“The Three Eternal Destinies of Man” can be clearly seen from the beginning of mankind. There in the center of the Garden of Eden, the Creator placed:
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and The Tree of Life.
These two trees foretold the three eternal destinies of mankind:1Revelation 22:11
The Unjust and Filthy
In the beginning, God made a Covenant (which we refer to as the First Covenant) with Adam and Eve, and placed them within the Garden of Eden from which they were to rule for Him over all creation.2Genesis 1:26-28 From any of the trees of the garden God said they were to freely eat, but for their own good, God instructed Adam and Eve to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil – “for in that day you will surely die.”
Adam and Eve were given the freedom to choose to obey His instruction or to disregard it. This was a test to them to see what they would do with their freedom. For it was our Creator’s desire from the very start to know what was in the heart of His highest creation – MAN. Would they trust Him and obey? He wanted to know what was in the will of Adam and Eve once they were tested. Ultimately, what a person does comes from the inner judgements of his mind and heart.3Mark 7:21-23 The will of the man, is the man himself.
Alone, with no one to know what she would do, the serpent came to Eve to test what was in her heart towards her husband and Creator. Would she trust them and obey? The serpent appealed to Eve through reasoning and led her astray. “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” Ignoring the voice of authority within her own heart, she made the choice to do what she already “knew” was not right4Genesis 3:1-3 and followed the serpent to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. “You surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be “opened”, and you will be like God – knowing “good and evil.’” Drawn away by the seduction of his cunning and craft, she then ate from the “forbidden fruit.”
Weakened by doubt and accusation against her Creator, Eve was enticed with the desire to be like God – knowing good and evil. There was nothing inherently wrong with this desire (for Adam and Eve were created in God’s very own likeness and image) but Eve was made to think that God was withholding hidden knowledge and wisdom from her. God wanted Adam and Eve to have this knowledge, yet without having to experience evil themselves. To have this knowledge of “good and evil” with unfallen nature was always God’s intent for mankind. However, Eve did not trust God and so she did not obey her husband who had passed on to her God’s instruction about the tree. As a result, she transgressed the boundaries where love could protect her – the love of her husband and Creator.
Stretching forth to taste of that knowledge first hand, she quickly ate and then felt fearful and even worse – guilty and alone.
She quickly ran to find Adam. Motivated out of his love for Eve, Adam also ate. Too late to fully realize the consequential effect it would bring upon them, yes, and even more, upon all of mankind, their consciences were awakened and they “knew” the shame of their nakedness before each other.
Staring first at each other, then at the ground, they began to perceive deep within themselves something that they were never meant to experience – for their knowledge had been achieved through rebellion, rather than by obedience to their loving Creator. How He too wanted to give them this knowledge so they could be “like Him,”5Genesis 1:26,27; 3:5,22; Hebrews 2:6,7; 1 John 3:2,3 but through a trusting relationship with Himself. The “poison” of the serpent was even then taking effect as guilt began to rise quickly within them. Running to hide for fear they would be seen for what they had done, both Adam and Eve feebly grabbed some fig leaves and sewed them together to cover themselves. What a pitiful sight they were – fallen from such glory – once the supreme rulers over all creation, now fearful and craven victims of the serpent’s foul schemes.
“Will we die?” Eve asked Adam, as he looked back searchingly into her eyes. The answer was obvious, Adam and Eve “would surely die” – for it was in the very moment they ate the fruit that they died spiritually.
Spiritual death always precedes physical death. Their spirit was severed from their Creator – the very Source of their life and being.
But all was not lost. True, Adam and Eve had fallen, but they were not given a hopeless start to life. Instead, God made a Second Covenant with fallen man6Genesis 3:16-19; Isaiah 24:5, giving them the responsibility to obey their “conscience” with the promise that if it was faithfully attended to, they would reap a great reward.7John 5:28,29; Matthew 25:24-40,46; Revelation 20:11-15
It wasn’t long after, that Adam and Eve heard the voice of their Creator calling out to them in the cool of the evening.
