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Old Testament Studies

Lesson 3 Chapter 2

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GENESIS

Week 3, Chapter 2

 

Let’s begin today’s lesson by reading Genesis chapter 2.

 

READ GENESIS 2 all

 

 

Here we discover two more important fundamentals: 1) that God has blessed and made holy one day per week, the 7th, and 2) that He rested in that day so that all that He had created could, itself, produce and re-produce.

 

The first part of this is pretty straightforward; God created everything in 6 days. It was complete after 6 days. There was nothing more to create after 6 days. It was a 100% finished work after 6 days. So He declared the 7th day as holy AND He blessed that day AND He separated it…..He divided it…..He set it apart and made it different from all the other days.

 

You might find it interesting to note that the Hebrews only assign a name to one day of the week, the 7th. They call it Shabbat from which we get our word “Sabbath”. The other days of the week, they only assign numbers (first day, 2nd day, 3rd, and so on).

 

Now let’s take a look at that word that is typically translated as “rest”, as in “God rested in that (the 7th) day”. The Hebrew word used is “Sabbath” (note it’s similarity to the name of the 7th day, Shabbat).  The word Sabbath means to cease, to stop, to desist (to quit working). Rest might be a result, but it’s not really the meaning of the word. What the Hebrew sages say it most points to is quitting your normal activities; it doesn’t mean that you necessarily stop doing everything.  In fact there are several words in the Tanakh, the OT, that are translated as “rest” but they each mean slightly different things. For instance the Hebrew word nachan is usually translated “rest” but it more means to comfort or console; nachan is the root word for the name “noach”….Noah. Another word for rest is sha’an, which means to lean against something. Then there is shamat,which means to throw down or lay down; and there are others. But here in Genesis the word is Sabbath and it means to cease because creation was finished. You see up and through day 6 the universe and then the earth was a bee hive of activity, God’s activity. However God didn’t create something that had to constantly be re-created or tinkered with. No; He created something that could produce and re-produce without further direct creative intervention. This is why Jesus tells us to accept Him as Savior, and then “rest in Him”. When we are re-created as a new being upon our salvation in Him we are 100% complete. We don’t have to undergo further re-creation. We need to cease our human works that aim to make us acceptable by God, to be holy, because everything that needed to be done on our behalf to become acceptable to God WAS completed….just like Creation itself was completed.

 

 But there is also something else very special about that 7th day; it’s blessed and holy. God didn’t simply commemorate a day like we would a street name or a statue of a dignitary or remember a president’s birthday. Shabbat is a very special day, a Holy day, in which He takes special delight. God said that He “qadash” the 7th day; that is He consecrated it. That means He set it completely apart from any other day. This is a good opportunity to address a pet peeve of mine; there is one authority and only one who can consecrate, who can declare anything holy; God Almighty. Man tends to play fast and loose with the word “holy” and often makes it a word that simply denotes something “of God” or that has special religious significance.  Holiness is accomplished exclusively by God’s fiat; it is by God’s decision and declaration and God’s alone. For mankind to believe that we can declare by means of any church government, or by our own ideas, something as holy is chutzpah beyond the pale. Do you desire to know EXACTLY what is holy? It’s those things in the Scriptures that are specifically called holy; NOTHING ELSE IS HOLY. The problem with what we the church have done by throwing the designation “holy” on whatever suits us, is that it has greatly watered down the impact and importance of the word. Holiness is a lost term.  Later on we’ll get a better picture of just how important of a day and how holy Shabbat is to God, and therefore how critical its significance ought to be to us.

 

So here is something I’d like you to hang onto: the Sabbath was NOT first given to Israel, through Moses, on Mt. Sinai. Notice that here in Genesis Shabbat is the actual name for a specific day of the week. Shabbat is the name of the 7th day that God set apart as holy. Yet the name also embodies its purpose.   One of the reasons often given why the Church does not observe the 7th day Shabbat (or in some people’s view the church has CHANGED Shabbat from the 7th day to the 1st day of the week) is that the Sabbath was given to Israel and therefore is ONLY intended for Israel. Or it is taught that Shabbat was simply part of the Laws of Moses; that is, Sabbath observance is commanded in those rules and ordinances God set down at Mt. Sinai shortly after Israel departed Egypt. And because around the late 2nd century AD it became a goal of the now gentile dominated church to abandon anything that seemed to apply to the Jewish people, eventually in the 4th century the church officially abolished the Shabbat.

