Tag Archives: Genesis

Jesus as Jacob’s Ladder in Genesis

23 Dec

Jacobs-Ladder-Meditation
“Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven, and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” Gen. 28:12

“And He said to him, ‘Most assuredly I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’” John 1:51

Read Genesis 28: 10-22 and John 1:43-51

In Genesis we see that man was created with the intent of communication with his Creator. Adam walked with God in the cool of the day. There was nothing to hinder their relationship. What must that have been like? Yet, when sin entered the world, that communication was altered. Adam could not just approach God at any time and in any way.

Fast forward a few thousand years. God has made a covenant with Noah, with Abraham and with Isaac. Now He comes to Jacob in a dream. He dreams of a ladder between Heaven and earth, with angelic beings travelling up and down on it. The ladder was NOT symbolizing the commandments of God, that if we were able to keep them, we could get to Heaven. The tower of Babel was man’s attempt to reach God with their works. God put an end to that idea pretty quick.

It is a beautiful symbol of mediation and reconciliation. It re-establishes communication. Jacob is able to communicate with God. The messengers pass on errands of mercy. Martin Luther says, “The dear angels take our prayers to heaven and bring back the answers.”

This ladder was a means of communication between Heaven and earth. Heaven and earth have been separated by sin. The LORD is above, and Jacob, the object of His mercy, is beneath.

The ladder points to the God-Man who reunites Heaven and earth. Matthew Henry says, “We have no way of getting to Heaven but by Christ.” He also says that the ladder represents the two natures of Christ. The top of the ladder His divine nature, and the bottom rung, His human nature.

In John 1: 51 Jesus presents Himself as the reality to which the stairway pointed. Jacob saw the dream of a union between Heaven and earth; Christ made it a reality. He also compares Jacob the deceiver, also called Israel, to Nathaniel, “an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit. “ What Nathaniel would witness in the fulfillment of this symbol would be far superior to Jacob’s vision. He would witness the true ladder, the true communication from Heaven, the true Mediator between God and man, and as a believer he would be part of the true Israel, the family of believers throughout history.

Through Christ, the only Mediator between God and men (1 Tim. 2:5) we have access to the Father (Eph.2:8). Matthew Henry says, “Christ is the Way all God’s favours come to us, and all our services go to Him.”

Prayer-“Lord, thank You for not leaving us as we were, unable to approach You, unable to communicate with You or hear what You had to say to us. Thank You for being the ladder between Heaven and earth, so that we could approach you by faith and be welcomed into the family of God; the true Israel.”

Questions-How did you understand Jacob’s ladder? Did you think it was works or representative of Christ?

Response-In prayer, we communicate with God. In reading and hearing God’s word, He communicates with us. How has your communication been lately? Do you avail yourself of this incredible privilege of communicating with the God of the Universe Who has loved you with an everlasting love? Spend time with Him today.

Advertisements

Christ as the Blood of Abel in Genesis

29 Sep

Read Genesis 4:1-15

Sadly, we see the effects of the fall of Adam and Eve already in the next generation, where the first murder is recorded. Poor Abel is mentioned in this chapter only for his birth, his offering and his death. His birth is recorded in verse two and his murder in verse eight. He is mentioned in several other places in Scripture, though. It’s there that we get a commentary of what went on here in Chapter Four.

“By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.” Heb. 11:4

Jesus also referred to him as “righteous Abel”.

“…that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.” Matt.23:35

Abel is both a type of the true believer and a shadow of Christ.

He is a type of the true believer because of his offering and his faith. He brings an offering of “the firstborn of his flock, and their fat.” This represents the first and best, as fat was considered the best part of an animal. We also know the animal was slain, or else they could not get the fat. So a blood sacrifice is implied. Abel did this in faith, seeing the lamb as his substitute before God, until the Promised Seed would come.

