Genesis 1:11-31 ; Genesis 2:1-2
In Genesis 1:11 and Genesis 1:12, we find the story of God's command to the earth to bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit. In all of this there is a wonderful depth of meaning affecting our spiritual lives.
1. The call of God to us is for fruitfulness. Whether it be in the natural earth or in the lives of saints, the great heart of God desires fruit.
We remember how Christ said on one occasion, "I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Husbandman." Then He said that every branch that did not bear fruit was taken away, and that every branch that bore fruit He purged it that it might bring forth more fruit. For this cause the Lord invites us to abide in Him, that we may become fruit-bearers; lest, otherwise we be cast forth as a branch, and be withered. Our Lord does not only want fruit, and more fruit, but He wants much fruit. It is herein that His Father is glorified.
When we think of the fruitful Christian we are liable to think of the Christian who is active in the varied "branches of Christian service. Fruit-bearing, however, carries with it a deeper significance. Preeminently, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, etc. These are the things which bring glory to our Lord.
2. The deeper meaning of "after its kind." God said, "The herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind." Later on when God created the fish and the fowl and the beast of the earth, in each instance, they were commanded to bring forth after their kind. This was God's command, and it has been an irrevocable law, since God spake.
Every effort of man to change God's creative fiat has utterly failed. Species may be developed, and correlated species may be merged, but distinctive species cannot be altered. Seed sown, always brings forth the same kind of herb, or fruit, as the plant from which the seed is grown. The same thing is true in animal life kind begets its kind. How foolish of men to lift themselves up against God, and to imagine that they can undo or make void His eternal decree!
3. The deeper meaning of "Whose seed is in itself." Here is another irrevocable law a law that establishes the omnisciency of God. God only hath inherent life. Life only can beget life, and as we have already said, God placed in each variety of life which He created, the power to beget a life after its own kind.
How wonderful that in every grain of wheat there lies hidden a power to beget other grains of wheat! Nobody can dissect the wheat and point out the life-giving germ, and yet it is there. Men of the world may fabricate something that imitates, to the human eye, a grain of wheat, or of corn, or a portion of fruit, but all the scholarship of earth, and all the scientific minds of the ages, have never been able to implant into anything the power to propagate itself.
I. THE TWO GREAT LIGHTS (Genesis 1:14-18 )
God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven." God was not at all dependent upon the sun and the moon and the stars to give light to the earth, for when God's Spirit moved upon the face of the waters, God said, "Let there be light: and there was light." However, the placing of lights in the firmament of heaven was for the dividing of day, from night; and also for signs, and for seasons; for days, and for years. Herein is the wisdom of God marvelously manifested.
1. The objective of the two great lights. We might imagine that the sun and the moon were exclusively for light, and heat, but not so. The heavenly bodies are for signs by which man may guide his course by day and by night. They are for seasons, Summer, and Autumn, and Fall, and Winter. These were arranged by the sun moving to the north, or to the south of the equator. They were for days, because the sun rises each morning and sets each night. They were for years, both solar and lunar.
In all of the above, we see the eternal accuracy of the Almighty. The sun, and the moon, and the stars, all move with such minute exactness that we can truly say, "With God there is not a shadow of a turning."
2. The spiritual significance of the two great lights. The greater light was to give light by day, the lesser light was to rule the night. Jesus Christ Himself is the greater light. Our God is a sun. When He came to earth He was a light that shone in the darkness. How striking are the words, "The people that sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up."
When Christ died, darkness was upon the face of the earth. The Sun of Righteousness had gone down. The age in which we are now living is Scripturally called the age of this darkness. It is night. The world, however, is not left in total eclipse. There is the lesser light which rules the night; that lesser light is the Church. We are luminaries shining in the night.
It is said that the moonlight is a reflected light. We know that the light of the Church is reflected. It is He who shines into our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
II. THE FISH AND BIRDS AND BEASTS (Genesis 1:24-25 )
When we consider the earth bringing forth the living creature after its kind, cattle, creeping thing, and the beast of the earth, we think, perhaps, of two things.
1. The heart of God providing for man's need. Over this animal kingdom, God placed man in authority, giving him dominion. All created animal life was given to serve man, and all created vegetable life was given man for meat.
Until this good hour, God provides for every human necessity. Did not Christ say, "Take no thought * * what ye shall eat"? God has known that we had need of these things, and He has provided for us.
2. The heart of God providing for the beasts and the fowls. None of these can sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns. Yet, God has provided for them. To every living creature upon the earth, God gave the green herb for meat. Likewise, gave He to every fowl of the air. Not this alone, but God hath beautifully clothed the grass of the field, and the lily of the valley.
God is thoughtful of all things which He created. To Jonah, He said, "Should I not spare Nineveh, that great city?" and then He gave as His plea, not only the "little ones" who were there, but also, the "much cattle."
It was God who sent out the wild ass free, and loosed its bands. It was He who made the wilderness his dwelling and the range of the mountains his pasture.
The Lord loves nature, loves it as it was before it was made subject to the curse for man's sake; loves it as it is in its present groanings and travailings; and, thank God, the time is soon coming when under Divine deliverance the earth shall be restored and blest and all nature, putting on its new dress, shall shout for joy.
III. THE CREATION OF MAN (Genesis 1:26-30 )
1. God's supreme creation. When God created man, He created him in His own image. Man was made in God's image in various senses. We believe that he was also made physically in the image that Christ was destined to bear, when He came forth from the Father, made of a woman. There is a verse which says, "As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the Heavenly." When Christ comes again, and the saints are raised and raptured God will change these mortal and corruptible bodies into the likeness of Christ's resurrection body. Thus, twice shall we be made like Him, once as He was in His natural body, and yet again as He is in His Heavenly body.
In Heaven, we shall be like Him in a marvelous manner. We shall know as we are known; we shall be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. We shall be made higher than the angels.
2. God's preparation for His creation of man. Observe that it was after God had created all things for man's provision and comfort that He afterward created man. Man opened his eyes upon an earth fully equipped for his every temporal need. Nothing was lacking. It was a wonderful Garden of Eden which man beheld when he first lifted up his eyes.
No fond mother ever made such preparation for the expected advent of an offspring, as God made for the coming of Adam and Eve. God crammed earth with every conceivable blessing, all for man's happiness and contentment.
3. Man's dominion. God placed all things in subjection to man. Man was therefore the climax of creation. Supreme in his position and dominion, even as he was superior in the personality, with which he was Divinely endowed.
When sin entered the world, man lost his full dominion. He holds no more than a semblance of, his former glory. However, all that was lost in the sin of the first Adam, will be more than regained in the full and complete redemptive work of the Last Adam.
We see not yet all things put under His feet, but we see Christ exalted to the Father's right hand, and we soon shall see His supremacy fully established, and all thing's made subject to Him.
IV. THE COMPLETED TASK AND REST (Genesis 2:1-2 )
The seventh day marked God's rest. As the six days passed, God, in review of each day's work could say, "It is good." With the creation completed, God rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had created and made.
