A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label Genesis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Genesis. Show all posts

July 26, 2021

Genesis ... The Creation [and Re-Creation] of the Earth

In case you are wondering why I am so focused on the Book of Genesis in this season of time and in this series of posts, it is because this book sets the stage for the rest of the Bible, as well as the history of mankind. If you have a discerning spirit, then you are probably wondering about the state of the world and this nation, and may be confused about how we got here. As I reveal some deeper truths within Genesis, I believe that the present state of affairs will become clearer. So hang with me, as I follow the rabbit trail through man's earliest history and pick up the puzzle pieces along the way!

Today, I want to share my thoughts on the "gap theory". That's the controversial and disputed premise that there is an undetermined gap of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. If you've never heard of this argument, I'm not surprised. This thought is usually ignored by the mainstream Church, or at least relegated to the "New Age" or "Unbiblical" category of Christian apologetics.

But, I do not think we should intentionally disregard it, especially when you approach it from a serious desire to understand God's creation of this planet we live on. And, for me, it shows an important facet of God's character. So, let's just dive in. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. How many of you, like me, took this verse for granted for far too long? That verse is easy and straightforward, I told myself. What more could there be to understanding that simple sentence? We know God created the universe, which exists of heaven and earth. What more could I possibly derive from this first verse of the most important book ever written for mankind?

Well, let me share what a heightened curiosity and diligent study can provide. I credit much of what I'm about to share to the immense amount of time that my husband, Mark, has put into developing his Biblical worldview. And it all started when a dear friend that he was trying to reach for Christ asked him a question about where the dinosaurs fit into the Bible -- and he couldn't answer it. That deeply troubled him, so he made a decision that he would never again be at a loss to explain what our Bible reveals about God or his character. That led to a several-year-long study of trying to understand the original language of the Bible and filter it through the versions we have today. So, as he would tell you himself, don't take what I share today as me saying you should believe the research that he [or anyone else] has done. Instead, let it spark your own hunger and do your own investigation to come up with your own biblical worldview. In these days of secular, religious, and political push-back, it will serve you and the Kingdom of God well to know what you believe and why.

That said, let's begin at the beginning .... literally. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. So, when was the beginning? The beginning of what? Time, the universe, or the beginning of God? I will tell you that once you step into this deeper realm of thought, you can't ever read the Bible the same way again! What I have discovered is that God not only created time, but He is outside of it. He's always been! So, this "beginning" is not the beginning of time, but to my mind, this is a specific moment in time when He began to consider creating the heavens and the earth. It's referring to the starting point in the expanse of boundless time when God conceived of the idea of heaven and earth. 

"In the beginning" in Hebrew is Bereshith, and the correct use of the word is in an "old world" or previously existing world/old world context. Fully exegeted, it translates "what can be seen before this age was created". If this understanding is accepted, that means the Bible is referring to a time period before Adam and before Lucifer's fall from Heaven, and before the earliest time of this earth.

Next, do we understand what is meant by the word "God"? In the Hebrew, that word is translated Elohim, and it is plural. It is the Divine Ones reflecting divine majesty and power ... Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all involved in the creation. In the Hebrew understanding, it is also acknowledged to be not only God, the Creator and Ruler of the World, but "superhuman beings including God and angels, who are called "sons of God" or "sons of gods [angels]". If that's not blowing your mind yet, this idea of Elohim will come into play later in that most contentious of verses, Genesis 6:1-4. For now, let us stay concentrated on the creation of the heavens and earth.

Which takes us to that powerful word "created". It is Bara in Hebrew and means "to create from nothing". Only the Supreme God of the Universe could do that. He didn't take something that already existed and form the heavens and earth. He spoke it into existence! As men, we can only create by starting with matter that YHWH created. He used no pre-existing matter or ideas from an earlier creation. He declared them to be, and they were. 

