The first book of the Bible is called in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) "Genesis." Genesis means "origin." The Hebrews call it by the first Hebrew word "Bereshith"--in the beginning. It is the book of all beginnings. We can trace here the beginnings of creation and everything else, except God, who has no beginning. The book of Genesis is the great foundation upon which the entire revelation of God rests. The marvellous structure of the Bible, composed of the different books, written by different instruments of the Spirit of God at different times, is built upon this great, majestic book. It is the root out of which the tree of God's revelation has grown. Internal evidences prove the most complete unity, that is the work of one chosen instrument, Moses, and that it is not of a composite authorship. But more than that, the book of Genesis establishes the divine unity of the Bible. The last book of the Bible, the Revelation, confirms this. Genesis tells of the origin of all things; Revelation reveals the destiny of all things.
It is an interesting study, profitable and suggestive, to trace the great doctrines of the Bible in this first book. They are all found somewhere in Genesis, either in typical foreshadowings or in direct words. Here, too, we may discover the dispensational and prophetic truths of the Bible in germ. Genesis 3:15 is the prediction out of which the rest of prophecy has been developed. The entire New Testament in its doctrinal statements rests upon this book. It is quoted there as the Word of God scores of times. If the revelations of Genesis, especially the opening chapters, the supreme foundation, if these chapters were myths, the entire New Testament would have to be given up as unauthoritative. Indeed, the great doctrines in Romans, starting from the fact that man is a fallen being and lost, would be just as much myths, if the fall of man were a myth. The Lord Jesus Christ has put His seal to this great book.
The Criticism of Genesis
The book of Genesis, being the foundation of the whole Bible, and of such vast importance, it does not surprise us that the enemy of the truth of God has directed first of all his attacks against this book to break down its authority. A hundred years ago and less the cunning inventions of the father of lies, directed against the inspiration of Genesis and its unity, occupied mostly, if not altogether, the minds of theologians and scholars. It is different now. The stock of trade of the destructive critics, differing but little from that of accredited infidels, has become the common property of evangelical Christendom. The rationalistic theories concerning the date and authorship of Genesis are now liberally and almost universally displayed. In theological seminaries they are openly taught and hundreds of men, who claim to be teachers of the oracles of God, deny the inspiration of the book of Genesis.
The Paternity of Higher Criticism
That such a denial is not of God is self-evident. But it is interesting to examine the source from which the destructive criticism of Genesis and the Pentateuch has come. The man who has been called the "Sir Isaac Newton of criticism" is jean Astruc. He was a French physician, a freethinker, who led a wicked, immoral life. In 1753 this man gave to the world his doubts in a work which he called, "Conjectures Regarding the Original Memoirs in the Book of Genesis." In this work he taught that the use of the two names of God in Genesis, Elohim (translated by God) and Jehovah (translated by Lord) showed that two different documents were used in the composition of the book. The hypothesis of a Jehovist and Elohist writer, so called, was invented by this unsaved man. It was, however, reserved for a German scholar and rationalist to formulate the denial of the unity and inspiration of Genesis into a system. This man was Professor Eichhorn. He coined the phrase, "higher criticism," and is therefore called the "father" of it. He introduced successfully into the theological institutions of Germany the theory of Astruc. On account of his great learning his invented higher criticism took hold upon the minds of thousands of people. But who was Professor Eichhorn? Let another higher critic give the answer. Ewald, himself such a powerful factor of this most dangerous infidelity, wrote: "We cannot fail to recognize that, from the religious point of view the Bible was to him a closed book."
Such is the paternity of the now widely accepted higher criticism: an immoral, infidel Frenchman and an unconverted, blind leader of the blind, a German Professor.
After Eichhorn came other men, such as Vater and Hartman, who tried to undermine the Mosaic authorship of Genesis by still another theory. Professor DeWette, of Heidelberg, followed closely in the steps of infidel Eichhorn. Bleeck taught still another theory. Then we mention Ewald, Hupfeld, Prof. Kuenen, Dr. Davidson, Robertson Smith, Canon Driver, George Adams Smith, Professor Briggs, W. Harper, Marcus Dods and many others, who may all be fitly called the disciples of the immoral Frenchman and the infidel German. For instance, George Adams Smith saith: "The framework of the first eleven chapters of Genesis is woven from the raw material of myth and legend" And the works of this man and others are now sold at popular prices by so called Christian publishers.
A Complicated Science
They call this kind of criticism scientific. It surely has all the marks of so-called science. Speculation, uncertainty and complicated statements are the leading characteristics of this criticism. They claim now that the Pentateuch (the five books written by Moses) were never written by him, but that these books consist of four diverse documents. These they designate as follows: 1. The Jehovist. 2. The Elohist. 3. The Deuteronomist. 4. The Priestly Code. The authorship of Moses has been completely given up and it is claimed that the earliest part of the Pentateuch was written perhaps six hundred years after Moses' death. They put the date of the greater part of these five books after the Babylonian captivity.
A writer has recently given a fine description of this higher critical "scientific" nonsense, part of which we quote:
They conjecture that these four suppositive documents were not compiled and written by Moses, but were probably constructed somewhat after this fashion: For some reason, and at some time, and in some way, someone no one knows who, or why, or when, or where, wrote Jehovist. Then someone else, no one knows who, or why, or when, or where, wrote another document, which is now called Elohist. And then at a later time, the critics only know who, or why, or when, or where, an anonymous personage, whom we may call Redactor I, took in hand the reconstruction of these documents, introduced new material, harmonized the real and apparent discrepancies, and divided the inconsistent accounts of one event into two separate transactions. Then some time after this, perhaps one hundred years or more, no one knows who, or why, or when, or where, some anonymous personage wrote another document, which they styled Deuteronomist. And after awhile another anonymous author, no one knows who, or why, or when, or where, whom we will call Redactor II, took this in hand, compared it with Jehovist and Elohist, revised them with considerable freedom and, in addition, introduced quite a body of new material. Then someone else, no one knows who, or why, or when, or where, probably, however, about 525, or perhaps 425, wrote the Priestly Code; and then another anonymous Hebrew, whom we may call Redactor III, undertook to incorporate this with the triplicated composite Jehovist, Elohist, and Deuteronomist, with what they call redactional additions and insertions (Canon Hague).
This describes the infidel mud puddle into which these "great" scholars have plunged and into which they would like to lead the sheep and even the little lambs.
The Mosaic Authorship
"All tradition, from whatever source it is derived, whether inspired or uninspired, unanimously affirms that the first five books of the Bible were written by one man, and that man was Moses. There is no counter-testimony in any quarter." With these words, Prof. William Henry Green begins his learned work on the unity of Genesis. Other learned men in past generation up to the present time stand firm for the Mosaic authorship of Genesis, and thereby affirm the fact of revelation. The cry of the higher critics--"ripe scholarship," "access to better sources," etc.--is a bluff. The best scholarship stands by the truth. Some of the arguments advanced against Moses as writer of Genesis are exactly the argument for it and the evidences of inspiration. For instance, the use of the name of God as Elohim and Jehovah. Elohim is the name of God as Creator--Jehovah is His name as entering into covenant relation with man. The use of these names is a precious evidence of the work of the Spirit of God and not an evidence of different writers and documents.
The highest authority that Moses wrote Genesis and the other four books, and that Genesis is the revelation of God, is the Lord Jesus Christ. He spoke repeatedly of Moses and reminded His hearers of the historic facts as given in Genesis. This fact is met by the critics with the statement that our Lord was not a critical scholar and limited in His knowledge. Such statements are akin to blasphemy.
The information concerning the criticism upon this great Bible book we are about to study is much needed. Many Christians hear of higher criticism without knowing what it is and how it originated. The information given shows that it originated with wicked men and that it is an attempt to destroy the very foundations upon which the whole Scriptures rest. Sometimes higher critics have a way of telling uninformed Christians that the views they hold are the consensus of the best scholarship. This is untrue. Others, again, who have imbibed these views hide the worst features of them. For this reason we deem it expedient to give this information.
The study of Genesis will deepen the faith in the inspiration and revelation of the first book of the Bible. There is nothing which convinces of the divinity of the Bible like the prayerful and spiritual study of the Bible itself. And the Bible has nothing to fear. It needs neither apology nor concessions.
Revelation or Myth?
A FEW OBJECTIONS CONSIDERED
From the sides of infidelity, higher criticism and a certain class of scientists objections are made against the opening chapters of Genesis. Not only is the Mosaic authorship denied but the revelation contained in these chapters is branded as unscientific and at variance with the facts revealed by science. Others class these sublime truths concerning creation, the fall of man, the deluge, etc., with the legends of primitive nations and thus the fact of revelation is altogether denied. Inasmuch as these wicked statements are heard on all sides from pulpits and chairs of educational institutions, it becomes necessary that we consider briefly some of these objections and uncover their absolute worthlessness. The purpose of our work forbids a more extended treatment of these objections. Many helpful and interesting books have been written by scholars against these attacks. Elsewhere in this booklet the reader will find a number of works mentioned which deal with these attacks in a masterly way.
Is the Creation Account Contradicted by Science?
That the creation account is unscientific and in clash with the discoveries of modern science is one of the common statements. It has, however, no foundation whatever. The proofs that there is no error in the account of creation as revealed in the first chapter of Genesis, have been furnished by the investigation of science. The order of creation as given in the first chapter is the order, which, after years of searching--the most laborious searching--science has discovered. Over and over again has science with its guesses and speculations been forced to bow in submission before the simple and brief description of the creation in God's Word. There is no clash between the Bible and the results of true scientific research. Geology, astronomy, and other sciences have had to retrace their steps more than once and acknowledge their mistake; the first chapter of Genesis will never have to do that.
Years ago scientists ridiculed the divine statement that the first thing called into existence was light: "let there be light," and that the sun was made on the fourth day. That sneer is forever silenced, for science has found out that light existed first. Again for a long time it was denied that vegetation came first before animal life was on this globe. This denial has likewise been stopped by scientific discoveries. Other evidences that the Bible is right and science had to accept the truthfulness of the creation account we must pass by. What scientists should explain is, how in a simple record of a few verses, which antedates all scientific research and discovery, such accurate information is given without any error whatever. Where did Moses get his marvellous knowledge which the scientific research of the nineteenth century confirms correct in every way? There is only one answer. It is the revelation of God.
This becomes still more evident when the creation chapter in Genesis is compared with the conceptions of the origin of the earth as found in the records of the oldest nations. What ridiculous things were believed concerning creation and the universe! Why did Moses not write the same childish things but instead gives a majestic account of the creation of the earth and the heavens? The answer is and ever will be, his account is the revelation of God how the earth and the heavens came into existence.
Is There a Contradiction Between the First and Second Chapters of Genesis?
Another favorite argument against the infallible record of creation is that the first and second chapters are contradictory. A certain New York preacher stated some years ago in Appleton's Magazine this supposed difficulty. He said, "How can we trouble about reconciling Genesis and science" while the two accounts of the first two chapters "are so hopelessly at variance?" Criticism has used this alleged discrepancy as an argument for its infidel theories. There is, however, no contradiction between these two chapters. The second chapter in Genesis is not another history of creation nor does it contradict the account in the first chapter. The historical account of creation as a whole is found in Genesis 1-2:3. The division of chapters in the authorized version is unfortunate. From chapter 2:4 to the close of the chapter we have not a historical account of creation at all, but a divine statement of the relationships of creation, that is, man's place in it as its head. There are no contradictions in anything. Genesis 1:27 is said to clash with 2:21-22. Such a clash does not exist. Gen. 1:27 does not say that man and woman were created together, nor does it say that the woman was created directly and not formed as revealed in the second chapter.
The Myths of Ancient Nations
It is a well known fact that ancient nations such as the Chaldeans, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Hindus, possessed myths in which one can hear now and then a faint echo of a primeval revelation and knowledge, which must have been in possession of all mankind at one time. That such was the case Romans 1:21-23 fully confirms. All mankind knew God and was acquainted with the great facts of history, the events recorded in the first eleven chapters of Genesis. As they became vain, their foolish heart was darkened, they rushed into idolatry. Their traditions, however, here and there give glimpses of the truth they once knew. It is impossible to give here evidences of it as discovered in the Assyrian tablets, which have something to say of the creation and the deluge, known now as "the Chaldean Genesis." Other traces are found in ancient Phoenician sources as well as in India, among the Romans and the Greeks, Babylonians, Chinese and other nations. However, all these, including "the Chaldean Genesis" are miserable contortions.
There are a few resemblances and many more differences between the Biblical and especially the Babylonian accounts. It is claimed that Moses, or since Moses did not write according to this infidel theory, somebody else, made use of these myths in writing the opening chapters of Genesis. This farfetched invention has no foundation at all. The book of Genesis is not the offspring of Babylonian tradition. God gave to Moses the account of creation and the beginnings of history by direct revelation as the blessed foundation of all subsequent revelation in His holy Word. The man, who boasts of scholarship, and brands the first eleven chapters of Genesis as myths, putting them alongside of the traditions of ignorant ancient nations, but reveals his ignorance and blindness.
This great catastrophe has also been denied and ridiculed. It is painful to mention all these denials, but it is needful to call attention to these attacks on the foundation of the Bible. Hundreds of men, who claim to be exponents of Christianity speak of Noah as a myth and the deluge reported in Genesis as an unconfirmed event. Traditions of the flood are found among all nations and exhibit in many cases a very striking agreement with the divinely given record. These traditions are found in India, China, Egypt, and Greece as well as among the Chaldeans and Babylonians. Peruvians, Mexicans, Greenlanders, and the Teutonic races possess these traditions. Geology also gives the most decisive evidence of such a judgment by water through which the earth passed. The surface of the earth exhibits a deposit, which originated after a universal flood and which is called diluvial (flood) land. Vast quantities of bones and teeth of antediluvian animals, masses of rock and boulder, carried by the flood, are found in this diluvial deposit. Many pages could be filled with such evidences.
Nothing Left Unattacked
Nothing has been left unattacked in the opening chapters of Genesis. The existence of paradise, the fall of man, the curse, the story of Cain and Abel, Enoch's translation, the tower of Babel and every other recorded event has been denied and is increasingly denied. That our Lord referred repeatedly to these first chapters of the Bible and thereby confirmed their historicity and revelation, is not at all taken in consideration by these enemies of the Word of God.
But the foundation rock of the Bible, the book of Genesis stands as firm as it ever stood. It can never be moved. Let them dig away! Let them dash against it with their heads. They will perish, but God's Word abideth forever. In a day when apostasy sweeps through Christendom like a mighty avalanche, let us cling closer to the living Word of the living God and hold fast the testimony of its inerrancy. And now with thankful hearts and a prayer for the Holy Spirit's guidance we come to the book itself.
The Division of Genesis
Every book of the Bible has a key and also hints on the division of the book. The correct way in unlocking the book is to use the key and the Division as given by the Holy Spirit in the book itself. The book of Genesis has been divided in perhaps more different ways than any other book. In looking through Genesis for a characteristic word we have no difficulty in finding it in the word "generations" (Hebrew: toledoth). It is used eleven times in this book. The first time the word generations occurs is in chapter 2:4. The creation account stands therefore by itself. This gives us twelve sections.
