4Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. (Job 2:)
What is this "Coat of skin" given to our first ancestors? I searched the web to see what others have to say about this skin, and almost unanimously it is agreed that the coat God made for the two were skins taken from an animal God sacrificed to Himself. I read some elaborate and colorful depictions and explanations of this event that was expressed in the Word with no more than 8 words out of the obscure Hebrew language. It amazes me what mankind, sons of Adam can add to what God has told us, to what extremes we can take a "No," and make it sound like a "Yes." I guess that's just a carryover skill we formed as infants, or better still, as products of our forefather and foremother. When they were asked who was responsible for their having violated God's Word, they both blamed someone else.
Let's take a look at that event:
7And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 8And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
9And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13And 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. (Gen 3:)
"The eyes of them both were opened." When we think of a person having their eyes open, we think of them as being able to see the truth. But if this were the case, then that would mean God created Adam and Eve in the state of a lie, and it took the serpent to cause their eyes to be open to the truth of their condition. For some reason I find such a notion a hard concept to swallow. We see from a previous verse that the two were indeed naked, but we also see that they were unashamed of their nakedness. "Naked came we into this world, and naked and we'll depart from it," a loose paraphrase of Job's comment on the state of man. We all enter this world naked. And in that state we would feel perfectly comfortable, as is seen by some of what we call primitive people, until we're told that we should be ashamed of our God-given condition. For myself, I choose to remain clothed in an effort to save the world from having to view what age has done to this body of mine. And to save myself from this very fate, I've turned all my mirrors to the wall.
What were Adam and Eve's eyes open to if not to the truth? Could it be that they were now able to see through the eyes of the serpent, rather than through the eyes God had given them? The law was made for the lawless (1Tim 1:9). If a person desires to obey the Lord, that person has no need of the law. Paul tells us:
12All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. (1Cor 6:)
23All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. (1Cor 10:)
If, when becoming a converted Christian, we are given freedom from the law, how much more so would have been the first man and woman free from law? There was nothing the two of them could do that would have cause punishment to be brought to bear on them, because they were never told that anything was wrong.... except one thing. Have you noticed with small children that if you want to make sure they do something, all you have to do is forbid them to do that thing? From the moment you issue the instructions, that child is in the process of trying to figure out ways to do the forbidden, and watching for your back to be turned. This is not an instinct placed in mankind by the serpent. God placed it in us. The serpent only opened the door (or in this case, their eyes) to the possibility of doing what was restricted from them.
All things are lawful. Then does that mean as a Christian I should be able to kill and to steal and to take as many drugs as I like and not have to pay the consequences for my actions? Of course not. But according to what I see taught nowadays, this is what Paul was talking about.
16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. (Gal 5:)
We think that we're no longer under the law when we become baptized. Paul seems to disagree, as does the entire Book of the Bible as I read it. When we are baptized, we place ourself under the law, the law of liberty (James 1:25; 2:12; 2Cor 3:17; Gal 5:13) and more is expected of us, not less. When we were part of the world we were governed by the Adamic covenant, which means we had many restrictions, restrictions that were needed because the Adam in us is a lawless nature that strives to satisfy himself, not to please God.
It's those who walk in the Spirit, who are striving to rid themselves of this Adamic nature, this fleshly garment we wear that inhibits us and that is causing us to die more each day, who is given liberty. Those who place themselves under bondage to the Lord are the ones provided the liberty they don't really need.
"They heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God." Until they had their eyes opened, Adam and Eve walked with God (Gen 5:24; 6:9; Lev 26:40-41). When they were given the opportunity to see how the world around them could be used for their own pleasure, looking through their own selfish eyes, they lost their view of God, and wandered off in their own direction. We read:
"They knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons..... and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God." Have you ever noticed how we try to hide from those we've offended? You don't do this? I do. I can't look the person in the eyes who I have offended. It brings up great feelings of guilt. How much more so is this the case when it's God we've offended? We know the best thing to do when we've offended someone is to confess our error, and hope for forgiveness, and an opportunity to reestablish ourself in that person's good graces. Fortunately God has given us, the Christian, this opportunity, that is, to confess and to repent and reestablish ourselves. I know I've long ago worn out His patience, but I don't let that stop me from trying to reestablish myself.
Have you ever seen a toddler hide his eyes and think you can't see him because he can't see you? "You can't see me" he says. We go along with his imaginary Hide and Seek game, pretending he had in fact made himself invisible to the world. God didn't choose to play Adam's game. He confronted them head-on, and that without even handing them a warning ticket.
The two made themselves aprons of fig leaves and hid themselves from God. Who was to see them naked other than God? A child feels no shame when momma bathes him. Then one day he reaches a certain age, and suddenly he becomes aware of his body, his nakedness, and doesn't want momma to see him any more. This fits the laws as laid down by God in the wilderness (Gen 9:22; Ex 20:26; Lev chapter 18), and it is a natural occurrence that apparently is instilled in the child. God placed that nature in us, as I suspect He placed it in Adam and Eve. It was time for the two to "grow up," and though it was in God's plan, it was through the serpent the plan was implemented. We see in the references to Eternity, God's Kingdom, that people will be wearing white robes, not running around in their altogether feeling unashamed. I suspect it's God's will that we be clothed. He apparently does not like seeing even our (at least a man's) legs (Psalm 147:10).
"They hid themselves and made themselves coverings." This we still do. Instead of correcting our nature, we hide from God, maybe even deny His existence, and justify ourselves by making coverings that seemingly hide our behavior. In the beginning of the Church, that is, with Jesus, we see that Jesus accepted the sinner, but rejected the sin. How often did He tell a person who was healed: "Go and sin no more lest a worse thing happen to you"? Yet I find that I can now go into almost any of the traditional churches, and carry into that church my sins, just as long as I keep a fig leaf covering over them so those in the church don't have to deal with them. I recall how it wasn't that long ago that part of the function of the church was to confront those who sinned, and to help them overcome their sin. What happened to that part of church? Is the loss of that facet of Christianity part of why the churches are failing now, and are falling behind in the religious race?
4And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. 5For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. 6As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Col 2:)
Numerous times we read where we are to beware of the serpent in man's clothing (paraphrased). In these verses of Scripture the association with the serpent is unmistakable. Jesus called such people wolves, and tares, and children of the devil, and other explicit names that were not so flattering. Yes, the serpent is still actively trying to open the eyes of the Christian to the ways of the world, whereby we might please ourselves and satisfy our lust through the things of this world, yet still think we're fully in the graces of God.
"And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden." What would you do if you heard the voice of God calling to you? It's been asked before what you would do if God came to your door today. What answer would you give to this question? Would you have to hide a bunch of things under the sofa? What would He think of the TV program you have playing? How about your collection of DVD's and CD's? What would you try to place under your fig leaf covers if Jesus was to come to your house today?
"Here am I," said Moses, Noah, the prophets, and many others when God called to them. Even little Samuel was ready at a moment's notice to hear the voice of the Lord calling him, and to go where he was instructed to go. If we're still wearing our apron of fig leaves, perhaps we should do a little house cleaning.
"I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." Being naked was not a sin. God created the two naked. But hiding from God is a sin. And being afraid is a sin (Rev 21:8). When we're afraid of God, that means we've been an affront to God and have disobeyed His commandments. Normally we don't feel the fear, or the guilt, until we're confronted with our transgression. I know this feeling all to well. On a insignificant level, I don't feel guilty for eating that extra piece of pie every day, not feeling any different, and in fact feeling good about it... until the mirror and my belt, and my blood count (hypoglycemia) informs me of my wrongdoing. The more we get away with something, the more justified we feel in doing that thing. David, Job and others have wondered why the wicked prosper. I have little doubt but that you have wondered the same thing, as have I. We think of the wicked as being those outside the church we attend (although we see the wicked in other churches than our own). But I think we're going to find that it's those in the Church, who remain wicked, who will be judged the most harshly when that day comes. And it's on that day, Judgement Day, when we will discover why the wicked feel no guilt for their wickedness. God lets us slide now, only so that we will slide to our lowest level. And it's that low level we will be judged by.
"Here am I." I have no doubt but that this was the reply God received from His first creation until that day sin was found (actually, it was brought out) in them. God is standing at your door right now. He sees all we do, and knows every thought we think. What is He writing in His book of remembrances about you at this moment?
"Who told thee that thou wast naked?" Again we see that nakedness, and sin, exists when it is presented to us. Nothing was illegal until it became illegal in their own eyes. The fact that they were naked was only a sin in their own eyes, not in the eyes of God. We're told that without the law, there is no sin. That the law was established so there would be sin (Rom 3:20-21; 5:13, 7:7 and all through the book of Romans). What is sin to us, is sin (Rom 14:14, 20,23; ; while it might not be a sin to someone else. For instance, not long ago it was a sin for a person to dance, go to movies, wear clothes that exposed the shoulders or the knees. I grew up in such a time. If I did any of these things, having been told, so therefore believing that it was a sin, then I was sinning if I did them. Meanwhile, those who would be dancing and going to the movies who hadn't heard of or accepted such laws, were perfectly in the right to do so.