Now we take a look at the heavens and earth. Heavens is plural and exists of the three heavens the Bible reveals to us. The first heaven is our sky and atmosphere (Genesis 6:7 and James 5:18). The second heaven is beyond our atmosphere and extends into the realm where spiritual warfare takes place between Satan's angels and God's angels (Matthew 24:29 and Ephesians 6:12-13). The third heaven is where God resides and where His and Jesus's thrones are (Deuteronomy 10:14, Hebrews 8:1, Acts 7:55, and Hebrews 9:24). In Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew word for "earth" is Eretz, and is translated land or material world. If you can wrap your mind around all that, then hang on because next we're going to tackle Genesis 1:2!

It reads, The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. As we break it down in the Hebrew, I think you are going to be astounded at the picture that begins to emerge. The words "without form" are translated tohuw in Hebrew, while the word "void" is translated as bohuw.  In English, tohuw and bohuw is rendered "a desolate wasteland; an empty ruin; formed out of chaos; an indistinguishable ruin". Does that sound like a place that God would consider worthy of establishing His Garden of Eden or placing His creation of man? If today, we consider ourselves ambassadors of the Kingdom of God on earth, then this desolate place in Genesis 1:2 is not worthy of being a representation of God's Heavenly Kingdom! So what happened?

Scripture goes on to tell us that darkness was over the face of the deep. The Hebrew word for darkness is chosek, and it means "misery; destruction; death; sorrow; and wickedness". I'm sure that none of you think God would speak that into existence as a representation of His creative spirit! If His creation becomes "dark" [desolate, empty, a ruin, and chaotic], then we can pretty well understand that it was corrupted by evil -- in this case, most likely Lucifer being expelled from Heaven and cast down to make this pre-existing habitat his home base. Furthermore, there is an understanding that chosek means an evil that is combined or linked with judgment.

The word "deep" is the Hebrew word tehom, meaning an abyss (as in a surging mass of water). The rest of verse 2 tells us the Holy Spirit was "hovering" over the face [surface] of these surging waters. The word "hovering" means "a shaking or a tempest" in Hebrew. So we get a pretty precise picture of what Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 are trying to show us. These two disputed verses seem to suggest a pre-existent world that was covered in evil darkness and which the Holy Spirit shook in judgment. I say all this because it appears, beginning in verse 3, that God is creating a new world which He calls Earth. But He already created it in verse 1, right? Read Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 again. This earth [lower case "e"] is declared a ruin, evil, and dark. God saw the Earth [capital "E"] in Genesis 1:9 and declared it "good". It wasn't good in 1:2! Death and wickedness existed there! They don't exist yet in 1:9 until Adam and Eve sin in the Garden. And they haven't even been created yet!

After hours and days and months of study and research, I believe that something devastating and evil happened to God's created earth between verse 1 and verse 2 in Genesis, Chapter 1. The earth came under judgment and God decided to re-create it beginning in verse 3. I do not think He destroyed the first earth. I think He just renewed it and restored it, just as He will at the end of the Millennial Age, as noted in Revelation 21. Think about it this way .... when we come to Christ in our Salvation experience, we are not destroyed. We become "a new creation"; remolded and reshaped into the original design God had planned for us. So, it is in the case of the earth in Genesis. 

I don't know about you, but this account and understanding has so much depth and meaning that I find myself even more in awe of God Almighty. And wait until I take you on the next step of this journey where we will take a deeper look at what was set in motion in the Garden of Eden. You will see a bigger picture than a snake and an apple, and a bigger understanding of how it has affected all of history. You will be able to recognize the weight of what God shared with man and how that knowledge is still in play this very day. You will not hear the nightly news in the same way ever again! So be prepared for a huge wake-up call in the next post as more of the conflict between man and God comes into view.

Isaiah 65:17   For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.


July 23, 2021

Let's Begin At The Beginning ... And It Starts Before the Bible

Our Home Church group has finished our nearly 18-month study of the Book of Matthew, and I think one of the things I loved the most about it was the new knowledge we all gained as we learned more about the Jewish culture that Jesus was born into, and how it affected our understanding of Scripture. It broadened so much of the teachings we had all grown up with and exposed our 21st Century Western bias. So now that we've finished the first Book of the New Testament, we decided to go back to the first Book of the Old Testament, Genesis.