I. THE CREATION ACCOUNT (1-2:3)
II. THE GENERATIONS OF THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH (2:4-4)
III. THE GENERATIONS OF ADAM (5-6:8)
IV. THE GENERATIONS OF NOAH (6:9-9:29)
V. THE GENERATIONS OF THE SONS OF NOAH (10-11:9)
VI. THE GENERATIONS OF SHEM (11:10-26)
VII. THE GENERATIONS OF TERAH (11:27-25:11)
VIII. THE GENERATIONS OF ISHMAEL (25:12-18)
IX. THE GENERATIONS OF ISAAC (25:19-35)
X. THE GENERATIONS OF ESAU (36:1-8)
XI. THE GENERATIONS OF ESAU'S SONS (36:9-43)
XII. THE GENERATIONS OF JACOB (37:2-50:26)
We fully agree with the scholarly remarks of Prof. Green about the importance of this division. "These titles are designed to emphasize and render more prominent and palpable an important feature of the book, the genealogical character of its history. This results from its main design, which is to trace the line of descent of the chosen race from the beginning to the point where it was ready to expand to a great nation, whose future organization was already foreshadowed, its tribes being represented in the twelve sons of Jacob, and its tribal divisions in their children, The genealogies contained in the book are not merely incidental or subordinate, but essential, and the real basis of the whole. They are not to be regarded as addenda to the narrative, scraps of information introduced into it; they constitute the skeleton or framework of the history itself."
"There is, accordingly, a regular series of genealogies of like structure, or rather one continuous genealogy extending from Adam to the family of Jacob. This is interrupted and suspended from time to time, as occasion requires, for the sake of introducing or incorporating facts of the history at particular points where they belong; after which it is resumed again precisely at the same point, and proceeds regularly as before until it reaches its utmost limit, thus embracing the entire history within itself."
It is interesting to note the beginning and the end of these sections. We leave this as a suggestion with the reader. The reign of death after the entrance of sin is in full evidence in these sections. "Death reigned from Adam to Moses" (Romans 5:14). The last section ends with Joseph's death "and he was put in a coffin in Egypt."
In our annotations, following the above division, we shall trace the historical account and point out some spiritual and dispensational truths giving many hints, which may be followed in a more extended study of this great book.
Analysis and Annotations
I. THE CREATION ACCOUNT
The manner in which the book of Genesis begins leaves no doubt that it is the revelation of God. The creation account is historical truth. The question is how was it given? An answer to this question claims that the Jews obtained the account from the records of other nations concerning the origin of the universe and that they altered it according to their own religious ideas. This is an impossibility. The ancient heathen nations considered God and the universe one and had absolutely no knowledge of the existence of God independent of the universe, nor did they know anything of a creation of the world. Here is something wholly different from all the theories, mythologies and other inventions of the human race. How then was it given? By revelation of God is the only answer.
No human being knew anything about the origin of the heavens and the earth. Man cannot by searching find out God, nor can man discover how the earth was created and all things came into existence. How ridiculous the statements and opinions on the creation of men called great thinkers, not to speak of the equally foolish beliefs of the nations of the past. But here is what God makes known, how He called all things into existence. He makes known that the universe is not eternal but that He created it. The whole account is of wonderful grandeur and yet of the greatest simplicity; so simple that a child can read it and understand the truth, but so profound that the greatest men have bowed before it.
It is not the purpose of this Bible study course to enter into details or we would write at length on the evolution theory with its invented "protoplasm." There are many questions which the evolutionists cannot answer and many difficulties which they cannot explain. Their scientific assertions and speculations require one to believe what is against reason, while God never expects us to believe what is contrary to reason. It is far more simple to accept God's revelation. "By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the Word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which appear" (Heb. 11:3). This disposes of evolution and the other theories of unbelieving men, who reject God's Word.
The statement which one hears so often from sneering lips that the creation account is unscientific has no foundation. That it is non-scientific is an entirely different matter. Galileo, the astronomer, truthfully said, "The Scriptures were given, not to tell us how the heavens go, but to teach us how to go to heaven." Yet, as already mentioned in our introduction, science had to acknowledge over and over again the correctness of the creation account and withdraw the objections and assaults which had been made.
THE ORIGINAL CREATION OF GOD (1:1)
A ruined creation and the brooding spirit (1:2)
The Restoration of the Earth
1. The first day--light (1:3-5) 2. The second day--The dividing of the waters (1:6-8) 3. The third day--The earth out of the waters and vegetable life appears (1:9-13) 4. The fourth day--The lights in the heavens (1:14-19) 5. The fifth day--Living creatures in the waters and in the air (1:20-23) 6. The sixth day--Living creatures made and man created in God's image (1:24-31) 7. The seventh day--God's rest (2:1-3)
The first verse of the book of Genesis and of the whole Bible stands alone in majestic greatness. Like some mountain peak rising from the valley in solitary grandeur with its snow-capped summit, it inspires awe. In the Hebrew the verse is composed of seven words. When that beginning was in which God created the heavens and the earth is not revealed. It must have been many millions of years ago; God only knows it and science can never discover it. It is incorrect to say that it was 6,000 years ago. God does not speak of Himself; no statement concerning His existence or His eternity is given. How different from the myths and speculations of pagan nations. God's Name mentioned for the first time in the Bible is "Elohim." It is in the plural indicating God's great dignity and power as well as the fact that God is triune. (See the "Let us make man," in verse 26.) Elohim is God's name as Creator. This verse answers all the different "isms" about God and His creation, while its depths cannot be sounded. Here atheism is answered; polytheism (the many gods of the heathen) is exposed to be false. The verse disproves materialism as well as pantheism, that God and the universe are one.
It is of the greatest importance to understand that the condition in which the earth (not the heavens) is described in the second verse is not how God created it in the beginning. Scripture itself tells us this. Read Isaiah 45:18. The Hebrew word for "without form" is _tohu, which means waste. "The earth was waste and void." But in the passage of Isaiah we read, "He created it not a waste." The original earth passed through a great upheaval. A judgment swept over it, which in all probability must have occurred on account of the fall of that mighty creature, Lucifer, who fell by pride and became the devil. The original earth, no doubt, was his habitation and he had authority over it which he still claims as the prince of this world. Luke 4:5-6 shows us this. The earth had become waste and void; chaos and darkness reigned. What that original earth was we do not know, but we know that animal and vegetable life was in existence long before God began to restore the earth. The immense fossil beds prove this. But they likewise prove that man was not then on the earth. Between the first and second verses of the Bible there is that unknown period of millions of years of which geology gets a glimpse in studying the crust of the earth. God waited His own time in majestic calmness when He would begin to carry out His plans He had made before the foundation of the world.
When that time arrived God began to bring order into the chaos and restored His creation so that the earth which is now and the heavens above came forth. The Spirit moving (brooding) upon the waters and His Word were the agents through which it was accomplished. Read John 1:1-3; Col. 1:15-16; Heb. 1:2-3. We do not follow the historical account and the six days' work, but call attention to the correspondency between the first three days and the last three. The seventh day stands by itself.
First day: Light Second day: Dividing of waters Third day: The earth out of the waters and vegetable life Fourth day: Solar system and lights Fifth day: Life in the waters Sixth day: Life on the earth and man created Seventh day: God rests
The word "create" is used only three times. In the first verse it applies to the original creation, when God called everything into existence out of nothing. Then we find it in verse 21 in connection with the calling forth of living creatures (nephesh--soul) and in verse 27 in connection with man. The other word used is the word "made." This necessitates the existence of material which is shaped into something; the word "create" does not require existence of matter. The light which came forth on the first day was light before the sun, a fact well known to science.
The creation of man is the crowning act of the Creator and precedes His rest. "Let us make man" is the counsel of the Godhead. God then created man in His own image. In the second chapter we read that He formed him out of the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils and man became a living soul.
The deeper Lessons of the Creation. The Creation account has a most interesting typical and dispensational meaning. In dealing with the individual in redemption and dealing with ruined creation by the fall of man, God follows the order of the six days work. (F.W. Grant's Genesis in the Light of the New Testament develops this fully.) We give a few hints. The ruined creation wasted and void, covered with the dark waters and in darkness is the picture of fallen man. The two agents God used in the restoration of the ruined creation, the Spirit and the Word are the agents of the new birth. "Born of the Spirit" and of the "incorruptible seed of the Word of God." In redemption God uses the word "create" not the word "made," because what we receive by faith in His Son is not a mending of an old nature, but we are a new creation; created in Christ Jesus. David prayed, "Create in me a clean heart." The work of the first day is touched upon in 2 Cor. 4:6. "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness hath shined in our hearts." When that light shines upon us it reveals the ruin of ourselves. The second day brings before us the separation, which follows the manifestation of the light. The third day stands for resurrection, for the earth came out of the waters and brings forth grass, herbs and trees, yielding fruit. Throughout the entire Bible this meaning of the third day may be traced. (It is the day of resurrection and restoration. Gen. 22:4; 40:20-22; 42:18; Ex. 15:22; 19:11; Numb. 7:24; josh. 2:16; 2 Kings 20:5; Esther 5:1; 9:18; Hos. 6:2, John 2:1; Luke 13:33.) The spiritual truth here is that if the Light has shone in and we believe we are "risen with Christ" and the fruit bearing, which is the result of this.
The fourth day directs our attention heavenward; there we are seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. The fifth day brings before us again the restless waters and the life manifested there. Out of the midst of these waters life comes. Even so in Christian experience down here. The sixth day points to the time of the completion of the new creation, while the seventh day reveals the eternal rest.
Dispensationally the lessons from the first chapter in Genesis are still more interesting.
The first day: The age before the flood: The light shines in.
The second day: The age of Noah.
The third day: The age of Abraham and his seed.
The fourth day: The present age: Christ the Sun; the moon typical of the church. Individual believers represented by stars.
The fifth day: The restless waters: The times of the Gentiles ending; "the sea and the waves roaring." The great tribulation.
The sixth day: The kingdom rule established over the earth in the second coming of Christ.
The seventh day: The eternal ages: God is all in all.
It is equally interesting to see that the same dispensational truths gather around the names of seven of the prominent actors of the book of Genesis. These are: Adam, Seth, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. We quote from another:
Adam gives us the beginning, when, with the entrance of God's Word, light comes into the soul of a sinner, and God meets him as such with the provision of His grace (chapter 3).
Then (4-5), we have the history of the two "seeds," and their antagonisms story which has its counterpart in the history of the world at large, but also in every individual soul where God has wrought, and where the "flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other."
Next, Noah's passage through the judgment of the old world into a new scene, accepted of God in the sweet savor of sacrifice, is the type of where salvation puts us--"in Christ, a new creation: old things passed away, and all things become new" (6-11-9).
Abraham's Canaan-life--pilgrim and stranger, but a worshiper, gives us the fruit and consequence of this--a "walk in Him" whom we have received (11:10-21).
Then, Isaac, our type as "sons" (4:28), speaks to us of a self-surrender into a Father's hands, the door into a life of quiet and enjoyment, as it surely is (22-24:33).
Jacob speaks of the discipline of sons, by which the crooked and deceitful man becomes Israel, a prince with God--a chastening of love, dealing with the fruits of the old nature in us (26:34; 37:1).
While Joseph, the fullest image of Christ, suffers, not for sin, but for righteousness' sake, and obtains supremacy over the world and fulness of blessing from the Almighty One, his strength (Genesis in the Light of the New Testament).
How marvellous all this is! And yet we touch only upon the surface. The highest evidence for the Word of God is the Word itself. No man or human genius could have ever produced such a document as the first chapter of Genesis, which contains in embryo all the subsequent revelations of God. It is God's revelation.
II. THE GENERATIONS OF THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH
Man in Innocency before the Fall (2:4-25)
1. The earth his abode (2:4-6) 2. The creation of man (2:7) 3. The garden of Eden (2:8-14) 4. Man in the garden. His commission (2:15-17) a. To keep the garden b. The commandment 5. No helpmeet for Adam found (2:18-20) 6. The formation of the woman (2:21-22) 7. The union (2:23-25)
This is not a new version of the creation or a repetition of the account in the preceding chapter. The relationships of the created man to nature and to His Creator are now more specifically introduced. The name of God appears now no longer as "Elohim" but another name precedes the word Elohim; it is the name "Jehovah." This name is used because it is the name of God in relationship with man. Jehovah is the Son of God.
In verse 7 we have the creation of man revealed. Jehovah God formed him out of the dust of the earth; He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Here is that which distinguishes man from the beast. The animals also are living souls, but not immortal. Man alone became a living soul by the inbreathing of Jehovah Elohim and that constitutes man immortal.
The garden of Eden was situated in a fertile, pleasant plain, somewhere near the two streams still known by their names, the Euphrates and the Tigris (Hiddekel). The tree of life represents Christ, while the rivers of water are clearly the types of the Holy Spirit. What the tree of knowledge of good and evil was no one knows. The command was given to test man in his innocency. Adam unfallen had not the knowledge of good and evil. That knowledge was acquired by the fall. The test, therefore, involved not some great moral evil but simply the authority and right of God to prohibit something. The tree of knowledge then represented responsibility.
"Thou shalt surely die" means literally "dying thou shalt die." This does not mean "eternal death," but "physical death."
The formation of the woman is highly typical. Adam is the figure of Him who was to come (Rom. 5:14), the last Adam. Here Christ and the Church are foreshadowed. The deep sleep into which Adam was put by Jehovah Elohim is typical of the death of the cross, The woman, built out of his side, is the type of the Church. As the helpmeet of Adam was bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh and also the bride of Adam, so is the church the body and the bride of Christ. The woman was brought to Adam and presented to him. But Christ will present the Church to Himself (Eph. 5:27). Marriage is indicated in verse 24 and quoted in Matt. 19:5, 1 Cor. 6:16, and Eph. 5:31. Both were naked, the suitable condition for innocence.
CHAPTER 3 The Fall of Man
1. The serpent and the woman (3:1-5) 2. The fall and the immediate results (3:6-7) 3. Jehovah Elohim questions Adam (3:8-12) 4. His question to the woman (3:13) 5. The curse upon the serpent (3:14-21) 6. The first prophecy (3:15) 7. The sentence upon the woman (3:16) 8. The sentence upon the man (3:17-19) 9. The faith of Adam and God's answer (3:20-21) 10. The expulsion and the guardian cherubim (3:22-24)
Another actor is now introduced, the adversary of God. His person and his history are not revealed here. The last book of the Bible speaks of him as "the great dragon, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan" (Rev. 12:9). Our Lord called him "the murderer from the beginning and "the father of lies." He used a creature of the field to deceive the woman and to ruin the restored creation by the introduction of sin, The word "serpent" is in the Hebrew "nachash," which means "a shining one." It is evident that this creature was not then a reptile like the serpent of today. The curse put the serpent into the dust. This creature Satan possessed and perhaps made still more beautiful so as to be of great attraction to the woman. He transformed himself in this subtle way, "The serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety" (2 Cor. 11:3), "And no marvel; for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14). Of this marvellous being having access to the garden of Eden we read in Ezekiel 28:13.
Some brand the opening verses of Genesis 3 as myth. If it were, all else in God's Word concerning man and his redemption would collapse. Others look upon it as an allegory, but it is a historical fact and this revelation gives the only explanation of the origin of evil and its existence.
