So God drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden the cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep and guard the way to the tree of life Genesis 3:24 Amp
Yesterday my pastor used this Scripture in a message about Palm Sunday. Yes I thought it was odd too, but as in most every part of the Bible, even this Scripture points to Jesus. You see Eden was Paradise. Lush, beautiful beyond our imaginings, teaming with life, it was a place where man had purpose, provision, and peace. Aside from Love, isn't that all any of us want anyway? But God gave man love too because Eden was the place God created so He could have a relationship with man. Genesis says God walked with man in the Garden. He and Adam and Eve had conversations. Not to be disrespectful but I even imagine God shared meals with them, celebrated with them, even laughed and played. So often we think of God as this fearful giant sitting on a throne judging us for our mistakes, but God is a father. A loving father. And I imagine he had a relationship with Adam and Eve much like that of a father to his beloved children.
Anyway, you know the story, man rebels against God. He chooses to worship self rather than God and breaks the relationship between God and man. So God cast Adam and Eve from Eden, but more importantly away from His presence. Not out of anger or bitterness or pain (though he might have felt all 3), but because sinful man could no longer exists in the presence of God without being consumed by His Holiness. So, God puts an angel with a huge flaming sword to guard the entrance to Eden. (I always thought that was so cool!) Now mankind cannot have fellowship with God. Now the way to God is cut off completely. And since God is the source of all love, peace, goodness, kindness, provision, health, life, mercy... etc.. mankind is cut off from everything good and is doomed to die both spiritually and physically.
How does this tie in with Palm Sunday.? On Palm Sunday Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. People came out in hordes crying "Hosanna! Hosanna" (Help us! Save us, Messiah, Savior!). They threw palm branches at this feet and celebrated in the streets. It was a marriage procession! A king's procession into the city! And a funeral procession all at once. Jesus arrived at Jerusalem that day as King of the Jews. He came as a prince to select a bride from the "City of the King" as Jerusalem is called. Yet unknown to most he arrived for his own funeral.
Jesus was headed straight for the flaming sword guarding Eden. Perhaps not physically. (Or maybe so since no one knows where Eden was located) But Jesus's procession with all the hoopla, with all the praise and singing, celebrating him as Messiah and King was leading him straight into the sword's path. You see up to that point, if anyone tried to reach God. If anyone tried to get back to Paradise and fellowship with God, the sword prevented them. The sword kept them in the wilderness, away from Eden and on the side of death. But Jesus walked willingly straight into the path of that sword. He took our punishment, our death, and the sword, laden with all our sins, came heavy down upon him.
Now, there is no longer a sword guarding Eden. All may enter who believe in Jesus. All are welcome who follow Him. All can freely eat of the Tree of Life in the center of the Garden!
Blessed, happy and to be envied are those who cleanse their garments, that they may have the authority and right to approach the tree of life and to enter through the gates into the city. Rev 22:14
Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by through Me. John 14:6