1. That day of rest was soon broken by the advent of sin. Jesus Christ said, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." When Satan entered in, the world which was so glorious and perfect was spoiled. God at once set about to recover man's lost estate. Not in a day was this to be accomplished. However, in the Garden when God pronounced the curse, He also pronounced the cure. He proclaimed that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. When Christ died upon the Cross, He cried, "It is finished," So did He complete the task that the Father had given Him to do.
With His work accomplished Christ went up to the Father's right hand and sat down. The far-reaching results of Christ's substitutionary sacrifice remains to be told, and to be seen, in the ages to come when Christ shall have put down all things under His feet, having redeemed all men who come to the Father through Him.
2. That first day of rest was prophetic of future rest. When Israel was saved out of Egypt God made known unto them His holy Sabbath Day, because they had obtained rest from their enemies, the Egyptians, The Sabbath, therefore, was given unto Israel for a sign between God and them, throughout all of their generations. Both they and the stranger that was in their gates were commanded to keep His Sabbath.
The Sabbath Day, however, had more than a backward look for Israel. The time is coming when Israel shall no longer, say, The Lord liveth who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, but, The Lord liveth who brought us out of all lands whither He hath driven them. Out of the land of the North, out of Russia, and Russian Poland, shall they come back home once more. They shall also come from the South, and from the East, and from the West, and from all nations whither they have been scattered. In that day shall Israel keep her Sabbaths, for "There remaineth therefore a rest (Sabbath keeping) to the people of God."
When Israel went into apostasy, the nation, wearied of the bondage of Sabbath keeping, said, "When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the Sabbath, that we may set forth wheat?" It was gone in the day that the sun went down at noon, and the earth was darkened even in the clear day (Amos 8:5, Amos 8:9 ).
V. SHOULD CHRISTIANS KEEP THE SEVENTH DAY? (Colossians 2:16-17 )
1. There is a need for one day of rest in seven. The Sabbath was made for man, because man needs rest. This is also true of land and beast all need one day's rest.
2. The Jewish Sabbath was the seventh day. It was given to Israel as a command, and is grouped among the Ten Commandments. All of those Commandments were given to Israel and not to the nations round and about. A casual reading of Exodus 20:1-17 will show this. Under Grace, and to the Church, all of the Ten Commandments in one form or another (with the exception of the fourth) is restated. The fourth never is given to the Church.
3. The Epistles plainly state this: "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind" (Romans 14:5-6 ).
The Epistles also say, "How turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you" (Galatians 4:9-11 ).
The Sabbath Day was never changed to the first day of the week. The Sabbath was given to Israel as a memorial. The First Day of the week was early set aside as a memorial day of the Lord's resurrection. It was then that the saints came together to break bread; it was then that they laid by them in store as the Lord had prospered them.
How wonderful is God in His creation!
"When God would reveal to man the perfection of the minutest detail of His creation not even visible to the naked eye, He furnished him with ability to produce the microscope. With this the silky substance on the wing of the butterfly was found in reality to be beautiful feathers. Nothing new had taken place so far as the butterfly was concerned but an almost unbelievable fact was revealed to humanity concerning God's creation.
"When God would reveal His infinite power in the creation of things so vast as to baffle man with their immensity, He gave him wisdom to put on the market the telescope; and things never before dreamed of in human history were revealed. As we consider the vast dimensions of the sun, and its course of travel, how our little earth fades away into nothingness. Yet no change took place in the universe with the discovery of the telescope, rather another of His secrets was revealed.
"Excavations have been made in every land by all men of all ages, but when God found it necessary to prove the Divine authority of His Word to those who would not accept the Bible as final, without further evidence, things began to be unearthed that had escaped all the pick-axes and spades throughout the centuries. What priceless treasures have been discovered through archÃ¦ological research! And yet there they lay buried deeply in the ground for thousands of years. One only wonders why men are not all on their faces before Him who is infinite in power, wisdom, and majesty. It seems at every fresh manifestation we would sink to our knees in deep humiliation mingled with adoration, acknowledging Him as the One who alone is worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing."
The Beginning and the Beginning Again
Genesis 1:26-31 ; Genesis 2:1-10
The word Genesis means the "beginning." It is the first Book of the Bible, and in its opening chapters we have the story of the beginning of the original creation, of the earth renewed and blessed, of the creation of man and of woman, of the vision of the Garden of Eden, of the entrance of sin and Satan, of the pronunciation of the curse, etc.
The Book of Revelation is the Book of the "new beginning." We find in its last few chapters the great consummation of everything which began in Genesis. The curse passes out, and the new life enters in.
A key to all of these things is found in the statement: "Behold, I make all things new."
In Genesis we have a flower in the bud; in Revelation we have the same flower in the bloom, with all of its radiant glory and aroma filling the new heavens and the new earth.
1. The original earth. Perhaps, we should have said the original Heaven and earth. The first verse of Genesis says: "In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth." Revelation 21:1 says: "I saw a new Heaven and a new earth: for the first Heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea."
Between the statement of Genesis 1:1, and that of Revelation 21:1, we have the whole story of the physical earth.
(1) There is the earth as God created it. It was not created waste and void.
(2) We have the earth without form and void, with darkness upon the face of the deep.
(3) We have the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters, and God saying, "Let there be light."
(4) There follows the story of the earth renewed and blessed as described in Genesis 1:1-31 . The dry land appears, the earth brings forth grass, the herb, and the fruit tree. The sun and the moon are placed in the heaven to rule the day and the night. The waters are made to bring forth, the moving creature that has life. In the firmament above, the fowl and birds are made to fly.
2. The earth's great cataclysmic judgment. In Genesis 6:1-22 there begins the story of man's wickedness and of God's determination to destroy man from off the face of the earth. There follows the history of the ark and of the preservation of Noah and his family. Then the earth is destroyed by water. Every living thing is swept away before the wrath of God. The waters in the heavens above fall upon the earth beneath. Finally, the ark rests upon Mount Ararat; the earth is once more renewed and blest, and God places His bow in the cloud for a token of a covenant between Him and the peoples of the earth.
3. The earth's next cataclysmic judgment. This judgment will fall upon the earth during the time of the great tribulation. As we see it, we are now hastening toward that very hour. During that day of judgment, God will not forget the pledge of His rainbow; and the waters will not destroy man from off the earth. The judgments will be of a different order. The earth will tremble and will be moved exceedingly. The peoples of the earth will cry unto the rocks and mountains to fall upon them. There will be a great earthquake, and thunders, and lightnings, and voices.
4. After this cataclysmic judgment has abated God will once more renew and bless the earth. Every mountain shall be brought low and every valley exalted. Unprecedented fertility will be given to the soil. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree. The wilderness will bloom and blossom as a rose.
5. The earth's final cataclysmic judgment. At the end of the thousand years of millennial blessings, we read of the great white throne from which the heavens and the earth fled away. Peter speaking of this hour says in the Spirit "The heavens and the earth, which are now, * * are kept in store, reserved unto fire." He also said: "The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."
In the Book of Hebrews there is this statement, "Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also Heaven."
6. The new Heaven and the new earth. We now come to the close of the Bible message concerning the Heaven and the earth. The former things have passed away, the new Heaven and the new earth appear upon the scene, and God's City, the New Jerusalem, is seen descending, and resting upon, the new earth.