Speaking to the woman Satan awakened doubt in God's Word. In speaking of God he avoided the word "Jehovah," but only spoke of God. Then he acts as the accuser of God and uttered his lie, which, as the father of lies he still continues, "ye shall not surely die." The crime of the devil by which he fell, that is, pride, is also shown in the words "ye shall be as gods." The woman listened to the tempter's voice. She saw it was good and that it was pleasant; she desired, she took, she ate and gave unto her husband. It is the beginning of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. (Compare with the temptations of the last Adam, the Lord Jesus, in the wilderness.)
Their eyes were opened at once. They discovered their nakedness and made themselves coverings from fig leaves. When they heard the voice of Jehovah Elohim they hid themselves. Shame and fear were the immediate results of the fall. What the first parents did to hide their nakedness by sewing fig leaves together is still the natural man's occupation. Man attempts by the labor of his hands, by his religious profession and morality to cover his nakedness.
Jehovah Elohim came to seek that which was lost. Adam did not seek the Lord, but the Lord sought him and Eve.
The curse was then pronounced upon the serpent and the earth was cursed on account of man and sentence pronounced upon the man and the woman, The evidences of all this are about us. The sentence "dying thou shalt die," that is physical death, the wages of sin, was not executed at once.
The first prophecy in verse 15 announces the seed of the woman, Christ, and His triumphant work over the serpent and his work as well as the death of the seed. Out of this first prediction all prophecy is developed. Space forbids to enlarge upon this great verse.
Adam believed God's Word for he called now his wife "Eve." The word Eve is Chavah in Hebrew, and means "life." God answered his faith by making unto Adam and Eve clothes of skin. Jehovah Elohim must have slain an animal, perhaps a lamb, to provide the skin. The first blood must then have been shed and the Lord provided the covering for Adam and Eve. Its meaning as a type needs no further comments.
They were driven out of Eden so as to avoid the possibility of taking of the tree of life and live forever. This is used as an argument that man through the fall lost his immortal soul. It only refers to the body. If they had eaten of the tree of life they would have lived forever in the body and physical death would then not have been possible.
The cherubim are not symbols but actual beings. We find them elsewhere revealed, Ps. 18:10; Ezek. 1:5; 10:1; Rev. 4-5. The flaming burning sword is symbolic of the holiness of God.
With the third chapter of Genesis the waiting of the heavens and of the earth began: Heaven waiting to send Him forth to deal with the question of sin and the earth waiting for redemption and deliverance. What marvellous chapters these first three chapters of the Bible are! The entire Word of God rests upon them and is linked with them.
CHAPTER 4 After the Fall and the Two Seeds
1. Cain and Abel (4:1-2) 2. Their offerings (4:3-5) 3. The divine remonstrance (4:6-7) 4. Abel slain by his brother (4:8) 5. Cain's judgment (4:9-16) 6. Cain and his offspring and the progress of the world (4:17-24) 7. Seth in place of Abel (4:25-26)
This chapter is filled with many lessons. Here are types of the Seed of the Woman, Christ. Christ as the Good Shepherd, the death of Christ, the shedding of blood, the atonement, righteousness by faith, the self-righteousness of the sinner and his rejection are here indicated. We find in this chapter types of the Jewish nation and their blood-guiltiness as well as the record of the progressing civilization of that age.
Eve's first son was Cain (acquired of Jehovah). This tells of her faith; she believed her first born was the promised seed. Cain, however, is the type of the natural man, the flesh, the offspring of the serpent. The second son born was Abel (vapor).
Cain's offering and worship was that of the natural, self-righteous man, who needs no blood, but trusts in his character and good works. Cain did not believe in what Jehovah Elohim had declared concerning sin, the penalty of sin; and he did not believe in the prediction of Gen. 3:15. God had cursed the ground, but Cain brought of the fruit of the ground. Today the masses of professing Christians "go in the way of Cain" (Jude 10-11).
Abel's offering consisted of the firstlings of the flock. He believed himself a sinner who had deserved death. He believed in substitutionary sacrifice (Heb. 11:4).
Abel is a type of Christ. Abel was a shepherd. There is no report of evil about him. He was hated by his brother without a cause. Abel died On account of his brother's sin.
Cain, who hated his brother Abel, foreshadows the Jew, who rejected Christ and delivered Him into the hands of the Gentiles and shed innocent blood. As Cain had blood-guiltiness upon himself, the blood of his brother Abel, so there is blood-guiltiness upon the Jewish race. "His blood be upon us and our children," was their demand. Cain's judgment is typical of the punishment which came upon the Jewish people. Like Cain, they were driven from Him; became wanderers over the face of the earth; bearing a mark, everybody is against them. Cain went with his wife (one of his sisters) to the land of Nod. He built a city. His hope was in earthly things. The progress of the Cainites is given. Polygamy began with Lamech. Jubal became inventor of harp and pipe. Tubal-Cain was the worker in brass and iron. Then there is a song of defiance celebrating murder. The age advanced in civilization, inventions, making the earth under the curse attractive; on the other hand, lust, violence, vice, and crime increased. But Cain's seed was also religious following Cain's worship. The name of El (God) appears in some of Cain's offspring.
The third son of Adam was Seth. From him springs the Seed. Seth is the type of Christ risen from the dead. Abel, the first, died; Seth, the second, lives. "Then people began to call at the name of Jehovah." True worship is only possible in the Second Man, Christ risen from the dead.
III. THE BOOK OF THE GENERATIONS OF ADAM
CHAPTER 5 Adam and His Seed Through Seth
1. Adam (5:1-5) 2. Seth (5:6-8) 3. Enos (5:9-11) 4. Cainan (5:12-14) 5. Mahalaleel (5:15-17) 6. Jared (5:18-20) 7. Enoch (5:21-24) 8. Methuselah (5:25-27) 9. Lamech (5:28-31) 10. Noah (5:32)
Here we find the record of the seed of Seth. There is a striking contrast with the record of the Cainites in the previous chapter. The Cainites were progressive, built cities and made inventions. Nothing is said of the God-fearing generations in this chapter accomplishing great earthly things. They were pilgrims and strangers, waiting for better things. In the fourth chapter the word "die" is not mentioned. Nothing is said of the duration of the life of Cain and his seed. Eight times in the fifth chapter we read "and he died." One did not die. We learn from this that the Lord keeps a record of the lives, the work and the years of His people. His saints are in His hands.
The names of ten generations translated give a startling revelation. In them we read the faith of the pious generations before the flood and for what they waited.
Adam -- Man Seth -- Set Enos -- Frailty Cainan -- Deplorable Mahalaleel -- The Blessed God Jared -- Descends Enoch -- Teaching Methuselah -- Death sent away Lamech -- Powerful Noah -- Rest, Comfort
The record of Enoch must be compared with Jude 14-16 and Hebrews 11:5. He was translated before the great judgment swept over the earth. Enoch is a type of the living saints at the close of the present age, who will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. Study Enoch's walk, Enoch's faith, Enoch's testimony, Enoch's suffering and Enoch's translation with the help of the New Testament passages.
CHAPTER 6:1-8 The Increasing Corruption
1. The sons of God and the daughters of men (6:1-2) 2. The warning of Jehovah (6:3) 3. Increased wickedness (6:4-6) 4. Judgment announced (6:7) 5. Noah found grace (6:8)
The question is who are the sons of God who took the daughters of men. The general view is that the sons of God were the pious descendants of Seth and the daughters of men, the Cainitish offspring. However, there are strong arguments against it.
1. There is no proof in the text that the daughters of men were only the descendants of the Cainites. The text supports the view that in "daughters of men" the natural increase of the whole human family is meant, and not a special class.
2. The theory that "sons of God" must mean pious people can likewise not be sustained. The term sons of God is never applied in the Old Testament to believers. Isaiah 43:6 refers to the future gathering of the godly remnant of Israel. That the believer is a son of God, predestined to the son-place, with the spirit of sonship in him, crying, "Abba, Father," is exclusively a New Testament revelation.
3. The result of the marriage of the sons of God with the daughters of men were children, who were heroes, men of the Name. If the sons of God were simply the pious Sethites, who mixed with the Cainites, it is hard to understand why the offspring should be a special race, heroes, men of the Name. The giants were Nephilim, which means "the fallen ones."
"Sons of God" is the term applied in the Old Testament to supernatural beings, both good and evil. Angels good and fallen are termed sons of God in the Old Testament. Satan himself is reckoned among the sons of God in Job 1:6, and 2:1. The term sons of God must mean here supernatural evil beings. These evil beings came down out of the air and began to take possession of such of the daughters of men as they chose.
"For if God spared not the angels which sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them unto chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly" (2 Pet. 2:4-5).
Here we have a New Testament hint on Genesis 6:1-5. The Scripture declares that the fallen angels are still loose; here, however, are angels, which sinned and God did not spare them. Another passage in Jude's Epistle is still more significant: "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." This statement in Jude is linked with the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah.
We stand not alone in this exposition. "The sons of God, in my judgment, mean the same beings in Genesis as they do in Job. This point will suffice to indicate their chief guilt in thus traversing the boundaries which God appointed for His creatures. No wonder that total ruin speedily ensues. It is really the basis of fact for not a few tales of mythology which men have made Up." (W. Kelly, Lectures on the Pentateuch.) God has veiled the awful corruption and we dare not intrude into the secret things.
May we remember that our Lord has told us, "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be when the Son of Man cometh."
The Spirit of God was then pleading with men. His work as the hindering one is indicated in verse 3.
Read, 1 Peter 3:20, "For Christ indeed once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God; being put to death in flesh but made alive in the Spirit, in which also going He preached to the spirits, which are in prison, heretofore disobedient, when the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noe, while the ark was preparing." This passage does not teach that Christ after His death, went into Hades to preach, but the meaning is that His Spirit through Noah preached to the spirits of men living at that time, and who were then disobedient and are now in prison.
God in His longsuffering waited yet 120 years, during which His Spirit preached through the preacher of righteousness, calling to repentance.
The withdrawing of the Spirit of God is clearly taught in 2 Thess. 2:7. This age will end in the same manner as the age before the flood, "the Spirit not always pleading with man."
Jehovah, beholding the earth, saw that the wickedness of man was great, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart only evil continually. Before we read Jehovah's verdict, "for he indeed is flesh." And again, "The end of all flesh is come before me, for the earth is full of violence through them, and behold, I will destroy them with the earth."
IV. THE GENERATIONS OF NOAH
CHAPTER 6:9-22 Before the Flood
1. Noah walked with God (6:9-10) 2. The earth filled with violence (6:11-13) 3. The building of the ark commanded (6:14-21) 4. Noah's obedience (6:22)
It was grace which constituted Noah just and enabled him to walk with God. Hebrews 11:7 gives a full definition of Noah's faith. Seven things are shown concerning Noah:
Warned of God -- The ground of faith Things not seen -- The realm of faith He feared -- The exercise of faith Prepared an ark -- The work of faith Saved His house -- The results of faith Condemned the world -- The testimony of faith Heir of righteousness -- The reward of faith
The ark is a type of Christ. The word "gopher" means atonement, and the word "pitch," meaning the same, is translated more than seventy times in the Bible by "to make atonement."
The ark had a window above--looking towards Heaven and not upon the earth and its judgment beneath. It had one door and only one in the side. All blessedly applicable to Christ and salvation. The deluge which came, flood of waters, covering all, so that the end of all flesh came, is a type of the death of Christ. In His death judgment was passed and executed upon all flesh. The waves and billows rolled over His innocent head. He passed through death and judgment for us and has made Himself our perfect ark, our hiding place. In Him we are lifted above the judgment waters.
CHAPTER 7 Noah in the Ark and the Judgment by Water
1. Commanded to enter the ark (7:1-4) 2. Noah's obedience (7:5-9) 3. The judgment by water 7:10-24)
Noah is a type of the Lord Jesus. In the one, Noah, his house was saved. He carried them above and through the judgment waters. Noah is also a type of the Jewish remnant which will pass through the great tribulation and the judgments to come.
The ark of gopher wood, pitched inside and outside with pitch, is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ; Noah preparing the ark, the type of Christ, accomplishing salvation, having finished it.
The deluge is a type of the death of Christ. "All Thy billows and Thy waves have gone over Me" (Ps. 42:7). This was done when on the cross. He who knew no sin was made sin for us. As the earth was covered in the deluge, so the judgment passed over Him, in whom the end of all flesh has come.
"And Jehovah said unto Noah, 'Come thou and all thy house into the ark.'" After the ark was finished came the invitation to enter in. The invitation "come" still goes forth. "Come unto Me"--will it last forever?
The beasts, clean and unclean, taken into the ark, as well as the fowls of the air, give us the hint that creation will share the blessed effects of salvation. The subsequent prophetic word and Romans 8:19-23, tell us of a coming deliverance of groaning creation.
"And they that went in unto Noah, went in male and female of all flesh, as God (Elohim) had commanded him, and the Lord (Jehovah) shut him in" (verse 16). In this verse we have Elohim and Jehovah used. God, as Creator, had commanded Noah; Jehovah had announced the judgment, and the ark which had been preparing represented the patient and merciful Jehovah. And now as the hour of mercy was past, Jehovah shut the door. He who had given an open door shut it at last.
Noah and his house in the ark were saved and safe. And so are we in Christ Jesus our Lord.
"The rain was forty days and forty nights upon the earth" (verse 12). Here for the first time in the Word do we find the number forty. It is not the last time. Forty means endurance and testing. Moses was forty days on the mountain, his life was divided into three forties. Forty years Israel was in the wilderness. Elijah knew the forty days, and Ezekiel lay forty days on his right side, a typical action (Ezekiel 4). Jonah preached, "yet forty days and Ninevah shall be destroyed"; and Christ was forty days in the wilderness to be tested.
CHAPTER 8 Noah Remembered
1. Noah remembered (8:1-3) 2. The ark resting (8:4-5) 3. The raven sent forth (8:6-7) 4. The sending forth of the dove (8:8-12) 5. The waters dried up (8:13-14) 6. The command to leave the ark (8:15-17) 7. Noah's obedience (8:18-19) 8. The altar and the covenant (8:20-22)
Especially instructive are verses 6 to 12 in our chapter. Noah opened the window at the end of forty days, and he sent forth a raven. This bird flew to and fro until the waters were dried up from off the earth.
Then he sent forth a dove three times. The first time she found no resting place, and Noah took her back into the ark. The second time she returned with an olive leaf in her mouth, and the third time she did not return at all, and finds her abiding place in the earth.
That the dove is the type of the Holy Spirit needs hardly to be stated. In this outward symbolic form He came upon our Lord. But what does the black raven represent? The raven is the type of evil, a representative of the god of this age and the flesh as well. We may see in the raven flying to and fro until the waters were dried up, a type of the prince of the power in the air, the devil. His work and activity; the devil describes himself as "going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it" (Job 1:7; and 2:2). He is doing this still, but there is a time coming when the black raven will stop his restless flight. When this present age ends with divine wrath revealed once more, and the waves of divine judgment have rolled over the earth, then Satan, the devil, that old serpent, will be bound a thousand years.
The dove and her threefold departure is a type of the coming and presence of the Holy Spirit in the earth sent forth from the Lord.
