Genesis 002 – IntroductionGenesis 1:1 • Dr. Andy Woods • July 26, 2020 • Genesis
Introduction Part 2
July 26, 2020
Dr. Andy Woods
Good morning everybody. Welcome to Sugar Land Bible Church on this flood-like day. It’s probably a good time to be starting Genesis. I asked the Lord for some good timing, and He provided. Here we go!
Strangely enough, we’re going to start in 1 Kings 6:1. You probably think I’ve lost my mind—and I probably have, a long time ago. It’ll make sense in a minute.
Find, in your Bible, 1 Kings 6:1 as we continue to introduce to you the Book of Genesis. One of the things I like to do before diving into a book is to lay the groundwork for the book in what are called introductory matters. We’ve seen that the title of the book is the Book of Genesis—and where that comes from. We’ve seen that the author of this particular book is Moses.
And we went into a little bit of detail about how that was accepted until the 18th century when higher critics began to deny Mosaic authorship—not only of Genesis but the first five books of the Bible. The man largely behind all of this was a German liberal named Julius Wellhausen.
I wanted to bring this to your attention. There’s a phenomenal book written by the late David Breese. You may have watched his ministry on TV. He wrote 7 Men Who Ruled the World from the Grave. The premise is that although all these guys are long dead, their ideas—in most cases their wicked ideas—continue on.
Breese mentions Karl Marx, the founder of communism; Charles Darwin, evolution; John Dewey, progressive education; Sigmund Freud, humanistic psychology; John Maynard Keynes, who gave us the idea that you have to go into debt to prosper as a country. Does that make sense? “To become rich you spend more money.” You can thank John Maynard Keynes for that. And in the bulk of the book he mentions Julius Wellhausen.
Julius Wellhausen taught that Moses did not write the first five books of the Bible. That is an idea that continues on in many circles today even though Wellhausen has been dead for a long time. That’s how influential this belief is—denying Mosaic authorship of Genesis. But we at Sugar Land Bible Church reject that! We believe Moses is the author of the book.
And if Moses is the author of the book, then we know generally when he wrote the book, and we basically know who he is writing to. He wrote the book about 1445 to 1405 BC, and he is writing to the nation of Israel who has just come out of the Egyptian bondage. And he’s preparing them, through the Book of Genesis, via accurate history, for their future as a country. A nation that does not know where it’s been or where it came from does not know where it’s going. We talked a lot about that last time.
We also talked about the basic outline for the Book of Genesis, two parts. The beginning of the human race, part one, Genesis 1-11; the beginning of the Hebrew race, part two, Genesis 12-50. Each of those parts has four subparts. The beginning of the human race, four events: creation, fall, flood, and national dispersion. The beginning of the Hebrew race, four people: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.
From there we took a look at the setting of the book. Where does this book occur? The first 11 chapters of it take place, generally speaking, in a place called Mesopotamia, the Fertile Crescent. It’s an area between the two rivers—the Euphrates and the Tigris. That’s where the Tower of Babel once stood. The best we can know, it’s probably the location—generally speaking—of the Garden of Eden.
Then you hit chapters 12-36 and the setting changes; now we’re watching the trajectory as God calls Abram out of that place, up north, and then into the Promised Land. But God can’t leave the nation of Israel in the Promised Land for a lot of reasons that we talked about last time, so God moves them to Egypt. And He largely uses a man named Joseph to do that. That’s the last part of the book—the movement from Canaan to Egypt—Genesis 37-50.
Now, one of the things that I just want to get out in the open here—because this always becomes a burning question whenever people begin to look into the Book of Genesis. The burning question is, “Well, how old is everything?” And I want to explain to you why I think it’s a young earth after all. In fact, I just thought of that for a title to this sermon, “It’s a Young Earth After All.” And I want to explain to you why I think that.
We have to work our way through a little bit of math. Can you guys handle that? (I didn’t hear a loud “Amen” on that one.) But the first thing to understand is Solomon reigned (and that’s why I had you open up to 1 Kings 6:1) from 971-931 BC. He reigned for 40 years. He was the third king of the United Kingdom. And after he left the throne, the Kingdom of Israel was divided.
When you read about the life of Solomon in the Bible—particularly 1 Kings 1-11—you’ll see it mentions a lot of other people groups around Israel at that time. And most would identify those other people groups as being a people group that existed about 971 to 931 BC. So there’s not a lot of dispute regarding when Solomon reigned.
But then, during the reign of Solomon, we read something very interesting in 1 Kings 6:1. What does it say there? “Now it came about in the four hundred and eightieth year after the sons of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord.”
Now, a couple of numbers are used here. The one I want to focus on just for a minute is the temple. David, Solomon’s father, was not allowed by God to build the temple because David had blood on his hands. So that task went to his son, Solomon, who did not have blood on his hands. In fact, within Solomon’s name you might recognize the Hebrew word “shalom,” which means “peace.”
Solomon began to build the temple. And we’re told exactly when he began to build the temple: in the fourth year of his reign. And if his reign started around 971 to 970, then we can document when he began to build the temple. He started to build the temple in 966 BC.
Now, this is very interesting because your Bible—unlike any other alleged “holy book” floating around out there—gives you specific, concrete information concerning when—not just how—when—everything started. It tells you specifically how everything is going to end; it’s going to tell you when everything started. You can anchor down the date of the construction of the temple by Solomon from this verse in 961 BC.