It sounds like I (and Paul for that matter) is saying that it's ok to sin as long as I don't believe it to be a sin. Try that concept out in front of a human judge, or your parent for that matter. No, if we're led by the Spirit, the restrictions on us will be made abundantly clear, and we'll know when we step over the line and are no longer pleasing the Lord. When it gets so we can do the things we know we're not to do, and not feel guilty about it, that means we've gone too far, and our conscience has been seared as with a hot iron. In other words, we're in deep trouble (2Peter 2:21; Heb 6:4-8).
"Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" Isn't it interesting how God can present the face of ignorance when He knows full well what we've done? Little Junior standing next to a broken jar with chocolate spread all over his hands and face, and we say: "Have you been into the cookies I told you to stay away from?" God knows the number of hairs on the head of all the billions of people on this earth today; and He didn't have a constant eye on His only humans of the time?
Why did God ask Adam and Eve what they did? Might it have been to give them the chance to "'fess up" so they could be given a new beginning, as you and I are given in this Church age? I read the comments regarding this episode written in many, if not all the biggest of commentaries. I find their writings laughable. For instance, some have said of this situation, from start to finish, that it is because of God's grace that mankind was given a coat of skins (which will be discussed in more detail later), and that it's because of Adam and Eve being repentant over what they had done that God didn't punish them harshly. Repentant? Confession? Let's see what they had to say for themselves that causes these great minds to believe they were repentant:
"And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13And 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." What I hear them saying is "The devil made me do it. My hands are clean. If it hadn't been for thus 'n such, I would never have done it. How can you hold poor innocent me guilty when it was so 'n so's fault? It was in my genes that I inherited from my parents. If my mother had of loved me more, I would have never done this." Or, we might say as did Cain: "Am I my brother's keeper?" Now such a comment as the one made by Cain is arrogant and foolhardy at it's best. But let's give these guys a break. They haven't had thousands of years in which to rehearse their excuses as we have, and you and I still come up with nothing better to hide our sins than the barest of fig leaves.
Adam blamed God for his error, intimating that if He hadn't given him the woman, he would never have eaten of the forbidden fruit. Eve tossed it off on the serpent. The poor serpent had no one to pass the buck to, so he had to eat dirt (or crow, as we would say today).
No, I see no sign of confession, nor of repentance in these our first ancestors. Cain followed suit in that he never confessed his sin, only regretted the severity of his punishment. Why didn't Cain have to suffer death as did Adam and Eve for his sin? How can you threaten death on one who is already dead? More on this later.
"The serpent beguiled me." The word beguiled as used here means to "seduce, deceive, lead astray." Although this is what we know of the devil, as that is his nature and his job, this is not what the serpent did, at least not entirely. He essentially told the truth. And up to the point of this conversation, what he said has shown itself to come to pass. What the serpent did was to tell Adam and Eve what they wanted to hear, that it is ok, and even good that they partake of the tree forbidden to them. Today we do the same thing. We seek out those who will say the words to tell us it's ok to do what we're doing and we won't have to pay the consequences. We will give much attention to that person who can soothe our conscience and tell us we don't have to change in order to be in God's will. We have the media, the schools, and the government to tell us it's now ok (where in times not long past it was very illegal) to break the commandments of God and perform the sexual sins we have avoided because it would be unacceptable, and would bring down the long arm of the law on us. We were careful to avoid creating babies we would have to care for because of the law demanding it be so. Today we have been given permission to rid ourselves of the consequences of sexual immorality through abortions, and if the baby is allowed to be born, we can always fall back on the welfare system to support it, and us as well. And although the churches (chances are this includes your church) frowns upon such behavior, and says God doesn't approve of it, the churches no longer teach that there will be eternal consequences to pay for such, shall I say, indiscretions. They turn a blind eye to what the members of the church is doing in the privacy of their own home. "Don't ask, don't tell" is their motto. Evidence of this is the heavy preaching I hear in some churches against abortion, while it is has been shown that nearly half of those having an abortion are by those sitting in the pews of the churches. Jesus said "Go, and sin no more." I wonder what He meant by that? And I wonder what He meant by what He said after this, that is: "Lest a worse thing happen to you."
"And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil:" This is an interesting statement for many reasons. For one thing, we read that man was created in the image of God. Yet we read here that because of man's disobedience, of having partaken of the forbidden fruit, he has become one with God. One with God? Man, a god? Doesn't that conflict with every one of our doctrines? Jesus said He is the Son of God. And we read that Adam is the son of God. And we understand that the Christian is a child of God. Wouldn't that then make us a son, and a daughter of God? Isn't the son like the father? If my Father is God, then what does this make me?
Another confusing aspect of this statement is that man is like God in his fallen state! Man has become like us. Man apparently wasn't created like God. In this the serpent told the truth. He (it?) told Eve that she would be like god if she ate of the fruit. Just to be sure I have this right, let's look at the serpent's words to Eve:
"For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." I don't get the notion that he is saying she will be as God, the creator, but rather in the realm of being a god. However the words used are ambivalent, so it could be that he was saying thus, especially since God seemed to be affirming this fact by His statement above.
The devil was a liar from the beginning (John 8:44). Here the serpent told the truth, other than to say they wouldn't die if they disobeyed. There are people telling us, the Christian, that we won't die if we disobey or if we don't follow the Word to the letter. I wonder where such words come from?
We're told that the truth will set us free. Not in all cases. Here the two heard the truth, a least a good part of the truth, and followed the truth as they knew it. And having followed the truth as outlined to them, they suffered the most severe of punishments. Truth isn't the same for every one of us, nor is it our prerogative to decide which truth we're to follow. Abraham found grace and favor because he offered up his son for sacrifice. God will not reward us accordingly for doing the same thing with our son. Rahab the harlot was given high honors, even to being listed in the chapter of heros of faith, and this for betraying her people. After the worship of the golden calf in the wilderness, the Levites were told to take a sword and kill every one their neighbor. Peter was told to follow Jesus, and John was apparently told to wait. Peter thought John (at least so it appears) should be obeying the commandment he was given. Each one of us is given a responsibility, a job. If everyone did the same job, that would leave a great deal left undone. I wouldn't want to be a mortician. But I'm glad there are those who have such a calling because the ground would be littered with smelly dead bodies otherwise.
God is one God, this we know. Then who are the "Us" Adam and Eve have become like? The Jews have reprinted and repeated these words for many generations. And I'm sure they would love to change them. Because of these words, the churches have claimed them for support of the Trinity. What do these words mean? I'm not about to say I know. I haven't the faintest ideal what they mean. I only know they're in the Bible, and I believe the Bible. Some things are to be left a mystery to me. I wish our theologians and Bible scholars would do the same instead of trying to fill in the gaps of their understanding with carnal fantasies.
For myself, I don't understand what is happening to the world today. I don't even know what is happening to me, in my own life at this moment. I can't get a handle on this flesh that's so closely attached to me. How could I ever expect to understand the obscure things of God that happened thousands of years ago?
"Knowing good and evil." The word good means "Joy, pleasure, prosperity." These are things the two already possessed at the time of the fruit caper. There was nothing held back from them. They didn't have to do anything to get the first part of what was offered to them. What they were missing is, not the actions that come from good, but the knowledge that these things are good, and that anything else but good exists. Remember, this was not the tree of good and evil. It was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So if they already had good, why did they seek what the tree had to offer? For part of that answer, we have Eve's words. She saw it was attractive, good for food, and in general appealed to her senses. Most of all, in my opinion at least, the fact that it was forbidden was its greatest appeal.
Evil here does not mean sin. Sin was not an issue here since there was no law. And sin is the transgression of the law (1John 3:4). The word evil here means (according to Strong's concordance) "adversity, affliction, bad, calamity, + displease (-ure), distress, evil ([-favouredness], man, thing), + exceedingly, X great, grief (-vous), harm, heavy, hurt (-ful), ill (favoured), + mark, mischief, (-vous), misery, naught (-ty), noisome, + not please, sad (-ly), sore, sorrow, trouble, vex, wicked (-ly, -ness, one), worse (-st) wretchedness, wrong. [Including feminine ra'ah; as adjective or noun." Is there any of these words that would entice you to pick an apple? Of course we have to remember that what our foreparents will experience is the knowledge of evil, of trouble and sorrow. But how do we gain knowledge? Is it not through experience? To be sure, they did indeed get to experience those things that gave them knowledge of what they shouldn't, and least want to have. This is true of us today as well. When we're given a choice between that which is good for us, that will bless us, and that which seems to be enjoyable on the surface of it, we will choose the "evil." Am I the only one who possesses this Adamic nature?