First, she comes forth and finds no resting place. This represents the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, where he was not present in the earth to find a rest, to abide. The second departure of the dove may be taken as a type of the Holy Spirit's presence in this age. The dove found a resting place and still she did not stay, but came back to the ark with an olive leaf. This olive leaf was the witness that the judgment waters had passed and that new life had developed. It also signifies peace. So the Holy Spirit is present in this age as the result of the finished work of Christ. The third time the dove did not return. So there is an age in the future when the Holy Spirit will be poured upon all flesh. During the first and second sending forth of the dove, the raven was also present. Both flew over the earth. When the dove went forth the third time the waters were gone and there was no more raven.
The word "altar" is mentioned here for the first time in the Bible. The altar is for worship. Here then worship is for the first time revealed. We worship, having passed from the old into the new, standing on the ground of resurrection. We know that death and judgment is passed, and therefore we worship in spirit and in truth. Christ is our altar; and in the sacrifices Noah brought, Christ is also typically represented. Only he is a true worshiper who knows Christ and the perfect work He has done. "Jehovah smelled the sweet savor." This reminds us of John 4: "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth, for the Father seeketh such to worship Him." Not service is a sweet savor to God, but worship.
CHAPTER 9 The Earth Replenished
1. The divine commission (9:1-7) 2. The covenant with Noah (9:8-11) 3. The token of the covenant (9:12-17) 4. The family of Noah (9:18-19) 5. Noah's drunkenness (9:20-24) 6. Noah's prophecy (9:25-27) 7. Noah's death (9:28-29)
A new start is made after the judgment by water and Noah is blessed by God. Like Adam and Eve they are commissioned to fill the earth, but nothing is said of having dominion over the earth.
In Genesis 1:29 we read that man was to eat the green herb and the fruit of the trees, but now there is permission given to eat every moving thing that liveth. It seems clear that before the deluge meat was not eaten. There are not a few advocates of total abstinence from meat in our day. The adherents of delusions like theosophy and others tell us that a vegetable diet will ennoble man, deliver him from the lust of the flesh, make him pure and good and fit to approach God. With all the abstinence from meat before the deluge the people were not better, but ended in the flesh and perished in it. In 1 Tim. 4 we read of those who live in the latter times and depart from the faith, and among the characteristics given is the following: "Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats which God has created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving."
And why is the blood made so prominent? Four times we read the word "blood" in verses 4-6. The book of Leviticus gives the answer. "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar, to make an atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul" (Lev. 17:11). The sanctity of the blood is here shown forth. Even the hunter in Israel had to keep it in view. "And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you which hunteth, or catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust. For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof, therefore I said to the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh; for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof, whosoever eateth it shall be cut off" (Lev. 17:13, 14). So the hunter had to stop, and pour out the blood. All points to the blood of the Lamb.
God established His covenant with Noah and his seed and put the token of the covenant in the clouds. The rainbow speaks of a passed judgment of His salvation and remembrance. Another universal judgment by water will never come again (verse 15). Another judgment is in store for this planet. "The world that was then, being overflowed with water, perished; but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men" (2 Pet. 3:6-7).
Interesting is Noah's prophecy after his drunkenness.
Ham (black) is not mentioned in the curse, but the son of Ham, Canaan (the merchantman). Ham's deed revealed the unbelieving condition of his heart, while Shem's and Japheth's action manifest divine grace in covering up the nakedness. God's eye beheld Canaan and his subsequent career in his descendants. He inherits the curse. How literally it was carried out! Shem, meaning "name," becomes the family in which Jehovah, the Name, is to be revealed. Jehovah is the God of Shem. Soon we shall see a son of Shem, Abram, and his seed becoming the depository of Jehovah's revelation. Later Jehovah speaks and reveals His name by which He wishes to be known forever to another son of Shem, Moses. "Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob hath sent me unto you; this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations" (Ex. 3:15). He does not call Himself "the God of Japheth" but "the God of Shem." Shem's supremacy is here indicated. It is a far-reaching prophecy.
Japheth means "expansion." His sons are Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, Tiras, and the sons of Gomer and Javan are mentioned in the next chapter. They expanded and Japheth dwells in the tents of Shem, partakes of Shem's blessing and responsibility. Some take "He shall dwell in the tents of Shem," the "he" as referring to God, but this is incorrect. It means Japheth and reminds us of the parable of the olive tree in Romans 11.
Shem's blessing consisted (1) In being the carrier of the Name, Jehovah. (2) In controlling Canaan and being the master over him. (3) The giving shelter to Japheth and let him be sharer of the blessing. It is the germ of all following prophecy and we wait still for its end fulfillment.
V. THE GENERATIONS OF THE SONS OF NOAH
CHAPTER 10 Shem, Ham, and Japheth and Their Seed
1. The sons of Japheth (10:2-5) 2. The sons of Ham (10:6-20) 3. The sons of Shem (10:21-32)
Here we have the beginning of the nations. God knows them and keeps track of the nations of the earth. The order of the sons of Noah is here changed. Japheth comes first. Ham's place is unchanged. Shem comes last. This order is given in view of Noah's prophecy. Among the descendants of Ham we find Nimrod, a mighty hunter. His name means "Let us rebel." Here also we find Babel mentioned for the first time. Babylon has for its founder "a mighty one in the earth-a mighty hunter." Mentioned here for the first time Babylon is seen springing from the race which is under a curse, and having for its founder a mighty one in the earth, a second Cain. We have here the birth of Babylon, while the entire Bible, from now on to the eighteenth chapter of the "book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ," gives us its development, its Satanic opposition to all that is from above, and its final great fall and destruction. Babylon! what a sinister word! Both city and system, such as is seen in its finality in Rev. 17 and 18, are Satan's stronghold.
It would be interesting to follow all these names and trace them in the Scriptures and in history. But this we cannot do.
CHAPTER 11:1-9 The Tower of Babel and the Scattering of the Nations
1. The unity of the nations in Shinar (11:1-2) 2. Their attempt: "Let us make" (11:3-4) 3. The divine answer: "Let us go down" (11:5-7) 4. The Result (11:8-9)
All the earth had one language. This is also proven by philological research. The whole human family journeyed together. They left the mountainous regions and went down to the plain. This expresses their descent morally; they turned away from God, though they had the knowledge of God (Rom. 1:18-19).
Notice the absence of the name of God in the beginning of the chapter. They had excluded Him. "They said ... let us make ... and they had ... let us build ourselves ... let us make ourselves a name." It is self-exaltation and defiance of God. It was full rebellion against God.
The tower they attempted to build was to reach into heaven. It is the first concentrated effort of man against God his maker and against Jehovah. It represents a God-defying and man-deifying confederacy. We cannot follow Babylon in its different aspects. There was the ancient city, the enemy of Jerusalem. There is the present day Babylon, a lifeless, professing Christendom, both Romanism and Protestantism. There is the future Babylon (Rev. 17-18). Concentration and confusion marks Babylon. Compare the "Let us" here with the prophetic second Psalm, when in the future, nations will confederate against God and His anointed. God came down in divine irony to look at their city and tower and to scatter them by the confusion of languages. And when the rebellion of the second Psalm is reached, He will laugh and hold them in derision.
VI. THE GENERATIONS OF SHEM
CHAPTER 11:10-26 From Shem to TERAH
Here again we find ten names prominent. The same number we have in Genesis 5. Both genealogies in chapters 5 and 11 end with a man to whom God reveals Himself and with each a new dispensation begins, Noah and Abram. Notice the decreasing years of life. Shem was 600 years old, the grandfather of Abram only 148. The line of Shem was degenerating; some of the names indicate this. Terah (delay), the father of Abram, was an idolator. The descendants of Shem worshipped idols (Joshua 24:2). When the line of Shem had failed God called Abram.
VII. THE GENERATIONS OF TERAH
CHAPTER 11:27-32 Terah's Family and His Death
Terah with the persons mentioned in verse 31 went forth from Ur to go into the land of Canaan. Terah died in Haran. Chapter 12:1 and Acts 7:1-4 makes it clear that this going forth was by divine revelation.
CHAPTER 12 The First Events in Abram's Life
1. The call and the promise (12:1-3) 2. Abram's obedience (12:4-6) 3. The second communication of Jehovah (12:7-9) 4. Abram in Egypt and first denial of Sarai (12:10-20)
We come now to a new beginning, the Abrahamic covenant. It marks the beginning of that wonderful race, the seed of Abraham, the people of Israel. Abraham's name is mentioned 74 times in the New Testament. How closely his history is interwoven into New Testament doctrine. This may be learned by consulting the following passages: John 8:56; Acts 7-2; Rom. 4:1-16; Gal. 3:6-18; Heb. 11:8-19; James 2:21-23. What a satanic lie it is to brand the existence of this great man of God as a myth! Such is often done in "Christian" (?) schools and pulpits. We give a few hints on this chapter:
The sovereign grace of God in the call of Abram. Shem had the promise of the Name. Jehovah was to reveal Himself in Shem. We learned from the eleventh chapter that the line of Shem had run into decay and was departing from God. In the midst of this ruin in which Abram was involved, he became the object of divine election and Jehovah in His grace manifested Himself to Abram and called him.
The delay at Haran. "The God of Glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran." "Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans, and dwelt at Charran; and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell" (Acts 7:2-4). The call came to Abram in Mesopotamia. They left their country and dwelt in Haran. Here Abram tarried till his father Terah died. The delay in going to the land to which God had called him was on account of Terah. Typically, Terah stands for the flesh, the ties of nature. This is always in the way to carry out fully the call of God and enter into full and blessed realization of God's calling. While delaying in Haran (Haran means "parched"), God did not reveal Himself anew to Abram.
Death set Abram free, and by death freed from the ties of nature he journeyed on to the land of Canaan. The death of Terah, the liberating factor in Abram's experience, is typical of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have died in Him. The cross of Christ has set us free.
Abram was "sanctified unto obedience." Sanctified means "separated." The call of God meant separation for Abram. "Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house." Now there was no further delay. "Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken to him." The calling involved obedience which was readily yielded. All this is typical of the individual believer.
It was by faith. What faith is stands here fully manifested. "By faith Abraham, when he was called out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went" (Heb. 11:8). He took God's infallible Word and left all; walked by faith and not by sight; he hoped for things he saw not. Faith ever finds its most precious resting place upon the naked Word of God.
The promises. "And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will also bless thee and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing. 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" (verses 2 and 3). And all God promised to Abram He hath kept. Every word has been literally fulfilled. Nations upon nations who hated Abraham's seed, his natural descendants, have found to their great sorrow how true Abraham's God is. These promises still hold good. To the seed of Abraham belong still the promises (Rom 9:4). The nations of the earth, all the families are unconsciously waiting to be blessed by Abraham's seed. Salvation is still of the Jews.
Abram worships. He built an altar unto Jehovah, who appeared unto him. Again he built an altar, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east, and there he called upon the name of Jehovah. The revelation of Jehovah produces worship. The basis of worship is a conscious and precious relation with Jehovah. Abram knew Jehovah's grace toward him, therefore he worshipped Him and called upon His name.
Abram's failure was the result of leaving Bethel and going down to Egypt (typical of the world).
CHAPTER 13 The Return from Egypt and Separation from Lot
1. Back to Bethel (13:1-4) 2. The strife (13:5-7) 3. The separation. Lot in Sodom (13:8-13) 4. The third communication of Jehovah (13:14-18)
Abram is graciously brought back. Abram could not have remained in Egypt forever. So the believer who has wandered away from the Lord will be restored. How precious the altar at Bethel must have been to him. Dispensationally Abram's going down to Egypt foreshadows the going down of his posterity.
Lot's character is brought out in his selfish choice. He had not so much followed the Lord as he followed Abram. He is Self-centered, and unlike Abram looking to the things unseen, he is occupied with the things which are seen, with the earth and earthly possession. Lot is a type of the world-bordering, carnally minded, professing Christian. He lifts up his eyes and beholds a well-watered plain, beautiful as the garden of the Lord. He chooses all the plain of Jordan and pitched his tent toward Sodom. That Sodom and Gomorrah were fast ripening for the day of burning and destruction, that the men in Sodom were wicked and sinners well known in the day when Lot made his choice, is not taken into consideration by him. There was no prayer, no consultation with the Lord from the side of Lot. His eyes behold only the beautiful and well-watered Plain; there must have been a feverish haste to make his decision. Nor did Lot go at once into Sodom. He nears Sodom gradually. Perhaps at first he had no thought of having fellowship with the wicked men of Sodom, but he got there all the same. All is written for our learning. Decline begins gradually, but always leads into the world.
And Abram gazed too over the fertile plains. Some time after he looked again. "And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace" (19:28). Was Abram sorry then for his choice? Do not look upon the fairness of the world; remember a little while longer and wrath and judgment will be poured upon the world now under condemnation.
Another communication and promise is received by Abram from Jehovah.
CHAPTER 14 The First Recorded War and Lot's Deliverance
1. The battle of the confederacy (14:1-10) 2. Sodom and Gomorrah spoiled (14:11-13) 3. Abram's rescue (14:14-16) 4. Sodom's king to meet Abram (14:17) 5. Melchizedek (14:18-20) 6. The king's offer and Abram's answer (14:21-24)
The record of the first war is here foreshadowing the last great warfare still to come. Amraphel, King of Shinar, has been historically located by excavated tablets in 1901. The code of Amraphel (Khammurabi) was discovered in Susa. It dates back to 2139 B.C. Some 800 years the laws of Amraphel governed the people of Central Asia. The discovery of this code was a severe blow to higher criticism which claimed that writing before Moses was unknown. What interests us most is Melchizedek. He is mentioned as a type of Christ in Psalm 110 and Hebrews 7. This chapter in Hebrews must be read with Genesis 14.
Melchizedek was a human being. We do not believe that he was a supernatural being manifested in the form of man. He was king of peace and king of righteousness and priest as well, uniting the office of priest and king and prophet in himself. The way he is introduced in this first book, where genealogies abound, without descent, having in this sense neither beginning of days nor end of life (Heb. 7:3), makes him a very strong type of Christ, the Son of God.
Like Melchizedek, Christ unites in His person kingship and priesthood. However, though Christ is a priest after the order of Melchizedek, He does not yet fully exercise His Melchizedek priesthood. As priest after the order of Melchizedek He must have His own throne, for which he is still waiting on the throne of His Father.
Therefore when He comes again He will be the Priest upon His throne and crowned with many crowns (Zech. 6:12-14)
The sinister temptation of Sodom's king was rejected by Abram because Melchizedek had made known the name of God in a new way, "The most high God." Abram uses this new title and adds "Jehovah" to "the most high God."
Dispensationally it shows the future events after the conflict, the time of wars by confederacies of nations, in which the seed of Abraham will be so much concerned, when the enemies of God and of Israel will be overcome, and the King of Peace, the King of Righteousness, the great Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, will appear to bless His earthly people. Then Israel will acknowledge Him as Abram did Melchizedek. "The Most High God," is one of God's millennial names.
CHAPTER 15 The Fourth Communication and the Covenant and the Vision
1. The fourth communication (15:1) 2. Abram's answer (15:2-3) 3. The promised seed (15:4-5) 4. Abram counted righteous (15:6) 5. Continued communication (15:7-8) 6. The divided animals (15:9-11) 7. The vision (15:12-17) 8. The covenant made (15:18-21)
The connection with the previous chapter is extremely precious. Abram had honored the Lord and now the Lord honored him. Then the seed is promised. That seed promised is Isaac; Christ is typified by him. "Abram believed in the Lord and He counted it to him for righteousness." The fourth chapter of Romans must be closely studied at this point for it is the commentary to the promise given and Abram's faith. He is commanded to take the different animals and to divide them.
