Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Genesis Post 23 - The Table of Nations (Chapter 10)

Genesis chapter 10 is just a bunch of names and places, so we can skip that chapter.

Just seeing if you are paying attention.  Of course there will be no skipping!

Chapter 10 outlines the descendants of Noah and the nations that were formed at that time.  How many nations are represented in Genesis 10?

(A pop quiz:   How many animals were sacrificed when the temple was dedicated? How many people from Jacob's family went down to Israel?  How many bulls were sacrificed every year at Sukkot?  How many languages did God create at the Tower of Babel?  How many years young is the State of Israel today, as of this writing?  The answer to all these questions and more is 70.  Seventy is a number that represents the nations of the world. The LORD eventually took one family of 70 people to accomplish His purposes for the entire world).

What does that word nations mean, biblically speaking?  The Hebrew word is goyim, and means families, or people groups.  Often in scripture, the word is translated gentiles.  The New Testament Greek word is ethnos.  It means ethnic groups, and not necessarily geo-political borders.  Often we have heard the saying "Jews and Gentiles," but that is not an accurate term.  The Jews are also one of the goyim, (ethnicity, or people group) as well.

Let's look at the progeny of Noah and where they ended up.

First, Japheth.  His sons were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal,  Meshech, and Tiras.  These guys and their kids eventually moved north and west, to the areas we know today as Turkey, Russia, Cypress, Greece, and the Far East.  Some of their names are featured prominently in the prophecies of Ezekiel 38 and 39, when those from the north align themselves with other nations and come against Israel in the last days.  

Ham and his descendants are mentioned next.  The sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan (there's the guy whose name came up frequently in Genesis 9).  The sons of Ham eventually became the Egyptians (Mizraim), Ethiopia (Cush), Libya (Put), and Canaan - who eventually would be eventually kicked out of the Promised Land.  The Canaanite tribes included the Hittites, Sidonians, Jebusites, Amorites, and the Girgashite, and a bunch more.  These were the kids of Canaan (son of Ham), who was cursed in Noah's prophecy.

Next, let's look at Cush.  The word Cush means black.  Many biblical scholars have therefore surmised that most of the people of Africa descended from this dark-skinned man.   However, one of his sons did not remain in Africa, but made his way east.

In verses 8 and 9, we see a very significant fact that still affects us today:
Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth.  He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.”

The English translation makes it sound like Nimrod was a mighty and strong man for YHVH.  But that is not so.  In the Hebrew, it carries the meaning of he was a mighty hunter of souls; in other words, taking people away from YHVH; leading them astray.  He was the world's first dictator, and he was an idolator that led many others into idolatry.   There will be much more on Nimrod soon, when we look at chapter 11.

Verse 14 mentions the Philistines for the first time in the scriptures. Who exactly were they?

The Philistines were known as the sea people. They were descendants of Ham, and they originally left Egypt and settled on the island Crete. They moved around a bit, and eventually made their way into the land of southern Israel and settled there. They brought with them great knowledge of iron and bronze; and indeed, when David was fleeing from King Saul, he went down and lived among the Philistines. He learned much about metal works, and later introduced it to Israel.

1 Samuel 13:19 tells us, Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make swords or spears.”

King David changed all that after learning ironworks during his time among the Philistines.

The Philistines were one of Israel's great enemies, from the time of Abraham on.  In 135 AD, after a Jewish uprising in the Holy Land, Roman Emperor Hadrian kicked every Jew out of Jerusalem, and renamed the entire geographical area Syria Palestina after Israel's ancient enemies.  So now you know where the word Palestine comes from... named after descendants of Ham, by a descendant of Japheth.  Who knew that the term would be still affecting the land of Israel thousand of years later??

Besides, scripture tells us numerous times that the Philistines would be destroyed, and they have indeed disappeared from history as a distinct people group.  (See Jeremiah 47:4-5, Ezekiel 25:16, Amos 1:8, Zephaniah 2:5, Zechariah 9:6).