Thus we have scoped the history of the earth.
I. A CONTRAST BETWEEN PHYSICAL CONDITIONS IN THE ORIGINAL AND THE NEW HEAVEN AND EARTH (Genesis 1:3-4 ; Genesis 1:14-16 )
1. The period when God said, "Let there be light." At this time there was not yet any sun or moon to lighten the earth, but God was the light thereof. In Revelation there is described, in chapter 21, a similar period. We read: "And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." The nations of the new earth will walk in the light of that wonderful City, which will radiate its glory to the uttermost ends of the earth.
The period when God divided the day from the night. From that day until this we have had the rising of the sun and the setting thereof. We have had light by day and darkness by night. In the new heavens and the new earth, we find this expression, "There shall be no night there." Night and darkness passes with the passing of the first heaven and earth, and with the passing of the light of the sun and the moon.
2. The contrast between the seas of the first and second earth. In Genesis 1:1-31, we read that God gathered the waters unto heaven unto one place and He said, "Let the dry land appear." The dry land He called earth and the waters called He seas. In the new Heaven and the new earth of Revelation 21:1-27 we read: "And there was no more sea."
3. The contrast between the fruit tree of the original and final earth. The story is written of the Garden of Eden, "Out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that Is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil."
In the New Jerusalem, we read: There "was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month."
In Genesis we read of man being shut out lest they should eat of the tree of life and live. In Revelation we read, "Blessed are they that do His Commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."
4. The contrast in the rivers of the original and final earth. In Genesis 2:10, it is written, "And a river went out of Eden to water the Garden." In Revelation 22:1 we read: "And He shewed me a pure river of Water of Life, clear as crystal proceeding out of the Throne of God and of the Lamb."
II. A CONTRAST BETWEEN MAN AND HIS DOMINION IN THE ORIGINAL AND THE NEW HEAVEN AND EARTH (Genesis 1:26 )
1. Man given dominion. Our text tells us of how God said: "Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air," etc.
When man was driven out of the Garden of Eden that dominion was lost in park
2. The prophecy of a restored dominion. In Psalms 8:4-6 we read these words: "What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the Son of Man, that Thou visitest Him? for Thou hast made Him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned Him with glory and honour. Thou madest Him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under His feet."
3. The prophecy of a restored dominion is to be fulfilled in Christ. It is in the Book of Hebrews we read: "But now we see not yet all thing's put under Him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour."
Our Lord Jesus Christ shall subdue all things. He must reign until He has put all things under His feet.
In all of this conquest, the Lord Jesus Christ is the Captain of our salvation. Where the Captain goes, the soldiers follow. His victory is theirs. They share every conquest with Him. He leads them in the train of His triumph.
4. The prophecy of the new Heavens and the new earth. In that Heavenly made City, and upon that earth will be established the Throne of God and of the Lamb. All dominion and authority will be invested in the One who conquered death and hell, and we in Him shall reign forevermore.
III. A CONTRAST IN SATAN'S POWER AND DOMINION (Genesis 3:1 )
1. Satan enters in. Into the Garden of Eden Satan came seeking, if possible, to frustrate the plan of God, and to cast man down from his high estate. We are aware of the results. Eve and Adam both fell under Satan's strategies and deceptions. The result was that the curse was pronounced upon the woman, then upon the man. In the curse upon the man, the physical earth was involved and made subject to vanity for man's sake.
2. Satan proclaimed god of this world. With the authority of God broken, Satan himself assumed headship. The result was that the enemy became known as "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience," Christ said of Satan, "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me." In the Epistle of John we read of the world lying in the lap of the wicked one. In Corinthians we read, "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not."
In the wilderness temptation Satan offered unto Christ the kingdoms of the world and the glories of them, if He would accept Satan's sovereignty and headship.
3. Satan's last stand. In the Book of Revelation we find where Satan, the old dragon and serpent, is cast out of Heaven, onto the earth. The devilish trinity consisting of the devil, the antichrist, and the false prophet, will at that time fill the earth with violence a violence equaled only by that which swayed man in the days of Noah. Satan will realize his time is short, and with one great final effort he will seek to rule God out of the earth, and to expel Christ from the thoughts of the hearts of men.
4. Satan cast into the pit of the abyss, and then into the lake of fire. In Revelation 20:1-15 we read of Satan being chained and cast into the pit. He will not be allowed, during the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, to tempt the world and to rule it.
Finally, he who entered into the world scene, in Genesis 3:1-24, will find his last abode in the lake of fire, where the beast and the false prophet are.
IV. A CONTRAST BETWEEN MAN'S SIN AND HIS FINAL SALVATION (Genesis 3:9-12 )
1. How sin entered in. It was in the Garden of Eden that Satan cast his vile snare. He entered the Garden with one thought, the dethronement of God in the lives of the first man and woman. Not only that, but he entered with the express purpose of tempting man to enthrone himself as God. Incidentally, of course, Satan sought to take the place of authority over man.
Until this day sin may be summed up in one word, even this; "We have turned every one to his own way."
2. How sin is passed from man to man. There is a Scripture which says: "In sin did my mother conceive me." This heart of sin, therefore, which everyone of us possess in birth is passed down from father to son, throughout all generations. It passes after the Law which God Himself established in the creation, when He said, "Kind * * after his kind." The evolutionary theory would deny this eternal Law, and seek to establish the transmutation of species.
All flesh is sinful. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
3. How God met the issue of man's redemption from sin. The 5th chapter of Romans tells the story of how grace superabounded over sin and its sway.
By one man sin entered into the world; by Another, life entered. By one man sin entered into the world and death by sin; by Another salvation came, and death passed out, as life reigned.
This change was not wrought by any transmutation of species. It was wrought as follows:
(1) Christ in His death satisfied the offended Law, sustained its majesty, bore its penalty, and suffered the Just for the unjust.
(2) Christ by His life and by virtue of His death, through His Spirit, begat within the believing soul a new life. We were born not of the will of the flesh, nor of blood, nor of the will of man, but of God.
4. How sin and its results will pass into salvation and its glory. In Revelation we find the following wonderful statements:
"And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
Because of sin came death. Because of salvation came life forevermore. Sin separated from God, salvation brings us back to God.
V. THE CURSE ENTERING AND THE CURSE PASSING AWAY (Genesis 3:16-19 )
1. The curse upon the woman. Unto the woman, God said: "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception." We believe that as God spoke the words of this curse that there came back, as it were, an echo from the Cross of Calvary saying, "A Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." To the woman God also said, "In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children." Back from the Cross again, we catch an echo: "He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied."
The sorrow of the woman in childbirth, anticipated the sorrow of the Son of God as upon the Cross He saw the travail of His soul, and was satisfied.
Every time a child is born by physical birth through the travail of his mother, we cannot but anticipate the fact that he is born the second time, through the travail of the Saviour. The Prophet asked: "Who shall declare His generation?" the answer given by the Spirit was: "He shall see His seed, * * and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand."
2. The curse upon the physical earth. Unto Adam, God said: "Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field."
The physical earth and every tiling related thereto the fruit of the ground, the beasts, the fishes, the fowls, all are brought under the effect of sin. All are made subject to vanity for men's sake. Therefore in Romans we read: "[The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now."
