Genesis 3:24:  So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. 

While reading the account of the building of God’s temple by Solomon, there’s a tendency not to pay close attention to the many details given about the temple construction.  However, every word of God was placed in the Bible for a reason.

When I finished reading the account of the construction of God’s temple, I wanted to get a better idea of what the temple actually looked like.  I watched a video explaining the details of Solomon’s temple.  A detail given about the temple caught my attention.  As with the tabernacle, the temple was laid out from east to west.  The entrance to the temple area was on one end—the east end.  The Holy of holies which signifies the presence of God was on the west end of the temple area.  In order to get to the presence of God, one must go from east to west.  There was no other way to do so.

The video also referred to the Garden of Eden as being on a hill, and that on the west end of the Garden was the tree of life.  That detail seems to be borne out by the fact that God only put Cherubims on one end of the Garden—the east end.  In order to get to where the tree of life was, one can only enter from the east end of the Garden.

As I pondered these things in my heart, I came to the realization of how merciful God was to us.  The Garden, the tabernacle, and the Temple all pictured that the way back to God is from East to West.

Entering the temple area through the east entrance, the first structure a person encounters is the Altar of Sacrifice, where the lamb is sacrificed, and blood from the lamb is collected by the High priest.  Next was the laver of water, signifying that all those who enter the temple must be pure and clean. Lastly, only the High Priest can enter the Holy of holies and not without blood.  Also, no one is allowed in the Holy of holies except the High Priest.  The High Priest is our means of entering into the presence of God.

Jesus is the Lamb of God.  He is also the High Priest.  He also shed the Blood that must be sprinkled in the Holy of holies.  None of us can enter the presence of God except through Jesus Christ.

John 1:29:  The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 

1 Peter 1:18:  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers. 

1 Peter 1:19:  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

Hebrews 4:14:  Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 

Hebrews 10:11:  And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

Hebrews 10:12:  But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.

Hebrews 10:13:  From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 

Hebrews 10:14:  For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 

Tying the tabernacle and temple back to the Garden blessed my heart.  From the very beginning, God was already picturing the salvation that He has graciously provided.  The presence of God (tree of life, eternal life) was located on the west end of the Garden.  Because of sin, no one could get there, signified by the cherubims placed on the east end.  There was only one way back to eternal life—from east to west.  All these pointed to Jesus, Who is the ONLY way back.  He is the Lamb, the Great High Priest; His blood cleanses us from sin.

John 14:6:  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me

And here’s the best part of this whole story.  From the very beginning, God already provided the means for getting back to Him.  He already showed it at the Garden.  The way back is from east to west.

God really loves us so much that He’s provided a means to get back to Him before man ever fell into sin.  God placed the trees where they were on purpose.

2 Samuel 14:14:  For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him. 

Yes, we all must die because of sin.  There’s no changing that, like you can’t put water back in a bottle once it is poured into the dirt.  This consequence of sin applies to all.  God is no respecter of persons, but what a wonderful truth at the end of that verse.  God wants us back in His presence that He made a way to come back.

John 3:16:  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 

Those two words—so loved—took on a whole different meaning when I realized how God is so willing to get His banished (that’s us sinners) back into His presence that it was already pictured in the Garden.

How much does God love us?

From East to West!

Layout of the temple in Jerusalem

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Tom Apusen

Tom Apusen, Assistant Pastor

Tom Apusen is an Assistant Pastor at North Valley Baptist Church. He is the pastor of the Filipino Department, and he heads up the missions, security, and transportation ministries.