Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Sneak Preview of My Commentary on Genesis

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (v1)”
  From the very first sentence in his Bible, the Holy Spirit attacks every self-exalting philosophy mankind has ever cooked up. From the evolutionist to the pantheist, Gen 1:1 lays bare the folly of their fleshly wisdom.  It should come as no surprise then that this first chapter of Genesis is one of the most disputed and despised by those very same philosophers.  If I had a nickel for every person who told me they had a ‘hard time’ believing the creation account of Genesis, I would have a lot of nickels.  I am assured however in Psalm 119:160 that “thy word is true from the beginning” so here we are at the beginning. As Dr. Hodges has said “The best evidence for the Bible being the word of God is between its two covers”. I might add that the best evidence of the supernatural nature of the Bible is the hate-filled panic it causes in unregenerate man.
  I have been a street preacher for many years now, and several years back I was in San Diego where my ministry began. I was getting ready to go out and preach and was grabbing some coffee to loosen up my throat.  I had to make a phone call, so I left my Bible on the table and went to a nearby pay phone. The phone call took longer than I expected, and the place began to rapidly fill up. I noticed a curious thing; not only did nobody steal my seat, but nobody sat anywhere near my table! People were literally sitting on each other’s laps, and there was a radius around my table where nobody would sit.  That inanimate object somehow intimidated the spirits of people enough to where they didn’t even want to sit near it.  That Book has power.
Notice the singular use of the word ‘heaven’ as compared to Gen 2:1 where it is plural. A careful reading of Genesis 1 and 2 will plainly show the reader that God started with one heaven and then subdivided it into  3 heavens (2 Cor 12:2), with borders given for each.  This lays bare the false claim of the Koran.  The universe has 3  layers to it. This is one of those things that show up over and over again in scripture, and the pattern seems to be that if God intends to  dwell someplace, that place has 3 parts to it.
 The first heaven is the sky, and everything beneath it (Gen 1:20).   That’s why the kingdom of heaven has to be located on the earth ( Matt 11:12). The second heaven is outer space (Gen 1:14-16) and the third heaven is the location of the throne of God ( Is 6, Rev 4, Ezek 1). The third heaven is populated by not only God, but a host of created beings (Job 38:7).  The boundary of the  1st heaven  is the atmosphere, past which no birds can fly.
  Those who would point to the supposed ignorance of Moses in regards to the true process of creation and claim that Moses only wrote down what he could understand must then turn right around and put the dunce cap on the Lord Jesus Christ who vouched for the  creation account of Genesis in Mark 13:19.
  Furthermore, other parts of scripture name Jesus Christ as the Creator and sustainer of all things (Rev 4:11, John 1:1, Col 1:16-17). I have often wondered what would happen if he who sustains all things were to stop. Perhaps that’s the catalyst for the events of 2 Peter 3:10.Jesus Christ is not only the creator and sustainer of all things, he is wisdom (Prov 8:22-30, Col 2:1-3) He is not merely a created being, as the Russelites have taught, nor is he just one of many gods, as Joe Smith’s followers claim.  There’s nothing like a Bible to separate the wheat from the chaff.
“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (v2)”
 We aren’t even two verses into the Bible and we are about to wade into one of the most misunderstood and controversial concepts in your Bible.  We have to address some issues raised by this verse, and propose an explanation that I believe to be biblically sound, however poorly received it may be in some circles.
  The Bible is a very uniquely written book in that very rarely is all of the information about any given topic all in one place.  For example, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is mentioned in all 4 of the gospels, but additional information about it is given in Isaiah 50 and 53 as well as Psalm 22.  
  Creation is no different.  The account in Genesis is factual, and is to be believed exactly as it stands, but supplemental information about the creation is tucked away in various other parts of the Bible. When one pieces together all this information, one winds up with a much fuller picture of what happens in Genesis 1 and 2.  One also winds up with a more detailed timeline, including some events that apparently take place somewhere between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.
  Here are some examples of things that happened during creation that aren’t mentioned in Genesis 1, but are mentioned in other parts of the Bible.  This is not an exhaustive list, but is given to illustrate a point.