Finally, we come to the sons of Shem.  To Shem was born Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram.  From all these kids of Shem came the Assyrians, the Arabians, the Persians, and eventually, the Israelites.  In fact, the word Hebrew comes from Eber, the grandson of Arphaxad.  Eber means the region beyond, or crossing over.  We will look at this concept closer when we study the life of Abraham.

All of these descendants of Shem are considered Semitic peoples.

Now that we have identified seventy people groups, we are about to see God's plan continuing to unfold.  Stick around!  Click here for the next post.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Genesis Post 22 - Noah, His Sons, and Prophecy (Genesis 9)

Now that God had made a covenant with Noah, chapter 9 switches gears beginning in verse 18.

Right away, we are told that from the three sons of Noah, the entire world was populated.  There is also a mention of Ham's son Canaan here - a seemingly random mention because none other of Noah's grandsons are mentioned here, and he had a bunch!  But since I believe there are no accidents or coincidences in scripture, there must be a reason for it.  Let's find out.

Noah became a farmer and planted a vineyard.  He then got drunk and passed out naked in his tent.

Now wine is frequently a symbol of blessing in the Bible. A picture of joy, God‘s provision, and the Holy Spirit.  Yeshua's first miracle involved wine.

So wine is a good thing, a biblical thing, but its misuse is bad.

Some time had passed between leaving the ark to this incident.  It takes a while from planting vineyards to getting grapes; at least four years.  

But this incident with Noah and the wine probably took place much later than four years after the ark, because as we will see in the next chapter, Canaan was the youngest of Ham's four sons.  And we know that there were only eight people on the ark.

So Ham (the father of Canaan, scripture says again) happened to see his father naked, and then he exited the tent and told his brothers.  Ham acted very disrespectfully toward his father.  The brothers, of course, were horrified and embarrassed, and showed honor to Noah by walking backwards with a blanket to cover him.  Nakedness and shame are related in the scriptures.  Both Shem and Japheth inherently knew that there was shame in their father's nakedness.

When Noah woke up, he somehow knew what his younger son had done.  Did someone tell him?  Did he remember?  We are not told.

Why does Noah seem to curse Canaan right off the bat? Canaan's name is peppered throughout this whole incident, more than anyone else's name.  But Canaan didn’t do anything. Canaan was Ham's son.

Noah was not actually not cursing his grandson, he was prophesying.

Canaan, Ham's son, received the first prophecy.  Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants he would be to his brethren.  

Notice that Ham did not receive his own prophecy at all, but his son was going to suffer for his actions.

Noah continued, blessing the LORD, the God of Shem, and repeating that Canaan would be his servant.

Then Noah moved on to say, May God enlarge Japheth, and may he dwell in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be his servant.  

Two things.

First of all, I noticed that Canaan's servant-hood was repeated for the third time!  Any time something is said three times in scripture, it means an ultimate emphasis.  What happened to Canaan and his descendants?  Why was he mentioned in this section more than anyone?

Canaan was the youngest son of Ham and became the grandfather of Nimrod, who was a bad dude indeed!  More on Nimrod soon when we look at the Tower of Babel.  Canaan was the quintessential middle man, caught in the middle between his disrespectful father Ham and his evil grandson Nimrod.  And what happened with Nimrod, as we will soon see, still deeply affects the world today.  

Later on in the Bible, the Canaanites inhabited the Promised Land and would be killed, driven out, or made into slaves - as in the case of Joshua and the Gibeonites.  They were indeed a cursed people.

Secondly, at first glance, the verse seems to be saying that Japheth would dwell in the tents of Shem.  But I believe that because of the way it is worded, Noah was saying that God Himself would dwell in the tents of Shem.  And indeed, it would be Shem's line who would give rise to the Israelites, the temple, and ultimately the Messiah Himself.   The LORD's plans and purposes unfolded in the tents of Shem.

The tent of Shem?

