LESSON ONE * PART I * BOOK 1 Attributes of God Genesis 1:1- 5 "Transcriberís note: Shortly after the television program began airing on Channel 53 in Denver, a listener from Longmont, Colorado, Sharon Congdon, asked permission to transcribe the first couple of books. Then, Nancy Carter, who had been so instrumental in getting the Tulsa class going, volunteered to prepare the manuscripts for the printer. The ministry will always be grateful for these two ladies in getting the printing of our little books off the ground. Both of these ladies did this as a labor of love with no compensation except what the Lord is laying up for them in heaven. After the first four lessons had played on television for a few years, Les decided that he wanted to re-tape those programs. So in 1997 this was accomplished, and this is the transcription of those lessons. We have also decided that we would go ahead and transcribe more completely all of those first two books." Now as we begin this first program we trust that as we open the Word that you will learn, and grow in the Grace and knowledge, which is why the Lord has left us here. Now letís just get right into the meat of the Word of God, and since weíre going to be following a format of "Through the Bible" as our program title indicates, weíll be starting in the Book of Genesis, but before we start looking at the Scriptures which we will probably do in our next program, for this lesson today I just want to give an overview of the plan of the ages that the Almighty Triune God precipitated sometime way back in eternity past. Thatís when, according to Acts chapter 2, the Triune God met in counsel, and with the foreknowledge of God, set everything in motion. Of course the beauty of Bible study is to see that God as Sovereign as He is, nevertheless let men and nations exercise their free will and yet here we are as close as we can tell nearly 6000 years from the creation of manís beginning. Also everything since that time has fallen right in place according to Godís timetable. Now how He does that without making human beings simply robots is beyond our understanding, but itís so factual, and we can see it. Everything that was prophesied concerning His first coming was all fulfilled to the last jot and tittle. Everything that has been more or less prophesied concerning the end time, we can now see that these prophecies are falling into place. And itís all according to His timetable, and yet He has never made man or governments just robots. So as we consider the subject matter in this half hour we want to look at the overall scheme of things as God laid it out from eternity past beginning with the creation of man. Now I donít like to get involved with controversy to the origin of the universe. I always say, so what. What difference does it make, because the main thing we have to understand is at sometime in the past, "God created it out of nothing" and weíll be covering that in the next lesson. At this time Iím going to put a timeline on the chalkboard, and Iíve been doing this now for the 20 some years that Iíve been teaching. I also want to explain why I prefer a chalkboard, and why I put information on the timeline as we teach rather than using transparencies, overheads, and some of the other technologies. Way back in my college days, if I had a professor who would write the things he was teaching on the chalkboard as he taught, then I could identify with it, and could write it in my notes and could remember it. On the other hand I could look at something that was pre-prepared and laid out on a note page for me, and when test time came I didnít know it. So Iím still using that same old format, that when I put it on the board, I want you to possibly put it on your own note page. I think I personally have lead more completely indifferent, and ungodly (no sign of God in their life) people from that kind of background to a knowledge of salvation using this timeline than any other one thing. I remember years ago, a gentlemen came up to my ranch, and it was at the end of a long day of ranching. I got off my tractor and he was waiting for me. He had a lot of questions, so I took him into the house and set a cup of coffee in front of him, I ask him, "Well where are you coming from? What are you thinking?" And Iíll never forget the question he asked me, and Iíve said many, many times, that I wish more people would ask that same question, and it relates to the biggest problem in Christianity and the world today. His question was, "Who in the world is Jesus Christ?" You see, the world doesnít really know who He is. In our study of the Corinthian letters show how He is above every name. He is above everything that has ever been named or created. And one day Heís going to defeat the final enemy of mankind, death itself. But itís the same Jesus Christ that created the universe. Ephesians 3:9 "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ." Remember as we lay out this timeline it brings the whole Bible into focus, so I would encourage you to learn to use this timeline. Many people have shared with me, "this timeline is what got them interested, this is what began to make sense out of what the Bible is saying." So Iím going to go over to the very left hand end of the timeline and begin. And remember this timeline will show the unfolding of human history which is Godís term for His story. Weíll start back here with the creation of Adam and Eve at approximately 4004 BC, and weíll just keep moving on up through time. As you can see I already have the cross out here in about the middle of the timeline, so I always like to go to about the middle between Adam and the cross and put in the man Abraham, and that would be at 2000 BC. But before we move on toward the cross after Abraham, letís back up about 400 years from Abraham to Noahís flood, and that would make the flood at approximately 2400 BC. In other words, about 400 years before Abraham comes on the scene we have the flood of Noah. So from Adam to the flood is a period of about 1600 years during which time the whole human race had opportunity to have a knowledge of God after the format that He gave to Cain and Abel, that if they would bring a blood sacrifice when they sinned, God would accept them on the basis of their faith, but for the most part the human race then was no different than it is now, and so they walked it all underfoot, until finally God had to destroy them. Now coming back to our timeline, we have one other important event that took place between Noahís flood and Abraham at approximately 2200 BC or 200 years before Abraham and that was the Tower of Babel. The one thing that I always like to emphasize when we teach the Tower of Babel is that every false religion, every pagan religion, every cult, every mythological, every idolatrous religion, has itís roots at the Tower of Babel. Remember God had ordered mankind to scatter after the flood, and they would not. So that group of people was determined to find an alterative way to approach God, and that was the whole idea of the Tower of Babel. It was a place of false worship. So from the Tower of Babel for the next 200 years the human race just goes deeper and deeper in false religions so that by the time you get to the call of Abraham at 2000 BC, I maintain that there wasnít a single believer in the true God left on earth. Once again the whole human race has succumbed to Satanís counterfeit religions which had begun at Babel. In other words, they were all idolaters including Abraham himself. Joshua 24:2 "And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor, and they served other gods." So after that debacle at the Tower of Babel, God does something totally different when He calls out Abraham. Remember from Adam to Abraham, approximately 2000 years mankind has had opportunity of experiencing a salvation as Adam, Abel, Noah and so forth, but for the most part mankind had rejected it. So God had seen in 2000 years of human history man would not succumb to His offer of simply being obedient and believing what He said, and so now Heís going to do something totally different, when He calls out this man Abram (Abraham). God is going to bring out of this river of humanity thatís headed for a lost eternity, this one man Abraham. Heís going to give him a covenant in Genesis chapter 12, and Heís going to tell this man, "that out of him will come a nation of people, the nation of Israel or as we better know them "the Jews." So from Genesis chapter 12 all the way up into our New Testament, the Bible is dealing almost totally with the nation of Israel. Genesis 12:1-3 "Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy fatherís house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee, shall all families of the earth be blessed." God put that nation of people in one geographical area of land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, which we call the Holy Land. The ancients even before Abraham, for one reason or another referred to that land as the Divine land, and they didnít really know why. It was evident that God had his finger on that little piece of real estate. Well after Abraham had been promised a nation of people, in a geographical area of land, the third part of that covenant, as we always emphasize, was the coming of a government, in the person of a king. So here is the beginning, then, of God dealing with the nation of Israel, under covenant promises, and is setting the stage for the coming of their King who would be the government. You know common sense tells you that you canít have a nation of people operating as a society if there is no kind of a government, because then all you have is anarchy. Of course that happened often in Israelís history. The Book of Judges tells us so plainly as we see in the last verse of the Book. Judges 21:25 "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes." Well thatís anarchy, but they had that constant promise out there in front of them, that the time would come when God would provide their government in the person of the King, the Messiah, who would be the Son of God! So your whole Old Testament, whether itís history, Psalms, or the Books of the prophets, is preparing the nation of Israel for the coming of their King, and their Messiah, and Redeemer, because there had to be salvation before any of the rest of the promises could come to past. Now then as we come up through the Old Testament, and we reach the time of Christ and His three years of earthly ministry, this is going to be the whole vortex of His ministry. The reason for all His signs and miracles was to prove to this nation of Israel that He was the Messiah, and a lot of people miss this. They think He performed His miracles only out of compassion, because He felt so sorry for the sick, blind and so forth. Now that was certainly true, but the main thrust of His signs, miracles and wonders was to prove to the nation of Israel who He was. Weíll emphasize that when we get to our study of the four gospels. For example in Matthew chapter 16 as they have nearly come to the end of that 3 years of earthly ministry, and Jesus and the twelve are up there in northern Israel, up at the head waters of the Jordan River, and Jesus asked them the question: Matthew 16:13b-16 "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14. And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elisas; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." When we read those portions, I always point out to people, Peter didnít add anything about the cross to his profession of faith because he didnít know about the cross. Peter doesnít say a word about resurrection, because he doesnít know about the resurrection, and yet Peter said everything that needed to be said, because Jesus never said a word against it, but rather He commended him by saying: Matthew 16:17 "Blessed art thou; Simon Barjonia, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." So was Peter right? Absolutely he was right, and we see this throughout the four gospels account. Then there was Martha at the account of Lazarusís death, and she was a little up tight you know that Jesus had been absent when He should have been there to heal him from his sick bed, but Jesusí answer was what? John 11:23-27 "Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24. Martha said unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. (then Jesus gave that classic answer) 25. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. 26. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 27. She said unto him, Yea, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world." Then you can come all the way up to Saulís conversion, before the Gospel of Grace had even been whispered, and Saul has that tremendous conversion experience on the road to Damascus. After he had his body replenished with food, and heíd gotten his sight back, he goes straight to the synagogue of the Jews, and what does he preach? Acts 9:20 "And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God." So the whole thrust of the Old Testament promises is that their government, in the person of the King and Messiah and Redeemer, would one day come to the nation of Israel. Well we know now from history, as well as from the Book, that Israel didnít believe who Jesus was, for the most part. Only a small percentage believed that He was the Promised One, and so the majority cried out for His death. And that is where we have another classic statement, which was word for word from the Old Testament Scriptures "Weíll not have this man to rule over us!" And so Rome carried it out at Israelís request and He was crucified. Alright then, that takes us into that area of the timeline beyond the cross when Israel now, because of their rejection, is funneled back into the mainstream of humanity which we call the dispersion. This is when they were sent into every nation under heaven. This is when the temple was destroyed, and the priesthood was destroyed, and when Israel almost loses her national identity, for sure, as they are dispersed into the main line of humanity. And it was all because they rejected their Messiah and their opportunity for their king. But you see, even though Satan may have thought that he had won the victory here, he may have thought he was close to destroying everything that was prophesied through the nation of Israel. But Satan didnít know that just shortly before 70 A.D. when the temple would be destroyed, that God raises up the other apostle, the Apostle Paul. It was through Paulís preaching of the Gospel of the Grace of God, God pulls out a people for His name which the Bible calls the Body of Christ, which is the Church. Itís a whole new concept which was never known back here in the Old Testament or the four gospels or even in the early Book of Acts. They had no idea that God would, without Israel, pull off of the mainstream of Gentile humanity, as well as the Jew, and would put them into one Body, which we call the Church, and itís all by Grace. And so here on the timeline a few years after the cross I like to call this unknown period of time the Age of Grace, the calling out of a people by His name. This period has been going on now for 1900 + years. Now when the Church is complete and filled up then God has to take it out. So I am a strong proponent of the Rapture of the Church just shortly before the beginning of that final seven years. The Old Testament prophesied this final seven years of Tribulation, and always split it into, 3 Ĺ and 3 Ĺ . So as we come to the end of the Church Age and she is taken out of the way by what we call the Rapture, and God can then finish where He had left off with Israel back here where they crucified their king. Again, we know that the Scripture is so meticulous all the way through prophecy. I guess I could take you back, at least mentally, to Daniel chapter 2. And you remember that great dream of Nebuchadnezzar, and how he lost his dream, and couldnít remember it? But Daniel was brought out of his place and because of this interpretation he was elevated to the second man in the kingdom. But nevertheless, Daniel recovered the dream and interpreted it. And the dream, you remember was a great image of a human man. And his head was made of gold. The chest area was made of silver. The belly area of brass. The legs of iron. And then the ten toes were made of mixture of iron and clay. Now you want to remember that as you come down the line of these metals we go from the most valuable, gold, all the way down to the least valuable, iron, and that which was isnít even good for anything and thatís the iron and the clay. But the Scripture says that Babylon was that first empire. It was the greatest empire that the world, up to that time, had ever seen. But the amazing thing that it says is that an inferior empire would destroy it. I can remember about 25 or 30 years ago thatís the word that made me dig a little deeper. How could he call an empire that would defeat another empire "inferior". Well, when you come down these metals, as Iíve already mentioned, you go from gold to silver to brass to iron, which are decreasing in value, but they are increasing in their hardness, or their ability to be used for manufacture. In other words, I always give the example that you certainly wouldnít make a plow with gold, even though it was as cheap as dirt because it has no strength. But iron, then, is the metal of choice. So what we have it a descending value which shows the descending ability of government to govern from an absolute dictator such as Nebuchadnezzar, down to the Medes and Persians who now had to have the consensus of two to the Greek Empire which was divided before 4 generals (you had to have a consensus of four) and then you come down to the Roman Empire, which was the first republic in human history. Yes, the Romans had a senate. If you remember correctly it was a senator who assassinated Julius Caesar. And then you come down to a weaker consortium of material and thatís the iron and clay, which we feel is the revived Roman Empire, which is coming upon western Europe even tonight. Now then, what is the opposite? Well, as they ascended in military power, they descended in political power. Thatís the quickest way I can explain it. And so everything through human history is an increase in military power of one kingdom over the next. But as the next empire came along and divided the authority, it weakened their political structure. You know we love democracy, absolutely we do. But when it comes to getting things done, itís the most inefficient government that man ever dreamed of. And yet, we can see that prophetically the world had to come to the place where we are tonight. And that is that every little nation from here to Timbuktu wants to have a democratic form of government. Who would have ever dreamed 50 years ago that the world in general would come under democratic forms of government? Itís prophetic! When you get down to the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzarís vision, all of our democratic governments are as weak as cotton thread. And if you donít believe that all you have to do is look what happened in Albania just a few months ago. Just over the fact of losing their investments, the little nation went into total anarchy. Well, that would have never happened under a strong armed dictator. But under a republic form of government, or a democratic form of government, the people can topple a government just by simply marching down the street. And this is what causes the instability. So the Churchís is going to be Raptured out and the last 7 years of Tribulation comes to an end with the Second Coming of Christ as Iíve already shown here on the timeline. At that time Christ will return at His Second Coming and then He will be ready to set up the Kingdom that has been promised to Israel ever since Genesis chapter 12. And so there we have in this sort of an overall nutshell, the whole picture of human history from Adam to the cross, to the calling out of the Body of Christ, the Church, whereupon the Tribulation will come in under the rule of the anti-Christ, another world ruler. And then at the end of that Christ returns victoriously and the earth will revert back as it was in the Garden of Eden. And then we go into those final 1,000 years when He will rule and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. LESSON ONE * PART II * BOOK 1 Attributes of God Genesis 1:1-5 Now weíre going to start with Genesis chapter 1:1 in this lesson, and we would invite you to take your Bible and follow along with us as we study Godís Word. As you study with us you might also take notes as the people here in the studio do, because itís the only way to really get involved in Bible study. I trust that you donít just read your Bible, because you have to learn how to study it, and I think thatís the reason the Lord constructed it the way He did. He did not just lay it out in 8th grade reading form, but rather all these little tidbits are buried, and you just have to compare Scripture with Scripture to dig them out. Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Weíll be taking this rather slowly, in fact in our study format, Genesis is something that we take verse by verse. We will almost take it that slowly in the Book of Exodus, but there will be parts of the Old Testament that we will just skim over rather lightly. And then weíll come back into a Book like Daniel, and take it pretty maticulously, then the four gospels, and when we get to the Book of Acts, I definitely teach that Book verse by verse, as well as all of Paulís epistles. But for starters now letís look at the very first verse in the Bible. Genesis 1:1a "In the beginning GodÖ" Now thereís where I usually stop. Like I said in the last lesson, we donít know when in the beginning was, and I donít concern myself whether itís billions of years or if itís thousands, I say it really doesnít make that much difference, but what does make a difference is "WHO" started it all? GOD! So in the beginning whenever it was, God started it all. Here we have the term of Deity spelled G-O-D in our English, but in the Hebrew it was Eloheim. And Eloheim in the Hebrew is a plural word. If you have a text in your Old Testament that refers to the pagan gods, plural, itís the same Hebrew word only without the capitalization. Itís the small "e"- eloheim. And so itís the Triune God of a plurality of persons. And Iím a stickler in that I am a firm believer in the Trinity, or the Triune God. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Now always remember that none of them supercede, or are above one of the others. They are all co-equal. And we see this teaching throughout all of Scripture. Now, in the beginning, whenever it was, God, the Triune Godhead createdÖ Now again, the word in the Hebrew is "Barah", which means "called out of nothing". I think this is so important. God didnít start with something and then somehow rearrange it. He started with absolutely nothing but Himself. And out of that nothingness He called the universe into being.
LESSON ONE * PART I * BOOK 1
Attributes of God
Genesis 1:1- 5
"Transcriberís note: Shortly after the television program began airing on Channel 53 in Denver, a listener from Longmont, Colorado, Sharon Congdon, asked permission to transcribe the first couple of books. Then, Nancy Carter, who had been so instrumental in getting the Tulsa class going, volunteered to prepare the manuscripts for the printer. The ministry will always be grateful for these two ladies in getting the printing of our little books off the ground. Both of these ladies did this as a labor of love with no compensation except what the Lord is laying up for them in heaven. After the first four lessons had played on television for a few years, Les decided that he wanted to re-tape those programs. So in 1997 this was accomplished, and this is the transcription of those lessons. We have also decided that we would go ahead and transcribe more completely all of those first two books."
Now as we begin this first program we trust that as we open the Word that you will learn, and grow in the Grace and knowledge, which is why the Lord has left us here. Now letís just get right into the meat of the Word of God, and since weíre going to be following a format of "Through the Bible" as our program title indicates, weíll be starting in the Book of Genesis, but before we start looking at the Scriptures which we will probably do in our next program, for this lesson today I just want to give an overview of the plan of the ages that the Almighty Triune God precipitated sometime way back in eternity past. Thatís when, according to Acts chapter 2, the Triune God met in counsel, and with the foreknowledge of God, set everything in motion.
Of course the beauty of Bible study is to see that God as Sovereign as He is, nevertheless let men and nations exercise their free will and yet here we are as close as we can tell nearly 6000 years from the creation of manís beginning. Also everything since that time has fallen right in place according to Godís timetable. Now how He does that without making human beings simply robots is beyond our understanding, but itís so factual, and we can see it. Everything that was prophesied concerning His first coming was all fulfilled to the last jot and tittle. Everything that has been more or less prophesied concerning the end time, we can now see that these prophecies are falling into place. And itís all according to His timetable, and yet He has never made man or governments just robots.
So as we consider the subject matter in this half hour we want to look at the overall scheme of things as God laid it out from eternity past beginning with the creation of man. Now I donít like to get involved with controversy to the origin of the universe. I always say, so what. What difference does it make, because the main thing we have to understand is at sometime in the past, "God created it out of nothing" and weíll be covering that in the next lesson.
At this time Iím going to put a timeline on the chalkboard, and Iíve been doing this now for the 20 some years that Iíve been teaching. I also want to explain why I prefer a chalkboard, and why I put information on the timeline as we teach rather than using transparencies, overheads, and some of the other technologies. Way back in my college days, if I had a professor who would write the things he was teaching on the chalkboard as he taught, then I could identify with it, and could write it in my notes and could remember it. On the other hand I could look at something that was pre-prepared and laid out on a note page for me, and when test time came I didnít know it. So Iím still using that same old format, that when I put it on the board, I want you to possibly put it on your own note page. I think I personally have lead more completely indifferent, and ungodly (no sign of God in their life) people from that kind of background to a knowledge of salvation using this timeline than any other one thing.
I remember years ago, a gentlemen came up to my ranch, and it was at the end of a long day of ranching. I got off my tractor and he was waiting for me. He had a lot of questions, so I took him into the house and set a cup of coffee in front of him, I ask him, "Well where are you coming from? What are you thinking?" And Iíll never forget the question he asked me, and Iíve said many, many times, that I wish more people would ask that same question, and it relates to the biggest problem in Christianity and the world today. His question was, "Who in the world is Jesus Christ?" You see, the world doesnít really know who He is. In our study of the Corinthian letters show how He is above every name. He is above everything that has ever been named or created. And one day Heís going to defeat the final enemy of mankind, death itself. But itís the same Jesus Christ that created the universe.
"And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ."
Remember as we lay out this timeline it brings the whole Bible into focus, so I would encourage you to learn to use this timeline. Many people have shared with me, "this timeline is what got them interested, this is what began to make sense out of what the Bible is saying." So Iím going to go over to the very left hand end of the timeline and begin. And remember this timeline will show the unfolding of human history which is Godís term for His story.
Weíll start back here with the creation of Adam and Eve at approximately 4004 BC, and weíll just keep moving on up through time. As you can see I already have the cross out here in about the middle of the timeline, so I always like to go to about the middle between Adam and the cross and put in the man Abraham, and that would be at 2000 BC. But before we move on toward the cross after Abraham, letís back up about 400 years from Abraham to Noahís flood, and that would make the flood at approximately 2400 BC. In other words, about 400 years before Abraham comes on the scene we have the flood of Noah.
So from Adam to the flood is a period of about 1600 years during which time the whole human race had opportunity to have a knowledge of God after the format that He gave to Cain and Abel, that if they would bring a blood sacrifice when they sinned, God would accept them on the basis of their faith, but for the most part the human race then was no different than it is now, and so they walked it all underfoot, until finally God had to destroy them.
Now coming back to our timeline, we have one other important event that took place between Noahís flood and Abraham at approximately 2200 BC or 200 years before Abraham and that was the Tower of Babel. The one thing that I always like to emphasize when we teach the Tower of Babel is that every false religion, every pagan religion, every cult, every mythological, every idolatrous religion, has itís roots at the Tower of Babel. Remember God had ordered mankind to scatter after the flood, and they would not. So that group of people was determined to find an alterative way to approach God, and that was the whole idea of the Tower of Babel. It was a place of false worship. So from the Tower of Babel for the next 200 years the human race just goes deeper and deeper in false religions so that by the time you get to the call of Abraham at 2000 BC, I maintain that there wasnít a single believer in the true God left on earth. Once again the whole human race has succumbed to Satanís counterfeit religions which had begun at Babel. In other words, they were all idolaters including Abraham himself.
"And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor, and they served other gods."
So after that debacle at the Tower of Babel, God does something totally different when He calls out Abraham. Remember from Adam to Abraham, approximately 2000 years mankind has had opportunity of experiencing a salvation as Adam, Abel, Noah and so forth, but for the most part mankind had rejected it. So God had seen in 2000 years of human history man would not succumb to His offer of simply being obedient and believing what He said, and so now Heís going to do something totally different, when He calls out this man Abram (Abraham). God is going to bring out of this river of humanity thatís headed for a lost eternity, this one man Abraham. Heís going to give him a covenant in Genesis chapter 12, and Heís going to tell this man, "that out of him will come a nation of people, the nation of Israel or as we better know them "the Jews." So from Genesis chapter 12 all the way up into our New Testament, the Bible is dealing almost totally with the nation of Israel.
"Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy fatherís house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee, shall all families of the earth be blessed."
God put that nation of people in one geographical area of land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, which we call the Holy Land. The ancients even before Abraham, for one reason or another referred to that land as the Divine land, and they didnít really know why. It was evident that God had his finger on that little piece of real estate. Well after Abraham had been promised a nation of people, in a geographical area of land, the third part of that covenant, as we always emphasize, was the coming of a government, in the person of a king. So here is the beginning, then, of God dealing with the nation of Israel, under covenant promises, and is setting the stage for the coming of their King who would be the government. You know common sense tells you that you canít have a nation of people operating as a society if there is no kind of a government, because then all you have is anarchy. Of course that happened often in Israelís history. The Book of Judges tells us so plainly as we see in the last verse of the Book.
"In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes."
Well thatís anarchy, but they had that constant promise out there in front of them, that the time would come when God would provide their government in the person of the King, the Messiah, who would be the Son of God! So your whole Old Testament, whether itís history, Psalms, or the Books of the prophets, is preparing the nation of Israel for the coming of their King, and their Messiah, and Redeemer, because there had to be salvation before any of the rest of the promises could come to past. Now then as we come up through the Old Testament, and we reach the time of Christ and His three years of earthly ministry, this is going to be the whole vortex of His ministry. The reason for all His signs and miracles was to prove to this nation of Israel that He was the Messiah, and a lot of people miss this.
They think He performed His miracles only out of compassion, because He felt so sorry for the sick, blind and so forth. Now that was certainly true, but the main thrust of His signs, miracles and wonders was to prove to the nation of Israel who He was. Weíll emphasize that when we get to our study of the four gospels. For example in Matthew chapter 16 as they have nearly come to the end of that 3 years of earthly ministry, and Jesus and the twelve are up there in northern Israel, up at the head waters of the Jordan River, and Jesus asked them the question:
"Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14. And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elisas; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
When we read those portions, I always point out to people, Peter didnít add anything about the cross to his profession of faith because he didnít know about the cross. Peter doesnít say a word about resurrection, because he doesnít know about the resurrection, and yet Peter said everything that needed to be said, because Jesus never said a word against it, but rather He commended him by saying:
"Blessed art thou; Simon Barjonia, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."
So was Peter right? Absolutely he was right, and we see this throughout the four gospels account. Then there was Martha at the account of Lazarusís death, and she was a little up tight you know that Jesus had been absent when He should have been there to heal him from his sick bed, but Jesusí answer was what?
"Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24. Martha said unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. (then Jesus gave that classic answer) 25. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. 26. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 27. She said unto him, Yea, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world."
Then you can come all the way up to Saulís conversion, before the Gospel of Grace had even been whispered, and Saul has that tremendous conversion experience on the road to Damascus. After he had his body replenished with food, and heíd gotten his sight back, he goes straight to the synagogue of the Jews, and what does he preach?
"And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God."
So the whole thrust of the Old Testament promises is that their government, in the person of the King and Messiah and Redeemer, would one day come to the nation of Israel. Well we know now from history, as well as from the Book, that Israel didnít believe who Jesus was, for the most part. Only a small percentage believed that He was the Promised One, and so the majority cried out for His death. And that is where we have another classic statement, which was word for word from the Old Testament Scriptures "Weíll not have this man to rule over us!"
And so Rome carried it out at Israelís request and He was crucified. Alright then, that takes us into that area of the timeline beyond the cross when Israel now, because of their rejection, is funneled back into the mainstream of humanity which we call the dispersion. This is when they were sent into every nation under heaven. This is when the temple was destroyed, and the priesthood was destroyed, and when Israel almost loses her national identity, for sure, as they are dispersed into the main line of humanity. And it was all because they rejected their Messiah and their opportunity for their king.
But you see, even though Satan may have thought that he had won the victory here, he may have thought he was close to destroying everything that was prophesied through the nation of Israel. But Satan didnít know that just shortly before 70 A.D. when the temple would be destroyed, that God raises up the other apostle, the Apostle Paul. It was through Paulís preaching of the Gospel of the Grace of God, God pulls out a people for His name which the Bible calls the Body of Christ, which is the Church. Itís a whole new concept which was never known back here in the Old Testament or the four gospels or even in the early Book of Acts. They had no idea that God would, without Israel, pull off of the mainstream of Gentile humanity, as well as the Jew, and would put them into one Body, which we call the Church, and itís all by Grace.
And so here on the timeline a few years after the cross I like to call this unknown period of time the Age of Grace, the calling out of a people by His name. This period has been going on now for 1900 + years. Now when the Church is complete and filled up then God has to take it out. So I am a strong proponent of the Rapture of the Church just shortly before the beginning of that final seven years. The Old Testament prophesied this final seven years of Tribulation, and always split it into, 3 Ĺ and 3 Ĺ . So as we come to the end of the Church Age and she is taken out of the way by what we call the Rapture, and God can then finish where He had left off with Israel back here where they crucified their king.
Again, we know that the Scripture is so meticulous all the way through prophecy. I guess I could take you back, at least mentally, to Daniel chapter 2. And you remember that great dream of Nebuchadnezzar, and how he lost his dream, and couldnít remember it? But Daniel was brought out of his place and because of this interpretation he was elevated to the second man in the kingdom. But nevertheless, Daniel recovered the dream and interpreted it. And the dream, you remember was a great image of a human man. And his head was made of gold. The chest area was made of silver. The belly area of brass. The legs of iron. And then the ten toes were made of mixture of iron and clay.
Now you want to remember that as you come down the line of these metals we go from the most valuable, gold, all the way down to the least valuable, iron, and that which was isnít even good for anything and thatís the iron and the clay. But the Scripture says that Babylon was that first empire. It was the greatest empire that the world, up to that time, had ever seen. But the amazing thing that it says is that an inferior empire would destroy it. I can remember about 25 or 30 years ago thatís the word that made me dig a little deeper. How could he call an empire that would defeat another empire "inferior". Well, when you come down these metals, as Iíve already mentioned, you go from gold to silver to brass to iron, which are decreasing in value, but they are increasing in their hardness, or their ability to be used for manufacture.
In other words, I always give the example that you certainly wouldnít make a plow with gold, even though it was as cheap as dirt because it has no strength. But iron, then, is the metal of choice. So what we have it a descending value which shows the descending ability of government to govern from an absolute dictator such as Nebuchadnezzar, down to the Medes and Persians who now had to have the consensus of two to the Greek Empire which was divided before 4 generals (you had to have a consensus of four) and then you come down to the Roman Empire, which was the first republic in human history. Yes, the Romans had a senate. If you remember correctly it was a senator who assassinated Julius Caesar. And then you come down to a weaker consortium of material and thatís the iron and clay, which we feel is the revived Roman Empire, which is coming upon western Europe even tonight.
Now then, what is the opposite? Well, as they ascended in military power, they descended in political power. Thatís the quickest way I can explain it. And so everything through human history is an increase in military power of one kingdom over the next. But as the next empire came along and divided the authority, it weakened their political structure.
You know we love democracy, absolutely we do. But when it comes to getting things done, itís the most inefficient government that man ever dreamed of. And yet, we can see that prophetically the world had to come to the place where we are tonight. And that is that every little nation from here to Timbuktu wants to have a democratic form of government. Who would have ever dreamed 50 years ago that the world in general would come under democratic forms of government? Itís prophetic! When you get down to the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzarís vision, all of our democratic governments are as weak as cotton thread. And if you donít believe that all you have to do is look what happened in Albania just a few months ago. Just over the fact of losing their investments, the little nation went into total anarchy. Well, that would have never happened under a strong armed dictator. But under a republic form of government, or a democratic form of government, the people can topple a government just by simply marching down the street. And this is what causes the instability.
So the Churchís is going to be Raptured out and the last 7 years of Tribulation comes to an end with the Second Coming of Christ as Iíve already shown here on the timeline. At that time Christ will return at His Second Coming and then He will be ready to set up the Kingdom that has been promised to Israel ever since Genesis chapter 12. And so there we have in this sort of an overall nutshell, the whole picture of human history from Adam to the cross, to the calling out of the Body of Christ, the Church, whereupon the Tribulation will come in under the rule of the anti-Christ, another world ruler. And then at the end of that Christ returns victoriously and the earth will revert back as it was in the Garden of Eden. And then we go into those final 1,000 years when He will rule and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
LESSON ONE * PART II * BOOK 1
Attributes of God
Now weíre going to start with Genesis chapter 1:1 in this lesson, and we would invite you to take your Bible and follow along with us as we study Godís Word. As you study with us you might also take notes as the people here in the studio do, because itís the only way to really get involved in Bible study. I trust that you donít just read your Bible, because you have to learn how to study it, and I think thatís the reason the Lord constructed it the way He did. He did not just lay it out in 8th grade reading form, but rather all these little tidbits are buried, and you just have to compare Scripture with Scripture to dig them out.
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
Weíll be taking this rather slowly, in fact in our study format, Genesis is something that we take verse by verse. We will almost take it that slowly in the Book of Exodus, but there will be parts of the Old Testament that we will just skim over rather lightly. And then weíll come back into a Book like Daniel, and take it pretty maticulously, then the four gospels, and when we get to the Book of Acts, I definitely teach that Book verse by verse, as well as all of Paulís epistles. But for starters now letís look at the very first verse in the Bible.
"In the beginning GodÖ"
Now thereís where I usually stop. Like I said in the last lesson, we donít know when in the beginning was, and I donít concern myself whether itís billions of years or if itís thousands, I say it really doesnít make that much difference, but what does make a difference is "WHO" started it all? GOD!
So in the beginning whenever it was, God started it all. Here we have the term of Deity spelled G-O-D in our English, but in the Hebrew it was Eloheim. And Eloheim in the Hebrew is a plural word. If you have a text in your Old Testament that refers to the pagan gods, plural, itís the same Hebrew word only without the capitalization. Itís the small "e"- eloheim. And so itís the Triune God of a plurality of persons. And Iím a stickler in that I am a firm believer in the Trinity, or the Triune God. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Now always remember that none of them supercede, or are above one of the others. They are all co-equal. And we see this teaching throughout all of Scripture. Now, in the beginning, whenever it was, God, the Triune Godhead createdÖ Now again, the word in the Hebrew is "Barah", which means "called out of nothing". I think this is so important. God didnít start with something and then somehow rearrange it. He started with absolutely nothing but Himself. And out of that nothingness He called the universe into being.
Now when we get into the New Testament here in a little bit, Iím going to show you what person of the Godhead actually spoke the word and called it into being. But for here, as the Triune God spoke the word and out of nothing He created everything. The heavens as well as the earth. Now I think itís rather interesting that way back here in the very first verse of Genesis before the nation of Israel has even been hinted at and before we have any idea of the call of this man Abraham, that God is already giving us a clue that throughout all of His dealings with you and I, as members of the human race, Heís going to constantly divide things between heaven and earth. Now, why would He do this? Genesis chapter 12.
As soon as Abraham is called out of Ur of the Chaldees, as I showed on the timeline in our last program, God separated him from that mainstream of humanity and promises that out of that one man will come a distinctive race and nation of people Ė the nation of Israel. But hereís what makes them distinctive. From the very onset of the promise to Abraham until the nation is finally dispersed after they had rejected their king, Israel had it constantly drummed into their mindset that they were a special, called out, separated, covenant people of God, and all their promises are earthly. And so we refer to them as Godís earthly people.
Now, the last time I taught this someone misunderstood me and when I said that there is nothing in the Old Testament pertaining to a Jew dying and going to heaven. Well, what I really meant was, concerning his eternal abode. Now, we know that when an Old Testament saint died he went to Paradise. He certainly didnít stay on the earth. And even today when a Jew dies he goes to his place of reward. If heís a believer he goes to Paradise. But what I have in mind when I say that the Jew who had no concept of dying and going to heaven, I meant in their resurrected state. When the Jews experience their resurrection as believers, they will not be a heavenly people, they are going to be an earthly people, in that earthly 1000 years kingdom that is still future. And so consequently, even in their life in the flesh, all of Israelís promises were earthly.
And thatís why so many of them had such tremendous wealth. Abraham was a wealthy man. Isaac was wealthy for his time. Jacob was wealthy. David Ė glory of all of his kingdom, included wealth. You know Solomon and my when the Queen of Sheba saw it, the first thing she said was "the half has never yet been told". Well, why? Because those Jewish people were enjoying those earthly promises.
Now when we get over into the epistles of Paul and the out calling, as we mentioned in our last program, and God now calls out of the mainstream of humanity, the Body of Christ, the Church, a mixture of predominately Gentiles, but also Jews, now we have a group of people to whom all the promises are not earthly, but what? Heavenly!! Every thing that is promised to the Church is not earthly, itís heavenly. And our future is going to be to rule in the heavenlies. Well, this is immediately what I want people to recognize that as you study your Bible, you have to separate these two entities in Godís dealing. When you separate completely the nation of Israel even in the New Testament from the Church, the Body of Christ then all the contradictions disappear. All of the major questions disappear. And every thing becomes so sensible.
I had a young man just the other day out in Indiana to come up and he said, "My wifeís been a Christian a long time. Iíve never interfered with that but Iíve never had any interest. I never went to Church with her, I never read the Bible. I had no interest. But I watched a few of your programs and youíre the first one that makes sense." Well, I donít take the credit for that. I believe thatís the work of the Holy Spirit. But the Bible is a sensible Book and it makes sense IF you simply keep these two areas (the nation of Israel and the Body of Christ, the Church) separated.
So in the beginning the Triune, the Almighty God, called out of nothing, everything. The heavens. The angelic hosts. The earth. Everything thatís in it all began with our Creator. Now letís take a look at how the New Testament treats this very same event, as we have here in Genesis. Iíd like to have you turn now with me to Johnís Gospel, chapter 1. All these writers are inspired of the Holy Spirit. They are moved of God to write what they write. And so now naturally John, as he speaks of the beginning, is going to use the same language that Moses did. I feel Moses wrote the first five books. And so Johnís Gospel, chapter 1 and verse 1 says "In the beginningÖ" He doesnít say twenty million years ago. He doesnít say ten thousand years ago. All John says is "in the beginning" just as Genesis says. But in the beginning, according to John was the Word. It is capitalized so it is a term of deity.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
So in the beginning was the Word, a person of that Triune Godhead, and this person, the Word, was with God, that is from eternity past, whenever that was, and the Word was God. Now we know we have some cults that disagree with me and they try to tell me that Jesus was not God. Well that flies in the face of the Book. Jesus was just as much God as God the Father or God the Spirit. And weíre going to see why I say that in just a few moments.
"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."
In other words, the Triune Godhead was complete and they were in absolute consensus with what they were going to do. Now verse 3.
"All things were make by him;Ö" (by whom? The Word.)
Now you know Iím a stickler for grammar because after all the whole idea of language is to communicate. And that is what the word "Word" implies. There had to be a person of the Godhead who would communicate with whatever it was that theyíre going to call creation out of. Now personally, I think it was God Himself. But now, thatís not unusual. God talks to Himself. Every once in awhile my little wife will be in the kitchen and Iíll hear her and I say, "Who are you talking to?" Sheíll just say, "Forget it, Iím talking to myself." Well, I imagine you all have the same experience from time to time and God does too.
Iíve mentioned the fact one time that Martin Luther just had a real hang up with Christís statements from the cross when He seemingly spoke to God. And Martin Luther came to the conclusion that it was God speaking to God. Absolutely it was. And so the Word was the communicator. He was the one who spoke the power of creation. When we get to Hebrews in a little bit Iím going to show you that itís the Word, the Son of God, Christ, who has spoken in this Book. This is the Word of the very person of the Godhead who is the Communicator, which is God the Son.
Now if you doubt that this is speaking about God the Son come down to verse 14 and there is the clincher.
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (Now you know God the Father or God the Spirit never became flesh so who is it? Well itís God the Son Ė itís Christ!) (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
Now letís move on quickly to Colossians, which is well into Paulís writings. Letís go to chapter 1, and here we find a tremendous little portion of Scripture. Remember weíre fitting this all back with Genesis 1:1. Now letís look what Paul says in Colossians chapter 1 and we almost have to come down to verse 12.
"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13. Who (speaking of the Father. Hereís where grammar comes in. Who is modifying the word Father.) hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son."
Now in verse 14 the modification is going to change.
"In whom (the Son) we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15. Who (speaking of the Son) is the image (that which you can see and touch) of the (what?) invisible God,) (remember the Triune God is a Spirit, Heís invisible, and) the first born of every creature.: (and now look at verse 16, and tying it with Genesis 1:1) For by him (the Son) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities, or powers: (yes, Satan himself is a created being. He was created by God the Son. Not only did He create) all things (but they) were created by him, and for him:"
And then you come down into verse 17 and not only is He before all things, not only is He the Creator of all things, but:
"Öby him all things consist."
And what does that word mean? Held together. Why doesnít the universe just explode in nuclear fission? Why donít the planets act like an atom and split one another into tremendous energy and explosion? And I think someday they will according to Peter. Well why donít they tonight? Because God the Son controls every particle of it with the power of His Word.
Now letís come back with me to the Book of Ephesians chapter 3, and look what the apostle Paul said here. Letís drop in at verse 9.
"And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, (the same God of Genesis 1:1) who created all things by Jesus Christ:"
Now isnít that something? I make a point of that for a reason. I remember when I was teaching a class up in Iowa years and years ago, and I made the point, have you ever stopped to realize that the people who nailed Christ to that cross, and set Him up as a public spectacle were the created being of the Creator that they were crucifying? That shook up that class, because they had never had that kind of concept of who Jesus really was. But itís true! It was the created beings, crucifying their Creator! I hope you never lose sight of that fact. I know when I have to think of my own salvation, I just have to thank God, that here He is, the Sovereign totally God of the universe, and yet itís the same God that died the death that I should have died. Itís the same God that rose from the dead, and extended eternal life to all that would believe, and you canít separate that from Him. He is, and was the Creator!
Now letís go to another over in the Book of Hebrews chapter 1. For sake of tying in what I said moment ago with regard to every word of this Book, how it came to us. Yes the Holy Spirit inspired it, but itís the Word of God the Son. And the apostle Paul over and over says: "I hear Him speaking to me." Who? Jesus! Now look what it says here in Hebrews 1:1
"God, (the Triune God of Genesis 1:1. The Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit) who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers (that is the forefathers of Israel in the Old Testament) by the prophets, (But donít stop there, because this same God) Hath in these last daysÖ"
What are the last days of Scripture? Everything from Christís advent on. A lot of people think that the last days are just like the Tribulation and the Second Coming. No thatís the latter days. The last days is that whole period of time from His first advent to the end of the Age of Grace. So in these last days, from the time of His first advent, this same God hath already:
"Ö spoken unto us by his Son, whom he (God) hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;"
Now isnít that plain, and isnít that beautiful? Letís go back to the Book of Acts chapter 2 for a moment and look at a passage. Iíve been using this more and more in my teachings lately just for an example. Itís a perfect example of how everything as I said in the last program is under the Sovereignty of God, without seemingly taking away the free will of mankind and nations. Yet everything comes to pass as He originally foreordained it. Nothing ever takes God by surprise or is He ever a day late.
You know I told my classes here in Oklahoma so many times, that if there is a period of human history where that truth is so evident that God is Sovereign, and yet Heís let generals, and presidents, and dictators seemingly make decisions of their own free will, yet the Sovereign will of God shines through. There is no greater time where that is so evident than in World War II. All you have to do is go back and look at the history of World War II and how many times things just all of a sudden fell into place at just the right time, itís absolutely amazing. Well here is where it all began in Acts chapter 2, verse 22 and 23. This is where Peter is addressing the nation of Israel with regard of them having crucified the Christ.
"Ye men of Israel, hear these words, Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles, and wonders and signs, which God did by him (Jesus) in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23. Him, (Jesus of Nazareth) being delivered by the determinate counselÖ"
I think in at least my own thinking, and I never want to do violence to the translation here, but I think in my own English I could use the word determining counsel. You all know what it is to counsel. It the meeting of minds. In other words when our president calls a cabinet meeting, whatís the purpose? For counsel. Theyíre not going to make a decision until thereís a meeting of the minds, at least we certainly hope thatís the way it works.
Now thatís exactly what the Triune God did someplace way back in eternity past. Now I donít think they had to sit there all afternoon between the three of them, and batty this back and forth. No, no, but nevertheless the Triune God sometime in the past came together, before anything was ever created, and what did they do? They laid out this whole plan of the ages. And in that plan of the ages, was the coming of Jesus of Nazareth to the nation of Israel. In that plan of the ages, was the nations rejection of the their king, in that plan of the ages was the crucifixion, was the resurrection, was the ascension, and every little jot and title detail was all formulated back there in this pre-determining counsel, before anything ever began to happen.
Now in the moment or two we have left letís go back to Genesis 1:1, and just look at it once again.
"In the beginning (whenever that was) God (the Triune God in all of His power and Sovereignty delegated to the Son to call it all into being). created the heaven and the earth."
So the Son spoke the Word, and the universes began to come together. He spoke the Word and the angelic hosts were created, and He spoke the Word to that dust, and Adam appeared. He put Adam to sleep, and He spoke the Word and who came on the scene? Eve. And so it is in all creative acts of God, itís God the Son, yes the same One that hung there on that cross of Cavalry that spoke the Words of creation, and everything begin to happen.
Now for just a little review of what we have learned today. Everything in Godís dealing with the human race you have to separate between Him dealing with the nation of Israel, His earthly people, and the Church to which is His heavenly people.
And as you study your Bible remember that God primarily deals with Israel, the Jew from Abraham to the writings of Paul. But when you come into the letters of Paul, he speaks primarily to the non-Jew, or Gentiles, and he addresses us today in the Church Age. When you read Romans through Hebrews, you read that as if God has written it to you with your name and address on it. But when you read the Old Testament, donít try to put that into your life today, because that was written to and given to the nation of Israel. We can use it for our learning, but not for our doctrine.
LESSON ONE * PART III * BOOK 1
Attributes of God
Now as we begin this lesson, Iím going to have you come right back to where we left off in the last lesson and that would be Genesis 1:1. I want to spend some time on the word G-O-D in that verse. You know so many people have all kinds of ideas about God. How many of you have heard the expression or even used it, "The man upstairs," or "Somebody up there is looking after me." Well listen, this is bringing God down so far beneath what He really is. I think we have to constantly remind ourselves, that yes, He is the friend of sinners, He is the One who has promised never to leave us nor forsake us, Heís the God in spite of His Sovereignty that is a God of Love, and Grace and all these other things that weíre going to look at in this lesson. Weíre going to look at the attributes of God, and consequently what I want to wind up this program on is, since Heís that kind of a God, we can be perfectly comfortable in placing all of our faith in what He has said.
People canít seem to get the idea that what God has said, we can believe it. This is not a Book of myths or a Book that was put together as the Jews sat around their ancient campfires as some like to put it. But as Peter says in his little epistle, "Holy men of God wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." And that wasnít just the Old Testament, but the New Testament as well. The Apostle Paul over and over makes it so clear that everything he wrote was by revelation by the ascended Christ. When the Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation, it was all by Holy Spirit inspiration. Every Word of this Book from cover to cover is the Word of God and we can believe it, because ITíS proven itself over and over.
Well the first thing that I like to point out in this lesson is, that God has these certain attributes. I think it behooves us to just constantly remind ourselves of these from time to time that God is Sovereign. He is absolutely Sovereign, and there is no one above Him. He never has to go to someone else for advice or for questioning. He is absolute in His Sovereignty. Secondly, we can say that God is immutable, and the best verse that most of us know concerning that is in the Book of Hebrews where it says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!" He has never changed in the past, He has not changed as of today, and He will never change in the eternity future, because He is immutable!
I have some school teachers in my classes and they like to tell me that the kids will remind them every once in a while, "After all weíre living in the 1990ís," as if that makes all the difference in the world. But concerning God, the things that God laid down at the beginning are still applicable today. God hasnít changed His attitude toward sin simply because itís a later time in human history. He is immutable, and the things that He declared anathema back there in the Old Testament, are still the same in His sight today, and they will be in the future if He tarries, because God changes not! God is always the same!
Those of you who dealt with human beings a lot more years even than I have known, that youíve had people in your experience that maybe at one time you could trust them explicitly. But maybe sometime years later you found that that you couldnít trust them, well whatís happened? Well theyíve had a change their attitudes and they are not immutable, but God is. God never changes!
Alright, so number one, God is Sovereign, and number two He is immutable, and now for number three, and they donít necessarily have to be in this order. God is Omniscience. Now the only way I can spell that word is put omni and then science. Itís the same word as science and knowledge. So God is all knowledge, He Omniscience! There is nothing that God doesnít know, and He doesnít have to go looking anything up in a text book. Iíve got some lawyers in my classes, and some doctors in my classes, and they all agree that to be a good professional man you donít have to know everything, but you do have to know where to look it up. So thatís our human weakness, as we canít know everything. Fortunately we can go to our libraries and men like this can go and search things out, but God doesnít have to do that. God doesnít have to go to His library, because God is Omniscience! God knows the end from the beginning!
I think I gave an illustration in one of my classes or maybe it was on television in an earlier time, and the first time I read it I had a hard time swallowing it, but you know the more I got into this Book, the more I could agree and believe it, and he made this illustration. Now this is mind boggling, believe me it is. That in the life of a woman or female, of any of the species, there are thousands upon thousands of ova, eggs. In the male of the species there are billions upon billion of sperm. Theyíre so small you have to put them under the microscope to see them. But God in His Omniscience has put every human being that has ever been born together according to His will.
Now thatís hard to swallow, I know it is. The billions in China? Yes. The millions here in our beloved America? Yes. The millions that have been aborted? Yes. God in His Omniscience, and Sovereignty has put together every sperm and every egg that has ever been fertilized. Now if that doesnít boggle your mind, then I donít know what it would take to do so.
But on the other hand, the first beautiful night that you can go look at a starlit sky, just step out and try to comprehend how many billions upon billions of stars there are. Now you know it isnít just billions of stars, but now we know thereís billions of galaxies in which there are billions of stars, so now weíre talking about trillions and trillions of stars. Do you think God has lost sight of anyone of them? Not a one. So He is Omniscience, He is all knowing.
Now the next one for your list is He is Omnipresence. In other words you cannot go anywhere without God being there. David, in the Psalms, even puts it in a place thatís really hard to swallow, when he said, "Lo I go to the deepest Hell, God is there, and though I go to the highest Heavens, God is there. Iíve also read that astronomers feel that our universe is always expanding outwards, but does it ever go beyond God? Never.
So that brings up the next attribute of God. He is Imminent. You cannot comprehend a place that is beyond the God of this Book, He is Imminent. Now thatís beyond me, but I believe it, and weíre going to come back to why I can believe it, and why God expects me to believe it and you to believe it.
Now for another attribute of God. Heís Righteous, Heís Just. God has never treated anyone or anything unfairly. Now a lot of times terrible things happen, even to believers, and I know as humans we are often tempted to question, "Well is God fair? The other day Iris and I got news of a very sweet lady who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. I told Iris, "Isnít it amazing, it just seems the dearest and sweetest people on earth are the ones that get stricken the most often", and we do say, "Well God why?" In fact David asked the question back there in the Psalms: "Why do the wicked prosper?" And that is a valid question from the human standpoint, but does God ever make a mistake? No. He never makes a mistake because of his attribute. God is Righteous, Heís Just.
I mentioned this one day to a seminary president that I talked to quite often on the phone, and had made the expression that Grace was an attribute. And this gentlemen said, "Les Iíd never thought of it that way before." Well you know when you talk to a highly educated man, Iím more apt to think that heís right and Iím wrong, but I feel that the Grace of God is an attribute. Remember very few people, even believers, understand the Grace of God. Why? Because itís an attribute thatís so far above and beyond the human intellect thatís itís hard for us to comprehend. Iíve had many people, after theyíve heard me teach, that had never really had a grasp of Grace, until they heard me teach it.
I read a book every once in a while by a dear old theologian from England, and I donít recommend the book because itís a commentary on just six verses. I showed the book to Andre, and he said "How could anyone write a book that think on just six verses?" And I said, "Because heís wordy." But I love to read the dear old gentlemen, whose dead now, but I showed Andre a quote that I have highlighted in the book, and Iíll paraphrase it because it brings out this very attribute of Grace that Iím talking about. He makes this statement, "Unless we teach and preach the Grace of God as Paul delineated it back there in Romans chapter 3, where he said, Ďhe was slanderous accused of promoting sinful living just to prove that the Grace of God was greaterí" The old gentlemen goes on to say, "Unless we teach and preach Grace at the possibility of being accused of that, then weíre not teaching Grace as this Book lays it out."
So we have to understand that this is so far beyond our human understanding, that a Righteous God, Holy, far above sinners the Book of Hebrews says. And yet His Grace is always grater, and will always go farther than manís greatest sin, but I always include with that, "Thatís not license!" Grace is not license, but rather Grace is that attribute of God that He is capable of absolutely forgiving and cleansing and calling Righteous the most vile sinner that will believe Paulís Gospel for salvation. I always like to use the example here in Oklahoma, where several years ago we had the steakhouse murders in Oklahoma City. It was terrible, and I would have been the first to say, put that guy to death, and the quicker the better, because of the horrible crime that he had committed, but God doesnít look at it that way. God looks at that murderer as a man that is still capable of His Grace. Now I know thatís beyond us, because itís an attribute of God.
Another one of Godís attributes, which is next door to Grace, is His love. What an attribute that God can love beyond lovely. Iíve been to Haiti and we ministered with Andre down there for a whole week, and a lot of those people naturally are not easy to love. Theyíre poor, theyíre poverty stricken, but you see there isnít anybody that God canít love. You go into the ghettos in our huge cities, and crime and drugs run rampant, is anybody so far down the tube in those areas that God canít love? No. We canít always comprehend it, but God loves them, and He has already purchased their salvation, if theyíll just cash in on it. Theyíre already pardoned. A lot of people donít realize that, but the most vile sinner already has his pardon done, but he has to believe Paulís Gospel in order to appropriate it. So on and on we could go.
These are all attributes of this same God who created everything. He created man as we will see in coming lessons, He put him in the garden knowing what he would do, and yet the moment he sinned, the very next thing that God does is, put in gear the whole plan of redemption, where He is promising the "SEED" of the woman in Genesis 3:15. And as some Bible scholars have put it, that begin that Red Scarlet cord of Redemption that goes all the way through this Book. Now thatís not all of the attributes of God, I could go for at least another half hour, but thatís enough for this time, so I want you to come back with me to the Book of Hebrews.
Youíll find the Book of Hebrews, naturally over in the New Testament, and letís look at chapter 11:6. Again I think this is a verse that we have to classify as one of the absolutes of Scripture, and of the God who weíve just been talking about. We know weíre living in a culture where people donít want absolutes, but rather they want all restraint removed, but listen there are absolutes, and a Sovereign God is the One who has declared them. Here in this passage we have one of at least two absolutes that Iím always trumpeting on the most. Thereís more than that, but I usually use the two here in Hebrews, and this is the first one.
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: (God, up in verse 5) for he that cometh to God must (repent? No, but rather) believeÖ"
Thatís why Iím almost screaming at people that today Godís whole requirement for salvation is believe Paulís Gospel of I Corinthians 15:1-4. And how do we believe the Gospel? Itís in this area of faith, without which it is impossible to please him.
"But without faith it is impossible to please him (God) for he that cometh to God must believeÖ"
Now remember there are three words in Scripture that all basically mean the same thing. To believe, to trust, and faith. They all mean the same thing. When you trust the Word of God, youíre believing it, and when you believe the Word of God, youíre exercising faith, and when you exercise faith, youíre trusting and believing. Do you see that? So you have to believe that He is, and in that area of believing, you must understand that He is a rewarder of them that seek Him.
"Öfor he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
In other words, will God ever fail an individual? Never! I think, especially my Oklahoma classes know, that I like to use illustrations that are the most simplistic, because those are the ones that stick the hardest. As you came into the studio this afternoon, I could have just sat here and watched everyone of you that came in, and I would not have seen a single one of you examine the chair that you sat down in. Did you? Not a one of you examined the chair youíre setting on to see if it would hold you up. Now if we were in an area where the chairs were weak, and you couldnít depend on them, thatís what youíd have to do. Youíd have to examine your chair to make sure you donít suddenly become embarrassed and fall flat on the floor.
Why did you not bother to even check the chair that youíre sitting on? You have the utmost faith in it, that itís going hold you. See? You believed before you sit down that that chair was going to hold you. Now bring that up into the spiritual realm. God expects the human race to put that same kind faith in what He has said, just as much as you place your faith in these material things that you take for granted. Itís the very same application, that when God has said something, we can believe it, and when we believe it, God is going to reward us with the greatest experience in all of human history, and whatís that? SALVATION!
To have that blessed assurance, not only of eternal life for that which is to come, but for the here and now. I tell my classes again, in Oklahoma, over and over, too many Christians have the idea that salvation is just simply a fire escape. They get saved so they wonít go to Hell. Well thatís all well and good, and thatís certainly part of it, but listen thereís a lot more to it than that. Salvation and the knowledge that youíre a child of God is that day by day assurance, that youíre His, and He is yours, and how do we know that? Because this BOOK says so!
Over and over Iíll show people verses, and say, "Do you feel this?" "No." "Can you see this?" "No." "How do you know itís true then?" "Because the BOOK says so, thatís what Godís Word says." "And when you take God at His Word, what is that?" "FAITH!" I think Iím going to go ahead and put that definition on the chalkboard. I also know for those of you Iíve taught in years past that you know this forward and backwards, that "Faith is taking God at His Word" Now that is faith, and I have never found a better definition for it. When you can read something in this Book, and even though you canít understand it, we believe it. Why? Because itís God that said it.
When you go back to Genesis 1:1 where weíve been studying, and it says, "In the beginning, God created (call out of nothing) the heaven and earth." Now I canít prove that, and science still canít prove it, but I believe it.
I like to refer my classes to an article I read quite a few years ago written in one of the scientific magazines that I was subscribing to at that time. This writer was discussing the origin of the universe, and of course with all of his big scientific terminology and all that, what it all boiled down to was, that he was now convinced that the whole universe at one time had come from a single source of light. Boy I read that to my little wife and said, "Honey do you hear what heís saying?" Because WHO is LIGHT? God is! And so where did everything come from when Christ spoke the Word? From Christ Himself! But here was the kicker in the article. He ended up his article, and after expounding on all the tremendous outburst of the beginning of the universe, he came to this conclusion: He said, "I can foresee the day, (and I suppose he was talking in terms of billions of years,) when that whole thing will come back to that original source of light."
Well what does Peter say:
II Peter 3:10
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the earth also and the works that re therein shall be burned up."
This old world is going to be melted down, itís going to dissolve. And everything as we now see it is going to totally disappear, but is that the end of it? No, but rather Peter says: "There will be a new heaven and a new earth," and then when you jump over to the Book of Revelation chapter 21, what does John say:
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away: and there was no more sea."
So you see, it all fits so beautifully. This is just to prove, and this is all I try to get people to understand, "Take God at His Word!" When you do that, it makes everything turn right side up, if we simply believe what He has said. Now going back to our timeline again, and weíve already looked at a good portion of that timeline that was foretold way back in the Old Testament, and the first half of it has already come to pass. I think thereís 360 some prophecies concerning Christís first coming. Every one of them were fulfilled to the last detail. Well listen, if God has already fulfilled the first half of the prophetic proclamation, then why in the world canít people believe that He will fulfill the last part. Well He will because His Word has said so.
Now for a quick recap: With all the attributes of God that the Scriptures has declared and has proven, how in the world can someone say, "But I canít believe it." It isnít that they canít believe it, but rather they donít want to believe it. When people decry the habit of smoking, and say, "Oh if I could only get rid of this habit, but I canít quit." I say, "Do you want to quit?" "No, not really," is the answer I get so often. Well if you donít want to quit, then I guarantee you one thing, youíre not going to quit, because the one has to come before the other.
LESSON ONE * PART IV * BOOK 1
Attributes of God
Now in this lesson letís come back to Genesis chapter 1, and we might as well begin with verse 1.
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
Weíve been talking about that for the last three programs, and now as we move into verse 2, years ago this verse shook me up, and of course I didnít have an answer for it.
"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."
Now from my understanding of the word "created" which is "Barah" in the Hebrew, and Iíve even read some Hebrew commentary on it not too long ago, that the word meant "perfect creation." In other words God did not create the mess as I call verse 2, because when you look at that verse the earth is under flood water, itís void, or of no use, and yet that which evidently God had created perfectly in verse 1 must have been without a flood, and yet here in verse 2 it is void, and under water.
Now Iíve learned over the years to call verse 2 "The First Flood," and Noahís was the second. Well what happened here in verse 2? Why did God destroy that original beautiful earth that He had created by the word of His mouth? Well naturally something cataclysmic had to have happened, and I think the best way we can find the answer for that is go to the Scripture itself. I know some theologians will disagree with me, but just as many will agree, but this is the way I feel the most comfortable with this whole idea that between verse 1 and verse 2 something terrible happened, so that God had to destroy the earth with a flood. So now letís turn to Ezekiel chapter 28, and weíll begin with verse 13.
Now I donít take this approach just simply to pacify the evolutionist concepts of the billions of billions of years of time. No way at all. I donít do this to just simply insert the geological ages of time, which I donít agree with. I donít agree with the evolutionist approach whatsoever. Iím a creationist, and believe that in the beginning God spoke the Word, and everything was created as He wanted to create it. But I do have to feel that after a certain period of time, and I donít know how long that was, it might have been 5 years, or 500 years, or even 5 billion, I donít know, and again my answer is, "So what!" But I do feel that there was an interruption because of something that drastically took place, and I think we can begin to find that answer in Ezekiel chapter 28. Here God is speaking through the prophet Ezekiel, and he writes to this personality:
"Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tablets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou was created."
You know whatís so interesting? So many things weíre introduced to wonít be heard of again until we get to the Book of Revelation and here is one of them in all these beautiful gemstones. They will be repeated again when we have the description of the Holy City coming down out of heaven. The Tree of Life is another one where we see it in the Garden of Eden, but not another reference to the Tree of Life until the Book of Revelation and eternity. So the Book of beginnings ties in so beautifully with the Book of endings. So here in Ezekiel chapter 28 this personality we find has been created, and has been in Eden. All of these beautiful gemstones were a part of his make up and I think, of even his outward appearance. Now verse 14.
"Thou art the anointed cherubÖ" (angelic beings)
So we have an angelic being that God is talking to, and he was anointed. In other words he had a place of special responsibility among the angelic host. Now reading on:
"Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth,Ö"
Now if I understand the Hebrew translation of that, the word covereth really meant "ruler" In that case it would be, "Thou art the anointed angel that rules." When you speak of rule, you speak of a kingdom, so this angelic being evidently ruled over a kingdom of angelic beings. Not mankind. Letís get this straight. Weíre not talking about humanity, but rather, an angelic kingdom. Now reading on:
Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth (rules) and I have set thee so; thou wast upon the holy mountain of God:Ö"
Now hereís another place that I usually have to stop. In the Old Testament use of symbolically a mountain in Scripture is a kingdom. We find that over and over the word mountain is used in place of a kingdom or symbolically as a kingdom. So this individual to whom God is speaking has been placed in a place of authority over a kingdom and now reading on in verse 14.
"Öthou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones (these gemstones) of fire."
In other words these gemstones were brilliant. All these stones that are listed up here in verse 13 were just fiery in their brilliance. Now Iím not much of an authority on gemstones, but I have heard people talk about the fire of a diamond. Well what are they talking about? Itís brilliance as it responds to light, has fire. Now you have the same thing here. This angelic being lived and moved in the midst of such fiery gemstones. Now verse 15. God goes on to say:
"Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, (se we have here a created, angelic being whom God had put over a kingdom) till iniquity was found in thee."
In other words, this angelic being by virtue of his own free will rebelled against God. Now letís come back to Isaiah chapter 14, and get the rest of the story. Here in this chapter we have the answer to what took place that was the iniquity which was found in this angelic being, and we also have him named, at least still in the King James version. I know most of the new translations have taken his name out along with a lot of other Scriptures, but the King James still has the name of this angel very much intact.
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! (he was an angel, the cherub that covereth) how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (now here we have already the hint that he has fallen from his place of rule) 13. For thou hast said in thine heart, (here becomes the evidence of what this angelic being did) I will (do you see that exercise of will) ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: (now symbolically stars in Scriptures are angels. So he is going to exalt his position above the angelic host) I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:"
Do you see all of his "I willís? Lucifer is in total rebellion against his Creator? Now verse 14.
"I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; (and heís not going to stop there) I will be like the most High."
And in the Scriptures who is the Most High? Again, the God of creation. This angel that God had given dominion over an angelic kingdom that I think was on that earth in verse 1. It was a beautiful earth, filled with all the glitter of the gemstones, but also an earth beautiful with all the things of Godís creation, such as the trees, and flowers, and grass, and you name it. It was all there, it was beautiful beyond description, and it was an angelic host that populated it. Not mankind, but angels. And this Lucifer was ruling over the earth. But Lucifer, or Satan as we now know him, was never satisfied, and he still isnít even tonight. So in his heart, he lusted to take the place of God Himself, and he honestly thought he could pull it off.
Now letís go back to Revelation chapter 12 to continue this study on Satan, and we can pick up a little information here concerning this rebellion. And a rebellion was what it was. This Lucifer who was not content with the role that God had given him, now wanted to usurp the throne of God, but he was going to entice the angelic subjects that were under him to go with him in his rebellion. And we find here in this passage just how many of them went with him. Now this again is a whole chapter of symbolisms, and of course the whole Book of Revelation is symbolism, but it comes back to a literal truth remember. So here again we look at the symbolism, but weíre going to dig out the literal truth.
"And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads."
Now we know that those are descriptions of Satan. Now verse 4.
"And his tail (this is symbolic of a dragon) drew the third part of the stars (or angels) of heaven, and did cast them to the earth:Ö"
So his enticing language depicted here, a tail, literally drew the third part this angelic host, and did cast them to the earth. Now continuing on with verse 4.
"Öand the dragon (Satan) stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born."
And that of course jumps all the way to Bethlehem when Herod ordered all the baby boys two years and younger to be put to death. But going back up into verse 4, how many of the angels followed him in his rebellion? One third of them. Now since youíre in Revelation just back up a few pages to the little Book of Jude, and we find these rebellious angels again. And letís just drop in at verse 6, and also remember Jude is referring to people who as false teachers and various other ways of rebelling against Godís Sovereignty that we are to be aware of these people. Jude is warning us about them, so thatís the whole idea of this little Book of Jude. And one of them Jude uses as an example is the rebellious angels.
"And the angels which kept not their first estate, (what does that mean? They didnít stay in that kingdom that Lucifer was ruling back there in verse 1 of Genesis 1) but left their own habitation, (in other words they followed Satan in his rebellion) he (God) hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day."
Now I always have to stop from time to time and comment. When Scripture uses a word that seemingly doesnít make sense, then just be logical. Here weíre dealing with spirit beings when we deal with angels. You and I know that you canít confine an angel with an iron chain, because heís a spirit being. But let God be God. Does God have a material that confines a spirit? Yes! So whatever material God uses to make this particular chain, thatís what He used. So the angels tonight are encompassed something that God can call a chain. Now looking at the last part of that verse again.
"Öhe hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day."
Now when is that going to be? Well, at the Great White Throne when men and angels will be judged as unbelievers, or as rebels. So these angels are locked upped, and I make a point of that because the angels that fell at Satanís rebellion are not the demons that Jesus dealt with, and Andre deals with and so forth. As far as Scripture is concerned the origin of the present day demons I do not feel are revealed. They are not the angels that fell when Satan rebelled, but rather they are under chains of darkness.
Now come back with me all the way to the Book of Matthew just to show you. Satan, even though he was cast out of his place of authority over that beautiful kingdom in Genesis chapter 1 verse 2, yet he has never changed. Satan has not given up his whole role, and his whole reason for existing is to constantly thwart the plan of the Sovereign God. In other words, coming back to my timeline, just as soon as God put that perfect pair in the Garden of Eden, who came in to throw a monkey wrench into the whole caboodle? Well Satan did, and he caused those human parents to sin.
Now then as soon as God brings Adam and Even out of the Garden, and promises that out of the seed of the woman would come the Redeemer of the human race, Satan immediately puts in gear everything at his disposal to stop the coming of a Redeemer. He does it by first bringing to death with the murder of Abel who was in the line of the coming of the Just One. Then when Abraham comes on the scene, and God makes that covenant with Abraham, Satan turns on that little nation thatís going to come out of that covenant agreement like no other group of people on earth. And if you ever look at what has happened to the Jew down through their history, never forget thatís itís been the attacks of this same Lucifer, this same Satan who is trying to thwart the very plan of God.
You see, since God placed everything concerning prophecy on this little nation, everything concerning Christís first coming rested on the little nation of Israel. So if Satan could destroy Israel, he could destroy Godís plan of bringing a Redeemer. I think that when Christ was on the cross, Satan must have almost jumped with glee, thinking that he had finally succeeded. But resurrection morning he found out differently, he was defeated, but he still hasnít quit.
Now here in Matthew chapter 4 as Christ begins His earthly ministry, and Heís been 40 days and 40 nights out there in the desert, and the first thing Satan comes up with is the temptation to satisfy His hungry. But forsake of our speaking of Satanís ruling and reigning I want to begin with verse 8.
"Again, the devil taketh him (Jesus) up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them:"
Now you want to remember Satan is a spiritual being, and Christ was Spiritual even though Christ was in the flesh. So from that high preeminent area, not only could they look physically in all four directions, but spirit beings that they were, they could look all the way back to the Garden of Eden, and up to the end of time. They could look at all the empires and kingdoms that had come on the scene, and look what old Satan has the audacity to offer Christ. Now verse 9.
"And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me."
Now just let that sink in for a moment. Satan is offering all these empires of the world, past, present, and future to the Lord Jesus if He will just fall down and worship him. If the Lord had done that then Satan could have honestly said, that he had ascended above the Almighty. So you see old Satan never gives up. Now I usually ask my classes when Iím teaching this, "Were these kingdoms his to give?" Yes! Scripture tells us that Satan is the god of this world. Satan has been the head of the nations ever since Adam left the Garden of Eden. Satan is ruling and reigning the nations of the world today as well as anytime before. In fact a verse just comes to mind over in II Corinthians chapter 4:3-4, and this says it better than I can.
This Satan, this Lucifer who rebelled and wanted to usurp the very throne room of God, and was cast down, and his beautiful kingdom was destroyed with water. And even though the fallen angels were locked upped, God in Omniscience again, and in His Sovereignty permitted Satan to roam free, and permitted Satan to become the god of this world, as we will see here.
II Corinthians 4:3a
"But if our gospel be hid,Ö"
When Paul speaks of our Gospel, heís talking about I Corinthians 15:1-4. How that Christ died for our sins, and He was buried, and He rose again the third day, and thatís what Paul refers here then as our Gospel. It was the Gospel of salvation that was revealed only to this apostle from the ascended Lord in heaven he tells us in several places in his epistles.
II Corinthians 4:3
"But if our gospel be hid it is hid to them that are lost:"
Itís not lost if youíre a believer tonight, because you know it all to well, and have believed it with all your heart.
II Corinthians 4:4
"In whom (the lost of this world) the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
Now do you see how plainly that puts it? Who is the god of this world even tonight. Satan is. He is in charge of the kingdoms of this world, and heíll promote good as well as evil, until the day he is finally removed as the god of this world.
LESSON TWO * PART I * BOOK 1
Adam and Eve Created Ė The Three Circles
Genesis 1:6 - 2:7
Well weíre going to continue right on where we left off last week, so if youíll turn with me to Genesis chapter 1, weíll pick right up with verse 6. We trust that youíll study your Bible with us, because the only reason we teach is that people might understand what the Bible says, and what it doesnít say. We also trust that with the help of the Holy Spirit the Scriptures will become clear to you.
Remember in our last lesson when we left off I encouraged you to read these next few verses from verse 6 all the way down through verse 23, and take note of the fact that there is not a single word that indicates creation as such. But rather the language is that God has taken that which we have found in the previous verses, which was underwater, was under darkness, as a result of a previous judgment, and now we find God is simply restoring everything to a functional operation. Then when we get down to verse 20 weíll see that God reinstates the act of creation in the animal kingdom and then the creation of mankind. But from verse 6 through 19 itís merely a restoration process.
"And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it (the firmament) divide the waters from the waters."
Now all you have to do here is just very carefully analyze the wording, and it becomes evident what took place. The word firmament is what we call our atmosphere, itís what we call our sky, and it may also involve a certain portion of what we would call space, the closer planets or whatever. But for the most part I like to look at firmament as our atmosphere. If you pick that verse apart carefully it says, "that God is going to divide the water that was covering the earth as a result of earlier judgment in the form of a flood." I referred to it earlier as the first flood.
But now the Scriptures said that God is going to divide this water by taking Ĺ of it and moving it above the atmosphere. I like to picture that, if I may, as a giant vapor belt out in space, above the earth. Later in the Scriptures weíre going to see that vapor belt come back on the earth in the form of Noahís flood, which was several hundred years later. But for now letís just picture this vapor belt out here in space, but remember that Ĺ the water has been left on the earth. Now letís read what happens next in verse 7.
"And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament (the atmosphere) from the waters which were above the firmament: (atmosphere) and it was so."
See thatís just plain English. He takes Ĺ the water, and He lifts it up above the atmosphere, but He leaves Ĺ of the water on the earth. Now verse 8.
"And God called the firmament Heaven,Ö"
Remember I said in an earlier class, that there were three heavens mentioned in Scripture. Heís got the first heaven which we realize is the atmosphere, itís the heaven that the birds fly in, and the Scripture in Jeremiah 9:10 uses that terminology, "the fowls of the heavens"
God also has the second heaven, which we understand as space. We get a glimpse of that in Genesis chapter 15, when God told Abraham, "Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able." The second heaven is the home of the stars, sun, and moon.
But God also has the third heaven which youíll find in II Corinthians chapter 12, where Paul speaks of his own experience, "having been caught up into the third heaven," which is the very abode of God, or heaven as we normally think of it.
So those are the three terms of heaven in Scripture. So what we have then is the earthís water has been divided where Ĺ of it is up here in this vapor belt above the atmosphere, up into the first or maybe even the second heaven, and the rest of the water is left on the earth. Then we find in verse 9 and 10 that God separates the water left on earth, and makes dry land appear, and the rest of the waters He calls seas and oceans.
Now those of you who have heard me teach longer, know that I donít get dogmatic on a lot of these things, and say, this is the way it was. If you donít agree with me on some of these things thatís ok. But coming back to this vapor belt, I would like to spend a little time on that because this gives rise, theoretically it would seem, that this vapor belt, much to the consternation of science today, talking about a "green house effect," and thatís exactly what they had back here in Genesis. I think this vapor belt was such that it shielded the earth at that time from the damaging part of the sunrays, but now with that moisture in place these sunlight rays would be defused. So consequently there was no direct sun beam hitting the planet, but rather it was all defused, and consequently the planet was tropical from pole to pole.
Now, archeological evidences shows that at one time that had to be the case, because weíve found up in northern Siberia frozen in the deep ice of the far north, tropical vegetation, and tropical animals. So we know that at one time this old planet has a constant tropical temperature, and consequently a green house effect. The world as we understand it was one temperature, and that explains the fact as the Scriptures does, that it never rained before Noahís flood. But rather at that time the earth got itís water from beneath, because there was no opportunity for weather. Again with the sunlight defused all around the globe, rather than hitting the earth directly as it does now, there was no shift in temperature or increase in what we call atmospheric pressure, because everything was pretty much constant, and that gave rise to the beautiful calm, constant weather in that pre-flood experience. Remember also that all things were perfect, it was just absolutely beautiful, it was beyond our comprehension. Now verse 9 and 10.
"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. 10. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering tighter of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good."
Remember when God called something good, there was just absolutely nothing amiss. Now with the dry land and everything in place, we see the natural order once again comes on the scene:
"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."
See thereís not a word in there of creation, is there? All these things have been here before, and with earth brought back to a place of production, it just naturally came back on the scene. You know weíve had something like that happen in our own recent days that makes this so believable. Even though we take all of this by faith, and a lot of things are beyond logic, and beyond comprehension, I think itís certainly appropriate that we can just look at the logical aspect with Godís dealing with mankind and His creation.
Logically we have the beautiful example of Mount Saint Helen. Remember a few years ago Mount Saint Helen just literally blew itís top, and just devastated that whole area all around it, and now they are already writing about how beautiful the new growth and vegetation and the wild life is all coming back even better than it was before. So I think this is so logical that when God restored the production to the earth, it naturally came back into existence. There was any need for creation, it was already there, and all it needed was the condition as it was even after Noahís flood. Now then looking at verse 12, youíll see itís a repetition of verse 11.
"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."
Now of course this all flies in the face of evolution doesnít it? Thatís why thereís the constant argument between the adherence of the Genesis account of things, and the evolutionistís account. God emphases over and over in these early verses of Genesis that everything was created after itís own kind. We know that even today with all of our knowledge of biology that you still canít take something from one species, and cross it with something totally different. Now I know there are times when seemingly they can take cells from one species and they will survive for a little while, but never for long. And the reason for that is, God has said, "everything after his own kind." And there is no room for such a thing as evolutionary process that these came from one original germ cell.
Now itís also interesting that we can see even in human biology that we can take cells from pigskin and help burn patients. I donít know how many of you ever read about that, but I read more than one article where they could actually take thin layers of pigskin and put it on a human burn patient, because the pigskin would breath, and react so well with the human physiology that it just enhanced the healing process, but not for long. After just a few days, those cells died and would sluff off.
The evolutionists say, "See everything came from the same place." But we that are creationists would say, "It just shows there was One Master Mind in creation." Everything that God has created has come from that One Master Mind, and even though there may be similarities, that does not tell us that they came by way of evolution, but rather the same Creator is the instigator of all of this. Now verse 13.
"And the evening and the morning were the third day."
And again as I said earlier that I have no problem with the 24 hour day, because weíre not talking about things just suddenly being created as we say in verse 1. But now creation is coming back on the scene quite naturally. Now verse 14.
"And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; (he makes everything functional again. Whatever He had placed over the earth in that first catastrophe between verse 1 and 2, and had made darkness and water cover the earth, had blotted out the sun, so what ever it was, God simply removed it and now all these things are in view, and are now to be able to do what theyíre supposed to do) 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. (just a statement of fact and we believe it. When God said that it was done, we can trust that He knew what He was talking about.) 16. And God made two great lights;Ö"
Now the word made there if youíll look up in a good Hebrew dictionary is not even close to the word creation. Itís a word that more or less just uses that word that He made it operational. It doesnít say that He brought it out of nothing as the word "Barah" does in verse 1. So even the word made here does not indicate a creative act.
"Öthe greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.(God brought them back into operation) 17. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven (the second heaven, where the stars, moon and Sun are) to give light upon the earth. 18. 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."
Now remember Heís getting everything ready for the appearance of the human race. This earth as I mentioned earlier was created to be inhabited, and this is the process of getting it all ready. Now verse 19.
"And the evening and the morning were the fourth day."
Also remember we started with the first day of creation with what we know today as Sunday. So weíve already come through Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and on the Thursday of that week we come to verse 20.
"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. (So God began with marine life, and thatís all it says about it.) 21. 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."
Now again we have to remember God did not create every sub-species within a specie. We know from our study again of various life sciences that we can have mutations in various species. So consequently we can start with a head species, and then we can have all kinds of sub-species that would come on the scene after a long period of time. In fact there are still mutations taking place today. So we can readily understand that God didnít have to create 15 or 20 types of horses, and that many types of all the other animals, and birds, but rather they would come on the scene as time would go by.
Now after the creation of the birds, the marine life, and all these things in verses 20 and 21, we have God blessing them in verse 22.
"And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 23. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day."
So now weíre all the way through Thursday. Here in verses 24 and 25 it is again just simply a review of the previous verses"
"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."
Do you see that constant repetition of "after his kind?" I always try to emphasis as I teach that whenever the Bible repeats something rather often in a short period of time, even in a chapter or two, itís there for emphasis. God wants us to take note, that over and over God created everything, whether it was the plant life, bird life, marine life, or animal life, everything was created within itís own kind and nothing has ever been able to break away from that one fact. Now verse 26. Weíre not going to have time in this lesson to even get close to exhausting it, but it behooves us to move, and take as much of it as we can. Remember this is the sixth day of that first week of creation, and this will finalize it, because the seventh day or the Saturday sabbath, God is going to take that day for His rest.
"And God said, Let us make man in our image,Ö"
Now the Scriptures always so accurate, and isnít it unique that the plural pronoun is used here referring to God.
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominionÖ"
Letís just stop and analyze this. Why the plural pronoun? Well if you remember when we first started back in Genesis 1:1 we spent a good bit of time emphasizing that God is a Trinity!
God The Father Ė God The Son - God The Holy Spirit.
Now thatís a plurality of personalities, and yet each one of these are a distinct personality within themselves. So what weíve really got here then is that the Triune God, the Trinity. is saying:
"Let us make man in our image,Ö"
Now you also want to remember that I pointed out that the God of Genesis 1:1 was "Eloheim." And it too was referring to Triune God, the Trinity, but if you remember when we went into the New Testament in Johnís gospel, and in the Book of Ephesians, Colossian, and Hebrews, it emphasizes the fact that even though the Triune God was involved in the Creation, the New Testament tells us that "God the Son" was the One who spoke the Word that cause creation to become a viable act.
I always like to emphases the fact that as soon as we get to any of the acts of creation, weíre dealing with God the Son. Jesus the Christ, is the One who actually spoke the Word, and things happened. Thatís why in Johnís gospel 1:1 we have:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
I always like to note here that the word "Word" denotes "communication" You canít commutate anything or accomplish anything without putting it into words. So God the Son was the One who, by the spoken Word, created everything that has ever been created including man himself.
"And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:"
But we canít leave out the other two, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit, because theyíre all three involved.
So now the pronouns are referring to the Trinity, but itís the Lord Jesus as we know Him in the New Testament is the One who called this human being in reality. Now letís finish verse 26.
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them (mankind) have dominionÖ"
As I teach I like to emphasize certain word from time to time, and here is an important word. Man is to have dominion. Do you know what that word means? He is to have absolute control over everything that God is going to put under him. And look what it is:
"Öover the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the thing that creepeth upon the earth."
Man is going to be the prime ruler or overseer you might say over all that has been created on the earth. Now verse 27.
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."
Now thereís an awful lot in that verse that we certainly donít have time now in this lesson to get into it and we wonít even try. But this creation of mankind is going to be the crowning act of His creation, and thatís why God left it until the sixth day. Everything else has been coming on the scene for manís benefit, and now we have man, and consequently since God created man in His own image, and since he is the crowing act of creation, this is why God has put such an emphasis on the sanctity of human life.
Tonight we know that in many areas of the world, life is cheap, isnít it? But that is not the way God intended it to be. God intended the human race to be head and shoulders above anything else of his creation. Man is unique because nothing else was created in the image of God. And for that reason God had to finally in the Law, say: "Thou shalt not kill." God mandated it that man was special and since he was special, then life was not to be taken cheaply, but rather he was to be protected, and for this reason when the Law came on the scene, God made provision for capital punishment, and all these things to protect the sanctity of life.
We also have to realize that for the first approximately 1600 years of human experience, from Adam until Noahís flood, there was no written Law. Man simply had it on his conscience what was right and wrong. Neither was there any formal system of worship. Now all this I think was for a purpose because as we come on through the Scriptures, and we come up through the human experience, and the unfolding of Godís program, youíll notice that man moved from one set of circumstances to another. It isnít that God had to change, because God never changes. But to show us how man just step by step has to be somehow shown, had to taught, the various aspect of human behavior.
But going back the first 1600 years, man is without a form of worship, and without a written Law, and what did he prove? Mankind couldnít exist that way, because by the time you get to the end of this period of human experience, whatís the picture? Violence is filling the earth, itís corrupt, and they have completely turned against God, and itís a flop. Man made a mess of the whole thing, so God is going to destroy them with the waters of Noahís flood, and then Heís going to come up with something totally different, and weíll be looking at that sometime down the road.
LESSON TWO * PART II * BOOK 1
Adam and Eve Created Ė The Three Circles
Genesis 1:6 Ė 2:7
Now weíll be picking up again in Genesis 1:26, as thatís where we left off in our last lesson. Remember we merely spoke of the fact that the plural pronoun here in this verse referred to the Triune God, - God the Father Ė God the Son, - God the Holy Spirit.
Weíre going to find that the Triune God is going to create a creature after His own image. Now this is hard for us to comprehend because at this point in time, God is Spirit. As we pointed out a few weeks ago, He was an invisible Spirit Being. Now you canít very well make an image of something that is invisible, and yet God did. I think the point taken is that you and I, as members of the human race, even though we think of ourselves as someone we can see, and weíre a visible image, yet the real you, the real me, is invisible.
The best way to do that is by putting these three circles on the chalkboard. Letís divide man into what the Scripture calls him, Body, Soul, and Spirit.
Now in order to pick that up Scripturally, we need to turn to the Book of I Thessalonians, chapter 5. I know there are some theologians that speak of man as simply "spirit." Others will say, "No, man is soul." Then there are others who, like myself, will say, "You can divide soul and spirit, because the Bible does." Now I know there is a very close affinity between the soul and the spirit, and yet the Scripture does divide them. The reason weíre looking at these verses is merely to establish that the Scripture does speak of man as being, Body, Soul, and Spirit.
I Thessalonians 5:23
"And the very God of peace sanctity you wholly; (or completely) and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
So there you have the three parts that make up mankind in the body, soul, and spirit. Now come on over to another verse in Hebrews chapter 4, and letís drop in at verse 12. The Scripture divides the soul from the spirit, they are not one in the same, although they certainly have a close affinity, and it is hard to make a difference between them, but the Scripture does.
"For the word of God is quick, (alive) and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, (The Word of God is able to separate between the soul and spirit) and of the joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
So man if I may take you back again to Genesis chapter 1:26
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:Ö"
Not so much in the physical body appearance, because we know nothing of God having a body or a physical appearance, but the image is in the area of the soul and spirit which are invisible!
Now what I like to do in order to make this a little plainer and easier to understand is that in the area of manís soul we again become a trinity of sort, and here is definitely the invisible. And that is we are made up of the mind, the will, and the emotions. Now usually if you go into a college psychology course, those are the first things that you will learn. I like to call that make up the soul. If you will analyze these three words carefully, you suddenly realize that they are all definite enmities.
We certainly have a mind, and thereís no doubt about its invisible. You can put brain cells under a microscope, surgeons can look at the brain and even determine what little parts of the brain make other body functions operate, but yet the mind is invisible. No one has ever been able to put the mind on a table and examine it.
Itís the same way with our will. The will is a definite entity or you wouldnít be here today, because you came by the exercise of the will. But you canít put your finger on the will, you canít see it, nor analyze it, because itís invisible.
Itís the same way with our seat of emotions. The emotions are the things that make us cry, laugh, happy, and sad. They are certainly bonafide entities. Itís something that we know is there, and yet we can never see it.
Now these three aspects then of our innermost being is what I like to call the personality, or the real you. Now is that hard to comprehend? Put this also then into the three members of the Godhead. "God the Father Ė God the Son Ė God the Holy Spirit" Each one of those have enough Scriptural verses to back me up when I say that God the Father has mind, will and emotions. God the Son has mind will and emotions. God the Holy Spirit is also a person, and He too has mind, will and emotions. Now thatís what makes a personality, and it was in that area of the person that weíre created in the image of God, because God has all of these attributes. Now doesnít that help?
Now when God created Adam, and He gave Adam that invisible personality, He also placed within Adam a spirit concept that would connect Adam with his Creator, or with God. So right from the beginning Adam has total and complete fellowship with his Creator. Now the body is just simply as the Bible calls it, a tabernacle. Itís a temporary dwelling place. Another word for tabernacle is the simple word, tent. A tent is certainly not very permanent, but rather itís something that you use temporarily, and thatís what our body is. Our body is just a tent in which God has placed a person, the personality, the invisible personality of the mind, will and the emotions.
God also put along side of it, a spirit entity that is capable of communication and fellowship with his Creator. The body is something that is just functional in only what I like to refer to as the five senses. You take away the five senses and what do you have? You have a vegetable. If you canít smell, see, hear, taste, or touch then youíre nothing. A tent then is all the body becomes with itís five senses. Itís a tent, itís a temporary dwelling place for the real you and the real me.
Now the other point we have to make is that since this is the direct creation of God, and comes straight from the heart of God, then that makes it eternal. This soul part of us will never die. Itís as eternal as God is eternal. Now weíre introduced to this right off the bat in the book of Genesis because it naturally follows that since God has created man with a will, it is for the purpose of making a choice. And itís going to be a choice between being obedient to God or we can be disobedient. And man is left with that exercise of the will.
Now, starting out Adam is created sinless, perfect, he has a body that will never have to die. Heís got a soul that is in perfect fellowship and communion with God as is his spirit. He is a perfect creation. Now, all of this to say, as we said in our last half hour, God is creating mankind as the very epitome, the very crowning act of creation. We are created in the image of God, given a will, so that we can choose to either be obedient or disobedient and the whole concept of this thing boils down to the very attitude of marriage in the human relationship.
In other words, God has already had myriads of angels. But the angels were never beings that He could fellowship with, or He could have love extended and love returned. But now Heís going to create mankind for the soul purpose, by giving him a will, and by man choosing to be obedient to his Creator, the Creator will have someone that He can fellowship with, He can extend love to, for all eternity. As I see scripture, this is the primary reason for man being created in the first place. God wants a creature that He can love and will see that love returned.
Now, I said it comes right down to the marriage relationship. And we are living in a time where marriage and the home is under ferocious Satanic attack. And thatís all it is. But yet, if youíll turn with me, and I want to use this verse for a twofold purpose. First, to help our attitude concerning marriage and the home and the husband/wife relationship, but also to establish that this is the reason that man was put here in the first place. Because the relationship is so much the same.
Turn back with me, if you will, to Ephesians. The letter of Paul to the Ephesians in chapter 5. And I know over the years Iíve had a lot of young people in my classes, single people, and especially to the young men, I will always direct this particular portion of Scripture. I am of the mentality that if a home survives or doesnít survive, I blame the man. Now, I know there may be alternatives to that, but for the most part, I think the success or the failure of the home and marriage is primarily the manís responsibility. Here in this passage Paul is dealing with this very thing Ė the marriage relationship.
"Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord."
Now I always have to stop there for a moment. Now, that doesnít mean that you have to be a slave and have to be a gopher. It merely means that the woman recognizes that God has ordained that the man is to be the head of the home. Now, heís not to be a task master, nor a slave master. But he is simply given that place of authority. And lest we abuse it, all we have to do is look at the succeeding verses. And what does it say?
"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (Thereís the key) 23. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body."
Not just of the soul, and thatís what most of us have heard over the years Ė the salvation of the soul. And thatís all that too many spiritual people, theologians, concern themselves with. But what theyíre missing is that God is just a concerned about our body. Weíre going to have a new body someday, but until we do, itís not just the salvation of the soul God is concerned with, but with the whole person Ė the body, the soul and the spirit. And in this verse he says he is the saviour of the body. Now verse 24.
"Therefore as the church (the body of Christ) is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be (subject) to their own husbands in everything."
Now when you bring this in to that same relationship as the Church is to Christ and Christ is to the church, between the husband and the wife, there is no room for abuse of that authority or of the submission. Everything is just so perfectly ordained, if we will just do it Godís way. Alright now verse 25. And this is the verse that I use for putting the responsibility on the husband.
"Husbands, love your wives,Ö."
Now, Iíve told young men that over and over again. That is a commandment that the husband is to love his wife. And do you know what? The Scripture never tells the wife to love the husband. Never! Now, I know Peter says that mothers are to instruct their daughters on how to love their husbands, but thatís a far cry from commanding it. The reason is, and this is why I tie this in with Genesis chapter 1, just as surely as God put man on the scene with a will, that when God would extend His love and His Grace and blessings on this creature, God expected love returned.
Itís the same way in the marriage relationship. I still maintain that with rare exceptions, if the husband will truly love his wife, scripturally, as Christ loves the Church, then it automatically follows that the wife is going to respond to that love. If a woman doesnít there is something wrong with her. Because God has created within the woman that responsiveness that when the man extends his love, sheís going to respond and you have a happy relationship. It just canít be otherwise. But it all began back here when God created man and the whole concept is Heís going to give us a will. And God is going to give us the very best that He can give. And what does He expect in return? Obedience. Thatís all He asks for.
Now if you will, letís come back to Genesis and for the few moments that are left, come back to chapter 1, seeing that he was given, as we mentioned last week, dominion over all of creation, under God, naturally. And this is why God has given him the mind and the will and a set of emotions. So that as a created being he has all the capabilities for this dominion. I donít think any of us can really understand the tremendous intelligence and the perfection of this man, Adam. He had everything going for him. He was, for all practical purposes, immortal. He wouldnít have had to die. He was made incorrupt. There wasnít a corrupt cell in his body. Everything was put in place that he could have lived forever. Now I say, "could have". That was his potential. But what did God also know? That he wouldnít! But thatís beside the point. God puts him on the scene with that opportunity of living forever. He could have been the progenitor of a perfect race of beings. It was his potential.
Now then, in verse 27 we are introduced to a thought that a lot of people canít quite comprehend. And that is that when God created Adam, within Adam, were both the male and the female. Look what the next verse says.
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."
Now weíre not going to come to the creation of Eve until quite a few verses down the road. The verse that woke me up to this several years ago is this one. Letís go to Genesis chapter 5. What I try to get folks to do as they read and study their Bible is analyze every single word. And thatís when things start popping up at you. If you just simply read to be reading, you miss 90% of it. But here in Genesis chapter 5, I suppose it was while I was teaching, because thatís when I see these things a lot of time. I can be reading to a class and here it comes. Well, here is one of them.
"This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him. (This is a re-cap or a summarization. Now verse 2) 2. Male and female created he them; and blessed them, (now watch the plural pronoun) and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created."
He didnít call them Adam and Eve. Not even Adam and woman. But he blessed them and called their name Adam.
Now, if youíll come back with me again to chapter 2 and Adam has already had all the created beings, the animals and so forth, brought before him so that he could name them. Now if you donít think that took some intelligence, Iíd like to know what did. And so many of the species, as we still know them today, their original name goes all the way back to Adam. Now look at it. Adam is still alone. He hasnít gotten a help mete yet. But letís look at verse 18.
"And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will (thatís a future tense verb. Heíll do that later in the chapter) make him an help meet for him." (Someone that would be called along side to help.)
"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. 20. 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."
Now, get the timing here. Adam has already been on the scene long enough and the animal creatures have come to a maturity of sorts. I donít think they necessarily had to be created in maturity, but now God is bringing them all before Adam so that he could put a name on them. Now, I think it follows, just like it did at the flood, that all these creatures came two by two. And poor old Adam realizes that even the animal kingdom and the birds and everything else, have already gotten their mate, but he is alone. Have you ever thought of it that way? Everything is coming before him in pairs. And I imagine Adamís heart was just about going out Ė "Now God, why is it that everything in your creation has itís own mate, but Iím still just one." This is what touched the very heart of God when it says in verse 18 that "It is not good that the man should be alone".
So, now after seeing all of these creatures come by, realizing that theyíve already had their mate assigned to them, now God says, "Adam, weíre going to do the same for you." Now, we wonít have time to go into the details of that. Weíll wait until next week to do that. But I just want you to realize that Adam now is created body, soul, and spirit, a three part entity or a trinity if you want to refer to it as that. And within that there is another trinity of sorts in the mind, the will and emotion. His spirit is in complete fellowship and communion with his God. His body is perfect. His mind is perfect.
He is a tremendous individual, but within Adam is both the male and the female. Now, we havenít got time and probably not even in the next half hour, to really bring out the necessity of that. It had to be that way. Because you see, turn back with me to Romans chapter 5. Whenever we begin to deliberate about something in the Old Testament, and Genesis in particular, youíve got to literally run to the New Testament to find the answer, and the reason for it.
Romans chapter 5:12a
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;Ö"
Have you stopped to realize that it doesnít say, "that by two people sin entered?" It doesnít say by Adam and Eve sin entered into the world." And even though Eve ate first, the Bible never gives Eve the blame for it, but rather the New Testament tells us that all the blame is on Adam who brought sin and death into the human race.
Next week weíre going to look at why Adam had to contain the progenitors, or the cell make up of the female, even before she was created, and weíll have all the Scriptural answers for it.
LESSON TWO* PART III * BOOK 1
Adam and Eve Created Ė The Three Circles
Genesis 1:6 Ė 2:7
We left off last week in Genesis chapter 1 verse 27. Remember, I made reference to it in the last lesson that both the male and the female almost had to have been within Adam when he was created. The reason I take that approach is that when salvation comes by virtue of the Savior, the plan of redemption, it is not just limited to the male of the species but everyone comes under that plan of redemption.
In that plan of redemption, it is obvious that all the so-called blame, if I may use that word, is placed on Adam and never on Eve. We will be looking at this more when we get to chapter 3. But, just to tide you over until we get there, just look at it this way. I say Eve had to be IN Adam even before she was created at a later verse. Not as we understand the woman physically, but nevertheless, the very concept of the woman had to be in Adam, otherwise God would have had to provide a separate Savior, a separate Redeemer for the female of the species rather than just one.
I like to use this analogy. We have no emphasis in Scripture of angels having an opportunity for salvation. If an angel rebels, if an angel falls, heís done. There is no plan of redemption for them. The reason for that is that every angel is a specific creation. In other words, if God was going to provide a plan of redemption for the angels, He would have to have as many Saviors or as many Redeemers as He has angels. Now that would be ridiculous.
Bring that right down into the human realm. Eve had to be in Adam from the very beginning, so that Adam could be the head of the human race. The Federal Head is the word we use. Adam is the Federal Head of the whole human race, both men and women. Consequently, there was only a need for one Redeemer. So this is why in chapter 1 verse 27, I like to emphasize this even though Eve is not on the scene, but will be coming on the scene in a later verse.
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."
In the last lesson, I took you back to chapter 5. Letís look at it again, just for a quick review. Genesis chapter 5 verse 2. This is a recap. This is a summarization.
"Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created."
He doesnít refer to the woman. He doesnít refer to Eve, He merely says He created THEM and called THEIR name Adam. They were both in Adam.
Come back and letís pick up the creation of woman. Turn to chapter 2. We will come back to the earlier verses, but just to pick up the appearance of the woman. She wonít be called Eve until after the fall, she is only referred to as the woman.
Now in chapter 2, Adam has just given names to all the other living creatures and as I mentioned, then he must have had an inkling of what it would be like to have a help meet as he saw all of these creatures already with the female and the male and their mates.
God realized that He needed a help meet, such as up in verse 18. Now in verse 21 after Adam has named all the species of the animal kingdom and the birds and what have you, it says:
"And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: (first instance of anesthesia, isnít it? So he put Adam to sleep and is going to do some surgery on the old boy!) and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22. And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man."
I, for one, like to take the Scripture as logically as we possibly can. I know that we take it by faith, and I donít want anybody to come up and say you canít take Scripture logically. I think a lot of times we can. And, especially from the scientific side. There is so much pure science in Scripture that most people miss.
The word translated "rib" in the Hebrew is the word "Tsela" and I think some 19 times the Tsela which is here, referred to as rib, is translated "side" or especially when it made reference to the Ark it was translated as "the chamber". So I like to use that, the "side chamber" is the word Tsela because they all come out of the same root.
Now if you will read it in that light. Letís go back and look at it that way.
"And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, (a side chamber) and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22. And the rib (the side chamber), which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man."
This may be stretching the point a little bit for some of you, but I put these things out just to help people contemplate and study a little bit more and take this whole thing into perspective. Because, the reason we are doing this is to understand the plan of redemption, that it is just as much appropriate for the woman as it is for the man. And that, the womanís fall was not precipitated by Eveís eating of the fruit. Never! It was Adam who ate and the whole human race fell!
We have to see here that Eve was part of that fall because she came out of Adam, just the same as you and I came from our parents. Eve came from Adam.
Let me show you something else thatís interesting. Go all the way back to the New Testament in Luke chapter 3, to the genealogy that we have here in Luke. Most are agreed that this is the genealogy of Mary and not of Joseph. We are not going to read all the way through the whole family tree but I just want you to go to the end of the genealogy in Luke chapter 3 verse 38.
We started, of course, up there at the time of Mary, herself at the very birth of Christ and have come all the way down that family tree to verse 38, where it says Cainan up there in verse 37:
"Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, (not Adam and Eve but the son of Adam) which was the son of God."
Now where is Eve? Well, she is in Adam. Again I think it makes it so clear that Eve as a part of the human race was already in Adam when Adam was created. So consequently, we can definitely say that Adam is the Federal Head of the whole human race, not just of men but of men and women.
I like to just throw this out, just as a tantalizing thought to make you think about these things. If God simply took a rib from Adam, what would that do to the man? Well, it would leave him one rib short. And believe it or not, I have had people ask me whether men have one less rib than a woman. Well, of course not! Certainly God didnít take one rib and make out of that rib a woman.
He took the reproductive segment of the woman, we call that the gonad or the germ plasma. He took that reproductive part which was certainly in a side chamber in Adam. Yes, he has the male and the female both. I think the Scripture indicates that and if you think that is preposterous, there are still some creatures in the animal kingdom that are bisexual. Especially among insects. It is not an unknown fact that we have things that are bisexual.
So I think that Adam was bisexual and some of the very early Rabbiís who where certainly students of the Old Testament, had that concept, that Adam was bisexual, until God removed the female reproduction system from Adam and with that then He created the woman. Doesnít that make sense?
I just think it is so logical, because you see, the whole reproductive process of not only the human race but of all of Godís creation, is based on those reproductive organs. And that is the very heart of all creation. Reproduction. So he removes that part from Adam and with it, He then surrounds it with the body of the woman and now we have man and woman. As yet she is not called Eve. Remember, she is merely referred to as the woman.
Go down to verse 23. God now has brought this new creature to Adam. His help meet. That is an interesting word, as well. It means a complement. That is spelled with an "e". The word help meet is the word complement. In other words, itís that which makes complete. Adam was not complete until God brought him that help meet.
Even the New Testament uses that same word with regard to Christ and you and I, the Church. The Church is the complement. This is why even the Lord, Himself, is looking forward to the day when He will have the Body of Christ with Him. And we become that completion of even Christ, Himself.
There is that correlation then between Adam and Eve, the husband and wife, or husband and wife as we saw it in the last lesson from the Book of Ephesians.
Look at Genesis chapter 2 verse 23.
"And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken (whatís the word? Out! See she was taken out of the man.) out of Man."
And the rib bone doesnít amount to that much, because it was something more than that. And He took the Woman out of the Man. As I mentioned in the last lesson, what I want to emphasize from this is that all of this points to the fact that Eve was IN Adam and that when Adam sinned, the female of the species came under the condemnation just a much as the man. Alright, I think that is well taken.
Now for verse 24, and remember all of human history has to fall back on what took place in Genesis.
"Therefore, shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be (whatís the word? One.) one flesh."
We have lost that concept. And I think it is so unfortunate that we have just sort of glossed over what God originally intended. But, if you will, take a look at the word here "cleave".
I am not going to take credit for it, we were visiting my son one time when he was still in OSU and we went to his Church with him and the Sunday School teacher that morning, I will never forget, explained the word cleave in a way that I have used ever since. I think it was so apropos. The word here in the Hebrew means that once a man and a woman come together in marriage, they should never be able to be separated without causing irreparable damage. Isnít that what divorce does?
Even those of you that have gone through it and in my consulting work that I have on the telephone, Iíll have folk call from one end of the country to the other, who are going through the awful distress of divorce. I donít envy people going through divorce. I empathize with them. But you see this is exactly what God had in mind that when man and woman came together and became one flesh, to tear them apart would be doing irreparable damage. So He says "they shall be one flesh".
Now, I like that next verse. Adam and Eve were so perfect. They were so sinless and even in their naked state, they were perfectly comfortable in Godís presence. That just shows how pure their very mind make up was.
"And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."
They were beautiful people and they had everything going for them. Now again, if you will remember a lesson or two ago, that perfect climate. No real intense heat. No intense cold. It was pole to pole perfect climate. No storm clouds. No severe weather. Everything was ideal.
And, they had fellowship with their Creator. God came and walked with them in the cool of the evening. How could anybody want anything more? But you know what? They werenít satisfied. We get the account of it now as we move on into chapter 3 verse 1.
"Now the serpent was more subtil..."
I always encourage people to go to a dictionary and look up this word subtle. The last time I looked it up there was about 12 or 14 words to define the word subtle. It means sly. It means cunning. It means with tremendous intelligence. Hey, this creature had everything.
I like to take the approach and not everyone will agree with me, and that is perfectly alright, but I take the approach that the serpent was probably the most beautiful of all the created creatures. I think it walked upright and I am even going to stick my neck out far enough to say that I think it could speak. I think Eve was not the least bit surprised when this beautiful creature came up to her and was actually speaking in her own language.
The point I like to make is that even to our present day, Satan will always use the very best that he can get his hands on. He will never use that which is of no other good. But, he will always use the best that he can possibly get a hold of. He begins with it right here.
So the serpent, beautiful, upright. The Scripture says the most subtle of all the created beings. Satan is using the best that he can find. Now what does he do?
"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"
Well, I am going to have to be remiss. I told you we would go back to these verses we missed in chapter two and we just have to do that, so come back with me to chapter 2 verse 1, and weíll pick up here in chapter 3 a little later. We need to take this verse by verse if we can.
"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them."
This is just after Adam was created and I donít think Eve is on the scene yet at the end of that sixth day. I think that is going to come sometime later. But, anyway, the six days of creation are now finished and then it says:
"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. 3. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: (set it apart) because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made."
Again I like to bring in a little scientific fact here, if I may, and again maybe not everyone will agree with me. But, I think here when God looked at that beautiful creation and everything that He had put into it that we have here the very first law of thermodynamics.
For those of you who have had any science courses, you will remember that almost in chapter 1 of most chemistry textbooks you are introduced to that law of thermodynamics. Thermo meaning heat and dynamics meaning energy.
In other words, when God had finished creation, He had the law of thermodynamics in place. For those of you who may have forgotten, the first law of thermodynamics says that there is now nothing being created nor destroyed. Got that?
Nothing is being created or destroyed. I think that is what you have here. You have a perfect creation. There is nothing deteriorating. There is nothing dying. There is nothing rotting. The first law of thermodynamics. Nothing needed to be any more created. Everything was here that God knew the coming race of people would need. Everything was perfect, it was good. The first law of thermodynamics.
Now, come down to verse 4.
"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 they heavens."
What do you notice in that verse? We have changed from God throughout all of chapter 1 and now all of a sudden we have the introduction of LORD God. That is not a misprint. The translators didnít make a mistake, but rather, this is all for a purpose.
You see, even the Old Testament is going to show that there is a person of the Godhead who is uniquely in the God of chapter 1 but now He is set apart as someone special. Heís called the LORD God.
Now the LORD is the word that we are going to be later introduced to as "Jehovah". So it could be read that in the day that the Jehovah God made the earth and the heavens.
The very name Jehovah, and we will look at that more in detail in our next lesson, is that person of the Godhead who is always involved with the human race. Itís that person of the Godhead who is to be the Communicator. He is to be the Redeemer. Itís the one who is going to be the Savior of mankind. Itís the one that is going to fellowship with Adam in the Garden. Itís that person of the Godhead that is going to appear to Abraham and to Moses and various others all the way up through the Old Testament. He is Jehovah God.
And, Iíd like to make that point because man has now come into the scene and God knows that man is going to have to be able to identify with his Creator. He is going to have to be able to not only fellowship with Him but be able to know that He is. This is why "God the Son" who is always Jehovah (with only one or two exceptions) Ė Jehovah is always God the Son.
Get that concept straight. Whenever you see the word LORD in capital letters, it is Jehovah. It is God the Son. Now our translators, Iíve read, used that word "LORD" most of the time out of courtesy to the old Jewish writers because they had such an awe for that name Jehovah, that they wouldnít even write it. They would leave a blank. But our translators came along and instead of using the word in opposition to that Jewish mentality, they used the word LORD.
So, whenever you see the word LORD capitalized, remember that it is Jehovah. You wonít be doing any harm to Scripture if you will just intersperse those two terms. What you have here then in chapter 2 verse 4 is the introduction to a name of Deity that we have not seen before and itís the Redeemer.
Itís that person of the Godhead who is going to be the Communicator. Itís going to be the one who is going to make Himself known at various times all the way up through the Old Testament and then as we will see in the next lesson, Heís the one that came on the scene and we know Him in the New Testament as Jesus the Christ.
Just as a recap, we find that Adam was created first with Eve within him. God created, then, the woman out of the man and presented her as his help meet. And, the two became one. God instituted it from the very beginning.
At the same time, God revealed Himself as the one who will be the Redeemer. Heís the one who is going to fellowship with man not only in the Garden but all the way up through human history, until He comes on the scene as God in the flesh. The Lord Jesus Christ. The Jesus of Nazareth. The One who died for us and rose again!
LESSON TWO* PART IV * BOOK 1
Adam and Eve Created Ė The Three Circles
Genesis 1:6 Ė 2:7
Letís go back to Genesis chapter 2 verse 4, where we were in the last lesson.
"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,"
We pointed out last time that all through chapter one, we simply had the word God.
G-o-d. But now, since the six days of creation are complete, man is on the scene and the name of Deity is introduced as the LORD God or Jehovah God.
I think it probably helps if we can break down that name Jehovah a little bit. I feel real confident that I am on the right track because several years ago my wife and I were in Israel and we ran through this whole thing with a well educated young Israeli, who was a high school principal. He had his Masterís Degree and when we laid this out before him, not on a blackboard, of course, and not with the benefit of any notes per se, he was just aghast. He said, you are right! I canít disagree with a bit of it. But, I canít wait now to get home and look this up in my New Testament, because what we are really doing is bringing us all the way down to the appearance of Christ Himself.
So the name Jehovah really comes from two Hebrew words, the "Jahwe" that most of you have heard and the second Hebrew term is "Havah". Now the definition for the Hebrew Deity name "Jahwe" was the I AM.
If you remember when Moses was at the burning bush and he said, "When I go back to the children of Israel and tell them that God has sent me, they are going to ask me "What is his name? What shall I tell them." And remember what the voice in the burning bush said "You tell the children of Israel that I AM hath sent you." The I AM THAT I AM. Alright that was the definition of "Jahwe". The eternal preexistent I AM.
You add to that then, the definition of "Havah" which really meant the I AM is "to be revealed". Now that is more or less the continuing action type of verb. So the eternal preexistent I AM would be more and more and more revealed as we come on up through human history.
The contraction of Jahwe Havah then as we see it in our Old Testament becomes the name "Jehovah". And that is what it is, it is a contraction of Jahwe Havah. Jehovah then is the I AM who is to be more and more revealed.
The extension of the Hebrew word Jehovah into the Greek is simply the name Jesus. Isnít that simple? And the word Jesus is a further revelation of Jehovah and in the Old Testament it was Jehovah Joshua. The word Joshua mean Savior. So, Jehovah Savior is in the Greek Ė Jesus. We normally refer to Him as Jesus Christ. Or Jesus the Messiah.
So this is a continuing revelation of the eternal I AM. Maybe it would help us and we will be doing it again when we get to Exodus but thatís a long way down the road. So, turn with me to Exodus chapter 3. I do this just to show that now with Adam on the scene, the eternal preexistent I AM, God the Son, is going to be the one that is going to be more and more revealed as we come up through the human experience.
All you have to do is to stop and think about it for a minute. First He walked with Adam in the Garden in the cool of the day. Then in a further revelation, we see Him reveal Himself to Abraham. And, if you want to see a good example of God appearing in human form in the Old Testament, all you have to do is read Genesis chapter 18.
That is where Abraham prepared the fatted calf and prepared the meal and the I AM, the Jehovah of the Old Testament, actually sat down and partook of that meal. Then you come on up to Exodus chapter 3 and we find Him in the burning bush.
In the burning bush He doesnít appear in human form but He appears by way of a human voice. And as Moses is standing there on that holy ground where he was told to remove his shoes, then verse 13:
"And Moses said unto God,..."
Now see? Thereís that term again. Even though we have separated Him out of the Godhead as the Jehovah, as God the Son, yet He is still God. Which brings me to something I was shown just the other evening thatís hard to comprehend. But, on the other hand, if someone prints it we have to believe it.
It was where a national magazine took a survey of preachers and pastors across the land and I wonít take time to do all of it but some of the questions were: Do you believe in the Deity of Christ? In other words, do you believe that Jesus Christ was God? And the answer to that question was NO from 89% of the respondents. Eighty-nine percent of those preachers and pastors did not believe that Jesus was God.
Another one that they asked was "Do you believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ?" They answered NO, 99%. These things are shocking! Then they wonder why people take the time to listen to this old layman, well I think I know the reason. Because I donít answer NO to those kinds of questions.
In chapter 3 verse 13 continue on.
" Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name?"
Moses had been in Egypt for 40 years. He knew the very mentality of all those Jews as well the Egyptians and all the Egyptian gods immediately came to Mosesí mind. They had a name for every one. Now the Israelis living under that kind of a society for four hundred years were now in the same boat. Moses knew that. So he said, the first thing when I get to Egypt those Israeli people are going to say, God has sent you? Well, what is his name? Thereís the setting. So, Moses says in the end of verse 13 when they ask that:
"What shall I say unto them? 14. And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM; (that is always capitalized in every version that I have ever seen) and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."
Now, it is that same I AM that I have already broken down and the rest of the Old Testament will call Him Jehovah. In fact you can pick it up in chapter 6 of Exodus drop down to verse 2 and 3.
"And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD:"
Now, I said that word LORD could be interchanged with Jehovah. So he says, I am Jehovah. Now verse 3.
"And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not know to them."
But now He is. The name Jehovah has been put out in plain language. Now letís follow that up into the New Testament when theologians will say that Jesus never claimed to be God and that they donít believe in His Deity. You see when they say that, then they have to throw Scripture away!
Turn to Johnís gospel chapter 8 Here in this portion of Scripture the Pharisees are literally testing Jesus. They are trying to drive Him into a corner. And, to them whenever He would claim to be God, it was pure blasphemy, you know that. So this is what they really wanted to hear. They wanted to hear Him say in no uncertain terms that He was the God of Abraham. Boy, then they would have every cause to put Him to death. That was as blasphemous as they thought a person could get.
So after all this conversation going on between Jesus and these religious leaders of Israel, verse 52 says:
"Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou has a devil. (or a demon) Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying he shall never taste of death. 53. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? And the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?"
You see what they are driving at? Hey, you are talking about things that only God could do. Who do you make yourself to be anyway? Look at Jesusí answer in verse 54.
"Jesus answered, If I honour my self, my honour is nothing; it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:"
You talk about caustic! I think that is what weíve got here. Look what He says to these religious leaders in verse 55.
"Yet ye have not known him; but I know him; and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you; (now that is harsh words, isnít it? Thatís coming from the Lord Jesus Himself.) but I know him, and keep his saying. 56. Your father Abraham
rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it and was glad."
Remember, I mentioned that back in Genesis 18, the Lord actually sat down in human form and had that meal of fatted calf with Abraham and God shared His covenant with Abraham. So Abraham knew all about the coming of this Son of God, one day, to the nation of Israel.
So Jesus rightly said, Abraham saw my day and rejoiced! Now look at the response of the religious Jewish leaders in verse 57.
"Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?"
How long ago did Abraham live? You remember our first lesson, when we took that overview, that timeline? Abraham was about 2000 BC. And what they were aghast at was that here was Jesus only thirty some years old is claiming that He knew Abraham that has lived 2000 years before.
Thatís what they were saying. You mean to tell us that you KNEW Abraham? Oh, see their unbelief! But now look at Jesusí reply.
"Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you before Abraham was, I am."
Now, isnít that beautiful! Whatís He claiming? Heís the I AM! See? He is the pre-eternal, self existent, I AM who would be more and more and more revealed.
Just follow that up. We have already seen Him revealed coming up through the Old Testament in various and sundry ways. Now He comes on the scene, born of Mary, in the flesh. Presents Himself to the nation of Israel. He goes to the cross. He is risen from the dead. And again He presents Himself to His followers for 40 days after His resurrection. Oh, it was the same one, but now Heís in that resurrected body. Heís in that body fashioned like the body we will one day have. It was a further revelation.
Then, we go on through the Scriptures and Paul begins to reveal Him as the God of all Grace. The Lord Jesus, who loved us and died for us and gave Himself for us. Oh, thatís a further revelation of the very person of Christ. His compassion, His love for us, that He actually went to the Cross in order to purchase our redemption.
Then in the Book of Revelation, and it is a misnomer to call it Revelation of St. John the Divine. Itís a revelation of Jesus Christ. And we see Him now coming in the clouds of Glory, to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You see, this constant reveling? We get more and more and more of who He is as we come on up through the Word of God.
Now, I think we are ready to move on in Genesis chapter 2 down to verse 7 where again it is just a summarization in one verse of that which took place back in chapter 1. Someone has asked the question, and I guess I had never really heard it put that way before, whether this was a different creation from the one in chapter 1. No, itís the same one, itís just simply a summarization.
"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."
That just puts the frosting on the cake! Man was created out of the natural elements and thatís all our flesh really is. Itís just water and the elements that are taken in the ground. When we die we go back to those same elements. But, the crowning act of creation was when the LORD God breathed into that new creation, the breath of life.
You remember in the last lesson, when He made man in His own image, by giving him a mind, will and emotion. He gave him three invisible entities that were all attributes of God as well, and that was all put in when God breathed into man the breath of life and he became a living soul.
The word "living" is more than 70 or 80 or 90 years. This means ETERNAL. I can never emphasize it enough, that every human being is an eternal being. He is going to live in eternity someplace. This is why it behooves us to understand the plan of salvation that God has made so available and so free. That by simply believing Paulís GOSPEL, we can live eternally in Godís presence. Whereas by rejecting Paulís GOSPEL, by being disobedient, we are going to live forever separated from God. It is that separation from God that is by definition, the Second Death. We will be separated from God, unless we are united to Him by Faith in Paulís Gospel.
Since I am mentioning The Gospel and I havenít mentioned it in the first few lessons, maybe this is an appropriate time, because those of you who have been with me over the years you realize that even though we go verse by verse in the Old Testament, we are going to jump into the New Testament every chance we get.
So come with me to I Corinthians, if you will. In I Corinthians, when I make mention of The Gospel, I want everyone to take a note of it. To memorize it, if possible. And realize that The Gospel that we are responsible for believing tonight is most clearly put in I Corinthians 15, those first four verses. You cannot find another portion of Scripture where it is so simply put and so plainly put that there is no room for argument.
This is The Gospel, or as Paul says in different passages, "My Gospel" I always maintain that my classes include people from all kinds of backgrounds Ė denominationally. And, there may be differences, but on one point there can be no difference. I donít care what our background, what our handle is, there is only one Gospel of salvation, and here it is laid out in I Corinthians 15. I will come back to it over and over and over as we come up even through the Old Testament as well as the New.
I Corinthians 15: 1a
"Moreover, brethren, (Paul writes) I declare unto you the gospel (He doesnít use the article "a" gospel but "the". Thereís only one.) which I preached unto you, which also ye have received,..."
Again I have to make a point. Paul always writes to the believers. Whether itís to the Romans or anything he wrote, he always writes to the believer. Now as he writes to the believer naturally the Word of God is going to have an effect on the unbeliever. But I think the whole idea goes back again to Romans chapter 10 where Paul again writes that how can they hear without a preacher, or a teacher or a go between. And how can they understand the Word unless some human instrument explains it to them. And then he comes to that capstone for faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
Thatís why I teach. I hope that everyone of you will be skilled enough in the Scripture that God can use you to present this Gospel to anyone who may be searching and looking for the plan of salvation. Now letís look at it again.
I Corinthians 15: 1-2
"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received and wherein ye stand; 2. By which also ye are saved, (by that Gospel) if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain."
In other words, you have to KNOW what you believe. Faith isnít something blind. We have to KNOW what we believe. Then here it comes, verse 3 and verse 4! You will never find the Gospel of salvation presented any simpler or in plainer language.
I Corinthians 15: 3-4
"For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (that is, it was prophesied in the Old Testament that He would die) 4. And that he was buried, (He was REALLY dead. He didnít just go into a coma, he didnít just go into some unconscious state, He died! He was dead. And that three days in the grave proved it.) and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"
Now thatís The Gospel! You canít add anything to it! You canít take anything from it! Thatís The Gospel!
Let me show you, for example, how Paul will refer to it. Come back to Romans chapter 10. We probably wonít get back to Genesis in this lesson but weíll pick it up again in the next lesson.
Romans chapter 10 drop in at verse 9. Paul is writing to the predominately Gentile congregation at Rome and he said.
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, (here it comes now!) and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, (it doesnít mention that He died, but you donít rise from the dead unless you do, so that is implied. But, here he is stressing the Gospel, see? That if you will believe with all your heart that God has raised Him from the dead) thou shalt be saved."
Can you get any plainer? Let me turn to one more. Back to I Corinthians chapter 1 verse 18. Paul writes:
I Corinthians 1:18
"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; (whatís the preaching of the cross? That Christ died, was buried, and rose again. Thatís it! But isnít that what the world says? How can I believe that somebody 2000 years ago has anything to do with me today. But, oh, thatís the preaching of the cross.) but unto us which are saved (remember, we are precious few any more) it (the preaching of the cross or the preaching of the Gospel) is the power of God."
I like to put it this way. It took greater amount of Godís power to save this old sinner than it did to create the universe. Oh, if people could just get a glimpse of this. That the very power of God has to become instrumental in our salvation. Thatís why we canít work for it, thatís why we canít merit it. It takes the very power of God. How do we release that power? By believing the Gospel
I will never forget a lady in San Antonio looked at me one time and said "Les, you make it too simple." You know what my answer was? I said " If I made it any more difficult you would say thatís too hard." Thatís the human nature. But it is, it is so simple and yet it is so complex that I can teach it night after night and never exhaust it.
But itís the power of God unto salvation, as Romans chapter 1 verse 16 puts it, to everyone that joins the Church? No. That is baptized? Takes communion? No. But to everyone that believeth. Remember, faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
Oh how I pray that everybody I teach would be capable of using a few of these verses that we have just shown you: I Corinthians 15: 1-4. Romans 1:16, Romans 10:10 and I Corinthians 1:18 and show others how to be saved!!
LESSON THREE * PART I * BOOK 1
Genesis 2:8 Ė 3:8
Before we go back to Genesis, a question that keeps coming up in almost every class every week since August (1990) is, "Whatís the deal in the Middle East?"
So I think I will make just a few comments on that before we go back to Genesis, if I may. The answer to that question, when I made it last August is still the same today. That is, always remember, that everything prophetically, everything biblically, everything so far as world politics is concerned, is centered on the little nation of Israel.
Thatís why in almost every news report, every newspaper and every weekly news magazine, seemingly, Israel is front page news. And thatís as it should be. Because, all prophecy is centered on Israel. Especially the Middle East. So, the only way that we can look at the whole Middle East dilemma is; where does Israel come in? If you have been watching the news, Hussein has been making it clear that he cannot negotiate unless he can settle the Palestinian and the Israeli problem.
Now, what a lot of people do not understand and what a lot of Americans do not understand is that Israel is surrounded by enemies on every side. She is out numbered by about 40 to 1 and every last Arab Nation has within their governmental archives a statement to the effect that, they will not rest until Israel is obliterated.
When you stop to think who all that entails, it starts all across North Africa. It means Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt then you come into the Middle East itself and you have, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq and Iran . Everyone of those nations have already established that they will not rest until Israel is totally destroyed or driven into the sea.
How do you suppose that makes Israel feel? Well, she is threatened and consequently she sits there adamant. She has one of the best armies in the world and one of the best air forces in the world for a reason.
Even the world in general, when you watch the United Nations, whenever they come to any kind of a debate, itís the whole world against Israel. Except on the occasions where the United States votes with her. So the consensus is very easily arrived at; why stick up for a losing cause? They are out numbered. They donít stand a chance.
Well, we have to always go back to the Scripture. And letís just real quickly look at a few primary verses with regard to Israelís future. Is she there to stay? Or is this just a temporary phenomena that a few people have made a big ado over nothing? Or is this really the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
Now Iíve made comments in my classes over the years, that probably 85-90% of Christendom (when I use the word Christendom, remember, Iím talking about any organization or denomination or whatever you want to call it, that ascribes a least a part of their belief to the Bible.) So, 90% of Christendom, and I am including all of Protestantism, the Catholic Church and any others that are in this ballpark of Christendom, are of the opinion that since Israel killed her Messiah, that God literally put Israel out of His mind and transferred all of the promises given to Israel to "the Church".
But, you see the Bible flies in the face of that thinking. So if you will, turn with me back to II Samuel chapter 7. The only reason I am taking time to jump ahead is because it is going to be a long time before we get this far in our study coming out of Genesis and since the Middle East is in such a turmoil, I thought it might be appropriate to at least spend a few moments. I am just taking a few of the clearest references to the fact that Israel is not there by accident. Israel is there under the directive of a Sovereign God. Never forget, as I have mentioned already several times since we have begun this study on television, that God is Sovereign.
He can do whatever He wants to do! And, it is not for the human mind to question. Because the Scripture tells us that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, His ways are higher than our ways. Consequently, we are in no position to question. Now II Samuel chapter 7, the Lord is talking to old King David, remember this is about 1000 BC. Heís talking to King David through the prophet Nathan. Drop down to verse 14.
II Samuel 7:14
"I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, (The word He, the pronoun is directly associated with Solomon, but it also includes the whole nation of Israel. Iniquity, we know that Israel has been guilty of that) I will chasten him with the rod of men, (in other words, God will use other nations to punish the nation of Israel) and with the stripes of the children of men:"
Then verse 15. One of the important words in Scripture. That little three letter word "but"! B-u-t. Even though God will have to chasten the nation of Israel betimes, and even though Israel is going to be rebellious and anything but what God would like them to be. "But" God says:
II Samuel 7:15
"But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee."
Then verse 16 shows that we are not just talking about King Solomon per se or King Saul but we are talking about the nation of Israel.
II Samuel 7:16
"And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee; thy throne shall be established for ever."
Now, that is a promise that God has made and regardless of what Israel does Godís promises to stand. They will never be broken.
Letís turn to another verse that might help us to understand. Iíd like to take you to Jeremiah, because we are seeing this right before our very eyes, even as I speak.
Someone has been kind enough to give me a gift subscription to the Jerusalem Post. And if you really want to know what is going on the in Middle East, thatís the paper you have to read. Last week the Jerusalem Post reported that in the month of November, the past November, more Jewish immigrants came into the land of Israel out of Russia alone than came from all the rest of the world over the last several years.
In our class last night, someone had just read a week or two ago that in one day, 9,000 Jews from Russia came to Israel. Nine thousand in one day! Alright, what are we seeing? Turn to Jeremiah chapter 16.
Hereís another good example of what I mentioned a few weeks ago that when you see two or three times in short order God repeating Himself, itís just like when we repeat something, - emphasis! Youíd better take note. Jeremiah chapter 16 verse 14.
"Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt: 15. But, the LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers."
Now in order to emphasize, who is the land of the north? If you could take a horizontal type map of the globe and find the longitudinal lines in which Jerusalem is located and you can draw a perfectly straight line north to the North Pole and you will practically bisect Red Square! From Jerusalem to Moscow is absolutely due north! So when the Scripture speaks of bringing the Jewish people from out of the north country there is no doubt that it is talking about the land of Russia.
Turn over a few pages to chapter 23 verse 7. Again it is almost identical language.
"Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; 8. But, the LORD liveth which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country. And from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land."
Now, that is plain English! Just plain English. We just canít do anything with it! Now turn to chapter 31.
"Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together; a great company shall return thither"
Plain English, isnít it? And we are seeing it. Right in our own time.
Alright, another portion of Scripture, turn to Ezekiel chapter 37. We wonít take time to take this verse by verse, we will hopefully, do that sometime down the road, but in chapter 37 you have the vision that was given to Ezekiel of the dry bones. The dry bones, from which the old Negro Spiritual derived those dry bones.
As Ezekiel is shown in a vision this whole valley filled with dry bones, and he says behold they were very dry. And all that means is that they have been there for a long time. They are bleached. Now remember this is just a vision, and as he looks out over this valley of dry bones, the LORD says that he should prophecy upon them. Then you drop down to verse 7.
"So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone."
I think you know the rest of the text. How he saw all of these various bones, the knee bone and the hip bone and the thigh bone and the shoulder bone. They all came together and they formed that skeleton. But, there was no muscle on them so you come on down to verse 10.
"So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army."
Just get the picture of Ezekielís vision. He looks out over this valley just covered with bones. Very dry! They have been there for centuries and all of a sudden he sees these bones come together and skeletons appear. Flesh comes upon them. The skin comes upon them and then all of a sudden they are living.
I have heard many a sermon on these first few verses and they can apply it and make all kinds of good sermon material out of it. But, unfortunately, they donít go on. Because you see the Bible always interprets these things for us. When you go down to verse 11:
"Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel:..."
See? There it is, just as plain as day! These bones that Ezekiel saw in this vision were just simply a picture of the house of Israel.
"...behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts."
What is the indication? Israel has been out there in the Gentile Nations, dispersed, out of her homeland for thousands of years. And it just seemed that there was no hope of them becoming a viable nation once again. But oh, listen, God hasnít forgotten about the children of Israel. Now read on, verse 12.
"Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; (whenever God speaks, we had better listen!) Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, (what were the graves? Their dwelling places in Gentiles nations. Russia, Europe, Poland, France, America. This is where the Jew is literally out of his homeland and he is in a grave so far as God is concerned, because Israel is not what God wants them to be unless they are in their promised land.) and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel."
That is something that you cannot twist. You canít spiritualize that and say well, "This isnít what it means." No, it means what it says! God says, I will bring you to the land of Israel. Verse 13.
"And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves. 14. And shall put my spirit in you and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD."
Alright, letís go to a New Testament verse, Matthew chapter 24. Because someone may be prone to say "thatís Old Testament, thatís all done. That doesnít have anything to do with us today." Well, just to show that indeed, it does have something to do with us today, you go to Matthew chapter 24 verse 32. And if you have a red letter edition, it is in red. Jesus is doing the speaking. As I have emphasized so often in my teaching, if anyone has any doubt about some of the things in the Old Testament and Jesus comes back and quotes it, then you better rest assured you are on pretty solid ground that it is the Word of God.
"Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:"
I think you are all aware that the fig tree in Scripture is always symbolic of the nation of Israel, but now look at verse 33.
" So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, (in other words, when you see all these things we are seeing happening in the Middle East. Even as a good Jew was aware that when a fig tree began to sprout its leaves summer was nigh. So, we are to understand that when we see all these things coming to pass, Godís summer is nigh. His return is at hand!) know that it (His return) is near, even at the doors."
Now this next verse is the one that I wanted to point out in particular. Verse 34.
"Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, (or be destroyed or disappear) till all these things be fulfilled."
Now, the word generation there, comes from the Greek word "genea" from which we get generation but more apt genealogy. So what He is really saying is that this "stock", this generation, or this breed or this nation of people, Israel, shall never pass off the scene until everything is fulfilled.
What does that tell you? God can never fulfill His overall program until He can come back and deal once again with the nation of Israel. So, whenever you hear a statement that Godís all through with Israel, donít you believe it!
In fact, I read a comment again the other night by one of the main line denominational leaders, that the present day Jew in Israel has nothing to do with the Jew of Scripture. Oh, I donít see how they can say something like that, but that is their privilege, of course. But, we know that the Bible is constantly pointing to the time when God will come back and will deal with His people Israel.
So, everything that is happening in the Middle East is centered on the nation of Israel. I am going to probably again, as I have said before, stick my neck out a little. But, I have said since August, that I do not expect an all out shooting war in the Middle East. They may start tomorrow, but I am not expecting it because, if indeed, a war breaks out Iím sure itís going to be explosive over the whole Middle East. Israel will be drawn in to it and it will be awful.
But, you see that would just completely upset the end times as the Bible depicts it. Because Israel is going to be intact for the great invasion that the Bible talks about and that is when Russia with her satellite nations are still going to have to invade Israel and the Middle East. And, they canít invade a land that has been completely blown to sunder.
So, I just donít look for a great conflagration. I donít look for a great holocaust in the Middle East, unless, and we donít know, America is capable of moving in swiftly and just simply cleaning up the Iraqi mess by itself. That might be, but I donít look for that. I think the Middle East is just going to continue to be a simmering boiling pot until these end time events that the Bible tells about will be coming on the scene.
So, watch Israel. Thatís the key to not only the Middle East but to the whole world situation, because all of Godís Word rests on what happens to that little nation of Israel. Remember too that, there are three million Jews still in Russia. They are going to have to come back to Israel. There are about six million Jews still in America. They too are going to be going back to Israel.
Again, going back to an article in the Jerusalem Post last summer, a member of their parliament, what they call their Knesset, made the statement, that every time an American Jew comes visiting, he has the chance to show them around. He says I show them the West Bank and I tell them that some day you are going to be living there.
Of course, the Palestinians are of quite the opposite mind. But, remember, the Jews are going to have to come back to Palestine. There is no doubt about it. That little country is only about 40 miles wide and about 180 miles long, and for another eight or nine million Jews to come in, they are going to have to have every square mile they can get. So I donít see much hope for the Palestinians being able to hang on to what they have in the present land of Israel.
And, I feel for them. Donít think for a minute, I donít. But, on the other hand, God is Sovereign and He is going to accomplish His designed program. As I have mentioned in my classes before, I can see a parallel, a beautiful parallel, between the Palestinians tonight and the American Indians in the 1800ís.
When the American Indians saw these thousands upon thousands of covered wagons coming out across the land. What did they know deep down inside? They are pushing us out. We are losing our land. And, we look at it, with mixed emotions. Had it not happened, we would not have the great land that weíve got. American would have not been an influential power in prophetic happenings.
For example, if it hadnít been for America, who would have ever stopped Hitler? He would have just literally usurped the globe. But, God had America ready. Alright, now the same way over there. As the Jews come in, Iím sure the Palestinians are gradually going to have to be pushed out. And, bad as that may seem, letís remember that all the other nations of the Middle East are their brothers. Do they want them? No. They donít want them, but they are going to have to take them as I see it.
Again, we canít be dogmatic on these things, but I do know what the Bible says and that God is going to have to bring Israel back. He is going to be dealing with them on His terms even though Israel is there tonight in unbelief. She is no different spiritually than an other secular government on earth. Just because they are Godís covenant people, donít expect them to be righteous in all of their dealings. They are there in unbelief even though there is a resurgence now in Old Testament religion, if I may use that word.
And there is definitely a push to rebuild their Temple. Again, as I have shared with some of you, since last summer the Jerusalem Post has reported, that they have everything ready for the new Temple. They have the Priesthood trained. They have the clothes all sewn and hanging on mannequins for the Priests to use. They have the red heifer, bred up and raised and they showed a picture of it out in the countryside some place in Israel. The red heifer has to be used as a cleansing and a purifying when their new Temple is built. So you see, everything is coming so fast and Israel is just sitting there. I just kind of picture them like a bunch of red wasps on their cone, and as long as no one "bugs" them, they are going to sit tight. But, oh, if anybody tries to attack them, they are going to be furious. They have to be. Wouldnít you be if you were out numbered 40 to 1. If you knew that every nation for miles around has it within their decree that theyíll not rest until you are destroyed?
So we have to look at this from both sides, that everything that Israel does is not always in line with what we think is morally right. But, again, they are no different than any other government. They are no different than the Chinese or the Iraqis or anybody else. They are only there to attain their own end. But above it all is the Sovereign God and His Word is going to be fulfilled to the last jot and tittle.
Again, all I can say is study the Word. Be aware of things that have to come to pass and that Israel is in the center of all of it. There is no prophecy associated with the Church. All prophecy is associated with that little nation of Israel.
Study these promises on your own. I have said so often, that this is why I teach, is to get people to study the Bible. I am not trying to build a following. Iím not building an empire. I have never asked for a dime in return for my teaching time, but all I want folk to do is to learn how to study.
Read the Book. Not just to read a few verses for a devotion. But, learn to study it and compare Scripture with Scripture and the Lord will give you wisdom. As you study you have to be involved in prayer, because as we commune with God, He has promised to commune with us through His Word.
LESSON THREE* PART II *BOOK 1
Genesis 2:8 Ė 3:8
In this lesson, we will go back to Genesis chapter 2. But before we do I should review just a little bit. Remember, that on the sixth day of creation, God created Adam. He created him out of the dust of the earth. He made him in Godís own image and we, hopefully, got across that that was in the area of our invisible makeup, in our personality, which is made up of our mind, our will and our emotion and God placed that then within a body.
Always remember that Adam was perfect, and I want to emphasize that. Adam was perfect in every way! He was sinless. He was immortal. He could have lived forever. And God had created a perfect environment in which he could live. An ideal climate. No heat. No cold. All of archaeological proof shows that at one time this world did have a constant climate from pole to pole. That was the situation into which Adam was brought.
It was to have been a beautiful earth. Far more land area than what we have on the earth tonight. I was shocked, and I should have known it, but do you realize that our present planet is just about 80% water. Something between 75% and 80% of our surface is water. That only leaves about 22%-23% that is land area.
Now of that 22%-23% that is land area, how much is habitable? Again, less than half. You take the vast areas of the Sahara Ė uninhabitable. Even in our own western United States, many parts of the Rocky Mountain areas, practically uninhabitable. And vast areas of Siberia and all around the planet we have unimaginable square miles of planet that is uninhabitable. So it really boils down to a small percentage of the surface of our planet is fit for human livelihood.
But, before the Flood and at the time of Adam, it was practically the opposite. There was abundant vegetation. There was room for an abundant explosion of not only the human race but the animal kingdom as well. And that gives rise to the tremendous fossil beds that we have been able to find as a result of the flood, but we will come to that later. Adam is brought into a beautiful created earth.
Now then, even though, as we pointed out earlier, he was given dominion over everything on the earth. From pole to pole. From east to west. Nevertheless, God, I think, set up a special little place which we call the Garden of Eden.
It naturally, as most of you realize, was there in the Middle East. In the cradle of civilization. In that area of the Euphrates River. Now letís pick that up then, in chapter 2 verse 8.
"And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed."
You know, I thought of something the other day that I had never thought of before, as long as I have been teaching. And, I wonder how many of you have? Where do you suppose he actually lived with his beautiful wife? Have you ever thought of that?
Did God give them a home? Did they just lay down in some vegetation and sleep? Did they just totally eat off the trees and fruits or did they have a place where they could prepare a meal? Have you ever thought about it? I never had, but I think it is something interesting to think about. Where did they actually live?
I think most of us always just think of Adam and Eve in that beautiful garden and that was it. Well, the Bible doesn't tell us and there are a lot of things that the Bible canít tell us because if it told us everything we would like to know, we would have to have a truck to carry it around. But, God has seen fit to make it concise enough that we have everything we need to know and yet, in a book small enough that we can carry wherever we go.
So, God placed him in the Garden. Then verse 9.
"And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, (Can you imagine how beautiful that place was?) and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil."
How many particular trees? Two. We have here the Tree of Life and someplace just a little ways away from it, I think, was the Tree of Good and Evil.
It is interesting to note, that after Adam sinned, that the Tree of Life disappears from the Scriptural account until you get to the last Book, the Book of Revelation. You remember, in our very first lesson, we pointed out that so much of what is introduced in Genesis always comes back again in Revelation.
Well, the Tree of Life is one of them. It will disappear from view after Adam and Eve leave the Garden and we wonít see it again, it wonít be mentioned again, until we get to the last chapter of the last Book of our Bible.
So, these two trees we want to take note of. The Tree of Life which, had Adam been able to partake of, he would have definitely been able to live forever. That was the idea of that tree. It would enhance eternal life. That is why it comes back on the scene then, in the last part of our Bible, in Revelation in the new heaven and the new earth. There it will definitely enhance eternity. It wonít be as it says in our English "a healing", but it will be therapeutic. It will enhance eternal life.
Set apart from the Tree of Life, is the tree thatís the most interesting, and the one that we better learn the most of. That is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Verse 10.
"And a river went out of Eden to water the garden;..."
Now I have to stop a minute! Remember I made special note a lesson or two ago that with that beautiful climate, it never rained. Of course, the Bible says in verse 5 of chapter 2 that God had caused it not to rain. But, He watered it from a mist that came from beneath.
I have had someone interrupt me as we come to verse 10 and say "wait a minute Les. If there was no rain, then naturally it didnít snow, then where did the river get the water?" Because thatís the way we are now acquainted with it. The water goes to the ocean and evaporates and comes back up over land and it rains or snows and it feeds the rivers and so it goes year in and year out.
Have you ever seen a river come from the base of a mountain? Sure you have. I know Iris and I, years ago, stopped at the foot of a mountain in the Rocky Mountains for coffee one morning. We looked behind us and sure enough right out of the base of the mountain came this little stream of water. Thirty of forty miles down the road it was a river.
So I have no problem with saying on the one hand it never rained and on the other hand I can show you that there were rivers. Letís go on!
"... and from thence it was parted and became into four heads."
We donít have to be too concerned about the names of these rivers.
"The name of the first is Pison; that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12. And the gold of that land is good; there is bdellium and the onyx stone. 13. And the name of the second river is Gihon; the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia,"
Now that gets kind of confusing, because Ethiopia, as we understand it, is clear down in Africa. But, I think that it maybe kind of settles the confusion, that before the flood the whole land mass was practically in one chunk. There was no great separation of the Continents. So this just gives us a great area of the Middle East that was involved in what we call the Garden of Eden.
"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."
The fourth one is the river Euphrates, which we are acquainted with. If fact, it is in the news everyday. Because the Euphrates River goes right through Baghdad. The Euphrates River was the one on which the Tower of Babel was built. So it has been an important river scripturally, from day one. Now verse 15.
"And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it."
Remember, there were no weeds, no thorns or thistles and so it was a relatively mild occupation to keep that garden. Then verse 16.
"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:"
Everything there was for him to enjoy. Notice verse 17 begins with the word "But" This is one of those important three letter words in Scripture. Even though God could let him have everything he desired of any tree or any vine or any herb or anything that grew. But:
"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."
Now the first question that comes into the average individualís mind is, if God had everything so perfect and he has created a man that is perfect and could live forever; why in the world He put something in front of him that would make it possible for him to lose it all? It is a good question.
A few lessons ago I think I answered it, whether you realize it or not. Remember, I said that God and His creation of mankind had direct parallel with the husband and wife relationship. Do you remember that?
The whole idea of everything in Godís universe is that God wanted a creature that He could extend His love to and receive love in return. I pointed out in the husband and wife relationship, God expects and commands the husband to love the wife. Because how did God create the woman? To respond to that love.
Alright, in order for man to be put in a place of exercising that will, and to show that he really and truly loves the God that created him, God had to give him an alternative, and He did. Otherwise, he would have been a robot and God didnít create men to be robots. He created us with that choice. That power of will. Or that will of the power of choice, would probably say it better.
He had to make something that would put man in the place of choosing. So God chose the Tree of Good and Evil for that purpose. He says to Adam, "Everything is yours to enjoy. You can live forever, but of that one tree you shall not eat for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." God made it emphatic.
Now, I have often wondered, just how much understanding Adam and Eve had of that word "die". I donít think that they had every really pictured anything having died. But, nevertheless, God made it so emphatic that they were not to eat of it or the consequences would be dire indeed. Keep that in mind because that is what we will be looking at when we get into chapter three.
We have already covered these other verses in previous lessons. How that Adam gave names to all the creatures. How in verse 21-25 God brings the man and woman together. I think we taught that in depth a few lessons ago, so now lets go down to chapter 3.
Get the picture now. Adam and Eve are living in the beautiful, beautiful part of a beautiful earth. In an ideal climate. Ideal environment. Ideal people. The ideal couple. What more could they hope for?
Well, the whole lesson here is that even though the sociologists idealistically think that if they could just set up every home with a decent income, a decent home, a decent environment, we would settle all of our social problems. It just doesnít work that way.
This is the perfect proof of the pudding. Adam and Eve are under perfect circumstances. They couldnít ask for anything better. Were they content? No. Letís read on chapter 3 verse 1. I accidentally went into these first couple of verse few lessons ago but letís look at it again.
"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. 2. And he (the serpent, used now of Satan Ė Lucifer) said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"
Remember, I said if you were to look up in the dictionary the definitions for the word subtle? There is a list of words probably 10 to 14 of them, all describing this creature by the word subtle.
He was deceptive. He was sly. He was intelligent. It was all these things that Satan could use to his advantage. Satan always uses the best that he can get his hands on, and I think that was the case here. Of all the creatures that were contemporary with Adam, the serpent filled the bill more than anything else.
Indeed it was beautiful with all of its color. I said previously, I think it walked upright on two legs. In zoology many times you will still study the place where appendages were upon a reptile. I think also, and I am going to stretch the point maybe to a place where you canít possible swallow it, but I think the serpent was capable of speaking. The reason I think so, is that Eve was not the least bit shocked when it did. She just turned right around and communicated with it.
So anyway the serpent now approaches the woman and he says "hath God said." Now you see one of the primary approaches of Satan even today is to plant doubt. Doubt, oh it is an awful word, because you see, doubt stands in bold relief against the other main word in Scripture, and that is what? Belief! See? Belief. But, opposite is doubt and this is Satanís big gun.
As soon as he can get a human being to doubt the Word of God, to disbelieve it, you know where he has that person? Right in his hip pocket. And on the other hand God comes back and all He asks is that we what? Donít doubt. Believe it!
This is the whole problem with even a lot of our ecclesiastical leaders tonight. How do they approach the Word of God? Believing? NO! They approach it with doubt. They just canít believe it happened the way Godís Word said it did.
But, God is so pleased when we believe. Remember the verse in the Book of Hebrews chapter 6? "that without faith it is (what?) impossible to please God." It is the only way of approach to God. So when people say, "Well I canít really believe this", then they have no fellowship with God, they canít have. Now verse 2.
"And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst (or the middle) of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die."
The point made here is, did Eve fully understand what God said? Sure she did. You canít blame God for keeping these two people unaware. They had a full understanding of what God expected of them.
Again, letís bring it down to terminology, as long as they avoided that tree like a plague, what were they doing? They were believing. Yes, God said that we are not to touch it! But you see that this is the first thing that Satan blows away and he makes them doubt. So it wasnít that they were ignorant of the fact. It wasnít that God wasnít fair with them by not explaining. They knew full well. Now verse 4.
"And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:"
You know what I call that? Thatís the first lie in the human experience. This is an out an out lie. Because what had God said? The day you eat thereof you shall surely die! But, Satan comes back. See why Jesus called him, what? The father of all lies. And he is still a master of it tonight. He is the perpetrator of what I call "The lie". It will carry all the way through Scripture. "The lie." And what is the lie? Verse 5.
"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."
Do you see what that is saying? That is the lie that is still being thrown at the human race tonight! And people are gobbling it up by the thousands. Yea, by the millions! Because how many groups, how many of the cults, say "That you will one day become god.".
Listen, that is "The lie." Because this is what got Eve to partake of the tree, even though she had everything! There was nothing more she could have desired in this material world. She had it all. But what thing was left. Oh, she could be like God.
I think everyone of us can remember back to when we were little. You would watch a bird fly. What automatically crossed your mind? Oh, how you wished you could fly! But you see, within the human makeup there is also that desire that if only they could have complete control of everything! If only they could be their own god. That appeals to the human mind. To be like god. To have control.
Isnít that what the cults teach? You can be whatever you want to be. You can have whatever you want to have. Just think it within your heart and if you think it and you dwell on it long enough and you motivate yourself hard enough, you can literally become your own god. Hey, that is "The lie!"
Now, Satan presents it as you can be as god, knowing good and (what) evil. Up until now, they knew no evil. See? They knew nothing of sin. They knew nothing of death. They knew none of that. But now, Satan is making it look as if that is something to be desired.
Again bring it into our own contemporary situation. What can Satan do with the things of this world that do nothing but destroy it? Oh, he can glamorize it. He can make it look as though if you are not doing "that" you are not living. Isnít that true? And, it will do nothing but just tear people down.
But this is all part of "The lie", and it began right back here in the Garden of Eden. Now verse 6.
"And when the woman saw (remember, she isnít called Eve yet, she is only referred to as the woman) that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, (now whatís that contemplating? To be like god, see?) she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."
Now, in the original Hebrew manuscripts, I read not too long ago that after the word eat there is a punctuation mark in the Hebrew that denotes a long pause. I was tickled when I read that because almost for the twenty years that I have been teaching, I have explained it as clearly as I know how that when Eve partook of this forbidden tree, that Adam wasnít right there. She must have been at least temporarily alone, and that moments later Adam comes upon her.
And when I read this that the Hebrew text show a punctuation mark that denotes a time lapse, I said, "Well you know, Iím so glad that I have been right, because it is the only way that it makes sense." That had Adam been right there at the time that old Satan was dealing with Eve, I think Adam would have done something to keep her from eating of the fruit, but Satan caught Eve alone for a little while and deceived her.
Again, doesnít Satan always know when to catch us? Oh, listen, everyone of us, I donít care how mature we are in our Christian faith, we have to be constantly on guard, because when we least expect it, thatís when Satan is going to hit us. And he will hit us from the blind side. He will take us at our weakest moment. We never get past that. It is the only thing that we can come back to the Word and realize that we have to be on guard constantly. So, I think Eve was caught at a moment when she was alone. It was a moment of weakness. And it was a time that she had no support from her other half, because he wasnít there.
Alright, so she saw that it was pleasant to the eye. A tree to be desired to make one wise and she took thereof and ate. Letís forget about Adam for a minute and letís go all the way back to the New Testament. The little letter of I John chapter 2, and all I want you to see here is that we have the very same set of circumstances listed that we are to be warned of, that Eve faced at the forbidden tree.
I John 2:15-16
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, (that doesnít necessarily mean just sexual, that means any appetite. In Eveís case it was hunger) and the lust of the eyes, (because how did that fruit look to her? Delicious!) and the pride of life, (what was involved there? Oh, if she ate, she could be like god. She would really be somebody) is not of the Father, but is of the world."
Now in the next lesson, we are going to pick up from these three segments and we are going to show how even the Lord Jesus faced every one of them.
LESSON THREE* PART III * BOOK 1
Genesis 2:8 Ė 3:8
We trust that you take your Bible and search these Scriptures with us so that we can compare Scripture with Scripture, because what I say doesnít amount to anything. It counts for nothing. But, the only thing that counts is Ė what does Godís Word say? What does it REALLY say! And just as important what it does NOT say. I have found so many times where people THINK it says something that it does not say.
Alright, letís go back to where we had to leave off last time in I John chapter 2. If you remember, we were looking at the set of circumstances that Eve had to face. I think all the Bible makes it so clear that every one of us, none of us escape it, are faced with these same set of circumstances in the area of temptation. It began in the Garden and as I am going to show you in just a few moments, the Lord Jesus, himself in His earthly ministry also faced them. He knows exactly what we are up against because He faced it Himself.
I John 2:16a
"For all that is in the world, the lust (or the desire) of the flesh,..."
That can be any of our appetites. And any one of them can get the best of us. In Eveís case, she saw that it was good for food. We are going to see that it was the same case with the Lord Jesus. But it can be any kind of a fleshly desire that overwhelms us and we have to be aware of those, because they will trip us every time.
I John 2:16b
"...and the lust of the eyes,..."
In other words, that which looks so alluring, remember the old cliché is "all that glitters is not gold". So you have to be aware of that. Then John goes on to say that the other great area of temptation is:
I John 2:16c
"...and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
Now you see, pride is one of the biggest things that befalls the human race. Pride is probably the one thing that keeps more people from salvation than anything else. People are too proud to admit that they need anything that God has to give them. I can make it on my own. To submit to a Sovereign God and to admit that He is what I need. No thanks, is what most of the world says.
So look at them again. Itís the lust of the flesh. The lust of the eye and the pride of life. I said the Lord Jesus faced those same set of three circumstances. Go back to Matthew chapter 4. These are normally referred to as "the temptations, " and letís just drop down to verse 1.
"Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted (or tested) of the devil (or Satan). 2. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward (what? Hungry!) an hungered,"
Now I had to point out to someone just yesterday that you always have to remember, and again we take these things by faith, that Jesus on the one hand was totally human, He was totally man, but, on the other hand He was totally God. So from His human side He was hungry. Absolutely, He was hungry. He had been fasting for forty days and forty nights.
Like I said in the last lesson, Satan knows just exactly where we are weak and our blind side and thatís where he will always hit us. He, Satan, knows that Jesus has been fasting and he knows that Jesus is hungry. So whatís the temptation? Here it comes in verse 3.
"And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, (here again, heís trying to even plant doubt in the mind of the Lord Jesus. Are you what you say you are? IF, If thou be) command that these stones be made bread."
What is he saying? Well, IF you are all that you say you are and you are hungry, all you have to do is speak the Word and you have bread! But you see, the whole idea was, had Jesus given in to Satan, He would have lost everything that He to accomplish for our salvation. So, He answered:
"But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
Whatís the lesson? There is only one way that we can defeat Satan and that is with the Word of God! This is why I am constantly encouraging people to be saturated with Word. Every day. Because how many of us can go a whole 24 hour day with nothing physically to eat? My, we get famished. Donít we?
And yet, how many believers go week in and week out and never feed on the Word of God. Listen, we have to feed on it every day! And I know we are all in busy schedules. I donít think anyone has one any busier than mine, but we still have to find the time and take the time to feed on the Word. Alright, we cannot live by material, physical things alone. We have to have that which is Spiritual.
Now, Satan isnít satisfied. But you remember, he has to hit Christ in all three categories, so he comes right back in verse 5:
"Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,"
At the very highest point there in the city of Jerusalem. Verse 6.
"And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, (See again that taunt? IF youíre who you say you are.) cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee; and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone."
Itís a little harder to see this one. It isnít quite as obvious as when He was hungry and He could make the stones bread. But, remember, we are looking at the area of temptation of the desire of the eye.
The best way I can illustrate this is, and I am sure youíve seen pictures of it. I know I have in newspapers. You probably have experienced it if you are walking down the sidewalk of a city and the busy crowd. If all of a sudden someone stops and starts looking up, what does everyone automatically do? They stop and they start looking up. The eyes are being focused.
Satan knows this. So what heís really telling Jesus is, if you want every eye on you, just cast yourself down from this high point in Jerusalem and let the crowds see if the angels are really going to come and help you escape and bear you up. What a spectacle that would be! You see the temptation? But, oh you see, Jesus refused even that one and His answer was Ė verse 7:
"Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."
He again quotes the Scripture. Satan still doesnít give up.
"Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world,..."
Remember, this is the time of the Roman Empire. How far did the Roman Empire reach? From the British Isles to the Ganges River of India and everything in between. Now he is saying, "Look out over all these kingdoms. Everything that you can see and think of so far as material kingdoms are concerned, of this world, fall down and worship me and I will give them to you."
Now there is so much I want to point out in that particular thing. Number 1: When the Scripture teaches us that Satan is the god of this world. Doesnít this prove it? Heís got the world in his lap tonight. He IS the god of this world. He IS the one that is in control, under God of course! But he is the god of this world.
And the kingdoms were his to give! Donít think for a minute that they werenít. But, I often have to think, Satan just didnít know, I donít think, he just didnít know that the day was coming and is still coming, itís getting close, when, indeed, all the kingdoms of the world are going to be Christís. They are going to be His. He is going to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords! And He is not going to get them by virtue of kowtowing to Satan. Rather, by defeating him!
When He will return with the clouds of glory and by the rod, the Word of His mouth, He will destroy all the kingdoms of this world and set up His own kingdom! Well, all of this leads to what? The pride of life. Oh, the temptation was, "You can have it ALL, if you will just fall down and worship me."
"And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me."
Again verse 10:
"Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."
He quoted Scripture. And, as I said a moment ago, thatís the lesson for us. When Satan attacks, we go to the Book. We go to the Word of God for our strength!
Now letís go back to Genesis, where we left off with Eve having just eaten. And, as I mentioned, the punctuation mark after the word "eat" in verse 6 Ė she took of the fruit thereof and did eat. In the Hebrew the punctuation denotes a long pause. That gives time for Adam to come on the scene.
She has already eaten, as I pointed out in the last lesson, she must have been alone when Satan approached her, and caught her in that moment of weakness. She desired to have something more than she already had. Now here comes Adam, and what did he see? He saw that Eve has eaten of that forbidden tree and I think it must have just given him a momentary shock. It had to have! Letís read on.
"...and gave also unto her husband with her; and (what does he do?) he did eat."
Again turn with me to I Timothy. Like I told you when we first started this several weeks ago, we would try to use the New Testament along with the Old, just a much as we possibly can. Because, the old saying is "Whatever is in the Old Testament concealed is in the New Testament revealed."
Remember this is Paul writing to Timothy. This is certainly an area where we donít have to feel that this is in an age far removed. This is for us! This, in so many words, is written to us because Timothy was a believer like unto ourselves. So to Timothy in verse 13 of chapter 2, Paul writes:
I Timothy 2:13-14a
"For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14. And Adam was not deceived,..."
A lot of people donít know that verse is in the Bible. But Adam was NOT deceived. Do you know what that means? Eve was caught in a moment of weakness. And before she knew what she had done, she had eaten. It just happened so fast. But here comes along old Adam, and he has time to stop and think. I think in that moment of shock, he backs off and he contemplates the whole situation. What has my beautiful creature wife done? And she presents the fruit to him. But the New Testament says, he was not deceived. So I think common sense tells us that since he knew the ramifications of eating of this forbidden tree, since he knew it had already happened to his lovely wife, he had to do some fast and serious thinking. He had to debate, am I going to join her? Am I going to lose fellowship with my Creator and stay with her? Or, am I going to join her in eating and lose fellowship with my Creator? I call that the typical being between a rock and a hard place!
I think Adam was there with a deliberation and a decision that would just bowl over any one of us. Because, he was not deceived. A good picture of that very same setting under Israeli law is back in Exodus chapter 21.
All this is tied together Scripturally, so we can get a full picture of all that happened. We donít have to imagine these things. But, we can compare Scripture with Scripture and get a pretty good picture.
Exodus chapter 21, this is just after the law was given in chapter 20. We have a set of rules and regulations not concerned with the Ten Commandments, per se, but was part of the civil law. In other words, how to get along with their neighbor. And, how was an employee to get along with his boss, and so forth. Now, this is part of the law but it was not a part of the Ten Commandments.
"Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them."
God is speaking to Moses and this is what he is supposed to pass on to the children of Israel. Verse 2:
"If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve; and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing."
In other words, he had paid out his servitude. Verse 3:
"If he came in by himself, (as a single man) he shall go out by himself: (alone) if he were married, (that is, when he came into servitude. He brought his wife with him.) then his wife shall go out with him."
"If his master have given him a wife, (He came into servitude single, but in that period of time, that six years, he got married.) and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her masterís,..."
This is hard for us to comprehend because we are not accustomed to servitude. But, Israelís servitude was certainly not like the awful slavery of our bygone days. Israelís servitude was certainly under the auspices of the law and everything was treated equably. But, yet we look at this and we say. What is equable about this? Always remember, Paul writes in Romans 15 all these things happened unto them, that is the Old Testament people, for our learning.
Now this particular circumstance, I think, God instituted because it fits so beautifully with Adam and Christ. We will tie this all together, hopefully in the next few moments. So he says, if a master has given him a wife and she has born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her masterís.
"... and he shall go out by himself. 5. And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free;"
Stop there a minute. What has this young man had to do? He has been forced with a decision, hasnít he? If he wants his own freedom, he has to leave his wife and kids behind. If he loves his wife and kids, what will he give up on their behalf? His freedom and he will remain a servant. Got the picture?
Now verse 6. If after verse 5 where he says I will not go out because I love my wife. I love my children:
"Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; (that is the civil authorities) he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore (pierce) his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him (not for six years, but for how long? The rest of his life.) for ever."
That was the choice the young man had. He could take off, and take his own personal freedom and be separated from his wife and children or he could agree to be a servant or a slave the rest of his life because of his love for his wife and children.
Now do you see on what basis he had to make his decision. Alright, now I said I will tie this in with Christ as well. Turn back to the New Testament in Philippians Remember that we said that God extended His love to the human race with the idea that He expected love in return. Now we are seeing this in the attitude of this servant toward his family. He is showing his love for them by actually giving up the rest of his lifeís freedom and agreeing to be a servant because of that love.
Alright, we think that is awful, when we think in terms of a human being actually agreeing to be a slave for the rest of his life because he loves his family. But, listen, the Lord Jesus did far more. Paul writes.
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:"
Remember, several weeks ago, I showed you that when we were made in the image of God we were given a mind, and that every person of the Godhead had a mind. Now here is the mind ascribed to God the Son. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus:
"Who, (speaking of Jesus) being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God:"
That sounds like a little double talk to us but if you have a margin in your Bible or a footnote, I think it will explain that all this says is that He was God, He is God and there is no doubt about it. Verse 7. Even though He was God. Even though He was the Omnipotent, Omniscient, Creator, yet:
"But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him (self) the form of a (what?) servant,..."
Just exactly like this young Jewish man back there in Exodus. He agrees to be nothing more than a servant. For what reason? For the sake of you and I. See? So he took upon himself the form of a servant:
"...and was made in the likeness of men:"
It doesnít say he was made LIKE men. He was made in the LIKENESS of men and there was a big difference. Then verse 8:
"And being found in fashion as a man, (condescending to become a man. The very Creator God Himself. Lowering Himself, as the Scripture says in another place, a little lower than the angels. So) he humbled himself, and became obedient (not just 40 or 60 years of servitude but obedient unto what?) unto death, even the death (not just an ordinary death. Not just a quick death by execution. But His was a death that was the most awful that was ever contrived, I think, in the human race. The death) of the cross."
Crucifixion is just beyond us. You and I in this 20th century just canít imagine what crucifixion was like. And yet, it was that death that Jesus was willing to suffer and go through for only one reason. Because He loved us. And that was the choice that He was given.
I always like to point out. Did He have to? No, He didnít have to! God didnít have to redeem us. He could have just let us go, or He could have just simply removed the human race from the earthís experience and forgot about it.
But, oh, He did it because He loved us. Now letís go back to Genesis chapter 3 where we find that Adam, even though he loved his Creator. Iím sure he enjoyed those moments of fellowship in the cool of every day. But, oh, whom did he really love? This beautiful help meet that God had given him!
Remember, she was a prefect woman, even as he as a perfect man. And, he had been with her long enough that he wasnít about to lose her. So what I think, more than his open rebellion against God, I donít think Adam became viciously adamant. I donít think Adam all of a sudden had an awful countenance that we find in Cain a little later. But, I think it was just a set of circumstances where Adam was brought to a place of choosing.
And, in this case, he had to choose between this beautiful creature, this wife that God had given him, who had already sealed her condition. And, rather than lose her and remain obedient, he knowingly, of his own free will and choice, chose to stay with Eve. So what did he do? He ate!
Nevertheless, it was in absolute violence of the Word of God. So, here is the beginning then, of the whole human dilemma. In our next lesson, we will show as soon as Adam ate, immediately, the process of death began in his physical being. The whole working of cells beginning to die faster than they are produced in the body began. For Adam, of course, it took 930 years, but nevertheless, after 930 years what happened? He died.
He wouldnít have had to, but the moment he ate, Romans tell us that sin and death came on the human race, the moment Adam ate. On top of that, he immediately lost fellowship with his Creator. That wasnít something that happened later, that was immediate. At the same moment, his soul; that mind, will and emotion part of him, that personality part of Adam, immediately became a sin nature. It immediately took on a sinful rebellious attitude against God. Oh, if we can just get the comprehension of this, that we are not sinners because of what we do.
I have such a hard time convincing a lot of people that, "Look you are not a sinner because you have "done this or done that" or because of what you havenít done. We are sinners because we are children of Adam." See? Thatís why I pointed out to be the best of my ability, a few lessons ago, that we were all IN Adam and itís by virtue of Adamís sin that you and I are born sinners.
LESSON THREE* PART IV * BOOK 1
Genesis 2:8 Ė3:8
Turn back to where we left off in our last segment. We were at Adam having just eaten. And, you remember, we pointed out that Paul writes to Timothy that Adam was not deceived. He wasnít caught in a moment of weakness as Eve was. But, he knew full well what he was doing and what the consequences would be. He had to make a choice. Is he going to eat and stay with his beautiful help meet, the woman, or is he going to refuse, lose the help meet and remain obedient to the Creator. After contemplation, the last four words of verse 6 tell us all and he did eat.
Now, in our closing remarks I said that the moment he ate a lot of things happened. Turn back with me to Romans chapter 5. The reason I try to clarify this is because several years ago, I was sitting in a service where the gentleman behind the pulpit, made the comment that he didnít see that there was any such thing as an "original sin" or "the fall", that our only problem was "sins" per se. I have read even since then where there are those who argue that there is no such thing as an original sin. But, the Bible says otherwise. Turn with me to Romans chapter 5 verse 12, I like to emphasize that when Paul writes it is certainly that part of the New Testament that is particularly in tune with the "Church Age", the "Age of Grace".
As he himself says in Romans chapter 11 verse 13 that he is the Apostle of the Gentiles. So, as Gentiles, naturally, he is the one to whom we should turn for our basic doctrines. Verse 12:
"Wherefore, as by one man (he is referring to whom? Adam.) sin entered into the world, and death (let me use the verb, entered) by sin; (in other words, before Adam ate, nothing died. Death was an unknown entity. But, once he ate, sin came in and with sin came death.) and so death passed upon (how many?) all men,..."
ALL, Paul says in Romans chapter 3 Ė ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God. No one escapes it because we have been born of Adam. So death passed upon all men.
"... for that all have sinned:"
Letís define the word death. We like to use definitions as we come up through Scripture. First and foremost, letís look at physical death because thatís what we are most acquainted with. We see it on every hand. Not only in the human race but also in the animal kingdom, the birds and so forth. But, so far as the human race is concerned, death as we understand it. What is death? I think the simplest way we can put it is that death is separation. Death = separation. In the physical then, it is a separation of the body from the soul and spirit. Death is that separation of that invisible part of us from the body.
As we contemplate this whole makeup of man and his relationship to the physical existence; his relationship to God, it is good to understand some of these things. Whenever the soul and spirit takes flight from this body, we have death.
All through Scripture, even though the preaching I have heard in all of my days, the emphasis is always upon the soul. The saving of the soul and, God is concerned about the soul. But, I have come to the conclusion that God is just as concerned about the body. You see, God is dealing with us not just in terms of the soul and the spirit but the WHOLE man. I beg people to find any place in this Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, where man has anything whatsoever of any worth in this life or in the life to come, separated from a body.
Because once we get into the eternal state, after the great resurrection day, what are we going to have? New bodies! So, God is concerned with the whole man, the body, the soul and the spirit, not just in this life, but even in the life to come.
Physical death is a separation of the body from the soul and spirit and I make the statement, I think that it is very rare and a person has to be in an awful state of pain and misery to really want death. Normally it just isnít that way.
I have known old people, up in their nineties, who when they are healthy, they would say, Oh, I wish the Lord would come! Or I wish the Lord would take me home. Iím just so tired of sitting here in this rocking chair. But, let that old heart skip a beat and who do they call for? The doctor! Donít they?
Sure they do. Why? Because even in the best of believers who are ready to go out and meet the Lord, there is still that awesome fear and we donít want death. That is normal. Thatís the way God made us because we donít want to be separated Ė body from the soul and spirit. Thatís why God has made plans that one day we ARE going to have the body reunited with the soul and the spirit.
Then there is another death that is probably more important. Spiritual death. Spiritual death is a separation. But not a separation from body and soul, but rather a separation from God. The Bible refers to that as the Second Death. That separation from God for all eternity.
In our class at Tahlequah some weeks ago, someone asked a question, if I would cover the difference between Hell and the Lake of Fire. A lot of people donít know that there is a difference. But, we spent our whole two hour class showing from the Scripture, all the way through, how that, yes, Hell will one day end up in the Lake of Fire, but they are two distinct differences.
We all shrink from either one of these thoughts of death. A thinking individual, (now of course Satan has kept most people from that place,) but a thinking individual will naturally have that same kind of apprehension of a spiritual separation from God as we have a physical separation of body and soul. At least we should have.
It is going to be awful to be separated from God for all eternity. Thatís what Hell is really going to be. Itís that separation from God, let alone all the other ramifications. But, death, sin; it all had itís beginning the moment Adam ate in direct violence and disobedience to that revealed Word of God.
Drop down to verse 14 still in Romans 5.
"Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adamís transgression, who is the figure (or the type) of him that was to come."
Sometime we are going to show the relationship, as Paul shows it here, that as Adam the Federal head of the human race, as Adam sinned and caused death to come upon the human race; so also, the second Adam, or the last Adam or Christ, that is what He is referred to in the New Testament. Christ is referred to as the second Adam. Christ by virtue of death was able to impart LIFE.
So even though we may look at the whole complex picture and we may say God wasnít really fair by causing the whole human race to come under the condemnation of sin when it all was because of one man. But, the whole Sovereign act of God is that just as sure as Adam brought death and the separation from God upon the whole human race, Christ came back and restored all of that.
But, it is based on choice. It isnít automatic. Thatís universalism and we have to reject that. As man is now given full opportunity to choose, he can have salvation. It is free for the asking. Remember how many times I have said, people will say, "Itís just too simple." And yet if it were one bit more difficult, what would they say? "Itís too hard, I canít do that." It is so simple and God has done that because we are all sons of Adam. So never lose sight of that.
Letís look at one more New Testament verse. Turn over a few more pages to Ephesians. Come through the Corinthians, Galatians to Ephesians chapter 2. I usually pick out verses that are the most clearly stated. Where there is just no doubt about what God is trying to tell us in His Word. Ephesians chapter 2 verse 1, where again Paul is writing to the believers. Paul always writes to believers. But he is writing to the believers at Ephesus and the surrounding Churches. And he said:
"And you hath he quickened, (or made alive) who were (in the past tense. Whatís the next word?) dead in trespasses and sins;"
What does that mean? They were without Spiritual life. Then he goes on in verse 2.
"Wherein in time past ye walked (he wasnít talking about physical death, he was talking about spiritual death, because these people are still living. So the people of verse 1 who have been made alive, who were dead, still they were walking in the flesh) according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience;"
Who are they? The children of Adam, who have disobeyed by virtue of Adamís disobedience. Now verse 3:
"Among whom also we all had our conversation (or our manner of living) in times past (here it comes again) in the lusts (desires) of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature..."
Naturally. You know what that means? I donít care how sweet those little two year olds are, how quick will they sin? As one fellow I read one time last winter, he put it this way. "Just as soon as they can." And, isnít that true? Why do they do it? Oh, because they are children of Adam.
This is what Paul means. That we are practitioners of the things of this world. We are desiring the lusts and the pleasures of life because it comes naturally. I always have to be reminded of that popular song of generations gone by. What was it? "Doing What Comes Naturally." Isnít that what the human race does? They give in to their natural inclinations and they are simply doing that which comes naturally. This is exactly what Paul says here. That we were by nature Ė naturally:
"... the children of (what?) wrath, even as others."
We will point that out a little more clearly later. But, letís go back to Genesis, for just a moment. Back to chapter 3 verse 7. Adam has eaten and immediately everything takes place. First and foremost, we have the proof of it in:
"And the eyes of them both were opened and they knew that they were naked;..."
Now we have to compare. Letís think again about chapter 2 and verse 25, so that you pick up this tremendous change that had just taken place.
There is a lot of speculation as to what that was. Some have imagined that they had some kind of an ethereal euphoria around them before sin came and that disappeared and suddenly they could see their fleshly nakedness. But whatever it was, it really doesnít matter, what we have to understand is that in chapter 2 verse 25 they were naked.
Remember it was a warm tropical climate, they didnít need it for warmth. They were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed. In other words, it never bothered them. They could even walk that way in the presence of God in the cool of the day with no problem. But, now as soon as they had eaten, and they had been disobedient, what does that nakedness do? Oh, it drives them with some kind of guilt and the first thing they want to do is cover it. Letís read on.
"...and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons."
The first thing I like to ask my classes is: Does God tell them to do this? No! So, the Scripture doesnít say that Satan suggested it, but I wouldnít be too surprise that maybe thatís what happened. Iím not saying it did, but something prompted them to want to cover their physical nakedness. So, they took the largest leaves that they could find and they sewed the leaves together and made themselves aprons.
Now remember, God had nothing to do with this. This is what we call the "energy of the flesh". This is man doing what HE can do. Letís look at Proverbs, chapter 14 verse 12.
It wouldnít hurt to memorize this verse and lock it into "your computer" because this verse is so appropriate under so many circumstances. In fact, I will use it again when we get to chapter 4, when Cain comes along with his sacrifice. But, Proverbs chapter 14 verse 12, it is just a simple statement.
"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof (that is, of the ways that man thinks are right) are the ways of death."
They will never cut it. The one word I put on all of this is rationalization. We all like to rationalize, donít we? I donít care what kind of a difficult situation we are faced with, the first thing we start doing is rationalizing. How can I get around this? How can I circumvent it?
Alright, Adam and Eve were confronted with the fact the Lord, Himself, is going to come down and want to walk with them in the cool of the day. Now they have to start rationalizing. How are they going to get around this? They now realize their nakedness. So, maybe they say, if we cover our nakedness with fig leaves, if we fix ourselves some covering, God wonít really notice and we can get away with it. See? Now, that is manís thinking even today!
When we get to chapter 4 we are going to look at Cain. Cain is going to say, "But God, I know you donít really expect me to go over the mountain and barter with my brother Abel. Surely you will accept what I am going to put together."
So he rationalizes. And, he thinks he can get away with it. He does which seemeth right to a man. People are doing it today. All you have to do is just ask people that you come in contact with. This is not original with me, I think it was either with Campus Crusade or one of the Youth working groups, Navigators or somebody. But instead of just asking somebody; Are you a Christian? You ask the question in this way. If you were to die tonight or tomorrow, on what basis do you think God would let you into His heaven? That is the perfect way of putting it. On what basis do you think God should let you into His heaven? My, you will start getting as many different answers as you have people to ask.
Some will say, Well I am doing the best I can. Iím keeping the Commandments. Iíve joined the church. I am a good member. I give. Iíve been baptized in water. Iím a good parent. Iím a good citizen." See, these are all things that seemeth right unto a man. But what is the end thereof? Death.
We often think of some of the other major religions of the world and we have had some good discussions on these in our other classes. Like I said, when you have two hours we have time for those. My, we have discussed more than once. How about a good Mohammedan? In many cases they are better than some of us, morally, and all of these things. Theyíre religious. They practice their prayer times and everything else. They read their Koran. Are they going to make it? No. They are doing what seems right to men. But, in the eyes of a Holy God, they are far short.
Not only them, but you take all of the religions of the world, whatever it may be. I always like to make a good definition of religion. Believe it or not, the Bible never speaks of religion in a good way. There is only one place and even then it is not a strong point. Usually religion is used in a bad sense. For example, when Paul in Galatians speaks of having practiced the Jewish religion more strongly than any of his peers, how was he speaking of it? Thatís all it was Ė it was religion. He knew nothing of a relationship with God at that time.
So, I like to look at it this way. Religion, regardless of whether it is the one we already mentioned or whether its Buddhism, or Hinduism or anything else, is manís attempt to some how reach and merit favor with God. Thatís religion.
Just like Proverbs says. Man says, well, if I do this then certainly God will be pleased. Thatís what Adam and Eve thought when they sewed the fig leaves. It was an act of religion. "Surely if we cover our nakedness God will accept us."
But you see, what we call true Christianity, I mean TRUE Christianity, a real salvation experience, is just exactly the opposite. It is God reaching down to unworthy sinful man. See the difference?
All the religions of the world are going to attempt to somehow merit favor with God. And they may be well taken, they may be good as far as they go, but, they can never merit favor with God. They have to look at it from this point of view. Itís what God has done for man. When we see that, we have the battle won.
If you will, come back to Genesis once a again. So they sewed themselves fig leaves and covered their physical nakedness. But, what area have they still not dealt with? The spiritual. They have now tried to deal with the physical, but there is no way they can restore that fellowship with the Creator. Thatís broken. Sin has broken it.
"And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife (did what? Hid!) hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden."
They thought they were covered. But you see when the chips are down, what do they suddenly realize? Those apron leaves arenít going to cut it. They are in no shape to meet God. So, what do they do? They run and they hide.
Run back to Johnís gospel chapter 3, to show that the human race hasnít changed one iota. Remembering what we just read. Even though they think that they have covered their bases, they have sewn their fig leaves, and yet when they are confronted with the Holy Creator God, they run and hide. Johnís gospel chapter 3. Jesus is speaking. If you have a red letter edition, it will be in red.
"And this is the condemnation that light is come into the world, (of course, he was speaking of Himself) and men loved (what?) darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (Now remember what Adam and Eve did. They went and hid) 20. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, (whatís the opposite of coming to the light? They go to their darkness. See? That is still the same way today. Men will not come out of the darkness seeking the light, but they will always run and hide.) lest his deeds should be reproved."
Now, I have one final thought and itís time to quit. No sinner ever goes looking for God. God looks for the sinner.Home Page * Copyright Policy
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