Let us catch, if we can, from Calvary God's echo to this curse. We read: "They had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head." Thus, when Jesus Christ died for. men that they might be saved, He included in. that redemptive work the deliverance of the creation, which was made subject to vanity. We say this because the creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
When man sinned the creation came under the curse. When Christ comes and the world accepts His reign, the creation shall also be delivered from its bondage of corruption. "Instead of the thorns shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree."
3. The curse upon the man. Unto Adam God also said: "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
Once more we catch an. echo from the Garden of Eden, as Christ approached the Cross. We read of Christ and He sweat "as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."
As we look further on into the glories of eternity, we read, "And there shall be no more curse." We also read: "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
How wonderful is the far sweeping vision of the Cross of Christ, in its answer to the curse pronounced in Eden.
VI. THE COATS OF SKINS (Genesis 3:21 )
1. Adam and Eve and their fig leaf aprons. In Genesis 3:7 it is written: "They sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons." To us this passage of Scripture stands for everything that sinful man has done, or attempted to do, in order to cover his sin. From the time that Adam and Eve first sinned until this very hour the unregenerate world has sought in vain to cover their own sinful hearts.
We think of Cain and Abel, and of how Cain offered up the fruits of his field. In this, Cain made no confession of sin, and accepted no sacrificial deliverance from his sins. There was no blood and no suggestion of blood in the products of the ground. They may have appeared beautiful, and, ethically, they may have seemed more to be desired than the blood sacrifice of Abel. However, Cain's offering stank in the nostrils of God.
Unto this hour men are seeking to climb up some other way, than by the way of the Cross. They vainly imagine that they can be saved without the Blood of the Lamb.
2. God and the coats of skins. In Genesis 3:21 we read: "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them."
(1) What we cover, God uncovers. Have we not read of how it is written, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper"? Have you not also read: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness"?
(2) What we uncover, God covers. By this statement we mean, that if we are ready to acknowledge the sinfulness of our heart; and, if we are willing to give up hope of hiding our sins from God; God stands ready, through the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, to clothe us in His righteousness.
How wonderful is the phrase: "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb."
HEAVEN ENGAGED AHEAD
"We have * * an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (2 Corinthians 5:1 ). Some friends lately in traveling arrived at an English hotel, but found that it had been full for days. They were turning away to seek accommodation elsewhere, when a lady of the party bade the others adieu, and expressed her intention of remaining. "How can that be," they asked, "when you hear the hotel is full?" "Oh!" she replied, "I telegraphed on ahead a number of days ago, and my room is secured," My friend, send on your name ahead, and the door of Heaven can never be shut against you. Be sure it is a wise precaution. Then everything will be ready for you. And when the journey of life is over, you will mount up as with angel wings, and inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Moody's Addresses.
Adam and Eve
Genesis is the Book of beginnings. The only thing, so far as man is concerned, before Genesis, is God. Revelation is the Book of the beginning again. We might call it Palingenesis.
In the Book of Genesis, God creates the heaven and the earth. In the Book of Revelation we discover the new heavens and the new earth. In order to understand the whole story of the heaven and earth, we must, of course, read the Bible between Genesis and Revelation. This will be the case also in every other comparison.
In Genesis, darkness is upon the face of the deep; in Revelation darkness is forever gone, and the light of God forever shines there will be no night there. In Genesis, we read of the waters being gathered together, and called seas; in Revelation, we read, "And there was no more sea." In Genesis, the sun and the moon are placed in the firmament; in Revelation, there will be no need of the sun, nor of the moon to lighten the Holy City, for the Lord God giveth it light, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
In Genesis, we read of the tree of life, which was placed in the midst of the Garden; in the Book of Revelation, we read, "In the midst * * was there the tree of life." In Genesis, there is a river, which went out of Eden to water the Garden; in Revelation, there is the "river of the water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb."
In Genesis, we read of the gold of the land, and of the bdellium and the onyx stone; in Revelation, the City is paved with pure gold, and precious stones are in the walls thereof.
In Genesis, we have the story of Eve presented unto Adam; in Revelation, we have the Marriage Supper of the Lamb; and the New Jerusalem is described as the Lamb's Wife.
In Genesis, Satan enters in; in Revelation, Satan passes out, for he is cast into the lake of fire.
In Genesis, the curse is pronounced, and death, and sorrow, and sighing, enter in; in Revelation, there is no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be anymore pain.
In Genesis, thorns and thistles become a part of the curse; in Revelation, these have passed, and the fruit trees which bear twelve manner of fruit, and yield their fruit every month, are growing on either side of the river.
In Genesis, we read how man should eat his bread in the sweat of his face; in Revelation, God wipes all tears from off all faces.
In Genesis, God drives man out of the Garden of Eden, and the cherubims guard the way of the tree of life; in Revelation, it is written, "Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the City."
It will be noted that the contrasts and comparisons just given are all taken from the first three chapters of Genesis, and from the last three chapters of Revelation.
I. ADAM'S LONELINESS (Genesis 2:19-20 )
1. Adam's wisdom. In verse nineteen, we read of how God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them. Adam certainly was not some primeval man with the marks of the jungles still clinging to him. It was no small task to name every beast and every bird, particularly when every name portrayed the character of the thing named.
2. God's interest in Adam's appelations. We read that God was there "To see what he would call them." Why was God so interested in Adam's naming of the creatures? Certainly, He was observing whether Adam would call any of them "companion," or, "helpmeet," or "wife." The result of God's listening ear is plainly stated in Genesis 2:20, "And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him."
The living creatures were interesting to say the least. Many of them, no doubt, could have afforded Adam much pleasure and even some comradeship, but in all of God's creation there was a definite lack so far as Adam was concerned. "It is not good that the man be alone."
3. A sublime conclusion. Marriage is honorable in all. We do not marvel that Christ Jesus graced a marriage in Cana of Galilee with His presence. We do not marvel that the Holy Spirit has used the marriage bond, as an emblem endeared and indissoluble which exists between Christ and the Church. The relation between husband and wife is the sweetest and holiest of any relationship upon earth.
II. THE CREATION OF EVE (Genesis 2:21-24 )
1. Adam put to sleep. The Lord God was about to supply the need which He had discerned in Adam. Adam may not have known his need for a woman and a wife, but God knew. Thus it was that Adam's side was opened and a rib was taken out. The flesh was closed up instead thereof. Then the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman.
2. The woman brought to Adam. After Adam had been awakened, the Lord God presented unto him his wife. That must have been a happy moment with Adam. All other creation paled before this supreme gift from God.
3. Adam's statement. When Adam beheld the woman, he said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man." The expression which fell from Adam's lips portrays the unique oneness which exists between husband and wife. Between man and all living creatures, there was an impassable gulf, a chasm which no fellowship could breach. Man holds unspeakable superiority to the beasts of the field, to the fowl of the air, and to the cattle on a thousand hills.
Between man and woman there was an intimacy of relationship and fellowship, because the one was bone of bone, and flesh of flesh, with the other. In the light of this, how sacred does the marriage bond become, and how far from God's purpose and plan does divorce appear! What wreckage sin has wrought!