"And now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:" I have always been led to believe that Adam was created an eternal being, that he was given a built-in everlasting soul. Yet here we read that it is only if the man partakes of the Tree of Life that he will have everlasting life. I wonder why Adam never tasted of this fruit before the conversation with the serpent. We know the fruit he was to avoid looked good, so I suspect the fruit on the Tree of Life wasn't so appealing. Just a guess, how can I know for sure? I do know that today we have two trees from which to pick. One of these trees the churches offer, one that allows a person to be and do whatever they want to do, to partake of all the pleasures of this world, and not have to suffer the consequences the unchurched, unbaptized will have to suffer for doing. Then there's the tree that Jesus speaks of, the tree with fruit that doesn't look so good on the surface. This fruit demands that we be absolutely obedient, that we do away with every aspect of our fleshly, worldly lusts, and to do everything contrary to our nature. How do we reconcile being a Christian, of having eternal life and the Spirit of God, and still be doing what we want to do? We do as has been done by the churches. We rename the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and call it the tree of life. This way we get the best of both worlds.... until the Judgement, when God will ask us "Did you do what I told you not to do, and eat of the forbidden tree?" How much chocolate will you have on your hands and face? I'll be filthy, I'm afraid I have to admit.
"Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken." From the sound of this, it appears that tilling the ground is part of the punishment bestowed upon mankind. This is not the case. Tilling the ground and taking care of God's creation, was the purpose of man from the beginning, what will be part of the Judgement in the end (Rev 11:18), and what mankind (those who are "saved") will be doing in Eternity (Gen 2:5; Rev 21:24). We have the idea that in Eternity we 'll all be floating around Heaven, whatever that might be, forever, doing nothing but playing on our harp and worshiping God, the God we merely tried to pacify in this life. I don't think so. But that is not a subject to be covered here since I've done so other places. Let it just be said that I suspect there's going to be some real surprises when it's all said and done.
Man was taken from the earth. Man is earth (1Cor 15:47). When Jesus speaks of a field, a field where grain, seeds, are planted, we are that field. I find it interesting how we're told here that man will till the ground from which he has been taken. It's almost as if we are plowing ourselves when we till the soil.
Man has been punished. But having to plow is not punishment. That's mankind's livelihood. That's how he raises what he eats. The punishment, as stated later, is that the ground will now have rocks, and thorns, and briars that has to be done away with. I suspect it also includes insects and germs that give a farmer so many headaches. Will there be such critters in Paradise? If not, what will the birds eat? I hope they're done away with and the birds alter their diet to be exclusively vegetarian, but that's something to be seen.
24So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. (Gen 3:)
Here I've moved into an area that I've already covered extensively elsewhere, probably in a study much to long to hold anyone's interest (such as "Fig Leaves"). I can't remember all I've written, leastwise where it's buried. Suffice it to say that I find the statement "East of the Garden of Eden" interesting. What about the other directions? Couldn't our couple sneak back from the north? And we know from this account that the garden is east of Eden, whatever Eden might be. Can Adam climb the walls into Eden itself? And what is the Cherubim, and the flaming sword? And why aren't these still with us, or at least mentioned later in Scripture?
And what about the word "keep"? What is God doing, what is His purpose in keeping the way to the Garden of Eden? The word keep means, as we might suspect, to "Protect, hedge about, preserve." But along with this it means "Watch, reserve, mark." Could it be that God has marked the spot for those who prove themselves worthy to reenter the Garden? Consider the Cherubims in the Tabernacle, the Temple, and what a significant role they play in the structures of these models of Heaven. Create some interest? It sure does for me.
Below I've given some samples of other places in the Bible that the word for "Keep," as in what the Cherub was doing. Sometimes the word is translated other than keep, but in each case, for the Hebrew usage, the word is identical to the word "Keep." Of course where I have inserted a Greek word for examination, the word is different than the Hebrew, but I think you'll see that the meaning is much the same. Take a look at these words and see if they don't give a little more understanding to what this episode in Genesis is telling us:
2Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee. 3Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily. (Psalms 86:)
19He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. 20The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy. 21My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever. (Psalms 145:)
It might interest you to know that the word "saved" in this case, and almost exclusively in the New Testament, besides the obvious, means to "preserve, protect," one of the definitions of keep. Though I've emboldened the word save, it is a different word than the one we're looking at.
Take another look at the verses above. Notice how very similar they are in their meaning, and in their wording.
23And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1Thes 5:)
Of course, as stated above, this is a Greek word and not the same word as used in the Genesis account. The meaning of this word is to "Watch, keep, keeper." Can you imagine this as describing the Cherubim?
6My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. (Psalm 130:)
6I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence, 7And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. (Isaiah 62:)
32But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. 33Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. 34For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. 35Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: 36Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 37And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. (Mark 13:)
Did you notice how many times Jesus said to be watchful? The word for watch here means "Keep awake, be vigilant, watchful." Again we find what might well have been the command given to the Cherubim. Something to think about. And while you're thinking on this, you might give some thought as to what the Cherubim are, and what the flaming sword represents.
37Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. 38But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off. (Psalm 37:)
14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. (Phil 3:)
Paul is acquainted with the mark as is the Cherubim, or at least so it might seem. Is the mark in the Garden the one Paul is striving for? You might recall that Paul describes having had an experience he can't explain when he was taken up to Paradise. That vision changed his life. What do you suppose Paul saw at that time?
The word mark in the Greek means "Watch, a sentry, a scout." How would you describe the Cherubim watching the east gate to the Garden?
I hadn't intended to spend any time on this passage, but what I've covered here I fairly well missed in my other studies of the Garden event. I hope you got something out of it and that it wasn't too distracting.
21Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. (Gen 3:)
We are now at the subject of this study, that is the coats of skins God made for the first man and woman. But don't get your hopes up, I'll more than likely take us on at least one detour before completing this skin issue.
As stated earlier, I did some research on the web about this matter and what the experts have to say about these coats, and they unanimously support the idea that God sacrificed an animal in order to provide skins for these two sinners. I read some interesting commentaries, such as this supposed sacrifice previews the sacrifice Jesus will make four thousand years in the future. I can see where this concept might have some merit, but for some reason I just can't see it. Abraham's sacrifice, yes. But Adam's?
This sacrifice of an animal is also supposed to show the loving forgiveness of God, that He will sacrifice one of His creation for the sins of Adam and Eve. Again, I can't buy it. There are several reasons why I think this theory has many leaks. For one, when we sin, it is us who is supposed to do the sacrificing to God, not God sacrificing to Himself. The fact that Abraham told Isaac at the Mount Moriah episode that God would provide Himself a sacrifice, and that Jesus was God's sacrifice to Himself might easily disqualify my objection. I think however that God taking some obscure animal and sacrificing it for nothing more than obtaining its skin would dilute the sacrifice He will make for the sake of the world and make it of little significance. Also, as stated earlier, we see no sign of repentance from these two, which is a prerequisite to having a sacrifice accepted by God.
Today we hear that God is no longer angry. This attitude is carried all the way back to the Garden of Eden, at least it is in the imaginations of some scholars. They say that God's sacrifice to Himself appeased His anger, and therefore He was no longer upset with His creation. If you've read any of the Old Testament, I suspect you've gained a slightly different opinion than that expressed by the so-called experts. If what we read, such as the flood, is not an expression of anger, then I have no idea what is.
As we've seen, in order to better understand what God is telling us in His Word, we must have some kind of grasp of the language of the book, and what the words mean. First of all, the Hebrew, especially the Old Hebrew as used by Moses, was very vague, and each word could be interpreted in many, often conflicting ways. Which meaning is intended we must discover by seeing where else the word has been used, and in what context. We've seen a simple example of this in our study of the word "keep."
Hebrew has no vowels (though in later years vowels and other marks were added for clarity, and for pronunciation. But we have no idea if these actually relate to what the original text was expressing). When someone says such and such has to mean so and so because of some tense of a word or something of that sort, they're trying to push the envelope of reason. If you examine a page of the old text, the original way in which the Old Testament was presented, it leaves little doubt but that such an exact interpretation can't be had. Also, there were no capital letters in the ancient Hebrew for such things as proper names and titles like we have in our modern language, even in the Greek of the New Testament. Because of this, there has been some misleading passages, perpetuated by the translators, where they have capitalized a letter that shouldn't have been capitalized. For instance, when trying to differentiate between man's spirit and the Holy Spirit, some Bible translators have capitalized what they suppose to be referring to the Holy Spirit. In your mind you have to un-capitalize these words in order to not be mislead.
