Angels Guard the Gate No More
After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life (Genesis 3:24).
“Peril in Paradise!” “Special Forces of Angels Activated!” If there had been news media coverage in heaven on that day, these are the headlines that might have been flashed.
The worst disaster the human race could ever experience had just taken place. Humans had joined demonic forces in rebellion against the Holy One. The rebellious angels had already been driven out of heaven. Now their new allies, the humans, were being driven out of the place where they had lived as in a heaven on earth. The Garden of Eden would be forever closed to them.
Adam and Eve did not go willingly from the place where they had experienced paradise. They had to be driven out. They wanted to go back. Special forces of angels would make sure that did not happen.
An ECP was set up east of Eden. Angels were stationed there with a special weapon: a flaming sword flashing back and forth.
We don’t know how long that deployment lasted. We do know that the security of this gate was never breached. And now, humans don’t even know where to find Eden.
But the barrier to that place was not punishment, it was protection. It’s like when troops block the road to a nuclear reactor meltdown. There now was danger in that lovely garden. The Tree of Life was there. If humans had eaten of that tree they would live forever—and that would be deadly! They would be locked in the casket of spiritual death. They needed to be able to leave this planet. Temporal death would allow that.
The promise had been given that one would come to crush the power of eternal death. Humans could regain paradise. But heaven would not be on this earth or in this life.
It was a misleading dream to imagine that paradise could be found on earth after sin had invaded creation. All attempts to clean up the disaster and return things to their original state would always be in vain.
It would take holy blood to remove the contamination of sin. It would take the death of the Son of God to break the chokehold of death upon the human race.
That happened on Good Friday. The bloody body of Jesus was laid in a grave with sorrow and tears. The angels watched and waited.
Early on Easter morning special angels were again called up. This time to open the gate to the empty tomb. They were to announce victory. “He is not here, he has risen!”
Too good to be true? Just wait until we approach that gate. Just wait until we see angels, now signaling us in. Just wait until we see our POC Jesus coming to meet us with open arms and a face bright with joy.
Easter makes true the words we sang at Christmas: “The angel guards the gate no more!” (CW 41:6)
Lord Jesus, let us see clearly with our eyes of faith the open road to heaven you have provided for us. Enable us to view our future death with Easter eyes. Delete doubt. Erase fear. Feed faith. Increase joy. And give us that peace that surpasses all understanding.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain
and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military