4. Adam's conclusion. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother," said Adam, "and shall cleave unto his wife." Some may argue that Genesis 2:24 was God's conclusion, and not Adam's. Perhaps so. Nevertheless, the eternal truth stands the same. Husband and wife are one flesh in the purpose of God until death do them part.
III. THE CREATION OF THE CHURCH (Ephesians 5:27 ; Ephesians 5:30-32 )
1. There was a longing in the heart of Christ. The creation included not only the Heaven and the earth, and all things therein, but God's greater creation included angel and archangel, cherubims and seraphims. However, in all of these there was found no helpmeet for Christ Christ Jesus holds a superiority to all things which He created both in Heaven and upon earth.
2. The Lord God put Christ to sleep upon the Cross. In Adam's open side, there is a distinct forecast of the open side of Christ, when the Roman soldier thrust in his spear. All believers know that the life is in the Blood. He died that we might live.
3. From the riven side of our Lord, His Bride is being formed. Adam said, "Bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh." Our key verse from Ephesians quotes Adam's very words, in speaking of the Church and adds: "For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones."
4. The unity between Christ and the Church. Christ prayed that they might be one as He and the Father were one. Adam and Eve were one flesh. This is the statement of Genesis 2:24 . In the quotation of this passage in Ephesians 5:31, Ephesians 5:33, the Spirit says, '"They two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church."
IV. DIVINE CONCLUSIONS (Ephesians 5:22-27 )
We have seen the parallelism between the creation of Eve, and that of the Church. We now understand why God did not simultaneously create Adam and Eve, Why God put Adam to sleep, why his side was opened, why the woman was formed and brought unto the man. God in the creation of Eve was writing, in beautiful and unmistakable symbolism, the story of the creation of the Church. Let us enlarge upon the deeper significance of the relationship between Christ and the Church.
1. Submission and its message. Ephesians 5:22 tells us that wives should submit themselves unto their own husbands as unto the Lord. Ephesians 5:24 tells us that the Church is subject unto Christ. The Church dare not step out from under the authority of the Lord Jesus, for He is the Head of the Church as well as the Saviour of the body.
2. Love and its voice. Ephesians 5:25 tells us that husbands should love their wives, as Christ also loved the Church. The proof of Christ's love is stated in the fact that He gave Himself for the Church. When love reigns in the place where authority reigns, the best interest of the beloved will always be safeguarded. The Church need not fear to follow Christ, for Christ is always working out its good.
3. The presentation and its glory. The marriage day is the day of adornment. The bride is robed in the very best that she can procure. So, also, will the Church be robed a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing.
V. THE GLORIOUS PRESENTATION (Genesis 2:22 l.c; Ephesians 5:27 )
1. The Lord God brought the woman unto the man. This was an epochal experience. Before Adam, stood the woman who was to share with him all his wealth of environment and glory of achievement. Together, they were to meet the issues of life. It would no longer be the man apart from the woman, nor the woman without the man. Marriage is the hour when two lives are made one.
There is a little story of the tribute money, in which Christ said to Peter, "Cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money." Then said the Lord, "That take, and give unto them for Me and thee." We call your attention to the union herein expressed between Christ and Peter. Christ was saying, "The piece of money which you will find in the mouth of the fish is for Me and thee." In other words, "We will share our resources." Christ, also, was saying, "You have a difficulty in meeting your taxes. We will face this difficulty together, Me and thee for it."
This is true of married life. Each is for the other, though both be for God. The possessions of the one belong to the other. The obligations of the one, are shared by the other.
2. The Lord God will present the Church to Christ. We cannot doubt the reality of the marriage of the Lamb. God likens it unto "a king who made a marriage for his son." We cannot conceive the absence of the father in that nuptial hour.
John wrote, "Blessed are they which are called unto the Marriage Supper of the Lamb." These are the true sayings of God. To the wife it was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
From the day of the marriage in the skies, it shall be each for the other, together will we meet our future, together will we enjoy the indescribable riches of our Heavenly Bridegroom.
VI. THE GREAT CALL (Genesis 2:24 )
1. A profound pronouncement. Adam foresaw the breaking of home ties in order to establish another and a newer home. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Each individual family has been builded, so to speak, upon the wreckage of a prior family.
Even the eagle understands this law of God. For when its young grow up and have wings of their own with which to fly, the mother bird "stirs up her nest." She wrecks her home, so that the eaglets may learn to fly for themselves. At first her young may be filled with fear, as they behold, the one who has always fed and fostered them, tearing up her nest. Yet the mother bird swoops down, bears them aloft on her wings, then lets them fall again, and so on, until they have learned to trust their own wings.
2. A pictorial pronouncement. Jesus Christ said, "He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me." Again He said, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me."
When God called Abraham, He said unto him, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house." This is still God's call. We leave one home to form another. The first fades away, that the second may be established. In all things the new affections must superabound over the old. Christ must be first. He must hold the center of our heart's love. He must rule in an unbroken headship.
VII. THE BRIDE'S HOME (Genesis 2:15 )
1. The Garden of Eden. Eden was filled with all the benefactions that a beneficent God could devise. We have seen many a garden of fragrance and beauty, but we have never seen anything that could approach the glory of Eden. Adam and Eve dwelt mid an environment that delighted the eyes, and satisfied every longing of the physical.
2. The New Jerusalem. This is the City and the Abode of the Bride, the Lamb's Wife. How marvelous will be the City that shall descend out of Heaven from God! Its streets are of fine gold; it will have the glory of God. Its light will be like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, pure as crystal. Its wall will be great and high: its gates will be twelve, and each one will be one pearl. The walls of the City will be of jasper, and the City will be of pure gold, as transparent glass. The foundations of the wall will be garnished with all precious stones: the jasper, the sapphire, the chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, sardius, chrysolyte, beryl, topaz, chrysoprasus, jacinth, and amethyst.
The glory of God will lighten the City, and the Lamb will be the Light thereof. A river clear as crystal will course through the City; on either side of the City will be the tree of life, bearing twelve manner of fruits, and yielding its fruit every month. Such is the description, as God gives the glory of our Heavenly Home.
We may not have a Garden of Eden, but we can "Look Up." "The Word so beautifully says, 'Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.' In the sad, silent midnight watches they see God, and mid sorrow and death they look above and see the Lord. I recently read an incident that illustrates this beautifully. At a recent church conference, Dr. Horton told the story of a professor who invariably prefaced his lectures with this remark: 'When I was walking in my garden, I thought.' He then would frequently bring forth such beautiful thoughts that his students began to think their master's garden must be very fine to inspire such splendid thoughts. One day one of the students went to see the garden and found it to be a little narrow back yard. 'Your garden!' he exclaimed. 'How narrow! How secluded and how poor!' 'Ah!' answered the professor, 'but see how high it is. It reaches to the heavens.'
"So, look up; look to the eternal hills, to God on His throne. Look upon Him and by so doing, you can conquer all of life's problems and difficulties." A. C. S.