Let’s continue on. Something happened 480 years earlier, and 1 Kings 6:1 tells you. It says, “Now it came about in the four hundred and eightieth year [watch this now…] after the sons of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord.” When did he start to build the house of the Lord? 966 BC.
And 1 Kings chapter 6:1 just happens to mention that something happened 480 years before 966 BC, which would be the time when Israel came out of the land of Egypt. What event would that be? The Exodus. So what you have here is biblical information telling you when the Exodus happened. That’s how precise your Bible is. So we can determine a date for the Exodus! How do we do that? We just start in 966 BC, back up 480 years, and what date do we come to? 1446 BC is when the Exodus event happened.
Now this reality is what allows us to date Moses’ life. I have the Scriptures on the slide. We went through some of this last time. Your Bible tells you that Moses was involved in the Exodus at age 80. Then, there were another 40 years of Moses’ life following the Exodus. He lived to the ripe old age of 120; that is pure Bible.
So, if the Exodus happened in 1446 BC, we learn that Moses was born in 1526. He lived the first 40 years of his life, up until 1486, and then God drove him to the backside of the desert to humble him. That second increment of his life went from 1486 to 1446. Then God called Moses to deliver Israel. Moses delivered Israel in that final third of his life, 1446 to 1406. And those dates are all determined by anchoring down when the Exodus happened. We believe that Moses wrote the Book of Genesis in that last third of his life after the Exodus event had occurred.
Notice, if you will, Exodus chapter 12:40. Find it in your Bible. Exodus 12:40 gives you more chronology. This is what Exodus 12:40 says, “when the nation of Israel was experiencing the Exodus.” What’s the date of the Exodus? You guys aren’t building a lot of confidence in me! What’s the date of the Exodus? 1446.
As that event is happening—1446 BC—you read this in Exodus 12:40-41. This is what it says, “Now the time [what time? The Exodus] that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. And at the end of four hundred and thirty years, to the very day [look how precise your Bible is], all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.”
So, as the Exodus is happening… And what year was that? 1446. We now read where the Jews are saying, “We’ve been here for 430 years!” So, when the Exodus happened, the nation of Israel had been in Egyptian bondage for 430 years. And this 430 year time period tells you exactly when Genesis 46 happened. Because of famine in Canaan and wanting to seek help from Joseph who had been providentially raised to second in command in Egypt, Genesis 46 is when the nation of Israel formally left Canaan under Jacob and migrated into Egypt.
Now, if the Exodus happened in 1446, and at the time of the Exodus people are saying, “We’ve been here for 430 years,” now you can figure out exactly when Genesis 46 happened. All you do is look at the 1446 date, go back 430 years, and you come to which date? 1876 BC. Again, these verses say, “Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. And at the end of four hundred and thirty years, to the very day, all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.”
So, what do we have here? Solomon builds the temple, 966 BC. 480 years before that happened is the Exodus, 1446 BC. 430 years before that is when Genesis 46 happens, and that takes you to the date of 1876. You say, “Gosh, I came to church today to learn something spiritual, and you’re giving me all this mathematical stuff.” The reality of the situation is God is the God of all laws—including mathematics.
The nice thing about being a Bible student is when the Bible touches on things like this, you’ve got to bring up your skills in that area. When the Bible touches on math, “Gosh, I’ve got to remember a little bit of math.” When the Bible touches on geography, or geology, or history, “I’ve got to learn a little bit about that.” When the Bible touches on archaeology, “I’ve got to learn a little bit about that.” So, one of the great things about being a student of the Bible is it brings up your skills in all these other areas as well. So, the Bible is not just a spiritual book—it is that—but it is a historical book as well.
Genesis 46 you can anchor down in 1876. Once you’ve got the 1876 date down, then it’s just a matter of paying attention to the numbers because Genesis has a lot of genealogies in it. And these are the most detailed genealogies you’ll find anywhere in the Bible. These genealogies are different than Matthew and Luke’s genealogy of Christ, which skips generations.
But that’s not what’s happening in Genesis. You know why? Because in the Book of Genesis it will tell you how old the father was at the time his son was born. In other words, Genesis doesn’t just give you the ages of the patriarchs; it will tell you how old the father was when his next of kin as documented in the genealogy was born. That’s how tight these genealogies are.
So, as you pay attention to the numbers and you simply back up—and there’s only so much stretching you can do here—you’ll go from 1876 and it will take you back through Jacob, then Isaac, then Abraham. The genealogies are very specific. It’ll take you into pre-patriarchal times. And just watch the numbers. What does it take you back to? It takes you back to 4000 BC for the age of the beginning of everything.
“Well…wait a minute, Pastor. You don’t really believe that man—and the cosmos—came into existence simultaneously, do you? My biology teacher taught me that there is a vast amount of time between the Big Bang and when men climbed out of the primordial soup!”
The problem is the words of Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 19:4, “And He answered and said, ‘Have you not read that He who created them [that’s Adam and Eve] from the beginning [See that?] made them male and female…’ ” You see, the Bible doesn’t open up this idea that there’s some kind of lost age of time in between the beginning of everything and when Adam and Eve came into existence. Adam came on the scene a very short time after God brought the heavens and the earth into existence. Your Bible says God did that on the sixth day.