Cain, by contrast, brought “an offering”. He came with neither his firstfruits nor his best. He came with the work of his hands, thinking he could approach God his own way, rather than the way God prescribed. Cain and Abel would have learned from the example and teaching of their parents, that God must be approached by faith and with blood. This was their first expression of faith and dependence on God as adults.

God sees the heart. It wasn’t just the type of sacrifice that was a problem, but the attitude. The offering and the worshipper are inseparable. When God appeals to Cain in mercy, Cain gets angry. He had no reason to be angry, and he could still make it right. Cain was envious. He takes his brother out to a field where he thinks no one will see them, and kills him. He should have loved him because he was his brother, and even more so, protected him as a younger brother. Instead we see,

“…not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.” 1 John 3:12

God asks, “Where is Abel, your brother?”  I find this interesting; as if there was any other Abel in town. God does this to emphasize the heinous nature of the crime and to strike at Cain’s conscience.  Cain lies. “I do not know,” as if he could conceal his crime. Then he goes further with a surly response which questions the right of the Almighty to even ask. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” His response reveals his hard heart and a lack of any natural brotherly affection.

“And He said, ‘What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.’” Gen. 4:10

This shows God’s outrage. Remember, God never asks a question to get information. He knows all things. He asks, as a parent would, to see if Cain will confess and repent. Just as earlier, He asked, “Adam, where are you?”

Cain complains that his punishment is greater than he can bear. He is not sorry for his sin, only sorry he got caught. He fears a violent death, like his brother. Even so, God again shows mercy to him by delaying the sentence of death already over his head because of the disobedience of his parents.

Matthew Henry says, “It shows great hardness of heart to be more concerned about our sufferings than our sins.”

Abel is also a shadow of Christ because Abel’s sacrifice is imperfect, whereas Christ’s is perfect. “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the most holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” Heb. 9:12

He is also a shadow because of the contrast between the intent of the blood of Abel vs. the blood of Christ. Abel’s blood cries for vengeance, but Christ’s blood cries for forgiveness.

“…to Jesus the Mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.” Heb. 12:24

Because of Christ’s death, we can enter the presence of God, from which our first parents were banished. “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus…” Heb. 10:19

“Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, has blood now that cries out, not for our condemnation, but for acquittal.”
Timothy Keller

Prayer-“Lord, forgive me for trying to approach You my way, with the works of my hands, as if that would be acceptable. You have provided the best way through Your Son. Thank you that His blood covers my sin and cleanses me from guilt. Thank You for Your great forgiveness.”

Questions-Do you feel envious of someone else’s ministry? Why do you think you have that attitude?

Response-Thank God for the sufficiency of His sacrifice that allows you to enter His presence with boldness.

Jesus as the Ark of Safety in the Book of Genesis

30 Apr

Read Genesis 6-10

One of the earliest Bible stories I recall hearing is the story of Noah and the ark. Unfortunately, by that time, I had already seen images of a small, round bottomed boat, stuffed to the rafters with giant elephants, and two giraffe’s heads sticking out the window, so that was the image in  my mind as I pictured the story.

The actual ship God instructed Noah to build was roughly the size of a modern battleship.  Its  dimensions were 450 by 75 by 45 feet. It was a large, sea-worthy vessel, not a tippy little boat.  It had three decks; a top deck for people, a middle deck for animals and a lower deck for food.  Of course, the animals would have been small. God’s requirement was for a male and female  of each kind of animal. He didn’t specify the age. Younger creatures would eat less and take up less space. Even the largest dinosaurs were hatched from eggs. And yes, there were dinosaurs  on the ark.

The ship had no rudder. They weren’t going anywhere in particular, because there was nowhere to go. God would choose the place where they would settle. The ark had one window and one door.  The ark represented safety, security, separation and provision. They were safe from the judgment going on outside. They were secure because once they were in the ark they didn’t need to fear being thrown off the boat. They were separated from unbelievers once God closed the door. They had everything necessary for survival in the ark of safety.

