Gospel Wednesday | Noah, a Preacher of Righteousness

GWWe wrapped up our tour of the Gospel According to Matthew last week. With the Advent season coming up quickly, I’m reluctant to dive straight into the Gospel According to Mark just yet. So, for the next several weeks, we are going to be looking at the Gospel displayed throughout the Bible. I think a great place to start this week’s lesson is with Noah. We discussed the wickedness in the earth in the time of Noah in our CTT post this past Monday, so let’s do some review and round out some of the Gospel edges here today.

For starters, let us address the common error of treating the Old Testament as a history book and the New Testament as the Christian book. The Early Church was established on the Gospel of Jesus Christ but the text that was preached was the Old Testament. We see this in the Acts of the Apostles.

Acts 17:1-3 (ESV) | Paul and Silas in Thessalonica

17 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.”

Therefore, we must rightly consider the whole of the Bible (both Old and New Testaments) the Christian Scriptures. The hermeneutic we employ, is to seek to identify Law (which identifies our sin) and Gospel (Jesus Christ)  in the Scriptures. As a layman, I rely heavily on my pastor’s teaching and on the New Testament’s revelation of what is found in the Old Testament. We are going to look into the Noah account, but first let us begin in the New Testament for some insight.

Noah, a herald of righteousness

We’ll begin our study in 2 Peter 2.

2 Peter 2:1-11 (ESV) | False Prophets and Teachers

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones,11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord.

Here, we begin with the Law. We see in this passage a strong rebuke against false prophets and teachers who blaspheme the Way of Truth. Their condemnation and destruction is imminent. The wages of sin is death. The follow up to declaring the judgement due the false teachers is pointing the readers to the fall of creation, first the angels, and then the rest of the earth, save Noah. Noah is highlighted here as a herald of righteousness. The Greek word being translated herald here is κῆρυξ (Strong’s Number G2783). This same word is also translated “preacher” in the following text:

2 Timothy 1:8-12 (ESV) Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a [κῆρυξpreacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

A preacher is a herald of Law and Gospel… if he’s doing his job. I love that the counter to false teachers/preachers is Noah, a preacher who by modern-day standards was ineffective since only his family “got saved”. A solid reason to reject our modern-day standards for “effective ministry”, don’t you think?

So, let us turn now to Genesis 6 for our main text.

Genesis 6 (ESV)

Genesis 6:1-8 (ESV) | Increasing Corruption on Earth

When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.

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. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

The language of verse 2 is very similar to that of Genesis 3:6, when Eve saw the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that it was good for food and a delight to her eye. The temptation was external, but the sin is internal… the desire for that which looks good but is indeed forbidden.

There are those who teach that the Nephilim were half-human and half-angel beings. There are some major problems with that understanding, first is that angels and humans are completely different kinds of created beings (thus they cannot produce offspring) and Jesus made it clear that angels are not married nor are they given in marriage (Matthew 22:29-31). Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God, and nowhere in the Bible do we see angels granted sonship. When we consider the Bible to be first and foremost a revelation of Jesus Christ, we can look for a better understanding of what is being explained in this passage regarding the Nephilim, the sons of God and the daughters of man. As Christians, we understand that by Faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, we are adopted as sons and daughters of the Most High God. As I pointed out earlier, too often we treat the Old Testament as mere history, almost as if what takes place before Christ was pre-faith. That’s an error. When God created man and placed him in the Garden, God also gave a command that required faith to obey:

Genesis 2:15-17 (ESV) The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Adam had no concept of evil or death; therefore, faith was required to obey this command. After being tempted, they doubted and lacked faith, and fell into sin, thus death entered creation through man’s sin. Now, as soon as man sinned God then pronounced His judgement against the serpent and mankind, He also included in that judgement a Promise of redemption by the seed of woman, that salvation would indeed come, the Messiah, the Christ, that is Jesus, the Only Begotten Son of God. They had no idea when, but those who were of faith in the Promise of God were credited with righteousness (Hebrews 11). When we see mankind bearing children, we first see Cain and Abel. Cain was older than Abel, but Abel had faith while Cain did not, and Cain killed Abel. Cain is exiled, a son of man, but not of God for he lacked faith. The descendants of Cain were the sons of men, for they lacked faith. God grants Adam and Eve another son, Seth, a son of the Promise. The descendants of Seth were of faith and thus were the sons of God by faith. This is what we see played out in the Genealogies found in Genesis 5, leading up to Noah, a son of God by faith, for we know that he was a preacher of righteousness.