 

Some of you may be questioning that last statement (that the church abolished the Sabbath) but all you need to do to know the truth is read the actual church documents from the several meetings of the ecumenical councils convened by Emperor Constantine; specifically read the Council of Laodicea document, Canon #29, as established in the middle part of the 4th century AD, and you will find that the Church explicitly declared the Sabbath to be a Jewish holy day and therefore the church should have no part it. The council decided it would be better to end the practice of Sabbath observance altogether and begin a new observance. This new observance was to take place on the day of the week that Messiah arose: the 1st day of the week. Thus the Council of Laodicea declared that Sabbath observance (as well as meeting together for worship on the 7th day, Saturday, the Shabbat) was to end. Instead communal worship should occur on a NEW day…the 1st day of the week…..which was already the standard day of meeting together to worship the most widely accepted and politically correct god of the Roman Empire, the Sun God. This is why that the 1st day of the week’s name is Sun-day because it was the Roman Empire’s set apart day of worship of the Sun-god. And since this newly minted celebration needed a name to replace “Sabbath”, that new name was The Lord’s Day. So what the majority of the institutional church has been practicing for 1700 years is NOT a Sabbath that has been moved by one day from the 7th to the 1st day; rather it is an entirely different celebration, established by the Roman Church at the Council of Laodicea in 364 AD, at the direction of the (then) current emperor of Rome, Constantine. By the way, this fact is not disputed by Christian scholars. The heads of religious governments of all the great Christian denominations like the Catholics, Protestants, Greek Orthodox, Anglican, and others agree that what I just told you is factual and that the church long ago made a decision to stop observing the Sabbath (although a few hang on to the notion that what they did was to declare that the Sabbath can be any day we choose).

 

To sum it up we find that in reality God established the Shabbat immediately upon finishing His Creation, as we have just read (long before there was such a thing as an Israelite). So whatever your doctrine on the Sabbath has been, just get it straight that the Sabbath was NOT something given to and reserved for some specific group of people, namely Israel. It is simply historically and scripturally inaccurate to say that the Sabbath was first given to Israel.  It was given to humanity in general immediately upon the finish of creation (and we just finished reading it).

 

After the Great Flood, because mankind had again become so wicked and pagan, apparently only a few humans continued to honor God’s Sabbath so God found it necessary to re-establish the validity of the Sabbath for mankind. In fact God wanted to re-establish all of His principles that had always existed; and He chose to set-apart a group of people, an especially chosen nation, that would He would use to serve Him and to achieve this purpose; that nation was Israel. One of the myriads of things that God told Moses to do (as the leader of this newly formed nation of God, Israel) was to bring back Shabbat worship. Observing the Shabbat, the 7th day, was a sign of those who were members of the congregation of people who trusted God; that is, Sabbath observance was an indicator of those who gave their allegiance to God. In turn such observance also indicted all those who God declared as sanctified, holy.

 

OK; as we move further into chapter 2 please note that what happens is that we kind of back-up a little and so some blanks are filled in and other facts are re-iterated and built upon.

 

I would like you to take special notice of something that is again a fundamental but I’m not sure I’ve ever heard it talked about in the Church. It is part of a pattern that will be repeated throughout all Scripture and the NT.  And that is the importance of the direction “east”. From here on in our study I want a little bell to go off in your head whenever we encounter the word “east” in the Torah. East has great spiritual significance. It is almost always associated with holiness, and it is a key for us to gain deeper knowledge of God’s truths.

 

Do you see that in verse 8 God planted a garden in the east part of Eden? Now pay close attention: The Garden of Eden is not the same thing as the Land of Eden, or, just Eden. The Land of Eden is a large regional area, which has definite boundaries. The Garden of Eden is a specific and separate area (also with boundaries) located WITHIN the Land of Eden. In fact we’re told that the Garden was placed somewhere in the eastern part of the Land of Eden and it was in the middle of the GARDEN that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life were planted.  God tells Adam that in this fabulous Garden, which will provide for Adam’s every need, he is free to eat anything he wants (likely an enormous variety); however he is to regard the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil as death itself. Note: Eve did not even yet exist when this instruction was given. It was given to Adam and he bore the responsibility to carry it out and see to it that she did so as well.