Matthew 19 doesn’t just say that. Mark 10:6, recording the words of Christ, says this concerning man, “But from the beginning of creation…” He doesn’t say, “…after 10 billion years had elapsed.” “…God made them male and female.” You say, “What are you trying to say?” What I’m trying to say is this: the beginning of everything, if I’m understanding my Bible correctly, would be about 4000 BC. I mean, there’s only so much wiggle room you can do if the genealogies are revealing information in the Book of Genesis concerning not just when a person lived but what age he was when his son was born.
So, I’m completely comfortable telling people—and I think this is what the Bible reveals—that things began—not just for Creation, but on the sixth day the beginning of man—in 4000 BC—roughly 6000 years ago. Now, believe me, at my family reunions I take so much abuse for this because I have an uncle who was number one in his class in mathematics at the Air Force Academy—and other relatives. Another one was Texas teacher of the year.
They are very steeped in evolutionary thought, and they think that myself and my wife have committed intellectual suicide by holding to this 6000-year-old universe. So they’ll corner us at family reunions and say, “Do you really believe that the earth is 10,000 years old?” I usually correct them and say, “No, I don’t believe the earth is 10,000 years old; I actually think it is 6000 years old.” “Oh, my goodness! How could you believe that?” I believe it because that’s the plain reading of the Bible!
“Well, wait a minute, Pastor. Each of the Creation days is an age, right?” We’ll be getting to that. “Wait a minute, Pastor. Isn’t there an unknown disclosure of time in between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2—the gap theory?” We’ll be getting to that also. I don’t think either of those theories are true. A normal, plain reading of the Bible takes you back 6000 years to the origin of everything.
Now, look at this quote from James Barr. I want you to understand something about James Barr. James Barr was as liberal as they come. He was liberal from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. He assigned no authority whatsoever to the Bible. He was a language scholar conversant in Hebrew.
Quoting people like Barr is very interesting because he is free to look at a document and say, “This is what it means.” And he has intellectual freedom to do that because he doesn’t think it’s from God. He doesn’t have to live by his own conclusions. You see, evangelicals are different. Whatever we come up with in terms of what the Bible is saying, we have to live under it. And so many times, because of that pressure, we like to rewrite the Bible or adjust the Bible.
James Barr, as an intellectually open scholar could just say, “This is what the Bible says.” This is his quote, “Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1-11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that: (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies (which is what I’ve been emphasizing here) provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c) Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark. Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the ‘days’ of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such scholars, as far as I know.”
Barr made that quote in 1984 and he said, “Look, I don’t have to live under it. I’m a liberal. I can dismiss it; it has no authority over me. But this is what it’s teaching.” Now, an evangelical would say, “I’ve got to be careful about that because whatever I come up with, I have to defend.” So evangelicals have been great compromisers in this area. But not so liberals because they don’t really care. They’re just intellectually free to say, “This is what the document says.”
So, people say, “Do you really believe that things look so old when in fact they’re young?” Well, I do believe that because, number one, I can look in the mirror every morning. I can see someone who looks old but really isn’t that old—53 years old. I think that’s my age—something like that.
Beyond that, do you remember what Jesus did in His first public miracle in John 2:1-11, how He turned water into what? Wine. Now, this is one of the reasons I’m not a Baptist; because some of the Baptists say, “That was just grape juice.” That was not grape juice, for the simple reason that the wine steward says, “You brought out the good stuff for the end!” So, this is obviously wine that went through the full fermentation process. You know that commercial, right? “We’ll serve no wine before its time.” You guys know that one! Hmm…
“We’ll serve no wine before its time.” Wine, in order to be good, has to go through a fermentation process. You see what Jesus did here with the water to wine? He accelerated the laws of nature so that it looked old—it appeared old—but it really was not old at all. Beyond that, this world has gone through two major catastrophes: one of which is the Fall; the second of which is the Flood.
Catastrophes. They’ve looked at rocks and things of that nature at Mount Saint Helens where fossilization occurred fast. They’ve sent that into the lab. “How old is this?” “Oh, this is 10 billion years old.” Well, no—it happened within a week. Judgment in the Fall and the Flood has an ability to do that—to make things look old when in fact they’re not as old as people think. And you have to look at this world in that sense if you’re interested in what the Bible says.
This, of course, raises a lot of controversy because people think, “Wow! You’re committing intellectual suicide to believe this!” So there’s a great move among evangelicals to say, “We’ve got to water this doctrine down. We can’t be aggressive about this doctrine because if we are too forthright about it, so-and-so who has a history degree, or so-and-so who has a science degree, will never believe the Bible.”
The fact of the matter is that the people who have the science degrees have been steeped in a philosophy. And the answer for unbelief is not more what? Unbelief. People don’t get won to Christ by giving them even more unbelief—they already have that. So, there is no reason to not stand authoritatively on what the Bible says.
“Well, wait a minute. What about rings on trees? And what about carbon-14 dating and all of these kinds of things?” I’m not a scientist, but I know of ministries that are completely and totally dedicated to this issue. They’ve been dedicated to this issue for decades, and they will show you that so-called science actually harmonizes with a young world, a young universe, a universe that’s probably only 6000 years old.