However, at this time we see that many of the sons of God had taken as wives the daughters of men… Sethites were marrying unbelieving Cainites… and their children were described as Nephilim. The Hebrew word here is a plural word that is sometimes translated as “giants”. They could have been giants (these men had centuries-long lifespans), but that’s not the only possible understanding of the word. Another possibility is looking at the verb naphal used by God to describe Cain’s fallen countenance (Gen 4:6) upon seeing that Abel’s offering was accepted where his was not. Nephilim could also be “fallen ones”, a worthy description of the fruit of believers being unequally yoked with unbelievers. Still conjecture on my part, but I think it holds better to the picture of unbelief versus faith, sin versus grace, Law versus Gospel. Let us continue in our text.

Genesis 6:9-22 (ESV) | Noah and the Flood

These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. 15 This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. 16 Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17 For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. 1But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive. 21 Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up. It shall serve as food for you and for them.” 22 Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.

And so God destroyed the earth and all that was on it. God saved Noah and 7 with him, along with enough of the clean and unclean animals for repopulating what remained of the corrupted earth. Judgement came to the earth, but Grace prevailed for He had promised a Son. The ark points to our Savior, Jesus Christ, as we saw in 1 Peter 3.

1 Peter 3:18-22 (ESV) 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah,while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

The ark bore the brunt of the destructive waters, keeping and preserving those inside safely through to their Salvation. We who are in Christ Jesus by faith are also being kept and preserved through the waters of baptism, death to sin, and will be with Him in the Resurrection.

God made His covenant to Noah, whom He saved by His Grace. God Promised not to destroy the whole earth again by water, and placed His bow in the clouds as a reminder of His promise to us… the descendants of Noah. Noah is now the keeper of the Promise of the Messiah who was to come. In all of its awesomeness, this is but a foreshadowing of the coming Messiah, who came, lived, was crucified and died for our sins, and was Resurrected as the first fruits of the Kingdom, Creation that is to come. We still walk in the corrupted flesh of the cursed Earth… but by faith, we’ve been sealed with the Promise of Eternal Life in the Kingdom of Heaven, the New Heaven and the New Earth, in New Bodies borne of the Spirit by the Grace of God in Christ Jesus.

Next Week…

Next week is a very busy week for our household, so I may be sharing a F4F episode of Rosebrough’s Ramblings through Genesis rather than put together a full write-up of my own. We’ll see, but I think we will be skipping ahead for a look at the life of Joseph and how he points us ahead to Jesus Christ. Until then, be blessed and spend time in God’s Word with your family and friends.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-24 (ESV) | Final Instructions and Benediction

12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies,21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil. 23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Friday Sermon | “Why I Don’t Believe in Atheists” by Phil Johnson

PhilJohnson-GraceLifeFor today’s good sermon, we’ll be visiting Grace Life Church’s online ministry the Grace Life Pulpit. Our sermon for today is delivered by Phil Johnson and was preached on Sunday, December 28, 2014. Grace Life Pulpit provides a transcript on their website here.

The sermon text is Romans 1:19-20, but he also goes back to Genesis 1:1

Romans 1:19-20 (ESV)
19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

If you’d rather just listen to this sermon click the link below:

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

CTT | What is the Biblical Stance on Racism?

CTTThe Bible has many references to people groups, nations, and lineage, but does that make it racist? Not in the way we generally think of racism. In our modern-day we tend to focus on visible distinctions (skin color, hair type, or language) and we use those distinctions to malign people. The color of a person’s skin is used to determine if a statement or decision was racist, wrongfully exempting some and falsely accusing others of racism. When the world rejects Truth and defines all “right and wrong” based on self we shouldn’t really find double-standards all that surprising. We live in a day where sinful judgement takes place all of the time and is often smoke-screened with ad hominem attacks and straw-man racism. Rather than discuss the issues at hand, many who struggle with racism who are caught without a valid argument are the first to play the “racist” card. The world is lost because it has rejected the Truth of God’s Word.

