Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Common Man's Commentary on Genesis: Chapter 2

( NOTE: I  am plugging away at finishing this book, which has turned out to be a much larger project than I had anticipated.  What was I thinking? Regardless, I  intend to  be finished sometime in the  spring of 2014 and will be self-publishing on Kindle. In the meantime, here is  Chapter 2, free of charge, because I'm a nice guy like that.)

Chapter 2
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished , and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made ; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made .” (V1-2)
  The reference to the ‘hosts of heaven’ could refer to  the armies of heaven, and beings such as cherubim, seraphim, etc. (Jer 33:22, Is 24:21, Eph 6:10-13).
  Following along  that the creation week lays out a rough chronology of history, we must realize that the 7th day is  not Sunday, it’s  Saturday. But it’s a great chance to demonstrate how to wrest scriptures to your own destruction.  The 7th day Adventist will run you to Matt 5:17-19 and then tie it to 1 John 2:3 and Ezek 20:20. The Sabbath observer will make the case from those scriptures that Sabbath-observing is a legitimate New Testament practice and some will even say that a failure to observe the Sabbath proves you aren’t saved.
  Interestingly, though God rested on that Sabbath, there is nothing to indicate that he rested on any other Sabbath after that. In addition, he never commanded anyone else to rest on the Sabbath until Exodus . That means Adam, Eve, Cain, Cain, Abel, Noah, Isaac, Jacob, Abram and everybody else in their generations had no commandment from God to rest on the Sabbath.  Nobody had any direction in this area until Moses.
  In Exodus 16:23, the Sabbath is given to Israel as a nation.  Unless you’ve ever had manna land in your front yard, that verse isn’t written to you. In Ex 31:12-13 and Exodus 20:12-13, the Sabbath is given to Israel as a sign. A sign of what? A sign that there was a day coming in which their Messiah would take them unto himself and fulfill the promises he made to Abraham ( Heb 4:1). They were to observe this day of rest as a reminder to them as a people of the  1,000 period of rest yet to come.  Not only was that promise not given to me as a Gentile, I didn’t inherit that promise when I received Christ.  Nowhere is the church commanded to observe the Sabbath, and nowhere in Scripture does Sunday become the ‘new  sabbath’.  As a matter of fact, Rom 8:2 and Gal 5:1 indicates I am free from all the  trappings of the old testament law.
 The last mention of the Sabbath in your Bible is in Col 2:16 when the commandment is to let no man judge you regarding your Sabbath observance.
  So why do we tend to meet on Sunday? I can find three reasons scripturally. One is that Christ arose the first day of the week. The second is that the Holy Spirit descended on the first day of the week, and the third is that Paul said in 1 Cor 16:2 to give offerings on the first day of the week.