I guess I could say that I dwell in Shem's tent.  According to Ephesians 2, I was once far off; a stranger to the covenants of promise and the commonwealth of Israel and without hope, but I was saved by Jewish blood and have now been brought near.... grafted in to the household of faith!

The chapter wraps up after Noah prophesied over his sons, and we are told that he lived 350 more years, and died at the ripe old age of 950.

So where did Noah and his progeny go?  Click here to find out!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Genesis Post 21 - God's Covenant with Noah (Genesis 9)

So here we are at Genesis 9.  The eight people on the ark had stepped into a brand new world.  I think I mentioned this before, but eight is the biblical number signifying new beginnings.

Ten generations after Adam, God had pressed the reset button.  It is interesting to note that the number 10 can represent a time of testing, and it can also mean righteous government.  The ten commandments come to mind here... rules with which to govern righteously.  But I am getting ahead of myself.  At the time of the flood, ten generations had passed, and there was certainly no righteous government on the earth.  We are going to see a similar occurrence soon.

God is the same yesterday today and forever, but sometimes the rules change.  When God gives a new covenant, He also gives new directions.

The first thing God did in chapter 9 was to put the fear of man into the animals.  Why is that?  It is interesting to note that the very next thing said was, "You can now eat them, along with  all the delicious plants that you've eaten since the garden."  Man became an omnivore after the flood.  Did the animals somehow inherently know that they were now subject to the butcher shop?

As one who has raised chickens for meat, I can totally relate to this.  Those birds would see me coming and RUN!

The devil is hard at work trying to equate man and animals.  Many world religions believe that they are equal.  But clearly, the Bible shows us that man is different from the animals.

Verse 4 continues with God reiterating the importance of blood.  It is something sacred.  Do not eat it.  (Even the New Testament reaffirms this in the book of Acts.  So don't go eating blood sausage - ick!)

God then instituted the death penalty in the next verses.  This was an early form of "eye for an eye."  Man was now required to kill murderers.
Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man.
 “Whoever sheds man’s blood,
By man his blood shall be shed;
For in the image of God
He made man.
  (The word for man is Adam.  As I showed in a previous post, every human being has the potential to bear the image of God.  See Genesis post 16 for more information on that).

The rest of chapter 9 outlines the details and promises of God's covenant with Noah.  Is this covenant still valid today?

Verse 11 says, Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.

God then placed His beautiful rainbow into the sky as a reminder of the promise.  God's rainbow still shows up today when the sun shines through the rain.  So yes, this promise is still in effect, and it was a promise made regarding the earth, man, and beast.

God's rainbow is made of 7 colors - who hasn't heard of Roy G Biv?

Of course, the devil had to get involved with the rainbow.  Do I even need to say how?  It is displayed all around us along with a very ungodly message.  But it should come as no surprise if we are actually reading our bibles.  

Matthew 24:37 says, But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

And Luke's gospel goes even further in 17:28-30:
Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

It's mind blowing to me that the Bible connects the last days to both Noah (the rainbow) and Lot (Sodom and Gomorrah).  We. Are. There. Now.  Come soon, Yeshua!

Man's corrupted rainbow is made of 6 colors. 
Hebraically speaking, six is the incomplete number of man.

So even though God will keep His promise not to destroy the world with water again, He most definitely will use fire to accomplish His purposes. 

2 Peter 3:10 says,
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

Believe it or not, neither the destruction of the earth by flood water nor the future destruction of the earth is a bad thing in God's overall plan, which is to cleanse and restore.  As I am sitting here writing this, I am getting a picture of biblical baptism!

When we receive the Messiah as our Redeemer, we are baptized in water.  The immersion into the water is a picture of death and rebirth, just like the flood!

The Bible also speaks of a second baptism, but this time by fire.  It is a powerful cleansing and purifying fire!  The first baptism was a one-time deal, not needing to be repeated - thus the promise by God not to do it again.  The baptism by fire is a further work of God, an awesome display of His power and might! 