The ark was spacious. There was room for many more, even though only eight souls among the many alive at that time had faith in God. The ark was welcoming. As Noah was building it for a hundred years (see Gen. 5:32 and Gen. 7:6), he warned his generation about the wrath to come.

“…who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.” 1 Pet. 3:20

It might have looked something like this:

“Whatcha doing, Noah?”
“I’m building an ark.”
“What’s an ark?”
“It’s a vessel that will float on the water.”
“But we’re not anywhere near water.”
“No, but God is going to judge the world with a flood.”
“What’s a flood, Noah?”
“It’s a lot of water and rain.”
“What’s rain, Noah?”

“…before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had ground. For the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground, but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.”  Gen. 2:5,6

You get the idea. Judgment was the last thing on their minds. In fact, “the thoughts of their hearts were only evil continually.”  Gen.6:5  They were going about their lives as usual when the flood came.

“But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming                 of the Son of Man be.”  Matt. 24:37-39
It’s a commentary on the character of Noah that his family believed him. If you compare him to Lot, just a few generations later, his family thinks he’s crazy when he warns them of the coming judgment. (Gen. 19:14).

The ark represented safety for those in the ark when the deluge began. How terrifying it must have been to go into the ark and hear the first ever drops of rain, to hear the thunder, to feel the earthquakes and surges of water from tsunamis. To think that the Indian Ocean tsunami and all the death, destruction and devastation it caused was the result of one earthquake out at sea, it helps you imagine what happened when “the fountains of the deep were opened up.” Gen. 7:11,12 Also, the “windows of heaven”,  the water canopy surrounding the earth, also known as the “waters above the firmament” were emptied  onto the earth. Gen.1:6,7
The ark represented separation. Those in the ark would have heard the cries of the people outside the ark. They didn’t suddenly have faith in God; they just didn’t want to face judgment. Noah and his family didn’t have to agonize over whether to let them in or not. God made the call by shutting Noah and his family in  from the outside. He knew their heart. The day of grace was over. God Himself shut the door; irrevocably separating the saved from the unsaved.

“By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” Heb. 11:7

“So those that entered, male and female of all flesh went in as God commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.” Gen.7:16

Christ is our Ark of Safety. He is our only hope. All others are useless rafts. They will not stand in the deluge of God’s Judgment. Just as there was only one door in the ark, so Jesus is the only way to God.

“Jesus said to him, ’I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”  John 14:6
Once we are “in Christ”, we are secure and will not lose our salvation.

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37

When we are in Christ, we are provided with all we need, in this life and the next. We have no need of a rudder, for Christ is our Pilot and leads us where we need to go.

As Noah preached and pointed to the Ark of Safety, so we also warn others and point to Christ as their only hope.

“Therefore knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…” 2 Cor. 5:11

Prayer-“Father, thank you for providing safety from judgment, in Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you that He is the Only Way, the only door to safety. Your way is best. We are guilty. When we are “in Christ” we are safe and secure. You won’t throw us overboard. You also pilot us and guide us where we need to go. We have everything we need in Christ. Thank You also for the promise You made to never again destroy the earth with a flood. You always keep your promises. The rainbow reminds us of that.”

Questions- The rainbow symbol meant God keeps His promises. He would never again destroy the earth with a flood. Sharon James says, “The Hebrew word, ‘bow’ (the weapon), is the same word for rainbow. God was hanging up His weapon of war and making peace. The flood was God’s war; this was the treaty of peace and preservation. The regularity of the days, months, seasons and years would all signal God’s faithfulness to this covenant. Gen. 8:22, 9:12-17 Now this symbol has been hijacked to mean “anything goes” sexually. We need to reclaim it.

How comfortable are you with your stand on the events of the early chapters of Genesis? Do you feel ready to give an answer to those who ask why you believe what you do? Do you know where to turn for help in this?

Response- Research Answers in Genesis. They’re a great organization that is Bible based and answers  many questions about Creation science from a Biblical perspective. They also have a great book called, The Answers Book. Highly recommended.

%d bloggers like this: