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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

GENESIS – An Expositional Overview of the Beginning of God’s Revelation: Introduction and Chapter One

Contributing commentaries by Sonny Islas and James Fire

Chapter One – by James Fire

INTRODUCTION:

Genesis means “beginnings” and in the case of this first book of the Bible, it means the beginning of creation, the beginning of mankind, and most importantly, the beginning of the revelation of God and His truth.

Genesis is the first of five books written by Moses, along with Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, together known by the Jewish people as the Torah and the Torah itself as the beginning of the TaNaKh (or as we call it, the Old Testament) – T = Torah (Teaching); N = Nev’im (Prophets); K = Ketuvim (Writings).

The first ten chapters of Genesis form the foundation of all the major doctrines of the Bible: theology – the study of God*; anthropology – the study of mankind; hamartiology – the study of sin; soteriology** – the study of salvation; angelology – the study of angels (holy and fallen); ecclesiology – the study of the church, represented in type by the first husband and wife, Adam and Eve symbolizing Christ and His bride, the church; eschatology – the study of last times or last things: these things are foreshadowed and foretold even in these ten chapters of this first book of the Scriptures!


*~ Theology “God” is first revealed as Eloheim (plural form of El, meaning the Strong One(s), or the Almighty One(s)), the triune God. He is also revealed as Adonai or “the LORD” or the Sovereign One – “King”. Then as YHWH – The Eternal One: the “LORD God”. We’ll address this some more in a bit . . .

** Soteriology Regarding GENESIS many people think about the creation account as being the main focus. Yet when we consider the two doctrines of creation and redemption (salvation) and look into the Word to see how much each of these is discussed:
We see just a couple of chapters here in GENESIS that reveals God’s creation. A couple more chapters in JOB, a smattering of verses throughout the Psalms and elsewhere in the Word and that’s about all.

What about the doctrine of redemption? It’s the highest point in GENESIS where we see God's declaration upon the serpent, revealing "the seed of the woman's" destiny to crush its head in GENESIS 3 as well as Abraham about to offer up his son in GENESIS 22 and there, God proclaims He will “provide Himself a Lamb (of God)”! Redemption is the primary focus in Exodus, the redemption of God’s people from Egypt; Leviticus is all about redemption, God giving specific instructions to the priests on offerings and sacrifices – all foreshadowing the Person of Christ. The Old Testament as well as the New, have as the highest subject, the redemption of souls.

Also: consider what it cost God to bring about the creation and the cost of redemption: God merely spoke the creation into existence with His spoken Word.
What did redemption cost Him? The life of His beloved and only begotten Son!

The book can be broken down into the following sections:

Chapter 1:1-2:25 - Creation; Chapter 3:1-4:7 - The fall of man into sin and its consequences; Chapter 4:8-5:32 - Cain and Seth: the two descendants of Adam; Chapter 6:1-8:14 - The flood account including Noah and the ark; Chapter 8:15-10:32 - Noah and his descendants and ‘the table of nations’ (Ch. 10); Chapter 11:1-26 - The building of the tower of Babel; then the Bible focuses on a specific individual: Chapter 12:1-21:34 - Abraham, the father of all believers; Chapter 22:1-26:33 - Isaac, the son of the promise; Chapter 26-37 - Jacob-Israel; the remainder of GENESIS then centers around: Chapter 37-50:26 - Joseph, who is a type or model of the rejected and glorified Christ.

This will be an overview of Genesis, not an exhaustive exposition, and so we will study the generalities of these chapters and give greater attention to the predominate passages found in each of them. Where time and opportunity permit, we may revisit certain chapters and get into the specifics of what God has revealed there.

A Review of Lambert Dolphin’s notes can be found here

GENESIS Chapter One:

GENESIS 1:1
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth
.

There are scholars who have spent a life time in examining this one passage, having discovered all sorts of profound truth from the original Hebrew. Even just a superficial examination of these ten words yields an abundance of biblical truth (INTERESTING that there are ten words in the opening statement of Scripture, not nine or eleven – but ten, ten being the number of Law or Order – as in the Ten Commandments)!
Interesting that the Bible does not start out with proof for the existence of God. The LORD inspired Moses to write from the foregone assumption that GOD does in fact, exist: the creation itself being a witness to this truth.

God created time “in the beginning” whereas before that point, there was only eternity without time itself, the place where God dwells (ISAIAH 57:15).
He created space “the heavens” – three realms: terrestrial space, the atmosphere that’s surrounding our world; the celestial space, that is, outer space where the stars, galaxies, the entire universe exists and the heavenly space (“heavenly places”), the spiritual domain where the angelic race dwells and where God interacts with them.
He created matter represented by “the earth” which is derived from energy. Matter and energy are the same on a sub-atomic level: matter is simply energy at rest, energy is matter in motion.

He “created” all three: time, space and matter out of nothing (“barah”) except His spoken Word. We can’t create the way that God did. We can only take existing materials and refine and re-shape them into new forms. I can take a tree and make a piece of furniture out of it, but when God spoke, He created trees from nothing.

The very first Hebrew word in this very first sentence of this very first chapter of this very first book of the Bible is “bereshit” [literally “at the head” – “a beginner” as well as “a beginning”] and the first Hebrew letter of this word is “bet”, meaning “house” (even Hebrew letters have meanings!). When God fashioned all of creation, He created a ‘two-story house’ – the upstairs (“heaven”) is His domain and that of the angels, and the downstairs (“the Earth”) is the domain of man and the animals. There are many rooms in our Father’s House (JOHN 14:2).

GENESIS 1:2
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
.

In ISAIAH 45:18 it says:
For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else.
Here we see the first mention of the Earth – this terrestrial ball that He created and “hanged upon nothing” (JOB 26:7). The LORD desires order, balance, beauty in His creation – not chaos and disorder. So, as the Earth was here initially “without form” (8414) [tohuw – to lie waste, a desert, wilderness, worthless, desolation, confusion”] and “void” (922) [bohuw – “to be empty, an indistinguishable ruin, an emptiness”]. It was rather like a lump of clay before the potter – formless, without meaning. But once the potter completes his work, there is a vase or some other vessel of beauty and useful for some purpose.

Likewise, the LORD is about to work with these ‘raw materials’ that He spoke into existence and build an orderly, functional creation both beautiful and useful for His great glory.
Here is verse 2, it speaks of “darkness” and in the following verse “light” is mentioned. We will examine the meaning of these words, as well as “day” and “night” in the following verses.

We have here at “the beginning”, the mention of “God” in vs. 1 and in vs. 2 “the Spirit of God” – in the next verse, we see that “God said” in vs. 3, that is, that He spoke His Word. Thus, we see here the Father, the Spirit and the Word – the triune God – “Eloheim”, which incidentally is a plural form (In Hebrew a plural form is created by adding “im” at the end. So, one cherub is a single super-angel; two or more of these super-angels would be cherubim. “Eloheim” referring to these Three Members of the Godhead:

ROMANS 1:20
For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they
[unbelievers] are without excuse:
So, creation is a testament to the truth of a Creator God, which man in his attempt to deny by the promotion of evolution, cannot deny, any more than he can deny the reality of God’s intricate and dizzying details of design! More about evolution and being equipped to answer this deceptive lie near the end of this teaching . . .

John the apostle echoes the words of GEN 1:1, further demonstrating that the WORD was integral in the creation of the universe:

JOHN 1:1-5
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not
. (See also COL 1:15-17).
GENESIS 1:3-4
And God said
(1x), Let there be light: and there was light
. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

Here in vs. 3 we read for the first time, “God said”. Chapter One records that this happens ten times altogether; mentioned again in vss. 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 28 and 29. Remember that biblically speaking, ten represents “law and order”. 

Now we have a distinction between darkness (2822) [chosek – the darkness, misery, destruction, death, ignorance] - and light (216) [owr- illumination, lightening, happiness, clear, daylight, the opposite of darkness]. 

When God saw the light, “that it was good” He likewise observes other aspects of His creation, pronouncing “that it was good” until the sixth day, when He created man, and it was then that He pronounced “it was very good” (GEN 1:31) – He makes this statement for a total of seven times, seven is the biblical number for “completeness” And so God’s creation was completed on day six.


GENESIS 1:5 
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

The Hebrew word for “day” is yom. It can refer to a period of time such as an era or an age – “This is the day that the LORD has made” (PSALM 118:24) and “the Day of the LORD” (JOEL 1:15) are such examples of this. 

Yet whenever “yom” is coupled together with a numeric, it almost always represents a day as in a 24-hour period and this is the case with the creation account documented in GENESIS 1:5-31

Light and darkness corresponds with “evening” (6153) [erev – evening, mingled, to be mingled together, i.e. as in jumbled together] and “morning” (1242) [boker – the dawn, morning, to change from night to day, dawning] but why is it expressed in this way, and not as we think it should be, as “morning and evening”? 

The Hebrew words for evening and for morning, while having the plain meaning of nightfall and dawn, may also be seen from their root words in Hebrew as meaning 'erev' “a mixture as in disorder or chaos”. And 'boker' ascribes to the idea of “order” (from bikoret – “orderly”).
This makes sense then that evening is mentioned before morning, because as the Earth was without form and void – in a state of disorder, God, over the period of six days brought an increasing state of order from the disorder, concluding each day with the pronouncement of “evening and morning” or “from disorder to order”. 

We know that God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all (1 JOHN 1:5); that He is perfect in Order, in Logic, in Mind, He is the WORD (JOHN 1:1; Greek: logos) and in Him there is no disorder or chaos at all.