There is so much about Genesis that I think has been ignored and set aside by pastors, teachers and even Christian apologists because it is either controversial (Genesis 6:1-4, for example), or there is not enough information in the modern canon to come to a conclusive agreement or understanding. And once again, as I stated last post, I am a Christian contrarian and I am willing to dig deep, consider ancient writings and resources, and trust the Holy Spirit to reveal God's Truth to me, even if a source is outside the divine Holy Book we call the Bible. I will also state again that I sometimes think we 21st Century Christians are arrogant in our notion that our current dogma and doctrines are somehow superior just because we think we are more advanced than ancient peoples. But I also think that this prideful perspective limits the vastness of God's influence and activity in the world; from the ancient civilizations to the present. 

So, I invite you to join me as our faithful group attempts to uncover some of the questions that we've never dared ask in our Sunday School classes for fear we would be chastised. We will all be studying Genesis in the Bible, which for me is the core and central key to my research. But as we advance through what I consider one of the most important books of the Bible, I will be surrounded with the Book of Jasher, the Book of Enoch, the Complete Works of Josephus, and The Genesis 6 Conspiracy by author, Gary Wayne. The Bible will be my guide, but these other references will be the bread crumbs that lead me to additional knowledge, and ultimately back to the Bible. As I've so often said, everything in the Bible is about the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit .... but everything about Them and the history of their relationship with mankind is not in the Bible. I do not expect that all my questions will be answered because God is infinite and there will always be more to learn about Him. However, I do expect to know more of Him as the dirty veil Satan has put over our religious eyes is removed. And everything will be vetted through Scripture and Holy Spirit's counsel.

To begin with, let me explain why I consider the Books of Jasher and Enoch to be credible resources. Both are referenced in the Bible, and although I understand that our current Bible has gone through many translations and transformations through the centuries, I believe that what we have is still divinely inspired and God is still speaking through it for our edification and sanctification. The original manuscript of the Book of Jasher [or the Book of the Just, or Upright Man, as it has also been known] has been lost to history, and there have been forgeries down through the centuries. I have the Ancient Book of Jasher by Dr. Ken Johnson, in which he states, "The Book of Jasher was never considered to be inspired by God. It is simply an accurate history book". In that sense, it fills in so many of the gaps that our modern Bible has in the Genesis story -- specifically in the life of Abraham, for instance; all the while retaining the core truth presented in the Bible, along with God's righteous principles. 

Dr. Johnson writes that according to rabbinic legend, the Book of Jasher and several other ancient non-biblical Hebrew texts were brought from Jerusalem to Spain after the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. One of the officers of Titus, Sidrus by name, was a believer in the God of the Hebrews. He made sure several sacred texts made it out of Jerusalem and into the Spanish city of Sevilia for safe-keeping. The sepharidic rabbis kept the texts safe and in the year AD 1613, the first official printed Hebrew copy of the Book of Jasher was published in Venice, Italy. The first translation from the Hebrew version of Jasher into English was completed in AD 1840. Again, it is a history book that relates ancient events in the history of the Hebrew race, and is referenced in Joshua 10:13, 2 Samuel 1:18 and 2 Timothy 3:8.

The Book of Enoch, on the other hand, is part of the liturgical canon of the Ethiopian Church and Eastern Orthodox Churches, but not included in Protestant canon. I find it interesting that it is quoted nearly verbatim in Jude, where it references the Genesis 6 incursion of fallen angels. Because Genesis 6:1-4 is so hotly debated in the Church [if it is ever discussed at all!], the First Book of Enoch is often declared heretical, even though it provides the story of Enoch being visited by evil Watchers [messengers] to intercede on their behalf for those evil deeds done on earth. He is also the recipient of how Satan gained access to the sacred knowledge God imparted to Adam and corrupted it, resulting in the origins of evil on the earth that we are still experiencing today. NOTE: the 2nd and 3rd Books of Enoch are considered forgeries and not credible.