One of my favorites was the late Henry Morris who had all of the credentials in science, the Institute for Creation Research. From him was brought forth Ken Ham and his ministry, Answers in Genesis. We took our youth to that museum, the Ark Encounter, a summer or so ago. Other such ministries exist that are specifically devoted to this subject.
But once you hit the Genesis 46 date and you pay attention to the genealogies, you know what else you can figure out? When the patriarchs lived! Here is the Abraham’s date: 2166 to 1991 BC. Isaac’s date: 2066 to 1886 BC. Jacob’s date: 2006 to 1859 BC. Joseph’s date: 1916 to 1806 BC.
What, then, is the setting of the Book of Genesis? It starts at the beginning. Now, a lot of preachers won’t give you the beginning because they’re so intimidated by Darwinism. But—I don’t know—I guess I’m smart enough just to believe what the Bible says. The problem with me is that I was a C- student in science. I don’t know enough about science to rewrite the Bible, so I’m free to just tell you what it says. I believe what the Bible says is the beginning of all things—including Adam’s creation—happened roughly 4000 BC—roughly 6000 years ago. And the Book of Genesis starts with that date.
By the way, when you read the Koran or any other alleged “holy book,” you won’t get specific dating like this. But you get it in the Bible! It will start there and will stretch all the way to the death of Joseph in 1806 BC. In other words, the Book of Genesis—going from 4000 BC all the way to 1806 BC—essentially gives you the longest scope of any book in the entire Bible.
So, that’s a little bit about the setting chronologically and the setting geographically. Let’s look just for a minute about the message of the Book of Genesis and the purpose of the Book of Genesis. The message is, “What’s the book about?” The purpose is, “Why was it written?”
The purpose of the Book of Genesis is to disclose to the nation of Israel her origin. So, I summarize the message of the book as follows. Here’s what the book is about. If you ever wanted to stop and have just a general summary statement of the Book of Genesis, here’s what I would pick. It’s about Israel’s role of mediating God’s redemptive blessings to a fallen world. The nation of Israel has on it a divine calling whereby she was chosen sovereignly by God as a nation to mediate God’s blessings to the entire world.
God, in Deuteronomy 7:7, concerning the nation of Israel says, “ ‘The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples…’ ” This is why the nation of Israel, over and over again, is called the elect nation of God, the chosen nation of God.
Why didn’t God choose the Phoenicians? Why didn’t He choose the Egyptians? Why didn’t He choose the Americans? I have no idea; you’ll have to ask God that. God made a sovereign choice. He called Abram from Ur of the Chaldeans, and He made from him a nation through which the world will be blessed.
In fact, this is Israel’s calling. Genesis 12:3, “And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” And is that not true? Jesus was Jewish, wasn’t He? “Wait a minute, Pastor those are fighting words. I thought Jesus was Southern Baptist.” Jesus was not Southern Baptist. He was not Presbyterian. He was not Methodist. He wasn’t even a member of a Bible church, for crying out loud. He was as Jewish as they come! He was a physical descendent of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Beyond that, the Savior was Jewish and every single book of this Bible that we read all of the time was written by a Jew! The only one that’s even debated anymore is Luke. Other than that, there is no debate. All of them are Jewish; all of them are Hebrews. If you don’t have a nation of Israel, you don’t have a Messiah. You don’t have a Scripture.
By the way, when the Kingdom comes, where are the headquarters going to be? Not Washington DC; praise God for that. Jerusalem. If you don’t have a nation of Israel, don’t even have a coming Kingdom. You see?
And what has happened to the nation of Israel is, they have been brought out of 400 years of Egyptian bondage when Moses wrote this book. And they had been completely and totally brainwashed to the point where, under the Egyptian educational system, they didn’t even know their own history.
Now, that couldn’t happen here in the United States, could it? We have a generation today; the only knowledge they have of Samuel Adams is, “That’s a beer you get at the local tavern.” So it’s very easy, over the course of some time, to wipe out a nation’s history. That’s what the nation of Israel was experiencing, having been slaves under brainwashing for 430 years. And a nation that does not know where it came from does not know what? Where it’s going. And that’s why God raised up Moses, particularly in the Book of Genesis, to explain the origins of Israel because Moses is preparing them for the conquest.
How do you go into a land and conquer the giants in it if you don’t even know who you are as a people? So the book is really about Israel’s role of mediating God’s redemptive blessings to the fallen world. And this is a description of the world’s fallen condition. How do you understand your special calling to mediate God’s blessings to the fallen world if you don’t even understand that the world is in a fallen condition?
So, Genesis 1-11 explains that to them. “This is what happened. This is God’s design. This is what went wrong.” If you understand what went wrong, then you can understand God’s redemptive plan. “And you, Israel, are critical to that redemptive plan.”
So, the Book of Genesis, in chapters 12-36, tells them that they are unique, unlike any other nation that has ever existed, because they have a covenant from God. Not a covenant to God, but a covenant coming from God to Israel called the Abrahamic Covenant. And that’s what chapters 12-36 is about.
Then God, because of Canaanite corruption, had to get Israel out of Canaan into Egypt to set the stage for the Exodus (which they had just gone through). And he explains to them, through the story of Joseph, Genesis 37-50, how they got ensnared into Egypt to begin with.
So, the whole purpose is to explain to the nation of Israel who they are because they have been set aside and chosen by God to bless the world. “You have a priestly calling,” and yet how could you ever press into that if you don’t even know your national history? And this becomes why this book was written.
