A Transcript Of The Video Study
According to the Chronological Chart Of Bible Books, Genesis is the first book which appears on the timeline. We believe it was written by Moses, probably around the year 1491 BC, either during or just after he met with the Lord on Mount Sinai. It is a divinely inspired book, meaning God breathed out His words through Moses. The words of this book, therefore, are the words of God. They are able to make the Lord’s people wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. They are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the Lord’s people might be mature in the faith, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Tim 3:15-17) Yes, my friends, that is what the book of Genesis is abel to do for you! If you are numbered among God’s elect people, the book of Genesis is able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus! The book of Genesis is able to mature you in the faith, furnishing you unto all good works!
The name ‘Genesis’ means “origin”. The book is given this name because in it the beginning of all things are set forth, either explicitly or implicitly. Henceforth, the opening words of the first chapter are, “In the beginning”.
You will observe that the Old Testament scriptures cover a total period of 3,607 years, from 4004 BC to 397 BC. The book of Genesis records 2,369 years of that history. This means the remaining 38 books (Exodus to Malachi) only cover 1,238 years. In other words, around two thirds of the entire history of the Old Testament scriptures is recorded in this one book—Genesis.
The book has been divided into 50 chapters, and it takes approximately three and a half hours to read it in a single sitting.
Now, I would like to align some of the teachings of Genesis with the Framework of Sovereign Grace. Of course, this is by no measure an exhaustive list of the teachings, nor will I provide extended explanations. My only purpose is to highlight some of the more salient teachings, and show you where they fit within the context of a theological backdrop. Please notice,
1. The book of Genesis begins with the TriUne Jehovah (1:1).
Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God…”. God is set forth as a spirit being, self-existent and therefore the eternal God. He is autonomous and independent from all things outside of Himself. He is absolutely free in the determination of His will and the fruition of all His works. Although the three Persons of the indivisible Godhead are not explicitly revealed in the book, yet the plurality of Persons in the one Godhead is certainly indicated and implied. For instance, the Hebrew name translated God, Elohim, is in the plural form, and He sometimes speaks with a plural pronoun, such as when He said in Genesis 1:26: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” The book of Genesis begins with the TriUne Jehovah.
2. The book of Genesis asserts the TriUne Jehovah has brought all things into existence (1:1-2:3).
This is called creation. All creation has its existence in God, for in Him we live, and move and have our being. In addition, God set the wheels of time in motion, making all creation subject to a time continuum. As the Creator and Governor of all things, He fills every particle of space and is present in every moment of time, sustaining all things by the word of His power. However, since God is self-existent and eternal, He transcends time and creation, existing outside of both realms and therefore not subject to either. There is, therefore, a separation between God the Creator and all His creation. Not that God dwells at a distance from the creation, but rather, that He is independent and separate from the creation. He is absolutely free in Himself and subject to none. His eternal and blessed being is His own law, and He is accountable to no one but Himself. In other words, God is sovereign, absolutely sovereign—He is great and He is above all gods; and whatsoever He pleases, that He does in heaven, and in earth, and in the seas and all deep places. (Ps 135:5,6) The book of Genesis asserts the TriUne Jehovah has brought all things into existence.
3. As the self-existent and eternal God, He drew up a blueprint for time and creation before bringing either into existence (1:1).
Not only must this be true if God is self-existent and eternal, but it is also the implication of Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Just as a house is built according to the specifications of a blueprint, so the world and all things that come to pass in time is the product of God’s eternal decree. When the Lord is pleased to bring to pass in time what He has decreed from eternity, it is called His providential governance. Henceforth, the words of Jehovah are recorded in the prophecy of Isaiah—Isaiah 14:24,27: ”The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand…For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?” And again, Isaiah 46:9-11: ”Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure…yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.”
Now, from our perspective, we often think of God intervening and overruling throughout the course of history, setting straight what His creatures have made crooked. We think of God letting loose the creation, to do as they please without His direct involvement. However, from time to time, He will step in and overrule those things He does not like. But from His perspective, there is never a need for Him to intervene or overrule, because everything that is unfolding in the world at large and through our lives as individuals, is according to His eternal decree. He has purposed it. There is never a time He must intervene, because He is always actively bringing to pass what He has decreed from eternity. There is never a time He has to overrule, because His rule is absolute, always accomplishing His design and fulfilling His pleasure. If in Him we live, move and have our being, and if by Him all things are upheld by the word of His power, then all things have always been and will continue to be in subjection to His sovereign rule and under the restraints of His eternal decree.