Every man and woman will have to give account before their Creator for what they have done – whether good or evil.8Genesis 3:13; Romans 2:5-11; Psalm 62:12; Ecclesiastes 12:13,14; Psalm 62:12 They will be judged on the basis of the deeds which they have committed during their lifetime.9Romans 2:5-11; Revelation 20:11-15 A person’s deeds will be examined in relation to the highest standard of knowledge within their conscience. Conscience is the built-in power of our minds10Romans 1:18,19 to pass moral judgement on ourselves, approving or disapproving our actions, thoughts and plans.11Romans 2:14,15 Hebrews 9:27 It tells us whether what we are going to do or have done already, is right or wrong – good or evil.12James 4:17 Obedience to the conscience is a remedial act on fallen man’s behalf in hope of ultimate restoration to the original First Covenant command of their Creator.13Genesis 1:26-28 Within the boundaries of conscience mankind can choose their own eternal destiny (blessing or calamity – a Second Eternal Life or a Second Eternal Death.14Genesis 3:22)
Adam and Eve chose to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil – forfeiting their right to the Tree of Life. Since that time it has been appointed for all men to die once15Hebrews 9:27 where they will pay the just wages for their sins16Romans 6:23. It is the just sentencing for all, who like Adam, go against their better judgement. Death (which we refer to as the First Death) is the temporary abode of the dead, where disembodied spirits await in hope or in torment for their final judgement. All mankind must keep this appointment with Death as payment for the sins they committed while bound to live under the Covenant of Conscience. After the First Death is completed, comes final judgement where every person’s eternal destiny will be determined.17Revelation 20:11-15; Hosea 6:7 If a person’s deeds in judgement align themselves consistently with the “good” they knew to pursue in their conscience, then a second eternal life will be rewarded to them. Their part will be in the “eternal kingdom of the Nations.”18Matthew 25:31-34,46; Revelation 21:24,26 & 22:2 They have earned it and they deserve it. However, if a person’s deeds in judgement align consistently with the “evil” they knew in their conscience to turn away from, then a second eternal death will be rewarded to them. Their part will be in the ‘lake that burns with fire’.19Revelation 21:8 This is the Second Death. They likewise, deserve it. You can be certain that every one will be awarded in eternity that which they truly deserve.
Adam and Eve ate from the wrong tree – the one that did not freely bestow eternal life to them. Genesis 3:16-19 outlines the Second Covenant God gave to Adam and Eve after they fell.* They would now have to work hard to live by the instinctive knowledge of right and wrong within them in order to gain eternal life. This was in hope of their complete restoration to the First Covenant for mankind, which they had broken.20Genesis 1:27,28; Hosea 6:7 The ability for fallen man to obey the Second Covenant of Conscience is obvious, since our Creator would have never told Adam and Eve to obey such directives if is was not within their fallen ability to do so.21Genesis 3:16-19; Romans 2:14,15; Acts 10:34,35
Most importantly, man (after the fall) was commissioned to overcome and master those kinds of sins that would cause even this Second Covenant to be broken.22Genesis 4:7,8 If the Second Covenant was broken, the Second Death would be inevitable – unless the mercy of our Creator could reach man’s heart through the sacrifice of His Son Yahshua. It was Yahshua the Messiah who would make the third eternal destiny possible for all of mankind. Both the Righteous sinner (who remained loyal to the Covenant of Conscience) and the Wicked (who forsook this Covenant) were in need of forgiveness and a means of escape from Death altogether.
It was this Yahshua who made the way possible for both the Righteous and the Filthy and Unjust to be a part of the third eternal destiny – the Holy City.23Revelation 21:2,3,9-12,23-24
Scriptural References and Other Footnotes
|↑2, ↑13||Genesis 1:26-28|
|↑5||Genesis 1:26,27; 3:5,22; Hebrews 2:6,7; 1 John 3:2,3|
|↑6||Genesis 3:16-19; Isaiah 24:5|
|↑7||John 5:28,29; Matthew 25:24-40,46; Revelation 20:11-15|
|↑8||Genesis 3:13; Romans 2:5-11; Psalm 62:12; Ecclesiastes 12:13,14; Psalm 62:12|
|↑9||Romans 2:5-11; Revelation 20:11-15|
|↑11||Romans 2:14,15 Hebrews 9:27|
|↑17||Revelation 20:11-15; Hosea 6:7|
|↑18||Matthew 25:31-34,46; Revelation 21:24,26 & 22:2|
|↑20||Genesis 1:27,28; Hosea 6:7|
|↑21||Genesis 3:16-19; Romans 2:14,15; Acts 10:34,35|