This earthly baptism of fire will occur just before Yeshua begins His reign on earth from Jerusalem.  He alluded to this when speaking to His disciples of the coming regeneration in Matthew 19:28:
So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

I don't know about you, but I am looking forward to the earthly regeneration with great joy and anticipation!

Click here for the next post in the series on Genesis.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Genesis Post 20 - The Genesis Calendar and the Message of the Ark (Chapter 8)

We now come to chapter 8 and the end of the flood.  Even though the rain only lasted 40 days and nights, it took quite awhile for the waters to recede.

We then learn:
Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat.

I want to address the biblical calendar for a moment.  I have learned that the original Genesis calendar was flipped when the nation of Israel was given the Sinai Covenant.  Prior to Sinai, the first month would have been in the fall (which is why the Jews celebrate the new year on Rosh Hashanah in September).  At Sinai, God gave them a new calendar, and the first month became the time of their Egyptian escape.

So what would be the significance, then, of the ark resting on the seventeenth day of the seventh month?  If you fast forward and look at the Sinai calendar, this becomes the very day of the Messiah's resurrection of the dead!  The Feast of Firstfruits!  This prophetic occurrence represents a new beginning for the world.

After 40 days of being at rest on Mount Ararat (wherever that is), Noah sent out a raven.   It is interesting to note that the first thing that exited the ark was something unclean, and it did not come back. The raven never returned to the ark, but probably was able to gorge itself on floating, rotting dead things.

At the same time, Noah released a dove.  The dove found no resting place among the carnage but returned to the ark.

Seven days later, the dove was released again. She came back seven days later with an olive branch in her beak, letting Noah know that vegetation was returning to the earth.  And in seven more days, she was sent out again and did not return.

The symbolism of the raven and the dove is clear.  The raven is a representation of evil and uncleanness.  The dove represents peace, as does the olive branch she brought back.  The dove also represents the Holy Spirit.  We see a snapshot of the gospel going forth over the earth.

Following the birdie exodus, we see the following timeframe in Genesis 8:13-14:

And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, that the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and indeed the surface of the ground was dry. And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dried.

Did you catch that?  The ark had rested on the 17th day of the seventh month, after 150 days.  But now we are at the first month of the first day... that is nearly a full year after the family of Noah had entered the ark.  The next time I have cabin fever in the winter, I am going to stop and remember those 8 people cooped up on the ark!

The LORD then told Noah to get out of the boat, along with every living thing that was there with him.

Stepping out of the ark after a year on board, everything was different. A new beginning!

The very first thing Noah did was to worship the LORD.  He made a sacrifice to the LORD with some of the extra clean birds and animals he had brought along on the ark.

This is what we see from the LORD in response to Noah's act of worship.

Then the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.
 “While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.”

(This is my go-to when I hear of people freaking out about global warming and climate change.  We have this beautiful promise from the LORD and can stand on it in faith.  The earth will continue until He decides it is time to regenerate it).

When everything you knew in life is gone, you need a new covenant. And God was about to establish a new covenant with Noah.  My next post will talk about that covenant.   But first, I want to point out the amazing comparisons between the ark and the Messiah.

The ark was a picture of Messiah. This is what we can see from the ark example:

  • There was only one way of salvation. 
  • When that door was shut, salvation was finished. 
  • There was no death inside the ark. No animals died (except maybe the unicorns). 
  • Outside the ark, there was no life.
  •  Inside the ark, life. It is a picture of the Gospel.
  • Noah means rest. Yeshua says, come unto me and all you are weary. I will give you rest.
  • God gave Noah the work of salvation. Noah's work, with God's help, saved his family.  Yeshua finished the work of salvation on the wooden cross. 
  • The ark was made of wood.   In both cases, tree wood provided the means of salvation.  
  • Noah provided food for all those on the ark. Yeshua is our bread of life.
  • Noah provided sacrifice, Yeshua is our sacrifice.
  • Noah and his family were safe in the ark. No one could snatch them away.
  • The ark was covered in and out with pitch (kafar, or covering/atonement).  Yeshua is our atonement.
Click here for the next post in this series.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Genesis Post 19 - The Flood Begins and Some Science Thrown In (Chapter 7)

Chapter 7. We are now at the flood. Most people know about Noah and the flood.

