Thursday, August 31, 2006
Another thing, there is not a question you can ask that would cause me to reply with anything embarrassing or make anyone feel dumb. Everyone must start someplace in their studies if they are to learn. It is not about who knows how much, at all, but that we are all willing to learn something. Learn one thing today and you will be smarter tomorrow.
I made the statement earlier in this study that Adam may have known Noah. Now, I am not so sure after crunching the numbers. According to what I came up with Adam died (930 AC)during the life of Noah's father Lamech. Using Adam as a zero point and counting forward I made a chart from Adam to Noah. According to this chart Lamech was born 874 after creation (ac) and Adam died 930 AC. Another very interesting year was 1656 AC. It was the year Noah was in the ark and the flood was upon the earth. It was also the year Methuselah died (He was 969 years old. (The longest recorded lifetime for a human.). The question came to my mind if Methuselah saw the ark leave or did he die prior to the rain starting. From creation to the flood, I came up with 2006 years. We are now 2006 after the birth of Christ. Given the ark being a type of grace that is a very interesting number.
Enoch lived 365 years but did not die. He was 'taken' by God.
In studying the geneology of chapter 5 and skipping over to the end of Noah's life, I noticed an interesting statement used twice. Verse 24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not for God took him. Genesis 6:9 (the last part) ...Noah walked with God. Of the others it said they lived and then they died. I thought back to the garden where Genesis 3:8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day... I thought of how intimate a walk with someone can be. It is a time of privacy and personal conversation. I also wondered if it might have been the Lord's routine to come walk with Adam at this time of day. Adam had already hidden as if he was expecting Him. Imagine gettting to walk with God three hundred years as Enoch did. The disciples walked with Jesus for a little over three years and they were never the same. Next chapter deals with the flood.
Here is my chart from Genesis Chapter 5 **
born died total years *** ++
Adam created 930 930
Seth 130 1042 912
Enos 235 1140 905
Cainan 325 1235 910
Mahalalel 395 1290 895
Jared 460 1422 962
Enoch 620 987(taken*) 365
Methuselah 687 1656 969
Lamech 874 1651 777
Noah 1056 2006 950
* as mentioned above Enoch did not die but was taken by God.
** I am still not sure my formula for these dates is correct. I welcome your input.
*** I added the total years to the birthday to get the date of death.
++ I added the age of father at birth of son to date of father's birthday to get new birthday (year) (I'm pretty sure that is what I did just before I laid down with a splitting headache :)
I may revise it after more study.
Special Note: II Peter 3 8 and Psalm 90:4 are verses of interest. Peter first: 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. Psalm: For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
It should be noted that none of these men lived on earth beyond a thousand years. Genesis 2:17 where God said ...for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die comes to mind. Even though they died a spiritual death on that very day because of the seperation between them and the Lord. Adam lived 930 years and died, the same day physically in respect to the above verses.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
The account goes on to tell how God gave Cain the opportunity to bring an acceptable offering but while talking to Abel, Cain became angry and killed him. The first murder is committed.
It is sad to see how far man fell. God made man from the dust of the ground but already man is displeased with how God wants things done. Cain was apparently already mad at God when he had the conversation with Abel. It appears that Cain was very displeased that the works of his hands were not suitable for a offering for sin and that he was jealous of the blood offering of his brother. Who is man that he should question the way God wants it done? We discovered in a previous lesson that life was in the blood and that a blood sacrifice was necessary for a sin offering.
Cain now departs and lives in Nod, east of Eden and starts a family. He builds a city and called it Enoch after his son. We skip to the fourth generation to Lamech who took two wives. Their children had varied skills: Jabal was a tent dweller and had cattle. Jubal was the father of those who handled the harp and organ. Tubal-cain was instructor in artificers of brass and iron. In verse 23 Lamech confesses to killing.
In verse 25 we go back to the birth of the third son of Adam and Eve. His name is Seth. In verse 26 prayer begins. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord. Enos means mortal.
First Chronicles gives the genology from Seth to Noah and to Abraham and down the line through Jacob (Israel) and David. Then in Matthew the genelogy is picked up at Abraham again and goes to Jesus Christ. So Jesus' heritage was of the kingly line of David. Luke 3:23 again traces the genology but in reverse back to Adam and God. Verse 38 of Luke 3 sums it up Which was the son of Enos which was the son of Seth which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.
