From Eden To Eden

 

LECTURE 1

 

The Beginning

A well-watered garden.

Paradise lost.  Shall Babel prevail?

 

IN THE BEGINNING.” There have been many beginnings in the history of men and nations. To which event or period, do we refer in our use of the quotation, “In the beginning”? Obviously as our theme is God’s Plan, our appeal is to the Bible- to The Beginning, and development, presented and outlined therein.

Whilst some profess to disbelieve, and therefore reject, the Bible record, such rejection does not necessarily disprove the account given in the Book of Books. Which, to many people, is still a revelation from God to man.  No more satisfactory account of the formation, or creation, of man is to be found than that which the Bible presents with a definiteness which commands the attention of all men.

“At what epoch of Creation did man make his appearance upon the earth? Hardly more than half a century ago unlooked for discoveries shattered all the old systems of chronology, and proved that man himself had part in the geological evolutions of our globe.  Flints and bones shaped into axes, knives, needles, arrow heads, and spear heads; bones of huge animals cleft lengthwise, so that the marrow might he extracted for nourishment; heaps of shells and the debris of repasts; ashes, the evident remains of antediluvian hearths; even pictures traced on shoulder bones and slate rocks, representing animals, now extinct or seen only in places very distant from those they then inhabited; finally, human remains found unquestionably in the deposits of the quarternary epoch, and traces of human industry, which seem to be detected even in the tertiary strata, prove that man lived at a time when our continents had neither the fauna, the flora, the climate, nor the shape which they have today.”-Durny's General History.

 

Interesting as this quotation, from the historian, is- and hailed by some people as superior to the Bible account- it, nevertheless, does not tell us when “man made his appearance upon the earth.” Read then another quotation, from Maclear's Old Testament History.  “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  With these simple words begins the History contained in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, teaching us that the world did not exist from all eternity, or, as some have thought, owe its origin to chance, but was called into existence by the will of an Almighty Creator.”

Many people have rejected the Bible account of “the beginning,” affirming that it does not agree with, what are termed, scientific facts. The beginnings of the universe, the creation of the earth and of man, the purpose for which they were created, and their ultimate destiny are themes that have occupied the minds, and engaged the energies, of men upon the controversial platform. Creation stories have been submitted, amended and rescinded in the field of controversy; whilst the simple, yet definite, statement of the Bible has been disregarded as though un­worthy of serious consideration.  A notable writer and speaker once said, “Show me a man who objects to the Bible, and I will show you a man who does not understand the Bible.”- Thos. Williams.  Prejudice against, and ignorance of, the true interpretation of the Scriptures, undoubtedly has much to do with the world- wide opposition to the Bible.  It would be well for those who object to the claims of the Bible to consider this question: How is it that the Bible, although circulated by the millions, is so little understood even by those who profess to believe and accept its claims?

The many sects and denominations extant, with their varied and opposing interpretations, demonstrate the accuracy of the statement made in the above question. The opponent often looks upon the claims of the Bible in the light of a divided Christendom, and concludes that out of Babylon nothing but confusion comes. Nevertheless, it is a sublime thought, expressed in the most definite language, with which the Sacred Book opens its declaration to the sons of men. Without hesi­tation, or apology, the Bible gives its opening statement, fully expecting it to be received at its true value throughout the ages. Where its reasonableness and accuracy are challenged we might well conclude that the true import and application are not perceived or understood.

In 1850 AD, Dr. John Thomas wrote as follows: “Revolving upon its own axis, and describing an ample circuit through the boundless fields of space, is a planet of the solar system bearing upon its surface a population of nearly a thousand millions subject to sin, disease, and death.  This orb of the starry heavens shines with a glory similar to that of its kindred spheres. Viewed from them, it is teen sparkling ‘like a diamond in the sky’; and, with the rest of the heavens, declares the glory of God, and shows forth the handy work of Him that did create it. This celestial orb, which is a world or system of itself, is styled THE EARTH. It is the habitation of races of animals that graze its fields, lurk in the forests, soar through its atmosphere, and pass through the paths of its seas.  At the head of all these is a Creature like themselves, animal, sensual, and mortal.  He is called MAN. He has replenished the earth and subdued it, and filled it with his renown. He has founded dominions, principalities, and powers; he has built great cities, and vaunted himself in the works of his hands, saying, ‘are not these by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty’.”-Elpis Israel, p. 1.

Consider now the opening words of the Bible, as we have them in the A.V. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness upon the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” (Gen.1: 1-3).  Another statement, from the work of Dr. Thomas, is worthy of quotation: "The general account of the work of the six days is contained in the first chapter of Genesis; while in the second is presented, among other things, a more particular narrative of the work of the sixth day in the formation of the first human pair.  Let the reader peruse the history of the creation as a revelation to himself as an inhabitant of the earth.  It informs him of the order in which the things narrated would have developed themselves to his view, had he been placed on some projecting rock, the spectator of the events detailed. He must remember this. The Mosaic account is not a revelation to the inhabitants of other orbs remote from the earth of the formation of the boundless universe; but to man, as a Constituent of the terrestrial System.  This will explain why light is said to have been created four days before the sun, moon, and stars.  To an observer on the earth, this was the order of their appearance; and in relation to him a primary creation, though absolutely pre-existent for millions of ages before the Adamic Era.”- Elpis Israel, p8.

So we repeat the simple, definite proclamation that has come down the ages, and which has survived the onslaughts of critics and opponents: “In the beginning God created.  Blind “chance” fades away before the rising sun of creation’s morning, and we rest secure in the acceptance of the Word of the Infinite, whilst we try to grasp the finite.  A thought provocative of further comparison is to be found in the following:

 

"Gen. 1: 1. ‘created’; bara, to bring into existence, to concrete. Rendered, ‘made’, Psa. 89: 47; ‘make’, Num. 16:30; ‘have been done,’ Ex. 34:10; ‘and cut down.’ Josh. 17:15,17,18; ‘and dispatch,’ Ezek. 23: 47; ‘choose’ (twice) Ezek. 21:19; ‘to make yourselves fat,’ 1 Sam. 2: 29. Verses 1- 3. New translation:

 

“Originally Elohim brought into existence the heavens and the earth. And the earth became wasteness and voidness and darkness upon the face of the deep and a spirit of Elohim hovering upon the face of the waters, and Elohim said, Let Light be! And light was.”

 

Verse 16.Made’; (not bara, ‘brought into existence,’ but) asah-   to do, a word having as wide a use as our own ‘do’ has. Elohim made it so that the ‘two great lights’ previously existing should become the rule for day and night to the earth’s coming inhabitants.”-The Investigator, 1882, p. 13.

 

Consider now the Bible Claim Concerning “the heavens and the earth.” We read:

Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s, thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.”  (Duet. 10: 14)

“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?  Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened; or who laid the corner stone thereof; when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38: 4).

“Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment; who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain; who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters; who maketh the clouds his chariots; who walketh upon the wings of the wind; who maketh his angels Spirits; his ministers a flaming fire; who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed forever.” (Psa. 104: 1-5).

“But our God is in the heavens; he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. Ye are blessed of the Lord which made heaven and earth. The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.” (Ps. 115: 3, 15, 16).

