Oh boy, Genesis is my favorite book and this is my favorite portion of the book...until I read my next favorite. It is so full of prophecy and history -- full of everything -- I can hardly believe this portion contains so many chapters (six) to study for one week. There are so many different subjects of eternal truth to study in these passages, but one key study phrase to keep in mind is actually a Bible verse (Isaiah 46:10): the end is declared from the beginning.
The book is the beginning, the foundation. Everything that is revealed here about God's character in eternity and as He related to mankind is and will be consistent with His dealings with man thereafter. We will create a whole new god to worship if we refuse to study the character of God in the New Testament alongside His ways in the Old...since He is One, eternal, and unchanging. This is why this is so important to dive right into this beginning book, the beginning chapters of this book, and study the literal, analogical, implied, and hidden truths therein.
Here are just a few things of this Torah portion that my family and I are deeply considering:
And the earth came to be formless and empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of Elohim was moving on the face of the waters. -- Genesis 1:2
Is darkness a created thing or is it the absence of light? I can mirror this question with another: Is the lake of fire and brimstone full of chaos and evil because of the absence of God (who alone is order and good) or is it created that way for the purpose of debt paying? The answer with the first is that it is both. God flat out says that He created the darkness (Isaiah 45:7), and light wouldn't be light if there wasn't darkness. To mirror that last statement: This is why you cannot appreciate the price of salvation (let alone even claim it) without knowing, truly knowing, what you are saved from, because good news wouldn't be so if there weren't bad news to make it so.
Another debated thing you hear in mainstream Christianity since the time of the Reformers is the steps of salvation. I'm not going to get into doctrines that were named after men, but let us settle the matter of life with the second verse (above) of this book: Life begins with the Ruach/Spirit (which also means breath). You will find this consistent from hereon, especially noting the valley of dried bones in the book of Ezekiel. His Spirit moves and there is life.
And Elohim created the man in His image, in the image of Elohim He created him -- male and female He created them. -- Genesis 1:27
Most single people I know dearly wish to be married, and though my opinion doesn't count is it Biblically acceptable to say that is okay to want marriage? If I read Paul's statement correctly in I Corinthians 7, the standard is to be married, the rarity is that you are not. He talks of men having different gifts, and the ability to remain single being one of them. I believe it is a standard because of the verse above and because He Himself says it is not good for man to be alone, on top of other verses that speak of two being better than one.
"For Elohim knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be like Elohim, knowing good and evil." And the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, and she took of its fruit and ate. And she also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. -- Genesis 3:5-6Many studies focus on why this tree was there in the first place. This time around, our family has been focusing on what is it about knowledge of good and evil that meant their destruction? Yes, the disobedience alone led to their destruction, but God clearly did say that eating of the tree is destruction in itself. Sometimes I hate scrolling on Facebook, because all the awareness articles people share come with a pictures of that story, and some are downright evil. Someone may share a pro-life article that had a video attached to the article and the post's thumbnail will be a picture of an aborted baby. Another article I saw posted was that of ISIS' torture on Christian babies -- the thumbnail was that of babies on the floor with the criminals' feet by them as if they were kicking the children. Mind you, I did not open any of these articles, the thumbnails alone show the evil they expose. Brant assimilates the knowledge of good and evil, namely the knowledge of evil, with what those thumbnails do to one's mind (or at least do to my mind) -- the evil is played in your head and now your eyes have "opened" to see it. You don't have to be the actor of the evil in order to envision evil, and envisioning it clearly isn't a crime as many movements are surviving because of the envisioning that gains your consideration and sympathy, but it certainly does taint a mind. Imagine having a mind that has never seen such things. It's like a sheltered child who doesn't know the ways of the world -- oh blessed shelter.
And YHWH Elohim said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all livestock and more than every beast of the field. On your belly you are to go, and eat dust all the days of your life. ... To the woman He said, "I greatly increase your sorrow and your conception -- bring forth children in pain. And you desire is for your husband, and he does rule over you." ... [to the man] "By the sweat of your face you are to eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are, and to dust you return." -- Genesis 3:14, 16, 19These are the curses given to all three. Did you notice that none of them repented? I'll get into the woman's curse later, but for now I wanted to share that I noticed a correlation between the curse given to the serpent and that given to the man. Elohim calls man dust, and beforehand He tells the serpent he will eat dust. The serpent has since kept himself quite busy chasing after man, feasting upon him as God has here said he would.
