God’s plan was hidden in sacred pages of Old Testament, which in due time, was revealed by Jesus and his apostles in pages of New Testament (Colossians 1: 26, Romans 16:25-26).
Praise God! He can make you strong by means of my good news, which is the message about Jesus Christ. For ages and ages, this message was kept a secret, but now, at last, it has been told. The eternal God commanded his prophets to write about the good news so that all nations would obey and have faith. (CEV version of Rom 16:25-26).
This “preaching of Jesus,” which was kept hidden in ages – hidden in obscure writings of prophets in Old Testament, which is revealed to us by pages of New Testament writers, is what we have been trying to read in this series, in the pages of Genesis. Note that the key or mysteries is already revealed in pages of the New Testament. We need only to apply the keys to Old Testament passages to unlock it. “Old is ‘New concealed’ and New is ‘Old revealed’.” Any other key applied to passages of the Old Testament will keep the veil before our eyes in the reading of scriptures (2 Corinthians 3:14). Let us do a recap of what we have seen until now in part 1 and part 2.
- Gospel in creation and Fall
- Lamb was slain to cover the nakedness of Adam
- Figleaves vs skin of the lamb
- Gospel in the marriage of Adam and Eve
- Curse of serpent and prophecy of his end
- Adam as a prefigure of Christ
- Gospel in the story of Cain and Abel
- Martyrdom and spread of the faith
- Gospel in the story of Enoch
Let us continue our studies further of the first few chapters of Genesis
Allegory in the creation story of Genesis 1
Many scholars say that Genesis 1 is possibly a poem, or that it is quasi poetic in nature rather than a plain literal narration. However, by such a claim it cannot be denied that it does not have historical truths penned within it. This is so because many scriptures in both Old and New Testament refer back to the creation account in Genesis 1, refuting men who say Genesis is not historical in nature (see Exodus 20:11, Isaiah 40:26, Jonah 1:9, Heb 11:3, Rev 4:11). By it is a poem, it also does not mean that it has an imaginative virtual fantasy designed within its narration. All it possibly means is that the language used in Genesis 1 is poetic and allegoric. This claim has been there since days of Origen, Augustine, etc – a time before 500 AD when modern science or even Galileo was not even born.
See for example rhyming words “the earth was tohu-bohu (Gen 1:2)” (meaning without form and void),” or “be pawraw and rabaw (Gen 1:26)” (be fruitful and multiply). Then we see certain phrases in repetition, like for example “evening and morning and the first day”, repeated several times in Genesis 1. Also “and God saw it was good” is also repeated 5-6 times. The phrase “after its kind” is also repeated often in Genesis 1. And we know repetition and rhyming are fundamental elements of the literary style known as a poem. Another aspect of poetry is an allegory. Genesis 1 says, God’s Spirit was hovering over chaos and it created the world out of the water, which is allegoric of our new creation in water baptism. As a child, I used to often wonder, why water is something which was there from the beginning when God had not created anything? Is water uncreated, because even before God created light on the first day, water existed! This was due to my literal understanding of Genesis 1. I used to assume Genesis 1 is plain literal narration. Unknown to my childish mind was that scriptures can be much different than what I imagine it to be. Also “let there be light” is symbolic of God’s light shining in the darkness. You can muse over it and study how creation story allegorically symbolizes gospel.
Ordinance of Seventh-day or Sabbath Day
In Genesis 2:2 we read “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made, and he rested on the seventh day from all his works which he had made.” When we look into the law of Sabbath, we read God commanded Israelites “…ye shall do no servile work therein (Lev 23:7,8).” Why did God command his people to rest or to do no work on Sabbath or seventh day? Did God meant a literal observation of Sabbath Day or was it spiritual and allegoric in nature? Pharisees took it literally and therefore they were in a constant tussle with Christ on matters of Sabbath day. However, the spiritual or allegoric meaning behind Sabbath day ordinance was salvific in nature.