There are reasons to establish this foundation now. Prophecy gives details of the coming of Christ. These genelogies show the line of Christ in His earthly family. It establishes His rightful place in the kingly line all the way back to Abraham and to God himself. From an earthly point of view, Jesus would have been properly qualified to be king had Israel chosen Him. If that had happened though, the rest of the world would have been without a Savior. We may not always understand God's ways but they are the best ways. We know from the Bible that Jesus was not conceived of this royal line but rather directly by the power of God. Jesus is looked upon as the second Adam. The first Adam gave in to sin, the second Adam did not. Romans 5:12-21 describes this. I will give a couple of verses here but it would be good to read the surrounding verses. 12 Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
In review, We have seen how Cain went off to establish a city and a family. No doubt they grew to great numbers. Their activities indicate that their nature was that which brought on the flood in Noah's day. (Lamech's confession of murder.) Then comes Seth. His family is described in the next chapter. We will see that these people had a different nature as indicated by Enoch's life and that of Noah. There is indication that the two families had contact as evidenced by one of Seth's decendants being named Lamech( and one named Enoch) (as Cain's descendants were) the father of Noah.
We will see in coming lessons the demonstration of God's mighty power. We will also see the teaching of the blood sacrifice for sin. While it was expected that a mighty king would come to rule with power over Israel, God choose to shed grace to the hearts of wicked man. Although, He could have won with a hand of might, He choose to win with love. The fulfillment that Christ is to sit on the throne of David will still happen but until then the door of grace is open to all people.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto Salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Verse 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel.
This verse is a reference to the conflict between Satan and the Lord Jesus Christ. There is conflict all through the old testament and continues into the new testament. The prophecy is that while the serpent would do harm "bruise his heel", the ultimate outcome would be a head blow to the head of the serpent "shall bruise thy head" which would result in his demise. My thought is that it seemed to be a win for Satan when Christ was crucified yet because of Christ's victory over death the cross was only a bruise and the means for ultimate victory over the sin brought into the garden by the serpent.
Verse 21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins and clothed them. Here is the first shedding of blood by the innocent for the guilty and depicts or foreshadows the suffering of Christ on the cross for the sins of the multitudes.
We have entered the subject of the blood and some find it a difficult subject. Maybe the question will be asked: Why the blood? We should jump over to the third book of the Bible for a moment and read Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. The book of Leviticus is a discourse on the sacrifices.
It is important to understand that man's blood is no longer pure but is contaminated by sin. His offspring's blood is also contaminated. So the process of teaching about a substitute offering for that sin is begun. All through the old testament it is indicated that the sacrifice was offered as a covering for sin and not a cure. Psalm 32:1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.It was not until the gospels that a cure was finalized. God can, of course do anything that is not against His nature. One thing he cannot do is look upon sin, Habakkuk 1:13 Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:a Yet he could have just cast all humanity from his sight. He chose not to do that. It is the love of God for man even in his fallen state that no doubt prompted another plan.
So these two verses are very important in the study of the Bible. It gives us a reference point from which to branch out into the many other verses that deal with the subjects of sin and the seperation it caused between God and man. Then it carries us through the Bible as we see how man learned that life is in the blood and that sin contaminated that life giving substance and finally the teaching of a substitute for the sinfulness of man: the innocent sacrifice. Which points us to the final sacrifice and redemption of man.
I hope when you finish this study that you will be able to look down at your open Bible and see the connection between the cross and the covering of Adam and Eve. Of how, we became unacceptable to be in the presence of God but were made acceptable by an innocent substitute upon whom all our trangressions were placed. Or course, as Christians, we know it was the Lord Jesus Christ. For many, we need to be more indepth in explaining the path that led to Calvary. First, we must travel through the pages of the old testament and see the master teacher at work, the Lord Himself.