"The LORD God make coats of skins:" Let's look at the word "Make:"
MAKE - H6213 - aw-saw', A primitive root; to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application: - accomplish, advance, appoint, apt, be at, become, bear, bestow, bring forth, bruise, be busy, X certainly, have the charge of, commit, deal (with), deck, + displease, do, (ready) dress (-ed), (put in) execute (-ion), exercise, fashion, + feast, [fight-] ing man, + finish, fit, fly, follow, fulfil, furnish, gather, get, go about, govern, grant, great, + hinder, hold ([a feast]), X indeed, + be industrious, + journey, keep, labour, maintain, make, be meet, observe, be occupied, offer, + officer, pare, bring (come) to pass, perform, practise, prepare, procure, provide, put, requite, X sacrifice, serve, set, shew, X sin, spend, X surely, take, X thoroughly, trim, X very, + vex, be [warr-] ior, work (-man), yield, use.
Have you seen the myriad of ways this one simple word can be (and has been) translated? Let's try another use of the word and see how it looks on our misguided couple:
The LORD God provided coats of skins.
How does that sound to your ears? Does it open the door to other possibilities?
"30For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude; and the LORD hath blessed thee since my coming: and now when shall I provide for mine own house also?" (Gen 30:)
Here we have the same word as "Make" translated "Provide." Do you find a different feel to the statement translated this way? Or do you see it as saying exactly the same thing in different words? Chances are you do.
COATS - H3801 - koot-to'-neth, From an unused root meaning to cover (compare H3802); a shirt: - coat, garment, robe.
From this description it's easy to see why the commentators of the Bible would settle on the explanation they did. But when we consider these words of Jesus, and elsewhere in the Bible, we find that "settling" on the obvious is not the safest road to follow:
10And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: (Mat 13:)
9And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. (Ezek 14:)
Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. 4I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not. (Isaiah 66:)
10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2Thes 2:)
20And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. 21And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. 22And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. 23Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee. (1Kings 22:)
12Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (2Tim 3:)
9Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 10For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 11For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 12To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. (Isaiah 28:)
1Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 3But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2Cor 4:)
11Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. (Luke 8:)
Over and over we're warned against being deceived, either by others, or ourselves. And if we have itchy ears, desiring only to hear what we want to hear, God Himself will deceive us. Does that tell you anything about those who believe and perpetuate the concept of Evolution and the like? Is there evidence supporting such a theory? Of course there is. Is there overwhelming evidence against such a theory? Of course there is. But we don't need evidence when we seek to be deceived into believing what we want to believe.
The coat then is and outer covering, something that hides, something to replace the fig leaves our antiheroes made for themselves that failed to serve its purpose.
The definition for coat we just read suggests we compare this word with another word very similar to it. Here is what that word has to say for itself: "From an unused root meaning to clothe; the shoulder (proper, that is, upper end of the arm; as being the spot where the garments hang); figuratively side piece or lateral projection or anything: - arm, corner, shoulder (-piece), side, undersetter." It seems to me as how this word is more descriptive of a robe, that is, a coat. Let's see how the Bible uses these words in other applications:
3Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. (Gen 37:)
3Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. 4He shall put on the holy linen coat, (Lev 16:)
In almost every case where the word coat is used, it's the same word as in our Genesis account. This is very strong evidence that the commentators are correct. But being the bullheaded and persistent fellow I am, I'll continue digging until I reach solid granite. It might turn out that I'm doing a lot of useless digging, but I have the time to waste. If you do as well, and if you have the same burning curiosity that I have, why not come on along?
For information's sake I looked up the word "robe" in the concordance, and I found nothing there. The word used is a different one than the one we're researching. Nothing to learn here, as far as I can see.
Not to be deterred by frustration, I looked up the word "clothed," feeling confident I would find something to provide a little support for my investigation. Again the word used in every instance is different than the one I'm researching.
It's obvious I'm sure that I have something in mind, something I'm trying to prove. There is something beyond what has been accepted as the truth of what God is saying in the Genesis account, and I want to find it. I disagree with the concept of trying to prove a point, having a preconceived opinion and searching for evidence to prove that point. However, as you can see, I try to also provide all evidence that goes against the point I'm wanting to prove as well as the evidence that might prove the point. It's the truth I want, not just to be right. To this point (and it may well remain as such), I have yet to find a shred of evidence that might indicate my preconception to be correct. But my shovel isn't broken yet, so I'll keep on digging.
11And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? (Mat 22:)
12The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (Rom 13:)
51Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (1Cor 15:)
27For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Gal 3:)
20But ye have not so learned Christ; 21If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Eph 4:)
11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Eph 6:)
8But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. 12Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. (Col 3:)
8But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. (1Thes 5:)
4Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. 5He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. 6He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Rev 3:)
11And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, (Rev 6:)
9After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; (Rev 7:)
13And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? (Rev 7:)
11In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: (Col 2:)
Take note of the many uses of a term that indicates that what is put on can be taken off and replaced. Each of these examples indicate something like a garment, but we know that a garment is not what is intended. The white robes, the wedding garment, is that of holiness, of righteousness, not something that can be sewn by hand and worn out. Is God concerned with our clothing? Of course not. No mystery here. What is a mystery, however, is that we fail to see the true meaning of God's Word because of the use of metaphors in the Bible.
In this last passage a new element has been inserted, that of circumcision. Circumcision was a sign given to Abraham and his seed to follow. It was a sign that distinguished the children of Abraham, of Israel, of God in fact, from the rest of the condemned world. Those not circumcised were not considered clean, nor a part of God's people. Being born a Jew was not enough. That person must also be circumcised of flesh.
28For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. (Rom 2:)
7In that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations. 8And ye have not kept the charge of mine holy things: but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves. 9Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel. (Ezek 44:)
Being circumcised of flesh is not enough either, even during the days of the Old Testament. That fleshly circumcision was merely a symbol of what is to be the condition of the heart. We know God does not intend that everyone have a surgeon cut away part of his heart. This is a symbol of getting rid of what isn't supposed to be there, but was given to us at birth. We inherited the sins and fleshly desires, an eye toward the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, just like we inherited the foreskin. Both of these must be cut away, although to the New Testament Church this cutting away, this physical circumcision, is in Spirit, not necessarily in the physical as it was under the law. The Apostles had to deal with this difference, and it was one of the most difficult decisions they had to make.
Take particular note how something God placed in man, man is suppose to remove. Although He put it there, God will not allow us to keep it there if we expect to be with Him. He gave us menfolk the foreskin we must take off, as a symbol of the part of the heart that must be removed, that of our lusts, selfishness and desires. In the Church today we feel that we don't have to remove this excess part of us in order to be in God's good graces because we're no longer under the law. But we are under the law that has been written on the heart, and we're still responsible for circumcising our heart. Back to the skins that God provided Adam and Eve. Might it be possible that the skins they were given is also intended to be removed and replaced with something else? That the skins given them is something less than sufficient to provide them protection? It's obvious that the skins they were given did not allow them to be in the presence of God, but a robe of linen is.
Numerous times in the Bible we're told of the need to cut away, or as expressed here "put off" the flesh, the part of us that is not of the Spirit. Failure to dispose of all our fleshly lusts leave us like the proverbial caterpillar that failed to remove it's outer skin, so had to remain half a worm and half a butterfly, sufficient for neither, until it eventually died. It's in the struggle that the worm's skin is removed. And it's in our struggle, our tribulations, that our flesh is removed, and our Spirit is allowed to fly freely. Avoid the struggle, and we fall short of the mark God has set for us.
The Bible is rich in metaphors and descriptive language designed to make clear the mind of God to those who desire truth, and who are willing to look beyond the superficial aspect of the Word. There are those today who demand the Bible be read literally, and like the Pharisees who couldn't see beyond their own laws and writings, they are unable to see what Jesus is telling them, therefore are not able to see beyond the theologian and the pastor's nose. As we read of the Pharisees, they had eyes to see and ears to hear, but they were blinded by their own doctrines and traditions. We must avoid this same blindness if we want to hear God. While we have to see beyond the obvious, we must also make certain that we're not forming pictures in the clouds that don't exist. There are those who seek the mysterious, the hidden messages of the Bible, and they miss the obvious messages that explain the mysteries. For instance, all the churches, as far as I can tell, have their doctrines that must be believed, usually called something like "Articles of Fath." For the most part these declarations of faith have little or nothing to do with what Jesus said we must believe. Yet while these articles are pushed in the face of the congregation, and used to isolate and separate the believers of those not belonging to that church body, the Word and commandments given us by Jesus are set to the side and considered null and void. Such an attitude can lead to nothing but blindness.