This is most clearly demonstrated by the unfolding events recorded in the book of Genesis. For instance, there is the account of creation and the establishment of the Covenant of Works in chapters one and two; there is the entrance of sin into the human race and the revelation of the Covenant of Grace in chapter three; there is the record of the flood and Noah’s Ark in chapters six through nine; there is the account of the tower of Babel, the confusion of languages and the dispersion of the human race in chapter eleven; we then have the biographical sketches of four men—the life of Abraham in chapters 12-25, the life of Isaac in chapters 21-35, the life of Jacob in chapters 25-49 and the life of Joseph in chapters 37-50. Of course, I do not have the time to highlight how the details of these events and the biographical sketches of these men demonstrate God’s absolute sovereignty. But, you see, that is for you to discover when you read Genesis for yourself. That is what you are looking out for as you journey through the pages of the book. As the self-existent and eternal God, He drew up a blueprint for time and creation before bringing either into existence.
4. The book of Genesis is not designed to serve as a science book. However, the account of creation perfectly aligns with the facts of science. (1:1-2:3)
You see, Atheists envision a world without God, and therefore attempt to interpret the facts of science based on the presupposition that God does not exist. Christians, on the other hand, interpret the same facts of science, but on the presupposition that God does exist, and that He made all things precisely as He has revealed it in His Word. Now, the Atheist may disagree with our interpretation of science, but their disagreement doesn’t negate the legitimacy of our interpretation. Henceforth, we mustn’t concede science and reason to the Atheists, as if they have a monopoly on the facts and are the only ones in a position to interpret them. We are all in possession of the facts, and we all ‘reasonably’ interpret them according to our own presuppositions. And, I would just say, if we step back and just consider what it is the Atheist believes about those facts, compared to what it is a Christian believes about them, it certainly requires a much larger leap of faith to accept the Atheist’s theory of evolution, than the biblical revelation of creation. Although the book of Genesis is not designed to serve as a science book, yet the account of creation perfectly aligns with the facts of science.
5. The book of Genesis identifies only two types of creatures which are capable of entering a personal relationship with God—angels and humans (2:7; 3:1).
Although angels and humans are different types of creatures, yet, as spirit beings, they have both been made in the image of God. God is a spirit being, and only those creatures which have been made in His image are able to know and worship Him. There are some interesting similarities and differences between angels and humans. For instance, God has elected and reprobated a certain number of angels, as He has done with the human race. However, He has not devised a plan or made provision of salvation for the angels that sin—the non-elect. He has, however, devised a plan and made provision of salvation for certain members of the human race—the elect. The angels were made on the first day, before any other creature was brought into existence; humans were made on the sixth day, after all other creatures were created. Angels are more powerful spirit beings than humans, but, unlike the angels, humans have been united with physical bodies. It is on the basis of having been made in the image of God, that the lives of angels and humans are sacred, compared to all other creatures. That is why taking the life of a cow, pig or dog is classified as killing, whereas taking the life of a human is murder. The book of Genesis identifies only two types of creatures which are capable of entering a personal relationship with God—angels and humans.
6. The book of Genesis distinguishes between two types of humans—male and female (1:26-28; 2:18-25).
It should go without saying, the biological sex of an individual determines his/her gender. There are some important similarities and differences between males and females. Men and women are made in the image of God and are therefore of the same worth and value. However, they are made with peculiar differences, designed by God to fulfill unique roles. Among the most obvious of these differences are physiological in nature. It is therefore absurd to pit men and women against each other, as if they are in competition with one another. That is like pitting apples against oranges, denying their differences while forcing apples to look and taste like an orange and forcing oranges to look and taste like an apple. Whereas apples and oranges are both fruits and equal in value, they are uniquely designed and serve special functions. Likewise, men and women are both humans and equal in value, but they are also uniquely designed and are appointed by God to serve special functions. It is only when males and females recognize and embrace their unique features, that they will enjoy individual contentment and relational compliment. It is in this context God established the marriage covenant in Genesis chapter 2, that the man and the woman might compliment each other’s roles. Each has a unique measure strength and ability the other lacks, but when joined together, supports the other’s weaknesses and inabilities. And, as the crowning glory of their union, God has blessed the man and the woman with the ability to procreate. This is why children are called the heritage of the Lord—they are His crowning gift to a man and woman in marriage union. The book of Genesis distinguishes between two types of humans—male and female.
