Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Genesis Post 12 - The Fall (Chapter 3)

Today is an in-depth look at chapter 3 - the very chapter that the rest of the Bible seeks to remedy.

I have already touched on chapter 3 in previous posts.  The snake deceived Eve, Eve offered to Adam, Adam ate.  God meted out punishment accordingly.  They became naked and ashamed.

And even though it was the woman who ate the fruit first, Romans 5:12 tells us that sin entered the world through Adam!  In other words, the woman was deceived, but Adam knew exactly what he was doing.  Was he just being dumb?  No.  He is a foreshadow of our Messiah, and here is why.

Eve was his wife and he loved her.  When he saw that she was a goner, he willingly took the fruit and ate.  He didn't love the fruit, he loved his wife.  What a picture of the Messiah, Who loved His bride so much that He took on the cross.  He took the fall for us, just as Adam did for his bride.

It is not good for man to be alone.  And it is not good for God to be alone.

Yeshua is even called by the name Adam.  1 Corinthians 15:45 goes back to Genesis and links Yeshua to Adam when it says this:
And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

Just like Adam, the Messiah knew exactly what He was doing when He went to the cross.  He loved His bride and willingly took her punishment.  And in doing so, Yeshua reversed the curse that Adam brought to the world, reversing death and bringing life.  God would not have to be alone, without His beloved creations.

Moving on, I want to pause and talk about 3:15, a very key verse in scripture.  The LORD is addressing the devil.

And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”

This is the first promise of a coming Redeemer.  There will be enmity between the offspring of the devil and the woman, and also the devil's seed and the Seed of the woman (ultimately the Messiah Who would be born of a woman of Israel).  Biblically, the woman is Israel; the one chosen to bring about God's plans for the world. And boy, has there been enmity between the devil and Israel.  

Scripture elaborates on this enmity in Revelation 12:1-9:

Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.

Why does the woman have the moon under her feet?  Under the feet is a symbol of something being conquered.  What is the moon a symbol of?  It goes back to the false religious system invented in Babylon.  Its ultimate fulfillment shows up today as Islam.  All mosques have a crescent moon on them.  Remember the spiritual warfare that was prophesied in Genesis 3:15?  The seed of the woman will crush the head of the serpent.

And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.  So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Satan has tried so many times to wipe out the Jews throughout history, but he will never succeed.  Yeshua's return depends on the presence of the Jews and of Israel.

A popular T-shirt in Israel contains a warning to the world

Revelation 12 wraps up with a reminder of the devil's secondary target: Christians.

And the dragon was enraged with the woman
 [because she was supernaturally protected], and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

This has always been God's pattern - the Jew first, and then the nations.

Going back to Genesis 3:15, it is interesting to note the use of the word heel, or Ya'acov (Jacob). Do you remember the meaning of the name Jacob?  It means deceiver, or more literally, one who grabs the heel.

And later in Genesis, the name of Jacob would be changed to Israel, which means struggles with God, and also prince of God.  Even in the account of God wrestling with Jacob, we can see Genesis 3:15 being played out.

Jacob went from being a heel-grabber/deceiver/supplanter to a God-chaser by the name of Israel.

The devil, however, is the original deceiver and the Father of Lies, and he will remain so until his destruction.

So the Father of Lies will nip at the Messiah's heel, but the Seed will crush the devil's head.  The Seed of the Woman is the promised Messiah, and He will utterly vanquish the devil in the end.

In the punishment that He meted out, God cursed the serpent, and He cursed the ground.  But take note: He did not curse the people.  Yes, they were punished, but then they were given the first covenant of the Bible.  (Are you familiar with the seven covenants?  If not, click here for this very important framework of the Bible).

Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with leaves; a picture of us trying to cover ourselves with our own good works.  But God had a different idea.

Enter death.

Adam and Eve must have been horrified at the sight of the first bloodshed, which provided the animal skins that would then cover them.

Leviticus 17:11 says that without the shedding of blood, there can be no remission of sins.  Once we understand this foundational Biblical principle, we can clearly see the promised Redeemer right there in Genesis. This same theme of blood atonement will continue throughout the rest of the scriptures.

Buckle your seatbelts!  God is just getting started with His story!

Click here to continue to the next post.

Genesis Post 11 - Naked! (Bridging Chapters 2 and 3)

The very last thing that the scriptures mention before sin entered the world is this:

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

My next post will elaborate a lot more on the fall of man, but today's post will simply cover (pun intended) one concept: nakedness.

It is very telling that the LAST THING mentioned before man's fall into sin was the idea of naked and unashamed, and the very FIRST THING that was mentioned after the fall was naked and ashamed.

Because of how it is set up in scripture, there HAS to be a great spiritual truth here.  Let's compare scripture to scripture and see what we come up with. 