“And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made .These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created , in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,  And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew : for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground” (V3-6)
  There seems to be a connection in your Bible between the number ‘7’ and sanctification. There has been plenty of preaching and teaching on sanctification, some of it scriptural, some of it not.  It’s really not that difficult a concept, and not even an exclusively spiritual one. Something that is ‘sanctified’ is set aside for a specific purpose.  In my garden I have a hoe which is ‘sanctified’ in that I use it for garden work. I don’t use it as a pogo stick and I don’t use it to shoot pool with.  The seventh day was set aside as a sign to Israel.
  Everything grows on it’s own, and the wording makes it plain that God created the plants before they were in the earth.  Also notice that it doesn’t rain until Gen 9, which must have made Noah’s proclamations to his audience rather hard to believe.
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” ( V7)
  We’ve already mentioned that God made man a 3 part being, like himself ( 1 Thess 5:23) and the fate of all three parts of a man  are described in scripture.  When a man dies without Christ, his body goes into the ground, his spirit returns onto God (Ecc 3:21) and his soul goes to Hell (Luke 16). The soul of a man seems to have all the members and sensations and appetites of the man, as well as his memories. The rich man in Luke 16 had eyes, and a tongue, and could recognize people that he had known in life. Lazarus had fingers.  Your soul is in the shape of your body, and every person I have ever talked to who has lost a limb still struggles with that missing limb itching or burning or cramping just like it did when it was still attached.  The lost man will be resurrected to stand before God (Rev 20:12-15), judged guilty, reunited with his body and cast into the lake of fire (Isa 66).
  A man who dies after having received Christ has his body put into the ground, his spirit returns onto  God, and his soul goes to heaven ( 2 Cor 5:8). At the catching away of the church, he is reunited with his transformed body (1 Cor 15) and will spend eternity with Jesus Christ.
“And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted , and became into four heads.  The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;  And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.  And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.  And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.” (V8-14)
So where was the Garden?  There are 4 rivers mentioned. Only two of them are still around, and geography was probably different before the flood, but Genesis is written after the flood and the countries mentioned tell us where they used to be
1)         Pison (river), Havilah ( land) Havilah is mentioned as a person  in Gen 10, 1 Chron 1, mentioned as being ‘before Egypt’ on the way to Assyria’ in Gen 25:18, 1Sam 15:7.
2)         Gihon- compasses Ethiopia
3)         Hiddekel- heads towards Assyria (Tigris)
4)         Euphrates-northernmost border of Israel (Gen 15)
B)        V8 to Amos 1:4-5 , 2 Kings 19:12 ‘house of Eden’, ‘children of Eden’
  The ‘Tree of life’ shows up in V9, and is guarded after Gen 3. It’s mentioned in Prov 11:30, but shows back up in Rev 22:14, Ezek 47:12. The tree of life, and its counterpart the tree of knowledge of good and evil are interesting in that they are (or were) real physical trees with real physical fruit on them.  This fruit had some sort of permanent effect on the eater.  God warns even after the fall that if Adam and Eve can get to the tree of life and eat of it, they will live forever. In Rev 22, the leaves of this tree have some sort of healing properties.  The spiritual applications of these two trees will be discussed later.
“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” (V15)
  Modern thought being the useless clap-trap that it is, we are often taught erroneously that man was given labor as a punishment for his fall, but here we see Adam before the fall being given labor to perform.  The Bible itself starts off showing God at work. Labor is not a curse, it can be a blessing. The most miserable people you will ever meet are people who don’t have enough to do. People who do nothing will eventually become bitter hostile scorners against those who do work (Ps 1:1)
 In his perfect state with complete unbroken fellowship with God, Adam’s job was that he was a gardener. That’s interesting in light of Ps 127;3, 128:3, Eph 5:25-28.  Modern man is still expected to be a gardener of sorts. Also interesting is that after Jesus Christ rises from the dead (he’s the last Adam, remember?) the first person to see him mistakes him for a gardener (John 20:15).
“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying , Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat :  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die .  And the LORD God said , It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.  And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.  And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.” ( V16-20)
  Here we have two named trees, one of which is   available, and one of which is not.  It’s dangerous to speculate too much on things that the Bible is silent about, so we cannot prove either way that Adam ever took of the tree of life; all we know is that it wasn’t off limits.   God tells him he may eat freely. Some other times where God offers something freely can be found in Hos 14:4. Rom 3:24, Rom 8:32, 1 Cor 2:12, 2 Cor 11:7 Rev 21:6, 22:17.
 Since the tree of knowledge was a physical tree with physical fruit, God obviously intended a physical death. There is a teaching that says that Adam died ‘spiritually’ that day, and that when a man is saved, he gets a regenerated living spirit to replace the dead spirit he inherited from Adam.  I believe that teaching to be in error. The Bible never once describes an unregenerate man as having a dead spirit. 
  It’s worth noting that our definition of evil isn’t always the same as God’s definition. As the old saying goes, “Evil is not always sin, but sin is always evil.”. Evil biblically refers to destruction or harm.  If I find a rattlesnake about to bite one of my children, I promise you that I will visit evil upon him, but it won’t be a sin. Compare Ex 32:12-14 to James 1:15. Stay away from the tree, and you’ll never know sorrow, pain or destruction.
God had created animals all over the earth, but he made man in one spot and it would have been impractical for Adam to travel all over the earth to see them and name them. So God makes a representative of each kind of animal and brings it to Adam for the purposes of naming it. This also means that Adam named the serpent (Gen 3:1), but no timeline is given for how long that took. It could have easily taken a year or more.
  Notice that the term isn’t ‘helpmeet’ as it is usually cited. They are two separate words, ‘help’ and ‘meet’ with ‘meet’ meaning ‘fit for or appropriate to’ as in Matt3:8 or Mark 7:27.  One of the most damaging philosophies ever thrust upon our modern society is the issue of ‘equal rights’. Nowhere in your Bible are women referred to as inferior, but they are different with different roles, protections and responsibilities (1 Cor 11:3). When your ideas about social issues are informed by the news media instead of the word of God, you’re headed for trouble, or as  Pastor Kyle Stephens says “If you ignore what the Bible says about social issues, you’re lost.”
  That ‘help’ that a woman is supposed to be towards her husband can either be a blessing or a curse. (Prov 21;9, 19, Prov 25:24, Prov 19:14, Prov 18:22). A lady can affect her husband’s judgment seat. A Christian lady should never let worldly philosophy deprive her of the special status God has afforded her.
“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept : and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;  And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” (V21-25)
  There used to be an old joke about a conversation between Adam and God regarding the creation of the woman. Adam told God he wanted a wife, and God told him it would cost him an arm and a leg, to which Adam quipped “What can I get for a rib bone?”
  Seriously though, sleep is likened unto death in the Bible (1 Cor 15:51, I Thes 4:14, John 11:11-13) so here we have the first Adam dying in type for the creation of his bride. In the same vein the last Adam Jesus Christ died to give life to his bride.  Interestingly, it’s a rib that is taken; probably the 5th rib (2 Sam 2:23, 3:27, 4:6, 20:10) and probably the same rib area where the spear pierced Jesus’s side. The connection is made between churches and wives in Eph 5:20-25 as well as  a contrast made with 1 Cor. 6:16. The English word ‘woman’ simply is a combination of the words ‘womb’ and ‘man’. Eve is simply Adam with a womb.  Those that protest the illegitimacy of brothers marrying sisters in the first few generations of the human race should keep in mind that Adam married his own rib.
  Verse 25 is the last time in your Bible that it is OK to be naked.
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