A nation that does not know where it’s been does not know where it’s going. By the way, they’re going into the land of Canaan and they’re going to take the land. Why should they take the land? “Because God gave it to you through the Abrahamic Covenant,” Genesis 15:18-21. “But—wait a minute—aren’t there people living in the land? What right do we have to come in and militarily take their land?” “Oh,” God says, “those people are under a curse,” Genesis 9:25, 15:16.
By the way, they’ve had 400 years to straighten out. And if you want to see what those people were doing for 400 years, read Leviticus 18 and Leviticus 20—some of the most detestable practices, right down to human sacrifice, you could ever see described in the Bible. The archaeology of that time period reveals… We think we have pornography today—we certainly do. They had pornography to the nth degree in Canaan.
Pornographic, sexual type images, statues, have been unearthed from that general time period. So, the nation of Israel would have to have an understanding of who the Canaanites are and why God, under Joshua, commanded them to be eradicated. You have no explanation of any of these things—right down to Israel’s land apportionment under God—without the Abrahamic Covenant.
So, I would summarize this as follows. At the time of the Exodus, God reveals to Israel, through Moses, her divinely ordained role to mediate His redemptive purposes to a fallen world. This exalted position is communicated through the revelation of Israel’s unconditional covenant and God’s miraculous preservation of the nation in furtherance of this covenant. Moses reveals this information so that Israel—who have been brainwashed for 400 years—would press into her intended design during the conquest and beyond. That really becomes the message and the purpose of the Book of Genesis.
Now, one of the things you look at when you study a book of the Bible is, “What are some unique characteristics?” For any book of the Bible, ask yourself, “What would be missing if I didn’t have this book? What gaps would there be in my knowledge without this given book?” And if you can answer that question, you can appreciate that particular book you’re studying.
Think about this for minute. What would be missing in our understanding without the Book of Genesis?
- We would have no knowledge whatsoever of the election and the preservation of Israel.
- We wouldn’t know anything about the Abrahamic Covenant and God’s faithfulness to that covenant.
- We would know nothing about the beginning.
- We would know nothing about that scope of history from the beginning up until the time of Joseph and his death.
- Beyond that, we would have no foundation for the rest of the Bible.
This makes the Book of Genesis very, very important. Here are a few themes in the Book of Genesis. Genesis is the subplot to the rest of the Scripture. If you don’t understand Genesis, you don’t understand the rest of Scripture. Herbert Lockyer puts it this way, “Genesis gives us a synoptic preface to the entire Bible. It is the seed-plot of the Bible. The germ or beginning of all truth is within this wonderful book. Genesis is the foundation upon which the entire revelation rests; the route out of which the rest grows. Truths found here are developed in successive ages.”
Without the Book of Genesis, you would have no knowledge of how everything began. Without the Book of Genesis, you would not know how the universe began. How did life begin? Where did man and woman begin? Of course, today we’re living in a culture where everybody is trying to redefine marriage.
As if marriage is something we have the right to redefine; when God Himself is the Creator of marriage. How do I know that? The Book of Genesis tells me that. If I don’t have the Book of Genesis, I can just invent my own sexuality. And there’s a reason why the left has waged a war on a literal interpretation of Genesis—not just outside the church but within the church. Because they know that if they can dismiss the Book of Genesis from your thinking or get you to be intimidated from holding to it too literally because of the “scientific” findings of Darwin, you know what they can do with marriage? They can rewrite it to anything they wanted it to be.
Incest? No problem. In fact, I was looking at social media this morning—someone’s tweet. A professor was arguing that sex with children is okay as long as the children are consenting…whatever that means. See, this is the insanity that you move into if you don’t understand the blueprint of God for sexuality and marriage. And we would have no knowledge of it without the Book of Genesis!
Where did evil come from? Why do we wear clothes? I noticed you all wore clothes this morning. You didn’t just coming into church naked. Why do people do that? Why don’t you just get comfortable? I don’t want to go too far on that one. The Book of Genesis explains it!
Where did religion come from? You know what religion is: it is man’s attempt to please God through his own good works. Where did that idea come from?
How about salvation? Where is that first announced?
How about language? How do we get from language to languages? The Book of Genesis tells us this.
Look at this one. Where did government come from? “Wait a minute, Pastor. You’re not saying that God has a philosophy on human government that should shape the way I vote as an American, are you?” That’s exactly what I’m saying! I would not have that philosophy absent the Book of Genesis.
Why are there different nations? Genesis tells you.
Where did Israel come from? The Book of Genesis tells you. So the beginnings is one of its key themes.
Genesis 1-11, what’s happening here? The perfect Creation is traced—and man as the pinnacle of God’s Creation. How God designed everything before sin entered the picture. Then we get a description of how this perfect Creation was lost, leading to the terrible progress of sin, necessitating divine redemption through the Jewish Messianic line. Then we learned how that line was traced—tracing that Messianic line that would bring about this redemption. It’s all in Genesis. It’s particularly in Genesis 1-11.
How about Jesus? Can we see Jesus in the Book of Genesis? I mean, Jesus is a New Testament character, right? I can’t read Jesus back into the Old Testament. Well, I am here to tell you that you’d better see Jesus in the Book of Genesis. I wouldn’t try to find Jesus under every rock and tree; He’s not there. But He is very prominent.