The First Woman
Genesis 2:20-25 ; Genesis 3:1-16
When we enter into the Bible story of creation there is something that makes it all seem so real, so definite, and so certain. Evolution has nothing of certainty in it; the story of creation has everything. For instance, the whole earth was prepared for God's creation of man. Everything that man needed for sustenance, for clothing, for pleasure, was to be found in the physical creation. Thus, as we enter the Garden of Eden, we enter a realm beautiful beyond description.
There was just one lack in it all, and that is expressed in the Scriptures in the words of Genesis 2:20, "but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him." In the above Scripture is the account of the creation of that "help meet." We are to speak of the first woman, who was the mother of us all.
May we here bring before you a line of thought which is often overlooked in the study of the creation. The usual conception of Genesis 1:2-3 is that in it we have the beginnings of things historical so far as the physical earth and its first inhabitants are concerned. The part overlooked is that in the historicity of the first chapters of Genesis we have an unveiling of prophecy such as is not found elsewhere in the Word of God. We mean that God, when He created the heavens and the earth, the cattle, and every living thing, and also man, was unveiling the far-flung vision of His purposes and plans which He had formed before the world was.
Let us give you a few Scriptures bearing upon this:
1.Ephesians 1:4-5, Ephesians 1:7-9 . "According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world." Our mind's go back in this verse before Adam and Eve were created. It was then that we were chosen in Christ. It was then that we were predestinated unto the adoption of children.
Not only, however, do Ephesians 1:4 and Ephesians 1:5 lead us into God's eternal purpose, but Ephesians 1:8 and Ephesians 1:9 tell us that the riches of His grace abounded toward us "in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself." We take it, therefore, that God not only planned His creation, but that He revealed unto us His plan.
2. Our second Scripture is 2 Timothy 1:9 ; "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, * * according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."
With these two Scriptures before us we need not marvel that in every historical event God was making known unto men His foredetermined purposes. Let us suggest one of these.
When we read in Genesis 1:1 that "In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth," we think of nothing but a good and perfected creation. The 2nd verse tells us, however, how the earth became waste and void. Genesis 1:3 follows with the statement, "And God said, Let there be light." In this is the story of man.
First of all, God created man and he was perfect. Then came the fall by Adam's sin; next, God said, "Let there be light," and the light shown in the darkened heart, and man was brought, by the Blood of Christ, into the new life. The creation of Genesis 1:1-31, thus, anticipates the creation of the new man.
Thus we might go on, from passage to passage, through the whole Book of Genesis showing how history became prophecy, because God so ordered; His acts, that they prophesy His eternal purposes in redemption.
I. EVE CREATED (Genesis 2:21-22 )
1. Adam's lack. "There was not found an help meet for him." It was for this cause that God made the woman, and presented her unto the man. In this we recognize that, in all of the creation of God, including angels, archangels, cherubim, and seraphim, there was found no helpmeet for Christ.
2. The manner of Eve's creation. Genesis 2:21 says, "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man." Many mock at this, and call it the "rib story"; however, in it lies hidden the marvelous message that on the Cross the side of Jesus Christ was opened, that from that side His Bride might be formed.
3. The consummation. Genesis 2:22 tells us how God brought the woman, whom He had made, unto the man. We would not detain you by discussing the joy that Adam felt as, awaking from sleep, he beheld the woman. We would rather ask you to put your mind upon another scene which will come to pass when the Church shall be presented unto Christ in the air, a glorious Church without spot or wrinkle of any kind. It will be a blessed hour when the Lamb is married. Even now it seems that the nuptial hour is hastening on. It will not be long until God will send out His invitations for the Bridal Feast. We read, "Blessed are they which are called unto the Marriage Supper of the Lamb."
II. ADAM'S STATEMENT CONCERNING THE WOMAN (Genesis 2:23-24 )
As Adam beheld the woman standing before him in all her glory and beauty, he said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh,"
Therefore, the woman, Eve, received by the man Adam, as a "help meet," stands before us as the. basis of God's dealing's in the Christian home. In Ephesians these very words just quoted are used by the Spirit with this additional statement: "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church." The first woman, therefore, stands before us as a Divinely-given type of the Church which is Christ's body, and, also, His Bride, Even now, we can hear the call of our God to leave all father, mother, brothers, sisters, houses, and lands, and to cleave unto Christ. As the husband and wife are reckoned as one flesh, so does Christ reckon Himself with us as one flesh. The Epistles tell us that Christ is our life. We do not have two lives: He, one, and we, the other. The life which we now have is Christ in us the hope of glory.
Adam made a wonderful statement about the woman, a statement that reached down through the years in all family relationships, but which, also, prophesied those keener, closer, spiritual relationships which must ever exist between Christ and His Church.
III. EVE DECEIVED BY SATAN (Genesis 3:1-6 )
We enter now into a sad story. God had created the man and the woman with a nature that was holy and pure, but not impeccable. It was possible for Adam and Eve to sin. Thus it was that Satan, covering his personality in the form of a serpent, approached the woman, and, with a slur, said, "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die."
In this the woman overstated God's command. God did not say, "neither shall ye touch it." Satan replied, "Ye shall not surely die; For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Immediately, the enemy impuned, not only the Truth of God, but that God had uttered an untruth in order to get the sacred pair into subjection to His will. Mark now the three things which overcame the woman.
1. She saw that the tree was good for food. There was the lust of the flesh.
2. She saw that it was pleasant to the eyes. There was the lust of the eyes.
3. She saw it as a tree desired to make one wise. There was the pride of life. There are the three things which belong to the world. It is in 1 John 2:16 that these words are written, "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." The temptation of Christ in the wilderness, when Satan met Him, was patterned after this same vain conception.
IV. THE IMMEDIATE RESULTS OF EVE'S SIN (Genesis 3:7 , l.c., 8)
1. There was a sense of their shame. They saw that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together for aprons. In this, we have written ahead of time the present-day effort of men and women to cover their sins with a covering that is altogether objectionable to God.
You remember that God, when He saw their fig leaves, went into the garden and brought the skins of beasts with which they were to be clothed. It is the same story over and over again. That which we cover, God will uncover; that which God covers, will never be uncovered.
2. There was a sense of their fear. Our verse tells us that they hid themselves in the trees of the Garden. This is exactly what sin does today. It makes men afraid of God. The sinner loves darkness rather than light because his deeds are evil. He cannot hide himself from God, and yet he is forever trying to do it. Has not God said that He fills the whole heavens and the whole earth? The Psalmist truly said, "Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into Heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there."
There is no place that we can go where God does not see us for His eyes run to and fro through the whole earth, and all things are naked and open unto Him with whom we have to do. If there is anyone desiring to clothe his shame, let him be clothed with the robe of the slain Lamb of Calvary.
If there is anyone wanting to hide from God, let him the rather come and cast himself upon the mercy of the God who says, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
V. GOD'S QUESTIONINGS (Genesis 3:9-10 )
1. God came walking in the Garden of Eden. He first asked Adam a question, and afterward He asked the woman a question. To Adam God said, "Where art thou?" This question should be considered by every unsaved man and woman: Where are you, and whither do you travel?
"Oh, to have no Christ, no Savior,
How dark the world must be!