I think a couple more shovels full of dirt have been removed from the mystery set before us. Have I proven anything by this finding? I suspect not. But I do think I've exposed a slim possibility to something that lies a little deeper. It could possibly be that the coats God made, or provided, is not something He ripped from some poor animal, but is something that He placed upon the sinful pair that they must labor to remove, just as you and I are to remove the fleshly part of our nature. Can you see this possibility? It's hard to be in a position between knowing and not being sure, isn't it? That's why people love to have everything fully explained to them so they can have all the answers without having to figure out the questions, or even if the one who supposedly provides the answers has any knowledge of the questions. "Just give it to me in five words or less, don't confuse me with the truth."
SKIN - H5785 - ore, From H5783; skin (as naked); by implication hide, leather: - hide, leather, skin.
The word used here for skin is the same as used throughout the Old Testament, whether it be in the singular or the plural. In the sacrifices we see where the skin is mentioned separate from the body, the rest of the animal. There's nothing significant in this other than it is seen by God as something that can be unattached from the animal, which any hunter or cook knows to be true.
Let's take a step back to where our first parents were evicted from their precious garden:
Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
CLOTHED - A primitive root; properly wrap around, that is, (by implication) to put on a garment or clothe (oneself, or another), literally or figuratively: - (in) apparel, arm, array (self), clothe (self), come upon, put (on, upon), wear.
Again looking at the word clothed. Notice how the word means to "wrap around." What is there about you that you might describe as being wrapped around you, completely wrapped around you? In the definition it appears quite clear that the writer of this concordance considers this to be a garment, something that can be taken off or put on at will. However, noticed that this attribute is "implied, an implication," not a fact. However, as the word is used in the Bible this implication is shown to be fact by the use of the word to describe what is in fact clothing. But does that mean the word is limited to clothing?
We were looking at the expression "put on" Christ, and righteousness, and the like, as if a garment. Here in this definition we find again the same use of the term.
9Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again? 10Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? 11Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews. 12Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. (Job 10:)
5Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 6And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin. (Ezek 37:)
As considered by the commentators of the Bible, the words expressing this action of God leads to nothing but confusion. Because of the way it reads, the commentators have added their bits and pieces and caused the words to appear as vain at the least, and as indicative of many imaginative inclusions at the most. It makes no sense that God would sacrifice an animal to Himself, and nowhere in this passage is there a hint of such a thing being done. It's all in the imagination that this doctrine has been created. Nor does it make any sense that God would bother to clothe these two in the first place because He created them naked, so therefore it was not against His will for them to be unclothed. Besides, the "clothes" God might have made for them would eventually wear out, and the two would then be forced to learn to do something beyond sewing fig leaves together.
Leaving our two to their own devises for a moment, I would like to delve into another aspect of mankind that I believe to have been corrupted by the minds of our experts, and is popularly believed by almost everyone, Christian or no. It is said that God created us as an eternal creature from the beginning. Because of this belief, many fairy tales have been established to compensate for the blank spots in the Word. Despite the fact that God made it clear that Adam and Eve were created from the dust of the earth, and to dust they would return, the world continues to believe man will not return to dust, but will be forever shoveling coal to keep the devil warm.
7And 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:)
Note that man became a "living soul." There is nothing said about a spirit being placed in man. In the Old Testament, as with the New, the times the Spirit is mentioned it is that of God's Spirit, and He did (and does) indeed place his Spirit in people. But this has nothing to do with mankind having a spirit that lives on and on from his birth.
Let's take a look at the soul of man and see what we can learn, and maybe discover where the concept of an eternal being came from:
SOUL - H5315 - nephesh - From H5314; properly a breathing creature, that is, animal or (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental): - any, appetite, beast, body, breath, creature, X dead (-ly), desire, X [dis-] contented, X fish, ghost, + greedy, he, heart (-y), (hath, X jeopardy of) life (X in jeopardy), lust, man, me, mind, mortality, one, own, person, pleasure, (her-, him-, my-, thy-) self, them (your) -selves, + slay, soul, + tablet, they, thing, (X she) will, X would have it.
Did you see how essentially man became alive, like the animals, when he became a living soul? What in the list above do you find particularly appealing? I find nothing. When the word soul is used in the Word, the translators chose a single part of the definition to use, such as heart, bowls, life, soul, or whatever. But in fact, the word entails the entire being, short an eternal spirit. Where does the eternal Spirit come from, and does it exist for us? Yes it does:
42So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (1Cor 15:)
Shall we take Paul's word for it? Or should we continue to leave it up to the theologians?
28And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell ["Valley of Gehenna"]. (Mat 28:)
20The soul that sinneth, it shall die. (Ezek 18:)
27Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. (Ezek 18:)
3Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. (Isaiah 55:)
Do you see where the soul is eternal in the verses above? If you do you have better eyes than I have.
1Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
Those of you who have read very much of what I've written may have seen some of this already. However, I repeat it to a degree here because there are new aspects to be seen, new connections to be made, and it is important to the understanding of what I'm presenting here. I hope it doesn't bore you, and that you get something out of it.
We find here that the woman said what she understood God to say, and that is if they partake of the Tree of Knowledge, they would die. The serpent altered the words of God slightly, saying they would not surely die. The woman wasn't present at the time God gave Adam these instructions as she hadn't been "born" as yet. But apparently the serpent was there at the time, because he quoted God correctly (in this regard).
The way God expressed the fact that His favorite creation (I suspect they were, however maybe the monkey as more favored by God. Who knows? We can only assume) was to say you shall "die die". We find this same form in the New Testament where Jesus would say "Verily, verily" (or "Firm, trustworthy, surely") which was said 25 times in the Gospel of John as a repeated expression, and none in the other three Gospels. I take this to mean God is telling Adam that He means what He says. Somehow we've turned the words of God around to say Adam will not (and didn't) surely die that same day he sinned. Where did I hear those words before? Might have been a serpent in a garden somewhere?
Here are the words of God to Adam:
16And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17But 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. (Gen 2:)
In the day Adam eats of it he will die. We've altered this to say that in the thousand year period after Adam ate of the forbidden fruit he died. Was God mistaken then? Did God perhaps mean that Adam, and mankind thereafter, would dies in the thousand year day that God sees a day to be (2Peter 3:8)?
25Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26For AS THE BODY WITHOUT THE SPIRIT IS DEAD, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:)
The body without the Spirit of God (remember we looked at the possibility that man has no spirit outside of the Holy Spirit) is dead. There is no life in the body outside that of the Holy Spirit. We are dirt, walking hunks of clay, vessels waiting for the Seed of Life to be planted in us. We are the field God purchased with His own blood in which to plant His likeness, as we see has happened with Jesus and the Apostles.
You don't think so? Maybe you're right, and God just made a mistake when He said Adam would die that day he sinned, or that one day means a thousand years. After all, science has convinced many if not most of the churches that a day in God's time is a billion years, thereby accommodating creation and evolution and the findings of the sciences.
42So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption ["Decay, destroy, destruction"]; it is raised in incorruption: 43It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption (1Cor 15:)
"The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit."
Adam, the first man, was made a living soul. We read earlier where the soul is not eternal, at least not by definition. Where such a concept came from is an interesting story in itself involving books that are unacceptable to the Mainstream denominations, except the few bits and pieces of these writings they need to support their obscure doctrines. But I won't go into that here.
Mankind has been restricted from the Garden of Eden, and from God's presence. We might well imagine that this is not God's ultimate plan, for God to be eternally separated from the creation He designed to live in the Garden Paradise He planted for man's enjoyment (my assumption). If this assumption is correct, then how does God intend to get us, faulted humankind, back into His domain? The popular concept is that He sent His Son to die for the sins of the world, clearing the way for anyone who takes a stroll through a puddle of water or has water sprinkled on them as a baby will be able to wander into Paradise. That's not the way I read the Bible sitting before me, maybe it's the way some others read. Jesus did die for the entire world, and I can see the strong possibility that He covered the sin of Adam to the degree that it no longer exists. But I find a lot more involved with entering through the Vail than merely offering an intellectual assent that Jesus is the Messiah. I see words like "Overcome as I have overcome." I see: abandon everyone and everything if we hope to be His disciple. I find words to the effect that we must take up our cross daily and follow Him. In my Bible it speaks of those who wish to follow Him will suffer great tribulation, and it's that very tribulation that prepares us for being in the presence of God. But then again, perhaps someone added these verses to my Bible as a practical joke, and it isn't in the rest of the Bibles of the world. Might that explain why I don't see things the same way the preachers do?
11He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:)
Not those born of flesh, but those born of God, that is, those possessing the Holy Spirit of God, as Jesus was in possession of the Spirit of God, will be accepted into the presence of God. Does this sound close to your way of thinking?
