’s definition of eternal life, and in whom it is found! Knowing God and His Son! Of course it is not without the Holy Spirit! 1 Corinthians 12:3 …no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
And yes, the Spirit speaketh expressly… 1 Timothy 4:1. And yes, the church is empowered by the Spirit to possess and properly exercise the gifts of grace! See 1 Corinthians 12. But the Spirit does not call attention to Himself! The river had no name until it passed outside that garden! And that is how it can be discerned that most of the religion in our world today is not of God! Billboards with the personal images of those calling themselves pastor and evangelists! For one of the characteristics, which evidence the love of God within the heart of man is that it seeketh not her own. 1 Corinthians 13:5.
But what of the four names given to the four streams after it departs the garden? First of all none of the available information concerning their present day identity is in agreement. So we will not venture into that. And we must remember this verse in Peter’s writings: 2 Peter 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: Peter’s next verse speaks of the heavens and the earth, which are now… Our world today is far different from that ancient world.
But abiding within the rule of spiritual purposes, we must seek for our edification from their having names. 1 Corinthians 14:26 states: Let all things be done unto edifying. So we know that the Holy Spirit sustains all life and existence; physical, spiritual, historical, human, animal, plants, water, air, space – all things. And as he does so outside the church he is referred unto as the seven Spirits of God. Revelation 4:5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
That is, He is defused into the enlivening of all things. That last verse stated that the one Holy Spirit is referred to as the seven Spirits of God when He is sent forth into all the earth. God’s Spirit animates all living things! Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being;
As the nameless river within the garden of God, the Holy Spirit within the organism of the church, does not call attention to himself. He only takes of Christ and shows it unto us! And the only river without a name is the only one that is said to water the garden. As he works within the church he provides a place for the Lord to walk in the cool of the day. Song 5:1 I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse:
But the other four – which is the number for the world – 4 winds, 4 seasons, 4 directions, 4 corners of the earth, etc.. which have names, not willing to work without notice, are not said to have watered anything. Two are simply said to compass a land. One is said to go toward a land. And of the fourth we just read that it “is.”
The nameless river, picturing the Holy Spirit has its source in the garden of God. Jesus Christ came to the world, but the Holy Spirit only comes to the church! John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
There are many kinds of spirits and voices in the world. See 1 Corinthians 14:10; 1 John 4:1. Satan is very deceptive. He as much the “angel of light,” (2 Corinthians 11:14), as he is “a roaring lion!” (1 Peter 5:8). So take great care, dear Reader that you guard against those influences that “toot their own horn!” For that is not a characteristic of the Holy Spirit! Acts 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Pastor Gene Breed
July 24, 2015