Like a steamer, lost and driven
On a wild and shoreless sea."
In answer Adam said, "I heard Thy voice in the Garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."
Oh, sinner, if thine own heart condemns thee, God is greater than thy heart. Are you afraid to stand in His sacred presence? Does His holiness cause thee to cower? Does His justice cause thee to cringe?
2. Then He asked Eve a question. He said, "What is this that thou hast done?" If we could only sin to ourselves! If our wrongdoing's could only end in their dire effects upon us alone, it would be different. God, however, has plainly told us that no man lives unto himself. Every life is indissolubly linked to every other life. The ties that bind become more apparent to those who are in our immediate environment. The sins of the parent are passed on to the children unto the third and fourth generation.
Could Adam and Eve have only looked down through the centuries and seen the havoc which was wrought by their first sin, we wonder if they would not have done differently!
If we could only look down the years and see how far-reaching is every evil act of ours, we are sure that we would live more carefully.
VI. THE CURSE UPON THE WOMAN (Genesis 3:15-16 )
In our scripture we read, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel." Then addressing the woman God said, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception."
In these two statements which we have partly given, we find:
1. A continual conflict between Satan and the woman: a conflict which was to head up in a final battle between Satan and the Seed of the woman, which is Christ. We have learned in history that the enmity between Satan and the woman never ceased. The devil goes about still as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. He, and the powers which are under his control, are ever working against the good of the race.
There was a man who was driven of the devil into the wilderness. There was a woman whom Satan had bound. There were two saints into whose hearts Satan entered, causing them to He to the Holy Ghost. Satan asked that he might have Peter to sift him as wheat.
Where is he who has not felt the enmity between Satan and the Seed of the woman? The climax is in one particular sin.
2. A great sorrow as a result of sin. When God said to the woman, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow," He spoke particularly of her womanhood and motherhood. Our minds pass from the Garden down through the centuries until we stand amazed at the Cross, and behold Jesus Christ, the Man of Sorrows, hanging between two thieves. It is the hour of His travail, but from His sorrow and His travail children are born. Thus it is that Heaven itself shall be filled with sons born out of the travail of the Son of God.
VII. THE AFTERMATH (Genesis 3:23-24 )
Out from the Garden went Adam and Eve. They went with heads bowed and their hearts heavy. Behind them they left the tree of life and its wonderful fruit. Behind them they left Eden, and all of its glories. They left the sweetness of fellowship they had with God. They went into a world whose ground was cursed, to soil which brought forth thorns and thistles. They left the rest, comfort, and peace of the Garden of Eden. They went to a place where they should eat bread in the sweat of their brows. They went from life into the realm of death under the words, "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
The aftermath of the Garden of Eden is plainly written all around us. It is still seen transmitted from one to another, for we read, "In sin did my mother conceive me."
There is not a place where we turn our faces that sin does not reign unto death. Everything that is born is bora to die. It all fades as fades the summer day. The summer turns to fall, and we see the trees made bare, and the ground soon covered with snow. We seem to behold everything that man touches in decay. The light of the eyes daily dims; the step becomes more and more feeble until man goes to his home, The darkest picture, however, in sin's aftermath is not physical death, but it is eternal death. It is not separation from the Garden of Eden, but it is separation from that City whose Builder and Maker is God. It is that separation which means that the wicked shall be cast into hell, and all nations shall reject God.
The literature of all ages has paid tribute to mother, the chronicles of all nations acknowledge their debt to her. And the sacred Word is full of the highest homage to mothers. "The Lord could not be everywhere, so He made mothers," said a Jewish rabbi. "Mother in Israel" has become a term of the highest regard. The Fifth Commandment, and the first with promise, says, "Honor thy * * mother."
Eve, the mother of the human race, as her name signified, is shown in her motherhood naming her children as gifts from God.
Sarah was promised to be the "mother of nations," and manifested her motherhood in her solicitude for Isaac.
Rachel, the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, is held forth as the most lovable character and appearance, and her name used frequently in later history.
In the mother of Moses, recorded only as "A daughter of Levi," is a most beautiful presentation of unselfish motherhood. She crushed her own feelings, hid her wealth of love for her beautiful baby that his life might be spared. And what wonderful reward was hers when she saw in her boy God's deliverer for Israel.
In Naomi, made more famous by her daughter-in-law Ruth, is pictured a faithful mother.
There is no more beautiful mother in history than Hannah, the mother of Samuel. Consecrating her child before birth to God's work, she bravely fulfilled her vow. In quiet and faith she prepares him for the future. When the time came she took him to the temple and left him for God's service.
But it is in the New Testament that we find the culmination of the exaltation of motherhood in the life of Mary, the mother of Christ. From the time that the angel announced to her, "Blessed art thou among women," until the day that Jesus said from the Cross to his beloved disciple, "Behold thy mother," she was ever the highest type of motherhood. R. E. Stewart.
The Cross in Genesis
Genesis 2:22-25 ; Genesis 3:1-24
If Jesus Christ, in the purposes of God, was given to die before the world was formed, or before man was created; and if man, when he sinned, had no other way of salvation than through the Cross; and if God, in mercy, desired the salvation of the first fallen pair, we certainly would expect to find, in the opening chapters of Genesis, definite statements concerning Christ's Calvary work. It will be the purpose of this lesson to seek out, and to present, through the various sub-leaders, six distinctive Scriptural statements found in Genesis 2:1-25 and Genesis 3:1-24, which, unmistakably, anticipate the Cross of Christ.
God was not slow in making known to Adam and to Eve, His purpose and plan of redemption. God loved Adam, even after he had sinned. God knew that the wages of sin was death to the first man as well as to the last man, and God wanted the first man and the last man, and all men lying in between them, to be saved. God's great commission is to every creature. We, to be sure, can do no more than preach the Gospel to our own generation, but we must preach it until the last man has heard it.
In the Garden of Eden, there was, however, no man whom God could appoint as an ambassador to carry the Gospel of redemption to Adam and to Eve. Therefore, the Lord God Himself bore the message. It will be interesting to see how the Father sent forth the story of the Cross before ever Adam had been expelled from the garden.
I. "HE TOOK ONE OF HIS RIBS, AND CLOSED UP THE FLESH INSTEAD, THEREOF" (Genesis 2:21 )
In all of the beasts of the field and in all of the fowls of the air, which were brought unto Adam, there was found no helpmeet for Adam. God had pronounced His creation "good," and it was good. However, the creation was made subject to Adam; and, therefore, was not on an equality with Adam. God purposed, therefore, to create an helpmeet for Adam. In order to do this, He caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and, as Adam slept, the Lord God took out one of his ribs. With the rib taken from the man, God made a woman and brought her unto the man. Then it was that Adam said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."
In this whole Divine record, God gave a portraiture of Jesus Christ, put to sleep in death upon Calvary's Cross. As God opened Adam's side, we can almost see the sword that was thrust into the side of Christ from whence Blood and water immediately exuded. Man severed the side of the Christ of Calvary, but it was God who made His soul an offering for sin.
God wanted His Son to have an helpmeet, and that helpmeet could only be obtained through Christ's opened side.