Romans 1:18-20 (ESV)18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

So enough about how wrong and sinful the world is today. Let us turn to the Truth of God’s Word to explore this notion of racism and see what the Bible has to say on the matter.

God Created Mankind as One Kind, a single race.

Let us begin on the sixth day of Creation Week.

Genesis 1:24-31 (ESV) 24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Every living creature is created according to its kind. When God created plant life (day 3), He instituted the concept of bearing seed after it own kind. Each kind of plant will only bear seed of its own kind, and it will not bear the seed of a different kind. A banana kind will not suddenly bear seeds for stone fruit (like peaches). When the Bible refers to procreation of man, it uses the same rules of seed bearing after its own kind. The Hebrew word (אָדָם) is translated Adam, man, and mankind. All of mankind are a single race. That any man can join with any woman and produce children after their own kind demonstrates this truth. The creation account in Chapter 2 further illustrates this truth.

Genesis 2:18-20 (ESV) 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.

In all of creation, there was no helper suitable for Adam. Therefore God created woman out of man and joined them together. One race, one kind, and it was all very good. Now, God designed within Creation a wide array of variety, for we have classified many variations within kinds (different cats, dogs, fruit, vegetables) of the lower creatures and within mankind (heights, weights, skin tones, hair types, eye colors, etc). Before the fall, there was only Adam and his wife, but the genetic material was all there. With sin came the curse, and degradation of all of creation. Divisions of mankind happened, but they did not become different kinds.

The Reset in the Time of Noah

We know that there was great variety in mankind after the fall as they multiplied on the earth. There were men of great renown (Nephilim or giants) in those days and after the flood (Sons of Anak; Numbers 13 (ESV)).  In Genesis 6, we see God is grieved by the wickedness of mankind on the earth and brought judgement upon it, saving Noah and his family. Now all people groups, all of the race of mankind is preserved in the 8 who were aboard the Ark. After the flood, the face of the whole Earth was changed, as well as its climate, and the need to survive in multivarious environments had to have been designed into the mankind by God, and it was. All of mankind spoke one language, and were one people.

Now sin persists in mankind and soon after the flood and the first harvest of the vine, Ham, sinned against his father, Noah. Noah curses Canaan, the son of Ham, as punishment for the wrong committed him by Ham. This becomes our first major separation of people groups, the sons of Canaan become subjects to Japheth and Shem who did what was right by Noah. This is a prophetic judgement on the house of Canaan, one God revisits in the time of Abraham.

Genesis 17:7-9 (ESV) 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. 8 And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.” 9 And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations.

Abraham was a descendant of Shem. But how did the groups become so foreign to one another in the time that passed between Shem and Abraham, such that Abraham was a sojourner in the land of Canaan?

The Tower of Babel

Let’s look turn to the beginning of Genesis 11.

Genesis 11:1-9 (ESV) | The Tower of Babel
1 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” 5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.

So, we see the first separation of people groups after the flood comes as a direct result of sin committed against Noah. A prophetic declaration of separation from the sons of Shem and Japheth and the sons of Ham. After some time, we have a second, major separation when God confused the languages of the people. Remember that everything here was written by Moses as he recorded God’s eye-witness account. We have some clue as to how the languages divided the people by looking at the genealogies recorded in chapter 10, particularly in how the accounts of the descendants of Japheth, Ham, and Shem are concluded. Let’s look at the descendants of Ham.

Genesis 10:6-20 (ESV) 6 The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan.

7 The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca.

The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan.

Cush fathered Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man.He was a mighty hunter before the Lord. Therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord.” 10 The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11 From that land he went into Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, and 12 Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city. 13 Egypt fathered Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, 14 Pathrusim, Casluhim (from whom the Philistines came), and Caphtorim.

15 Canaan fathered Sidon his firstborn and Heth, 16 and the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, 17 the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, 18 the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites. Afterward the clans of the Canaanites dispersed. 19 And the territory of the Canaanites extended from Sidon in the direction of Gerar as far as Gaza, and in the direction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. 20 These are the sons of Ham, by their clans, their languages, their lands, and their nations.