1)         Foundations of the earth are laid (Job 38:4)
2)         Sons of God present and rejoicing over creation (Job 38:7)
3)         Decrees and boundaries set on the oceans (Prov 8:29)
4)         Pathways established in the sea (Ps 8:8)
5)         The earth hung upon nothing (Job 26:7)
6)         Naming the stars (Ps 147:40)
  If you look at Rev 21:23 along with Rev 22:5 and understand that God is light, then it’s natural for the reader to wonder where the darkness came from.  It’s also natural to   wonder since the Lord created the earth to be inhabited, where all the water came from. In fact, if Gen 1:2 is simply a continuation of the statement in Gen 1:1, then the planet I live on is the only thing God ever created in an incomplete state.  After all God spends the  next several  verses  ‘making’ and ‘forming’ but not ‘creating’ But if Gen 1:1 is a creative act and then Gen1:2 is a statement of  the planet’s condition at some point after its creation, you have to wonder what happened?  Did something happen between Gen 1:1 and Gen 1:2, and if so, are there any clues in the Bible as to what happened?
In  2 Peter 3:5-7 a flood is described, and many attribute this passage to the flood of Noah’s day, but  I feel  I must draw your attention to the fact that “the heavens” ( plural) are flooded in 2 Peter.  Unless Noah’s flood somehow affected outer space, that cannot be Noah’s flood. The earth is also referred to as standing ‘in the water’ and ‘out of the water’. I cannot find any reference during Noah’s flood of that being the case. These are two separate events.
   In verse 2 the earth is described as being without form and void, with no light present.   There is another reference to this same condition existing in Jeremiah 4:23-28, where God describes that he saw no men, but cities.  The context appears to be that some sort of judgment has befallen the earth at some point in the past.  Who was judged, and why?
  Ezekiel 28:13-14 describes Lucifer as being in Eden. It’s a very different   picture of him than what we get in Genesis 3. It’s very likely that Ezekiel 28 happens before Gen 3. In Isaiah 14:14-15, Lucifer’s rebellion is described.  He had to ascend to get to God. He had to go above mountains, clouds, and stars.  Lucifer was apparently located on the earth when he conceived his rebellion. Could that flood in 2 Peter3:5-7 be God’s response to the rebellion?  Whatever happened we see in verse 2 a planet submerged in both water and darkness.
“And God said , Let there be light: and there was light(v3)”
  This light isn’t sunlight (Psa 74:16), since the sun has not been created yet. This appears to be the very light of God’s presence.
  It’s worth noting that for God to say something is the same as to produce it. From a devotional perspective, the application is obvious; I’m saved not because I  always feel like it, but because God said I am.  I am a son of God not because I always act like it ( 1 John 1:9), but because God says I am (1 John 3:1). God’s word is the truest thing in the universe, more true than our limited understanding, more true than our failures. God has produced life and light in me who was dead in trespasses and sins, and he did it through his Word.
  Light is also the fastest thing in the universe, clipping along at 186,000 miles per second.  Light can also be in more than one place at the same time, and no one as of yet has idea how it does that.  It makes sense that it would  share so many of God’s qualities since after all, “God is light, and in him there is no darkness”

“And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. (v4)”
God has yet to ‘create’ anything since verse 1, He’s just dividing and forming things that are already there.  Having turned the light back on, he gets to work.

“And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. (v5)”
 Notice the Jewish way of marking days starts here “evening and the morning”. That’s important to realize when studying, for example, the crucifixion of Christ, and there is any one scriptural concept that as a Gentile confuses me when I start talking about it, it’s that the evening comes before the day. Also note that the evening and the morning proceed without a sun or moon yet in place. As a man I have a hard time conceiving that there could be a night and day without a sun or moon to mark it.
 5 things God does in these last couple of verses that are noteworthy.