 

Let’s consider Adam; he was not created inside the Garden, he was created outside the Garden and subsequently placed into it. As it says in verse 15:   NAS Genesis 2:15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.

 

Adam is a Hebrew word that means “man” or “human”. It also is the root word for the color “red” and for the word “earth” or “soil”. In Hebrew the word for earth (that is, dirt, soil) is Adam-ah.  Now just as I have alerted you to be on the lookout for when the direction “east” is used, we also need to watch what happens with the word “red”. Red becomes a very important color; it represents royalty, majesty, and blood. You’ve probably heard of the Red Heifer, a very special animal sacrifice used to ordain priests and to purify the unclean that have been made impure by touching a dead body. In time I’m going to show you the incredible connection between Adam, the color red, the Red Heifer, and the shedding of Christ’s blood.

 

Adam was created outside the Garden. Outside the Garden, in the Land of Eden, he was created in a place that was more than adequate for his needs but God called the Garden His own earthly home at this time, and He wanted Man to be close to Him. Inside the Garden was where the Tree of Life resided. Life, in the sense meant here, means real life…..the life that God intended for man…..a holy life, an eternal life. So God brought man from a good place (the Land of Eden) into a better place (the perfect Garden of Eden). A place of very close relationship with Him. The Garden was a Holy place; just like Heaven no imperfection could live there, no sin would be allowed to pollute it. And that’s just what God wants to do with us; He wants to bring us from a place that often SEEMS sufficient (at least outwardly) for our needs and to set us down upon a Holy place. In fact He wants a connection with us that is almost too fantastic to comprehend: He wants to dwell inside of us.

 

The Garden of Eden was an earthly model of Heaven, a physical shadow and pattern of the eternal, non-physical, spiritual, true Heavenly abode of God. And we will see in a few months that the Garden of Eden eventually became the model of another, but future, Holy Place: the Wilderness Tabernacle. This is not speculation; it is emphatically stated in the Scriptures. What I hope to show you also is this constant parallelism (or Reality of Duality as I term it) in the Scriptures. That is certain things on earth are a physical counterpart of the spiritual realm. The earthly things are incomplete, of course, because the physical is so very limited as compared to the spiritual.

 

When we look at the way God inserted life into Adam (this is in verse 7) we see that God inserted (in Hebrew) chayyim. Adam at first was a body; an inanimate thing formed from the dust of the earth. In order to become a living creature, and more specifically a HUMAN living creature, he had to be injected with life. And this life, chayyim, was accomplished by means of God supernaturally breathing it into him. The Hebrew word used for breathed or breathing is naphach and it is a root word that is good for us to understand. Hebrew is a language that is constructed using a system of “root” words. That is the Hebrew language takes a word, gives it a meaning, and then there are offshoots of that word that gives us different words for different uses;  but the different words that come from the same root have a common thread in meaning. They have a certain unity to them; the sense of those words stay within certain boundaries.

 

 Let’s take the word we’re now looking at, naphach, which is usually translated as breathed. Just 4 or 5 words later, in English, we typically get the word “breath”, as in breath of life. The Hebrew word used here is neshemah. Just a few words later, we’re told that as a result of God having “naphach” into Adam the neshemah of life, Adam became a living being…..in Hebrew a chay nephesh. Look at the relationship between all these words: naphach, neshemah, and nephesh. They all have the same root and so all carry a common strand of essence. And the essence is that breath, breathing, and being (as in a living being) are something ethereal. Something NOT physical has caused it. Something that comes from outside the physical realm, from outside the 4 dimensional Universe in which we live, is the enabler. God is the source of life; in fact life is IN God……life is one of His attributes. Rocks exist. Water exists. Stars, the moon, and the sun exist but they don’t have life. They don’t have as part of their nature an attribute of God; but living creatures do. So to this point life is NOT exclusive to humans. Life was put into all of God’s living creatures, by God Himself, as an act of the divine will.