All cultures of the world have some sort of story about a worldwide flood, because the entire world came from these eight people.  In fact, Chinese writing, which are actually pictures, includes some fascinating hints towards Genesis.  The word for garden includes the symbols for dust, breath, enclosures, and two people.  The word for boat includes the symbols for vessel, eight, and mouth.   And the word for flood includes the symbols for water, together, earth, and eight.

The flood did not just happen because of sin. If that was the case, you'd better go get a life preserver right now.  Yes, sin was horrendous before the flood.  But the main reason for the flood,, as I posted previously, was because the human line had been corrupted by the nephilim who were trying to destroy God's plan with the seed of the woman.

The account of Noah began back in chapter 5 when we were told that he was 500 years old.  Chapter seven tells us that Noah was six hundred years old when he entered the ark.  One hundred years passed during which the grace of God was extended to the world.

In verse 1, God said bo to Noah and his family, which in Hebrew means come in. Come in and be saved. This invitation by God is still open to all today.

Then the LORD told Noah to bring seven of every clean animal, in addition to the two of all the others.  Why?

I believe for two reasons.  The first purpose was so they could sacrifice to the LORD.  And the second purpose was that humans would become meat eaters after the flood.  It amazes me that Noah knew which animals were clean and unclean, even before the instructions God gave at Sinai.

So they all went into the ark, the LORD supernaturally closed the door, and they sat there for seven days before the rains began.

I am not sure why seven days passed before judgment began.  Could it be the LORD figuratively taking a deep breath before His wrath is poured out?  We see a similar concept in Revelation 8:1, when the seventh seal was opened and there was silence in heaven for about a half an hour.  After the silence, we see the judgment of God poured out on the earth.

Genesis 7:11 says,
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.

What does it mean that the fountains of the great deep were broken up?  I believe it is possible that the world had been much smaller before the flood - with only one big land mass (called the pangea) - and that the continents were then broken up and spread out.  Indeeed, looking at a world map, it is easy to see how they would have fit together like a puzzle.

Our world today is made up of many tectonic plates that rub together, causing earthquakes and volcanoes in those places.  Are those plates evidence of God's breaking up of the deep?

Many people say that this is the first time that rain fell on earth.  Between the rain and the breaking up of the fountains of the deep, the flood water covered the earth so that it was more than 20 feet deep over the highest mountain peak

I guess it's time for some science.

There is a lot of proof for a worldwide flood. Scientists have found fossils on mountaintops. Fossils of fish. Seashells on top of mountains... hmm.  How did they get there?

Animals do not become fossils unless they die suddenly and are covered with a sudden change of pressure.  Fossils were immediately buried or frozen under pressure. Otherwise, animals just decompose when left in the open air. We’ve all seen roadkill at the side of the road. It just wastes away to nothing.  Vultures and other carrion show up and eat it.  It does not fossilize, it just goes away.

The fossil record is best understood as a marine cataclysmic event.

95% of all fossils discovered are shellfish. Shells protected them so they didn't decompose right away. Of the remaining 5%, 95% of those are plants, and of the small percentage left, most were insects and fish.

Very few were mammals.

However, some of the best fossils discovered are the woolly mammoth in the north, in the permafrost of the Arctic circle. They have found whole ones, frozen and intact.  And incredibly, they still had food in their mouth. They were frozen solid instantly.

It is estimated that it would be 175° below zero to freeze these guys the way they were frozen. But amazingly, they had subtropical food in their mouths!

This cutie was found in Siberia.

There was tropical weather on the planet before the flood. It was probably all the same elevation, too. No valleys, no mountains. Flat, hot, and steamy, with mists coming out of the ground to water everything.  I believe the mountains were carved during the great land upheaval.