And YHWH Elohim made the coats of skin for the man and his wife and dressed them. -- Genesis 3:21Was Cain the first to shed blood on the earth? The truth is, God is the first. Isn't it a beautiful thought that not only did God command blood shed of animals for atonement, but shed blood Himself as the first atonement, and eventually the final? You can be sure of this -- God didn't place anything in His Torah that didn't fully coincide with His own character. He is His Word.
And it came to be, in the course of time, that Qayin brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to YHWH. And Hebel also brought of the first-born of his flock and of their fat. And YHWH looked to Hebel and his offering, but He did not look to Qayin and his offering. And Qayin was very wroth, and his face fell. ... "If you do well, is there not acceptance? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should master it." -- Genesis 4:3-5, 7Does God not accept fruit from the ground as an acceptable offering? Clearly, He does as He not only accepted but commanded the first fruits of barley and wheat. Yet, it says that He did not accept Cain's. This makes you wonder what kind of fruit Cain offered? Whatever it is, it was not a well. If it was a well offering, God would have accepted it as He says. If the meaning is that the fruit was not well, then I can almost liken it to God's argument in Malachi about how He was being offered the sick and blemished animals while the people kept the well and spotless ones for themselves. That is if it does mean this.
Notice how it says that Abel offered the first-born of his flock and its fat. This sounds like a Torah command before the Torah was even written. Remember that Adam had the Word written in His heart, and true to the Word, he diligently taught it to his children. This side of the Covenant, He says the Word is upon our hearts once again. How many of us are following as faithfully as those followers before the Torah?
Going back to the woman's curse. A part of her curse is that her desire would be towards her husband and he would master her. Read God's words to Cain again. He says the same thing to Cain should he continue not doing well. Sin's desire would be to Cain and Cain should master it. Essentially, the man is married to sin and so it is with all that are not married to God. You may not like it, and certainly not like it being said so bluntly, but you are a slave nonetheless -- either God's or sin's (Romans 6). You are either bonded and married to God or you are bonded and married to sin.
"And now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. If you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth." -- Genesis 4:11-12Many liken these brothers as 2 separate paths -- the spiritual man and the worldly man. Just last year I wrote an article on that same perspective. However, this time around we have been looking at Abel as the type of Messiah and Cain as the type of Israel. Cain killed his brother just as Israel killed theirs (Messiah). Israel was given cities of refuge lest bloodshed defile the land and the land spue them out, and eventually it did for innocent bloodshed (in their idolatry) and for failure to uphold the Shemittah, along with other offenses. Here, the land vomits Cain out of it for innocent bloodshed as well. Israel then became a wanderer in the nations. Here, Cain is to become a wanderer in the earth. God's rules are always the same, no matter the time -- do we see that?
And YHWH said to him, "Well, if anyone kills Qayin, vengeance is taken on him sevenfold." And YHWH set up a sign for Qayin, lest anyone finding him kills him. -- Genesis 4:15We learned in the case of Israel that even though God is chastising His children, it doesn't give us the right to do so. Though He sent Judah out, He punished the nations for their part in Judah's chastisement. God is punishing Qayin but the world can't step in and have their part in it. This is another comparison to Israel.
And Adah bore Yabal. He was the father of those who dwell in tents. -- Genesis 4:20Don't you find it divine that this was pointed out in Scripture? This is so important because of what "dwelling in tents" means to the Lord. In fact God says Jacob was a perfect man, dwelling in tents. This is quick to demolish the serpent seed in Cain, because we see that through the line of Cain there are those who are in relationship with the Lord.
And to Sheth, to him also a son was born. And he called his name Enosh. Then it was begun to call on the Name of YHWH. -- Genesis 4:26To "call upon the Name of the Lord" is not a book-of-Romans doctrine. It began here in Genesis. The term is used to show a result of salvation -- hence, whosoever calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. Before we say that all you have to do is simply say a prayer (which is to call on Him) to be saved, one should see other areas wherein this phrase is used and conclude what it means to be saved and how to be so, starting with the first time it is stated right here. What is God trying to say by pointing this out about Enosh? Among other things, He is telling us that salvation came through the line of Sheth. This is very important to understand as we go through the Torah and its teachings, because from that point on many messiahs come to pass (outside of the hints and ways/lineage of His salvation), but God gives us the Torah as a foundation for discerning the real Messiah, the only One that can truly save us.
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