I think about the story of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden: where God had to intervene with expulsion to prevent the possibility that the fallen souls would eat the fruit of the tree of life.
22 (NASB) Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"—
23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.
Adam and Eve had to be driven from the garden. To remain in God’s presence and eat of the tree of life would have resulted in them becoming immortal, thus thwarting the penalty for their transgression (2:17). Cut off from God’s presence, immortality was unavailable—they would eventually die.
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3:24 cherubim The Hebrew term used here is plural. The noun comes from the Akkadian term karub, which refers to a divine throne guardian. These guardians are often depicted in sculptures as sphinx-like—having the body of a lion and the head of a man. They are commonly depicted as guarding the throne of a deity. This fits the context, as the cherubim are placed as guardians of Eden, God’s dwelling place (see note on 2:8).
Cosmic Garden and Mountain Imagery in the Old Testament
flaming, turning sword This phrase occurs only here in the OT. Fire is a very common motif for the presence of Yahweh—as demonstrated by the descriptions of Yahweh on Sinai (Exod 19:18; 24:17; Deut 4:11; 5:4–5) and the fiery throne of Ezek 1 (which also includes cherubim; compare Dan 7:9).
Exodus 3:4-22 (NASB)
4 (NASB) When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." 
5. put off thy shoes—The direction was in conformity with a usage which was well known to Moses, for the Egyptian priests observed it in their temples, and it is observed in all Eastern countries where the people take off their shoes or sandals, as we do our hats. But the Eastern idea is not precisely the same as the Western. With us, the removal of the hat is an expression of reverence for the place we enter, or rather of Him who is worshipped there. With them the removal of the shoes is a confession of personal defilement and conscious unworthiness to stand in the presence of unspotted holiness.
6 He said also, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
7 The LORD said, "I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings.
9 "Now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them. 
10 "Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt." 
10. Come now therefore, and I will send thee—Considering the patriotic views that had formerly animated the breast of Moses, we might have anticipated that no mission could have been more welcome to his heart than to be employed in the national emancipation of Israel. But he evinced great reluctance to it and stated a variety of objections [Ex 3:11, 13] all of which were successfully met and removed—and the happy issue of his labors was minutely described.
11 But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?" 
12 And He said, "Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain." 
3:12 sign for you The relationship between these two statements is grammatically unclear, making interpretation difficult. It seems odd that God would give a reassuring sign to Moses only after he left Egypt. However, He may be referring to the burning bush, meaning that the encounter at the bush—or the miracle of the bush itself—was the sign given to Moses that God would be with him.
mountain See Exod 3:1–2.
3:13 What is his name It is unlikely that the Israelites do not know the name of the God they worship, or that they were ignorant of the names used by their ancestors for God. For example, 6:3 demonstrates that the Israelites knew of the name “El-Shaddai.” Since divine names—and place names associated with divine appearances—often revealed events in the patriarchal stories (e.g., Gen 14:19–20; 16:13–14; 32:30–31), this question is the equivalent of asking what new thing God revealed.
3:18 the Hebrews See note on Gen 14:13.
let us sacrifice Egyptians sometimes allowed slave laborers to participate in worship holidays. This request—and Pharaoh’s refusal to grant it—may have been included to emphasize Pharaoh’s cruelty and stubbornness.
19 "But I know that the king of Egypt will not permit you to go, except under compulsion. 
3:19 a strong hand The Hebrew word for “hand,” yad, is often used metaphorically for “power” (see Exod 3:8, 20). The story will soon reveal who has the greater power.
22 "But every woman shall ask of her neighbor and the woman who lives in her house, articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; and you will put them on your sons and daughters. Thus you will plunder the Egyptians."
3:22 you will plunder Egypt Echoes Gen 15:14.
Matthew 1:18–21 (WUESTNT): Now the birth of Jesus Christ was thus. After His mother Mary was promised in marriage to Joseph, before they came together as husband and wife, she was found to be pregnant, the source of that pregnancy being the Holy Spirit. However, Joseph, her husband, being a conscientious, law-abiding man and yet not proposing to make her a public example, after mature consideration desired to dismiss her secretly. And after he had turned these things over in his mind, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to join to yourself Mary, your wife, for that which was begotten in her is as to its source from the Holy Spirit. And she shall give birth to a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He himself will save His people from their sins. Now, all this has taken place in order that there might be fulfilled that which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and she shall give birth to a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel (which being interpreted is, With us is God). And Joseph, having awakened from his sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him. And he took to himself his wife, and lived in absolute continence with her until she gave birth to a son. And he called His name Jesus.