All these animals are mentioned later in the book of Leviticus and as sacrifices are typical of Christ, while the fowls which came down upon the carcasses and which Abraham drove away (Gen. 15:11) are types of evil. (See Matthew 13, the birds which pick up the seed; the fowls which make nests in the tree.) But the divided pieces and the turtledove and pigeon, exposed to the fowls, are also typical of Israel, divided and cut through, while the fowls may be taken as types of nations who feast upon Israel. The deep sleep which fell upon Abraham, signifying death, and the horror of a great darkness, are likewise types of what was to come upon the seed of Abraham. After God had spoken of the coming affliction of the children of Abraham and announcing the judgment of their troubles, a smoking furnace and a burning lamp passed between the pieces. The smoking furnace, the spectacle of a fire and the dark smoke from it, showed to the eye, what God had spoken to the heart of His servant. The smoking furnace is the type of Egypt and the tribulation through which the sons of Jacob and their seed had to pass. The burning lamp is the type of God's presence with them. Thus we read: "But the Lord hath taken you and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt to be unto Him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day" (Deut. 4:20; 1 Kings 8:51). In Egypt the fire burned, as in the furnace, and the great darkness settled upon Abraham's seed.
CHAPTER 16 Abraham and Hagar
1. Sarai's suggestion (16:1-3) 2. Abram's action (16:4) 3. Sarai and Hagar (16:5-6) 4. Hagar in the wilderness (16:7-9) 5. The birth of Ishmael announced (16:10-14) 6. Ishmael born (16:15-16)
The fifteenth chapter may be called Abram's faith chapter. The sixteenth is the chapter of unbelief. It was impatience which forced Sarai and Abram to act for themselves. Unbelief is impatience and impatience is unbelief. Faith waits patiently for the Lord, and on the Lord, to act. "He that believeth shall not make haste." Abram and Sarai attempted to help the Lord to fulfill His promise. What a failure they made of it! On account of it there was great trouble in his house.
But the incident has a deeper meaning. Read Gal. 4:21-31. This gives us the typical meaning and how the Lord overruled even this failure. Sarai represents the covenant of grace; Hagar the law covenant. Hagar was an Egyptian; Sarai a princess. The law brings into bondage, grace makes free.
Abram was eighty-six years old when Ishmael was born. The next chapter tells us that Abram was ninety and nine years old when the Lord spoke to him again. Thus for thirteen years Abram's life seems to have been barren of communications from the Lord. What a harvest of the flesh.
CHAPTER 17 The Fifth Communication and the Covenant Repeated
1. The communication and Abram worships (17:1-3) 2. The enlarged promise (17:4-8) 3. The covenant sign (17:9-14) 4. Sarah's seed promised (17:15-16) 5. The laughter of Abraham (17:17) 6. Abraham's plea for Ishmael (17:18-22) 7. Abraham's obedience (17:23-27)
The promises which the Lord now gives to Abram are most complete. His name is changed; he is now to be called Abraham, which means "the Father of many," because he is to be the Father of many nations.
Upon this follows the institution of circumcision. This is a portion which is extremely rich in its teachings. Let us notice that in Romans the Holy Spirit explains the meaning of this ceremony. "For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised. (Rom. 4:10-11). Circumcision was, therefore, the seal of righteousness of faith. Some fourteen years previous Abram had been constituted righteous, because he believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. First righteousness by faith and then the seal. Of believers it is said in the New Testament that they are circumcised. "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands in putting off the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ" (Col. 2:11). The circumcision of Christ is the death of Christ; in Him the body of the flesh is put off. We have died with Him, are dead and buried and risen with Him. "For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh" (Phil. 3:3).
Sarai's name is also changed. The promised seed is to be from her. "His name is to be Isaac" which means laughter. The end of the chapter shows Abraham's obedience.
CHAPTER 18 The Sixth Communication and Jehovah Visits Abraham
1. The manifestation (18:1-2) 2. Abraham's welcome (18:3-8) 3. The promise repeated (18:9-10) 4. Sarah's laughter (18:11-15) 5. The departure towards Sodom (18:16) 6. Abraham's intercession (18:17-33)
This most remarkable visitation was the answer of Jehovah to Abraham's obedience of faith. The one in the middle was none other than Jehovah in human form; the other two were angels. "Before Abraham was I am," He said when on earth. Here Abraham is face to face with Him.
Sarah's laughter when the son is promised to her is the laughter of unbelief She looked to her womb, which was a grave. Her laughter was made the occasion of that blessed word Jehovah spoke. "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" From the place of sweet communion they now proceed towards the scene where a great judgment was to be enacted.
"Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?" is another gracious word. Abraham was the friend of God. The Lord said to His disciples, "The servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth, but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you" (John 15:15). Yes, He has told us all about the things to come, the doom of the world and the secrets of His coming. And then follows that wonderful intercession before the Lord. How He pleads! What humility and yet boldness! Blessed privilege of all saints the prayer of intercession, which the great Intercessor, the Lord Jesus Christ, loves to hear from the lips of His children, for it is the echo of His own heavenly occupation.
CHAPTER 19 The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
1. The angels visit (19:1-5) 2. Lot and the Sodomites (19:6-11) 3. The destruction of Sodom announced (19:12-13) 4. Lot and his sons-in-law (19:14) 5. Lot brought forth (19:15-17) 6. Lot's request (19:18-20) 7. The escape (19:21-25) 8. Lot's wife (19:26) 9. Abraham looks on (19:27-29) 10. Lot's shame (19:30-38)
This is a chapter of judgment. How great the contrast with the preceding one! There Abraham sat under the tent door and the Lord appeared unto him; here two angels come to Sodom at even and Lot sits in the gate of Sodom. Joyfully Abraham had run to meet the heavenly visitors and willingly the Lord and His companions had entered in to be comforted by Abraham. Lot invites the angels likewise but they say "Nay; but we will abide in the street all night." Only after Lot pressed upon them greatly "did they enter his house." The feast was not like Abraham's feast of fine meal and a calf, but only unleavened bread. Poor, selfish Lot! He had gone down to Sodom; from the tent pitched toward Sodom he had landed in Sodom and there he had no longer a tent, but he had a house. He had settled down and given up his character as pilgrim. His daughters had become perfectly at home in Sodom and married unbelieving Sodomites. More than that Lot had taken a position in Sodom. "He sat in the gate of Sodom" and the mob said "This fellow came in to sojourn and he will be judge" (verse 9). He held an influential position there and most likely attempted the reformation of Sodom. That he was greatly troubled is learned from the New Testament. "he was vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked" (2 Peter 2:7). Lot is the picture of thousands of Christian believers, who are carnally minded and worldly. There are many who have settled down in the world, from which they have been separated and delivered by the death of Christ and like Lot they will be saved "so as by fire."
From the fourth verse to the eleventh in this chapter we find a short description of the awful wickedness of Sodom. Its gross immoralities, the fearful fruits of the lust of the flesh have since then become proverbial. In this connection we may well remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, "Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot ... even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of Man cometh" (Luke 17:28-30). This Christian age will not end in universal righteousness; it will end in apostasy from God and His Word, in iniquity and lawlessness, and these will be followed by a fiery judgment. Indications of such an ending of this age of boasted progress are numerous and becoming more pronounced. Among these immoralities, the looseness of the marriage ties, and adulteries are prominently in the lead. The great cities of Christendom are modern Sodoms and the immorality in them is perhaps worse than in the ancient, lewd cities of the valley of Jordan. This will be getting worse and worse and the end will be judgment. And now the angels give the message of the impending judgment. Sodom was to be destroyed by fire. Lot believed the message, but when he had spoken the word to his two sons-in-law, "Up get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city," they took it as a joke and believed not. They might have been saved if they had believed. They perished in Sodom. Even so it is now at the end of this age. "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming?" (2 Pet. 3:3-4). If one preaches and teaches the soon coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, to be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord (2 Thess. 1:7-8), he is laughed at and scorned, called a pessimist. Perhaps the two sons-in-law called Lot a pessimist.
Notice verse 24. "Then Jehovah rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of heaven." Here was a Jehovah on earth and He called to Jehovah in heaven.
Lot's history ends in shame. Moab and Ammon begotten in wickedness have a history of shame. No record is given of the death of Lot.
CHAPTER 20 Abraham in Gerar
1. Abraham in Gerar (20:1) 2. Second denial of Sarah (20:2) 3. God's dealing with Abimelech (20:3-7) 4. Abimelech and Abraham (20:8-18)
Note Abraham's going down to Egypt in chapter 12 and now going to Gerar and denying again Sarah. In chapter 26 Isaac goes also to Gerar and denies Rebekah. It shows what the flesh is.
But Abraham is greatly honored by the Lord. The Lord called him a prophet. Abraham prayed and God healed Abimelech.
CHAPTER 21 Isaac and Ishmael and the Covenant with Abimelech
1. Isaac's birth (21:1-3) 2. His circumcision (21:4-8) 3. Ishmael mocking (21:9) 4. Sarah's demand (21:10-11) 5. God speaks to Abraham (21:12-13) 6. Hagar and Ishmael cast out (21:14-16) 7. The intervention of God (21:17-21) 8. The covenant with Abimelech (21:22-34)
Isaac, the promised seed, was born at the set time as God had spoken.
As there was a set time when the promised son was born to Abraham, so there was an appointed time when God gave His Son "when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son." There is also a set time, when the First-Begotten will be brought into the world again, His second coming. Then it will be the set time for Israel, too, when God remembers His promises and when He visits and does all, what He has spoken concerning them. "Thou shalt arise and have mercy on Zion; for the time to favor her, yea, the set time is come" (Psalm 102:13).
Isaac's name means laughter, the laughter of God in view of man's helplessness. Isaac the promised one, the only one, in his wonderful birth and in his name is a type of the promised seed, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is God's laughter over Satan, sin and death.
Sarah laughed again, but it is the laughter of joy. The word the Lord spoke to her: "is anything too hard for the Lord?" wrought faith in her heart. "Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised" (Heb. 11:11). We have called attention before to the allegory in Gal. 4:21-31. This passage gives meaning to the historical account. Sarah stands for the grace covenant; Hagar for the law covenant. As soon as the Seed came (Christ) the law was cast out. The law was only the schoolmaster till Christ came. Hagar's son also typifies the flesh. Isaac is typical of the nature which grace bestows. No sooner was Isaac weaned and a great feast made than the son of Hagar, the Egyptian, mocked. Ishmael manifests his true character. As long as there was no Isaac, nothing is heard of Ishmael; the presence of Isaac makes known what was in the son of the bond-woman. The presence of the new nature makes known what the flesh really is and it is fulfilled what is written "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh."
Here we have also a dispensational picture. According to the passage in Galatians Hagar corresponds to Jerusalem which is now, the one who is in bondage with her children. As Hagar wandered in the wilderness so the natural descendants of Abraham have become wanderers. It is on account of that "covenant of grace" that rich grace in the Lord Jesus Christ, which they rejected that they are cast out. But they are like Hagar in the wilderness of "Beersheba", which means translated, "well of the oath," reminding us of the oath of God and His gifts and calling, which are without repentance. Like Hagar's eyes their eyes are blinded and they see not the "well of water" which is for them. A time, however, will come when their eyes will be opened and when they shall draw water out of the wells of salvation (Isaiah 12:3). The rest of the chapter is taken up with the record of the covenant, which Abimelech made with Abraham. He, who had been healed in answer to the prayer of Abraham, now acknowledges openly that God is with his servant. This shows the faithfulness of God to His promises. Abraham is blest and is a blessing. In the grove of Beersheba he called on the name of Jehovah, the everlasting God.
CHAPTER 22 The Testing of Abraham
1. God's command (22:1-2) 2. Abraham's obedience (22:3-6) 3. Isaac's question and Abraham's answer (22:7-8) 4. Isaac upon the altar (22:9-10) 5. The interference from above (22:11-12) 6. Jehovah-jireh (22:13-14) 7. The second message and Abraham's return (22:15-19) 8. Nahor's offspring (22:20-24)
God now tested Abraham. True faith has to be tested; it is an evidence that there is faith when tests come upon the believer. God knew Abraham, and when the proper moment had come in his life, God spake the words to him by which he was to be tested. What a test it was! That promised son, that beloved one to take him and to slay him upon an altar! Reason might have said, God promised this son, he was given by God's own power, all my hope and expectation center in him; how can God demand him to be slain? But faith does not question God's Word, and has no "why?" to ask of God. Such faith was manifested by Abraham when in the beginning God told him to go out of his land, to a land that He would show him. He went out in faith and knew not whither he went. But God brought him to the land. He knew God's faithfulness. And now once more he is asked to go out, to the land of Moriah to an unknown mountain, and to take his beloved son along to give him up. Was his heart really all for God? Does he love Him and depend on Him supremely? Would he be willing to part with the only one and give him up? This is the test. The record shows there was not a moment's hesitation on Abraham's side. No word escaped from his lips. The only answer which he gave to God was that he rose up early in the morning and began at once the journey with Isaac. What an obedience it was!
What a word of faith it was when he said, "Abide ye here with the ass, and I and the lad will go yonder and worship and come again to you." Hebrews 11:17-19 gives us the secret of it.
We behold them going together, Isaac now carrying the wood. Abraham laid the wood upon him. An old Hebrew exposition of Genesis paraphrases this by saying "he laid the wood upon him in the form of a cross." And only once does Isaac speak asking for the lamb. To which Abraham replied, "My son, God Himself will provide a lamb for a burnt offering." Then they go together, and Isaac opened not his mouth again "like a lamb led to slaughter." He allows himself to be bound upon the altar. He had absolute confidence in his father and is willing to be slain by him; there was no struggle to be free. He is obedient to his father Abraham, even obedient unto death. The typical meaning of the event is as simple as it is precious. Isaac is the type of that "Only Begotten." In Abraham we behold "the Father," who spared not His only begotten Son, but delivered Him up for us all. But how great the contrast! God gave Him, the Son of His love for a sinful, rebellious world. And when the hour came and the Son was nailed upon the wood there was no hand to stay. He was led to slaughter like a lamb and opened not His mouth; and then we hear Him cry, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" God's hand was upon Him and He, the Holy One, was smitten by God. This is the Lamb God Himself has provided; "the ransom" He has found, typified also by the ram caught in the thicket. And in the angel of Jehovah, He Himself was present upon the scene, knowing all that which He would do and suffer, when the appointed time had come. How wonderful is His written Word! And we touch in these brief notes but a little of the foreshadowings and truths revealed in this chapter. The binding of Isaac upon the altar and the taking from the altar foreshadow the death and resurrection of Christ.
"Jehovah-jireh," the Lord has seen, is the great foundation. From that provision, the gift of His Son and His obedience unto death, even the death of the cross, flows forth the great redemption: Jehovah-Rophecah (Exodus 15:26), the Lord thy healer, is next. Then follow Jehovah Nissi, the Lord my banner, (victory Ex. 17); Jehovah Shalom, Jehovah is peace (judges 6:24); Jehovah Roi, Jehovah, my shepherd (Psa. 23:1); Jehovah Zidkenu, Jehovah our righteousness Jer. 23:5-6); Jehovah Shamma, Jehovah is there (Eze. 48:35).