Note: We live in a time in history when the Bible has been explored from many different angles. It has been dissected and studied by the individual words it contains and even the various combination of numbers in its pages. It has been studied in its original languages and translated into everyday language. Then there are the movie versions of the stories. None of these can be a substitute for sitting quietly and reading through the pages and letting God speak to your heart. Push aside what 'they' said and see what He said. A Psalm or some other verse will speak directly to our personal needs if only we allow them to. This study is not to reveal some secret. It is to prompt a love for the scripture. It is reality in its purest sense. It is the study of humanity on the grandest scale. It is a battle for the soul of man where ultimately, as in the garden, man may choose his path. I believe we are in the last chapter of history.
Monday, August 28, 2006
You may know the story, how they realized they were naked and made fig leaf aprons in an attempt to hid themselves. Sin causeth shame.
Adam and Eve heard the Lord as he walked in the garden. The Lord could have walked straight to where they were but he asked in verse 9 Where art thou? It was to bring Adam to the point of realization. He was naked, he was afraid. The Lord asked questions putting the result together with the act of disobedience. Then the blamegame starts. He said, she said, he said. Adam said she gave the fruit to me so I ate it. She said the serpent beguiled me and I did eat. The serpent had no defense. He was stripped of his beauty and his standing in the animal kingdom and forced to crawl underfoot from then on. God patiently followed the fingerpointing and dealt with each instance of disobedience. Now he speaks to Eve. Her punishment is that child birth will be more difficult for her, husband to rule over her. Adam's punishment for 1. listening 2. eating and 3. disobeying God's command was that he must leave the garden and work the soil which no longer would bring forth abundantly as before and he would die and go back to the dust. Sin does have a price. Adam had to leave the garden because there was also the tree of life there. It would have been unacceptable for him to live forever in that state of sinfulness and disobedience.
In verse 21, coats of skin were made by God to cover Adam and Eve. Innocent blood was shed in order to get those coverings. It is our first glimpse toward the cross of Calvary.
Look back through the pages of biblical history from where we are today and the moves and counter moves can be seen. God creates a perfect world and Satan brings sin to mankind causing corruption. The couple are blessed with children and one rises up against the other. Sin corrupts the world and Noah builds an ark. The world gets a new start but sin still remains in the nature of man. A nation with promise is formed. The nation Israel. Trouble comes to them in slavery but eventually arrive in the promise land after many moves and counter moves along the way. All through the process the impossible is brought to pass. Finally, it seems the plan of the master is stopped when the leader of the nation is killed on a cross. Then, on the third day the man Jesus rises from the dead and sets off another kingdom within the hearts of believers. Now there is the physical nation of promise and the spiritual kingdom of promise. Who would have thought, way back when, that there was any other plan than to raise up a king more powerful than David and wiser than Solomon to sit on the throne in Jerusalem. That is part of the plan but first He choose to go to the uttermost parts of the earth. I am so glad He did. To read the plan for the end read the entire book of Revelation. You can study it in conjunction with Daniel.
A conversation with the devil:
Genesis 3:1-5 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yes hath God said. Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent. We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman. Ye shall not surely die. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
What did God say:
Genesis 2:15-17 And the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 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.
A good lesson here is do not talk to the devil. Every time you open your mouth he gets more ammunition to throw back at you. You cannot reason with him or outsmart him. If you come into doubt about something, pick up your Bible and read scriptures concerning the subject, aloud if necessary. I do not want to give undue credit to him but he has been around for thousands of years and has had lots of time to study human nature. (Talk to the Lord. Cry help!) Notice the subtil difference in the two statements. The serpent added the "neither shall ye touch it" to the original command. The significance is that he added more to the statement making the command more restrictive and therefore making the temptation a two step process of touch and eat. In our day, it might be look, touch and possess. To possess immediately might be too shocking and repell one from temptation but to take it in steps eases the guilt process because there seems to be a turning back point. Regardless, the statement or command was changed.
Up to this point Adam and Eve are in perfect union with each other and the Lord. No sin has been committed to seperate them. In a manner, Adam and Eve were seperated from each other in that they later find it necessary to hid themselves. They are seperated from God in that sin has built a wall between them. We will discuss that more. For now, notice that there is a perfect state for man in the garden until Satan enters the picture. Satan's interest is not enlightening the man and woman. His interest is in foiling the plan of God. Satan cannot hurt God directly, so he does it by hurting that which God has created. Satan is a real being with a goal and purpose. He cannot succeed which serves to increase the intensity and bitterness of his attacks. He will use any means or form to forward his agenda and as I said our only defense is the mighty hand of God which He freely offers to us.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
I found this quote years ago. It is by Professor Phelps and I know nothing else about him.