  1. Creates-things we see and don’t see are formed by word of God
  2. Speaks-spoke the world into existence
  3. Sees-eyes of the LORD are in every place
 4. Divides-God divides holy from profane, right from wrong
 5. Calls-calls names, individuals names, calls some things an abomination
“And God said , Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. (v6-7)
  As a  young Christian, I looked at the word ‘firmament’ and saw ‘firm’, assuming it was solid, but as  it becomes obvious later (v14 for example), the word ‘firmament’ means an open  space.  The context alone defines the word, but interestingly, Webster’s 1828  dictionary defines “firmament” as follows: The region of the air; the sky or heavens. In scripture, the word denotes an expanse, a wide extent; for such is the signification of the Hebrew word, coinciding with region, and reach. The original therefore does not convey the sense of solidity, but of stretching, extension; the great arch or expanse over our heads, in which are placed the atmosphere and the clouds, and in which the stars appear to be placed, and are really seen.
  It appears that God approached the drowned planet, restored light and pushed most of the water back from the planet’s surface, creating an open place with water above and below the planet. This becomes the division that divides the 2nd heaven from the third heaven. According to Job 38:30, the face of this vast body of water is currently frozen, but contains ‘fountains’ (Gen 8:28).
   The throne of God is described in scripture as sitting on a sea of crystal (Ezekiel 1:22, Rev 4:6) to the north of us (Ps 48:1-2, Ps 75:67, Job 26:7).  Interestingly, frozen water forms an octagonal crystal as it freezes.  If a person were somehow able to leave earth in a space ship and travel at the requisite speed directly north, past the known universe eventually they would encounter a solid wall of frozen water. It’s even possible that this frozen body of water contains some sort of life (Job 41:1-31, Ps 74:12-14, Micah 7:14-15, Hosea 2:14-15, Is 27:1, Job 26:7-13).
  All of this speaks to the fact that your Bible is the most interesting book ever written, and light years ahead of the scientists.  Here, in less than 10 verses, (along with accompanying cross references) you’re given real insight into the physical layout of the universe and it’s inhabitants way beyond what more than 40 years of space exploration have accomplished.  NASA could have saved trillions if they had just read their Bible.
   The third heaven is just as real a place, and just as physical a place as the other two.  That barrier that divides the throne of God from the rest of his creation was impassable until Jesus Christ made a way (Is 51:9-10).
  Does this great body of water have a name, besides ‘the great deep’?  In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses is preparing to die, and the Lord tells him in Deut 3:27 that he will not cross over “this Jordan”, which implies that there is another Jordan that Moses will be crossing. Once Moses is off the scene, it’s never called ‘this Jordan’ again.  Allow me to indulge one of my pet theories here. I think that other body of water is called Jordan.
“And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.  And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. (V8-10)”
The dry land appearing under the 1st heaven is different from the activity of verse 6. (Ps 95:5). Until the waters are gathered together, dry land cannot be seen. It is obvious that water covered the whole earth until reined in by God.   In fact, God has an interesting relationship with water in the Bible. In Job 38:8-11 he tells the ocean to stay put, in Ps 65:6-7 and Ps 89:9 he stills the waves. In  Is 51:15 he divides the sea and in Ps 33:6-7 he gathers the waters.
 To make things even more interesting, God seems to spend a lot of time talking to water, giving it specific verbal direction. The sea is attributed as having a voice, being able to see, and receives direct wording from God on how to act.  For example, the sea roars in Ps 96:11 and Ps 98:7. It is rebuked in Ps 106:9, and ‘saw’ something in Ps 114:3. In Mark 4 Jesus rebuked the wind but ‘said unto the sea, Peace, be still’. The reader may shake his head at all this, and say that all those are just poetic expressions, but as I believe that the words of the Lord are pure words, I will hold the position that it all means something.  Every word in that Book is important, and was picked by the Holy Spirit for a reason.
  The sea is also said to have ‘paths’ (Ps. 77:19) and fountains (Prov. 8:28)
“And God said , Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.  And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.  And the evening and the morning were the third day.(V11-13)
  It would behoove us to keep in mind that the current system by which we classify plants, animals, and minerals is entirely a man-made system and built strongly on evolutionary theory. God classifies all plants on earth into one of three categories; grass, herb yielding seed, or fruit tree with an internal seed. 