“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou has ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?  Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands.” (Psa. 8: 3-6).

The prophet asks, “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counselor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him in the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are as a drop of the bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.” (Isa. 40: 12-15).

“To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these, that bringeth out their host by number; he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.” (verses 25, 26, 28).

But that is not all. Hearken again, “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace and create evil; I the LORD do all these. I have made the earth and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.  For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he formed it to be inhabited; I am the LORD: and there is none else. I declare things that are right.” (Isa. 45: 7, 12, 18, 19).

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” (Psa. 19: 1).

Is it any wonder that the Psalmist exclaimed, “O LORD, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.” (Psa. 104: 24)?

 

 

MAN- IN FORMATION

 

AN early development of God’s Plan, “in the beginning,” is to be noted in one of the quotations from the prophets, a phrase of The Plan with which we are now particularly interested. “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, HE FORMED IT TO BE INHABITED: I am the LORD.”

Fresh from the hands of the Creator we see man- “formed,”  “created”- presented to us in the simple language of Genesis. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Gen. 1: 27). “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2: 7).

Theories abound on every hand concerning the origin, nature and destiny of Man, speculations originating in the minds of men- both “religious” and “secular.” Yet, whether these theories profess to be based upon the Scripture record, or in opposition thereto, they are contrary to- and out of harmony with- the Divine record.  Hence, even the supposed, or professed, acceptance of the Bible account unfortunately interferes with the reception and acceptance of the true creation story.  “Created in the image of God” (Elohim) speaks to us of the form of that which was created.  There is nothing in the term “image” which suggests, or requires, equality of nature.  The “man” was a formation “of the dust.”  This basis did not guarantee continuity of life.  The “man” was formed before the “man” was alive.  After his formation he became “a living soul.”  This was accom­plished by the application of something not previously mentioned, or given, in the work of formation.  For, as we have read, God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life”; and in consequence of its operation upon the “man,” or dust-formation, he became- what he was not until then- “a living soul.

Much misunderstanding concerning the Bible Record, and the nature of man, arises from the fact that theories which conflict with the Truth are prevalent in the world; held and advanced by many people in the various sects and denominations of the religious world.  Were it not for such theories, which for centuries have held captive the minds of men, the simple truth of the Bible account could more readily be discerned and received.  Let me emphasize this thought- that whatever entered into the constitution of “the man,” before he was made alive by the breath of life, was that which became the “living soul.” The Bible does not teach here, or elsewhere, that a “soul”- a separate entity from the body, and immortal by nature was put into the body.  Dr. Young's Literal Translation of the Bible gives a different rendering of the verse, under consideration, as follows:  “And Jehovah God formed the man-dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils breath of life, and the man becometh a living creature.” If you ask why one translation gives “soul,” and the other “creature,” the answer is that the latter more accurately describes the meaning of the term so translated. Whilst “soul” is the usual trans­lation in the A. V. there are other texts in which the same word is translated “creature.” Reference to a concordance will demonstrate this to be so.  The follow­ing quotation, from Notes in The Emphatic Diaglott, is worthy of consideration.

 

“SOUL. The Hebrew word, nephesh, of the O. T. occurs about 700 times, and is rendered soul 471 times; life and living, about 150 times; and the same word is also rendered a man, a person, self, they, me, him, anyone, breath, heart, mind, appetite, the body (dead or alive), lust, creature, and even a beast; for it is 28 times applied to beasts, and to every creeping thing.”

Dr. Young, in his Analytical Concordance, gives a list of words translated from Nephesh, in which we have, “any, appetite, beast, body, breath, creature, dead (body), desire, ghost, heart, life, lust, man, mine, one, own, person, pleasure, self, soul, thing, will.” Dr. Young gives "Breathing creature,” as the meaning of nephesh: also "animal soul."

From the 30 times in which nephesh is rendered “person” let us take one illustration. “Whoso killeth any person. (Num. 35: 30). As this “person” is nephesh, the same as “a living soul” is nephesh, the nature of the soul must be the same as that of the person.  Any “person” who can be killed, obviously cannot be immortal!

We must now pass on from this phase of our subject, dismissing it for the present- with the words of Paul, “There is a natural body.” “And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul.” “The first man is of the earth, earthy . . . As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy.” (I Cor. 15: 44-48).

 

 

THE GARDEN OF EDEN

 

CHAOS HAD REIGNED: for how long we are not informed. We are not told why the earth was “without form, and void” of life. We may speculate and make deductions, for such is the way of the human mind, but we find little in the record upon which to build. The Bible Message has to do with the world as we now know it; what we may term The Adamic Era. Its testimony does not go before this period. It shows there was a “before,” and speaks of a “beyond,” but its reve­lation is confined to the period between. It confines itself with a message to the sons of men; God’s dealing with the Adamic Race. This is The Purpose of God with man on the earth. And this brings us once again to the word of God from Isaiah; “God formed the earth, not in vain, but to be inhabited.”

Man having been created, we are next informed that, “the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.” We need not be surprised that the exact location of the garden is unknown. The general location, however, is indicated.  It is fitting that our pictorial administration should commence with the Garden of Eden.  We therefore present a land of rivers; even as we read, “a river went out of Eden to water the garden.” “The precise location has not been identified, but the mention of the river Euphrates and the river Hiddekel (i.e. the Tigris) enables us to say it was situate in the territory known as Chaldea.  It seems probable that it was between the Persian Gulf and the junction of the Euphrates and the Tigris.”- Christadelphian 1882, p. 32.

Josephus states: “Now the garden was watered by one river, which ran round about the whole earth, and was parted into four parts.  And Phison, which denotes a multitude, running into India, makes its exit into the sea, and is by the Greeks called Ganges.  Euphrates also, as well as Tigris, goes down into the Red Sea. Now the name Euphrates, or Phrath, denotes either a dispersion, or a flower: by Tigris, or Diglath, is signified what is swift, with narrowness; and Geon runs through Egypt, and denotes what arises from the east, which the Greeks call Nile.”

     “We read in Gen. 2: 10, 14, that of the ‘four heads’ of the river of Paradise, one was called Phrat and one Hiddekel, and that the latter goes to the east of Assyria.  The former is still called by those who live in the neighborhood EI-Frat, ‘the good’ or ‘abounding stream.’ The Greeks called it Euphrates, but the Hebrews very often applied to it the title of ‘the river,’ ‘the great river,’ in distinction perhaps to the less important streams of their own country (1 Kings 4: 21; Josh. 24: 2; Zech. 9: 10). From the manner in which the Euphrates and Hiddekel or Tigris are mentioned together in Gen. 2: 14, many ancient writers- and some even of not very distant date- supposed that the two rivers are derived from the same source; but the passage is to be explained in a different sense from this, at any rate as regards the two rivers in their present condition . . . first of the Euphrates, which has its source, or rather sources, in the high lands of Armenia . . . At a place called Domlu, about 25 miles N. N. E. from Erzeroum, is found the stream called Kara-Su (‘black river’), but also called Frat, and thus regarded, though perhaps erroneously, as the true head-stream of the river.  At a point about 130 miles E. S. E. of Erzeroum is a small town called Diyadin, lying on the north side near the foot of a mountain range called Ala-Tagh, some 20 or  30 miles from Mount Ararat.  Not far from the Kara-Su mentioned above, is the source of the other head­stream, regarded in the time of Xenophon as the true Euphrates. After running westerly for about 400 miles, it unites with the former stream about five miles above a place called Kebban-Maden.  The combined stream, now called Frat, is 120 yards in breadth . . . (and) according to the choice which we make for the head-stream of either the Kara-Su or the Murad-Chai, the whole length of the course of the Euphrates will be either 1,780 or l,650 miles,  .  . At Thapsacus (now Deir, and no doubt, the same place as Tiphsah, I Kings 4:24) where the army of Cyprus forded it in B.C. 401, the width is 800 yards; after the junction with the Khabur it is 400 yards wide and 18 feet deep; but lower down these are less, owing to the absence of all affluents, and the diffusion of the river in marshes and canals.”

