Therefore the Lord God sent him [Adam] forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
From the liturgy for the 3rd Sunday of Lent, the Eastern Orthodox tradition is that the flaming sword was removed from the Garden of Eden when Jesus was born, so that mankind could return to Paradise.
(In Norse myths, Surtur, the leader of Muspelheim giants, wielded a flaming sword of destruction.)
And then, in Mormonism
1/28/1836, HoC vII wrote:When the Twelve and the seven presidents were through with their sealing prayer, I called upon President Sidney Rigdon to seal them with uplifted hands; and when he had done this, and cried hosanna, that all the congregation should join him, and shout hosanna to God and the Lamb, and glory to God in the highest. It was done so, and Elder Roger Orton saw a mighty angel riding upon a horse of fire, with a flaming sword in his hand, followed by five others, encircle the house, and protect the Saints, even the Lord's anointed, from the power of Satan and a host of evil spirits, which were striving to disturb the Saints.
(Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Kimball Family, 1888], 321.)A grand and glorious principle had been revealed, and for years had slumbered in the breast of God's Prophet, awaiting the time when, with safety to himself and the Church, it might be confided to the sacred keeping of a chosen few. That time had now come. An angel with a flaming sword descended from the courts of glory and, confronting the Prophet, commanded him in the name of the Lord to establish the principle so long concealed from the knowledge of the Saints and of the world—that of plural marriage.
(Don Cecil Corbett, Mary Fielding Smith, Daughter of Britain: Portrait of Courage [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1966], 154.)While it was a great trial for Mercy to enter into plural marriage, it was even a greater trial for Mary to consent to it. Truly, it was the most difficult thing both ever had to do. It was equally difficult for Hyrum. The principle of plural marriage was given as early as 1831. Joseph Smith had inquired of God to know and understand wherein He justified His prophets of old as touching upon the principle and doctrine of their having plural wives and concubines. The principle was then revealed by the Lord to Joseph. fn He was commanded to obey it. He did not immediately comply. Then, according to Apostle George A. Smith, an angel with a flaming sword appeared to the Prophet Joseph and warned him that unless he obeyed it, he would be destroyed.
(H. Dean Garrett, ed., Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint History: Illinois [Provo: Department of Church History and Doctrine, 1995], 135.)A grand and glorious principle had been revealed, and for years had slumbered in the breast of God's Prophet, awaiting the time when, with safety to himself and the Church, it might be confided to the sacred keeping of a chosen few. That time had now come. An angel with a flaming sword descended from the courts of glory and, confronting the Prophet, commanded him in the name of the Lord to establish the principle so long concealed from the knowledge of the Saints and of the world-that of plural marriage.
So, per Mormonism, a flaming sword has been the tool of the divine to
- Guard the Garden of Eden/Paradise from mankind
- Re-open the Garden of Eden/Paradise to mankind
- Coerce a reluctant prophet to break his marriage vows and take other 'wives'
Did the specter of the flaming sword hang over the LDS to coerce polygamy right up until the time that polygamy was allowed to end, and then removed?
If the only two times god has used the flaming sword was to guard paradise from mankind after the fall and to coerce polygamy, does that put the two on par with one another?