There is something I’ve always wondered; as you probably know, there are two places in the Bible that are called holy, from the very beginning, namely, Jerusalem and Sinai. So why are they Holy? Of course, we have plenty of reasons for Jerusalem to be holy – Christ was killed there, Melchizedek’s “office” seems to have been there, Isaac was offered there, and God, Himself will one day dwell there…
Sinai was the place where the law was given, granted – and God did come down and spend a great deal of time on top of the mountain – but… THAT can’t be what made it holy… because it was holy before Moses ever set foot there!
Exodus 3:1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
Notice that here, the first time it is mentioned in the Bible, Sinai (also known as Horeb) is already called the Mountain of God!
Verses 2-5 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
So you see, before the sole of Moses’ foot touched the ground, it was already holy ground. And it can’t be just because God appeared there, because God has appeared many places – To Abraham, all over the wilderness with Moses, He even visited Sodom – and yet none of those places were called holy (especially not Sodom!).
So… why are the two holy places in the Bible Mount Sinai and Jerusalem? There has to be a good reason, since God doesn’t just make this up as He goes. SOMETHING must have happened at Sinai – and perhaps something at Jerusalem, as well – that made them both holy, in prehistoric times.
One of the first ideas that comes to mind is the Garden of Eden. Yes, I know practically everyone places this near Babylon on the charts – but that is based on a misguided line of reasoning. They take this scripture:
Genesis 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 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. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
So the garden of Eden was the source of a great river, which broke into four smaller rivers. This is an unusual thing for a river, since rivers tend to COMBINE into one river, rather than divide into two rivers, much less four. But the fallacy in trying to locate the Garden with this evidence is that these rivers flowed out of the garden before the flood!
The very purpose of the flood was to destroy everything that existed beforehand, including the Garden of Eden – and so the topography of the earth was greatly altered as a result. The flood is what created the Grand Canyon, and what caused Europe and Africa to separate from North and South America – and most of the modern mountain chains were created at the same time.
To make a long story short, these four rivers certainly would not have survived that event, so this one scripture is not solid enough evidence to warrant placing the site of the Garden of Eden near Babylon. Of course, this doesn’t disprove that idea either.
So, let’s look at other scriptural evidence. We know that Jerusalem is the site of the future Holy City – in fact, it’s to be called “New Jerusalem”. So let’s make a comparison between the Holy City and the Garden of Eden…
Revelation 21:27-22:4 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
Mankind saw God’s face in Eden, and will not be able to do so again until the new Jerusalem.
Nothing that defiles can enter the Holy City. When Adam and Eve sinned, they had to leave Eden.
- The river of the water of life flows out of the Holy City, to the east and to the west, from the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4,8). The river flowed out of Eden to water the Garden and broke into four great rivers.
the curse entered at Eden, and will be taken away in the Holy City.
The tree of life was in the Garden of Eden, and will be in the Holy City.
- The first Adam was in charge of the world, and dwelt in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1:28). The second Adam (Christ) will be in charge of the world, and will dwell in the Holy City.
Some or all of those may be coincidences, but only one of them needs to be right for this to make sense. And you must admit, some of the comparisons are compelling. I mean, just consider the things that happened in Jerusalem –
Isaac was offered on Mount Moriah (the mountain where the temple was later built, in Jerusalem)
Melchizadek, High Priest of God, was the prince of Salem (Jerusalem).
The Temple was built there
A great many of the prophets and martyrs who were killed died in Jerusalem
Christ’s ministry and ultimately his death was there
And it is fitting that all of these things took place on the very site where the sin of Adam, which caused all of this in the first place, occurred. Yet another thing is that the purpose of this entire plan of God was to build Himself a temple – a house, so to speak, for His spirit to dwell. Us, of course. And He often speaks of His desire to dwell in Jerusalem.
Psalms 68:16 Why leap ye, ye high hills? THIS is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the LORD will dwell in it for ever.
So, as I said – this is all allegory and circumstantial evidence so far. But it does tend to all point in the same direction. So now it’s time to read what Paul said about Sinai and Jerusalem.
Galatians 4:22-26 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
Here Paul speaks of the two holy places in the Bible – Sinai, and Jerusalem – and compares them, which proves that there is a connection between the two. He goes on to explain that connection by saying that Sinai (specifically, the covenant made at Sinai) was a covenant to bondage, like Hagar, Abraham’s handmaid who bore him Ishmael.