“The river Tigris is called in canonical Scripture Hiddekel, under which name it occurs in Gen. 2: 14, and Dan. 10: 4, where it is called the ‘great river,’ a term usually applied to the Euphrates.”

“The Garden of Eden! It is from this that the two great rivers, whose courses we have described, are said to proceed; and not only they, but two others, also derived from the same origin, the Pison and the Gihon (Gen.2:10-14). We remark in passing that the word ‘paradise,’ by which the Septuagint translation expresses the word which we render ‘garden,’ is not found in our version of the Old Testament. What does the Book of Genesis tell us about its situation? That God planted, i.e. placed, and also furnished- a garden in Eden, on the east side; and further, that ‘a river went out of Eden to water the garden’; and that from that place it was divided, and ‘became into four heads’ (2: 10). It then names the river-heads, and two countries, Havilah and Cush, or Ethiopia, in connection with them .  .  . Where then shall we look for the Eden of primeval man?  We have to reconcile with the position of a definite Eden not only the well- known courses of the Euphrates and Tigris, but the positions also of Cush and Havilah.” After presenting various “opinions,” and “geographical difficulties,” the writer continues “Thus, if we exclude from consideration the Oxus, whose modern name seems to be its chief recommendation, we have on the whole two general classes of opinion: 1. The one which places the site of Paradise near the Persian Gulf.  2. The other, placing it somewhere in the high-lands of Armenia. The proximity to each other of the sources of so many important rivers in the immediate neighborhood of the city of Erzeroum in Armenia has favored the opinion, if it has not given rise to it, that its site is within the region of Paradise.”  The Bible Educator, Vol. 1. pp. 94, 102, 151.

As Eden and Paradise are often confounded, and accordingly misapplied, it is well to say something concerning Paradise.  Of this word Webster states:  “The Garden of Eden, in which Adam and Eve were placed immediately after their creation.  A place of bliss.  Heaven, the blissful seat of sanctified souls after death.” The Oxford Dictionary  is similar: “garden of Eden; heaven; region, state of supreme bliss.”

We cannot, however, depend upon dictionaries to elucidate Bible themes which are behind, or embodied in, Bible words. “Heaven, as a place for souls after death” is a popular doctrine, but is it declared to be so in the Bible?  If Paradise was the Garden of Eden, in which our first parents dwelt “in the beginning,” can it also be “heaven” which is said to be God’s throne? Paradise signifies a forest, garden, park, or enclosure. It is derived from the Persian language; was adopted into the Greek, and later into the English. It is supposed to be a derivative from the Hebrew and Arabic. In Neh. 2: 8; Eccles. 2: 5; and Song 4: 13, the Septuagint renders parades by paradeisos. The Hebrew Gien or Gan (garden) is also, when it relates to the garden of Eden, rendered Paradeisos. Ezekiel speaks of Palestine as “Eden the garden (or paradise) of God.” Parkhurst, in his Greek Lexicon, says, “It is without controversy an Oriental word. The Greeks borrowed it from the Persians, among whom it signified a garden, park, or enclosure, full of all the valuable products of the earth.” Mr. Parkhutst quotes a passage from Xenophon, where Socrates says, ‘the King of Persia, wherever he is, takes particular care to have gardens or enclosures which are called paradises, full of everything beautiful and good that the earth can produce’. And in this sense the word is applied by Herodotus, Xeno­phon and Diodorus Siculus.”

The writer in Bible Educator, from whose articles on Eastern Geography of the Bible I have already quoted, says of Paradise “It is a word of Persian origin, meaning a park or garden- i.e., a space enclosed either for pleasure or profit” (Rev. H. W. Phillcott, M.A.).

“Concerning Paradise” Dr. John Thomas wrote, “The proper way to examine this subject is to ascertain the verbal signification of Paradise, and then proceed to inquire what the Scriptures teach concerning it. Paradise is not an English word. It is adopted into our language from the Greek without being translated, and the Greeks adopted it into their own language from the Persian, of which it is a native . . . a compound word derived from two simple ones .  .  .  (meaning to separate, and to hide; so that the ultimate signification of parades will be a place separated and hid from view, or a concealed enclosure. A plot of ground, then, separated from the land contiguous; laid out as a garden, park or pleasure ground; concealed from view by a wall, or enclosed; and stocked with everything agreeable to the taste and delightful to the eye, was called a paradise by the Persians, Hebrews and Greeks of old” Christadelphian, 1873. p. 99.

When therefore, we think of Paradise, “in the beginning,” we must do so in the light of the foregoing information. We may then contemplate Eden as a garden of delight in a well-watered land, productive of all that was needful for those dwelling therein, and reflecting the power and glory of its Designer and Creator.

 

            I think that I shall never see

            A poem lovely as a tree.

            A tree that looks at God all day

            And lifts her leafy arms to pray.

                     Poems are made by fools like me

                     But only God can make a tree.

                                             Joyce Kilmer

 

And so we read, “Out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food.” (Gen. 2: 9). Two outstanding trees arrest our attention. They are represented to us in the garden scene on the chart, nearby the illustration of the mountainous region out from which flow the Euphrates and Tigris. The two trees are designated, in the Scripture just quoted, “the tree of life” also in the midst of the garden, and the “tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Of these two trees, we read that one was forbidden. We are further informed: that “the LORD God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Thus man had a work before him- and to make him realize that the blessings, and all the goodness by which he was surrounded, were not his without restraint, but that he was dependent upon the Creator, a simple law was given. This is often referred to as The Edenic Law. “The LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” Following this statement we have a brief account of the “deep sleep which fell upon Adam,” and the formation of the woman, “taken out of man,” by the creative power of God, who “took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof.”

Passing on to the third chapter of Genesis we have the record of,

 

THE TEMPTATION AND FALL

 

THE SUBTILITY of the serpent is brought to bear upon the mind of the woman. A question; a suggestion; false reasoning and a lie were all part of this subtlety. “Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” The restriction of the Edenic Law was remembered, for the woman said, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst o£ the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” Whereupon came the lie- the serpent’s lie, “Ye shall not surely die.” Next: the false reasoning.  Is it not a tree of knowledge? Therefore, “When ye eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” There was truth in the statement, but it was intentionally misapplied. The woman was lured thereby. The Law of Eden was temporarily forgotten. Influenced by what the mind said in anticipation the creature became more effective for the moment than the Creator. How often when we “see” something particularly appealing, or alluring, other things (perhaps more enduring and determining) are forgotten!