7. The book of Genesis reveals the authority upon which the human race is in relationship to God—the Covenant of Works (2:16,17).
As you know, a covenant is an agreement between two or more persons, with certain obligations binding them together. Every relationship is based upon the authority of some covenant. In Genesis chapter 2, God made a covenant with Adam, on behalf of the human race, requiring the he perfectly obey the law inscribed upon his heart—namely, to love God supremely and to love his neighbor as himself. God warned him that a transgression of the heart law would be a violation of the Covenant of Works, which would result in death. This covenant was renewed with Eve after she was created from Adam’s rib. This covenant is renewed with every member of the human race at the point of conception. Adam did transgress the heart law, and since he was appointed the representative head of the Covenant of Works, the entire human race was forthwith plunged into sin and is subject to the condemnation of God. It is in this way all of us have been conceived in sin and shaped in iniquity—we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. We come into this world with a sinful nature, under the authority of the Covenant of Works, and are therefore at enmity with God and under His condemnation. The book of Genesis reveals the authority upon which the human race is in relationship to God—the Covenant of Works.
8. The book of Genesis reveals the sinner cannot make himself/herself right with God by earning His favor through good works (3:1-13).
This is clearly established in the third chapter of Genesis, after Adam and Eve transgressed the heart law. They attempted to make themselves right with God (justification) in three ways: First, they covered their nakedness with fig leaves (3:7); Second, they hid from the presence of God (3:8); Third, they blamed others (3:12,13). All three stratagems were rejected by God. It should be pointed out, these are the same methods used by sinners today in an attempt to make themselves right with God—they cover their guilt with good works; they hide from the presence of God when convicted of sin; they try to justify themselves by blaming someone or something else for their transgressions. The book of Genesis reveals the sinner cannot make himself/herself right with God by earning His favor through good works.
9. The book of Genesis reveals how God has made sinners right with Himself—upon the authority of the Covenant of Grace (3:15-24).
The Gracious Covenant was drawn up by the TriUne Jehovah from eternity. It is an agreement He has made with Himself, between the three Persons of the Godhead. The Father took the initiative in the agreement, by setting apart as special objects of His love a remnant of the human race. This part of the covenant was revealed to Adam and Eve in the promise of the woman’s seed (3:15). The Father gave His elect people to His Son, appointing Him to serve as their Redeemer. The Son received the elect unto Himself, setting His special love upon them, and agreeing to redeem them to the Father. It was required, in the fulness of time, the Son assume a human nature, that in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, He might earn for His elect people eternal life by His perfect obedience to the heart law, and that He might deliver His elect people from eternal death by offering Himself a sacrifice to God and a substitute for His people. The redemption price required by the Father was the precious blood of Christ, and this blood Christ shed for the remission of sins and the pardon of His elect people. This part of the covenant was revealed to Adam and Eve in the picture of the coats of skins (3:21). The Father and the Son then gave the elect to the Holy Spirit, appointing Him to serve as their Sanctifier. The Holy Spirit received the elect unto Himself, setting His eternal love upon them, and agreeing to sanctify them. Henceforth, at the appointed time throughout the course of history, each of God’s elect and redeemed people are conquered by the effectual power of the Spirit, whose souls are then united to Christ. This is called regeneration, or as Jesus described it, the new birth. This part of the covenant was revealed to Adam and Eve in the emblem of the flaming sword (3:24). My dear friends, the Covenant of Grace is nothing other than the gospel itself, and it is this gospel, and nothing but this gospel—the electing love of the Father, the redeeming grace of the Son and the sanctifying power of the Spirit—which is set forth in the opening chapters of the book of Genesis as the only way sinners are made right with God. The book of Genesis reveals how God has made sinners right with Himself—upon the authority of the Covenant of Grace.
10. The book of Genesis distinguishes between two groups of the human race—the elect and the non-elect.
Before the flood, between Genesis 1-9, there are 15 names numbered among God’s elect people, and 12 names numbered among the non-elect.