On the other hand, he says that Jerusalem, or rather the covenant of Jerusalem, was superior to the other, just as Isaac, who was free, was superior to Ishmael, who was the son of a slave.
Galatians 4:27-5:1 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
It has always confused me how Paul could draw that connection – I mean, two mountains, apparently unrelated, being compared to two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, was not an allegory that jumped out at me. In fact, it always seemed like a bit of a stretch. But now we are about to see the reasoning that I think led Paul to this understanding.
Jerusalem is the site of the Holy City, for certain, and probably the site of Eden as well, where the first Adam was placed. And Jerusalem is a holy site, and corresponds to the spiritual part of the covenant. Jerusalem is the covenant of promise, the promise of the inheritance of God, the promise of eternal life. This is why Christ, the second Adam was spiritually “born again” at His resurrection in Jerusalem. But this promise of an inheritance is only open to Jerusalem! The children of the bondwoman – Sinai – cannot inherit this promise!
Mount Sinai was only a physical covenant, a covenant which was never designed to give immortality! It’s only concern was to ensure righteousness and to provide physical blessings. In a nutshell, the comparison between Jerusalem and Sinai is a comparison of the Spiritual and the Physical. The physical blessings are inherent in Sinai, but the spiritual blessings can only be accessed through Jerusalem, the “mother” of us all.
And with that said, I can now explain why Sinai was holy from day one, as was Jerusalem. God planted a garden in Eden – Pre-flood Jerusalem – but He did NOT create Adam there!
Genesis 2:7-8,15 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. And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and THERE HE PUT THE MAN whom he had formed. … And the LORD God took the man, and put him INTO the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
God made Adam – physical Adam – someplace that was not IN the Garden of Eden! He created him someplace, and then picked him up and placed him IN the Garden He had planted for him! So our next question must be, where did He actually create him?
And to answer, we must ask another question; where did God create the second Adam – the SPIRITUAL birth as the firstborn member of the God family? Jerusalem, right? The city of the SPIRITUAL covenant, and mother of US all, all of US whom Christ has made free from bondage to sin! In this city Christ was spiritually “created” after His physical death!
And God could not have made Adam, physical, carnal Adam, in this spiritual site, which pictures freedom from sin, and from our carnal natures, for Adam was made subject to vanity (Romans 8:20), and carnal as the proverbial dog! This means that if we are to stay true to the analogy Paul made for us, then Adam would have had to be made at SINAI! Just as the spiritual Adam was created at the site of the SPIRITUAL covenant, and born free, as Isaac was, so also the physical Adam was created at the site of the PHYSICAL covenant, born into slavery, just as Ishmael was!
When this spiritual Adam, Christ, was reborn He was created FREE FROM SIN! For the spirit of God remained in Him, and He COULD NOT SIN! (1 John 3:9). But when the PHYSICAL Adam was created in Sinai, he was created a SLAVE TO HIS CARNAL NATURE, and born SUSCEPTIBLE to sin!
1 Corinthians 15:45-46 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
But the spiritual couldn’t come first – no, for the plan to work, and for the lesson to be learned as it must, first a physical, natural Adam had to come. Had to come, and be given dominion over the earth, spreading out from the Garden of Eden. Had to have a chance to rule Earth from a spiritual kingdom. Had to have access to the Tree of Life. Had to have the opportunity… to live and reign forever.
And then this physical man had to trade it all for one of the devil’s lies. Yes, Adam failed miserably at his appointed task of dressing and keeping the Earth. And the purpose of this whole experience, besides being fair and giving Adam and mankind a fair chance, was to prove once and for all by MAN’S OWN ACTIONS that physical man cannot be free from sin without the spirit of God, and is not WORTHY of eternal life and leadership without the spirit of God living IN HIM, so that He CANNOT sin!
In other words, Adam proved for us that unless PHYSICAL MEN who were born slaves to sin and created at Sinai, yes, YOU AND I, are reborn in SPIRITUAL JERUSALEM, we cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven as freeborn children of God, and heirs according to His promises to Isaac! (John 3:3, Galatians 3:29)
Verse 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
Hebrews 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
Now isn’t that fascinating? Explains an awkward bit of scripture, and incidentally gives us probable sites for the Creation of Man and the Garden of Eden. These tidbits of understanding just seem to come out of the oddest places sometimes, don’t they? Who would have thought that Isaac and Ishmael would give us a clue to the creation of Man?
Certainly not I.