I’ve highlighted several of the people groups that would become enemies of Israel, worshipers of false gods, wicked men of old. I am confident that most of the highlighted ones are easily recognized while a couple (Heth and Cush) might not be so. We looked at the significance of the descendants of Heth in the story of Jacob and Esau. We will take a look at Cush, but for now I’d like to draw your attention to the significance of Nimrod, the first on earth to be a mighty man. Now, we know that there were Nephilim or giants before the flood, so here the connotation is that Nimrod is perhaps the first earthly king. The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh. This is significant in understanding what went wrong in the building of the Tower of Babel. After having established his kingdom, he sought to build a tower into Heaven, to be like God, and he had the support of the people. We see that when he left the land of Shinar, he built Nineveh.

After God confused the languages of the people, they dispersed in clans, languages, and nations over the Earth. When their languages split, so did their gene pools and their cultures. Very few remembered God their creator… as we see in chapter 12, God calls Abram to leave the land of his family (Ur of the Chaldeans) into a land that God would give him. We see God calling Abram out of the dispersion of people who had at one time committed to build a monument to themselves, a tower to Heaven. Much like today, when the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to call out of the world a people for Himself. The key separation here is a people who follow and worship the One True God, the descendants of Abraham.

What about skin color?

Skin color has already varied because our genetic makeup has already been set; however, it has not been mentioned as a determining factor in dividing people groups. Now that we have clans and languages split, and the post-flood world, it stands to reason that skin color may become more and more significant in the natural selection process based on climate and language. Answers in Genesis did a good job of explaining how skin type plays a role in natural selection with regards to climates.

Fast-forwarding to Moses as he records the Law, he is God’s chosen prophet to the children of Israel. God used Moses to deliver Israel from their slavery in Egypt, and to lead the people of Israel through the wilderness while God made Himself known to Israel first, and the rest of mankind later. He promised Abraham that the nations would be blessed by his offspring, that is Jesus Christ, through whom all mankind might be saved from the wrath earned by their sin. In Numbers, chapter 12, we see events transpire that would easily qualify as racism in today’s vernacular.

Numbers 12  (ESV) | Miriam and Aaron Oppose Moses
12 Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman. 2 And they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. 3 Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth. 4 And suddenly the Lord said to Moses and to Aaron and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting.” And the three of them came out. 5 And the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the tent and called Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forward. 6 And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. 7 Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. 8 With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” 9 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and he departed. 10 When the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, like snow. And Aaron turned toward Miriam, and behold, she was leprous. 11 And Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, do not punish us because we have done foolishly and have sinned. 12 Let her not be as one dead, whose flesh is half eaten away when he comes out of his mother’s womb.” 13 And Moses cried to the Lord, “O God, please heal her—please.” 14 But the Lord said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut outside the camp seven days, and after that she may be brought in again.” 15 So Miriam was shut outside the camp seven days, and the people did not set out on the march till Miriam was brought in again. 16 After that the people set out from Hazeroth, and camped in the wilderness of Paran.

Ah, here we have a reference to Cush, the son of Ham. The Hebrew word here translated “Cushite” is elsewhere translated “Ethiopian”. The root of this word is the Hebrew word for the Cush which also means “black”. Cush was probably given his name because he was born darker than his siblings. The land of Cush is the land in the southern regions of the Nile, south of Egypt. Moses had taken a black woman for a wife, Miriam and Aaron oppose Moses for it, and God’s anger is kindled. The people have the Law and the statutes of the Lord. If they had any just objection to Moses marrying this woman, they would have presented their case. They didn’t, Miriam and Aaron objected to the marriage and even slightly invoked their status as having prophesied before the Lord before as somehow supporting their issue against Moses. God was furious. He addresses even the fact that the prophets don’t even speak to God in the same manner that God speaks to Moses. As punishment, God strikes Miriam with leprosy. Even when Moses makes his plea with God to heal her, God insists they abide by the Law, and so Miriam must observe the Law and wait 7 days outside the camp before being allowed back in. Is false judgement according to the color of skin condoned in the Bible? Absolutely not. Miriam was cut off from her people (for 7 days) for it.