Israelites were forbidden to work on the seventh day – “ye shall do no servile work therein (Lev 23:8)” Even in the wilderness, six days they were asked to collect manna, but on the seventh day, they were given rest from collecting their daily bread. They were given life freely on that day. They were not required to work – to earn their living on the day of rest. It pointed them to a future day when Jesus would give them rest from their labours of earning life. A man works every day and collects his food by his labour. He then eats from it and lives. He does this process again and again and labours continually. The day he stops labouring that day he will not get food and he will die. Hence to earn his life he labours and works. This is the curse of sin that man did (Genesis 3:19). However, Sabbath promises of the rest which Jesus gives. Jesus said, “Take my yoke … for my yoke is easy ….. and ye shall find REST IN YOUR SOULS (Matt 11:28-30)” Apostle Paul says, “But to him that works not, but believeth on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness (Rom 4:5).” But Alas! There are Pharisees even in these days who constantly tussle with Spirit of God and teach people to work hard to earn eternal life. They teach do not marry, take much fasting, do not watch TV, do not eat medicines, wear a white dress on Sundays, and thus the follow many rules to earn eternal rest. These “salvation by work believers,” lay the heavy burden of rules on the neck of people, which neither they nor their fathers were able to lift (Acts 15:10).
Abel as a Prefigure of Christ
The Hebrews writer compares Abel with Jesus and says, the blood of Jesus speaks better things than that of Abel. So he is comparing Abel with Jesus and saying Jesus is better than Abel. Remember type is mere shadow and not the real object. Type or shadow is inferior to the real object. No wonder every prefigures type of Christ has some or other drawbacks mentioned in the bible. Let us see how Abel was a type of Christ.
|Abel was shepherd||Jesus is Shepherd|
|Hated by his brother||Hated by his brethren – his own people|
|Slain by wicked (I John 3:12)||Wicked hands killed him (Acts 2:23)|
|Offered sacrifice to God||Offered himself as a sacrifice unto God|
The Mark of Cain
A.W. Pink writes “Prophecy, either in direct utterance or symbolic type, is divine autograph on sacred pages (A W Pink – Gleanings in Genesis).” We read that God placed a mark on Cain (Gen 4:15). Many Bible scholars believe that the mark corresponds tothe mark which God places on his people for their protection from his own wrath (Ezekiel 9:4-6, Rev 9:4), – possibly because he might have repented (see Exodus 12:13), God is ever merciful to every sinner.
You can muse over it and decide for yourself. Cain is also pre-figure of Jews who crucified Christ. See table below taken from the writing of A W Pink.
|Cain||Jews who killed Jesus|
|Rejected the sacrificing of lamb but offered up his own sacrifice||Rejected the sacrifice of the lamb and offered their own sacrifice of works of the law (Rom 10:3)|
|His wicked hand slew his brother (I John 3:12)||Wicked hands of Jews killed Jesus (Acts 2:23)|
|Cursed that land will become barren to him (Gen 4:12)||Were cursed that land will become barren (Lev 26:20)|
|Cursed by God that he will be fugitive and vagabond (Gen 4:12)||Jews were cursed to wanderers among nations (Hosea 9:17, Deuteronomy 28:65-66)|
|Hid from the face of God (Gen 4:14)||God turned his face away from Jews (Deu 32:20)|
Gospel in Genealogy of Adam to Noah
Chuck Missler has observed that the names given in genealogy mentioned in Genesis 5, has gospel message hidden in the meaning of names. It might be of interest to you or you can ignore it as unnecessary effort in finding that which is not given in scriptures. It is up to you to decide.
Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed of God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing rest.
It is a unique trait of God that he declares the end from the beginning (c.f. Isa 46:10). Right at the time, when the history of beginnings (Genesis) was being penned down, God was declaring things that were going to take place in future. The divine providence was writing the stories of Christ in the history of humanity. As the film director is the creator of the movie, so God was the director of events taking place in past, which pointed to his glory. His divine hand was not only recording history unfolding as it was, but he also was the author of incidents taking place in the lives of biblical characters. May God open our eyes to see his Glory in the penning of Holy Writing!