"He who knows it (the Bible) may be called well educated although he might know little else, and he who is not acquainted with it is an ignorant man, whatever knowledge he may possess."
Billy Sunday once said, "The man who magnifies the Word of God and the blood of Jesus Christ in his preaching is a man who God will hurl like a thunderbolt against the mountains of sin that dare lift their heads against the forces of truth."
Jesus said in John 17:17, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."
Production: the act or processing of producing
Rest: freedom from work or activity - a state of motionlessness or inactivity
(according to Webster's Dictionary) Note: when looking up a word, sometimes a deeper meaning can be obtained by looking up words in the definition i.e. generation: production)
Why do you reckon God 'rested' on the seveneth day? Was he tired?
Rest in this usage means he was finished with the creation and stopped creating stuff. No. He wasn't tired. He is God and does not get tired as we do. In my mind I try to visualize the completion of creation and it must have been so beautiful. I would have stopped for at least a day just to look. I've stood on a mountain and looked out over the mountains and hills down below. I could see, perhaps a river over there. A bird swoops across my view. A squirrel fusses somewhere. My lovely wife smiles beside me. It is all so beautiful. Imagine standing upon the heights of heaven and seeing the unspoiled whole creation. It IS very good.
1-The first Sabbath
4-Manner of the creation
8-Planting of the garden of Eden
10-the river thereof
17-tree of knowledge only forbidden
19,20-naming of creatures
21-making of woman and constitution of marriage
Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
Genesis 2:8 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.
Special note: All through the Bible God reveals more about himself through his name. In chapter 1 he uses the name God. In chapter 2 he says Lord God. Then on over, he says Lord. He reveals that he is supreme and made all things but also that he is deeply involved with his creation as Lord. God, the ruler of the universe. Lord the master and caring friend of man. It is very touching to see His names revealed throughout the Bible. Finally, He reaches the point where he sits on a hillside as a brother and friend but still Lord and more as he talks with his disciples.
Man was made from the dust of the ground. God planted a garden and placed the man there. The man named the animals and was no doubt very busy for some time. God noticed that the man needed a 'help'. Although he had all the animals, there was no real compainship for Adam. So, the woman was formed.
We live in a time when relationships are very casual. The bonding of real love between husband and wife goes beyond physical attraction and proximity. Real love encompasses the bonding of the two spirits so much so that when one hurts the other feels pain. As a society, we have moved far away from that kind of love. Moral decay is always the cause of the fall of great civilizations.
One river came in to water the garden of Eden and four rivers flowed out. We are most familiar with the Euphrates. That must have also made a nice transportation system for earlier mankind. It must have been a nice place to call home. I would think they were at liberty to roam outside the garden but there was work to do in tending the garden. Since this was before the curse of the land, probably tending the garden was not all that difficult. It would be good to have a home and something to do. It is our nature to want a place to belong and a purpose in life.
We are not given a time frame for how long Adam and Eve were there in this blissful state. it had to be a fabulous time for the perfect man and perfect woman in a perfect place. All this and the Lord himself came to visit them. That must have been some good times walking through the garden with Him.
So man is made and placed in the garden with something to do, a purpose, and rules to live by. A day of rest has been established with God himself setting the example. Guidelines are set down. Tend the garden, eat from all the trees that bear fruit except the one.
God did not create robots to look after a garden, He created man in His own image. He planted a garden for man's benefit. He set down a couple of rules for man to go by and gave man the free will to obey or not to obey. We have seen that He was God in chapter one. Lord in chapter two. Adam had to know that man was the creation made by God. Adam even knew that the woman was made from his own rib. So, the line of rightful authority was established and well understood. There was a tree of life in the garden as well. We will find out later that the two humans could have 'lived forever'. We will go to chapter 3 next time. For now we can ponder the beauty of the garden with Adam and Eve clothed in the glory of God. They must have moved through the garden with such grace and strength with no disease, age or pain to slow their steps. Maybe Adam came back with a bunch of grapes thrown over his shoulder. Have you ever had a day when all seemed to be perfect? You were with your favorite person, the weather was great, you just finished your favorite meal, all the bills were paid, a good friend stopped by just to talk, no one was sick, death never entered your mind and there was absolutely no guilt for anything you had ever done. That's not even close to how it must have been in the Garden of Eden. I wonder how big the fruit got on those trees back in those days of bliss.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
verse 1-2 - Creation of Heaven and Earth
verse 3 - Light
verse 9 - Earth seperated from waters
verse11 -Made fruitful
verse14 -Lights in firmament sun, moon, stars
verse20 -fish and fowl
verse24 -beast and cattle
verse 26 -man in image of God
verse29 -appointment of food
verse31 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.