 

Interestingly, though, one of the more common words we’ll find in Scripture is “soul”. And even more interesting is that “soul” is translated from a Hebrew word we just learned: nephesh. We used this word nephesh to indicate a being, in that case a human being. So the early Jewish and then later Christian scholars all recognized that breath and being is a supernatural thing and thus are organically connected; the condition of “life” comes from God.

 

In our era we have the theories of Darwinism and all sorts of science that keeps attempting to prove that breath and being does NOT have to be of God. Rather we can take things that are without life and if given enough time (and if put under the right set of circumstances) life will erupt on its own without any divine intervention. Well so far these Darwinists and scientists have had no luck in proving their theories of spontaneous life and never will because that’s not how it works. Let me say this again: life, in the sense of what animates Biblically defined living creatures, comes from outside of our 4 dimensional Universe. And by the way bacteria, viruses, plants, are NOT living creatures that needed God’s breath of life. Living Creatures (animals) are a cut above everything else God created and Humanity is yet another step above the animals. Is it any wonder than man is constantly searching for the connection between animals and men? What some folks just can’t seem to get is that the life-force that is common between animals and men has nothing to do with organic material interacting with electrical fields. The common element is that life is from God.

 

One other item of interest about verse 7 and we’ll move on. It says that God breathed the breath of life into Adam…….the neshemah chayyim; neshemah, breath, and chayyim, life. Now if you’ll recall last week’s lesson you’ll be curious about the structure of the word chayyim, translated in English as life. Chayyim is a masculine plural noun just as Elohim is (Elohim being a reference to God). The I-M at the end of chayyim makes the word plural, just as it makes Elohim plural. The singular for life is “chay”…..chayyim minus the I-M. So why don’t we translate that short phrase as “the breath of LIFES”…. Plural….instead of “breath of LIFE”…..singular? Well just as the use of Elohim hints at God being one but also more than one, so chayyim gives us a hint at there being MORE than one “life” being put into Adam. Hebrew scholars agree that chayyim cannot possibly be one of those rare instances of the word structure called “the plural of majesty”, whereby the subject is singular but it is made plural simply to denote a sense of glory or of majesty……like a king.

 

So is this possibly a hint at the difficulty theologians have had for many centuries in trying to decide if the soul (generally acknowledged as the seat or essence of life) is the same thing as spirit; or if spirit and soul are two different things? Separate attributes but both coming from God, both coming from a dimension outside of our Universe. I think it is possible. For one thing the Hebrews gave a name to an invisible essence within men that also happens to be an attribute of God; and this name is entirely different than soul or living being or anything that denotes that mysterious life force that causes and sustains life. That word is Ruach HaKodesh; ruach means wind or breath but it refers to that special and unique essence that connects man to God. What separates men from the animals (and remember that humans and animals are both living creatures), both having nephesh, is our ability as humans to commune with God, to know God, and to emulate God. That unique ability comes from the spirit-life, which is somewhat different than the soul-life. The soul-life is what gives animation…..basic life. God is spirit and the way we are told that we commune with God is by means of the spirit. Man has a spirit and no other living creature does; this is because although animals have soul-life they do not commune with God because that happens only through the spirit-life, and spirit-life is possessed only by human beings.

 

By the way, in prior lessons (later lessons for some of our listeners) we discussed a concept that most people thought was a NT concept; the concept of Living Water. Remember that Jesus says that He is Living Water that takes away all uncleanness. The Hebrew for living water is mayyim chayyim…..there’s that word again, chayyim. Mayyim chayyim is what God says must be used as the water that Hebrews bathe in order for them to be spiritually purified from ritual impurity. On a physical level mayyim chayyim was merely water taken from an artesian well or a river. It was from a source of water that moved (as opposed to water from a lake, a pond, or a water well in which the water just kind of sat there). And since mayyim chayyim was water used for spiritual purposes, and it refers to a spiritual source of life, we can tie that back in with the very unique “breath of life”, neshemah chayyim that animates mankind.

 

Now, I want to relate 2 or 3 quick thoughts and move on:

  1. in verse 5 we’re told that God had yet to create herbs or plants on earth and the reason was that there was no human created yet, to till the ground. On the surface one could say that, well, this was all about the NEED for a gardener; that is until one has a gardener to care for the garden  you can’t have plants or they will not thrive. In fact since I was a small child, this is how I was taught. But this places God in the position of depending on man in order for God to even have a garden. God NEVER depends on man.