I believe the Grand Canyon is only a few thousand years old, in spite of what the National Park Service will tell you. Petrified wood found at the bottom of the canyon is the same age as wood found toward the top.  The Grand Canyon was formed quickly.  When Mount Saint Helens exploded in 1980, enormous canyons and gorges formed in just a few hours' time.

And what about the dinosaurs?  Again, any dinosaur fossils would have been trapped in a cataclysmic event and formed quickly.  Dinosaur eggs have been found with tissue in them!  That tissue has been determined to be about 5000 years old.

Many dinosaur bones were huge.  Maybe dinosaurs grew so big because they lived so long before the flood, in the same way that man lived hundreds of years

After the flood, the sauna ended. The worldwide tropics ended. Why did the dinosaurs die out? Maybe they weren’t prepared for the coming climate. Maybe they still exist today. Lizards? Snakes? Rabbits? Also, the mist would have protected the earth, so things lived longer. Removal of that mist would have let in more radiation, therefore shortening life on earth.

The process of aging sped up after the flood.

Ok, end of science.  Back to the flood account.

The rain lasted 40 days and 40 nights, a very biblical period of time. This brings to mind the time of the Israelites in the wilderness, and the time of Yeshua in the wilderness.  40 is a time of testing, probation, and of preparation for something new.  During those 40 days, all life on earth died out.

And then the water stayed around for another 150 days.

So seven days, 40 days, and then 150 days... talk about getting cabin fever!  I can only imagine how anxious Noah and his family were to exit that boat.  Stay tuned!  You can read the next post here.

Genesis Post 18 - Finishing the Ark (Chapter 6)

Continuing on in Genesis 6, we now see God's instructions for building a massive ark.

What is this ark?  Ark just seems like such a funny word to me.  Why not just say boat?

The Hebrew word is tebah.  It means vessel, and is used 28 times in scripture; mostly in the context of Noah's boat.  However, it is also the same word used for the basket in which Moses was floated on the Nile by his mom.  The word tebah carries the concept of protecting its contents while floating upon water.  It is interesting to note that a completely different Hebrew word is used for the Ark of the Covenant.

The ark was made of gopherwood, covered in pitch both inside and outside. What will this do? It would preserve it. Pitch is oil. Something that was and is plentiful in the Middle East.

The Hebrew word for pitch is kapar.  It is a word that means atonement, or covering.  The root word is the same one used for Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement.  Also, Orthodox Jewish men today wear a kippah, or covering, on their heads.

And oil is one of the symbols of the Holy Spirit of God.

Almost right away, we can see that Noah's ark is a picture of salvation.  More on that in an upcoming post.

And what is gopherwood?  Nobody knows.  The Hebrew word gofer is only used once in all of scripture.  It was possibly a species of wood that is no longer available in our post-flood world.

The ark, when finished, would be a football stadium and a half long!  It was also quite wide and tall... it would reach all the way up to the cheap seats!  It contained a lower, second, and third deck with a window up top.  It was built like a barge, made to float on top of the water. Oil tankers are still built like the ark today.  It was unsinkable. Unlike the Titanic.

Ark replica at the Creation Museum

Peppered among God's ark instructions were His warnings.  Verse 17 says,
And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.

Noah was then given instructions on who and what to bring on the boat.

First, eight people.   Eight people on the ark is a picture of a new beginning.  And the LORD promised Noah that He would establish His covenant with him.

And then animals... God brought the animals to Noah supernaturally.  Two by two, they just showed up.  Mind blowing!

Animals showing up at the ark

And then food.  Noah had to plan for a lot of food; enough to feed his family and all those animals for a long period of time.

And the last verse of chapter 6 tells us that Noah did exactly as was told.  How refreshing.

Obedience equals righteousness. We know that Abraham obeyed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. Noah did the same thing.

It is tragic that the world had become so wicked and corrupted, and that God needed to press the reset button.  Ten generations had passed from Adam to Noah.  The number 10 is a picture of a time of testing, and of righteous government.  But other than Noah and his family, there was no righteousness in the world.