24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:)
2What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:)
There are several issues here I would like to elaborate on, but I'll only touch on them briefly since they aren't pertinent to this study. First we see Jesus telling His disciples that He was "ascended" before, and we know that He ascended after His resurrection. In chapter 3 of John we read where He told Nicodemus that He was in Heaven, even while He stood in front of Nicodemus. What is this telling us? Where did He descend from? Where will He ascend to? In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus requested of the Father to be given what He had before. What did He have before? We're also told that Jesus was rich, and that He became poor so we can become rich. What is it He gave up that we will acquire? If Jesus was in Heaven even as He stood on earth, where is Heaven? And where is the Heaven we will be spending Eternity in?
We see here that God is Spirit. If God is Spirit, and Jesus is the Son of God, and had what God had before His incarnation, then what was it He was? What was it He had that He wants back again? What is it we will have that He is regaining?
There are a lot of questions that need to be answered our theologians have just guessed at, giving us supposed answers that only lead to dead ends.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him;"
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us"
In Genesis we read of a new beginning. Here we have another new beginning. The first beginning was in preparation for a man who is carnal, who is fallible, who is anything but like the finished product God has in mind for those who will spend Eternity with Him in Paradise. This beginning introduces a Man who possesses all the attributes of God, who is an example for those who desire to strive to be like, and to be with God forever. We've seen that less than perfect is unacceptable to God. Now we see what God is looking for in man. The first man was made of earth, earthy. This second man is composed of, and lives after the Spirit. This is man with an eternal Spirit. The first man was, and will forever be nothing but dirt under the feet of those who live forever.
Like in the first creation, that of Adam, we find certain words that seem to be telling us something, and to find that something we must delve into the original language. In this case we're looking at the Greek, which is a bit more precise in its meanings, but far from exact, which we will discover. We're looking at this phrase: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him."
MADE - G1096 - A prolonged and middle form of a primary verb; to cause to be ("gen" -erate), that is, (reflexively) to become (come into being), used with great latitude (literally, figuratively, intensively, etc.): - arise be assembled, be (come, -fall, -have self), be brought (to pass), (be) come (to pass), continue, be divided, be done, draw, be ended, fall, be finished, follow, be found, be fulfilled, + God forbid, grow, happen, have, be kept, be made, be married, be ordained to be, partake, pass, be performed, be published, require, seem, be showed, X soon as it was, sound, be taken, be turned, use, wax, will, would, be wrought.
The Greek word for made, as used in the verses describing Jesus having been made a quickening Spirit, has shown itself to be filled with ambiguity as it was in the Hebrew. The word not only means to begin, but to end. Or it can mean to fall. Setting aside the many ways the word can be interpreted, let's concentrate on the word's application to the subject at hand. The Word was made flesh. Whatever (or whoever) is being discussed here has become flesh. The first encounter we have of someone becoming something, which was also flesh, is Adam. He was made from dirt. What was the Word before He became flesh? We can be quite certain He was not dirt. But if Jesus was as we are, if He was flesh, then He was dirt. Have I missed anything thus far? Am I stepping over the bounds of acceptability into heresy yet in your opinion?
Whoever the Word is, He apparently was not flesh to begin with, because He, the Spirit, became flesh, He was "made"flesh: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us."
We have two apparent options here we might consider. First, if the Word that become flesh was Jesus, then Jesus was something other than flesh before He became flesh. What was He? We read where the Father is Spirit. We understand that the Holy Spirit is spirit. Could it be that the Father and the Holy Spirit are not two separate entities, but rather when we speak of the Holy Spirit we are in fact speaking of the Father? If this is so, then is it possible that when we speak of Jesus, other than the Jesus who appears to us in the flesh, we are talking about the Father? If this is true, then wouldn't that mean Jesus is the fleshly incarnation of the Father Himself?
Jesus said He does nothing, and He says nothing but what the Father shows Him to do and say, and what the Father does Himself, Jesus does. Jesus is the full representation of the Father here on earth, if God has no body, if He is Spirit, then how does He relate to us? If He relates to humankind through Jesus, and only Jesus, then wouldn't that mean for just a few years He was able to do so, and then it was all over with?
Jesus said He must die so a seed could be planted. This seed spread into the 12 Apostles, creating a likeness of Jesus, that spread even farther into multitudes around the world. We are to be part of that planting. We are to carry on what Jesus started. If Jesus was the Word, the incarnation of God here on earth, God in a form through which He can help His creation, show His people His love, then wouldn't that mean we are to be the Word made flesh as was Jesus? Take a look at the Bible with this thought in mind and see if it makes any more sense than what popular doctrine teaches.
FLESH - G4561 -- sarx, Probably from the base of G4563; flesh (as stripped of the skin), that is, (strictly) the meat of an animal (as food), or (by extension) the body (as opposed to the soul (or spirit), or as the symbol of what is external, or as the means of kindred, or (by implication) human nature (with its frailties (physically or morally) and passions), or (specifically) a human being (as such): - carnal (-ly, + -ly minded), flesh ([-ly]).
What is being described here, so it seems to me, is Adam. It seems that the Word became as Adam was, and as we are. The Word had all the frailties that you and I possess. We read in Hebrews 4:15 that Jesus was tempted in all ways as we are. I hear that Jesus is all man, and all God, like the mythical god-men of Greece, Rome and the like. I don't buy that. If this were so, then there is nothing about Him that I can relate to since I am all man, and no God is in me. However, If Jesus was all man, all flesh, with the Spirit of God dwelling in Him, as I am supposed to be at my conversion, then I can compare myself to Him and use Him for a role model.
DWELT - G4637 - skay-no'-o, From G4636; to tent or encamp, that is, (figuratively) to occupy (as a mansion) or (specifically) to reside (as God did in the Tabernacle of old, a symbol of protection and communion): - dwell.
I find this word and its description rather intriguing. Look at all the deep meanings attached to this single word. We find that the Word, whoever might be the Word, is going to encamp with us, with mankind. And we see even further that it's like God when He dwelt, or Tabernacled, with the people in the Old Testament, and even further, we see that the Word will (has) occupied those He dwells among. Consider what Jesus said, and in fact stressed, in the 14th to the 16th chapters of John. Jesus said He, the Holy Spirit, and the Father would dwell in the true believer. When Jesus was here on earth in the physical realm, He of course did not dwell in anyone. How could He? And for that matter, how can He dwell in the believer even after His resurrection and ascension? What form must He be in to accomplish such a thing? And this taken into consideration, what form, if He is (and was) the Word, was He in before His incarnation?
We toss these questions off unanswered and unconsidered because we just accept that Jesus must know what He's talking about, and someone in high places knows as well. I think Jesus wants us to know. At least we ought to care what Jesus is saying and doing, especially since He spent so much of the Gospel of John telling us what He's doing.
I like the fact it's mentioned here that the Word (dwelt) is like a mansion. So many people place a lot of their hope and expectation in the concept that Jesus has returned to Heaven for the sole purpose of building us some form of mansion, some building of bricks and stone. Jesus said He was going to prepare us a place. And He said that in the Father's house are many mansions, meaning dwelling places, places where He, the Father can dwell. Jesus said God will be dwelling in the believer. If this is so, then doesn't that make us the rooms, the dwelling places Jesus is going to prepare through the assistance of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter?
Here we see that the Word will be a protector. In the final chapters of Revelation we see God dwelling among men, and giving them comfort, even to drying their eyes. Are you getting a picture here? Is the light of the Gospel maybe becoming a bit brighter and more interesting than the dry, vague stories we've been taught since we were infants?
AMONG - G1722 - en, A primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), that is, a relation of rest (intermediate between G1519 and G1537); "in", at, (up-) on, by, etc.: - about, after, against, + almost, X altogether, among, X as, at, before, between, (here-) by (+ all means), for (. . . sake of), + give self wholly to, (here-) in (-to, -wardly), X mightily, (because) of, (up-) on, [open-] ly, X outwardly, one, X quickly, X shortly, [speedi-] ly, X that, X there (-in, -on), through (-out), (un-) to(-ward), under, when, where (-with), while, with (-in). Often used in compounds, with substantially the same import; rarely with verbs of motion, and then not to indicate direction, except (elliptically) by a separate (and different) prep.
Does this description make your head reel the way it does mine? All I can see is a mass of words that contradict each other, that indicate this word "among" can mean anything a person wants it to say. But that's me, and I is unedjicated like I said before.
My assumption is that the verse is saying the Word dwelt among us, plain and simple. However, there is one aspect of this word that causes me look a bit farther into it. Part of this aspect is what I mentioned a moment ago. We read that Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit will be living within us as well as among us. This occurred, or at least began at Pentecost. And I assume it is still with us today, although I honestly don't see much evidence of people being filled with God, certainly not when I look in the mirror.