Just as God established a division between this physical darkness and light, so too there is a division between lies, deception, chaos, disorder and evil from truth, understanding, order, discernment, goodness and holiness – and what makes this distinction between truth and falsehoods is the Word of God, the Creator of all things and the Giver of the Holy Scriptures. Interesting that the sun, moon and stars are not yet formed, this doesn’t happen until vs.14. 

So, what is the source of this light? Some say that this is God Himself, and while this may be so, I think that the LORD simply created energy that produced light that corresponds to the darkness which itself is also physical.

GENESIS 1:6-8
And
God said
(2x), Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
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.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day
.

Here is the second time that “God said” – His spoken Word commands His creation and the LORD divides this “firmament” (7549) [raqiya – an expanse, visible arch of the sky, something fixed and steadfast; a fixed, unchanging space. One could say the firmament is as ‘firm as cement’]. 

He established this firmament in the midst of the waters, that is, in the middle of this water. So, there was water below and above this newly created atmosphere.
Our atmosphere has many spherical layers such as: the exosphere, the thermosphere, the mesosphere, the stratosphere and the troposphere. These are unchanged since their creation, just as the stars in their constellations, the planets and galaxies – while they are ever in motion, they remain fixed in their relational position to each other.

There was an enormous volume of water vapor contained in our terrestrial firmament. Then the LORD divided this water in two separate planes. The water below became the world’s water supply represented in rivers and lakes and seas. The other part of this water supply, God placed “above the firmament” – that is, covering the outer surface of our atmosphere.

Creationists believe that this canopy of water is what shielded the Earth from radiation emitted by the sun which would shorten our lives – that’s one possible reason why, up until the days of Noah, people lived extraordinarily long lives. Such a canopy would diffuse the light and heat from the sun, creating a blissful weather condition, moderate in temperature with no violent storms or meteorological conditions. A perfect environment!

It’s possible that when the LORD returns and inaugurates the Millennial period, that He will restore this canopy over the atmosphere and so, increase the lifespan of people at that time, which Scripture indicates (ISAIAH 65:19-21).

The belief that when the Flood occurred and “the windows of heaven were opened” that this canopy collapsed and contributed greatly to the deluge that covered the Earth.

Video on the Pre-Flood Canopy Above the Firmament 



GENESIS 1:9-10
And God said (3x), 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 the Seas: and God saw that it was good
.

Here the LORD is again dividing. He divided the waters by the firmament, and now He divides the water below the firmament from what appears next: the land. So, we have a geography now, a landscape as well as a seascape.

GENESIS 1:11-13
And
God said
(4x), 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
.

Here now we see that the Earth is bringing forth grass and other vegetation and fruits from such plant life, bearing seed. This is all happening on the third day (vs. 13). A study in the Bible of all things that happen on “the third day” is very productive.
The greatest of these events is of course the resurrection of Christ! And even here in GEN 1:13 we see a hint of this, for it’s in this verse we read about “seeds” which must be planted in the earth, and once it arises in plant growth, produces life-sustaining food. Trees here are created that likewise bear life-sustaining food. Now consider:

JOHN 12:24
24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain
.
And of course, there is the blessed tree of Eternal Life, where our LORD paid the penalty for our sins and granted to us His Spirit.

Also take note of the phrase: “after his kind” – this phrase is also seen regarding animal life, just as it is here referring to plant life. “After his kind” means that the reproduction of life forms, plant or animal, will be replicated exactly as the former generation.
A robin, a rabbit, and a rhinoceros; as well as a hog, a humming bird and a human are essentially the same as the very first examples as God created them. In other words, no evolution – but rather a consistent reproduction “after his kind”. Make a copy of a document on a copier machine: it will be an exact match to the original. Make a copy of that copy, will it be the same? What if you continued to do this dozens of times? Will the words and letters change at all? Will the writing become more complex and sophisticated? No, they will produce after its kind! It’s the same with living creatures – the DNA used to build them all remains the same!

GENESIS 1:14-19
And
God said
(5x), 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:
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
.
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
.

Here now, we see God creating the heavenly bodies in the universe: the stars and the galaxies that they dwell in. He created these with purpose – firstly to give light and also to measure the passing of seasons as well as for days, and years. Also “for signs” – and what does this mean?

There is some credible study, that we don’t have time to get into detail in this teaching, but please be encouraged to check out AMOS ministries three-part article here:


Briefly, the stars were “for signs”, each of the constellations representing arch-types that explains the Gospel message. The astrological horoscope that is widely known in the occult is a perversion of these 12 signs, but they were originally meant to explain God’s Plan of the Ages:

Which gives a whole different meaning to the statement made by David:

PSALM 19:1-2
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge
.
We see also a beautiful type of Christ and His bride, the church, in the creation of the Sun – the greater light, and the moon, the lesser light. Just as the sun generates light from its own power, so the LORD Jesus Christ, the “Sun of righteousness” (MICAH 4:2) Who is “the light of the world” (JOHN 8:12), grants to us His church this holy light, which we reflect from our lives and become God’s light to this world in sinful darkness and night (MATT 5:14).