Special note: I noticed that after the days of creation God said it was good until after the sixth day when he said it was very good. It was after he had made man. My how he loved us from the start.
I will only mention here, to encourage you into further study, that some believe that there was some cataclysmic change "as the result of divine judgment" between verse 1 and 2. In their reasoning verse one represents the beginning while verse 2 describes conditions after a primitive judgment. That line of thinking suggest some form of life on earth which was judged thus leaving the earth "without form and void" which would account for primitive fossil remains. Then a new beginning is picked up in verse three.
I like this view but it injects a lot into the small space of the first two verses. CI Scofield has numerous notes on the subject in his reference Bible. I honestly don't know what God was doing along that time. I think he has written down what we need to know about events. Jeremiah 4:23-26 and Isaiah 24: 1, 4 and 5 are given as references to support this view. Jeremiah 4:23-26 is given as a reference to verse 1 of Genesis concerning the prior judgment. It does not however give me a firm thought that it supports the primitive judgment idea. It sounds also remarkably like the flood of Noah's day. Isaiah 24: 1,4 and 5, as well, do not seem specific enough to use as supprot for the interpretation of the void in verse 2 of Genesis. I encourage you to read them and surrounding verses for yourself.
Jeremiah 4: 23-26 I beheld the earth, and lo, it was without form and void and the heavens and they had no light. I beheld the mountains and lo they trembled and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld and lo there was no man and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld and lo the fruitful place was a wilderness and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord and by his firce anger. Isiah 24: 1,5 and 5: Behold the Lord maketh the earth empty and maketh it waste and turneth it upside down and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world anguisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinane, broken the everlasting covenant.
(I have included the scripture text but I encourage you to read it from your Bible. I try to be accurate but I could make a typing error)
I've often thought about this passage in Genesis. I think there may well have been something going on there. Perhaps a judgment of angelic beings or some other creature. We do not have enough information and perhaps do not need to know but it is very interesting. There is one idea I had that it might be a moment in creation when raw material was being formed into something beautiful as with the dust becoming man. A step in the orderly process of creation, if you will.
There is also a school of thought that in a prior civilization, angels took wives of humans and the resulting civilization was very corrupt and was destroyed. I know of only one verse that would suggest this idea: Genesis 6:1-2 And it came to pass when man began to multiply on the face of the earth and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair and they took them wives of all which they chose. But then this passage is about the flood and we will get to that later. We just do not know if there was a primitive civilization before Adam and Eve or if the same thing in the passage above happened in that civilization and received the same judgment as in Noah's day. There is much that is written down to study, so we will leave speculation for another day.
Jesus did say that he saw the devil fall from heaven and since he took a lot of angels with him, it must have had some effect when he landed. Luke 10:18 and Revelation 12: 7-9.
Jesus talking: Luke 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. You should read this whole passage. There is a comparison here between such things as this and eternal life. It is like Jesus was saying that compared to your name being written in heaven the casting out of Satan is no big deal. As we study, we will see many fascinating stories and miracles but as we study them, we should keep in mind that our relationship to God is the ultimate priority.
Revelation 12:7-9 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon: and the dragon fought and his angels. And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. Note that it is 'their' and not 'there' as I have read it for years. It is one thing to be cast out but to have your place removed is very final.
When exactly was Satan cast out? I don't know. I expect it was before he tempted Eve. He apparently still has access to God to some degree since he went there to complain about Job. Job 1:6 . I got the impression the old deceiver was there uninvited from reading the passage. Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord and Satan came also among them. Often in the best of company, Satan will show up to cause trouble. Watch out for him.