The New Testament, in Ephesians, in quoting from Genesis 2:24, says, "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh." Then the Spirit added these remarkable words, "This is a great mystery: but I speak of Christ and the Church." Let us remember, therefore, that "we are members of His Body, of His flesh, and of His bones."
II. "IT SHALL BRUISE THY HEAD, AND THOU SHALT BRUISE HIS HEEL" (Genesis 3:15 )
The first vision of the Cross was graciously set forth by the Lord before Adam had sinned.
Afterward when Eve had been created, and the serpent tempted the woman, she did eat. Then Adam was tempted by the woman and he did eat. The eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked.
The Lord God came in the cool cf the day, walking in the Garden, and Adam and Eve heard His voice. The result was that the sinning pair quickly hid themselves from the presence of the Lord amongst the trees of the garden. God cried out, "Where art thou?" When Adam saw that he could not hide himself, he said, "I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."
How stirring is the sentence that fell from the lips of God, as He addressed the woman. "What is this that thou hast done?" The answer to this question includes the whole entail of sin, as it has been wrought out through the centuries and millenniums of man's history, with its unutterable and unimaginable woe.
As God pronounced the curse, He also pronounced the promise of redemption. Standing there in the Garden of Eden, was the serpent, Satan inhabited. Adam and Eve also stood before God. God first cursed the serpent, and then, He said, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel."
No one can fail to see that in this statement of the bruising of the serpent's head and the bruising of Christ's heel, there "is a plain and positive reference to Christ's Calvary work!
The Holy Spirit, as recorded in Colossians 2:14-15, says, "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it."
The Lord Jesus Christ met Satan in the wilderness, and demonstrated the fact of His supremacy and Deity. He met him on the cross and vanquished him. By virtue of that Cross, He will soon altogether undo the works of the devil, cast him into the pit of the abyss, and ultimately into the lake of fire. Then will He have redeemed all of His chosen and believing people for ever from Satan and his wiles.
III. "UNTO THE WOMAN HE SAID, I WILL GREATLY MULTIPLY THY SORROW" (Genesis 3:16 )
The sorrow of the woman anticipates another sorrow. In the garden, as God spoke, and His voice sounded the words applying sorrow unto womanhood and motherhood, there came back down the ages and from the Cross the echo of God's Words. The echo seemed to say, "He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied." Unto the woman God said, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow." Back from the Cross of Christ come the words, "He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows." Jesus was the man of sorrows. Every child born to woman in this world is a child of sorrow and of travail. Every Christian, born to God, has been born through the anguish, the sorrow, the travail of Calvary.
IV. "CURSED IS THE GROUND FOR THY SAKE" (Genesis 3:17 )
As the Lord God pronounced the curse upon man, He likewise cursed the ground for man's sake. The result was quickly evident, "In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee."
The Holy Spirit bears testimony that "the whole creation groaneth, and travaileth in pain together until now." The Spirit also says, "The creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope." Thus it is that nature, which is under the curse, bearing thorns and thistles, shall ultimately be delivered from its bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Into the Garden of Eden, we step once more. Now, as we hear the voice of God saying, "Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee," we want to listen, and see if we can catch the echo coming back to us from the Cross. Listen to the words, "And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head," "and they smote Him on the head with a reed."
How soul-stirring is this symbolism! The very thorns which God in Eden pronounced as the entail of man's sin, pressed the brow of Christ, the Sin-bearer. The reed, the result of sin's curse on nature, was used to drive the thorns deeper into His blessed brow.
What is the result? Anticipating the Calvary work of Christ, the Prophet said, "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle tree." Thank God, Calvary is God's full response to Eden's curse!
V. "IN THE SWEAT OF THY FACE SHALT THOU EAT BREAD" (Genesis 3:19 )
Once more we see the result of sin. God said, that until man returned unto the ground, out of which he was taken, he should eat in the sweat of his brow. From the day of God's pronouncement, in the Garden of Eden, until this very hour, man energized by Satan, or under the skill of his own genius, has sought to undo this curse.
Early in the chapters of Genesis (chap. 4) we read of Jubal who was the father of all such who handle the harp and organ. The very suggestion here is an effort to alleviate the sting of sin. Today, with twentieth century comforts abounding, man has sought to attain ultimate freedom from the curse the sweat of his face. But man's efforts are. unavailing he sweats on.
Let us now, as we hear God's voice saying, "in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread," listen again for the echo from Gethsemane and from the Cross: We read, "And His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." The sweat of Christ, in Gethsemane, and His visage more marred, than any man, as He died upon the Cross, is the answer to God's curse in Eden concerning the sweat of the brow. No one will dare to deny this. What is the result of this Calvary work? We read in Revelation, "And there shall be no more curse," and "they shall see His face; and His Name shall be in their foreheads." We also read, "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away."
VI. "UNTO ADAM AND ALSO TO HIS WIFE DID THE LORD GOD MAKE COATS OF SKINS, AND CLOTHED THEM" (Genesis 3:21 )
When Adam and Eve discovered that they were naked, they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons. This was natural, but altogether unsatisfactory with God. Men are still prone to seek to cover their sin with garments of their own self-righteousness. There was no suggestion of Calvary, or of the Blood in the sewed fig leaves. Neither is there any suggestion of Calvary in much of the religion of today.
When God went out and slew the beasts, and took their coats of skin, to clothe Adam and Eve, He seemed to be anticipating that we are to be clothed in robes made white in the Blood of the Lamb.
How striking then is that statement in Revelation 7:1-17, where John beheld a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations and kindred and people and tongues? John saw them standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. They were crying with a loud voice, "Salvation to our God, which sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb." Then one of the elders asked John saying, "What are these that are arrayed in white robes, and whence came they?" John said unto him, "Sir thou knowest." The elder replied, "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb."
Thus, from the Garden of Eden, as God brings the coats of skin to clothe the naked pair, taking away withal their coats of fig leaves, we seem to catch again the echo from Calvary's Cross, "What man covers, God uncovers, but what man uncovers in his contrition and confession of sin, God covers." It will be a wonderful thing to stand before the Throne of God, clothed in garments made white in the Blood of the Lamb!
During the Civil war, George Stewart, the president of the Christian Commission, was hurrying on his way on horseback to the Army encamped in Virginia, When, as he approached the lines the sentinel cried out, "Halt."
Stewart drew rein and said, "What is wanted?" "The countersign," said the soldier. Mr. Stewart explained that he was on a hurried trip and that he had left headquarters forgetting to ask for the countersign. The sentinel on picket duty made him return eight miles to get the required countersign.
When, several hours later, Stewart returned with the password, he was allowed to enter the lines. After he had passed by the sentinel, he stopped his horse and turning round, said, "Sentinel, you may want to enter Heaven one of these days, and do you know the countersign to Glory?" "That I do," said the soldier; "it is 'The Blood of Jesus Christ [God's] Son cleanseth us from all sin'." "That is right," said Stewart, "who told you so?" "You did sir, for you are the very man who taught me that Christ died for me, and I am saved."
Let us all be sure that we are "under the Blood" for there is no other way of salvation provided for sinners.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Genesis 2". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
Second Sunday after Epiphany