The elect begins with Adam, Eve and Abel. And we assume, the names linked with Seth’s posterity were also objects of God’s special love, which includes that of Enos, Enoch and Noah. It is uncertain whether all the sons of Noah were chosen by God, but we have no doubt that Shem was numbered among the elect. These names are recorded in the fourth and fifth chapters of Genesis.
The non-elect begins with Cain. We assume, the names linked with Cain’s posterity were also objects of less love, all of whom are recorded in the fourth and fifth chapters of Genesis.
Now, there were many more people in the world at that time, than the few names documented in the biblical narrative. And so we rightly assume there were many more people numbered among the elect and the non-elect than the 27 names recorded. But these are the names given us in the biblical record, and this is the way they appear to be classified. As a sidenote, you may be interested to know there are only four women identified by name before the flood—one elect, Eve; and three non-elect, Lamech’s two wives (Adah and Zillah) and his daughter (Naamah).
After the flood, between Genesis 10-50, there are at least 10 names numbered among God’s elect people, 22 names numbered among the non-elect and around 500 names which are not marked one way or the other.
The elect begins with Abraham, Sarah and Lot. It also includes Shem, who is identified as Melchizedek in Genesis 14; Eliezer, a servant of Abraham; Hagar, the second wife of Abraham; Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Joseph.
The non-elect begins with Nimrod, the grandson of Ham, a mighty hunter before the Lord and the founder of Babylon; several kings are mentioned by name, such as Pharoah of Egypt, Bera of Sodom and Birsha of Gomorrah; and, based on the teachings of Romans 9, we suspect Ishmael and Esau belong to this group also.
Among those names which are not clearly marked, and therefore we are unsure to which group they belong, are Mamre, the man who escaped to inform Abraham of Lot’s capture; Abraham’s two young servants who carried the provisions for the sacrifice of Isaac; Laban, the brother of Rebekah. Now, as I have said, to my knowledge, the scriptures do not give sufficient indication as to whether these people were elect or non-elect. And of course, that is the way God has designed it. Even now, we do not know who belongs to the one or the other of these groupings. We read in Deuteronomy 29:29: “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” In other words, what God has chosen to reveal belongs to us and is sufficient to guide us in truth; but what God has chosen to conceal belongs to Him and we therefore need not pry into the secret things of the Lord. My dear brethren, the Lord may not reveal to you whether your loved ones belong to His elect people. Your loved ones may go to the grave without you ever knowing for sure to which group they belong. But that is not for you to know. It is, however, for you to resign your loved ones to the Lord. Resign them to the care of the TriUne Jehovah. Entrust your loved ones to the Lord, knowing the Judge of all the earth doeth all things well. Take comfort, therefore, not in the knowledge of your loved one belonging to God’s elect people, but in the knowledge that God will do with all of us what seems good in His sight to do. And then,
“Hereafter He will make you know,
And you shall surely find,
God was too wise to err, and O,
Too good to be unkind.”
Well, this brings me to a final observation about the distinction between the elect and the non-elect. A number of names are contrasted as representatives of these groups. First, Abel represents the elect, whereas his brother Cain represents the non-elect (Gen 4:1-15); Second, Isaac represents the elect, whereas his brother Ishmael represents the non-elect (Rom 9:6-9); Third, Jacob represents the elect, whereas his brother Esau represents the non-elect (Rom 9:10-13); Fourth, Rachel represents the elect, whereas her sister Leah represents the non-elect (Gen 29:30,31); Fifth, Joseph represents the elect, whereas his brothers represent the non-elect (Gen 37:3); Sixth, Ephraim represents the elect, whereas his brother Manasseh represents the non-elect (Gen 48:17-20).
My dear brethren, I hope these teachings I’ve sought to highlight from Genesis will be of help to you as you read through the book this week. I hope you realize, your most important appointment within the next six days will be with the Lord. Your meeting with Him will last for approximately three and a half hours. And I pray the Lord will enrich your soul and bless your life as you draw near to Him in your journey through the book of Genesis.
Jared Smith served twenty years as pastor of a Strict and Particular Baptist church in Kensington (London, England). He now serves as an Evangelist in the Philippines, preaching the gospel, organizing churches and training gospel preachers.