CHAPTER 23 The Death of Sarah
1. Sarah dies (23:1-2) 2. The grave obtained (23:3-18) 3. The burial of Sarah (23:19-20)
We call the attention to the typical meaning of the death of Sarah.
She is the type of the nation Israel and her death in this chapter signifies the death of Israel, nationally. This must be brought in connection with the previous chapter. There we learned that Isaac was upon the altar and taken from it. This is typical of the death and resurrection of the true Isaac, the Promised One, the Lord Jesus Christ. Immediately after, Sarah dies, the one from whom Isaac came. And so after the Lord Jesus Christ had died and was raised from the dead, the nation from whom He came, according to the flesh, passes off the scene. Israel, like Sarah, is buried in the midst of the children of Heth, that is the Gentiles. But Israel has the promise of restoration typified by resurrection. God has promised to open the national grave of Israel and bring them back to the land, which He has given to the seed of Abraham forever. This typical application becomes still more striking and irrefutable by what follows in the twenty-fourth chapter. Here we find the call of the bride who is to comfort Isaac, after his mother's death.
It is interesting that Sarah is the only woman, whose age is mentioned in the Bible.
CHAPTER 24 The Bride Sought for Isaac
1. The commission to the servant (24:1-9) 2. The obedience and prayer of the servant (24:10-14) 3. The prayer answered (24:15-21) 4. The gifts of the servant (24:22-26) 5. The servant received (24:27-33) 6. The servant's message (24:34-36) 7. The commission and answered prayer stated (24:37-49) 8. The bride chosen (24:50-60) 9. The journey to meet Isaac. (24:61) 10. The meeting and the marriage (24:62-67)
This is one of the longest chapters in the Bible. The connection with the previous chapters is obvious. All has a typical meaning. The promised son is the type of the Lord Jesus Christ. When he was upon the altar and taken from the altar we saw a prophetic picture of the death and resurrection of our Lord. In the preceding chapter the death of Sarah stands for the national death of Israel from whom Christ came according to the flesh; this national setting aside of Israel occurred after Christ was risen from the dead and had returned to the Father. And here in chapter 24 we behold Isaac, the son and heir, with the father and the father sending forth his servant to seek a bride for Isaac. Typically we see in this chapter the call and homebringing of her, who is the comfort of the Son, after Israel's failure and national death, the church.
Abraham is now old (140 years). He was very rich in possessions, but his greatest treasure was the son of his love who was with him in Canaan. And Isaac is the father's delight and the object of his love and thoughts. He is to have a wife to share his riches. In sending forth the servant (probably Eleazar) Abraham tells him twice, "Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again." The son is not to leave the father's side; the bride is to be brought to him. And Abraham is assured of the success of the mission of the servant.
The application is easily made. Canaan, where the three dwell, Abraham, the father; Isaac, the son, and the servant, is the type of the heavens. Abraham typifies the Father and Isaac the Son. The Son who died, raised from the dead, seated as the Heir of all things at the right hand of God, is to have one destined from before the foundation of the world to share His riches and His glory. For her, the Church, He died and purchased her with His blood. For the pearl of great price He sold all He had.
And whom does the servant foreshadow? He is the oldest servant; he ruled over all Abraham had; he was with him from the beginning. Who is represented by the servant who went forth in obedience and whose sublime mission was crowned with such results? The servant is the type of the Holy Spirit. He was sent forth after Christ was glorified and with the day of Pentecost He began His blessed mission on earth. The testimony of the Holy Spirit and His work in calling out the church is blessedly foreshadowed in this chapter. He testified of the Father and the Son; how rich the father is and that Isaac is the heir of all the riches. And so the Holy Spirit does not speak of Himself but of the Father and of the Son and makes known the eternal purposes of the Father, and as the Servant's mission did not fail, so the mission of the Holy Spirit in the present age cannot fail.
And richer still, in typical meaning, is the story of the chosen one, Rebekah. We give a very few hints. She heard the message the servant brought. She believed all he said. She had never seen Isaac and she was attracted to him. The jewels of silver and of gold and the raiment the servant gave to Rebekah were the evidences of the riches of the unseen bridegroom and the tokens of his love. And when they asked her, "Wilt thou go with this man?" she answered, "I will go." There was no delay.
All is very simple in its application. The sinner hears the testimony and is to believe the report. If the Word is received in faith and accepted then we receive "the earnest of our inheritance," the Holy Spirit. The heart through grace becomes detached from the world and attached to Him, who loveth us and whom we love, though we have never seen Him.
"The servant took Rebekah and went his way." He took charge of her. How long the journey lasted we do not know. Most likely she was ignorant of the journey and how soon she was to meet Isaac. But the bridegroom Isaac must have ever been in her heart and before her eyes. And so are God's called out ones, who constitute the church, while on the journey, in charge and keeping of the Holy Spirit. We do not know how long the journey towards the meeting place may last.
From the well of Lahai-roi (the living and the seeing one) Isaac came. Isaac and Rebekah met. The servant presented her to Isaac and gave his report. As Isaac came forth from Lahai-roi, so our Lord will come forth from the place where He is now. He will come into the air to meet His own (1 Thess. 4:15-18). No doubt Isaac waited for Rebekah and as Rebekah expected to meet him so are we to wait for His Son from heaven. We shall see Him as He is. Before the night came Isaac took her into his tent, and then the marriage (Rev. 19).
CHAPTER 25:1-11 Abraham's Posterity From Keturah and His Death
1. Abraham's offspring from Keturah (25:1-4) 2. Isaac the heir (25:5-6) 3. Abraham's death and burial (25:7-11)
Abraham's marriage to Keturah and the offspring from her concludes the history of this remarkable character. That this took place after Isaac's marriage (typifying the marriage of the Lamb) makes it very interesting. After the church is completed and the present age ends the seed of Abraham will be blessed for the nations of the earth and nations will be born and walk in the light. This will be the result after Israel's restoration. Then all the families of the earth will be blessed in Abraham's seed. Abraham's posterity from Keturah stands for the millennial nations.
And Isaac is seen above all these. He still dwelt at Lahai-roi. He alone is the heir and the others received only gifts. So Christ is the Heir of God and His church will be with him far above all the earthly blessings of the age to come. Abraham died 175 years old, which means, he lived till Jacob and Esau were 15 years old. The phrase "gathered to his people" is used only of six persons. Of Abraham (25:8); Ishmael (verse 17); Isaac (35:29); Jacob (49:29-33); Aaron (Num. 20:24); and Moses (Deut. 32:50). Here we add a few words translated from the German and written by Dr. Kurtz, late professor of the University of Dorpat:
The human race has had four ancestral heads, to each of whom the divine blessing is granted: "Be fruitful and multiply." Of these, Abraham is the third; for he, too, is the head and founder of a new race, or of a new development. The direct reference of that blessing, in the case of the first and second, is to descendants after the flesh; in the case of the fourth, Christ (see Psalm 22:30--110:3; Isa. 53:10), to a spiritual seed, but in the case of Abraham, to both; for his spiritual seed was appointed to be manifested through the medium of his seed according to the flesh, agreeably to the promise: "In thee and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." The children of Abraham, according to the flesh, are countless in number. Nations have arisen and disappeared, but his descendants proceed onward, through all ages, unmixed and unchanged. Their history is not yet closed; the blessing given to his seed, still preserves them unharmed, under every pressure of the nations around them, and amid all the ravages of time. But the peculiar feature which distinguishes Abraham does not, properly, belong to him naturally, as a member of the human family, or as an individual of a particular nation, but is found in his spiritual character. Where this character, which is faith, is manifested, we find the true children of Abraham (Gal. 3:7, 29; Rom. 9:6-8). Faith was the polar star, the very soul, of his life. The ancient record, anticipating a development of two thousand years, remarked of him, first of all: "He believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness" (Gen. 15:6); and after these two thousand years had elapsed, Christ said of him: "Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad" (John 8:56). Abraham's true position and importance cannot, therefore, be fully appreciated, until we recognize in him the father of them that believe (Rom. 4:11); and innumerable as the stars of heaven, and glorious as they are, are his spiritual children, the children of his faith.
VIII. THE GENERATIONS OF ISHMAEL
1. Ishmael and his sons (25:12-16) 2. The death of Ishmael (25:17-18)
In chapter 16:12 we find the prediction that Ishmael should dwell in the presence of his brethren. In verse 18 we find the fulfilment. The names we find here may be traced in other Scriptures. For instance in Isaiah 60, the great chapter of the millennial kingdom, we have Nebajoth and Kedar mentioned (verse 7). The number twelve, twelve princes, links Ishmael closely with Israel. When Israel is blest in the future and receives the promised Land for his glorious possession, the posterity of Ishmael will not be forgotten.
IX. THE GENERATIONS OF ISAAC
CHAPTER 25:19-34 Esau and Jacob
1. Rebekah barren and the answered prayer (25:19-22) 2. The birth of Esau and Jacob (25:23-26) 3. The growth of the boys (25:27-28) 4. Esau sells his birthright (25:29-34)
It was 25 years after Abraham entered Canaan before Isaac was born. It was 20 years after Isaac's marriage before the birth of Esau and Jacob. The barren condition of Rebekah led Isaac to exercise faith and to cast himself upon the Lord for help. And He answered him. God delights to take up what is weak and barren and manifest His power in answer to prayer. Before the children were born the Lord had declared, "the elder shall serve the younger." The struggle in Rebekah's womb reminds us of the struggle between the two seeds (Ishmael and Isaac) in Abraham's household. God's sovereignty is here solemnly made known. He knew them before they were born and He made His choice according to His own sovereign will and purpose. "And not only this; but when Rebekah also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac (for the children being not yet born, neither having done good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him that calleth), it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger, as it is written, Jacob have I loved but Esau have I hated" (Rom. 9:11-13). That this does not refer to any unconditional and eternal condemnation is clear. It must be noticed that the statement "Esau have I hated" does not appear in Genesis, but in the last book of the Old Testament. Then the character and defiance of Edom had become fully established. In Genesis the Lord speaks only of having chosen Jacob and what creature of the dust can challenge His right to do so.
Then Esau sold his birthright. It fully brought out the defiance of his wicked heart (Hebrews 12:16-17). The blessings of the birthright he sold consisted in three things: 1. The father's blessing and the place of head of the family; 2. The honor of being in the direct line of the promised One--Shem-Abraham-Isaac; 3. The exercise of the domestic priesthood. All this Esau despised for a carnal gratification. How numerous are his followers in our days who might have greater blessings, but they are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.
CHAPTER 26 Isaac in Gerar
1. The famine (26:1) 2. Jehovah appears unto Isaac (26:2-5) 3. Isaac in Gerar where he denies Rebekah (26:6-11) 4. Isaac's prosperity and the digging of wells (26:12-22) 5. Jehovah appears at Beersheba (26:23-25) 6. Isaac and Abimelech (26:26-33) 7. The wives of Esau (26:34-35)
When the famine came Jehovah commanded Isaac not to go to Egypt. As Isaac is the type of Christ risen from the dead and Egypt is the type of the world, this command has a significance. Isaac is separated from Egypt as Christ and His people are, who share in Him a heavenly place. We also notice, while the Lord spoke to Abraham that his seed should be like the sand of the sea (the natural descendants) and the stars of heaven (the spiritual seed) to Isaac the Lord promises the seed as the stars of Heaven; this confirms the typical character of Isaac.
In Gerar he failed as his father failed. And while Sarah was seized by Abimelech, Rebekah is not touched nor separated from Isaac. Christ and His church are inseparable.
The digging of the wells and Isaac's patience fully manifests his character; a little picture of the patient suffering of the Son of God "who when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not." Then Jehovah appeared unto him again and he receives still greater blessings as the reward of his obedience.
When Esau was 40 years old he manifested his defiance still more by taking wives of the Hittites to the grief of his parents.
CHAPTER 27 The Story of Jacob and the Deception of Rebekah and Jacob
1. Esau sent (27:1-4) 2. Rebekah's deception (27:5-17) 3. Jacob's deception (27:18-25) 4. Jacob blessed (27:26-29) 5. The discovery (27:30-40) 6. Esau hates Jacob (27:41) 7. Rebekah advises Jacob to flee (27:42-46)
With this chapter the story of Jacob begins. Three periods of his life are especially to be noticed: 1. His life in Canaan; 2. His departure from the land and his servitude in Padan-aram; 3. His return to the Land. The history of his descendants, the people Israel, may be traced in this. They were in the land; now they are away from the land scattered among the nations; like Jacob they will return to the land. Isaac knew the Word of God, "the elder shall serve the younger," yet he wanted to bless Esau. This was failure on his side. Yet he blessed Jacob by faith (Heb. 11:20). Rebekah wants to comply with the divine declaration but uses unholy means trying to aid God by her own devices to fulfill His Word. Jacob obeys his mother and makes use of the deception. Esau deceives, too, for he claimed a blessing to which he had no right before God and man. The flesh and its sinful ways is fully manifested in this chapter, nevertheless the will of God was accomplished.
Isaac lives after this event 43 years longer, but with this he passes from the page of history. Of his death and burial by Esau and Jacob we hear later. His life was characterized by patient endurance and suffering and his faith consisted in quietness and waiting.
CHAPTER 28 Jacob's Departure to Padan-Aram and His Vision
1. Isaac sends Jacob away and gives his blessing (28:1-5) 2. Esau's action (28:6-9) 3. Jacob's vision and vow (28:10-22)
We enter with this upon the interesting wanderings of the third patriarch, Jacob. God was pleased to reveal Himself to the three illustrious men, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as He did not before. In Exodus 3:4-15 Jehovah reveals Himself to Moses and Jehovah calls Himself "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. This is My name forever." In Abraham, as we have seen, we have the type of the Father; in Isaac the type of the Son and now in Jacob we shall find the type of the work of the Holy Spirit. Jacob in his history foreshadows the history of Jacob's sons.
Jacob's departure stands for Israel's expulsion from their own land to begin their wanderings and suffering, till they are brought back again to the land sworn to the heads of the nation. In the chastening which passed over him we see God's governmental dealings with Israel.
The vision at Bethel is mentioned by our Lord in John 1:51. The Jehovah who stood above the ladder Jacob saw is the same who spoke to Nathaniel, "Hereafter ye shall see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." It is the vision of the future. Jehovah in that vision gave the promise of the land to Jacob and told him that his seed shall be as the dust of the earth. Notice while to Isaac the promise is of a heavenly seed to Jacob a seed as the stars of heaven is not mentioned. Still more was promised to Jacob. Read verse 15. "I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee about." Here again is Sovereign Mercy. What did Jacob do to merit all this? Why should God meet him thus? Did he think of the Lord and call on Him for mercy before he slept on the stone? Nothing whatever. And Jehovah kept His promise and did all He had promised. "I will not leave thee" is a repeated promise. See Deut. 31:6; Josh. 1:5; 1 Chronicles 28:20; Hebrews 13:5-6. "Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in Jehovah his God" (Ps. 146:5). And He is our God and our Lord and in His grace keeps and leads us and does all He has promised. Thus God met Jacob at Bethel (the house of God), assured him of His watching care over him and of a return home in peace. Though Israel is now nationally set aside and they are dispersed, yet God watches over them, keeps them and will lead them back in his own time.