One great controversy among theologians is what Jesus said in Luke 17:21 when asked when the Kingdom of God would appear, He told them the Kingdom would not come with observation (telling me it wouldn't be outside where I can see it), but the Kingdom is "within" you. Our preachers don't like this word because it indicates that Heaven is here on earth, and not up on a cloud somewhere. That spoils their pretty picture and makes it appear as if they might be wrong on something. And if the Kingdom is here, then what about the world burning up? And what about the Rapture of the Church? And what about a lot of other doctrines that hinge on the Kingdom not being within a person?
There is always a way of protecting our backside. The way the theologians accomplish this is by saying that Jesus didn't mean what He said, but what He really meant is that the Kingdom of God is among you. By taking the Kingdom and placing it square on Jesus, that allows us to continue our fantasy of Heaven being way up yonder where birds don't fly.
But I shouldn't be too hasty. Maybe the theologians and preachers are right. Maybe the Kingdom is restricted to Jesus, and the word should have been translated "among." Let's take a look at the word Jesus used.
The word is Entos, a Greek word meaning.....meaning... "Inside." How about that? We don't have one of those ambiguous words here like we find so many other places. The word just has one single meaning, and it's only been translated one single way. And that "way" is not "among."
Just to be on the safe side, let's see if the word entos has been used anywhere else. Maybe the theologians got the idea of this word meaning among because that's what it has been translated to somewhere else. I find just one other place this word has been used. In Matthew 23:26 we find Jesus once again using this word, and again He is talking to the Pharisees. This time Jesus is talking about cups instead of the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus is telling them not to worry about washing among the cups.... Does this sound right? For some reason that translation doesn't fit my ears. How about if Jesus said "within" the cups they should wash? Ah, that tickles my ears. How about yours?
The root word for entos, within, is the very word we're looking at here. And this word has been translated both to mean within, and among (which we see here).
There are times I can understand why the theologians (and therefor the preachers since the preachers just parrot what their teachers and theologians tell them) can mistakenly accept a wrong definition of a word. But to me this case is just out and out avoiding the truth. And it's for this reason that each of us must learn from God Himself what He has said. On the flip side, I have to confess that I know most people in the pews really don't care one way or another what is preached, or what is true. Just as long as they are entertained, and they are given assurance they won't be going to that hot place below.
BEGOTTEN - G3439 -- mon-og-en-ace, From G3441 and G1096; only born, that is, sole: - only (begotten, child).
When we read the account of Jesus' birth it's clear that the Father was personally involved with the birth of Jesus. Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit from His conception. In and about that time there were others who were filled with the Holy Spirit, and one was born having been filled with the Holy Spirit. We see how Mary and Elizabeth were filled with the Spirit of God, and through the Spirit they prophesied. And we find that John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit from his mother's womb. But the filling these people received was not the same as the filling of the Spirit Jesus was given.
Jesus said that until John there was no one greater than he. But the least in the Kingdom would be greater than John. What did Jesus mean by this?
At our conversion we are born again. When Jesus explained this process to Nicodemus, old Nick couldn't get a toe-hold on what Jesus was saying. It appears to me that there's a lot of other people in high ranking positions who aren't getting the message either.
Jesus was born again, but His "again" occurred at His natural birth. He was born in the condition we become when we're born again. This is what Jesus died to give us. This is the Seed His death imparted to us. From the moment we're born again, even if that happens to be at the age of 90, we begin where Jesus began from His beginning, His natural birth. Jesus, after His birth didn't immediately set out to convert the world and preach the Gospel. I have no doubt that He could have, but part of His mission here on earth was to set a pattern for each of us to follow. This pattern involved learning about the Father, and establishing Himself (ourselves) in this world. When He was thirty He began His mission of presenting the Father to us through His words and His deeds. We saw the Father by watching Jesus. And the world should see the Father by watching us.
"We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."
Again we have the only begotten mentioned. If Jesus is the only begotten of the Father, then where does that leave us? The impression I get from sermons is that because Jesus is the only begotten, we have nothing to do but walk behind Jesus because we can't walk beside Him. Jesus has not only paved the way, and pointed out the way (according to these sermons), but He made it so we have nothing more to do but wait for His return. I don't think so.
Jesus is the only begotten of the Father, but that doesn't mean He's the only child of God. We call God "Father." What does that make us? What was Adam? Like in any family, there is just one firstborn. Jesus is the firstborn of many sons and daughters (Rom 8:29). In this same verse we learn that those children who are to come after the Firstborn are to be conformed to the image of the Firstborn. What does that tell us as to how we are to be if we're to be considered the children of God?
Although Jesus was the Firstborn of the Church, He was not the firstborn of God. For one we have Adam, who was certainly a son of God. Then the Nation of Israel was the firstborn of God, under a new administration, a new covenant (Ex 4:22). Everything about this firstborn and those in the family of this firstborn was different than anything that preceded it. This is true of the Firstborn who is Head of the Christ, the Anointed One, the many-membered man who God is creating to finish His work here on earth.
In the 13th chapter of Exodus and the 25th chapter of Leviticus (among others) we learn about the redemption process of the firstborn of any creature. The firstborn of animals is to be sacrificed, as a picture of the firstborn of the Egyptians who were destroyed in the last of the plagues on Egypt. Since the firstborn belongs to God, then if a person wishes to keep the animal instead of sacrifice it, he must purchase that firstborn animal back from God for a specific price. The firstborn male of a family was to be redeemed, and the firstborn was (is) to be dedicated to God. God owns the firstborn. I find this particularly interesting since I'm the firstborn of my family. I don't know as how that means anything in reality, but I do keep it in mind.
In Numbers 3:12 we learn that God has taken the entire tribe of the Levites, the priests of the nation, and has considered them to be the redemption price paid for the firstborn of the nation. It's not just Levi, or the firstborn of the tribe of Levi who have been taken for redemption, but the entire tribe. Then God turned around and gave the Levites, the priests, to the High Priest for his possession. Consider this picture in relation to our place in the service of our High Priest. In this same way we, as priests, as Christians, are have been taken as redemption for the people. We have been "bought with a price," and at the same time, we are the price paid, the redemption that has been dedicated for the service of the Lord.
The Firstborn was to be redeemed, to be bought back from God rather than be sacrificed. God, in order to redeem the world, chose not to redeem His Firstborn Son, but rather to allow Him to be sacrificed as the lamb which would free the world, us, from sin, (Gal 3:13; Heb 9:15) so we might be able to serve God, His people, and His purpose more fully.
Although Jesus is the only Begotten child of God, as shown, He is not the only firstborn of God. As the tribe of Levi was made part of the firstborn of Israel, we, the Church, are made part of the firstborn of the people of God.
We in the Church consider ourselves to be kings and priests unto God. We need to recognize that this position is one of sacrifice, not privilege. The priest is to serve God's people, to sacrifice for those unable to sacrifice for themselves either because of their being of the wrong family, or because of some uncleanness. As Jesus, the High Priest of the Church, was sacrificed, so are we to sacrifice ourselves for others in the service of our Lord (Rom 12:1-2). We are to carry on His mission, if we are to be a part of His body, His hands, feet, and voice here on earth.
We think of Jesus as being our redeemer, which of course He is. However, we have not yet been redeemed (Gal 3:13; Eph 4:30). We have been set aside, selected for redemption, we have been purchased, but we have yet to be taken home by the One who redeemed us. We are the purchased bride, but we have not been claimed. And as we look at the story of wives in the Old Testament (see "Two Wives" for more on this topic) we see how there is a wife who is loved, and another who is hated, unloved by the husband. And when we examine the parable of the Ten Virgins, we again see this same picture: One accepted, and the other rejected; one taken, and the other left. (Notice how the virgins "left" were refused, not accepted by the Bridegroom. Interesting?) Just because we have been redeemed does not make us a part of the Bride, the beloved. Being "purchased" from the world, from the consequences of our sinful nature, is not cause for us to sit back and feel special. We should be proving our worthiness to be part of the chosen if we expect to remain part of the chosen. Judas was chosen (Mat 20:16; John 6:70). Pharaoh was chosen (Ex 9:16). Nebuchadnezzar was chosen (Dan 4:16-17). But these men were not chosen to be glorified, but to be brought low for the purposes of God. We are in no position to gloat, but we should be humbled because of our having been chosen, and we should be striving with all our might to serve others and to please our Lord.
It is assumed by many that the Old Testament is not for this Church age. I hope you can see that it's by understanding the Old Testament that we are able to understand the New Testament.
"We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father," When did we behold the Glory of Jesus? And Just what is the glory of Jesus?
There are two things that come to my mind when I think of the glory of Jesus. The first I think about is what He said He's wants to do with His glory. We read:
22And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: (John 17:)
Do you hear what Jesus is saying in this passage? He's saying He's going to give His disciples, which He made clear are those who believe because of the words of the Apostles, and not the Apostles only, His glory! Can you imagine that? Doesn't that blow your mind?