Let me tell you a story before I go to my other work and then class will be dismissed for today. It is just a story someone made up:
"The devil came to God and insisted he could make a man if God would let him. Finally, he was told to go ahead and try. 'Okay' said Satan 'I'll need some dirt.' 'Oh no. You have to make your own dirt!" was the answer he got."
I guess that sort of stumped him. Next time another chapter. It is ok to read ahead.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
If people can accept Genesis as truth, they are well on the way to a good relationship with God. After all, it is pretty discouraging to have a conversation with someone who denies every word from your mouth. There are at least three sticking points to get over here:
* God's existence
* God creating everything
* Bible is truth
By accepting the Bible as truth, the other two problems go away. Why would some people have trouble accepting that God exist? I think it is an ego problem and a guilt problem. Since God does exist, it can make a person feel very small and insignificant, IF you only look on the surface of the promise of God's word. On the other hand, if you look at the fact that the great God of the universe went to such great lenghts to redeem mankind then that makes us very important and not unsignificant at all.
As for guilt, if someone can convince themselves that God does not exist and that the Bible is just another book they falsely relieve themselves of the guidelines set down there for right and wrong. In other words, if there were no right and wrong, there would be no guilt or penalty for wrong. There is a problem with that thinking. Suppose you were in a burning building. Then someone who loves you screamed fire. Instead of believing the warning you stay in the building. Did not believing put out the flames? Or lessen the consequence? Or nullify the love of the one sounding the warning? I'm afraid some people are mad at God because sin came into the world and made it a very difficult place to live. That was someone else. God is telling us that sin will kill and reaches down his hand to help. We need to get over ourselves so we can get to God and all the good things He has in store for us. All that being said, I believe Genesis 1:1 --
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." See also the gospel of John chapter one. "In the beginning was the word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."
Special note: You make a beautiful garden filled with wonderful things and give it to your best friend. A stranger comes to your friend and clouds your mind concerning the sincerity of your gift. Your friend yields to the stranger and cast poison into the garden. The stranger laughs. The poison gets into the friend's system and poisons all his offspring as well. Then you find out about the stranger and the great wrong that has been done. You have a plan to clean up the mess. The friend you gave the garden to must understand the great plan you have and participate for it to work. Because your friend is truly your friend, you will not force them to accept your plan but you set out to explain it in great detail with stories and examples to prepare them for the day when the plan to clean them and their offspring of the poison spread by the stranger is initiated.
They do not understand at first but as time passes and the examples melt into their heart the time has come to undo the harm done by the stranger. Perhaps my story is not so good. But the old testament is God dealing with a special people with a special purpose all leading up to the events of the new testament.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Rev CI Scofield (the author of the references and footnotes of the Scofield Reference Bible) dates the beginning of Genesis at 4004 BC and says it covers 2315 years. The earthly author is Moses.
There have always been questions about how Moses could have known the details of the creation and subsequent events. It is not difficult for me to accept. In the first place, God has a perfect memory and could have told Moses everything. Another thing to consider is the long lives of people in early days. It seems entirely possible that Noah meet and talked with Adam. That is amazing.
As indicated in the poetic books of the Bible, people passed down stories in song form, from generation to generation. Historians suggest that the first written language came about in Sumer (present day Iraq). That is an interesting study in itself. It is my feeling that the first people were much more intelligent than later generations. Perhaps as the population grew, some parents started leaving notes for the children but then maybe they could tell them once and they remembered. Regardless of all that, I believe the details as we have them in Genesis are accurate and true.
The 50 chapters are filled with major events. The ones most familiar are perhaps the creation and the fall of man. The flood where only Noah and his family survived is the subject of many children's stories. It is more than about the animals though. It is preceded by a statement from God about the sad state of mankind. Years, of course, pass. We find a man called Abraham who loved and honored God above all else. He left on his journeys from Ur which has been traced to present day Iraq. Abraham's name was Abram at this point. Abram was not some country bumpkin. Thousands of books have been discovered in the city where he lived. He was probably very educated. There were a lot of idols in Ur but Abraham worshipped the one true God.