The ridiculous claim that "the coronation stone" in London is the stone upon which Jacob slept needs no refutation. Leading geologists declare unanimously that this stone did not come from Palestine.
CHAPTER 29 Jacob with Laban
1. Jacob's arrival at Padan-aram (29:1-14) 2. His service for Rachel (29:15-20) 3. Laban's deception (29:21-25) 4. Jacob receives Rachel 29:26-31) 5. Leah's sons (29:32-35)
The Lord brought him to Padan-aram, where he was to dwell as an exile for twenty years. During these twenty years Jehovah did not manifest Himself to him, even as Israel dispersed among the nations has no communications from the Lord. His sojourn in Padan-aram produced suffering, the disciplinary dealings of God with him. He reaps in a measure what he had sown. He deceived his father Isaac and now Laban deceives him in different ways, especially by substituting Leah for the beloved Rachel. A week after he received Leah, Rachel was given to him. But though he possessed her, he had to serve seven years for her.
Interesting are the names of the sons of Leah. Reuben (behold a Son!); Simeon (hearing); Levi (joined); Judah (praise). It is the order of the gospel.
CHAPTER 30 Jacob with Laban
1. The sons of Bilhah: Dan and Naphtali (30:1-8) 2. The sons of Zilpah: Gad and Asher (30:9-13) 3. The children of Leah: Issachar, Zebulon and Dinah (30:14-20) 4. The birth of Joseph (30:22-24) 5. Jacob's request to return (30:25-26) 6. Laban's confession and Jacob's prosperity (30:27-43)
Little comment is needed on this. The avarice and deceit of Laban is matched by the dexterity and cunning of Jacob. Joseph's birth marks an important event. It is then that Jacob said unto Laban, "Send me away that I may go unto mine own place and to my country." All this is likewise typical. Rachel the first loved represents Israel; Leah, the Gentiles. The names Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Juda (see translations) tell out the story of His grace towards the Gentiles. Rachel, the barren, was remembered and gave birth to Joseph (adding), the one who was made great among the Gentiles and the deliverer of his brethren, and therefore the type of Christ. How interesting that Jacob thought at once of returning when Joseph had been born. But he had to wait six years more.
CHAPTER 31 Jacob's Servitude Ended and Flight from Laban
1. Laban's behavior and God's commandment (31:1-10) 2. The dream vision to return to the land (31:11-16) 3. Jacob's flight (31:17-21) 4. Laban warned (31:22-24) 5. Laban's accusation (31:25-30) 6. Jacob's answer (31:31-42) 7. The covenant between Jacob and Laban (31:43-55)
The twenty years had expired. Laban's hatred and the hatred of his sons had increased. When the crisis had been reached the voice of Jehovah was heard. "Return unto the land of thy fathers and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee." This is the first time Jehovah spoke since the vision at Bethel. Jacob then laid the matter before his wives and relates a dream in which the angel of the Lord had spoken to him. What comfort it must have been for him to hear "I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee." The Lord watched over Jacob and though Laban hated him Jacob prospered. So Israel in the dispersion, hated by the Gentiles, increases and prospers.
Rachel and Leah consented to flee and Jacob departs with his great wealth, his cattle and his goods. Soon Laban pursued and overtook Jacob. God warned the Syrian to beware how he treated Jacob. It seems that the main reason of the pursuit was the teraphim (household gods) which Rachel had stolen and which Laban wanted to recover. Idolatry was practiced in the household of Laban, though he used the name of Jehovah (verse 49). The dialogue between Jacob and Laban is intensely interesting.
CHAPTER 32 Jacob's Fear of Esau and Prayer at Peniel
1. The vision at Mahanaim (32:1-2) 2. The message to Esau (32:3-5) 3. Esau's coming and Jacob's fear (32:6-8) 4. Jacob's prayer (32:9-12) 5. Preparing to meet Esau (32:13-23) 6. Jacob's prayer at Peniel (32:24-32)
What a welcome it was when he came near to his land, that the angels of God met him. They were like divine ambassadors sent to welcome him back to assure him of God's presence and protection. When the remnant of Israel returns in the future to the promised land, the angelic hosts will not be absent. They have a share in the regathering and restoration of the people Israel (Matt. 24:31). But he faced the greatest trouble, his brother Esau. Fear drives him to prayer. It is a remarkable prayer: 1. He acknowledges his utter unworthiness; 2. He gives God the glory for all he has received; 3. He cries for deliverance; 4. He reminds God of the promises given at Bethel. And the Lord heard and answered his prayer. The returning remnant of Israel during the great tribulation will confess and pray in the same manner.
The night experience at Jabbok was not a dream, nor a vision, but an actual occurrence. The same person who appeared to Abraham at Mamre (chapter 18) appeared to Jacob that night. It is often stated that Jacob wrestled with the Lord who came to him that night; it is the other way, the Lord wrestled with Jacob. And He appeared in that memorable night as Jacob's enemy and opponent. Jacob uses the same carnal weapons with which he had in the past contended against God; he meets Him in his own natural strength. That stubbornness is overcome by the Lord touching the hip-joint of Jacob, dislocating it. In this way He completely crippled his strength and now Jacob could wrestle no more. In utter weakness and helplessness he could but cling to Him and ask a blessing. "By his strength he had power with God, yea he had power over the angel and prevailed; he wept and made supplication unto Him" (Hos. 12:3-4). The weeping and supplication was his strength. His name is changed. From now on his name is "Israel"-a Prince with God. And the descendants of Jacob, at the time of Jacob's trouble (Jer. 30:7), will make a similar experience and have their Peniel.
CHAPTER 33 The Reconciliation of Esau
1. Jacob meets Esau (33:1-17) 2. In the city of Shechem and the altar erected (33:18-20)
The reconciliation is effected, but Jacob is the same man of deceit. He tells his brother he will follow him to Seir. But he goes instead to Succoth. He built an altar there, but it is not the worship God expected. He should have gone to Bethel and fulfilled his vow.
CHAPTER 34 Defilement of Dinah
1. The defilement (34:1-3) 2. Hamor's proposal (34:4-12) 3. The deceitful answer of Jacob's sons (34:13-24) 4. The males of Shechem slain (34:25-29) 5. Jacob's shame and grief (34:30-31)
If Jacob after the Peniel experience had gone to Bethel instead of building a house at Succoth and buying a parcel of a field, perhaps this sad event might never have occurred. God permitted it for the humiliation of His servant Jacob. Again he reaps what he had sown and the deceit of the father is reflected in the deceit of some of his sons.
CHAPTER 35 Jacob at Bethel and Three Deaths
1. The divine commandment (35:1) 2. The defilement put away (35:2-4) 3. The journey to Bethel and the altar (35:5-7) 4. Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, dies (35:8) 5. God appears to Jacob (35:9-15) 6. Benoni-Benjamin and Rachel's death (35:16-20) 7. The twelve sons of Jacob (35:21-26) 8. Isaac's death (35:27-29)
The Lord did not leave Jacob in Shechem amidst the evil and corrupting influences. The Lord now reminded him of what had happened long ago and of the unfulfilled vow he had made when he had his dream-vision. And he responded. His house, however, was first cleansed from the defilement; the strange gods among them, most likely teraphim. or household gods, had to be put away. After that was done he gave the order to go to Bethel to make an altar there unto God. They gave up their gods and earrings; the latter must have been in the shape of figures representing idols. And after this cleansing they became a mighty host, the terror of God fell upon the cities through which they journeyed. The altar is built and the place called El Bethel (God of the House of God). Rebekah's nurse died. After chapter 49:31 Rebekah is no longer mentioned; not even her death. This corresponds with that which she typifies, the church. Jacob as we learned foreshadows the history of the earthly people of God and as that is related no more mention of Rebekah is made. Then God met him again and Jacob becomes Israel in reality.
Rachel gives birth to another son at Ephrath and dies there. The one born has a double name. "Benoni," which means "son of sorrow"; "Benjamin," which is "the son of the right hand." Here we have another type of the Lord Jesus Christ, His humiliation and exaltation. Bethlehem is here mentioned for the first time in the Bible.
After the names of the twelve sons of Jacob are given and Reuben's evil deed is recorded we hear of the death of Isaac. He died 180 years old and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him. We now add a little diagram, which gives the family tree of the patriarchs down to the end of this book.
X. THE GENERATIONS OF ESAU
1. Esau in Canaan, his wives and sons (36:1-5) 2. Esau leaving Canaan and in Edom (36:6-8)
XI. THE GENERATIONS OF ESAU IN MOUNT SEIR
1. Sons of Esau (36:9-10) 2. Sons of Eliphaz (36:11-12) 3. Sons of Reuel (36:13) 4. Sons of Aholibamah (36:14) 5. Dukes of Eliphaz (36:15-16) 6. Dukes of Reuel (36:17) 7. Dukes of Jeush (36:18) 8. Dukes of Horite and kings of Edom (36:20-43)
We point out a few interesting facts in these two generations of Esau and Esau's sons. In verse 6 we read that Esau went into the country from the face of his brother Jacob. It came at last to a pronounced and complete separation between Esau and Jacob. Jacob dwelt in the land in which his father was a stranger. And Edom became the treacherous foe to the people of Israel. Read Obadiah, verses 8-16. From the concubine of Eliphaz was born Amalek, one of the terrible enemies of Israel with whom there was to be a continual warfare (Exodus 17:8-14).
And what a prolific progeny of the wicked Esau! The Hebrew names tell the story of their expansion, their wickedness and power. What was not of God developed rapidly, as it does now, in the earth.
XII. THE GENERATIONS OF JACOB
CHAPTER 37 The Story of Joseph
1. Jacob dwelling in Canaan (37:1) 2. Joseph's character and feeding the flock (37:2) 3. Beloved of his father (37:3) 4. Hated by his brethren (37:4) 5. The dream of the sheaves (37:5-8) 6. The dream of the sun, moon and stars (37:9-11) 7. Joseph seeks his brethren (37:12-17) 8. The plot against Joseph (37:18-22) 9. Joseph in the pit and sold (37:23-28) 10. Reuben's grief (37:29-30) 11. The deception of Jacob's sons (37:31-32) 12. The grief of Jacob (37:33-35) 13. Joseph in Egypt (37:36)
The story of Joseph is one of the most interesting in the whole Bible. The Holy Spirit has devoted more space to the life of Joseph than He devoted to Abraham. The reason for this must be sought in the fact that the story of Joseph foreshadows the story of Christ. Some critics have made out that the story of Joseph is an invention and that the record was written hundreds of years after Moses. However, archeological evidence has fully and completely established the historical character of Joseph. Two of the El Amarna tablets show that a Semite held such a high position as attributed to Joseph. Others, while they believe in the historicity of Joseph, deny that his life is typical of our Lord. Such a denial is akin to spiritual blindness. It is true nowhere is a statement made that Joseph typifies Christ, but throughout this age all teachers of the Word have treated the life of Joseph as foreshadowing Christ. Stephen in his great address before the Jewish council mentions Joseph (Acts 7:9-14); the Messianic application must have been in his mind.
The life of Joseph falls into two periods; his humiliation and his exaltation. In these two parts the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow are blessedly foreshadowed. There is no other type so perfect as that of Joseph. In our annotations we shall not be able to point out all the comparisons; only the leading ones we give as a hint.
Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons and that reminds us of Him who is the Father's delight. Joseph was separated from evil, even as Christ was. Joseph had a coat of many colors, the expression of the Father's love; thus God honored His Son. And as Joseph was hated by his brethren without a cause, so Christ was hated (John 15:25). The dreams foretold Joseph's future exaltation; he saw things in heaven and things on earth bowing before him, even as before Christ things in heaven and on earth must bow the knee.
Then the father sent forth his beloved Joseph to seek his brethren who were lost. Israel put Joseph into their hands. All this foreshadows God's unspeakable gift in sending His only begotten Son into this world to seek what is lost.
Then note the following typical suggestions. When he came to his brethren, they conspired against him to slay him. "Come now therefore let us slay him, and cast him in some pit." And in John 5:16 it is written that the Jews sought to slay Christ. The brethren stripped Joseph of his coat, as our Lord was stripped of His garment. He was cast into the pit and they sat down to eat bread. And the Pharisees who had delivered up the Lord Jesus sat down to eat the Passover, while the soldiers, who had parted the garments sat down to watch them. They sold him as the Lord was sold and Judah was the one who said "let us sell him." This brings the betrayal by Judas to our mind.
And Jacob is deceived by his sons as he deceived his father. The coat stained by the blood of a kid reminds us of the skin of the kid with which he had deceived Isaac.
CHAPTER 38 Judah and Tamar
1. Judah's marriage to the Canaanitish woman (38:1-2) 2. His sons: Er, Onan and Shelah (38:3-5) 3. Tamar married to Er and Onan (38:6-10) 4. Tamar waiting for Shelah (38:11) 5. Her deception and Judah's sin (38:12-16) 6. The birth of Pharez and Zarah (38:27-30)
Historically this chapter comes before the thirty-seventh. The higher critics are one against the other in their unbelieving speculations over the composition of this chapter. It is inserted here for a most interesting purpose. Judah's history foreshadows the history of the Jews after they had rejected the Lord Jesus. His connection with a Canaanite (trafficker) and his marriage to the daughter of Shuah (riches) shows what the Jews have been ever since they rejected Christ. His offspring is Er (enmity) and Onan (wickedness) till the significant third one comes, Shelah (the sprout) pointing to the godly remnant of that nation in the future. (On that remnant see chapter on Isaiah.)
And Tamar's sin, so dark and vile, shows forth the grace of God. We find her name and the names of her two sons in the genealogy of Christ (Matthew 1).
CHAPTER 39 Joseph In Egypt
1. In Potiphar's house (39:1-6) 2. Tempted by Potiphar's wife (39:7-18) 3. Joseph in prison (39:19-23)
Potiphar, the master of Joseph, was an officer of Pharaoh. His name means "devoted to Ra," a god of Egypt. Why is it stated a number of times that Potiphar was an Egyptian? Discoveries have shown that Egypt had come at that time under a new dynasty; therefore it is repeatedly stated that Potiphar, the Egyptian, was retained in his official position. Joseph in Egypt is the type of Christ among the Gentiles. Jehovah blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake.
The temptation of Potiphar's wife brings out the marvelous character of Joseph. The critics in rejecting this story have dug their own pit into which they have fallen. A number of critics (Von Bohlen, Tuch, and others) claim "that Joseph could never have seen his master's wife, for the women were secluded and had separate apartments." Monuments and Egyptian paintings have shown that the women were not secluded, but mingled freely with the men. Woman in the hieroglyphics is called neb-t-en pa, which means "mistress of the house." An ancient papyrus was discovered containing "the romance of the two brothers." It contains an episode similar to that of our chapter. It fully bears out the fact that the temptation of Joseph is not a myth and it is thought that this event in Joseph's life formed the basis for the romance of the two brothers.
Joseph suffered innocently, but the prison in which he was confined becomes the high road to power and glory. How much greater were the sufferings of Him, who was not only innocent, but holy.