But, if Jesus gives us His glory, what will become of Him?
4I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 5And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. (John 17:)
Jesus is getting back the glory He had before the world began. Which world is He talking about I wonder? Is it the world that Adam was born into? Or is it the world Jesus established when He began His mission? I don't suppose it matters at all, but it is something to contemplate.
24Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:)
Again we see that someone is going to behold the glory of Jesus. Here Jesus says it's the glory the Father gave Him that these people are going to see. What is that glory the disciples are to see?
We might assume that it's the transfiguration Jesus is talking about. I don't think there's much doubt but that Jesus displayed His glory on the holy mount. However we have a problem here if this is what Jesus is talking about, two problems in fact. For one thing, Jesus is about to go to the cross at this point, and the transfiguration took place long before this period of time. Then we have Jesus' statement made here: "That they may also...be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory." This implies to me that Jesus is referring to some point in time, and some place, other than where they were at the moment.
Another possibility is that Jesus is referring to His crucifixion as being His glory. The crucifixion Jesus referred to often as His being "glorified."
There is also the possibility that He meant His resurrection, or even His Ascension. Which of these, if any Jesus was referring to I really don't know. I assume it's something yet to be accomplished, or that has been accomplished but not recorded. But I have no evidence of this. I do know, or I should say I assume the Apostles have yet to attain to the glorification Jesus prayed for them because the "rapture" has not yet taken place. And if I understand the "rapture," it will involve those who have passed on at the same time it involves those who are then living.
Another question to leave unanswered, at least unanswered in this study.
TRANSFIGURED - G3339 - metamorphoo, From G3326 and G3445; to transform (literally or figuratively "metamorphose"): - change, transfigure,
Although we can't be sure (or should I say I'm not sure) just what Jesus meant when He said to behold His glory, we have some pretty clear pictures of what His glory might look like. In the Old Testament we see where Moses would glow after his being in the presence of God for any length of time. But Moses himself didn't glow. He just reflected the glow that radiated from God.
I can't imagine that the glory of God is simply a shiny face. Yet this is the picture we're left with. I suspect part of the glory we saw in Jesus was His ability to heal, to raise the dead, to show great compassion, to walk on water, and to hear and do the will of the Father. However we saw much of these same qualities in Elijah and Elisha, and we don't associate the glory of God with them.
Not withstanding the fact, or the assumption that we can't fully understand God's glory, let's take a look at the glory Jesus presented to three of His disciples and see if there's anything we can learn from that:
1And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. 4Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 5While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. 6And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. 7And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. 8And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. 9And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. (Mat 17:)
We have several things worth considering here. I'll start with the least significant of them. First, we see that the transfiguration occurred on a "mountain apart." The experts aren't sure which mountain this is, but the only one I see them ignoring is the mountain I consider as probable. Peter in 2Peter 1:18 referred to this mountain as a "holy mount." Neither of the mountains considered by experts are mentioned or shown to be holy in any way. But there are two mountains that are explicitly called, and demonstrated to be holy. The first of these is Mount Sinai, or what some call Mount Horeb. Moses had many encounters on this mountain, and this is where he was given the opportunity to see God. This is also where Elijah was when God revealed Himself to him.
Another mountain I consider to be holy (besides the mountain the city of Jerusalem sits on) is the Mount of Olives. This mountain fits the scenario of a mountain apart, and it is the place where most, if not all the special events of Jesus' mission took place. As I've shown elsewhere, it's not out of the realm of possibility that Jesus was crucified on this mountain, and that His tomb was on this mountain. This is speculation to be sure, and an unpopular position to hold. But I think you know that I shun the conventional and search out the improbable. And the reason for this is because the conventional and the probable usually turns out to be fictional.
Both Moses and Elijah, as mentioned above, had the opportunity to see God. Now here they are in the presence of Jesus, the Son of God. Something else I notice is that neither of these two men are glowing. Why is this? They're in the presence of Jesus, who is glowing. Shouldn't they at least be reflecting His glow, as was the case with Moses when he had been in the presence of God? Could it be that this, what seems to be intentional lack of what would be expected, is intended to show us that they have not yet been glorified? In Hebrews 11:40 we read where these heros of faith, although they have earned their position in glory, will not be made perfect until those of us who have attained to such perfection have been given that honor.
A cloud overshadowed them. I find this interesting for two reasons in particular. The first reason is that this is the picture we have of Mary when Jesus was conceived. And in fact this is the same word used in that account of His birth. Then we have the cloud from which a voice is heard when God appeared to Moses and all Israel in a cloud in the wilderness. And it's with clouds Jesus will return. The cloud in the wilderness was a picture of the glory of God (which is the concept we're exploring here), and what rested on the Tabernacle and the Temple when they were completed. We have people today watching the skies waiting for a cloud to come rescue them from the hard days to come. We have people who are expecting Jesus to come in a cloud of witnesses (which to me is more conceivable), and though I don't hear this anywhere, I'm sure there are people waiting for Jesus to arrive in a cloud of glory, my being one of the last group.
What was this event? Did it really happen? Jesus called it a vision. We think of a vision as something that is not real, but appears to be real. Paul referred to his encounter with Jesus on the Damascus road as a vision (Acts 26:19). God told Miriam and Aaron that He speaks to Moses mouth to mouth (we say face to face) as a friend, but to others in visions and in dreams (Num 12:6-8). And it's dreams and visions we see God appearing to many people in the Bible. I've heard people say (and I believe them) that Jesus appeared to them in a vision. For myself, I've never had this privilege, although I have heard His voice speaking to me, telling me to do something I least wanted to do.
17Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2Cor 3:)
Now this is an interesting statement easy to miss. What is Paul saying here? We read earlier that God is a Spirit. Here it appears as if Paul is telling us that Jesus ("the Lord") is a Spirit as well. But then of course He would have to be if He is going to be in people, as we read in the chapters of John describing this occurrence.
"We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord." The term "open face" means an unvailed appearance. I take this to mean we will see what's really there without our usual masks that we present the world. The glass is a mirror. So the one we will be beholding, the one we're seeing is a reflection of ourself. And what is it we see when we look in the mirror (or that we will see some day)? Doesn't this verse tell us we'll be seeing the glory of the Lord? Isn't that exciting? Does it blow any doctrines you've been hearing? It does the ones that have come to my ears.
The word used for "changed" here is the very same word we're looking at. It means to be transfigured, as Jesus was transfigured on the holy mountain. It appears that what Jesus was seen to be at that time is what we will be. However, as I said earlier, just what that final change will be I don't think anyone can say. All through this chapter of Corinthians Paul talks about the changes that people have, and will go through, that is, all the glories they have and will experience. John says in 1John 3:1-3 that we don't now know what we shall be, but at the appearance of Jesus, we will be like Him. And John adds to this how those with such hope will be in the process of purifying themselves as He is pure. What does this say about our liberty and what we should be doing with the liberty we've been given? And what does it say for those who are making no effort to purify themselves?
It's the Spirit of God that is working with us, or within us, to purify, to perfect us. That's His purpose and His job. And it's our job to stay in tune with the Holy Spirit, and not quench His efforts. I think of this picture as being much like a couch who's training an athlete for the Olympics. He can be the best couch in the world, and throw every bit of his skill and energy into training that athlete. But if that athlete doesn't apply the same effort and initiative as the couch to his training, the effort will be for naught.
I'm going to take a bit of a sidestep at this point and talk a little about quenching the Spirit. We talk a lot about quenching the Spirit, but do we really understand what that means? Of the several times this word (as translated into the English) has been used, there are essentially only two applications of it, and each application uses a different word. However, in every case, the word means the same things. We read of the fire that can not be quenched, that is, it can not be put out. The same meaning is used for the word quench in regard to the Holy Spirit. But we know we can't "Put out" the Holy Spirit per se. I think of what is being said as something like being thirsty. We speak of quenching our thirst. What does that mean? It doesn't mean we put out our thirst, but rather we satisfy our thirst. When we're satisfied, we stop drinking, even though we might be able to hold a great deal more water than we consumed. This is true of the Holy Spirit, and the learning of the Word as well. When we've had enough, we stop wanting more. I find this to be true of the typical Christian. He or she is easily satisfied, and that usually occurs at the very beginning of their experience. They're satisfied with whatever someone tells them without having a thirst to find the truth, or to learn more of what God has to say, or to learn more about God or the Lord. They might have a burning thirst to learn all they can about their favorite hobby or interest, or to watch TV or video games. But they have no interest in that which they say the love the most, and that they're the most interested in. We need to examine ourselves and see if we are really in the truth, or if we're merely deceiving ourself (Mat 5:6; John 7:37).
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