“When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her and he did eat.” Thereby the Law of God in Eden was violated by the woman and the man, who- when fresh from the hands of the Creator- had been pronounced “very good.” The effect was immediately seen; “the eyes of them both were opened.” Partaking of the tree of knowledge, “of good and evil,” imparted to the transgressors what they did not hitherto possess. If they became “as gods,” as the tempter said would come to pass, it was to their hurt. This they evidently realized, for they sought to cover themselves, and to hide “from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” Disobedience brought judgment, and judgment was followed by condemnation. The three participants in the transgression were accordingly dealt with; and, that the sentence might more effectively be executed, the ground also was placed under a curse. The story is told in language plain and simple; that all who will may read, and all who desire may understand.

 

            “And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.  And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?  And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.  And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:  And 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.

Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: 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; 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.” (Gen. 3: 9-19.)

 

Lasting effects and world-wide results were the outcome of heaven’s condemna­tion upon the sinners. The sentence being passed, we are told, “The LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.”

Thus were the sinners cast out of Eden- out of “paradise”- out from the place of delight, favor, and communion with God, into the outer world to ex­perience therein the loss of those blessings which were to have been theirs as long as they continued to walk with God, and to enjoy that felicity which cometh only to those who truly are in fellowship with God.

To prevent their return “at the East of the garden of Eden” were placed “Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

 

 

AN ALTAR AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE

 

ONE important factor, having been passed by without comment and explanation, now requires attention. In Genesis 3:21, we read, “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” This statement must be compared, and contrasted, with verse 7, where we read concerning Adam and Eve, “they knew that they were naked: and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” The knowledge of human nakedness, with the desire to cover the same, came after transgression, when, as we are told, “the eyes of them both were opened.” The human contrivance was rejected and discarded by God, for though it seemed all that was necessary “for a covering,” it was an early illustration of what was afterward definitely stated. “There is a way which seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Prov. 14: 12). That God rejected their contrivance is manifest, being made known by the fact that He provided them with another covering, altogether different from that of their own devising. To profit by this change they, and we in our own time, must discern the principle underlying the necessity for the same. That their own device was faulty, and more required, is obvious even though not stated in this manner. Would there have been such a change if the circumstances had not called for it? Whilst not stated in detail the reason for the change can, and must, be deduced from that which is given in the record. The significance of the coats of skins- an element entirely lacking in the fig leaf garment- most probably gives the clue.

To quote one able expositor of Bible doctrine: “The intention of God to remove sin from the world was made known at a very early stage in the disobedient career of Adam and Eve. Before they were turned out of the garden, the LORD God addressed to the serpent the following words: ‘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. (Gen. 3: 15). To modern eyes this may seem a very indefinite promise of a Divine plan for removing sin and its consequent penalty of death. Nevertheless, it contains the germ of the scheme of salvation more fully elaborated in subsequent revelation. Whether it was or was not accompanied by further details omitted from the inspired narrative, we may rest assured that it contained sufficient to convey to the minds of Adam and Eve the prospects of a future deliverance from the effects of their transgression. Having succumbed to temptation at the instigation of the serpent, they had, for the time being, come under its power. The promise that the seed of woman should bruise the serpent's head, the most vital part of all organic creatures, would lead them to look forward to a time when one of their descendants, notwithstanding the infliction of a temporary wound in the heel at the hands of the seed of serpent, would relieve them from its influence and the attendant evils. Interpreted in the light of subsequent events and predictions, it teaches that the Savior of mankind would suffer death on account of sin, at the hands of wicked men; but that he would be subjected to it only for a short time, then overcome it, and afterwards remove all traces of sin from the earth.”

“But how was this intention, and lesson, submitted to the sinners?  Not by oracular information only; for, ‘The LORD God made coats of skins, and clothed them’ (Gen. 3: 21), an act necessitating the slaying of animals, or shedding of blood; from which incident may be learned this important, but much neglected, lesson- that it is utterly useless for man to patch together garments of his own device for the purpose of covering or removing his guilt. No system of religion can give a ‘garment of salvation,’ but that which has been instituted by the Divine Being himself”- J. J. Andrew, in, Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified.  pp. 62-64.

“The man is become as one of us,” said the Lord God. In what sense? To know good and evil! We may well inquire, Had the Lord God also gone through this experience? Such a thought is entirely out of harmony with our understanding of the character of the Almighty, the Holy One of Israel. But here in the Book of Genesis we read of “us,” a plurality. What the Bible reveals and teaches concerning God will be dealt with in another Lecture. Here we can but briefly state that the “us” is referable, not to the Eternal One, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, but to the angels of God, of whom we read:

 

“Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his command­ments, hearkening unto the voice of his word…. Ye ministers of his, that do his, pleasure.” (Psa. 103: 20, 21).

“O Lord my God, thou art very great; who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire; who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.” (Psa. 104: 1-5).

 

It is therefore permissible to conclude that the angels had passed through an experience “to know good and evil,” and had, fortunately, passed the test satis­factorily, even though others may have perished in the catastrophe that engulfed the world, and reduced it to the chaotic state in which we find it introduced to us in opening of the Bible.

 

 

CONDEMNATION AND ITS EFFECTS

 

IN REVIEWING the circumstances outlined in the foregoing comments certain questions might well be asked: Why was a sacrifice necessary? How can sacrifice “take away sin?” And how may we benefit thereby?

Let us go back to Eden and there find our first parents fresh from the hands of the Creator. We find them “very good,” and at-one with God. We see them under law, yet with every reason to believe that so long as they kept the ordinance of God they would continue to be at-one with Him, or “in fellowship with God.” whether the time of this continuance was long or short we are not told; we are but briefly informed of the testing, and the failure on the part of the “very good” man and woman to keep the commandment of God. By breaking the law, they sinned against God, and as a result- by the terms of the law- they came under condemnation. Apart from the law of God they knew nothing of sin or death, hence the law of God in Eden, was a “law of sin and death,” being later so styled by Paul in Romans 8: 2. The condemnation passed upon the sinners was two-fold. The sentence passed was to affect them in life, and to bring their life to an end. They could no longer live in sweet communion with God in the place of delight, which He provided for them; sin had destroyed the fellowship. Hence, they were cast out of Eden, to which they could not return without permission from God, who must open up a way for such return.

Alienation from God was thus the first “effect” of the condemnation “passed,” there and then, “upon all men;” for this is the application given to the sentence by Paul, when he wrote: “As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”- not actually, but by reason of being “in him” (Adam, see margin) when he transgressed the Edenic Law. Man would continue “alienated from God” as long as he lived, unless God provided a covering for sin, under which he could return to favor if he complied with whatever requirements were stipulated; but, however long he might live, the sentence passed went beyond “alienation,” for it was unto “death.” It is essential that these two phases of the condemnation be kept in mind; otherwise, there will be difficulty in interpreting and understanding much that is later “written for our learning.”

The sentence passed, “dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return,” upon the sinner became a physical law of his being- corruption was set in operation, a slow process to end in death; and this physical “effect” was to be transmitted to all his posterity. The thought of sin, too, having conceived in his mind and brought forth fruit, became a part of his nature, to be passed through all of Adam's race, so that each one would be “born in sin and shapen in iniquity.” This is in harmony with the question, given and answered, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one!” (Job 14:4).

As we have already seen from Romans 5:12, “death,” with all that the sentence involved, “passed upon all men.” The “very good” ceased to be, and in place thereof we have a creature, in kind and condition, which must be described as bad- very bad! A viper can only produce vipers; and from a poisoned stem we can expect but poisoned branches; hence, the whole tree of humanity was condemned when the trunk thereof fell. Upon the principle that “like begets like,” and recognizing that God cannot look with favor upon sinners, for “He is of purer eyes than to behold evil,” there is no injustice in thus condemning those “not born,” because of that “one offence.” Such a thought being, however, repugnant to many, it is well here to force home the fact that “the potter has power over the clay,” and whilst it is true that we had no actual part in that “one offence,” yet every child born, being an extension of Adam, is a standing monument before God, significant of that “great transgression;” for each one born under this constitution of sin, with all the evils that flesh is heir to, grows up into the world to manifest the “carnal mind which is enmity against God.” (Rom. 8: 7). It is intended that we recognize fully and appreciate this truth; for the Apostle continued, in repetition, “Through the offence of one, many be dead;” “the judgment was by one to condemnation”: “by one man's offence, death reigned by one”: “by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation.” “Sin hath reigned unto death.” “For by one man’s disobedience many were made (i.e. constituted) sinners.” (Rom. 5:15-18,21,19).

What, then, is the natural condition of every child born under this constitution of sin, and dominion of death? Can it be any other than that which is stated by Paul? Hear his words: “Remember that we being in time past Gentiles in the flesh…. That at that time we were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. Ye who sometimes were far off.” (Eph. 2: 11-13). Although these words were addressed to certain men and women who had changed their relation­ship, and were consequently no longer “far off,” but “made nigh,” the fact of their natural condition is emphasized by the very process of the change which had become theirs, and the counsel given that they were not to forget what they had been, but to “Remember.” The opening verses of the chapter further illustrate this. “You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” “By nature the children of wrath” does not, indeed cannot, refer to that condition of Adam when created from the ground, and designated “very good.” It can be applied to man only after his sin, from which time henceforth “sin reigned unto death.” Such was “the fall” of man, by which Paradise “was lost” to him. Paradise “restored” was beyond man; it could be accomplished only by God, who would in His own time provide a WAY, by reason of TRUTH, which would lead to LIFE.

 

 

THE NATURE OF MAN AND THE REALITY OF DEATH

 

AND ALL the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died.” (Gen. 5:5). This is illustrated on our chart. Somber, yet true, is the pictorial representation. Appealing to all, “high and low, rich and poor together,” it cries aloud, “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death?” Stand, my friends, at the brink of the grave, look into its depths when those we have loved, and lost, have been buried in the tomb, and learn its lesson! Nearby we have another feature that must not be overlooked. We read of it in the quo­tation from Genesis 3. It is part of the sentence pronounced. “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; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground.” (Verses 17-19).

Is the ground cursed today? Ask the man who tills it. Do thorns and thistles grow in abundance, and that without cultivation? Is bread provided without labor, or does man obtain it by the sweat of his brow? From, this thistle (on the chart) goes forth a line, the end of which cannot be seen in Section One; it runs to the full extent of Section Two, where it finds a place on the Cross, which will be demon­strated in due time. Here we can but emphasize the various items of the sentence passed upon the sinner, and the ground- for his sake. Returning to the quotation from Genesis 5:5, where we read “and he died.” Do you, my friends, believe it? Do you wonder why I ask this question?  Have you not heard it said, “There is no death?” Of course that is not in the Bible, but many accept it as though it was. “And he died.” What is it to “die?” Did Adam live 930 years, and then continue to live? Was continuance in life, under any condition whatsoever, the sentence pronounced upon the sinner?

WHAT IS DEATH?  Cruden says, “The separation of the soul from the body.” But we have seen from the Scriptures, that the soul is the body. The idea of sepa­ration is far better expressed in the language of the Bible. There we read, “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” (Psa. 146: 3,4). Here is separation of a vital character. Can any of the animal creation live without breath? In creation the breath of life was blown into the nostrils; in the day of death man ceases to breathe. Hence, with the cessation of the life energy, imparted by the breath of life, the body, which under its influence is alive, becomes inanimate. And this is death. This is strictly in accord with the sentence passed upon Adam. “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; 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.”

The Nature of Man; The Reality of Death, and the cessation of life when death comes, are subjects that form part of “the first principles” of the Divine Plan in regard to the salvation which is promised. The following scriptures are a demon­stration.

 

“Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes.” (Gen. 18: 27.)

“Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his Maker? How much less them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust.” (Job 4: 17,19).

“Thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?” (Job 10: 9).

“Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. Man dieth, and wasteth away; yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?” (Job 14: 1, 10).

“Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not; he is like the beasts that perish. Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them. When he dieth he shall carry nothing away; his glory shall not descend after him. Though while he lived he blessed his soul; he shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light. Man that is in honour, and understandeth not is like the beasts that perish.” (Psa. 49: 12, 20).

“What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? Shall it declare thy truth?” (Psa. 30: 9)

“For he remembereth that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.” (Psa. 78: 39).

“Remember how short my time is; Wherefore has thou made all men in vain? What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?” (Psa. 89: 47).

“Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men. All our days are passed away in thy wrath; we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength, labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (Psa. 90: 3,9,10).

“Thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.” (Psa. 104: 29).

“As the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast; for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” (Eccl. 3: 19, 20).

“For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” (Eccl. 9: 5-10).

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; He that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth.” (John 3: 6, 31).

“As the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth; so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.” (James 1: 10, 11).

“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away.” (1 Pet. 1: 24).

“In Adam all die.” (1 Cor. 15: 22).

“In death there is no remembrance of Thee; in the grave, who shall give Thee thanks?” (Psa. 6: 5).

“Let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day.” (Acts 2: 29).

“For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption; But he whom God raised again, saw no corruption.” (Acts 13: 36).

 

These scriptures, with many others, clearly teach that MAN IS MORTAL; that he lives by the breath of life, by the constant process of inhalation and ex­halation, which continues until “the day of death;” when “no man hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit.” (Eccles. 8: 8). Therefore when “his breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth;” and ceases to be. Consequently unless God provides a way of escape, man- having died- will remain “in the land of forgetfulness” (Psa. 58: 12), and never again see the light of day.