CHAPTER 40 Joseph the Interpreter of Dreams
1. The fellow prisoners (40:1-8) 2. The dream of the chief butler (40:9-11) 3. The interpretation (40:12-13) 4. Joseph's request (40:14-15) 5. The dream of the chief baker (40:16-17) 6. The interpretation (40:18-19) 7. The fulfilment (40:20-22) 8. Joseph forgotten (40:23)
He was reckoned among the transgressors. To the one he spoke the word concerning life, while the other heard the message of death. Thus Christ was reckoned among the evildoers. To the one crucified with Him He said, "Today thou shalt be with Me in paradise," while the other malefactor railed and died in his sins.
Critics do not believe even this simple story and deny the culture of vines in Egypt. But the Egyptian paintings have given them the lie. They picture the pressing of the grapes in a cup, which was a religious ceremony. Joseph was forgotten; two years longer he had to remain in prison. What exercise of patience and faith he must have had!
CHAPTER 41 Joseph's Exaltation
1. Pharaoh's dreams (41:1-7) 2. Joseph brought from the prison (41:8-15) 3. Joseph's humility (41:16) 4. The revealer of secrets (41:17-32) 5. Joseph's wise counsel (41:33-36) 6. Pharaoh's answer (41:37-40) 7. Joseph's exaltation and marriage (41:41-46)
All is so simple that little comment is needed. The dreams impressed Pharaoh, because the cow was a sacred animal, the emblem of Isis. At last Joseph is remembered and brought out of the prison and his raiment is changed. All this finds an application in the life of our Lord. He was taken out of the grave. Compare verse 16, Joseph's humility, with the humility of another Hebrew prisoner, Daniel in Babylon. (See Dan. 2:27-30.)
The seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine are typical. This age will close with the seven years of tribulation.
And this dream of Pharaoh and Joseph's interpretation has been remarkably confirmed by the hieroglyphic inscriptions. One was discovered in 1908 which tells of the seven years of famine, because the Nile did not overflow. It has been ascertained that this was the very time when Joseph was in Egypt.
Then follows Joseph's exaltation. The name of this Pharaoh was Apepi. His father and grandfather were for a time co-regents with him. He recognized the presence of the Spirit of God in Joseph. Note the beautiful comparisons with our Lord. Pharaoh said, "I have set thee over all the land of Egypt." Of Christ we read, "Thou didst set Him over the works of Thy hands." Joseph said, "God hath made me lord of all Egypt" and Christ is "Lord over all." Joseph is arrayed in royal vesture, and Christ is crowned with glory and honor. The word "Abrech" was cried before him. This word means "bow the knee." According to Prof. Sayce of Oxford "Abrech" is the Sumerian "Abrok," which means the seer. This would call for prostration. Thus every knee must bow before our exalted Lord. The name by which he was called is in the Septuagint "Psomtomphanech." This is an Egyptian name, meaning "saviour of the world." The word Zaphnethpaaneach means "revealer of secrets." Even so Christ after He was rejected by His own brethren became the Revealer of secrets and the Saviour of the world.
Before the seven years of famine came Joseph received his bride, Asenath, the Gentile, and Christ will have His beloved with Him before the years of tribulation and judgment come. All had to come to Joseph for corn, as all must come to Christ for the bread of life.
CHAPTER 42 The First Visit of Joseph's Brethren
1. Joseph's brethren sent to Egypt (42:1-5) 2. Joseph meets his brethren (42:6-16) 3. Put in prison for three days (42:17) 4. Joseph's demand (42:18-20) 5. The accusing conscience (42:21-23) 6. Joseph weeps and Simeon bound (42:24) 7. The return of the nine (42:25-38)
The famine years bring Joseph's brethren to repentance and after the deepest exercise Joseph makes himself known to them and they find forgiveness and deliverance. Thus it will be during the tribulation of the last days of the present age. The remnant of Israel will pass through that time called "Jacob's trouble" and be saved out of it. Then the Lord Jesus Christ will make Himself known to His brethren, according to the flesh.
Joseph's treatment of his brethren, whom he recognized, was harsh, so that they might be led to acknowledge their sin. And they readily confess their guilt on account of having sold their brother and take the harsh treatment and imprisonment they received as a just retribution. And Joseph understood all their words so that he wept. And He who was rejected by His own has a loving sympathy for this nation. Simeon remains behind; while Joseph demands Benjamin. The grief of Jacob is pathetic.
CHAPTER 43 The Second Visit to Joseph
1. The journey to Egypt with Benjamin (43:1-15) 2. The kindness of Joseph (43:16-34)
CHAPTER 44 The Feigned Dismay and the Bringing Back
1. The cup concealed and the dismay (44:1-13) 2. The return to Joseph's house (44:14-34)
CHAPTER 45 Joseph Reveals Himself
1. He reveals himself (45:1-3) 2. His address (45:4-13) 3. He kissed his brethren (45:14-15) 4. Pharaoh's command (45:16-20) 5. His brethren sent away and their return to Jacob (45:21-28)
These three chapters belong together because they lead up to the great climax in the story of Joseph. The nobility of the character of Joseph is here fully brought out. Besides being a wise man, the great statesman of Egypt, he had a heart of tender love. Seven times we read of Joseph that he wept. The trial with the cup, which had been hidden in Benjamin's sack, was the needful and decisive test. Benjamin had become the object of Jacob's love. The trial with the cup was to bring out whether they cherished the same bitter feelings against Benjamin which had governed their conduct towards Joseph. Their behaviour now reveals the great change which had taken place. They confess that their iniquity has been found out and Judah, the spokesman, manifests the most affectionate reverence for his old father and the ardent love for his younger brother.
But who is able to describe the scene where Joseph made himself known to his brethren, when they had come the second time? It is a chapter of great tenderness. Some day He who was rejected and disowned by His brethren, the Lord Jesus Christ, will come the second time. Then when the deep anguish, the soul exercise of the Israel of the end time has reached the climax, He will come and they that pierced Him shall look upon Him. He will forgive them their sins and remember them no more (Romans 11:26-27).
CHAPTER 46 Jacob Goes Down to Egypt
1. Israel's departure and the vision (46:1-4) 2. The journey and the arrival in Egypt (46:5-7) 3. The offspring of the sons of Jacob (46:8-27) 4. Israel meets Joseph (46:28-30) 5. Joseph's directions concerning Pharaoh (46:31-34
The whole family of Jacob, consisting of seventy souls, exclusive of the wives and the servants, came to Egypt. Once more God appears to Israel, but addresses him as Jacob. He gives him permission to go down to Egypt and assures him of His presence. They were directed to the land of Goshen, which was east of Memphis. And what a meeting it was, when Joseph fell around his father's neck and kissed him!
This emigration to Egypt was, without doubt, directed by the Lord for the purpose of guarding against the dispersion of the family, as well as against its admixture with strangers, during the important period which had arrived in which it was appointed to be developed as a nation; neither of these unfavorable results, which would have been inevitable in Canaan, could follow in Egypt: for Goshen afforded ample room for their increasing numbers, on the one hand, while, on the other, the aversion of the Egyptians to shepherds (46:34) effectually prevented the formation of ties between them by intermarriage. Besides, the opportunity which was furnished for becoming acquainted with the wisdom of Egypt, and also the pressure of the future bondage, may have been both designed to serve, in the hands of God, as means for training and cultivating the chosen nation. And the transition from a nomadic to an agricultural life, which was designed to constitute the foundation of the polity of Israel on acquiring independence and a home in the promised land, may also be assigned, in its incipient stages, to this period.--J.H. Kurtz, sacred History.
CHAPTER 47 The Settlement in Goshen
1. Before Pharaoh (47:1-10) 2. The settlement (47:11-12) 3. Joseph's wise administration (47:13-26) 4. Jacob's request (47:27-31)
Jacob and some of his sons were presented to Pharaoh, who received them graciously, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. The great and powerful monarch of the great land of Egypt was blessed by the poor old Jacob. He is more than blessed, but a blesser, a type of what Israel is yet to be for the nations of the earth.
There is no discrepancy in verse 11, for Goshen is also called Rameses. We likewise get a glimpse in this chapter of the wonderful administration of Joseph during the years of famine. Verse 27 speaks of Israel's prosperity in the land. Notice how the names of Jacob and Israel are used. He requested to be buried in Canaan and Joseph promised to carry out his wish.
CHAPTER 48 Jacob adopts Ephraim and Manasseh
1. The sons of Joseph brought to Jacob (48-1-2) 2. The words of Jacob (48:3-7) 3. Ephraim and Manasseh presented (48:8-14) 4. Jacob's blessing (48:13-16) 5. Joseph's interference (48:17-20) 6. Jacob's last words to Joseph (48:21-22)
The adoption of Joseph's sons is interesting and instructive. As the offspring of the Gentile wife Asenath they were in danger of becoming gentilized and thus forget their father's house. Jacob frustrated this by adopting the sons. It was an action of faith. "By faith, Jacob, when he was dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped leaning on the top of his staff" (Hebrews 11:21). Again the younger is preferred. When Jacob speaks of "the Angel, the Redeemer" (literal translation) he speaks of Jehovah who appeared unto him, whom he met face to face at Peniel. Full of hope, dying Jacob predicted the return of his offspring to the land of Canaan.
1. The call of Jacob: "Gather yourselves together" (49:1-2) 2. The prophecy concerning his sons (49:3-27) Reuben (49:3-4) Simeon and Levi (49:5-7) Judah (49:8-12) Zebulun (49:13) Issachar (49:14-15) Dan (49:16-18) Gad (49:19) Asher (49:20) Naphtali (49:21) Joseph and Benjamin (49:22-27)
The last words of Jacob to his sons are often called "the blessings." What he said is rather a prophecy. Concerning Judah he saith the most because from Judah there was to come the Shiloh, that is, the Messiah. Jacob's prophecy covers in a remarkable way the entire history of Israel, past, present and future. We give a few brief hints, which will be helpful in a closer study of this important chapter. Seven periods of Israel's history are given here.
1. Reuben, Simeon and Levi show the character of the nation up to the time of Christ. 2. Judah points clearly to the period of this nation when our Lord was on the earth. 3. Zebulun and Issachar, where the sea and commerce, indolence and service are prominent, describes Israel scattered among the nations during this age. 4. Dan shows Israel apostate during antichrist (Dan is left out in Revelation 7). 5. Gad, Asher and Naphtali describe the godly remnant during the great tribulation. 6. Joseph speaks of the second coming of Christ; and 7. Benjamin, the son of the right hand, of the righteous rule of the King.
CHAPTER 50 The Burial of Jacob and Joseph's Return and Death
1. The grief of Joseph (50:1-3) 2. The burial (50:4-13) 3. The return to Egypt (50:14-23) 4. The death of Joseph (50:24-26)
This great book which begins with the perfect and good creation of God ends with a burial and the last words are "a coffin in Egypt." What havoc sin has wrought. Jacob died 147 years old and after his body was embalmed was carried to Canaan. Read in connection with Joseph's death Ex. 13:19, Josh. 24:32 and Hebrews 11:22.
Genesis and Geology
Genesis is a revelation from God; geology is a discovery of man. A revelation from God can be augmented by God only; a discovery by man may be improved, matured, advanced, ripened progressively, till the end of the world. We therefore assume that Genesis is perfect and beyond the possibility of contradiction or improvement by us; and we equally assume that geology, because the discovery of man, and the subject of the investigation of man, may be improved by greater experience and more profound acquaintance with those phenomena which lie concealed in the bosom of the earth, waiting for man to evoke, explain, and arrange them. I am sure, therefore, that Genesis, as God's Word, is beyond the reach of the blow of the geologist's hammer; or the detection of a single flaw by microscope or telescope; it will stand the crucible of the chemist; and the severer the ordeal to which it is subjected, the more pure, resplendent, and beautiful it will emerge, indicating its origin to be from above, and its issue to be the glory of God, and the supreme happiness of mankind. Geology has before now retraced its steps; Genesis never. Before now it has been discovered, that what were thought to be facts incontrovertible were fallacies. It is found that phenomena described and discussed as true, were mistakes and misapprehensions, which maturer investigations have disposed of, and therefore I am not speaking dogmatically and without reason, when I say, that while Genesis must be true, geology--having already erred, may err again, and some of its very loudest assertions, made rashly by those who have least acquaintance with its data--may yet be proved to be wrong. But certain facts in it are now beyond all dispute. Let geology and Genesis be alleged to clash, and the discovery from the depths of the earth contradict the text from the page of the Bible; in such a case, I would submit first these questions: Are you sure that there is a real contradiction between the fact of geology and the text of the Bible, or is it only a contradiction between the fact discovered by science, and the interpretation that you put upon the text of the Bible? In the next place, if there be in any instance contradiction between a clear text of the Bible and a supposed fact or discovery made by the geologist, my inference, and without hesitation, is, that the geologist must have made a mistake, that Moses has made none; and there fore the advice we give to the geologist is, not to say, God's work beneath contradicts God's Word without, but just to go back again, read more carefully the stony page, excavate more laboriously in the subterranean chambers of the earth, and a maturer acquaintance with the facts of science may yet elicit the desirable result, that there is harmony where we thought discord, and perfect agreement where to us there seemed only discrepancy and conflict. We have instances of the possibility of some deductions of science being wrong in other departments of it. Astronomy was once quoted as contradicting the express declarations of the Word of God; maturer acquaintance with it has proved its perfect coincidence. Again, the hieroglyphics on the banks of the Nile, as deciphered by Young and Champollion, were instanced to prove a far greater age of the human race than that declared in the Bible; but subsequent investigation showed that the hieroglyphics were wrongly interpreted, not that God's Word was untrue. The traditions of the Chinese were viewed as upsetting the records of the Mosaic history, but subsequent investigation has proved that those were wrong, and that God's Word is true.
The Bible, whether we take it in Genesis or in the Gospels, contains no error; it has not a single scientific error in it. Yet it was not designed to teach science; but wherever it touches the province of science, it touches so delicately that we can see the main object is to teach men how to be saved, while its slight intimations of scientific principles or natural phenomena have in every instance been demonstrated to be exactly and strictly true. If the Bible said in any part of it, as the ancient philosopher alleged, that there were two suns, one for the upper hemisphere, and the other for the lower, then science would prove that Scripture was wrong; or if the Scripture said, as the Hindus believe, that the earth is a vast plain, with concentric seas of milk, honey, and sugar, supported by an elephant, and that the earthquakes and convulsions of the globe are the movements of that elephant as he bears it on his back, then science would have proved that to be absurd; and if Scripture has asserted it, such assertion would be demonstrably untrue. But the striking fact is that you find no such assertion, nor anything approaching such assertions in the Bible. How comes it to pass, then, that Moses has spoken so purely and truly on science where he does speak, and has been silent where there was such a provocative to speak-his very silence being as significant as his utterance? How happens it that Moses, with no greater education than the Hindu, or the ancient philosopher, has written his book, touching science at a thousand points so accurately, that scientific research has discovered no flaws in it; and has spoken on subjects the most delicate, the most difficult, the most involved; and yet in those investigations which have taken place in more recent centuries, it has not been shown that he has committed one single error, or made one solitary assertion which can be proved by maturest science or the most eagle-eyed philosopher to be incorrect scientifically or historically? The answer is, that Moses wrote by the inspiration of God, and therefore what he writes are the words of faithfulness and of truth. (Cumings.)
Dictionary of the Proper Names of Genesis with Their Meaning