Random thought:  Does anyone else think it's odd to decorate a baby's nursery with this story of death and destruction?

It's cute and all, but hmmm.

The gospels of Matthew and Luke both compare the last days to the time of Noah.  Widespread wickedness will abound.  Luke's gospel even adds the days of Lot.  We haven't reached the story of Lot yet in Genesis, but most people know what those days of Lot entail, culminating in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. And look around our world.  We are there.

The time before the flood was a chance for people to repent before judgment came to earth. God gave this chance because of His mercy and grace.  Sadly, nobody outside of Noah's family took Him up on it.  Methuselah,the longest living person ever, is a picture of God's longsuffering. Remember, Methuselah means his death shall bring.  The LORD waited until Methuselah's death before sending the flood.

Today, God is still extending His mercy and grace to a wicked world through Yeshua the Messiah.  And this time around, escape from judgment is not limited to eight people, but includes boatloads (pun intended) who are accepting His mercy and grace.  The Messiah is opening many eyes in these last days, before His soon and awesome return!

For my next post in this series, click here.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Genesis Post 17 - The Nephilim (Chapter 6)

Genesis 6 starts out with this wild set of verses, which I had never really studied in depth before.  But it actually sets the stage for everything which is about to take place.

Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.

Let's break this down a bit.   The earth was filling up with people, many of whom were beautiful women.  These beautiful daughters of men caught the eye of the sons of God.  Who are these sons of God?   In Hebrew, the term is ben elohim.

The word elohim is a very interesting word.  It is a word frequently used for the LORD Himself.  It is a plural word, but also a singular word, in the sense that a basket of fruit is a singular basket of fruit.

But beyond that, the word elohim can also mean gods, or members of the spiritual realm, both good and bad.  Having an understanding of this concept will help to make sense out of different verses in scripture.

For example, Psalm 138:1 says,
I will praise You with my whole heart;
Before the gods I will sing praises to You.

Also, Psalm 82 begins with this:
God stands in the congregation of the mighty;
He judges among the gods.

Yeshua Himself quotes Psalm 82:6 in the gospel of John:
Yeshua answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods” ’?

Also, the very first commandment given at Sinai was no other gods before you.  If there were no other gods, or elohim, then this command makes no sense.

This is not to say that God Almighty is but one in a pantheon of gods.  Indeed no, He is the Creator and He created all of the others.  But they are beings that exist in a different plane than mankind.  Elisha's servant was given a glimpse of this spiritual realm in 2 Kings 6 when he was shown the supernatural beings ready to fight on his behalf.

So who were these sons of God in Genesis 6?  A son of God is any being that was directly created by God, including Adam, all the angels and fallen angels in the spiritual realm, and Yeshua the Messiah. (And remember my last post?  When we are redeemed by the Messiah, we also have a right to be called children of God.)

Why is this concept important, and why does the account of the flood begin this way?

Because what was going on with these ben elohim was the main reason for the flood.

Look at verse 4:
There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.

The sons of God were able to take on human form to do their wickedness.  (Later in Genesis 18, the people were wanting to know the two angelic visitors to Sodom). And the LORD was greatly displeased with this activity.  First, in His mercy, He shortened the length of man's life to 120 years.  But as this wicked activity continued, the LORD was greatly grieved.

Verse 5 says,
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Whatever was going on with these giant, it was incredibly evil.  The word for giants in Hebrew is Nephilim.  They show up frequently in the Hebrew scriptures, both before and after the flood.  They are the genetic result of the union between a son of God and a daughter of men.  The genetic line was corrupted, and the world was filled with this corruption:

Chapter 6 goes on to describe the violence of the earth, and that it was indeed corrupted.

But Noah.

Look at verses 8-12.
But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.  This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.  And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.

First, a note on that word violence.  Ironically, the word in Hebrew is hamas.  The terrorist group known today as Hamas is an Arabic acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement.  I believe this is not a coincidence.
Hamas logo.  Violent much?