Death having been imposed on man, as a punishment for sin, is not “a friend” as some have foolishly declared. Death is a foe. Even as Paul teaches, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” (l Cor. 15: 26). Death is a very stern reality- the very opposite of life. We ask again, Why do men die? And some may answer, Because man is by nature mortal, a dying creature! That is truly the phys­ical reason, yet we must realize the prior cause. Death is “an effect,” which came by reason of “a cause.” The apostle says, “By man came death.” If death came “by man” it obviously was not a part of the man when created “very good.” It “came” to him after he was created and placed in the garden. And from that day until now it has remained in man, both young and old. Therefore the apostle continues, “In Adam all die.” Every child born into the world, of the Adamic family, is “in Adam” by birth and heir to all that Adam could bestow upon them. What is the “cause” of this extensive “effect” upon the sons of men? Hear Paul yet again:  The sting of death is sin.” (I Cor. 15: 21-22, 56).  This principle is further elaborated in another Epistle “Sin hath reigned unto death.” To “reign” signifies the controlling influence, or holding supreme power.  And SIN hath reigned over mankind for 6,000 years, sending generation after generation back to the dust from whence they came, and will hold them there unless God opens up a way of escape.

Now since the Plan of God involves salvation, let me here say that “the way” will only provide an escape for those who come under the redeeming influence thereof. The logic of Paul's argument is very appealing. “For if through the offence of one many be dead.” “The judgment was by one to condemnation.” “If by one man's offence death reigned by one.” “By the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation.” “By one man's disobedience many were made sinners.” “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin” (Rom. 5: 15-19,12).

 

 

EVE

 

Looking again at the chart we note that Eve is presented at the beginning of a line which is drawn the full extent of sections one and two.  Note also that the line is broken and forms a second line that leads us to Abram, then to David, after which it rejoins the main line. For the present we must stay at the beginning of the line.  Under the name “Eve” we have the scripture Gen. 3:15, to which we direct your attention.  God said to the serpent, “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.”  Long afterwards another declaration was made by an inspired Apostle, which has a direct bearing upon Gen. 3:15, and is connected therewith.  “For Adam was first formed, then Eve.  And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing.” (1 Tim. 2: 13-15).  Part of the condemnation upon the woman was “in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children;” and this has continued until now.  Paul’s comment, therefore, does not refer to “labor and travail,” from which woman is not saved.  If we compare the A.V. with the R.V. and Dr. Young’s translation we find the thought presented is rather, “she will be saved through the child-bearing.”  The connection is with the “seed of the woman”, who was destined to bruise the serpent in the head. And consequently a promise, and prophecy, of One who was to come; who- in God’s way and time should take away sin.

In Gen. 3:15, we have the first promise of the Savior.  In that scripture we have also the hope of the gospel. For if ever there was a time when a gospel of hope and salvation was needed surely it was when “sin entered the world and death by sin.”  If a gospel had not been introduced, and man had continued to live under the cloud of sin, with the sentence of death over, and upon, him; with children born under the same condemnation, bearing in their bodies the sinister effects thereof all their days, with nothing but death as the end for them- what a sad, hopeless state life would have been!  “As a tale that is told.”  One generation passing away, and another taking its place- but all, as Paul says, “dying off.” All because “sin reigned,” and mankind “having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12).

But this was not the will and purpose of God, who created the earth and “formed it to be inhabited.”  God must therefore introduce a new law whereby some, at least, of those born under the condemnation might escape from the final effect of the same; this must be upon a principle of obedience to the new law, by reason of which those so responding might be “justified from Sin;” otherwise they must all remain victims of that broken law- servants of sin unto death!

God therefore gave a promise in which was the germ of life, and a hope of better things to come.  We find a reference to it, later, in the words:  “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once (for all) delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3) We also find it in the opening words of the beloved apostle, in his record of The Gospel:  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1: 1). The “Word” was the declaration of the plan and purpose of God regarding the salvation that he alone could provide.  “In it” truly “was life,” which was to be the “light of men.”  But think of the price at which “the life” was to be obtained!  “That God might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth,” as Paul expresses it in Rom. 3: 26. He who was to bruise the serpent in the head, for its destruction, must first be stung in the heel.

So we follow the line, from the first section to the end of 4,000 years, until we reach the Cross- Son of man and Son of God- and thereby appreciate the con­cluding words of Paul when he says "of him which believeth in Jesus."

 

 

ABEL

 

WE now come to Abel, of whom we cannot speak without   remembering his brother.  Cain and Abel were diverse in character, aim and purpose. They represent the two seeds, which were to be developed, as the Adamic race grew and extended over the earth.  As long as the Adamic dispensation continued there would he perpetual warfare between the two classes represented in, and by, Cain and Abel.  The one should be recognized as the serpent’s seed, for “they have gone in the way of Cain.” (Jude 11).  Jesus met with, and identified, some of this class when He said, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.  He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the Truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it.  And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not” (John 8: 44).  Whilst from amongst the sons of men no class could he developed which would reach the height of holiness which must characterize the true “seed of the woman,” to whom the promise was made, nevertheless there would be many who would seek to escape the “way of Cain.”  To do this they must walk in the footsteps of Abel.

 

 

A MAN THE YAHWEH

 

THE two brothers were of diverse tastes and temperaments; they followed different vocations, each good and necessary in regard to the daily requirements of family life.  The record is simple, clear and suggestive:  “Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.  And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.  And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering. But unto Cain and to his offer­ing he had no respect.” (Gen. 4: 2-5).  Long afterward an inspired penman, writing of Faith, commenced his list of ancient worthies by saying, “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” (Heb. 11: 4).  And then, connecting this early part of Section One, with the latter part of Section Two of the Chart, we hear Paul saying, “And to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” (Heb. 12: 24).

It may be asked, Why was sacrifice necessary?  What was its import?  And what made one sacrifice more acceptable than the other?  There can be no doubt that instructions had been given to Adam and his family concerning the law of sacrifices.  That the details are not given to us matters not.  The Bible presents facts, and these are expected to be accepted as such.  Details of every transaction in the beginning and development of God’s purpose with man on the earth could not be given in a volume of Scriptures, such as we possess.  Furthermore, these are not necessary in out day.  We have sufficient in our Bible to direct us in the Way of Life, which is the real purpose of the Revelation, together with a recognition of the Majesty of God, who is able to perform all that He has promised. Much information can be obtained by interpretation, deduction, and comparison of Scripture with Scripture.  “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing; but the honor of kings to search out a matter.” (Prov. 25: 2).  If we are not interested to “search the scriptures,” what right have we to expect to participate in the glory yet to be revealed?

Abel was a “keeper of sheep,” and as such a type of Him who was to be revealed 4,000 years later; who, when He came, testified, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (John 10: 11).

In confirmation of the foregoing we have the following extract from The Ministry of The Prophets.  “Having sinned, Adam and Eve took counsel between themselves and covered their nakedness with a device of fig-leaves. But God rejected this, and substituted ‘coats of skins,’ which, necessitating the slaying of animals for their provision, brought a representation of death before them as the wages of sin, and the necessary portion of the ‘Counsellor,’ who, as the ‘seed of woman,’ should afterwards bruise the serpent’s head, and take away sin and death from the earth.  Thenceforward the counsel of God in its direction of human affairs towards the goal of His purpose, as the first of its first principles kept this fact to the front: that ‘the wage’s of sin is death,’ and that according to divine appointment ‘without shedding of blood there is no remission,’ no effectual covering for Sin apart from the recognition of God’s insulted majesty, and the humblest submission to His merciful provisions for reinstatement.  In harmony with these reflections is the history of the accepted offering of Abel (‘the firstlings of his flock and the fat thereof’); and the rejected offering of Cain (‘the fruit of the ground’).  The   comment of Paul in Heb. 11 is that Abel’s was ‘by faith .   . a more excellent sacrifice’ than that of Cain, whose faith (or lack of it; A.H.) did not hold of God’s promise and instruction.”