Conclusion

What we superficially throw around as racism is in no way condoned in the Bible. God created one race, one kind, that is mankind. There are divisions of people, first and foremost whether or not we know the One True God and worship Him as God. There are differences within mankind, differences that I believe God enjoys, for He is the one who Created our variety, our languages, our appearance, our skills, our laughter. He created us in His likeness, in His image… we are a dim reflection of His Greatness. We all are sinners, we’ve all fallen in the sin of Adam and are born dead in sins and trespasses. But just as in Adam all men have sinned and died, through Jesus a way of salvation was provided for all of mankind.

John 3:16-21 (ESV) | For God So Loved the World
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

John 6:28-29 (ESV) 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

Do the work of God, believe in Jesus Christ, whom the Lord God sent out of His love for us, so that we might not perish. Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. May the Lord bless you and keep you in His Word.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Delegation of Authority: Adam

We’ve been spending a great deal of time looking into the Authority of God and His Word, particularly at the Authority of Bible. The Bible declares God as the Sovereign ruler and creator of everything… by His Word. We’ve established that Jesus is the Word of God made flesh, and that He was with God in the beginning, and apart from Him nothing that has come into being has come into being (John 1, NASB), I love that wording! So, in the beginning there was God, His Word, and His Spirit… and all things were created by Him. As Creator, He is undoubtedly Sovereign in His dominion.

the Hands by Michelangelo

the Hands by Michelangelo

Genesis 1:26-31 (NASB) 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. 31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Here we have the first instance of delegated authority. Man, having been formed from the very dust of the Earth, was now delegated authority over the Earth. Man is set to “rule over” everything on earth and in the sky above the earth and in the sea. In the next chapter, we get some specifics on that authority and how that played out for mankind.

Genesis 2:15-17 (NASB) 15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. 16 The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

I have always been fascinated with the garden of Eden. Particularly with the way it is introduced and how the Adam gets placed into it after he is created… and then booted out of it later on as a result of the fall of man. But for now, let us look at the authority and responsibility (the two concepts are inextricably linked, by the way) given to Adam. He was placed into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. Adam was given a task, and the authority to perform the task was delegated to him. How interesting to see that in the very next verse, we have the first instance of something in all of creation being “not good”. Continue on with me

Genesis 2:18-24(NASB) 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 The man 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.”

24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

It was not good for the man to be alone. He needed a helper. However, nothing that was formed from the ground was a suitable helper for Adam (sorry, guys… the notion of “man’s best friend” being a dog…simply isn’t biblical 😉 ).  All joking aside, there are some key points I believe being made here.

The first one being that man was already created, and delegated authority and rule over all created things AND he’s been put to work while he was still alone. In his solitude, God saw that it was not good for him to be alone, so He decided man needed a helper. God had a plan the entire time, so the trotting out of all of the created beings before Adam was NOT an exercise of trial-and-error for God. It was for Adam’s benefit that God wanted to demonstrate to him that none of the other created beings were worthy of serving as helper to man. Why is that? Because man was of a different kind from the rest of creation, and man was to be set as ruler over all created beings in the sea, on the earth, and in the sky. For man to fulfill his charge, and execute his authority in ruling over the earth and filling the earth, he needed a helper of his own kind. Therefore, The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. Adam recognized the significance of what the Lord God had done here, which is why God saw fit that we maintain the quote from Adam. Now Adam was no longer alone, and in being joined with his wife, they shall become one flesh, and now they were given the ability to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, after their own kind (mankind).

The second point I’d like to make, is that there is no realignment of authority once the woman is created. Adam was already placed in charge, and given the task and its singular parameter (not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good an evil, v17) to obey. The authority and responsibility to keep the law was placed upon Adam, before woman was created. Once Adam was given his helper, his wife, the order is not re-given to them. Adam is responsible and it will be Adam who will ultimately be held responsible. That is the nature of authority. So, mankind was created equal, male and female both equal because no other alternative was suitable for Adam. However, within that equality, there is still authority. Woman was created as a helper for man, enabling him to fulfill God’s commandment to man. Woman is equal to man, having been pulled out of his rib and formed to be joined with him. But it is Adam that was given authority.

