Genesis 3:24

So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way of the tree of life.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
“God placed cherubim and a flaming sword that moves”—this could be said in the one word movable—“to guard the way to the tree of life.” Those who translate the Hebrew words in Scripture say that “cherubim” means in Latin “the fullness of knowledge.” The flaming, movable sword means temporal punishments, because times move in their continual variety. It is called flaming because every tribulation burns somehow or other. But it is one thing to be burned until consumed, another to be burned until purified. .


AD 735
The second Adam, Jesus Christ, points out that through the water of the bath of rebirth, the flickering flame—by which the cherubim guardian blocked the entry into paradise when the first Adam was expelled—would be extinguished. Where the one went out with his wife, having been conquered by his enemy, there the other might return with his spouse (namely, the church of the saints), as a conqueror over his enemy.

Ephrem The Syrian

AD 373
Blessed is he who was pierced and so removed the sword from the entry to paradise.

Ephrem The Syrian

AD 373
At his departure from Paradise it says that God "caused a cherub and a sharp revolving sword to go round, to the east of the Garden of Eden, to protect the way to the Tree of Life. " [ Gen. 3:24 ] The barrier was thus a living one, which of its own accord went around guarding the way to the Tree of Life from anyone who audaciously wanted to pluck its fruit; for it would kill with its sharp sword any mortal who came to steal for himself immortal life.

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Cherubims. Angels of the highest order, and of a very complex figure, unlike any one living creature. Theodoret supposes that God forced Adam to retire from that once charming abode, by the apparition of hideous spectres. The devils were also hindered from coming hither, lest they should pluck the fruit of the tree of life, and by promising immortality, should attract men to their service. The flaming sword, might be a fire rising out of the earth, of which Grotius thinks the pits, near Babylon, are still vestiges. These dreadful indications of the divine wrath would probably disappear, when Paradise had lost its superior beauty, and became confounded with the surrounding countries Thus we have seen how rapidly Moses describes the creation of all things, the fall of man, and the promised redemption. But in these few lines, we discover a solution of the many difficulties which have perplexed the learned, respecting these most important subjects. We know that the world is not the effect...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Then, so that we may learn how great was the distance he moved him from the garden, Sacred Scripture teaches us this further fact in the words, "The Lord God drove Adam out and situated him opposite the garden of delight." [ Gen 3:24 ] Notice how each of the events proved an occasion of loving kindness on the part of the common Lord of all, and each example of punishment abounds with goodness. I mean, the expulsion was not the sole mark of love and goodness: there was also his location opposite the garden so that he might have unending anguish in recollecting from what heights he had fallen and cast himself into such depths. Yet even if the sight of it was the cause of unbearable pain, it was nevertheless an occasion of no little benefit: the constant sight proved to be an encouragement for this grieving man to carefulness in the future lest he fall into the same sin again. Such, after all, is the habit of human nature by and large: since, while we are in a position to enjoy good thing...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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