“We look back.  We see Adam and Eve, our first parents, at perfect peace with God in a fruitful garden, in unclouded innocence, delighting before God in the dominion He had given them over the creation of His hand.  We see sin enter, and all is changed.  Fear, shame, suffering and death are introduced, and to this day continue to be the natural portion of the race.  God 'put enmity’ in the be­ginning between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman; a sentence that finds illustration in the enmity existing between Jesus and the generation of vipers that withstood him and at last compassed his death.  The earliest illustration recorded in Genesis is the murder of Abel by Cain.  The acceptance of Abel’s offer­ing by God, coupled with the rejection of his own, stirred Cain’s resentment, and he slew him. And ‘wherefore slew he him?’ asks John, ‘Because his own works were evil and his brother’s righteous.’ Enmity, then, between the righteous and the wicked is the express and unalterable appointment of God.”  pp 155, 174.

The secret of the superiority of one sacrifice over that of the other is given in the statement, already quoted, from Heb. 11,  “A more excellent sacrifice than Cain;” or a sacrifice exceeding that of Cain; yet again, “a sacrifice more than Cain.”  To offer “the fruit of the ground” as a thank-offering under favorable conditions, and in the right spirit, would not be out of place; it might be considered natural to “a tiller of the ground.”  But if in so doing a requirement, which had been made known, was ignored and neglected there is every reason why “the Lord had not respect” unto such an offering.  Enlightenment is given in the words ad­dressed to Cain, “Why is thy countenance fallen?  If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth (or croucheth) at the door.” (Gen. 4: 6, 7).  Compare this with Dr. Young’s translation:  “Is there not, if thou doest well, acceptance? And if thou doest not well, at the opening a sin-offering is crouching, and unto thee its desire, and thou rulest over it.”

WHY WAS SACRIFICE NECESSARY?  “The necessity for either a priest or a sacrifice in any community is evidence of the existence of sin.  Previous to the introduction of sin into the World, neither the one nor the other was to be found.  Adam and Eve, as long as they continued obedient to the Edenic law, were able to commune with their Maker without fear or shame.  But when they trans­gressed, they were no longer able to hold up their heads as one whose ‘conscience is void of offence toward God’.”  Concerning the more excellent sacrifice of Abel, and God’s rejection of the other, this writer continues, “The explanation of this is partly to be found in the fact that Abel’s offering, being a lamb, contained blood, which, on the life of the animal being taken away, would be poured out; whereas Cain’s offering had no blood in it.  Abel recognized the principle that ‘without shedding of blood is no remission’ of sin (Heb. 9: 22), but Cain did not. There must have been some special reason for ordaining sacrifices of this kind: they must have been appropriate for the purpose they were intended to serve.”  Of man and beast ‘They have all one breath.’ ‘The life of all flesh is the blood;’ ‘it is the life of all flesh’ (Lev. 17: 11, 14). “That which befalleth the sons of men, befalleth beasts, as the one dieth, so dieth the other’ (Eccles. 3: 19).  In view of these truths, it cannot but be admitted that the act of taking the life of an animal was well calculated to remind man of his own position; of the fact that he had sinned against his Maker: that in consequence of that sin he had been condemned to death; and that when subjected to the penalty he would become as unconscious and devoid of life as the animals he slew as sacrifices.” J.J.A. What was its import? “It further taught him that he could only be delivered from this destiny by a more perfect sacrifice in the future, combined with his own obedience to God’s commandments.. ..  . the animal sacrificed was simply deprived of life- an appro­priate symbol of the death which man had incurred by sin.”  J. J. A. in Jesus Christ and Him Crucified.

What made one sacrifice more acceptable than the other?  The answer has already been given in what has been advanced upon this matter.  In a few words- for any sacrifice to be acceptable to God it must have been offered in faith; some recognition must be shown that sacrifice, ordained by God, was with a view to man’s benefit, and the latter could only be conferred when the offerer realized that those sacrifices were but typical of One who was to come, and that through Him, and not the animal sacrifices, God’s Plan would be accomplished.

When Cain was born we are told that Eve said, “I have gotten a man from the Lord.” (Gen. 4: 1).  Eve had not forgotten the promise made concerning the seed of the woman, and probably thought this child was the “seed” referred to. Subsequent events showed this was not so. 

Various renderings have been given of the verse in question.  “I have gotten a man with (the help of) the Lord,” R. V.  “I have gotten the man, a Yahweh, from the Lord:”  “A man, even Yahweh:” "eth Yahweh- (the) He-will-Become.” The preposition ‘from’ being omitted, as not being in the original.  The Name Yahweh is a prophetic term; involved in it is the doctrine of the Name of Salvation, which will be elaborated later.

 

SETH

 

AT the birth of Seth, as explanatory of the name given, Eve said, “For God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.”  In this statement there is a recognition of the truth, and the same is hereby emphasized, that the way of the Lord was within restricted lines.  The ways of the two seeds were diverging further apart. We therefore find that the record proceeds, “And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.” (Gen. 4: 25, 26).  The marginal rendering for the last clause gives another suggestion: “then began men to call themselves by the name of the Lord.” Another rendering is given by Dr. Young. “Then a beginning was made of preaching in the name of Jehovah.”  But here again we must leave this for a later demonstration; noting, however, that we have a connecting line from Enos to the Exodus, associated with which we have the MEMORIAL NAME, given in the A. V. as “I AM THAT I AM” (Ex. 3: 14), which line then joins the main line of the woman’s seed.

                                                                        

 

TWO FAMILIES

 

“AND it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,”  (Gen. 6: 1), they did what they have continued to do, “they took them wives of all which they chose.”  The co­-mingling was of the “Sons of God” and “daughters of men.”  There had been a development throughout   these “generations” of the two seeds.  Not all who had lived upon the face of the earth had followed the way of righteousness.  To the “preaching in the name of Jehovah” all did not respond.  Those who did so were thereby constituted “sons and daughters of God;” whilst others who rejected the Word were merely “sons and daughters of men.”  They took wives of all which they chose! This, irrespective of all that was involved in the preaching of the Word.  This simple record, interpreted in the light of subsequent revelation, both in the Old Testament and the New, shows unmistakably the evil associated with mixed marriages. Evil became rampant in the earth. “And God saw that the wicked-ness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”  Is it any wonder that “it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart?”  Arising from these conditions “the Lord said:  I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth.”  But there was one man who pleased God.  Noah, “a preacher of righteousness,” (2 Pet. 2: 5), instructed by God, warned the people; but then, as now, the multitude would not hearken. So “the flood came, and took them all away.”  (Matt. 24: 39). It was then that God "spared not the old world." (2 Pet. 2: 5). And “the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.” (2 Pet. 3:6). Yet not “all,” in the strictly literal sense, “perished.” This I say be­cause many people say that “all” always means “all” without exception, and do not allow circumstances, and other testimonies, to illustrate the true application.