How I know that? Because this is what Jesus said to the Pharisees. He says, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me…For if you believed to Moses…” Who wrote the Book of Genesis? Moses. Not “J,” not “E,” not “D,” not “P.” Jesus didn’t believe what Wellhausen taught.
“For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he [that’s Moses] wrote about Me.” Jesus, in Luke 24:27, on the Emmaus Road, says, “Then beginning with Moses…” Who wrote the Book of Genesis? Moses.
“Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” So, Jesus was obviously reading Romans from the NIV version here, right? There is no Romans yet—there’s no New Testament yet. He’s talking about the only Scripture that existed, beginning with Moses! He says, “The whole thing points to Me.”
Now, you hear people talk. They say, “I just would’ve loved to be there when the Lord gave the Sermon on the Mount.” Not me; particularly that part about “if you’ve got hate in your heart, you’re a murderer.” Umph! “If you’ve got lust in your heart, you’re an adulterer.” Umph! But here’s one sermon I would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall! It’s the Emmaus Road.
It says this in Luke 24:27, as the Lord is walking on the Emmaus Road post-resurrection with His disciples. “Then beginning with…Who?” Moses. Who wrote Genesis? Moses. “Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself….” In the Book of Romans? It doesn’t say that. “…in all the Scriptures.” The only Scripture that existed was Hebrew Bible.
Verse 44 says, “Now He said to them, ‘These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ ” Law, Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. “T,” Torah. Prophets? The Hebrew word Nevi’im. Psalms? Key book in the writing section called Ketuvim. Psalms is being used as a synonym for Ketuvim. Torah, Nevi’im, Ketuvim, T-N-K. What is that? That’s Tanakh.
Tanakh are the great three divisions of Hebrew Bible. When someone uses the expression “Tanakh,” they’re talking about the totality of Hebrew Bible. And Jesus says, “The whole thing points to Me! Let me take you through Tanakh and explain where I am in different parts of it.” Wow!!! Sign me up for that! I would love to hear that! I hope when we get to heaven the Lord will give us a do-over on that. Because He doesn’t here on the Emmaus Road; it’s just a summary.
But, as they’re walking on the Emmaus Road, could you imagine that? Walking with Jesus and He’s pointing to different aspects of the Tanakh and pointing to Himself in different parts of the Tanakh, beginning with Moses in the Book of Genesis.
And what was Paul doing? Acts 17:1-3 is Paul on his second missionary journey. It says, “Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews.” Why go into a Jewish synagogue, Paul? Because that’s where Hebrew Bible was taught! And he starts with people who are sort of on the same page with him. “I believe Hebrew Bible,” Paul says; “So do they.”
“And according to Paul’s custom…” In other words, this is the normal way he went about evangelism. “And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures…” “So he pulled out the Book of Romans.” No, he did not; it didn’t exist yet.
“…explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had [not “sort of” or “could have”; but “had”] to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.’ ” That’s how Paul did evangelism with the Jews; he always goes to the synagogue first. He breaks open Hebrew Bible and says, “Let me show you Jesus here; let me show you here; let me show you here—beginning with Moses—beginning with Genesis to tell them that Jesus is the One spoken of in their own Bible!
So, if all of this is true, how could we not see Christ in the Book of Genesis? In fact, the first time Christ shows up is in Genesis 3:15 where, after the Fall, we learned of a coming One Who will crush Satan’s head. That is sometimes called the proto-evangelium, the first formal presentation of the gospel in the Bible.
Then we learned that that promise is coming to the world through a man named Seth—and then Noah. Wait a minute! Noah has three sons. Genesis 9:26 says, “Keep your eye on Shem.” And from Shem came Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. The Book of Genesis ends with the tribes of Israel formed, and Genesis 49:10 says, “Oh, by the way, of all of the tribes of Israel, keep your eye on Judah because that’s where the Messiah is going to come from.” Christ is clearly in the Book of Genesis just by paying attention to the lineage tracing.
There are many, many types of Christ in the Book of Genesis—not the least of which is a man named Adam. Adam is a type of Christ. Adam, through his one act of disobedience involving a tree, brought a curse to our world that we are physically born under. Jesus, through His one act of obedience involving a tree (the Cross—Galatians 3:13 calls the Cross a tree), universally blessed the world that we must be spiritually born under.
Adam, Romans 5, is a type of Jesus Christ. That’s why I’m a little bit persnickety about this idea that you can just kiss off Genesis 1-11. I’ve probably reacted against that to the furthest degree that it can be reacted against. Partly because if you start playing games with the first Adam, what are you going to do with the Last Adam? Because the two are connected typologically!
See, we’re living in a time period where now the scholars are saying, “Jesus is not a historical figure.” That shouldn’t surprise you; they told us that about Adam a long time ago. You dismiss the historicity of Adam and it’s not long until you dismiss the historicity of Jesus Christ.
Now, there’s a strange guy that shows up in Genesis 14 named Melchizedek. That’s a weird situation. Well, the author of Hebrews doesn’t think it’s weird because he goes through a whole book explaining how Melchizedek is a type of Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus is not of the priesthood of Levi; He’s of the priesthood of Melchizedek. Well, who is Melchizedek? Genesis 14 is your only record, historically, of Melchizedek.