First, the Hebrew word for naked or nakedness:  AROM and ERVAH (same root word).  Let's look at a few of the places where these words show up.

But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.
Genesis 9:23

They spend the night naked, without clothing,
And have no covering in the cold.
Job 24:7

Then the Lord said, “Just as My servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and a wonder against Egypt and Ethiopia, so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians as prisoners and the Ethiopians as captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.
Isaiah 20:3-4

All her idols I will lay desolate,
For she gathered it from the pay of a harlot,
And they shall return to the pay of a harlot.”
Therefore I will wail and howl,
I will go stripped and naked;
Micah 1:7-8

The most courageous men of might
Shall flee naked in that day,”
Says the LORD.
Amos 2:16

Lest I strip her naked
And expose her, as in the day she was born,
And make her like a wilderness,
And set her like a dry land,
And slay her with thirst.
Hosea 2:3

“Therefore I will return and take away
My grain in its time
And My new wine in its season,
And will take back My wool and My linen,
Given to cover her nakedness.

Hosea 2:9

Then Saul’s anger was aroused against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness?
1 Samuel 20:30

Your nakedness shall be uncovered,
Yes, your shame will be seen;
I will take vengeance,
And I will not arbitrate with a man.”

Isaiah 47:3

When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,” says the LORD God.
Ezekiel 16:8

Thus says the LORD God: “Because your filthiness was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your harlotry with your lovers, and with all your abominable idols, and because of the blood of your children which you gave to them, surely, therefore, I will gather all your lovers with whom you took pleasure, all those you loved, and all those you hated; I will gather them from all around against you and will uncover your nakedness to them, that they may see all your nakedness.
Ezekiel 16:36-17

She revealed her harlotry and uncovered her nakedness.
Then I alienated Myself from her,
As I had alienated Myself from her sister.

Ezekiel 23:18

They will deal hatefully with you, take away all you have worked for, and leave you naked and bare. The nakedness of your harlotry shall be uncovered, both your lewdness and your harlotry.
Ezekiel 23:29

“Behold, I am against you,” says the LORD of hosts;
“I will lift your skirts over your face,
I will show the nations your nakedness,
And the kingdoms your shame.

Nahum 3:5

Also, Leviticus chapters 18 and 20 use the word over and over, as a euphamism. You can go check it out if you'd like.

Have you had enough yet?  The the Hebrew scriptures link nakedness to shame, idolatry, and being away from the LORD. Our sin has made us unclothed before our God, and we are ashamed. We need His covering!  The clothes we wear today are a picture of that scriptural truth.  This is why the first thing God did was allow animals to die so that Adam and Eve would be physically covered, while conveying a spiritual truth - the promise of His covering.  When we run around exposing so much of ourselves, are we saying to God, I don't need any covering??

The appointed Biblical holiday Yom Kippur  means day of atonement. But what is atonement? The very word means covering! He is our covering. Today Jewish men acknowledge this by wearing a kippah on their heads. It comes from the same word as Kippur, or covering.

Let's look at a few New Covenant examples:

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Romans 13:14

I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed
Revelation 3:18

Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.  For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:  whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.
Phillippians 3:17-19

This last scripture does not speak of nakedness specifically, but we have already linked the concept of shame to nakedness.  Today, people definitely glory in their shame as they let it all hang out.  (This scripture also makes mention of those who make a god of their belly... ouch, now that one hits close to home for me.  I am always fighting the monster of gluttony.)

Throughout human history, people have generally covered themselves up, right up to the last century (and I know there have been exceptions, such as jungle people unexposed to the world around them).  

Following World War I, something happened called the roaring twenties.  Courtship disappeared and the dating scene began.  For a clear example of the dating progression, just read Cheaper By The Dozen by Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth.  

During this era, people began exposing so much more of themselves than ever before.  As an example, check out this progression of women's swimwear during those transitional years between the 1800s and 1900s:

I'll stop at 1927, because you can go to any beach to see just how far we have regressed even since then.  (Perhaps our progressive nakedness is a sign of the last days?)

I've heard the argument by Christians...  "Our bodies are beautiful, created by God."  Yes, that is true. 

But our nakedness is not something to flaunt proudly to a gawking world.  It is something that should only be revealed before our Creator, who is our covering, and our spouse - who is our earthly picture of our heavenly husband.

I will finish with a passage from Revelation 7, where we see the saints beautifully arrayed in white linen. 

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,  and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”  All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.

Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”

And I said to him, “Sir, you know.”

So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

 It is comforting to me to know that we will never go back to the nakedness of the Garden of Eden.  When God restores, He does it to the uttermost!

Click here to continue this series on Genesis.