 

Rather the issue is that all of the plant life God created was FOR man’s benefit. Plants were to be man’s sole food supply; man was to be a plant eater. Why have a garden if there wasn’t a man to eat the produce? It would be a waste. Until there was a man who needed the resulting purpose of the plant life (in order to eat and sustain human life) there was no need for plant life. God doesn’t eat and neither do the Angels. So a garden wasn’t for Him or his created spiritual beings.

 

  1. In the same verse we’re also told that the phenomenon of rain had not yet occurred. That might seem strange to us but the reality is that God used an entirely other natural method to provide the needed moisture for plant life; mist that didn’t come down from the sky but instead rolled upward from the ground. There was enough moisture in the ground at all times for the plant roots to grow, and that same moisture formed a mist……a low hanging fog…….that provided moisture for those plants that needed an intake of water through their leaves, as many species of plants do.
  2. How is it that was there enough moisture in the ground to forgo the need for rain? The following verse tells us that springs (artesian wells that force water under pressure up from the earth’s depths) bubbled up and once on the surface formed streams and rivers, which branched out and watered the surface layer of soil through all the land masses on earth.  It’s odd how some are so bothered with this idea but they don’t seem to question that our planet today is kept moist with water that just falls out of the sky from objects that float around in the atmosphere.
  3. One of the rivers which were formed by water that had its source in the Land of Eden is Gihon, and it is said to water the land of Cush. Now this statement can present a problem unless we just take it at its word. The problem is that the land of Cush is generally identified as is in northern Africa (areas that today form Egypt, Ethiopia, and others). I guess the concept that a river could flow all the way from somewhere in Turkey or Iraq or Iran all the way to the African continent is just too much to accept but Biblically it is not likely that any other place can be identified as the land of Cush except for Northern Africa. Although Cush originally came from the area of Mesopotamia little reference is even made to his presence there except to say that Cushites…..people from the tribe of Cush…..lived there at one time. But a territory is named generally by the most dominant tribe who lives there and that tribe usually has to be dominant for an extended period of time in order for the place to be named after the tribe. If Cush was the dominant tribe in Mesopotamia why would they move lock, stock, and barrel all the way to what is now Northern Africa? And considering the important place that Egypt would hold in God’s plan for His people Israel (both in their past and in their future) it’s not hard to see why God might include that area as having the privilege of being watered by a mighty water whose source was in the Land of Eden. But that is just my personal speculation.

 

 

Let’s move on. So God determines that Adam needs a companion and He creates one for him. In Hebrew a female, a woman, is called “ishah”, and a male “ish”…..ish is a man. The ending “ah” means “out of”; so ishah means a man (or better, a human) out of man (ishah is also the same word for “wife”). Quickly in verse 24 the concept of marriage is introduced as well as the MOST important principle of marriage, which is that a man and wife are to be considered as if they were one flesh; in God’s eyes they are organically and spiritually interconnected. Humans are not to remain bonded to our parents; rather we are to bond with our mate in a way that goes beyond even the physical connection we all had at one time with our mothers. This is God’s plan. And forgive me for having to bring this up but in the current times in which we live I think I would be struck by lightening if I didn’t point out that it is one male and one female who are to bond together in marriage as one flesh; not one male with one male or one female with another female. Every attempt by some liberal theologian or agnostic or politician to say that the Bible simply doesn’t speak to this matter is blinded by their agenda and is terribly deceived. We don’t have to go any farther than the 2nd chapter of Genesis to understand this incredibly basic principle of God:

 

NAS Genesis 2:23 And the man said, "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." 24 For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

 

There is a reason that a male and a female shall form a couple and not merely any two people (such as 2 men or 2 women) and it is stated right here: the reason is ‘she is bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh’…….taken out of man.  Male and female human beings began life on earth as a species as literally from one flesh; and the act of marriage reunites them and essentially acts-out this God Principle. A wife cannot be anything BUT a woman, because her very title, ishah, means OUT OF MAN. A man didn’t come out of man. Another male wasn’t produced from Adam’s rib. It was a female. End of story.

 

Next week we’ll begin Genesis chapter 3.

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