We’ll eventually get to Genesis 22 and the almost sacrifice of Isaac. And if you can’t see Jesus there, I don’t know where you can see Him, by way of typology.
We’ll get to this guy named Joseph (Genesis 37-50). He’s a type of Jesus Christ. Joseph was the favorite son of a wealthy father; that sounds like Jesus. Joseph shepherded his father’s sheep; that sounds like Jesus Christ. Joseph was taken into Egypt to avoid being killed. Joseph was a servant. Joseph began his ministry at age 30; sounds like Jesus.
Joseph was filled with the Spirit of God. He returned good for evil. He was humble and unspoiled by his wealth. He was taught by God. He loved people freely. He gained the confidence of others quickly. He gave bread to the hungry who came to him. He resisted the most difficult temptations. Doesn’t that sound like Christ?
Joseph was given visions of the future. He tested people to reveal their true nature. He was hated for his teachings. He was sold for the price of a slave. He was falsely accused. He was silent before his accusers. He was condemned between two prisoners.
He arose to a new life. He was not recognized by his own brethren. He returned to his father. He became royalty. Do you notice the website I got that from? I don’t recommend you spend a lot of time on this one; it’s called “near-death.com.” Do you know what that website is about? It’s about reincarnation. I’m not promoting reincarnation.
What I’m saying is that the pagans looked at the Joseph story. And it looked so similar to the story of Jesus that they felt Jesus was a reincarnation of Joseph. Am I teaching that? Of course not! I’m just here to tell you that even paganism itself sees similarities between Joseph and Jesus Christ.
Is the Book of Genesis really that important? I think so because it’s a revelation of Creation which glorifies God. Revelation 4:11 says, “ ‘Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.’ ” What is our purpose as Christians? To glorify God. Well then, you had better care about Creation because God is glorified through Creation.
“Oh! I’m not going to get into that; that’s too controversial. I’m not going to take a stand on that.” Then you just subtracted from God’s glory. God deserves glory on account of what He has done in Creation. We have no knowledge of it without the Book of Genesis.
The problem today with your average American—and this might be changing some with the current COVID-19 crisis—is that they basically think they’ve got life made in the shade. “I’m glad that you found enlightenment through your particular guru, Jesus. But I don’t need Christ. I mean, I’m successful. I’ve got 2.5 kids. My car is almost paid for. You know, this ‘Jesus thing’ is just not for me.”
Your average person today does not see their need for salvation. The Book of Genesis corrects that thinking because it says, “We all need salvation, and you’d better get it quick before you die because you are under a curse.” In fact, as we speak, you are dying. “Well, no, Pastor. I drink all of that green stuff every morning.” Well, congratulations; you’ve got a bunch of green stuff going through a dying body that is returning right back into the dirt from which it came. Genesis tells me that.
If you don’t have the Book of Genesis, you don’t have the rest of the Bible. Psalm 11:3 says, “If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?” Ah, that’s why everybody’s trying to rewrite Genesis—right down to the denial of Mosaic authorship! Because if there is no Genesis, there’s no foundation. If there’s no foundation, there is no rest of the Scripture. The rest of the Scripture is built on the Book of Genesis. The Book of Genesis is your precedent for believing the rest of the Scripture.
“You don’t really believe that Jesus turned water to wine, do you?” Why would that be a problem when God, at the beginning, spoke and the heavens and the earth leapt into existence? I mean, if you believe what God says on page 1, verse 1, water to wine is small potatoes.
This is why the very first place you exercise faith is in what He has done in Creation. Hebrews 11:3 lists all of those great members of the Hall of Faith. This is how it starts, “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.”
Jesus, to Nicodemus, said, “If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” “Well, I just want to hear about salvation. I want to hear a little bit about sin. But don’t tell me about the literal dimensions of Noah’s Ark. Don’t tell me that this universe is only 6000 years old. I don’t like that part of Genesis, but I like the ‘spiritual’ parts of it.” Have you read what Jesus said here? “If I told you earthly things—like the dimensions of Noah’s Ark— and you do not believe that, how can you believe anything else I’m telling you?”
How can you believe Me when I talk about heaven? Hell? Angels? Demons? Satan? Broad path/ narrow path? Salvation by Christ alone? How can you believe any of that if you won’t believe the history at the beginning?
The Book of Genesis is the structure for the rest of the Bible. Walt Brown in his book In the Beginning has a chart where he lists all of the references—or allusions—to Genesis 1-11 in the New Testament. And he shows you that there are 68 New Testament references to Genesis 1-11. You throw out Genesis 1-11, you throw out vast portions of the New Testament.
Finally, historicity. Is this really a historical account? How can you believe it’s true? You believe it’s true because of eyewitness testimony. And there was only One eyewitness—wasn’t there?—in the beginning. It was God Himself. This is why the very first place you ever demonstrate your faith in God is you believe what He said concerning how all things started.
A long time ago I got to a point where I was far more impressed with what God said than what Carl Sagan said. For the simple reason that Carl wasn’t there! Carl? All he has is what he can see in front of him, and he’s trying to develop a theory of what happened from processes he sees in front of him. Why would you believe that when you can believe the only eyewitness that was there? Who, by the way, cannot lie—God Himself!