And did you catch that word perfect?  Noah wasn't perfect in the sense that he never sinned.  The Hebrew word for perfect means complete, sound, upright, whole, healthful, uncorrupted. Noah and his sons were uncorrupted by the nephilim.

Here's the thing.  The devil's plan has always been to destroy the plan of God.  And what did God promise back in Genesis 3?  He promised that the Seed of the woman would redeem the world.  Satan was corrupting the human lines, to prevent the redeemer from coming. A corrupted line would not bring forth the Messiah.

God was so displeased with the actions of these fallen angels that the New Testament shows us that they get locked up for their activities!

2 Peter 2 shows us what the LORD did with these fallen angels who were messing with His line in the time of Noah:
For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to tartarus and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly

(This is the only place in scripture where the word tartarus is used.  It is an abode only for wicked angels; never for man).

Jude 1:6 repeats this truth:
And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day

More giants show up in the Hebrew scriptures after the flood.  Further on, we see more nephilim - the Rephaim, Amalekites, Anakites, and of course Goliath.  In Numbers 13, the children of Israel were afraid to take the promised land because of the nephilim, or sons of Anak, they discovered there.  The devil was still trying to mess up the plan of the Messiah.  But I believe that whenever the fallen angels did this, the LORD locked up the culprits in tartarus, where they remain today.

We don't hear about these corrupted beings anymore.  Could it be that because the Messiah has been born, there is no more reason for the devil to try and corrupt the line?

Chapter 6 continues in verse 14 with directions for building the ark.  My next post will address that.  Click here to read it.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Genesis Post 16 - Likeness and Genealogy (Chapter 5)

Continuing on in Genesis, we come to chapter five, which includes a whole bunch of names and numbers.  About five years ago, I wrote a blog post about the hidden gospel message in the names.  You can access it here.   I have done a deeper study on the name Enoch, and have made a correction to that post based on what I discovered.

Genesis 5 says something interesting that I had not noticed before.  The chapter begins by telling us that Adam and his wife were created in the likeness of God.  But then verse three says this:

And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.

This is food for thought.  Adam was created in the image of God Himself.  Sin then entered the world, and Adam's children were begotten in Adam's likeness, which now included the fallen sin nature.  Adam's likeness, or image, changed because of sin.  So, are we still image-bearers of God today?

Consider the following scriptures:

1 Colossians 1:15 says:
He [Messiah] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation
(Other scriptures also confirm that the Messiah is the perfect image of God)

1 Corinthians 15:49 says:
And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

Colossians 3:10 says:
and [you] have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge, according to the image of Him who created him.

Romans 8:29 says:
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

2 Corinthians 3:18 says:
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Whoa.  So it appears that until we are born again, we bear the image of fallen Adam.  And once redemption happens, we are remade into His image and the lifelong process of transformation begins at that moment.

Remember, God is all about restoring that which was lost.   It is the main focus and purpose of the entire Bible.

Another interesting thing about chapter five is that we can easily figure out when Noah was born, because of all the math in the chapter.  It clearly tells us how old all the patriarchs were when the next one in line was born.  We are even told how old each one was when he died.

Here is the tally of the math from Adam to Noah:
Adam - 130 years when he had
Seth - 105 years when he had
Enosh - 90 years when he had
Cainan - 70 years when he had
Mehalael - 65 years when he had
Jared - 162 years when he had
Enoch - 65 years when he had
Methuselah - 187 years when he had
Lamech - 182 years when he had 

According to this biblical math, Noah was born in the year 1,056.  How interesting that Noah was born only 126 years after the death of Adam.  These ancient ancestors, for the most part, knew each other! All these ancestors had many other sons and daughters, so it is easy to see that the population of the ancient world was plentiful.

We are then told at the end of chapter 5 that Noah was five hundred years, and he begot Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  Were they triplets?  Or are we just not told Noah's age when he begot each one?  It is not clear.  But it is evident that something major is about to happen on the biblical stage.  Stay tuned!

The next post is ready!  Click here to view it.