“And God said , Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.  And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.”(V14-16)
  According to the Bible, the lights in the firmament of the heaven (the 2nd one) have 3 functions. One is to divide the day from the night.  One is to be for signs, seasons, days and years. One is give light upon the earth.  Now it’s the second one that I find most interesting. 
  This is the only part of the creation week that takes place off of the surface of the earth. It’s also the only part of his creation that is assigned some sort of time-marking duty. The trees are never told they would be a sign for anything, the ocean was never told that it would be used to mark off years.  I maintain that there is something else going on here, and that an examination of the typologies assigned to these three sets of celestial bodies (sun. moon, and stars) will shed some light (pun intended) on the significance of this statement.
Well we do know a couple of things. For example in  2 Peter 3:8 it says: But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
  Is it possible that the 7 day creation is an indicator of something larger? If it is, we know that it should somehow use the lights in the heaven as indicators and that it should line up with what we know to be true from other parts of the Bible.
  For example, we know that at the end of time as we understand it, there will be a 1000 year reign of Christ. (Rev 20:4). This period is described as a period of ‘rest’ for Israel ( Is 14:3) In addition,  God tells Israel  during this time that they will be the head of all nations ( Deut 28:13, Ps 18:43). I think the case can be made that, in the creation week, God gives us a rough outline of human history.
  In Malachi 4:2 Jesus Christ is referred to as the ‘Sun of righteousness’. In Psalm 84:11, God is called ‘the sun’. In Psalm 19, Christ the bridegroom is compared to the sun. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus Christ shows up at the 4,000 year mark in history?
 The moon has no light of its own, it can only reflect the light of the sun, and can only fully reflect the light of the sun when the world is not between it and the Sun. In Song of Solomon 6:10, the bride of the king is typified by the moon.  Isn’t it interesting that in the same ‘day’ that the sun of righteousness appears the church is born?  In addition to this, in Hosea 6:1-2, the Bible says : Come , and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn , and he will heal us; he hath smitten , and he will bind us up . After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up , and we shall live in his sight
  Since Christ has ascended, the Sun of righteousness is not currently visible on the earth. Wouldn’t it be something if this time period was tied to darkness or night somehow with the moon or church providing all the light, which is after all, reflected light from the sun? Take a look at John 9:4, and Matt 5:14-16. For an interesting study at the church age  being typified by night, look at Is 21:11-12 vs 1 Cor 16:13 & 1 Thess 5:6,Matt14:25, John 9:4, 1 Thess5:5-7.
  To make things even more interesting, the return of the king to rule and reign is likened to sunrise or daybreak or dawn repeatedly in scripture, such as in  Hos 6:3, Joel 2, 2 Peter 1:19, etc..
In addition, God’s servants are described repeatedly as watching, praying, singing, etc, in the  night in Ps 63:6, Ps 77:6. Job 35;10, Ps 16:7, Ps 22:2, Ps 119:148.
  Night time, especially just before dawn is also referred to as a time of great judgment on the wicked( Job 34:25, Job 36:20, Hos 4:5, Micah 3:6, John 11:10, 1 Thess 5, 2 Peter 3).
  The typology seems to hold up, but there is one more set of celestial bodies we need to be concerned about; the stars. Now there is an interesting study to be done on stars, but we are going to focus on one star in particular; the  morning star, also called the day star. It appears in the night sky shortly before the rising of the sun. Examine that in light of  Rev 22:16, and 2 Pet 1:19
One of the many significant differences between the appearance of the day star and the rising of the sun is it’s visibility.   Even a blind man knows when the sun comes up, but you have to look for the day star (Titus 2:13, Heb 9:28).  So we have a celestial event that takes place before the dawning of the sun that will only be evident to those that are looking for it, and is typified by the appearance of a light in the sky. We are told to watch for this event while we live as children of the day in a world full of night.  This scriptural pattern is one of many reasons that I believe in a pre-tribulation catching away of the church.
“And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,  And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.  And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.  (V17-19)”
  It’s interesting to note that day and night occurred before there was any light to mark them.  Apparently, since man wasn’t on the scene, it didn’t matter. But the typology continues of the church offering light after the sun has gone down (Matt 13:43, 1 Thes 5:5, John 9:5)
“And God said , Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.(V20)”
 The phrase ‘hath life’ only occurs in two other places in the Bible.  Jn 5:26 and 1 Jn 5:12.  John 3:36, Rom 6:23. Life is impossible outside of Jesus Christ. But you can infer from some other mentions of ‘life’ that God has placed some parameters on what is and is not alive.