If you want to exert faith in God—right there in Hebrews 11 before any of the big shots are mentioned in the Hall of Faith—the very first thing you do is you believe what God said. God is saying, “This is how it happened.” And you have a choice. You weren’t there; Carl Sagan wasn’t there. You believe what God says, or you believe someone’s take on it who wasn’t there and was not an eyewitness.
Now, in the Book of Job—the oldest book of the Bible in terms of when it was written—God gives Job a quiz. There’s nothing that humbles people more than a pop quiz because a quiz reveals the ignorance of people very fast. Amen? Particularly if you haven’t studied.
In the Book of Job everybody is talking. Chatty Cathy dolls —talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk—including Job. All trying to explain why Job is having his sufferings, and none of them have a clue what’s going on. Because they’re not privy to what we’re privy to as Bible readers, the first two chapters of the Book of Job, where Job’s infirmities are related to a conversation between God and Satan in Heaven that Job knew nothing about!
So, without that data, Job is trying to figure out what’s happened to him. His three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are trying to figure out what happened to him. Elihu comes in late in the game. It’s laughable because none of them are hitting the mark at all because they don’t have the full information.
God, to humble all of these people, gives them a quiz to show them how limited their understanding is. And the very first question He asks of Job concerns Creation! “ ‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me [God says sarcastically], if you have understanding, Who set its measurements? Since you know [sarcasm]. Or who stretched the measuring line over it? On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars [the angels] sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy?’ ”
He goes on and on dealing with Creation, knowing that Job can’t answer any of the questions because Job wasn’t there. “So, Job, you think you’re so smart. Explain to Me what happened concerning events of the distant past that you were not an eyewitness to.” You see what God is doing here? He’s revealing the finitude of human understanding. And you have a choice here, folks: you can either believe what God says, or you can discard it based on non-eyewitness testimony.
Did you know that Jesus Christ Himself is actually in an unbroken genealogical chain from Adam to Christ (Luke 3)? “I don’t know; I don’t believe in the historicity of Adam.” By the way, you know what the evangelicals are all talking about today at the scholarly level? Do you know what the number one conversation piece is? The historicity of Adam. These are alleged Bible believers debating whether Adam was a real person!
Folks, if you don’t have a real Adam, you don’t have a real Jesus—because they’re connected in an unbroken chain! You start playing games with Seth and Enoch and Methuselah and Noah, and it’s not long until you start dismissing the historicity of Christ. They’re in a genealogical chain, and it is intellectually inconsistent to embrace part of the chain but not the rest of it. This is why the historicity of this book is very significant.
One last point. The book is organized through what is called the toledoth: “and these are the generations of …” It shows up 11 times, telling you that a new historical account is happening.
So, question, “Do you believe in the generations of Jacob?” “Yes, I do.” “How about Esau?” “Yeah, I believe that.” “How about Isaac?” “Yeah, I believe that.” “Okay, let’s go back earlier. Do you believe in the generations of Noah?” “Well, no; I’ve got a problem with that.” “Then you obviously have a problem with the generations of Adam?” “Oh, no one believes in that.”
“How about the generations of the heaven and earth?” “Well, you know, I don’t want to jettison my intellect. My biology teacher taught me “X,” so I’m looking for a mediating position.” Do you follow why you can’t do that with God’s Word? You can’t take the latter parts historically and the earlier parts non-literally or allegorically because the same literary device—toledoth—is used to describe all of the above!
The same word for Ishmael and Isaac is the word “toledoth”; it’s exact same word for Adam and Noah and Shem and the rest! So, if you’re going to play this game of “this part is historical, but this part isn’t,” you’re disrespecting how the book itself is set up! I have to be careful here because I may start preaching. Oh, wait—I’m supposed to be doing that.
In conclusion, here are our points of introduction:
- Title of the book—Genesis.
- Authorship, date, and recipients—Moses; 1445-1405, writing to the exodus generation.
- What’s the structure of the book? Two parts—four events each. Four events, four people.
- Setting of the book? It starts in Mesopotamia, then to Canaan, and then to Egypt.
- Purpose of the book and message? It’s all about Israel and preparing her for the conquest.
- Unique characteristics of the book? The beginnings.
- Themes of the book? The beginnings.
Is Jesus in the Book of Genesis? Yes, He is! He starts right there in Genesis 3:15, and His lineage is traced all the way through the book—right down to the tribe which He will come from (Genesis 49:10).
- Is this book important? Yes, because God’s glory is at stake. And so is your salvation. Because if you don’t understand what happened in early history, you don’t understand why you need
- Is this a historical book? It’s just as ironclad as the genealogy leading to Christ. Just as Christ walked the face of this earth, so did our forebears 6000 years ago in a garden.
We’ll pick this up next time. Let’s pray.
“Father, we’re grateful for the Book of Genesis, now that we’ve wrapped up these introductory thoughts. We’ll start a verse-by-verse study of the book the next time we’re together. And what a tragedy it would be if somebody within the sound of my voice—having all of this history laid out before them—has never received Jesus as their personal Savior.
You have moved heaven and earth to bring our Savior to us. His final words on the Cross were, “It is finished.” So, by simply believing—or trusting—in what He has done for us, we have everlasting life. I pray, Father, for anybody within the sound of my voice who has not received the Savior, that today might be the day of salvation for them. Even as I’m speaking, they might trust in the completed work of the Savior and so be saved.
We’ll be careful to give You all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name.” And God’s people said? “Amen.”