There Was No Man to Cultivate the Ground
Updated: Feb 9
Shiloh Lord's Day Service
Date: January 16, 2022
Scripture: Genesis 2:5-9
Speaker: Pastor James Park
This sermon is based on the 11th book of the History of Redemption series. The Garden of Eden was a temple and God put Adam as a priest into this temple. There are three elements we must understand. First, we must understand Genesis to understand the End Times. Genesis is the book of beginnings, and when we study Genesis properly, we can understand the End Times (Isa 46:10). Second, we must understand the parable of the sower and the seed (Mark 4:13-14), which Jesus explains is the key to understanding other parables in the Bible. Thirdly, the Bible testifies of Jesus Christ (John 5:39; Luke 24:27), pointing to both His first and second coming.
1. Biblical Definition of Ground
The “ground” (earth, ground, land, or garden) spiritually symbolizes man’s heart and the “seed” is the Word that needs to be planted in our hearts and bear fruit (Luke 8:11-15). Broadly speaking, the ground represents our spiritual lives of faith which need to be like the Garden of Eden—full of joy and gladness (Isa 51:3). What kind of heart do we have? On stony ground, even if you try to plant a seed, the birds of the air will come and steal it. Likewise, people of the world will steal that Word that is planted in our hearts when our hearts become hardened from sin, pain and bitterness. If we have a hard heart, we cannot receive God’s Word. A person's heart can also be like shallow ground, in which the seed cannot grow deep roots. In this situation, a person can feel very blessed from hearing the Word, but s/he quickly fall away in times of hardship. There is also ground full of thorns and thistles. Thorns and thistles represent hardships of life, which conjure up worries such as, “How will I eat?” “How will I drink?” “How will I come up with payments for next month?” These worries choke and destroy the Word planted in our hearts, making it impossible for it to grow. The good soil is a heart that can bear fruit. We need to have a soft heart in which we can be honest and upright when facing God.
2. Biblical Definition of Cultivation
In today’s opening scripture, it says that God found “…no man to cultivate the ground.” Cultivating means taking out the thorns and stones in our hearts that prevent us from receiving the Word, which is through repentance. Returning to God, breaking up the soil in our hearts so that it becomes soft, removing the thorns and thistles are done through repentance (Jer 4:1-4). We cultivate our hearts through the law, prophets, and their prophecy. We know what sin is through the law (Rom 7:7). Through prophecy, John the Baptist, the spiritual Elijah, prepared the people's hearts to meet the Lord (Isa 40:3-5) and for Jesus Christ to begin His ministry. We need to return to the Lord with repentance, and draw closer to Him in humility. Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you (James 4:4-8).
3. Biblical Definition of Man (Who cultivates the ground?)
There was no man whom God recognized to do His Work. He was searching for someone to intercede like a priest who prays to God on behalf of the people for their sins (Ezek 22:30). There was “no man,” which does not mean there were no actual people, but that there was no person whom God recognized to do the work of interceding between Himself and the people (Isa 59:16). There are two accounts of the creation of man found in Genesis. First, God created man in His image (Gen 1:27). Second, God formed man from the dust of the ground (Gen 2:7-8). “Formed” is yatsar in Hebrew, meaning “elected,” “chosen,” and “redeemed.” This word is used in reference to the covenant. God says He will be with the people, either through water or fire (Isa 43:1-2). Thus, yatsar tells us that God has elected us to become the spiritual man to do His work. God breathed into Adams's nostrils, giving him life. In the book of John, Jesus teaches us this breath is the Holy Spirit (John 20:21-22). Dust, in the Bible, is the state of man before he receives the Spirit of God. The “man,” whom God acknowledges, is a living being with the spirit of God. This man prepares the hearts of the people to receive the Word and plays the role of a priest.
Conclusion: Adam was put in the Garden of Eden, a type of temple, to serve as a priest.
(1) The place that God chooses—There is no visible temple in the Garden of Eden, which is a spiritual temple. God created man and put him in the Garden of Eden, which is the place that God had chosen (Gen 2:8). Here, the Hebrew word for garden is gan, meaning “a garden or field enclosed by a wall or fence.” This means that the garden of Eden was a special place set apart like the temple, which was set apart, consecrated and holy.
(2) God’s presence: God dwelled in the garden of Eden, the place which He chose (Gen 3:8).
(3) Priest: Just as priests worked in the temple, God put Adam in the Garden of Eden, the spiritual temple, and established him as a type of priest. God told Adam to cultivate and keep the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:15). The Hebrew word for “cultivating” is abad and “keep” is shamar. When these two verbs are used together, it is in reference to priests or Levites who carried out their tasks in the sanctuary (Num 3:7-8; 18:7).
(4) Sacrifices (offerings). Sacrifices did not appear in the Bible before the fall of Adam and Even. After Adam and Eve’s transgression, they made clothes from fig tree leaves to cover their nakedness and shame (Gen 3:7). However, it is only a temporary covering that dried and withered away when the sun came out. Thus, God made garments of animal skins to clothe them (Gen 3:21). God uses the church and workers, who are spiritual priests, to advance the movement of the history of redemption. So, as priests, we need to offer sacrifices to God, which includes our lives and of praise and thanksgiving. We also need to keep our hearts fertile in which the Word of God can grow in us so that we can develop our lives of faith.