Sunday, August 23, 2015

CHRIST IN GENESIS 1-11

We saw  previously  that many of  the  foundational doctrines   found in Genesis 1-11  are in fact principles  upon which  a stable society  is founded .  Everyone of these  fundamental doctrines, particularly those of Genesis  1- 3   have  been challenged in our day  i.e. 
  •   the doctrine  of   God the Creator  has been challenged by atheists ;  
  • the doctrine of the Trinity  (The Unity of God in three persons) has been challenged  by more  human institutions  than one cares to mention[1]
  •  the creation of everything has been challenged by evolutionists;  
  • the doctrine of  the image of man  as male and female  has been challenged by the  “gender egalitarian agenda” ;  
  • the biblical doctrine of  the  stewardship  (ecology) of the earth  has been taken over by  various  secular organizations such as Greenpeace  and PETA who care more for animals than people and who worship the created rather than  the Creator ;
  • the biblical  doctrine of marriage has  been assaulted by the Gay, Lesbian and Transgender lobby group; 
  • the biblical doctrine of sin    has been  downplayed to  ‘sickness, lack of education and ignorance’.

The book of Genesis  is  a fundamental book of the Bible, and the enemies  of God, inspired and helped by the devil  have worked hard  at subverting  those basic truths upon which  a viable  society  has been built  by God. Societies in history have collapsed many times because they have  chosen to ignore God’s designs. It is tragic that many Christians  do not see  and do nothing about  the erosion of  the foundations of their society. 
Were it not for the fact that God foresaw all this, and were it not for the fact that God  had planned   a day of judgement and a way  of  escape for His righteous people, of which the story  of Noah and the flood  is a foreshadowing , this would have all  amounted to  a  very depressing prognosis.
We are thus very happy to introduce  the Good News in Genesis !

CHRIST IN GENESIS 

Today our task will be  to discover   how  the Lord Jesus  Christ is seen in  Genesis 1 –11.  In Christ’s day on earth, the  teachers of the law and the Pharisees did not see Christ in their Scriptures  (the Torah) which included Genesis 1 –11!

When  the Lord Jesus once rebuked the Pharisees in John 5, He told them that they diligently studied the Scriptures, thinking that by this very exercise in itself they would receive eternal life. But they missed the point entirely. They failed to see Him who is the Inspirer of Scripture! Jesus said  to them: “These are the Scriptures that bear  witness  about me…” (5:39). In this text  Jesus  showed them that He was  sent by the Father (5:36,37) and that He had come in the Name of  God the Father (5:43), and  He reminded them that His many (miraculous)  works  that the Father had given Him to accomplish testified indeed that He was who He was – the promised Messiah (5:36).  And here they were. They were searching the Scriptures for clues about  the Messiah’s appearing , and  yet they failed to  see Him. Jesus reminded them  “… yet you refuse to come to me to have life…”  (5:40).
When  Jesus spoke about the Scriptures  that were testifying about Him, He referred to the OT law (Moses)  and the prophets. He was talking about Genesis.

Truly, there are none as blind as those that will not see. What a privilege it is  to have one’s eyes opened  to see Christ for who He is.    Listen what Jesus said to His disciples  in Matthew 13:11-17  :

“To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

I say therefore again – with the fullness of Christ’s revelation we are singularly blessed that our eyes can see and our ears hear God’s truth. I say this  to, because there are those who would want to accuse me  of reading into the OT what  the original authors did  not intend.
I am not intending to tell you what I  think. I will use the NT (the full revelation of God  in Christ) to prove  the existence  of Christ  these first 11  chapters. 

We will consider 6  instances in which  Christ  is revealed in the OT:

1. Genesis 1:1  Christ is God , Creator , Light and Life

Last time  we established  that the doctrine of Christ has its origin in Genesis: “In the beginning God…”. We know with hindsight and with  the full revelation of  the NT Scriptures  that Christ is  equal to God in three important regards . It is therefore important that we should read  John Chapter 1 in conjunction with Genesis 1.
We note that the very opening verses of  Genesis  correspond to  the opening verses of John’s gospel. Let us consider then what  John  the gospel writer saw by divine inspiration.
  1. Through him all things were made (John 1:3 à Gen 1:1)  : CHRIST IS CREATOR
  2. In Him was life… (John 1:4 ; 11:25 à Gen 1:  “Let there be…”). CHRIST IS HE IS THE ORIGINATOR  AND GIVER OF  ALL LIFE .
  3. He is the light  of the world (John 1 :4,9  ; 8:12 ;  9:5 à  Note that in Genesis 1  the light of v.3 precedes the heavenly lights of v.14 ) CHRIST IS LIGHT.  1 Jn. 1:5 also asserts  that  God is light.
 Christ shares the very attributes of God  in Genesis  :  Creator, Life - giver , Light.  