1) Living things have blood (Deut 12:23, Lev 17:11, 14) but not every living thing has the ‘breath of life’ given to Adam. Notice the ‘and’ designation in Gen 6:17
    2) Living things move.
    3) Living things reproduce after their kind.
 Notice that the birds came out of the waters.  Lev 11:13-20 lists bat as a bird, which serves as  proof that God divides up his creation differently than we do.
“And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth , which the waters brought forth abundantly , after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. “ And God blessed them, saying , Be fruitful , and multiply , and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.  And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. (V21-23)”
  Here we have another one of those Genesis nuggets. God made fish in verse 20, but specifically mentions making ‘whales’ here.  In Job 7:12, whales are mentioned having a watch set over them. In Jonah 1:17 the ‘great fish’ was prepared, and in Matt 12:40, the ‘fish’ is explained as being a whale. Apparently a whale is just a warm-blooded, milk producing, especially prepared fish.
  Here also is the first mention of a direct creation since Gen 1:1.
 And God said , Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.  And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.  And God said , Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.(V24-26)”
  In the passage the phrase “our image” occurs. In light of John 1:1-4 and 1 John 5:7.God was obviously talking to himself. Notice ‘his own image’ in v27.
  God is a three-part being, and when he creates man, he makes man a three part being (1Thes 5:23)  More insight into this business of the image of God as it relates to the last Adam can be found in  Heb. 1:1-4, 2 Cor. 4:4. Col 1:15, Phil 2:6, Rom 8:3.  Adam starts out with God’s image, and then loses it. We get it back when Jesus exchanges his image for ours.
  Dominion is defined by Webster’s as Sovereign or supreme authority; the power of governing and controlling. And we see from the text that Adam exercises this power over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, cattle, and creeping things.  Man was not given dominion over the heavens, but rather according to Ps 115:16, “the earth hath he given to the children of men”
  I have dealt with evolutionists quite a bit over the years, and I daresay that most of them are very nice people who are merely repeating what they have been taught.  But I also have found that according to the Bible, a man rejects the authority of scripture not because it’s unbelievable, but rather because he loves his sin.  As Dr. Ruckman quips in his commentary on Genesis:
 “Here we arrive at the  classic passage of the direct creation of man. It is so objectionable to the Darwinians that Darwin’s ancestors have desired to rewrite Genesis 1-3 in the light of the Marvelous Monkey-man Mind and force the Inspired account into the molds of the imaginations of men who claim to be descended from monkeys and jelly fish.  Let us note hastily that the ‘scientific objections’ to the passage are thus- that a fallen race of sinners, degenerating backwards, is not too anxious to have the process put down on public record.”
  As exhibit ‘A’ in the case that evolutionists often have an axe to grind, I give you this quote from my favorite Darwinian, Dr. Richard Dawkins from his book, The God Delusion:
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all of fiction; jealous and proud of it, a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak, a vindictive bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser, a misogynistic homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully”
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.(V27)”
  The testimony of Matt 19:4 and Mark 10:6 is that he made “male and female”.  As a preacher friend of mine said once, in response to a Bible question as to how many wives a man should have, ‘How many did Adam get?’
  There is, evolutionary monkey-business aside, two vast major differences between man and beast, both of which show that Adam was given some of God’s attributes. These attributes manifest themselves in the ability to speak (John 1:1)  and the ability to write (Ps 119:160).
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful , and multiply , and replenish the earth, and subdue it : and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said , Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.  And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life , I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.  And God saw every thing that he had made , and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (V28-31)
  Compare this ‘great commission’ in v28 to the commission of Gen 9:1. Notice that nobody, man or beast eats meat yet. Man eats herbs and trees, but not grass.  In Is 11:1-11, the diet returns to this Edenic state.  In verse 31, man and four-legged beasts created on the same day.

 
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