Abraham had a beautiful wife named Sarah. The son of his old age was Issac whose son was Jacob. Jacob became Israel and had twelve boys who fathered the tibes of Israel. Abraham also had a son by the bondwoman of Sarah whom she gave to Abraham that they might have a child. Sarah was barren at the time. Hagar was her name and she was Egyptian. The son's name was Ishmael. Genesis 16:12 pronounces his future. Genesis 17:20-21 gives the reason.
"And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren." "And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly: twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Issac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year."
We jump to the selling of Joseph and his life in Egypt. A great drought comes in the land and Joseph becomes the master of Pharaoh's crops by correctly intrepretating a dream the Pharaoh had. Jacob and his family are able to enter Egypt under the protection of his son Joseph where they live and grow into a multitude. A new Pharaoh puts them into slavery for 400 years but before Joseph died, after living a hundred and ten years, he prophesied of deliverance from Egypt and asked that his bones be removed upon their departure to Canaan where Abraham had lived for some years.
So, we have journeyed very rapidly from the creation to the promise of deliverance from a strange land to the promise land of Canaan. In Exodus, Moses is born to an Israelite but raised in the house of Pharaoh. But first we will look at some details of Genesis in the next lessons.
Special note: Think about Joseph going into the land of Egypt via the bitterness of his brothers. That tragedy in his life put him in a position to save his people. The Bible is filled with pictures and types that enlighten us on other parts of the Bible. Joseph is a type of Christ. He suffered so that He might save his people. Jesus too went down to Egypt but was brought out to the land of Canaan. He too suffered for our deliverance from the slavery of sin. Israel, as Joseph predicted, was taken out of Egypt to the promise land. We too will be removed from this troubled land to a better place. John chapter 14 tells of this promise : "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you. I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." You see the picture that Joseph promised deliverance long before it came and so we wait for our promise in which we fully trust.
Do you have some thoughts or questions about this great book of the Bible? Please share them by adding a comment.
Friday, August 18, 2006
To make these connections a good Bible concordance will help find scripture verses on the same or similiar subjects. Further, to help with difficult words or those where the meaning of a word is different today from when it was written in the Bible, a good Bible dictionary is valuable. Next, there are lots of commentaries on the Bible. Various Bible scholars and teachers have gone verse by verse in the Bible and explained the meaning and references. There are differences of opinion and different degrees of insight between the different authors but they are nevertheless very helpful.
Finally, but also the most important, I refer to the beginning of this post. The Bible is the first tool to get. Your study should start with a quick read through the entire Bible but that can also be done by reading a few chapters a day which should allow you to read the entire Bible in a year. I'd say get a Bible that is comfortable to hold and easy to read. You may want a larger one than what you carry to church. I have a Topical Reference Bible by Dugan which has the Bible in traditional format, by subject, a dictionary and a concordance all under one cover.
Now that we have our plan laid out, I will try to get together our first lesson on something exciting in the Bible.
Now to our topic. The Bible contains 66 books and is divided between the old and new testaments. I've never actually counted to see but they tell me that Psalm 119 is the largest and located in the middle of the Bible. Fascinating because the middle book of the Word is about the Word for the most part. Such as in verse 9 "Wherewithal shall a young man clense his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word." The old testament contains 39 books while the new contains 27. I believe the King James version was translated from Hebrew for the old testament and Greek for the new testament. I did not go to Bible school so any Bible scholars out there may jump in and correct me on that.
I believe the Bible as coming from the mouth of God. Many men put down the words as they received them as evidenced by different writing styles and their signatures. The Bible can be divided into different categories for study purposes. I do not remember a complete list but, of course, it starts with the books of Moses. The middle of the old testament is more poetic and the last part is prophetic, although prophecy is apparent thoughtout the Bible. The new testament starts with the four gospels and the book of Acts which tell the story of Jesus and the acts of the apostles and the young church immediately after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. After that there are letters written to churches and individuals giving instruction and testimony. The last book is called Revelation. It is often studied in conjunction with the book of Daniel in the old testament because of its description of future events.
The Bible is a wonderful book filled with stories, battles, the making of a great nation, the songs of a shepherd who became king, the rise and fall of empires, the beginning of humanity, our helplessness and hopelessness without God and a magnificent plan to redeem mankind. It is well worth our time to explore it's pages.