2. Genesis 2:20  Christ is the second Adam

The Name “Adam” is the Hebrew word for  “the man”. Man was created and  he shares this fact with the other creatures that God has made. They are all created out of the dust (cf. 2:19).  Man feeds as they feed (1:29,30) and  man reproduces with a  command  similar to theirs (1:22,28a). But the man is distinct from the animals in that  (i) He rules over them (1:26b ; 28b ; 2:19  cf. Psalm 8 : 4 – 8; James 3:7 ).  (ii) Man is also distinct from the  animals in that He is said to bear the image of God  (1:27).  He has a  unique intelligence  and a unique capacity  to relate to God.  Man has an eternal soul  and he is a spiritual being. He is  a moral being, and He is expected to be  accountable to God. He is created for God’s glory.  
Man  was  also  created  as a free moral agent. According to this ability we  see that  man  when tempted by Satan freely chose to disobey God’s explicit  command (2:17). This act  is called ‘sin’ . Animals  were not the cause  of the human fall , but animals have been affected by sin and the human fall. (Rom. 8:22). The result of man’s sin was  catastrophic!  Man lost    his innocence and  his access and nearness to God. And so earth’s darkest day came when the first Adam chose to disobey God and to follow the counsel of   the devil, a created being who himself chose the path of sin and rebellion , and who was cast out from God’s presence. (Gen. 3). The result of it all  is  seen in  Genesis 6:5:
“The LORD saw  that the  wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention  of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually”.
So the great question now becomes : How will man  escape the wrath of God ?  The apostle Paul  discusses this  problem   in Romans 5: 12-21 (read!). In Adam all die. The whole human race is affected by the sin of one man .   
But thank God that it does not end here.  God  has provided  a second Adam ! 1 Cor. 15:45 says :  “So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.”  The second Adam lives the life that we could not live, and gives the life as a ransom for  the sin of the world (which no animal or other human being could offer , since all is corrupted by sin). All who look to Him by faith are redeemed from the consequence and the curse of sin. So far then we have established  2 facts  from  Genesis 1:  Christ is  VERY  GOD  and VERY MAN.
3. Genesis 2:20 – 25  :  Christ is the heavenly bridegroom of the church
We can only make these deductions because the NT makes them. In Eph. 5:22 – 33  Paul makes an analogy  between wives & husbands and Christ and His church. The  model for  the Christian marriage is Christ’s love for His church. In Eph. 5:31 Paul quotes  from Gen. 2:24 :  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.“  He adds  in v.32: “This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.”  Paul is using this text to show us something more profound in this  text than human marriage – it is the love of Jesus for His body , the church. We see the completed picture  in Revelation 21:2,9!
4.   Genesis 3:15  : Christ  is the seed of the woman that will crush Satan’s head
This is not easy to understand at first. But look carefully at what it says here  The context is that of God  judging  Satan, Adam the man and  his wife . But take careful notice to who he speaks in vv.14 – 15 .  He speaks to Satan. What is God saying  to him? He is saying that Satan will have a formidable  adversary. There is going to be  enmity between the woman’s offspring ( ‘seed’ - KJV) and his  offspring (seed). The  true church and the world  will always be at loggerheads.  But not only that. Satan is guaranteed to loose. Yes, he will  strike the seed of the woman – as it were on the heel – but it is only the heel; but the seed of the woman will crush his head.
Jesus  (the second Adam)  was  born  to  crush Satan’s head. Satan did strike Him on the cross  but  He did not reckon with the fact that  Christ also  had the power over death ( 1 Cor. 15). So when Christ rose from the dead, He triumphed over Satan, setting the captives free (i.e. people like you and me, who are captives to sin and Satan) and He  is presently doing so , and shall complete all things at His second coming – including the effective judgment of Satan and his offspring – in everlasting  hell! The gospel was therefore announced right here, after the fall, in Genesis 3:15.
5. Gen 3:21  : “Clothed in the righteousness of our Lord Jesus”
This follows from what we have just said. The gospel of  God’s promised deliverer is announced.  When God sees the pitiable state of Adam and Eve,  He  takes initiative to clothe them. Need God have done that,  after what they had done? He kills animals to clothe them. The lives of the animals for their lives. Here is a hint of  the atonement . The sacrifice of animals later becomes the prescribed method for making atonement in the OT à all this off course points forward to that great atonement – the “once for all” offering of    Christ  (Hebr. 9: 12,26,28; 10:10,14) by  which He bears the sins of many and clothes them in His righteousness.  He is “Yahweh Tsidkenu” – the Lord our righteousness (Jer. 23:6; 33:16)
6. Gen 4: 1 –11 :  “Abel,  his offering and death which speaks of Christ’s offering and death”
We read here about the offerings of Cain and Abel. Cain’s offering was rejected whereas Abel offered a true sacrifice -  the firstborn of His flock (Gen.4:4). Note that Abel’s sacrifice was a blood sacrifice. Abel is thereafter  killed by Cain as an act of  jealousy.  The  wicked  often become  angry by the faithful testimony  of the righteous.  And so , the first person to die in human history  is  a  righteous man – a martyr.  In  Matt. 23:35  Jesus refers to the blood of righteous Abel . It is full of significance when God says in Gen. 4:10 : “Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground…”. Jesus blood was also shed by lawless men and in Heb.12:24 it speaks of  “Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant , and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel”. What comfort that we have the voice of the blood in heaven speaking for those who believe  in Him on their behalf. Heb. 9:24 states that “Christ entered heaven itself , now to appear for us in God’s presence.”
We have seen  at least 6 instances in which the  first few chapters of the book of Genesis  are  directly connected to Christ and the New Testament. Christ and the early church  used  the OT to preach the gospel , and so must we.
Don’t let go of your OT.  See Christ on every page of the OT . 
You have heard the account of the two disciples who met the Lord on the road to Emmaus and yet did not recognize him.  When he met them, they had lost all hope.  Then the Lord  Jesus revealed to them the meaning of the Scriptures.  Beginning with Moses and quoting one prophet after another he showed that everything that he had suffered had been foretold. The Lord went through the whole Old Testament. 
 Augustine ( AD 354 -430)  once  said : [2] The Scriptures are in fact, in any passage you care to choose, singing of Christ, provided we have ears that are capable of picking out the tune.  The Lord opened the minds of the Apostles so that they understood the Scriptures.  That he will open our minds too,  is our prayer. 
AMEN !




[1]  E.g. Judaism , Islam , Arians  and many modern day  sects such as the Jehovah witnesses
[2] http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/fathers6.htm

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