Such contention is the outcome of desire, and determination, on their part to enforce the acceptation of their own belief and interpretation, which can only be done at the expense of disregarding other definite Scriptures.  And so it came to pass, although “the flood came, and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17: 27), we are nevertheless told that God “saved Noah the eighth”- “preserved Noah with seven others” R. V. (2 Pet. 2: 5), “bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.” The same apostle speaks of the time “when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (1 Pet. 3: 20).

As with other items of the Bible Story the record of the Flood has not escaped criticism from those who, denying the divinity of the Scriptures, present the tradi­tions of men in place thereof.  Our present task is to travel the Highway of Truth, and we cannot therefore step aside to wander in all the bypaths of error. The record of the Flood is endorsed in the New Testament, and hence we cannot reject the one and hold to the other.  About 76 years ago considerable interest was aroused in consequence of the discovery of an account of the flood amongst the sculptured slabs brought from Assyria to the British Museum.  Even though the account was largely mixed up with Assyrian mythology, yet its identity with the account by Moses was striking.  Reference was made to the building of a large ship, into which the builder, with others, entered along with various animals.  After the, storm which destroyed those not in the ship, a dove, swallow and raven were sent out. Sisit and his wife, go out of the ship and one of the gods-Bel- establishes a covenant with him, after which he builds an altar and offers sacrifice.

Ten years later another sensation was caused by the reported “Discovery of Noah’s Ark.  Josephus claimed the ark to be in existence in his day- 2,500 years after the flood.  The Levant Herald in which the report originated said:  “The expedition was fortunate in making a discovery that cannot fail to be of interest to the whole civilized world, for among the fastnesses of one of the glens of Mount Ararat they came upon a gigantic structure of very dark wood embedded at the foot of one of the glaciers, with one end protruding, and which they believed to be none other than the old Ark in which Noah and his family navigated the waters of the Deluge.  The place where the discovery was made is about five days journey from Trebizond, in Armenia, about four leagues from the Persian frontier.”

The Evening News, March 21, 1934 reported an interview with Mr. C. Leonard Woolley, excavator of Ur of the Chaldees, who stated: “We have now sufficient knowledge to produce a complete history of Iraq since the Flood.  It is obvious that before the Flood, Iraq was a swampy country- really a series of Islands.  The Flood came and gave the country a level surface.”

 

 

AFTER THE FLOOD

 

IN due time the waters of the Flood subsided, and the Ark rested, as we read in Gen. 8: 4, “in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.” When the waters were dried up from off the earth Noah, at the word of God, went forth of the Ark with his wife, his sons, and his son’s wives. The command went further than this; it included “every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.” (Gen. 8: 17).  When this was carried out “Noah builded an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.” Noah, recognizing the supremacy of the Lord, manifested his faith in God, and rendered his thanksgiving for the mercy and goodness extended unto him and his family.  And in so doing he supplicated the continuance of the blessings from on high, which he acknowledged to be so necessary. 

The Lord was well pleased with this act of Noah, and the manifestation of faith, which inspired it.  The Lord, therefore, gave His Word: “While the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Further­more, “God spake unto Noah, and his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I will establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you .  .  . neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood, neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.” To emphasize this, “for perpetual generations; I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth .  .  . And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creat­ure of all flesh that is upon the earth.  And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.” (Gen. 9).

The re-peopling of the earth, by the family of Noah, went on apace, of which we read, “The whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.”  Onward, To the East, seemed to be their plan, seeking, as men have done ever since, a resting-place for the soles of their feet.  “And it came to pass, as they journeyed eastward, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.” (Gen. 11: 2). Now it is written: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Prov. 14: 12).  Had the people been content to dwell in the land of Shinar, there to serve and obey the Lord God who had delivered their father, Noah, and blessed his inheritance, all might have been well.  But, settled in the plain, the people conceived a plan for their own salvation and glory. They had not forgotten the former judgments of God, and probably feared lest another flood should overtake them.  To make a name for themselves was their cry! And to prevent calamity, should evil befall them, they conceived a plan for a city, fame, and a tower of refuge.  “Let us build us a city,” said they, “and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven.”

But all this was known unto the Lord, from whom nothing is hid; perceiving their purpose God was able to effectively check them in their endeavors. Progress among the people was dependent upon their co-operation.  So God spoilt their plan by interfering with their co-operation. For there God confounded their language, “that they may not understand one anothers speech.”  And the next step was equally effective, “So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off to build the city.  Therefore is the name of it called Babel.

The tower of Babel is significant of the “way” of man, in opposition to “way of the Lord.”

 

 

“WE HAVE AN ALTAR”

 

DURING our journey down the stream of time we have noticed two events that called forth the building of an altar, and the offering of sacrifices. The altar, like the sacrifices, was not without significance.  More was elaborated under the Mosaic constitution, with which we cannot now deal.  Many things “in the beginning” pointed forward to another “beginning,” a new creation in Christ Jesus. Hence we read in Heb. 13: 10. “We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.” So the significance has to do with a second Adam, whose life of obedience would establish “regeneration” and save from sin those who would come to God by, and through, Him.

 

 

SHALL BABEL PREVAIL?

 

SIN entered the world, and death by sin.  Paradise was lost. Man,

fearfully and wonderfully made, sought out many inventions. These, springing from the heart of man, could only lead away from God. The tower of Babel is but a representation of the stronghold of the traditions of men, by which they have sought to make void the commandments of God; teaching for doctrine the imaginations of their own hearts and minds.  But this cannot continue.  God’s purpose in the earth must be fulfilled. His Plan, even though it may involve 7,000 years, must be executed. At the end the vision shall speak.

This phase of our subject closes with a lesson from The Ark. Heb.11: 7, reads, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”  It is not difficult to associate this with the salvation of God through Jesus Christ.  The apostle speaks of a time “when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” (1 Pet. 3: 20). But can it be that you and I, living nearly 6,000 years after that event, can find any association therewith?  It is one of those “things which happened for en­samples.” (1 Cor. 10: 11), and along with many other things was “written for our learning.”  “They are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”  So it was that Peter continued in his epistle, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” 

This association of the past with the future is further shown in the colorful arch on the chart, representative of the Rainbow, proceeding from Ararat until it descends upon Olivet.  Not that it ends there, for as the illustration shows, Rev. 4: 3 speaks of One sitting on the throne, “And there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.” And again, “I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud; and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire.” (Rev. 10: 1).

JESUS CHRIST IS “THE LAST ADAM.”  The first man, Adam, brought sin and death into the world.  The “last Adam” by obedience, even unto death, became a life-giving spirit.  Jesus was raised from the dead by the power of God “through the blood of the everlasting covenant.”  The bow in the cloud (though reminding us of the past and speaking of the Covenant made of God after the Flood) is significant of a new covenant.  It speaks to us of Jesus Christ.  As the Lamb of God Jesus was the covenant-victim. But He was victorious over the tomb; the grave could not hold Him.

 

In Him the tribes of Adam boast

More blessings than their father lost.

 

God’s Plan, as centered in Jesus Christ, will be more fully shown as we proceed. In it we shall see the fulfillment of the prophetic Word concerning Jesus: “Then I restored that which I took not away.” (Psa. 69: 4).