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21 τέξεται δὲ υἱόν, καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν, “she will give birth to a son, and you shall name him Jesus,” depends directly upon the LXX of Isa 7:14, which is quoted in v 23. The naming of a male child took place formally at the time of circumcision on the eighth day after birth (cf. Luke 2:21). Names held far more importance in that culture than in ours, being thought of as linked with or pointing to the actual character and destiny of the individual (see H. Bietenhard, TDNT 5:254). The name Ἰησοῦς is not the name mentioned in the quotation of Isa 7:14 (see below, v 23). The reason for the name Jesus is spelled out in the second part of the verse (γάρ). That it is already known is in accord with the rabbinic view that the Messiah was named before the creation of the world (b. Pesaḥ. 54a; Str-B 1:64).
αὐτὸς γὰρ σώσει τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν αὐτῶν, “for he will save his people from their sins.” The αὐτός is emphatic: it is he who will save his people. The introduction of Jesus thus far in Matthew’s narrative has been as the Son of David, the Christ (Messiah), the one who has come to fulfill the promises of God. The natural expectation regarding the significance of σώσει, “will save,” would be that it refers to a national-political salvation, involving in particular deliverance from the Roman occupation. Jesus had indeed come to save his people—the very meaning of his name in Hebrew, Yeshua, a shortened form of “Joshua” (Heb.: יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, Yĕhôšuaʿ), is “Yahweh is salvation.” The reader’s knowledge of the meaning of Ἰησοῦς via its Hebrew meaning is assumed by the γάρ without further explanation, indicating that this early Hebrew etymology had already become a part of the common tradition of the Greek-speaking church. (Cf. also the same etymology applied to “Joshua” [i.e., Ἰησοῦς] in the Greek Sir 46:1.) The surprise is in the content of the salvation that the Son of David will bring, namely, that he will save his people, ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν αὐτῶν, “from their sins.” Although it was possible to associate even this with a national-political deliverance, Matthew and his readers could not easily have made this association after A.D. 70. The deliverance from sins is in a much more profound, moral sense and depends finally upon the pouring out of Jesus’ blood (26:28). Matthew and his readers knew well the kerygmatic significance of this verse. Ps 130:8, which probably is in Matthew’s mind (indeed, he may be giving a targumic rendering of it), provides similar language and finds its fulfillment here. In the same way, whereas τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ, “his people,” leads one to think initially of God’s people, Israel, both Matthew and his readers were capable of a deeper understanding of the expression wherein it includes both Jews and Gentiles, i.e. as the people of the messianic king (αὐτοῦ, “his”) who is both Son of David and Son of Abraham. We may thus finally equate this λαός, “people,” with the ἐκκλησία, “Church,” of which Jesus speaks in 16:18.
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When God specifically designed a scenario for Peter to extend the gospel to the Gentiles, a trance was needed which assured Peter that what God had called clean, no man could call unclean. In each instance good men with moral and traditional thought processes were given guidance that they recognized as being divine, from having known God, and having been lead by God.
Now, the apostles and the brethren who resided throughout Judaea heard that the Gentiles also received the word of God. And when Peter went up to Jerusalem those of the circumcision disputed with him saying, You went in to men who were uncircumcised and ate with them. And Peter having begun, went to expounding the matter in its sequence of events, saying, As for myself, I was in the city of Joppa praying, and I being in a state in which my attention was withdrawn from everything else and fixed on things divine, saw a vision, a certain container like a great sheet descending, being let down out of heaven by four great strips of cloth. And it came even to me, and having fastened my gaze upon it, I considered it attentively. And I saw the four-footed animals of the earth and the wild beasts and the birds of heaven. And I heard also a voice saying to me, Having arisen, Peter, kill at once and eat. And I said, By no means, Lord, because that which is unhallowed or unclean, never yet did it enter my mouth. But there answered a second time a voice out of heaven, The things which God cleansed, as for you, stop calling them unhallowed. And this was done three times. And all was drawn up again into heaven.
And behold. Immediately, three men had come to the house in which we were, sent on a mission from Caesarea to me. And the Spirit told me to go with them without even one bit of hesitation as to its propriety. Moreover, there came with me also these six brethren, and we entered into the house of the man. Then he reported to us how he saw the angel in his house stand and say, Send at once a mission to Joppa and bring back Simon, the one surnamed Peter, who will speak words to you by which, as for yourself, you shall be saved and everyone of your household. Now, when I began to be speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon them even as upon us at the beginning. Then there was brought to my remembrance the word of the Lord how He was saying, John indeed baptized by means of water, but as for yourselves, you will be baptized by means of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, in view of the fact that God gave the equal gift to them as also to us who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, as for myself, who was I that I would be able to hinder God? And having heard these things, they were silent and glorified God saying, Then also God gave repentance to the Gentiles resulting in life.
This concludes my blog posts about some of the memorable interventions in men's lives in the Bible.
| Hagner, D. A. (1998).World Biblical Commentary - Matthew 1–13 (Vol. 33A, pp. 18–20). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.|
|McGarvey, J. W. A Commentary on Acts of Apostles, with a Revised Version of the Text. Seventh Edition ed. Lexington, KY:|
Transylvania Printing and Publishing, 1872. WORDsearch CROSS e-book.