Even was tempted by the serpent (Gen 3), and was apparently not properly instructed (v3) in the commandment of the Lord God, given to Adam (which was Adam’s responsibility) and she ate the fruit. She then handed it to Adam, and he joined her in her sin. So now what? Who’s in charge now? Remember that we serve an all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present God. So God knows exactly what happened, and who was at fault for each act. So, again, the investigation that takes place after the sin is not for God’s sake, but ours. God questions the Adam first, because it was to Adam that He gave the instruction, authority, and responsibility. Having failed to do what is right in the sight of God, Adam sought to escape judgement by assigning blame, interestingly he goes about it cleverly (though foolishly) in trying to get the Lord God to accept blame for having given the woman to Adam. Following the example set before her, she blames the serpent. Notice, none of them lied about what happened, but they both tried to avoid blame. This doesn’t go their way, and we have judgement issued from the bottom up, first the serpent, then the woman, and finally Adam.

Genesis 3:14-15 (NASB) 14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
Cursed are you more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you will go,
And dust you will eat All the days of your life;
15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

The Lord God has a plan. God was not caught off-guard, nor was He caught unaware. He knows everything, and here, we see the Lord God declaring that the seed of woman would bruise (or crush) satan’s head, though satan will bruise him on the heel. Why her seed? because it has to be a human, but cannot come from Adam’s seed because it is now dead to sin. This is why the virgin birth is absolutely essential to the Gospel. The broken authority of mankind rests in man, not woman. It was by Adam’s sin that all of mankind fell into darkness, why we are born dead in sin (Romans 5:12-14) in need of a Savior,  Jesus Christ.

Genesis 3:16-18 (NASB) 16 To the woman He said,
“I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”

I do not wish to spend a great deal of time on this point, but here we have God’s judgment on woman for her sin. My wife and I are strong believers in natural childbirth, and we believe that God has a plan for every aspect of our lives, including childbirth. Throughout the scriptures, God uses birth pains as an illustration of what is taking place on Earth. We’ve been blessed with 2 beautiful children by natural means. God is good, and He provides,  Hallelujah! Notice the last portion… God is reiterating the roles of authority. Adam and Eve are still equal and when they are joined they are one flesh. But it is the husband who has authority over her. This is important to understanding much of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the fullness of what He came to redeem, and for what He said He will return.

Genesis 3:17-19 (NASB) 17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’;
Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
19 By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.”

As Paul wrote in Romans 5, and really as the entirety of the Scriptures points out, the state of man is now complete separation from God. But our God is merciful and continually works to redeem His people and to gather all nations unto Him. But you see here that the very ground was cursed by Adam’s sin. What was Adam’s task in the Garden? To cultivate the garden and keep it. Now that very task is marred.  This leads to another issue, that when you are given authority and responsibility over something, you are held accountable for it… and your failures/successes don’t just affect you, but to that over which you are responsible.

God will redeem His creation, but He cannot do it through Adam’s seed, it must be through the seed of the woman, where the Word of God will be made flesh, so that He can redeem His people.  Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. Jesus, having lived, died on the cross, and resurrected…has secured all authority in Heaven and Earth. Having paid the ultimate penalty for the sin of mankind, bearing within Himself the death that was required by Adam’s sin, He now is the authority over Heaven and Earth, at the Right Hand of God the Father. Jesus has perfected the relationship between man and Creator and through Him is made the only Way to God.

A common error in modern-day Christianity is to forget that Jesus is still fully man in addition to being fully God. He didn’t lose his perfected body when ascended into Heaven, He still has his perfected body… and He will return for His bride, the Church. I make this point to set up the next: Paul makes it very clear that Jesus Christ maintains absolute authority over the His people. The declaration takes various forms in the New Testament, so let’s look at some of them:

Colossians 1:18 (NASB) 18 [Jesus Christ] is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

1 Corinthians 11:3 (NASB) 3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NASB) 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Revelation 19:11-16 (NASB) 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine-press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

I urge you, not to get caught so up modern feminism or misogyny that you miss out on the great picture of Jesus Christ, and the profound depth of God’s love and perfect planning in making for us a way of escape from our own sin. Jesus now fulfills every role of authority that man has messed up: man (second Adam), husband (to His bride, the church), judge, priest, and King. All authority. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is about so much more than just granting you a “get out of hell free” card… It’s about the Greatness of our Lord God. Praise be to God and His son, Jesus.

In Him,
FS