So, I relate all this to let you know why I'm going on this journey. Genesis is the key to understanding the rest of the Bible. It holds so many gems of the origins of our faith; precepts and clues to why events unfold in the Bible the way they do, and the reasons for God's actions. But I want to start this series of revelations with sharing why it is important to understand Pre-Biblical history. Yes, the writings that became the Books of Jasher and Enoch existed before the Bible came into existence, but did you know that there is more evidence of God in the ancient stories and legends that we tend to dismiss as myths, fables, folk tales, and fantasy? Before I dive into even the first verse of the first chapter of Genesis, we must consider what ancient history tells us about God.

I think most Christians are either afraid to look at the myths and legends because it seems heretical and pagan, or a religious spirit whispers that those tales have nothing to do with our God, and therefore we might displease Him. But when you dive into their belief systems, you find some amazing similarities to stories in the Bible. I know, I know .... this often gives rise to agnostics and atheists who claim that our faith is just an extension of ancient fables. But did you ever consider that perhaps these legends were true? That it was God's way of communicating with ancient civilizations in language, experiences, and names/titles that were relevant to their time in history?

Let's consider a race of people from the region of southern Mesopotamia known as Sumer. These Sumerians were considered creators of civilization as modern humans understand it (existing between 4100 -1750 BC). They were known for their innovations in language, governance, architecture and more. There are quite a few Sumerian legends and writings that are similar to modern belief systems; they refer to an Age where "heroes of old" or superhuman deities [part man, part god] reigned over mortal man. In their writings, they spoke of a race of giant aliens from the planet Niburu, called the Annunaki. The word "Annunaki" means "Princely offspring" and "Those of royal blood". According to the Sumerians, the Annunaki were children created from the union of the supreme deity of their civilization, the god Anu, and Ki, who was the goddess of Earth. Is anybody else thinking of the pagan worship of Mother Earth that still exists today, or of the History channel's Ancient Aliens?

The Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh is recognized as the earliest surviving notable literature [written 2100 - 1200 BC], and the second oldest religious text. It consists of five Sumerian poems chronicling the history of Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk. In the second half of the epic, Gilgamesh undertakes a long and perilous journey to discover the secret of eternal life. He eventually learns that "Life, which you look for, you will never find. For when the gods created man, they let death be his share, and life withheld in their own hands". Keep in mind this was written a couple of thousand years before Christ's birth! 

We also have the Greek legends of Titans as demigods of great strength, power, and height. All civilizations down through the centuries have shared some form of ancient legends of a powerful, giant-like race that were half-god, half-man -- not dissimilar to the Nephilim of Genesis 6:1-4. I do not relate these ancient legends to you in an effort to refute the account in Genesis 6, but rather to validate it! I believe God has been speaking to man down through the ages of the same event. Every civilization, age and epoch has recorded it, either in writing or oral form because it is true! They might have different names [as they became known in their own cultures and languages] but the nexus of all these stories --  from the Sumerians through Greek literature through Genesis and Revelation to even American Indian lore -- is that the ancient transcripts found in the Assyrian cuneiform tablets, the mythologies, and the legends from antiquity have a common theme with the Genesis account in Chapter 6. 

What are we to make of this? Do we dismiss it as mere mystery as the secularists wish? Do we disregard it as being unworthy of study as those with scientific minds suggest? Are they all just fanciful imaginations of men who need something greater than themselves to believe in? As I go forward with where my study is taking me, I promise you that standard theology will no longer apply. Will you be willing to view God as bigger and greater and older and more sovereign than you've ever considered Him? Set aside any doubts or skepticism that you might have from this incomplete and oversimplified post that I've written. I just wanted to give you a starting point to begin this journey with me and see if you are able to read the Book of Genesis in a new light; a profound Light of greater Truth. I hope you're as excited as I am!

John 1:1    In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (the eternal Message, the creative Word, and the Living Expression of God made visible), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.