GENESIS 1:20-23
And
God said
(6x), 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.
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
.

The LORD in His mind-boggling ability of diversity in His creation has revealed His artistic handiwork in the enormous numbers of various species represented by “kinds”. There are approximately 1.2 million known species of animals, but scientists estimate there are closer to 8.7 million species on earth. Scientists have only managed to document 14% of living species. The remaining 86% of species that are estimated to exist have yet to be discovered!

The Bible uses the term “kind.” The Bible’s first use of this word (Hebrew: min) is found in Genesis 1 when God creates plants and animals “according to their kinds.” It is used again in Genesis 6 and 8 when God instructs Noah to take two of every kind of land-dwelling, air-breathing animal onto the ark and also in God’s command for the animals to reproduce after the Flood. A plain reading of the text infers that plants and animals were created to reproduce within the boundaries of their kind.

For more on this, see the article by ANSWERS IN GENESIS: What Are “Kinds” in Genesis?

GENESIS 1:24-25
And
God said
(7x), 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 everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good
.

The theory of evolution denies the biblical account of creation and promotes the idea of the evolvement from one lower species to another species of a higher order, progressing from simple organisms to complex organisms. 

By denying the biblical account of each “after his kind”, by denying the existence of God as creator, students indoctrinated in this theory dismiss the account found here in GENESIS as simply Hebrew mythology. And denying the creation account throws suspicion on the rest of GENESIS, which in turn takes the support for the rest of the Bible away.

If evolution is true, then death has been going on for millions of years before ‘Adam’ and so Adam’s fall into sin brought about no other tragic consequence that hadn’t been happening long before him. If sin has no meaningful consequence, then Christ’s death on the cross for our sins was unnecessary, invalid and misleading.

For excellent sites on creation and refutation of evolutionary theory see the following:

Also see the following video: 

Wonders of God’s Creation – Animal Kingdom




GENESIS 1:26
And
God said
(8x), 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.

After having created the plant life, and then the animal life, the LORD God reaches a crescendo, a climatic pinnacle of creation – on this sixth day, He creates man (six is the biblical number of man). 

He is made in the image of God: in one respect, just as God is a triune being, three in one, we are also a triune being, three in one: we have a physical body (soma in the Greek), a soul (psuche) and a spirit (pneuma); (1 THESS 5:23).


In another respect, we are created in the image of God in that we are self-aware; we have a spiritual part to us – animals aren’t created this way. We were made with minds and rational thought, with the ability to reason, and to exercise free will and possess a conscience that instructs us on what is good and what is bad. Morally, humanity was created in righteousness and perfect innocence, a reflection of God’s holiness.

It is this likeness that was marred, stained, ruined when sin entered into the world through the fall of Adam.


This image is entirely restored by the redemptive work of Christ in the life of the believer and will know even greater heights in its completion when we are brought Home in our glorified state (1 JOHN 3:2).

GENESIS 1:27
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them
.

Here we understand that God created both man and woman in His image; the one is not ‘more’ the image of God than the other but are both bear this image equally the same. This demonstrates the equality of man and woman in their relationship to God. 

While Adam was made the leader by God, and Eve his help mate, these are simply roles that God directed them to fulfill and by no means insinuates an inferior state of the woman, but that there are qualities of the woman that the man would necessarily render strength, support and protection for her, just as Christ looks after His bride, the church!

1 PETER 3:7
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered
.
GENESIS 1:28
And God blessed them, and
God said
(9x) 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.

The LORD God established Adam and Eve as the stewards of the Earth, to have dominion as sovereigns over God’s creation. In this sense, Adam became a regent, or a ruler of this world by God’s command.

It was when Adam obeyed the voice of his wife, who was herself instructed by the serpent and fell into sin, that the ruling over this world was transferred to Satan and he became the ruler or as 2 CORINTHIANS 4:4 puts it, the “god of this world.”

GENESIS 1:29-30
And
God said
(10x), 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 everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so
.

Note here that everyone is a vegetarian; there is no consumption of meat – there is no animal death resulting from such a diet of meat. In God’s original creation, all the nutrients needed for robust life and health was contained in vegetation.

GENESIS 1:31
And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day
.

No where else in this passage did God pronounce at the end of the creation day that “it was very good” except here. Obviously in the creation of man and woman, God makes such a declaration, for it is with us that His ultimate story would be told and the destiny of the world will be established – not through the angelic race, but the human race, and prophetically speaking, the ruling of all of God’s established order by the Son of man, the LORD Jesus Christ Himself!

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